Mon, Jun 30th - 1:05PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead(7:7-8).
God tells us here that we did not know that we were sinning until He gave us the Law. The Law spelled out for us exactly what sin was. Lust is coveting. If you recall, Paul began his argument back in chapter 6 with this same expression, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin?" Here he substitutes "Is the law sin?" for the prior phrase in chapter 6. Some would jump to the conclusion that if release from sin means release from law, then they must be the same. But check out the clarification. Paul wrote, "Perish the thought!" He points out that sin takes advantage of the Law and creates strong, sexual desire in us, in addition to all of the other error-filled things that we do. Paul is going to show us that the Law is good; it reveals God's will. The Law is not at fault, our weak flesh is at fault.
He has become very personal here, for he uses the personal pronoun "I, me, and myself." Forty-seven times he uses these pronouns in this section of scripture. Paul is relating to us his personal struggle that raged within himself. He tried to live for God in the power of his new nature. He found it was impossible. The Law had revealed to him the exceeding sinfulness of sin. The Law acts as a mirror. The Word of God is called a mirror; it reveals what we are. A mirror can show you the blemish on your face but it sure cannot remove that blemish. God has provided a place to remove it:
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
The admonition of prohibition contained within the Law makes clear to us the weakness of our flesh. Our old Adamic nature is the culprit. Do you enjoy looking at yourself in the mirror? Checking out how beautiful or handsome you appear? I would say that most of us do just that from time to time. But isn't it amazing how most of us avoid looking into the "mirror" of God's Word? We do not like looking in that particular mirror because it truthfully reveals us as sinners, horrible, lost sinners.
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died(7:9).
The Law can do nothing but condemn us for what we are.
And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death(7:10).
Here is pointed out the futility of trying to live their life according to the Law. It will not lead us to life even though God did indeed say, "This do and thou shall live(Deuteronomy 8:1)." Yes, God said those words but it is the doing of it that was the difficulty. Fault was not in the Law, but in the person who thought the Law would bring life and power. The Law simply reveals the weakness, inability, and the sinfulness of mankind. If the Law could have saved mankind from its sin, then there would have been absolutely no need for Christ to come and sacrifice Himself to purchase our redemption. Laws can be very useful items in capable hands, do you not agree? But what happens when laws fall into the hands of corrupt individuals? The laws can easily become dangerous and a menace to innocent people. It is the fault of the people, not the laws. We are the problem, we are the culprits.
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me(7:11).
Sin is personified once more here as a tempter. In the Garden of Eden Satan made man believe that God could not be trusted and that man was able to become god, apart from God. Sin, just like a Pied Piper, leads the children of men into believing that they can keep the Law and that God is not needed. This is the false path which leads to death. Sin at last will kill, for the Law did bring us the knowledge of sin, and man is without excuse.
I will stop here for today, beloved. Most people do not want to call sin by what it really is, sin. They come up with all sorts of other terms to describe it by: mistakes, errors, addictions, predilictions, or blunders. Most of these relate to some sort of departure from what is true. Of course, much debate will then ensue over what truth we are speaking about. Paul writes further about exactly what the Law is and about how we act in our daily lives. He shall point out to us that we may very well desire in our hearts to do what is good and yet we will not do it. I may discover something that God wants me to do and yet not know how to accomplish it correctly. I may very well delight in God's commandments through my "new nature" and yet not be able under my own power to force my "old nature" to submit to the new. I find that I am powerless to do this in my own efforts. By chapter's end Paul reaches his conclusion and in doing so he is able to praise God. I hope and pray that each of us can also do so once we reach that endpoint! Until then, I pray that Christ will become more real to you today than He was yesterday. I pray that joy will flood your soul and tears of happiness will fill your eyes as you discover that God loves you and has provided a way for you to become united with Him. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, died for you so that you may be born again in newness of life. What a promise! What beautiful words of love! Please believe in them my friends. Please trust in Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the only path to reach heaven. I beg everyone to take that path, take it today. Amen.
Sun, Jun 29th - 9:25AM
STUDY IN ROMANS
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death(7:5).
Consider this question: Are you able in your own strength to keep the Law? Are you able to keep every point of it, without fail? The Law was given to be a straitjacket put onto the flesh to control it. The flesh rebelled under this restraint. The flesh had no desire or capacity to follow the restrictions of the Law. Thus the flesh broke out from under the restraint of the Law and brought down the irrevocable penalty for breaking the Law, which is death.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter(7:6).
This verse means that we are discharged or annulled from the law. Can you see any paradoxes within this section of scripture? In verse 4 it was having died, they bear fruit; here in this latest verse they have been discharged, yet they serve. Today we serve God because we delight to do it, we want to please Christ; not because we feel that we ought to do it. The believer is set free so that in love he gives himself to the Savior as he never could do under the law. Here is some free verse that highlights this thought:
"I do not work my soul to save;
That work my Lord has done.
But I will work like any slave
For love of God's dear Son."
We serve Christ because we love Him. What question did our Lord ask Simon Peter three times, I believe? Look in John 21:15-17. See, God's question to the lost world is, "What will you do with My Son, Jesus, who died for you?" But His question to the believers is: "Lovest thou me?"
The Christian life is Christ living His life through us today. We can't do it by ourselves, nor can we do it by the Law. There is nothing wrong with the Law, the problem is with us.
That is all for this first day of the week, beloved. Next time we shall delve deeper into this thought of being free from the Law. Until then, may grace abound in your lives and may Christ work freely in your lives as well as in mine!
Sat, Jun 28th - 4:29PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
For the woman which has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband(7:2).
So according to Law, a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives, but upon his death she is completely discharged from that tie. Once he dies, she is no longer married to him. Their relationship is ended.
So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that hse is no adulteress, though she be married to another man(7:3).
I think that this verse steps on the toes of the Catholic church fathers. But any way, if anyone insists that divorce and remarriage is not permitted under any circumstances according to this verse then they are incorrectly reading it. Under the Mosaic Law if a man or woman were unfaithful in their marriage they were to be stoned to death. Of course, the surviving spouse would then be free to remarry someone else. Today we do not apply the Mosaic Law, we do not stone people to death. The point that is being made in these verses is that when a woman's husband dies, she is no longer bound to him in marriage. She becomes a single woman once again.
Why all of this emphasis placed on the marriage relationship? Patience, beloved, for we will now see the connection.
Wherefore, my brothers, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God(7:4).
Aha! So you and I are dead to the Law because of the body of Christ. And God wanted us to become dead to the Law so that we would be freed to remarry Christ! Men, do not balk at becoming the Bride of Jesus Christ. It is not any threat to your manliness, in fact, it highlights it! Wish to better understand how your wife feels about submitting to your headship in your family? Then explore how you are to submit yourself to Christ for He is the head of His family and you are His spouse! This sounds like a whopper of a bible study topic for the future! LOL
In this marriage picture painted here for us, the wife represents the believer in Christ. The second husband represents Jesus Christ. But we have an unanswered question here, who is the first husband?
Let's quickly review some thoughts of others before us: Dr. William Sanday interpreted him as the old state before conversion. Dr. Stifler concludes that he is Christ crucified. Dr. William Newell felt that he was Adam and our position in him. All fairly solid positions.
Perhaps the best position to hold on this matter is the last one. In the chapters leading up to chapter 7 we have been hammered on the point of headship; Adam's versus Christ's. There was sin introduced through the first Adam and redemption introduced through the last Adam. So it is logical to say that our first "husband" is Adam, and upon death with Christ we are no longer joined to him. Upon our resurrection in Christ we have become joined to Him. We both died with Jesus and we were raised back to newness of life with Him. That makes Jesus Christ the second husband, the living Christ, who enables us to bear good fruit. We do not know Christ after the flesh; it is the resurrected Christ that we are joined to.
Oh beloved! Do not fall into the snare of attempting to live by the Law in the strength of the old Adamic nature. We live by faith in Christ! We are saved by grace! We are joined to the living Christ! Hallelujah!
That is all for today, beloved. I plan on posting this before any severe storms enter my area today. Next time we will clearly see how Paul lays out the facts that we are no longer governed by the Law. He also clearly spells out for us how sin took advantage of the Law and why we do not want to go back to living under the Law. Until then, peace and grace be with you all this day.
Fri, Jun 27th - 4:57PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
The importance of chapter 7 of Romans cannot be overemphasized. Paul is very logical in this chapter. We are not to detour around this important chapter and get to chapter 8, even though that is another important chapter in its own right! The man who gets into the 7th chapter will get into the 8th chapter as well.
In this "struggle of a saved soul" a believer reaches out and grabs a straw. Sometimes that straw is the Mosaic Law. And he finds that he has gotten hold, not of a straw, nor even of a life preserver, but actually of a sack of concrete, and it is pulling him down and under the water. He can't live that way, nor can we. Multitudes of saints accept defeat as normal Christian living. God doesn't want us to come that road.
The "powerless sanctification" of this chapter shows us the way we are not to live. In fact, we all need "undo-it-yourself" kits; that is, we need to turn our lives over to the Holy Spirit of God, yield to Him, and let Him do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
The Mosaic Law is where many Christians go to try to find Christian living. Paul is about to show us that the Law is not the place to go. The Law condemned man to die, it was a ministration of condemnation (II Corinthians 3:9). You do not go to the judge who sentenced you to die and ask him how you are going to live!
Know you not, brothers, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he liveth?(7:1)
"Know you not" is a frequent expression that Paul uses in his writings. In essence he is asking, "Are you so ignorant?" Here he is addressing those who know the Mosaic Law. These people had had over 1,000 years of trial with God's Law in a land that was favorable and adaptable to the keeping of the Law. Yet Israel did not keep the Law. In Acts 7:53 Stephen told them that they had received the law from the angels and did not keep it. Peter called it "a yoke that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear"(Acts 15:10).
It is interesting how he used the phrase about the law having dominion over a man as long as he lives. We die with Christ and are raised in the likeness of His resurrection to walk in the newness of life. Could there be a connector between the two here?
Next time we are going to see an illustration that gets misused frequently. Paul talks about a well-established and stated law that a wife is bound to a living husband and that death frees her from the status of wife. He is not talking about marriage and divorce here. But that is for next time, beloved. Storms are on the horizon and I must flee the internet at this time! Until then, remember how Jesus said to us at the end of the book of Matthew that we are to teach people to observe all things that He had commanded of the apostles and that He is with us always, even until the end of the world. Amen.
Thu, Jun 26th - 1:19PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you(6:17).
When I was in the world, when I was lost, I obeyed sin. Boy, did I ever! It was very natural for me to do that. A man may live such an exemplary life that the chamber of commerce presents him with a medal and plaque and makes him the citizen of the year. Such men (only some) have been overheard talking afterwards and the language being used is the foulest language that can be imagined. Man of the year he may be, but it's obvious whom he's obeying.
Another thing that we all need to understand is that, when we have been saved, we have a new nature that can obey Christ. Paul went through this very experience, as will be seen in the next chapter of Romans, of being a new believer and discovering that there was no good in his old nature. Although too many of us have not discovered this, there is no good in us; the old nature has no good in it. We can do a lot to impove it, but we sure can't make it good.
A large mistake that just about all of us make is in thinking that now that we are saved we can walk on the top of the world. There is no power in the new nature. That's right, friends. We are just as weak as we have ever been before. This is why we must walk by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Every time that we step out of this formula we become absolutely powerless again.
Being made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness(6:18).
We have been freed, liberated. Jesus has made it possible for us to live the Christian life. Sin has not been eradicated or removed, just that we now have a means of walking after Jesus Christ.
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness(6:19).
In this verse can be found almost an apology for using servants/slaves as an illustration in this scripture. Paul reminds us that he is speaking to us in terms that we can relate to. Back in the day when he wrote this letter to the Romans slavery was very common throughout the Empire. Out of some 120 million people living in the Empire, one half were slaves. Many Christians were slaves. The letter to Philemon reveals that freedom was a highly prized possession and difficult to get ahold of.
When Jesus Christ suggested that the religious rulers were slaves of sin they were insulted. Read John 8:31-34 and see how arrogant they were, relying upon their heritage to get them to heaven. Through self deception they all believed that they were free men, slave to nothing. Today in America people feel that they are totally free, slaves to nothing. It is all self deception. Each of us are slaves to something. Observe the generational tragedy of our young people who rebel against the rules and regulations of established society and who have been destroyed by the thousands by drugs, alcohol, and sexually transmitted diseases. You may be delivered from one group with its rules and regulations, but if you do not turn to Christ, you may be getting out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire.
For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness(6:20).
You and I did not even think of serving, or following, Jesus Christ then; you and I were not interested in that.
What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death(6:21).
Free of Christ and possessor of rotten fruit. We did as we pleased. Shame became our fruit. In reality it was not actual freedom but simply license. To a child of Satan, doing what Satan wants done is just fine and dandy. To a child of God it is a heartbreak. The point to remember here is that the end result of all of the things that you and I did before accepting Christ was death. Nothing earned us eternal life before trusting Christ.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life(6:22).
Ahhhh, we go from an end to death to an end of everlasting life. That is a radical change! Now we come to Paul's conclusion:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord(6:23).
This is part of a Christian song today. I heard it last sung by a group by the name of Acapella. Powerful song. Satan is the paymaster, and believe me, he will see toit that you get paid. Work for him and the wages you earn is death. Work for God and His gift to you is eternal life through Christ. That gift comes through faith.
So in summary, you and I are saved by faith. You and I are to live by faith. You and I are to walk moment by moment by faith. You and I cannot live for God by ourselves any more than we can save ourselves. It requires constant dependence upon Christ, looking to Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have completed chapter 6 of Romans, beloved. Lots of valuable knowledge was gained by us. Chapter 5 began to cover sanctification and it was then finished up in chapter 6 by showing us our need to identify with Christ in His death and resurrection. In this next chapter we are going to find two topics/subjects: the shackles of a saved soul and the struggle of a saved soul. But that is next time. Until then, be joyous in the knowledge that you have been made free of sin once you trust in Christ. Be reassured in the fact that the Holy Spirit of God dwells inside of you once you trust in Christ. God enables you to do the things that He desires for you to do. He desires to shower us with bountiful blessings throughout the remainder of our lives, it is up to us to ask Him to bless us. Remember that He chided the disciples by telling them that they had nothing because they had asked for nothing. Don't be afraid of asking Christ for what you need. He loves you, remember?
Wed, Jun 25th - 12:58PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
So we are under grace and not the law, what shall we do?
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid(6:15).
God's answer to this question is a resounding "Perish the thought!" The form of this question is put differently here than it was back in verse 1. Over the past 14 vrses it has been demonstrated that God's method of sanctification is on the same basis as justification; it is by faith, faith that God can do it. You and I cannot do it. Once we learn that we can not live the Christian life, we have learned a great lesson. Once we have reached that point in our understanding then we are prepared to allow Christ to live that life through us.
This question leads us to consider whether there should be an assist given to grace to accomplish its high and holy end. The natural man thinks there ought to be some laws, rules, or regulations given. Throughout church history there have been all kinds of groups that have come up with rules for living the Christian life. There were the Puritans who contributed a great deal of good to us today, but they had a strict observance of the Sabbath day (they called Sunday the Sabbath, which it is not). It was an obsession with them. And we can see a carry-over of that obsession still with us today. There are certain groups who put down certain rules for believers. Some of our fundamentalist people have made, not ten commandments, but perhaps as many as 20 new commandments. If the believer does certain things and refrains from doing certain other things, he is living the Christian life. You can't work your way into a Christian life, beloved. It comes from Christ. Short courses do not get you into living the Christian life. The holy life is not a bunch of do's and don'ts.
Following rules and regulations does not make one live a Christian life. Following Christ is what does it. The Christian life is being obedient to Christ. My friends, do you love Him? Jesus did say to us, If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15)." Identification with Christ is positional sanctification. But obedience to Christ is the esperience of sanctification, and that is quite practical in nature. It is not how you walk, but where you walk. Can I continue to frequent exotic dancer nightclubs and be obedient to Jesus? Would I be walking in the light, walking in fellowship with Christ by so doing? No. Sin will break fellowship, and then we must confess our sin to God. The Lord said to Peter in the Upper Room, "If I wash you not, you have no part of me (John 13:8)." To be a part of Christ we must confess our sins and be cleansed/washed by His Holy Spirit. Our part is confession, His part is cleansing (see I John 1:9). The important thing is to have fellowship with Christ and to obey Him. Then we will be living the Christian life.
There are very many Christians today who say, "I am saved, and I can do as I please." This is an error filled position that will be revealed when we get to chapter 8. We can see in Galatians that there are three ways in which we can live: (1) live by law; (2) live by license; or (3) live by liberty. Regardless of who you are, if you try to live by law, you are lving by the old nature. If you try to live by license you are living to do as you please, doing what you feel like doing. And if you try to live by liberty, then you must be obedient to Christ, present yourself to Christ, and do what He pleases.
At the risk of creating a post that is too lengthy, I move on to the next verse:
Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey: whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?(6:16).
The first three words alert us to information being given out to us, information that we did not have before. It is something that we need to know. Every person who is living is a bonded servant to someone or to something. That is the basic truth of our lives on earth. Struggle against it all that you wish, it makes it no less true. We either obey Satan, or we obey God. It is quite cut and dried, as the saying goes. Because of our very natures we are slaves to something or someone and that boils down to either Satan or God.
Paul is saying to us here that the one who is our master is the one whom we obey. If you obey sin, than sin is your master. You can't say Christ is your master if you are living in sin; He is not your master. If He were your master He would bring you into the place of liberty. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36)." You shall be free to live for Him, free to obey Him. In John 8:34 Christ said, "Truly, truly, I say to you. Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin." This brings us to a personal question. Is Christ really our master today? Just because you do not murder, lie, steal, etc., doesn't mean you are living the Christian life. It could mean that you are living a good life, but that is all. Living a good life does not allow us to enter into heaven when we die physically, it merely helps us end up in the lake of fire eventually.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time it shall be revealed that a believer becomes free from sin and turns toward something else altogether. Paul leads us through a torturous route to the endpoint of his argument in verse 23. Until then, do not use your newfound liberty to continue sinning against God. Do not use your newfound liberty to cause other believers to stumble and fall back into sinning. Use your freedom from sin to obey Christ and walk in newness of life!
Tue, Jun 24th - 1:05PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Each believer is joined to the living Christ. We are to count on that fact. God saved us by faith, and we are to live by faith. Many of us, including me, have trusted Him for salvation, but are we trusting Him in our daily living?
Neither yeild your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God(6"13).
Yield is the same word as present in chapter 12. This is a presentation of yourself for service to Christ. This is where the concept came from of the surrendered life or the yielded life. To many people this idea sounds colorless. How can life be exciting when you have surrendered yourself to someone else? Well, it depends on who that person is. In this case, surrender is to Almighty God, the One who has power over life and death, the One who is the Master of Creation. An apparant contradiction is present in that we are asked to surrender ourselves and yet live victorious lives. It is no more contradictory than being asked to lose oneself in order to find oneself. If I choose to surrender to Christ then I become able to live victoriously through Him. I can not live a victorious life outside of Christ.
Now I understand that most of us get into trouble because we yield ourselves to the old sin nature. By active choice we can yield ourselves to do God's will through the new nature found in Christ. There's the story of a little girl who fell out of her bed one night and began to cry. Her mother came to her, picked her up and placed her back in her bed. The mother then asked her daughter why she fell out of her bed. The little girl replied, "I think that I stayed too close to the place where I got in." I truly believe that is why so many of us get into trouble after we accept Christ. We remain too close to the place where we got into Christ. Instead of moving further into our Christian walk we remain too close to our former lifestyle, too close to our former friends, too close to our former addictions. Is it any wonder then, that we occassionally "fall out" and land back in our former sinful lives? Once a believer trusts in Christ he/she must move on, grow up, mature as a Christian so that there is no accidental "falling out" of a separated lifestyle and back into depravity.
Although it's true that we will not get rid of that old nature in this current life, we are informed to "Yield yourselves unto God." We were all "dead men walking" before we trusted in Christ. Now we are alive in Christ, we are born again. "And your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" deals with that which is specific and particular. What is your real problem? I know what mine is. Whatever your specific problem may be, yield it to Christ. Is it a hot temper? A gossipy tongue? Wandering eyes? Take it to Christ and give it over to Him. Today, immorality is most likely the chief cause of yielding oneself to sin. Sex is everywhere. In movies, in commercials(with both real people and computer generated ones), in advertising to sell everything from lingerie to automobiles, in children's cartoons, in novels, and in comic books. It is at the mall, at the beach, at the theater, and all along our mainstreets. Our society is awash in a flood of sexual innuendo that is sweeping our children, and most adults, downstream into immorality. That is a sad state of affairs, beloved. If you know that you are easily tempted by any of these things mentioned above, then do what God informs us to do: Flee them! Separate yourself from these things and unite yourself to Christ and His Way! You can do it through the power of the Holy Spirit which God gives us upon trusting Christ.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace(6:14).
The Law was given to control the old nature and to point everyone towards Christ. As a believer, you and I are not to live by the old sinful nature. You and I have been given a new nature, and we are to yield ourselves to God. Imagine, we are urged by God to present ourselves to Him! He desires us to turn away from sinful living and come to Him so that He can enable us to live a more holy and pure life while we yet live here on earth in these corruptible bodies.
I will stop right there for now, beloved. Next time I will address this problem some have with the fact that we are no longer under the Law but under grace. Ought there to be some kind of laws, rules, or regulations to help accomplish the goals of grace? Until next time, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Come before the throne of grace and confess your sins to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Throw yourself upon the mercy of Christ and be rewarded with eternal life and peace beyond understanding.
Mon, Jun 23rd - 12:45PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection(6:5).
It stands to reason that if we are united with Christ by being grafted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be united with Him in likeness of His resurrection. We share the life of Jesus Christ in like a branch grafted into a tree shares the roots and life of that tree. Christ's life has become our life now.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin(6:6).
Again, we are reminded of things that we now know. "Old man" does not refer to your father or mine. This is a reference to our old nature, the one which we are born with. The Greek word from which "destroyed" was translated is katargeo, meaning "to make of none effect, to be paralyzed or canceled or nullified." We are not told here that the old sin nature is eradicated from our bodies. We are being told that our sin nature has been nullified so that we should not be enslaved to sinful living any longer.
For he that is dead is freed from sin(6:7).
When we identify ourselves with Christ in His death we are declared righteous from sin, we are acquitted. It is a position that we can claim.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him(6:8).
As already seen, if we died with Jesus, we believe that we shall also be resurrected into life with Him both here and hereafter. That is another position that we can claim with assurance.
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over Him(6:9).
Here again we are reminded that we ought to know that Christ is raised from the grave, He is alive and well up in heaven. That He lives forever more is our victory chorus. In Revelation 1:18 Jesus Christ says "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." His resurrection opens up eternity to Christ and to all who will believe in Christ. Jesus has the keys of hell and death in His hands, He is in control of them not them in control of Him.
For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He lives, He lives unto God(6:10).
Jesus died but once, but He is alive today. He lives to make intercession for those people who have trusted their lives in Him. Now we come to another thing that we as saints can reckon on.
Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord(6:11).
"Reckon" isn't being used here as we use the term today. Here it means to count on the fact that we are dead to sin and alive to God. We are to be willing to "bet the house" on the fact that we are a new creation in Christ and we are headed for our eternal home, heaven.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof(6:12).
Oh, oh. Here is one verse that all those supposed "Christians" shy away from. These are the ones who feel that they can dress any way that they wish to. They deny attempting to entice the lustful attention of the opposite sex, and yet that is the end result of their actions. It is an attempt to fill an emptiness inside, to make themselves feel attractive. They sometimes need affirmation of their desireability by the opposite sex via this avenue. It is a trap, a snare, set in place by Satan. We, as true believers, need to focus all attention upon Christ and not upon ourselves when we are working out in the world, or when we gather together to give praise and honor to God. Perhaps it comes down to relearning about modesty. Modesty begins in the heart and flows outward, so if a person has not relinquished control of their lives to Christ there will be a short cirquit of their growth in modesty.
Another "lust" of the body is consuming food. We ought to remain aware of the pitfalls of gorging ourselves and causing harm to our bodies. It is something not to be done for Christ has told us that we no longer own ourselves, He has purchased our bodies and they are His. Kind of like being a renter? Want to remodel, go get the landlord's permission first. Same idea is involved here as well.
Another "lust" comes via our eyes. We must guard what we allow ourselves to witness, watch, or casually see. Once it goes in through the eyes it is in our memory bank within our brains. We can pollute ourselves to our ultimate harm by being very careless in this area.
I assume that all of you are getting the idea here. Lusts are tightly knit with our "appetites." What are you hungry for? Money? Fame? Possessions? Beautiful women? Handsome men? Property? Be careful for all of these things are what we should be leaving behind as we walk with Christ.
Now we will be getting into a section that deals with practical sanctification. Today we finished up with the positional aspects of sanctification, things that we ought to know. Now we will begin to see the practical side; You are to yield yourself or present yourself to God. But that is for next time, beloved. Until then, worry about nothing, pray about everything.
Sun, Jun 22nd - 12:55PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?(6:1)
Paul is being argumentative here. Previously he was simply stating facts, he wasn't trying to prove anything. But now he uses this opening question to set the tone for what is to follow. From what I gather, in the Greek the question is asked in such a way that only one answer is possible. His opening remark refers us back to what he was writing about in the previous chapter. There he stated facts and now he asks the pointed question to force us to consider what we have just been told. Once you or I accept Christ as our Saviour, can we continue sinning so that grace may be more abundant? Get ready, for here comes God's answer:
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it?(6:2)
"God forbid." We ought to perish the thought that we can continue to sin. That this question even has to be asked points out how frequently people try to live this way. Paul obviously understood justification to mean a declaration of righteousness; that it did not mean to make a person instantly good, but to declare a person good. It means that the guilt or the penalty of sin is removed, not the power of sin in this life. Just because we have been given the means to begin transforming ourselves into the image of Christ does not mean that it happens immediately nor that it happens completely all at once.
But now Paul is to begin speaking about removing the power of sin. "We, that are dead to sin" seems to be something that alot of us misunderstand. As long as we are in this current body of ours we are never dead to sin. Our old sin nature coexists with our new spiritual nature in our bodys. Yes, we died to sin in the person of Christ and that allows us to reach the place where we want to live for God, but it also makes us aware of the fact that we are still open to sin in our lives.
Now, there are groups of believers who teach about the "victorious life" and give the impression that they have reached the pinnacle of perfection. It is a very misinterpreted phrase to be sure. Are we victorious in Christ? Yes, we are! Are we victorious on our own merit and efforts? No, we are not! Each and every day is a struggle between the temptation to do things under my own power and efforts versus doing things God's way and in His time. Now, how about "I am crucified with Christ and have died to sin?" It is a true statement of fact. How it is interpreted is where arguments and misunderstandings occur. I am crucified with Jesus Christ, and in identifying with His burial through baptism I show the world that I have died to sin also. Has my old nature disappeared? Of course it hasn't, it is still there within me. But now that I have been given the Holy Spirit to live within me I have a counter point to the sinful nature. Christ is engrafted into my nature and if I allow Him to work in me then He increases in controlling my life and I decrease in trying to control my life. It is a case of John the Baptist-itis, as I have said before. John said that "I must decrease and He must increase."
So we died to sin in Christ-that is our position. We died in Him, we were raised in Him, and we are joined now to a living Christ.
Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into this death?(6:3)
If you only find water in this verse then you have missed the main meaning here. What does Paul mean by the word baptize in this third verse? Immersive baptism is included in the complete point being made. But he primarily is speaking about identification with Christ. The translators did not translate the Greek word baptizo, they simply transliterated it. There are some 20 meanings to this word. Here Paul tells us that we were identified with Christ, we were identified into His death. We get a reminder of this in I Corinthians 12:13.
Now for three things essential to our sanctification. Two are positional; one of them is very practical. The other two that are positional, we are to know something. Every gadget that you and I buy comes with some sort of instructional booklet. Sometimes the instructions are rather easy, and then sometimes they are very difficult to understand and to complete. Living the Christian life is such an important thing that it comes with instructions, it is called the Bible. There are certain things we are to know. We are to know that over 1900 years ago, we were identified with Jesus. They led me outside of a Middle Eastern city called Jerusalem and nailed me to a cross. They pushed that cross up into a hole in the ground and left me there to die an agonizing death. Christ wasn't guilty of any thing, it was me who was guilty. My sin put Him up there on that cross. No one forced Christ onto that cross, He went willingly to redeem me from my sins.
Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life(6:4).
Just as we are identified with Christ in His death on the cross, also we are identified with Him in His resurrection. We are not joined with a dead Christ but with a living Christ. Beloved, there are only two places for your sins today: either they were on Christ when he died for you over 1900 years ago-because you have trusted Him as your personal Savior-or they still are on you today and judgment is ahead for you.
It would appear to be that water baptism is ritual and sets forth a powerful spiritual truth for all to witness. Actual baptism is with the Holy Spirit, just as in Acts on Pentecost. Is it necessary to see the "tongues of fire" resting upon a person's head? I do not think so since the eunich that accepted Christ had no reported sightings of such. Water baptism is a visual ritual of a person's burial with Christ, death of the old man.
But what about what is in I Peter 3:21? It says there, "...baptism does also now save us...?" How is that possible? In the preceding verse Peter talked about eight souls who were saved in the ark. They went through the waters of judgment inside the ark. All who were outside of the ark drowned in judgment. Those eight people inside of the ark did not get wet at all and yet they were saved by baptism. Obviously, baptism does not have anything to do with water in this instance, rather, it means identification. They were identified with the ark, they had believed God, and they had gotten into the ark. God saw that little ark floating on the waters and knew they had believed. Today, God sees Christ; He doesn't see Eric because I am in Christ. He is my ark today. I am joined to Him.
That is all for today, my friends. Next time I will write some about our old man having been crucified. Until then, consider this: In the New Testament congregation meetings were there formal structures in place? Did they print up bulletins that had what songs would be sung and what the message would be? Did only one person speak the Word of God, or was there more of a discussion taking place? How does this compare to how we generally conduct worship services today? Are we being true to the apostles's teaching? Or are we dealing in "man's traditions?" Interesting isn't it?
Fri, Jun 20th - 12:18PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life(5:18).
This is the basic principle of the imputation/accreditation of righteousness. This is the doctrine of federal headship of the entire human race in Adam and Jesus.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous(5:19).
Paul sums up his argument on headship: Adam's one act of disobedience made all sinners; Christ's one act of obedience made it possible for God to declare righteous the sinner who believes in Him.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound(5:20).
God did not just give out the Law by itself. He gave Moses a sacrificial system to go along with the Law. This system was meant to train all eyes to the future when Christ would come to fulfill the Law. God has given all of us an opportunity to be delivered from the guilt of sins-not the nature of sin. You and I will have that old sin nature throughout our mortal lives.
That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord(5:21).
You and I live in a world governed by sin. The king of the earth today is sin with Satan the prince. If it were not true then our cemetaries would not be getting filled up.
Jesus Christ is calling out a people from within a lost race and He is teaching them a new way of living. Sort of a "teaching turtles to fly." But the turtle nature does not want to fly. It is a struggle. Man is alienated from God for he has a sin nature. Now God offers salvation to a lost race.
The claims of God's righteousness are completely met in the death of Christ on the cross. The kingdom is fully and firmly established on the cross of Christ at Calvary. The believing sinner now has eternal life by being united to the last Adam, the raised and glorified Savior. This makes possible the sanctification of the saved sinner, which leads us into the next chapter of Romans.
In chapter 5 it was seen that all of mankind falls under the headship of Adam and it continues through the birth of each new person. But we also saw that a new head of mankind exists in the person of Jesus Christ. He brings life and righteousness whereas Adam brought sin and death. On this basis Christ can move into the lives of those who trust in Him and begin to make them righteous. Here in chapter 6 we see a discussion about sanctification.
There is a difference between justification and sanctification. There is a difference between merely being saved from sin and being made the type of person you ought to be because you are separated to God. Justification is an act; sanctification is a work. Justification took place the moment you trusted in Christ-you were declared righteous; the guilt was removed from you. Then God began a work in you that will continue throughout your entire life. That part is sanctification and is an on-going process. Justification is for us; sanctification is in us. Justification declares the sinner righteous; sanctification makes the sinner righteous. Justification removes the guilt and penalty of sin; sanctification removes the growth and the power of sin. I Corinthians 1:30 speaks of this: "But of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
Before now Paul has not spoken about the holy life of the saint, or believer. From here on though, Paul talks nothing of salvation but of living the holy life. This upcoming chapter's subject is the ability of God to make sinners actually righteous. It will be seen that the justified sinner cannot continue in sin because he died and rose again in Christ. All things are new, the old has passed away. God has placed the beginnings of a new nature within the believer and thus we are to obey Him and not sin. Union with Christ in His death and resurrection means that He is now our Master and Lord. He gives us freedom indeed, but that freedom is not license to do as we please.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time we shall begin to see what positional sanctification is all about as we begin chapter 6. Until then, peace and grace be with you. Have a blessed weekend!
Wed, Jun 18th - 1:06PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Let's move on to verse 13:
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law(5:13).
Okay, from Adam to Moses sin was in the world, but at that time sin was not a transgression; it was merely rebellion against God. Perhaps this is the reason God did not exact the death penalty from Cain for murdering his brother. God placed a mark upon Cain to protect him from anyone killing him in revenge. Later on in scripture we can find one of Cain's sons, Lamech, who also comitts murder(Genesis 4:23-24). But he did not break the ten commandments for they had not been given as yet. These men were judged because they were sinners. All men belong to a lost race. We are not the product of evolution-onward and upward forever with everything getting better and better for we are better equipped to exist. We are utterly lost, depraved, and in desparate need of redemption. Our very thoughtlife is alienated from God.
We cannot think that God ought to save all of us. People don't want to be saved. That is the ugly truth.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come(5:14).
Paul personifies death. Death reigned like a king from Adam to Moses. Before there were the ten commandments man was already a sinner. The word death gets used in a threefold manner in the scriptures. There is the usage as meaning physical death. That refers to the body, and it means a separation of our soul from the body. This death results from Adam's sin. Then there is spiritual death, which is separation from and rebellion against God. We inherit this nature from Adam, and Ephesians 2:1 breaks this news to us. Then there is eternal death. That is the third death that the scriptures speak about, and it is eternal separation from God which will inevitably happen unless we become redeemed by Christ. Adam is being declared in this verse to be a type of Christ-"who is the figure."
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many(5:15).
Thankfully, we have "much more" in Jesus than we have in Adam. Today we look forward to something more wonderful and amazing than the Garden of Eden. Hebrews 11:13 says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were pursuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." If those people were convinced of salvation coming for them then I think that we ought to do the same today.
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification(5:16).
This is a difficult passage. Here is the simple truth: One transgression plunged the entire race of men into sin; and one act of obedience and the death of Christ upon the cross makes it possible for lost mankind to be saved from its many sins. Christ's sacrificial death is the free gift.
For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ)(5:17).
It was previously stated that death reigned as king over mankind. Death rose to the throne by one man comitting only one offence, Adam's disobedience. Here Paul presents to us another kingdom which is superior to the kingdom of death. It is the kingdom of eternal life. It is offered to the subjects of the kingdom of death through the abundance of grace. Man has only to receive it, accept it as his own. The King of the kingdom of eternal life is Jesus Christ, the gift comes through Him.
I am going to stop here for now. This leaves us with four verses to finish up with chapter 5. We will see that our salvation only delivers us today from the guilt of sin and nothing more. It might sound wrong, but you will see that it is a true statement. Until next time, peace and grace be with you all.
Tue, Jun 17th - 1:02PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement(5:11).
We can joy in God! Before salvation most of us probably cursed God but afterwards we feel differently. Right now, wherever you might happen to be you can rejoice, have joy, in God. You can rejoice in the fact that He lives in heaven and that He is who He is. You can rejoice because He has provided a salvation for us and is willing to save us sinners and bring us home to be with Him one day. Because of His love for us He has worked out a plan to save us. Isn't that enough to make you rejoice each day? Every child of God ought to have joy in their heart. Will they always be happy with what's happening to them? Probably not, but it shouldn't affect the joy in their heart.
That completes the writing of Paul here about the salvation of the sinner; now we come to words about the sanctification of the saint after salvation. First, we are declared righteous, but God wants to do more than that. Justification does not make a person righteous. It means that before God's holy court a sinner is now declared righteous, but his/her heart has not yet been changed. God does not intend to leave any sinner in their sin. God desires to transform us into the kind of people we ought to be. God wants to make us righteous. He provides a way that each sinner may grow in grace and become sanctified (set apart) for God.
A warning: the rest of this chapter may be difficult to understand and then to accept. This is an area that has been called the federal headship of Adam and Christ.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned(5:12).
Here we have the basic truth laid out for us as to why everyone is a sinner today. Adam comitted the very first sin by disobeying God in the Garden of Eden. Thus, through all of his subsequent offspring his sinfulness was inherited. This spiritual condition passes from generation to generation much like other traits do physically. There is no recombination of spiritual genes, it is a totally dominant characteristic. The end result of Adam's first sin was to bring death upon all of his offspring. Originally neither Adam nor Eve were bound by natural death, they were going to live forever as far as we can ascertain in scripture.
So through this federal headship of Adam we inherit our sinful nature and then through the federal headship of Christ God is able to save those who will trust in Christ. Adam and Christ are representatives of mankind. Adam is the natural head of mankind. No room for primates being our relatives here. It is extremely difficult to be a Christian, believing the Word of God, and also accept the theory of evolution. Adam was head of all mankind, sinned, and plunged all of us into sin. We are born into this world and automatically are sinful. If you doubt this, consider what we have to teach virtually every child. Do have to teach them to lie, or to tell the truth? My experience is that children have to be taught not to lie. That is sin nature predominating the person and forcing them to comitt sins.
It would seem that this verse 12 does not refer to the fact that you and I pass our sinful nature on to our children. This verse also says that "all have sinned" but it does not mean that we are guilty of a sinful act. Yes, we are guilty, but that is not what this verse is speaking about.
So, what does this verse mean? It is refering to the fact that we are so fully connected with the first father of mankind that before we even had a human nature, before we had committed a sin, before we were even born, we were sinners in Adam.
Not many people like that. But God says that that is the way it really is. In essence, God could put any of us in the Garden of Eden and give us the exact same test He gave to Adam. The endresults would be the same. How else can it be? Our own selves are governed by the actions of our predecessors within our respective families. When my grandfather decided to leave Finland with his wife and children and relocate to Massachusetts in the United States of America, I left Finland also. Otherwise, today I would be speaking Finnish and living on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean. I was born in America because of my grandfather's actions many years ago. He imputed to me the consequences of his actions. In the same way Adam's sin is imputed to each of us.
The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us by the death of Christ. Christ is the head of a new race, a new redeemed man, and the church is His body, a completely new creation. I Corinthians 15:45, 47 says this: "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit...The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." There will never be a third Adam, for Jesus Christ is the last Adam. The second man will not be replaced by a third or fourth man because Christ is the second man but He is not the second Adam. He is the last Adam, head of a new race of men. We also see in I Corinthians 15:21-22: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." In Adam all must die, in Christ all may live.
That is enough for today, beloved. I have kept it as short as possible. I hope that it all becomes clearer as the verses flow on by us in coming days. I pray that you may rest in Christ this day. I hope and pray that many shall decide to walk in newness of life in Christ. You see, God makes all things turn out for our good in the long term. Adam's disobedience ultimately lead to Christ's sacrifice which makes available to us God's salvation. Until next time, peace and grace be with you all.
Mon, Jun 16th - 12:36PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Now we come to how Paul explains the love of God:
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly(5:6).
"In due time" reminds us that God works His will according to a plan that He has decided upon. Nothing is happening by accident, nothing is taking God by surprise. He does not sit up in heaven and gasp, "I didn't know that Jerry was being untruthful to his wife!" God knows about everything happening in each of our lives, each day. Christ died for the ungodly, not for the good people of this world. We are the ungodly, and Christ willingly died for those who were His enemies, who hated Him, to whom He said when they were crucifying Him, "...Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do..."(Luke 23:34). There is the defining statement that ought to be with us constantly as we struggle with our relationships. Forgive those who abuse and misuse us for they know not what they do.
There are some who believe that God saves people by His love. Sounds reasonable, for He is love, right? Is there even one verse in the Bible which states this concept? No, there are none. Here is what the Bible says about how we are saved: "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God(Ephesians 2:8)." God saves by His grace, not by His love. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believed in Him would not perish but would have eternal life. Through the shedding of blood God provided salvation for all who would believe. By our faith in that redemptive act we gain salvation. It is not something that we can produce for we do not have the strength to accomplish it.
God cannot open the back door to heaven and slip sinners in under cover of darkness. To do so would make Him no better than the corrupt judge who lets the criminal off scott free. God loves us irregardless of how wicked we are, or have been. Now, we might not get to experience the love of God but we cannot prevent God from loving us. If we put up an umbrella of sin, or of indifference, or of stepping out of the will of God, then we will not experience His love of us.
God has demonstrated His love for you, have you shown your love for Him? Or have you been striving to find your way to heaven? You have to come to Him His way. This isn't your universe, and it isn't mine. It's God's universe, He created it. He made the rules, not you and I. He said that no one comes to Him except through Christ Jesus(John 14:6). Now see how Paul continues:
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die(5:7).
Do you know of anybody who would be willing to die for you? Anyone who is willing to die in your place at the end of your lifetime? Is there a handful of people who would do that for you? No? How about naming just one who would do that for you? Hhhhmmm. Well, God loved you enough to die for you up on a cross at Calvary. Today these questions perhaps can only get answered in the affirmative by those who are in the military services. There they learn of honor, loyalty, friendship, love of your brother, and of not leaving your companions behind. But all of us can count upon God to be there for us, no matter where we may find ourselves. Now we come to benefit #7:
But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him(5:8-9).
With salvation comes deliverance from wrath. This is wrath spoken of by the prophets of old. It refers to the day of trouble, distress, desolation; a day of darkness, clouds, and thick darkness(see Zephaniah 1:15). The great day of wrath is what Christ calls the Great Tribulation. We have been saved from the penalty of sin and in the future He shall save us from the presence of sin. It is debatable as to when, and how, we shall be delivered from judgment during the Great Tribulation; it is of no debate as to whether or not we are saved from the judgments that shall come upon this earth at that time in the future. We are free from God's judgment of sin for we are saved by grace through faith in Christ.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life(5:10).
Jesus died down here on earth to save us; He lives up in heaven to keep us saved. He died to pay for all of our sins; He lives in newness of life to offer us the blessed hope of life eternal in heaven.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time I really, really, will finish up on the last benefit of salvation. Then I shall embark on the next phase of a believer's spiritual life. Until then, remain steadfast in your fatih in Christ. Do not tire of doing God's work. Love the believers in Christ. Honor all saints. Pray without ceasing, knowing this: your prayers are heard by God and He shall answer them in due time.
Sun, Jun 15th - 9:26AM
STUDY IN ROMANS
I am posting this in smaller blocks since two times it refused to post the message. Here we go!
And hope makes us not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us(5:5).
This benefit of having the love of God is different from our loving God. Before salvation we did not know God's love of us. We could not for we were enemies, separated from Him by our sin. But upon trusting in Christ God gives us freely of His Holy Spirit, allowing Him to dwell inside of our hearts.
Another benefit found within this verse is the gift from God of His Holy Spirit. This is the very first time in this letter to the Romans that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is mentioned. It will not be until we get to chapter 8 that we will read about His ministry in more detail and see Him mentioned more than 20 times. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about how their bodies were the temple of the Holy Ghost and their bodies were no longer their own to do with as they pleased(I Cor. 6:19). They were just as carnal as any of us today, my friends, and they received the Holy Spirit upon trusting in Christ. You see, God is in the business of giving His Spirit to anyone who believes on His Son Jesus Christ. There are no quotas in this particular deal.
Now because of this shedding abroad of His love in our hearts we have the ability to become conscious of the fact that God does love us. And oh, how we need to be assured of the fact that someone does love us!
That is all for today, beloved. Next time I will write about how God demonstrated His love for you. Until then, peace and grace be with you on this Father's Day.
Fri, Jun 13th - 1:35PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Now for the second benefit of salvation:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God(5:2).
"Access" here means that you and I have this through prayer. We can talk to God freely about our problems and the problems of our friends and loved ones. We have an open way to our heavenly Father who listens to us here and who does answer our prayers. Of course, that does not mean that He answers the way you want Him to, or as fast as you want Him to, but He always answers. He answers according to His wisdom and His will for your life. It is grace in which we stand reconciled to Christ and that is gained through our faith in Christ.
All of that leads us to the next benefit that we get upon being saved by Christ. We are able then to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We receive the hope that the scriptures hold out to us. Paul said to Titus, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"(Titus 2:13). To look forward to the time when our Lord returns to remove His church from out of this corrupt world, now that's a glorious hope, and it will happen just as God has said it will.
Every child of God has this hope. It means each one has a bright future, something to look forward to. Others may look around themselves at all of the "things" that the affluent people have gotten and hope that one day they too might own those same things. But they will have no future in those "things." In Washington DC we seem to be getting the impression that the legislators feel that our national problems are too big and cannot be solved. What a dark outlook! The solution is to come to Christ and fall on your knees asking forgiveness for your sins! We all need to face facts: there's a cancer in the body politic, and it may be inoperable. The American people, and the world, are looking for a hope, looking for a future with hope. This explains the restlessness that we see throughout the entire world, and could explain a great deal of the movements of the present time. It would seem to drive many people to alcohol and drug addiction, sexual depravity and immorality, and down other dead-end streets. Why? Because they have lost hope of the future.
Christians have a hope, a blessed hope. And we know that all things are going to work together for good(see Romans 8:28). We know that nothing is going to separate us from the love of God(see Romans 8:39). How much more wonderful this outlook on life is compared to the aetheist's and the existentialist's outlook on life.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope(5:3-4).
As strange as it might sound, we joy in troubles, knowing that trouble works patience, which works experience, which works hope. Look at the three words being associated with trouble: patience, experience, and hope. Are these the things that we automatically would associate with times of trouble? Of course not! Our carnal natures leap to other terms to categorize times of trouble. God has to work through His Holy Spirit to instill these fruits of the Holy Spirit. When trouble comes into our lives it becomes a time to bring out the best in our lives. God only gets fruit out of our lives by pruning "the branches." The world at large does it all differently. If you, an unbeliever, are in a nice, comfortable situation and have no troubles, then you can have fun, you can also be patient, and you may have a little hope as you go through life. But trouble is considered something to avoid at all costs, nothing good comes of it.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time I will attempt to cover the remaining four benefits that we all receive upon becoming saved. If you did not understand the last benefit covered I will restate it now: triumph in times of trouble. So if you are in the middle of some problems in you life right now, lean heavily upon Christ. Be reassured that God knows what you are going through each and every day. Ask Him for strength, courage, patience, love, gentleness, and endurance. Pray to Him and ask for the ability to serve Him throughout the entire problem even to its very end. That is the example that Jesus Christ gave us, and that is how He wants us to live out our lives. Be obedient, be faithful, be loving, do the Father's will. Until next time, peace and grace be yours.
Thu, Jun 12th - 6:03PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
There have been preachers who have said, "I do not believe in a religion of the hereafter; I believe in a religion of the here and now." They want their pie now and won't have any of that "pie in the sky by and by." The tragedy is that they probably will not get any pie now nor in the by and by!
Paul is going to show us that there are certain benefits that get credited to the believer right here and now when he/she trusts in Christ. Actually, these are benefits that the world is very much concerned about, and would like to have them.
People are spending an awful lot of money these days trying to get the things that are the present benefits of every believer. Does that mean all believers are enjoying them? No, it does not, beloved. However, God has them up on the table for you and me, and all that we have to do is reach over and take them "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
BENEFITS OF SALVATION
Therefore being justified by faith , we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ(5:1).
We have the benefit of peace with God. Formerly we were at odds with God because of our unredeemed sin but once we are justified by faith in Christ we are at peace. I grant you, there are many different kinds of peace. There is world peace of which the United Nations has worked at securing for several decades now. They haven't gotten very far in the past and do not look as if they will be much more successful in the coming years either. Some people believe that if we protest loudly enough in large enough numbers we will be able to bring peace to the world. Beloved, as long as there is sin in this world there will never be peace in the world. Not until the Prince of Peace comes. But this is not the kind of peace that Paul is speaking about here.
There is also that peace which is known as tranquility of soul. Jesus refered to this when He said to His disciples, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you...(John 14:27)." This is a peace that comes when we have trusted Christ and we are resting in Him and who are doing His will. This is a peace that can be with us all of the time but usually it is not. Why? Because we fail to remain at rest in Christ and do His will and would rather forget and begin doing our will. Paul is not referring to this sort of peace here either.
Then there is the peace which Paul mentioned to the Philippian believers, "the peace that passes all understanding." I cannot claim to understand this type of peace for it passes all understanding and so it is not the type Paul is speaking about in verse 1.
The peace that Paul is talking about here is "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This peace comes to us immediately upon trusting Jesus Christ for we then know that God no longer has any charges against us. We know that we are no longer guilty. God is now standing for us rather than against us. Everything has been made right between us and God. You will notice, I hope, that Paul will repeat this thought again and again. Peace through the blood of Jesus Christ, which means that we no longer need to worry about divine judgment.
My friends, God is reconciled. You and I do not have do anything to reconcile Him, as we have just seen. No tears are necessary to soften the heart of God. Because Christ died upon the cross at Calvary God is reconciled today. The gospel message is, "You be reconciled to God." The next move is yours and mine.
That is all for today, beloved. Next time I shall write about two or three more benefits that are credited to us once we trust in Christ. Isn't this book of Romans a rich text? Isn't it chock full of blessings for any who would open it and read it? Until next time, be reassured that you shall triumph in times of trouble and that you shall gain more patience in the process. Peace and grace be with each of you today!
Wed, Jun 11th - 12:25PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
Because the law works wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace(4:14-16a).
God makes it plain that salvation comes through faith and not through obeying the Law. His promise given to Abraham becomes fulfilled with each person that grace saves through faith in Christ. The Law was needed to point out our transgressions and our need for redemption since we could not pay the debt owed to God. Christ was needed to pay the debt and allow us to obtain redemption which then allows us to enter into heaven and approach God. Abraham was justified in actuality by his faith in the resurrection.
to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be(4:16b-18).
Grace is what makes sure that God's promise is for everyone who believes on Christ. Here we see mention of God's ability to bring the dead alive once again, of God's ability to create things out of nothing. All Abraham had was God's word spoken to him. He did not have any physical evidence to support his belief that he would become the father of nations. We ought to exercise the exact same type of faith in what God says to us in His Word. God has said it, we can trust it to be true. We can trust it to come to pass exactly as God has said it will come to pass.
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb(4:19).
Is there any merit in faith itself? No. There was nothing around Abraham in which he could trust--nothing that he could feel, see, touch, or taste. He could believe God though. He did not snort at the thought that his old body could father a child.
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God(4:20).
Abraham was not double-minded. He looked from his circumstances to the promise made by God. He believed the promise inspite of what his circumstances were. He placed his trust in the promise because of who had given it, and so he gave worship to God. We were made to glorify God, the only way we can today is to believe Him.
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform(4:21).
"Fully persuaded" means that there were absolutely no doubts in Abraham's mind over this matter. He trusted that God was fully able to perform what God said would happen. Are we that confident today?
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness(4:22).
This faith in the resurrection; life from the dead; is what God accepted from Abraham in exchange for His own righteousness. God promises eternal life to those who believe that He raised up His own Son from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, the place of death.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead(4:23-24).
The womb of Sarah was a tomb. It was a place of death. But out of that came life. Abraham believed God, and so should we. And these verses are what Jesus Christ meant when He said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad(John 8:56)." Any who have doubts about whether or not Abraham understood that it was Christ who God was promising need look no further than the book of John.
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification(4:25).
There is our basis for faith. Not only should we believe in the death of Christ, but also in His resurrection. Matthew Henry said it like this: "In Christ's death He paid our debt; in His resurrection He took out our acquittance." God justifies those who believe both in the death and resurrection of Christ. I ask you, have you gone that far with God? Do you truly believe Him?
That completes chapter 4 of Romans. As we begin looking at chapter 5 we are finding Paul answering one of the questions that would naturally come to mind in anyone who has read his letter up to this point. Paul has told all of us that we have been saved by the redemption that we have in Christ, the redemption that had been purchased at great price upon the Cross at Calvary. It delivers all of us from the guilt of sin so that the sin question has been forever settled. It means that we shall not come before God for judgment which will determine our salvation. Our salvation is sure. It means an eternal home is waiting for those who have trusted Christ. The question to be answered is: What about the here and now?
Next time we shall study that question. We shall find out what benefits get accredited to our accounts immediately upon accepting Christ into our hearts. What, if anything, must we do to obtain these things? That is for next time, beloved. Until then walk the path of your life, allow God to order your steps and use His Word to light up the way so that you will not trip over things otherwise unseen along the way. Keep the lamp filled to the brim with oil!
Tue, Jun 10th - 12:36PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin(4:8).
Oh, what a wonderful verse to keep ever present in our minds! Joyful is the person whose sin is not put to his account by God. David understood this verse. God put away his great sin, as Nathan informed him. Nathan said to David, "...The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die"(II Samuel 12:13). Still, David was chastened by God. He did not get off scott free. David in essence set his own penalty in his response to Nathan's account of the rich man who took the poor man's ewe lamb. As he spoke to Nathan in II Samuel 12:6 so then David lost four of his children. Sorrow plagued him all the days of his life from this point on. His guilt wasn't put on his account though, that was born by Christ. See, David understood his relationship to Christ.
Comes this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness(4:9).
Paul returns his argument to Abraham to picture for us that justification is universal. The error of the Jew was to point to David's joy of the man under law who has been forgiven. They forgot that Abraham was also justified before the Law was given and before he was circumcised.
How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in circumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision(4:10).
God made the promise to Abraham when he was yet uncircumcised, and Abraham believed God long before there ever was any kind of agreement made at all. God simply said that He would do it and Abraham believed the naked Word of God. So should we do today with God's Word. We ought to simply believe what we read there. It is God's Word. As Jesus' mother said long ago, "Whatever He says to do, so you do."
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith(4:11-13).
A big mouthful that! But look with me at what is there. Abraham was given circumcision as a seal of his righteousness of the faith he had in God. This sign was given to him for God had promised that Abraham would be the father of all who believe in Christ. Physical circumcision is of no importance spiritually, although it does have some hygiene pluses going for it. The promise that Abraham had from God came through his righteousness of faith in what God had said He would do. So each and every believer in Christ is a child of Abraham spiritually. I am a seed of Abraham, my wife is also. I pray that each and everyone who stops and reads these posts ends up becoming a seed of Abraham also.
I will stop right here for today. Next time, beloved, I will explore on through the remainder of chapter 4 where it is discovered that we end up at Jesus Christ, again! No matter how, or what, we read in the scriptures it always seems as though we wind up at the same endpoint. Everything revolves around Christ. Until next time, peace and grace be yours today!
Mon, Jun 9th - 1:01PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
For what says the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness(4:3).
Paul relies upon the scriptures as his final authority, as should we today. The scripture is God speaking to us, so it is our final authority and there can be no other for us. I wish that more of us who claim to be Christians really believed the Word of God. That more of us believed that the scriptures are God speaking to us would reinvigorate society's moral fiber. Paul quotes the Old Testament around 60 times throughout this letter to the Romans. This verse comes from Genesis 15:6: "And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
This promise was given to Abraham at a time when he was raising a question with God: "...what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless...?"(Genesis 15:2) God confirmed the promise of Abraham's seed becoming like the stars. Abraham simply believed God, not that he completely understood the magnitude of the promise nor how God would make it come to pass. I think too many times today, beloved, we feel that we ought to understand everything that God is going to do. What we need to do is to take the Word of God and rest in it. There was no honor in what Abraham did with God's promise; all of the honor was God's. God made the statement, the promise, and God then undertook to complete it, to fulfil it. Abraham's faith was not an act, but an attitude. His heart was turned towards what God said and not focused upon himself.
"Counted unto him for righteousness." God counted, imputed, righteousness to Abraham because of his faith. His faith was not righteousness but it was counted as that in God's eyes.
Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
But to him that works not, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness(4:4-5).
The general rule of thumb is that a workman is paid wages for the services rendered. You work for a certain amount per hour, or you get paid a certain amount for a specific job. Abraham was not workman for he did not earn what he received. His salvation was received on the only other basis, undeserved favor, by the grace of God. So physical works gains us nothing but debt, no grace is involved there. Salvation cannot be earned by anything that we do, only through having faith in Jesus Christ. God is not in the business of saving the righteous, He is all about saving the unrighteous people. None of us is good according to the Bible.
"His faith is counted for righteousness." Faith is the only condition. Keeping the 10 Commandments will not save anyone. Attending church services 100 % of the time will not save anyone. Baptism will not save anyone. Faith and faith alone saves us. Faith honors God and secures righteousness for us. This is Abraham's example for us today, simply believe what God has said in His Word. It is the truth given to us.
Even as David also described the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputed righteousness without works(4:6).
Unlike Abraham, david lived under the Law. Although David lived under the Mosaic system he could never be saved under that system. Which explains why he described the blessedness when God counted righteousness without works. David had no works that counted towards salvation, but he sure did have some evil works that pointed in the other direction! And despite his evil works David was still said to be a man after the heart of God. God loved David because David repented of his evil works and asked forgiveness from God. Then he went out and lived a changed life. This helps point out the need for righteousness to come from an entirely different source, or principle.
Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered(4:7).
This is quoted from Psalm 32:1-2. This and psalm 51 are the two great penitential psams written by David. From out of David's great sin came his confession and acceptance which followed.
"Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven." Are you one of the blessed ones today? I am glad to be in that great company, my sins forgiven. When you know deep down inside that God truly has forgiven your sins there is undescribable joy that bubbles over into your life.
"Iniquities" equates to lawlessness. David deliberately broke the law. He didn't do it ignorantly. He knew what he did was wrong and yet he was forgiven. He lusted after a woman married to another man, a soldier in his army, and slept with her. Then he arranged for the man to be killed in battle to cover up his sin comitted with the man's wife. It did not work. God took him to task and David repented of his great sin.
The final point for today concerns this forgiveness and covering of iniquities. Forgiveness refers here to a definite and complete act of remission. It speaks of God's tenderness by taking sinners into His arms of love and receiving them with affection. How are sinners' sins covered? Because Jesus Christ died and shed His blood, my friends. That is why that hymnal is so powerful: "There is power in the blood, power in the blood!"
Next time, beloved, I will return to verses that bring Abraham back into the discussion Paul has with the Romans. It will have to do with justification. Until then, do not be discouraged. Do not give up, there is hope in Christ! Pray to the Father for wisdom, and He will give to you more abundantly than you could ever imagine!
Sun, Jun 8th - 8:33PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
In Paul's day Abraham and David were most likely held in higher esteem by nation Israel than any other two men whose lives are recorded in the Old Testament. Abraham was the founder of the Hebrew race, and David was their greatest king. These two men are used as illustrations to establish Paul's statement in chapter 3 that there is agreement between the Law and the gospel. Even though they represent two diametrically opposed systems, neither contradicts nor conflicts with the other. They are not mutually exclusive either. Under theLaw and even before the Law, faith was God's sole requirement. Abraham, before the Law, was justified by faith. And David, under the Law, sang of justification by faith. So Paul is not suddenly presenting some strange new doctrine that will cancel out the Old Testament and leave the Jews adrift on the sea of life holding onto an anchor rather than sitting in a lifeboat. Paul shows us that these two patriarchs are in the same lifeboat. The Law took a man by the hand to lead him to the Lord Jesus Christ.
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found(4:1)?
This verse opens with a phrase that connects this argument with what Paul was talking about in the third chapter. He uses the opening phrase "What shall we say then" in this and other instances within this letter to the Romans. Earlier he did not try to prove or argue that man is a sinner. So this phrase never is seen before now.
"Abraham, our first father" reveals to us that this man was the beginning of the nation of Israel. It is a strange phrase to us as we do not speak in this fashion. It reveals the importance of Abraham, who was first chronologically and also first in importance.
"Pertaining to the flesh" could grammatically modify Abraham, or it could modify the verb has found. What has he found according to the flesh? Abraham has found that Abraham's works according to the flesh did not produce boasting but produced shame and confusion. He had nothing to boast of. I think that Abraham was a great man, and especially in that matter of Lot. He wouldn't let the kings of Sodom and gomorrah reward him. But in another section Abraham didn't believe God, and he ran down to Egypt. That matter of the little egyptian maid that he got and the son that came from her, those were things that were not to be boasted of.
For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God(4:2).
Ahhh. If Abraham were justified by works, works of the flesh, then he could glory in those works but not before God. He, like any of us, can glory in self, but cannot glory before God. The fact of the matter was that Abraham had many good works but they were not the ground of salvation but were the result of his salvation and of being justified. When James, in James 2:21 says, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?" he is not contradicting Paul here. James describes works that were of faith in God. Works of the flesh do not stand before God's holiness, only those works that originate from having faith in God. So Abraham stood upon the same ground on which the weakest sinner stands even today.
I will stop here for tonight, beloved. Next time we shall continue on our journey in Romans and we will see that righteousness was imputed to men because of their faith in God. Until then, peace and grace to you all.
Sat, Jun 7th - 4:26PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Now we witness Paul bringing to bear a question:
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith(3:27).
Since God is saving by faith in Christ and not by works, is there any place left for boasting? We can't even boast of the fact that we are fundamental in doctrine. We have nothing in which to glory. Paul asked these Romans this question and proceeded to answer it.
"It is excluded...by the law of faith." The first instance of law means the principle of law and the second instance means simply a rule or principle of faith. God has the human race on the basis of simply believing what He has done for us. Boasting therefore is excluded.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law(3:28).
Paul gives an explanation of why boasting is excluded. It is excluded for man is justified by faith. Paul continues to drive the proverbial nail in even further:
Is He the God of the Jews only? is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also(3:29).
For any who wish to argue that God is only for the Jews, Paul gives answer here. This is a very powerful argument used by God through Paul. "If justification is by the law, then God does belong to the Jews. But if justification is by faith, then He is the God of everyone." Notice the logic of this point. If the Jew persisted in this position, then there must two Gods--one for the Jews and one for everyone else. But the Jews would not allow this. They were monotheists, they believed in one God. This came from Deuteronomy 6:4. God gave the message to the pagan world before Christ came.
Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith(3:30).
There is only one God, not two. God gave man the Law and man failed. God did not save man by their keeping the Law; salvation was always by the sacrifice which man brought in faith, pointing to the coming of the Lord in the person of Jesus Christ.
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yes, we establish the law(3:31).
Does this merely refer to the Mosaic system here? Or does it refer to the entire Old Testament revelation. "Faith" excluded the works of the Law. Did it exclude the entire Old Testament revelation? Of course not! In the next chapter we shall see that Paul addresses this question through illustration of two men. These two men were saved, not by law, but by faith.
Today, beloved, when you and I will take the position that we are sinners and come to God and trust Christ as our Savior--regardless of who we are, where we are, how we are or when we are--God will save us. God's sole basis with man today is--"What will you do with My Son who died on the cross for your sins?"
That is chapter three in completedness. We have covered an awful lot of material and I am sure some of you are scratching your heads in puzzlement. Perhaps some are shaking your heads in denial. I hope those are few in number. Romans is a book that challenges the individual to believe only in Christ for salvation. It also challenges the believer to an ever greater trust in Christ and to choose a deeper walk with Him. The Holy Spirit beckons to each of us, "Enter in. Enter in to a holy life. Die to self, and enter in." Will you do so today if you are still not saved? Remember, God will save you regardless of who you are, what you are, what sins you have comitted, and where you are. Christ will cleanse you and allow you to make amends to those you have wronged during your life. If there are consequences to your actions, then He will not change those. You may still have to spend the remainder of your life in prison for murder, for instance. You may still have to forfeit your entire business to pay off the debt you now owe. You see, we reap what we sow around us daily. Sow good seed and we will reap good fruit in time. Sow bad seed and we will reap the sorrows and pain that bad fruit bring in their wake. It is our choice, it is our free will to choose.
Next time I shall begin chapter 4 where we look at the lives of Abraham and David. Until then, love the saints and love your enemies. This is commanded of us by Christ our Lord.
Fri, Jun 6th - 1:27PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus(3:25-26).
There are several things found within these two verses that must be defined. First, please notice it is "faith in His blood." It is not faith in His life, His works, or His example. Faith has to be in His blood. From in Hebrews 9:22 we see that there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood and this is consistent with what occurred with the Hebrew Tabernacle. Animal sacrifice temporarily remitted individual and national sin. All was awaiting the coming of Christ. Scripture also tells us that "the life of the flesh is in the blood." The life of Christ was given. That blood is a very precious commodity according to God.
Now, for the jawbreakers found in these two verses: propitiation, righteousness, remission, forbearance. Many people skip them because they are difficult to pronounce and/or understand. Once we boil them down and reduce them to their basic meanings we will find the very heart of theology. Calvin once said: "There is not probably in the whole Bible a passage which sets forth more profoundly the righteousness of God in Christ."
"God has set forth"---God and God alone is the architect of salvation, and He is the One today who is able to save. You and I cannot save; no religion can save; no church can save. God reconciled all things to Himself. He did it. Now He is giving to us the ministry of reconciliation, and so all that the holy God is asking you and me to do today is to be reconciled to Him. You do not have to do anything to soften His heart towards you. You do not have to shed tears when you come to give yourself to Him, you just need to come. Christ has been exhibited or displayed for all to see, now it is time to come to Him.
"To be a propitiation" points back to the time over nineteen hundred years ago when Christ was set forth as the Savior. Recall that the veil of the temple hid and protected the mercy seat and that only the high priest could go in past that veil, and only then once per year. But today Christ has been set before us as the mercy seat. Go to Hebrews 9:5 to find what shadowed the mercy seat. If we compare the two words used in both instances, we discover that the same word is utilized for both mercy seat and propitiation, hilasterion. Jesus Christ has been set forth as the mercy seat. Luke 18:13 shows us a publican begging for mercy from Christ for publicans were cut off from the temple's mercy seat. And so now all of us have access to God's mercy seat, Jesus Christ, through faith in His shed blood. Because God so loved all of us He has held out to all of us a mercy seat.
God does not save us reluctantly either. If we come to Him, He saves us wholeheartedly, abundantly. In Ephesians 1:3 we are told what we get upon salvation. John 6:37 says, "...him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out." There are no quotas involved here. Before Jesus Christ you and I were shut out from holy God. But Jesus opened up the way for us by His shed blood.
"To declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past." I won't dwell on rightesousness for I have already covered that term in earlier posts. "Remission" though, comes from the Greek word paresis which means passing over, letting pass, or disregarding. So we have God disregarding our sin because we have accepted Christ's shed blood for us. Being made right with God through Christ's blood on Calvary. This phrase at the end, "of sins that are past" does not mean your sins and my sins of the past; it means the sins of those who lived before the cross at Calvary. Before Jesus' crucifixion everyone brought animals without blemish or spot to the temple to sacrifice for forgiveness of their sins. The animals themselves did not provide the forgiveness, rather it was the faith of the people who brought the animals. If we were to go way back in time and were to ask Abel, "Do you think that this little lamb is going to take away your sin?" He would have told us no. "Then why did you bring it?" His answer would have been, "God required it. God commanded us to bring it." Hebrews 11:4 tells us "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain..." In other words, he did it by revelation, because "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"(Romans 10:17). The only way Abel could bring that sacrifice by faith was for God to have told him he had to.
We might say to Abel, "Specifically what do you thin God has in mind here?" I think that he might have said to us, "Well, God told my mother and father that there's coming a Savior. We do not know when, but until He comes we are to offer up this sacrifice because we are to come by faith." So all of the people during the Old Testament times who had faith in God were held on "credit" until such time when Christ came to pay the debts of all people. Their sacrifices pointed towards Christ. When He came he paid for all of the sins prior to the cross and He paid for all of the sins after the cross. Perhaps today the only sacrifice that we can bring is our acceptable, and reasonable service to Christ.
That is all for today, beloved. I truly hope and pray that this post blesses you. We are justified by Christ, not by anything that we may decide to do. We have been given His righteousness upon accepting Him as our Savior. That brings hallelujahs to my lips! I am forgiven, justified, and made righteous, all upon salvation! I am singing even now! LOL Until next time, bless those who misuse and abuse you. Pray for their souls, that they may have their eyes opened up to the truth.
Thu, Jun 5th - 12:31PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus(3:24).
"Freely" is the Greek word dorean, translated in John 15:25 "without a cause." Our Lord said that they hated Him freely, without any cause--there was no basis for it. Here, Paul is telling us that we are justified without any cause, there is no explanation for it other than God answering our great need of His grace. Through no merit on our part grace is bestowed upon us. Grace is love in action.
Our justification comes "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Redemption is always connected to God's grace. God can save us because Jesus redeemed us, He paid our price for sin. Justification by faith is more than subtractiing our sins from us, or forgiveness, it is also the addition of the righteousness of Christ. We are not simply restored to Adam's former position, but now we are placed in Christ where we shall be throughout all eternity as the Sons of God, the Daughters of God, the Children of God. Adam never made it to being in Christ during his lifetime. I do not want to be simply restored to his original condition, I want to become an inheritor of Christ's righteousness.
John Bunyan struggled with the issue of his sinfulness. He realized that he was a great sinner with no righteousness of his own. He could not understand how God could accept him even with all of his great sins forgiven. Where could he get a standing before God? Finally, one night while walking through a cornfield, John Bunyan recalled these words of Paul and his great burden slid down off of his shoulders. Mr. Bunyan also recalled Pauls's words in Philippians 3:9: "And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." When we now read Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, we read the story of his life written out on the pages of that great classic.
"By His grace" is the way God saves us. Here is the fountain from which flow down the living waters of God in this age of grace in which we live. Because of what God has done He now can save by grace. Read Ephesians 2:4-5, you will see once more that we are saved only by grace. Today, a holy God is free to reach down to meet your needs, my needs. God is free to save those who will trust in Christ. Only Christ was able to pay the price for sin. Only through Christ is salvation from sin available to us. Acts 4:12 nails down how many other ways to God, and salvation, there are: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
I will stop there for today, my friends. Next time I will write some words concerning verses 25-26. These are important verses for they are ones that some desire to erase from God's Word, thereby reducing faith to nothing. Until then, rest assured of being found in Christ and claim His righteousness as your own. Do not rely upon your own efforts at pleasing God. Invite the Holy Spirit to assist you in finding ways to please Christ for you are His bride! Now, there is a thought!
Wed, Jun 4th - 12:55PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets(3:21).
This "righteousness" is not an attribute of God---He says that He will not share His glory with another---and it is not the righteousness of any man. God told us back in Isaiah 64:6 that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and God is not taking in dirty laundry. Well, what righteousness is Paul talking about here? It is that which God provides. Christ has become our righteousness as can be read in I Corinthians 1:30. Also we read in II Corinthians 5:21: "For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." It is extremely important for us to recognize that God is the One who provides this righteousness. It is not anything that you and I can work out, but it is something that God provides for us. He demands this righteousness, and He provides it.
This righteousness is separate from the Law, you can not get it by doing something or keeping something; not even God's Law. Trying to keep God's Law is futile. God can't save you by Law for the simple reason that you can't measure up to it. God can't accept imperfection, and you and I cannot provide perfection. Therefore, He can't save us by the Law. "Being witnessed by the law and the prophets" means that the Law bore witness to it in that at the nucleus of the Mosaic system was a tabernacle, a tabernacle where bloody sacrifices were offered which pointed to Jesus Christ. The prophets witnessed to it when they spoke of the coming of Christ, His death and resurrection. For example, Isaiah prophesied, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all...Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand"(53:6, 10).
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference(3:22).
I once thought that some people might not need the grace of God to purge them as deeply as some others. That was naive on my part. God's grace must go all the way down to the very bottom to get all of us cleansed of sin. Each of us is utterly and completely lost outside of Jesus Christ. Either you are completely saved in Christ, or you are completely lost outside of Christ. There is no difference amongst us.
How does this righteousness come to us? Through our faith in Christ. William Cunningham wrote: "Under law God required righteousness from man. Under grace, He gives righteousness to man. It is the righteousness that His righteousness requires Him to require." Perhaps rather deep, but it is accurate. One Dr. Brooks has said: "That righteousness which the Father required, the Son became, and the Holy Spirit convinces of, and faith secures."
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God(3:23).
We can see another perspective of this over in John 6:28-29. It is all about having faith in Jesus Christ. There is no merit in my faith or in just believing. Faith is not a work on my part. As Spurgeon once put it: "It's not my hope in Christ that saves me, it is Christ. It's not my joy in Christ that saves me, it is Christ. It's not my faith in Christ that saves me, it is Christ's blood and merit." My faith in Christ is the instrument which God uses to give me His righteousness.
The "glory of God" is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. We all have come short of Christ. His righteousness is available to everyone, but it only comes upon those who believe. In this verse He tells us that everyone needs this righteousness from Him. As kids did you ever play the game of "see who can jump the farthest?" Someone draws a line in the dirt and each person walks up and broadjumps as far as they can. Inevitably someone would crow, "I jumped farther than all of you, I am better!" I always hated that moment. But, in our study here, let us suppose that we all are lining up to see which of us is the "best" church member? What then? Does it make one bit of difference to God? I may very well be the best church member but what difference does it make? I still have not come up to the glory of God, I have fallen woefully short of the "gold standard."
I will stop here for today, beloved. I have noticed that some of you trailed off and are not coming to read these recent posts. I can understand that these last posts may not be quite as comfortable as previously posted messages. But God's Word is the truth and it must all be read and followed. Perhaps some of you need to ponder the truth of these verses in Romans for awhile and come to terms with God? I know that I have had to do that in my life. Once upon a time I believed the myth that "God is my copilot." God isn't anyone's copilot, He is the pilot of your life, period. If God isn't allowed to navigate your life for you, your self-will and self-interests will utterly screw your life up. Nothing that you attempt to do will reflect His will for your life. It is a hard thing to conclude and then to go about correcting. Been there and done that. But it is a necessary thing. Next time I will try to explain my thoughts on the next few verses. Until then, lay your heart open to Christ and allow Him to circumcise it in love.
Tue, Jun 3rd - 12:58PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Here is God's fifth charge:
Their feet are swift to shed blood(3:15).
Isaiah 59:7 gives the complete version: "Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths." What a picture of humanity, but what a picture of American society today. Instead of following a path of adoption of unwanted babies, we in America decided to rush to the easy solution to unwanted pregnancies: abortion, the tragic ending of God-given life. Our feet have been too quick to shed blood and we are paying the price for this choice.
Destruction and misery are in their ways(3:16).
40 million people have been denied life through society's choice to abort fetuses. That many less people contributing to our economy. That many less people contributing to social security and medicare. Sanctity of life has been reduced in the eyes of the younger generations, who will be next? The elderly for they are a drain on our finances? The disabled for they can not pull their own weight? The unborn are only the first victims in this defiant act against God. Once the unborn have been successfully dehumanized then this practice can be expanded to include other segments of our society. Precedent has already been established, it will be pushed legally in our courts; for our courts have erred in legislating social change rather than in enforcing our Constitutional rights strictly. Freedom of assembly will fade into the dust, freedom of speech and thought will likewise fade away in America. The wheels have been set into motion years ago.
And the way of peace have they not known(3:17).
Mankind does not know the way of peace. Look all around you. Many talk about peace but peace does not exist in this world of ours. America is not at peace with itself, none of the other nations of this world are at peace with themselves either. Read a newspaper, listen to a news hour on TV, or visit CNN.com on the internet and you quickly discover that unrest and conflict rule the day, everyday. Humanity is locked into conflict for we all desire to exact revenge ourselves and that is a very vicious cycle. Feuds, rivalries, sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing. All of these arise from conflicts. We do not know how to resolve our conflicts peacefully and most of the time do not even want to resolve them through any peaceful means.
There is no fear of God before their eyes(3:18).
Here seemingly is a summation of all of man's sin in this statement. Man has no fear of God at all. Man lives as if God does not even exist. Man defies God openly. Not a pretty picture of all of us. Then we come to the last thing Paul has to say about sin. This is in answer to those who will say, "Well, we have the Law and we'll keep the Law. We will firmly hold onto that."
Now we know that what things soever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be shut up, and all the world may become guilty before God(3:19).
Righteousness can not be gained by the Mosaic Law. Those who cling to it are still going to drown in their sins for the Law cannot save them. The Law will not lift them up out of their sin. In reality, it does the opposite. Holding onto the Law is like a man jumping out of an airplane and instead of wearing a parachute, he takes a sack of concrete with him on his back. Get the picture? The Law is the mirror into which we all are supposed to look to see shortcomings and imperfections before God. The Law condemns all of us to death, there is no salvation in the Law. The Law points out to us our sin and the wages of sin is death. It is quite straightforward and simple. So do not rely upon the Ten Commandments to save you from damnation, it will only damn you the more.
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin(3:20).
The Law is what allows us to become aware of how sinful we actually are in the sight of God. It is what ought to drive us to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is why it is spoken of as our "taskmaster" or "schoolmaster", for it teaches us about what needs changing in our lives. But we do not have just the Law anymore. We have Jesus Christ. The answer to our sin.
Well, beloved, that is all for today. Between verse 20 above and verse 21 we notice a division that is as wide as the Grand Canyon. We will be moving out of the darkness of night into the brightness of day. We will read about God's wonderful salvation. Paul will speak about justification by faith. Until next time, do not worry about failing to keep the Mosaic Law for we have Jesus Christ in our hearts. During our times of failure we are to turn to Christ and ask His forgiveness for our sin. He will forgive each and every time you ask. Ask also for Him to help you become more able to follow all of His commands, ask Him to increase you faith. He has already told us that He will answer those prayers IF we have forgiven everyone who has offended us, or abused us, or embarassed us, or slandered us, etc., etc.. We must forgive others if we are to receive future forgiveness from God. His parables make that point very clear. I pray that all of you may have a song on your lips continually this day!
Mon, Jun 2nd - 12:56PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
Here is the fourth charge that God makes against all of us:
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one(3:12).
Mankind has detoured. We have left the way that we once knew was right. And many primitive tribes have an ancient tradition that way, way back at one time their ancestors knew the living and true God. My friends, if you are honest, you know that you are not doing what you ought to be doing if you have not accepted Christ. Moreover, you are not going to do it, although you know what it is. You have "gone out of the way." Man has deviated from the way. Lost.
There is a fifth charge found in this verse. It is: "they are together become unprofitable." "Unprofitable" suggests overripe, spoiled fruit. It could be translated, "they have altogether become sour." Mankind is not lush fruit; he is corrupt fruit that is full of decay. Everyone is governed by self-interest.
A sixth charge is also found here: "there is none that does good, no, not one." We find in this a triple negative. Mankind is sort of like a group of travelers who have made a wrong turn and are going in the opposite direction from the right one, and not any of them can help the others. They are all blind to the direction that they are moving in. Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day, "You are blind leaders of the blind"(Matthew 15:14). The Judge of all creation says that about you and me and everyone else on earth.
Now in this chapter of Romans we become transferred over to God's Clinic, into the hands of the Great Physician. It is a spiritual clinic and we are being informed that we all are spiritually sick.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips(3:13).
When you go to your doctor, what is the first thing that they say to you? When I go to my doctor it is to let her have a regular check on my blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It has become a ritual of sorts. But the first thing invariably asked is, "Open your mouth." She, or a nurse, checks out my mouth and especially my throat. Likewise, God does that with mankind. He looks at our throats and tells us that our throats are just like open graves. Ever smell rotten, decaying human flesh? It is disgusting! It will turn your stomach. That is how we look to God! He says that we smell like an open grave. What comes out of our mouths most of the time is corrupt, foul, filled with death. Stop and think about it. Most of what you say is uplifting, edifying, and builds people's esteem up? Or does it serve you, get even with competitors? Do you hurt others emotions by what you say and the way in which you say it? Open grave, rotten unto death.
"With their tongues they have used deceit" is number two diagnosis. What does the doctor ask after the first question? "Stick out your tongue." Our Great Physician says to the human family, "Stick out your tongues!" Oh, look at that! You have been using deceit. Not only that, I can see the "poison of asps under your lips!" What a descriptive picture of how we use words each day. The tongue is the littlest member of the body and yet it can set the entire world on fire. Wars have been started because of what has been said between kings. Insults lead to conflicts.
Which is more dangerous, a rattlesnake or a person? The snake has poison that can physically kill, true. But the snake cannot kill anyone's reputation. But you and I have a tongue that we can use to ruin the reputation of someone else. You can completely ruin the good reputation of some woman. Or of some fair man. Some of the most vicious things going on within congregations of Christians is gossip. These people usually are the so-called spiritual crowd within these congregations. In reality they are spiritual snobs. They use their tongues to spread deceit, and then the poison under their lips does its dirty work in ruining lives of good people.
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness(3:14).
Here is the fourth thing from the Great Physician about us. Our mouths are full of cursing, deceit, and fraud; under our tongues is mischief and vanity. We are prone to curse. Before I accepted Christ my speech contained cursewords every third or fourth word whenever I was away from my family. It was bad. If you listen closely to people today you will pick up on how frequently curses enter into their speech. Especially when they become agitated over anything. It does not matter whether you are an english professor or a post hole digger. Pastor McGee proved this point one time by asking a man who disagreed with this verse to go outside with him to the street. Mr. McGee said to him, "Let's test this verse. You and I will walk out here to the corner, and the first man who comes by, you punch him in the mouth and we will see what comes out of his mouth." Needless to say, this verse won out.
That is all for today, beloved. We all need to closely monitor what comes out of our mouths. We need to rein in our tongues, for that part of our bodies can thoroughly destroy us, and our Christian testimony before others. People who curse sometimes feel that they have nothing to fear from God, that there will be no consequences to their actions. They forget that there are always consequences to our actions, cause and effect rules this creation that we live in. I see this in the lives of my grandchildren. One speaks rudely to their cousin in the morning and later in the day, perhaps on the way home from school, the cousin gets even for the morning's events. The "offended" person gets revenge. Cause and effect. I have seen it too many times to count. Next time I will cover the next six verses or so. We all will get to witness how man desparately resorts to running back to the Mosaic Law for an alibi. Until then, do what Paul said he strived to do himself; get control over your body and keep it under you at all times. Do not let yourself be ruled by your body parts, govern over your body and have it do what you really want to do.
Sun, Jun 1st - 4:26PM
STUDY IN ROMANS
And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, as some suggest that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just(3:8).
Paul is driving his argument to a logical conclusion. It is called an argumentum ad absurdum. If sin magnifies the glory of God, then the more sin the more glory. Some had obviously accused Paul of teaching this absurdity. It was a ridiculous claim, for it was Paul who insisted that God must judge sin. Sin brings judgment. This sort of claim is at the root of the old saw, "the end justifies the means."
Now we approach a section where we see the accusation of "guilty" by God against mankind. Paul concludes this section by bringing mankind up before the Judge of all the earth. God makes the accusation against all mankind---black and white, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, male and female. It makes no difference who we are; we belong to the human race and we stand guilty before God. Paul then is going to take us to God's spiritual clinic, and the Great Physician is going to examine us. We are to see that fourteen different charges will be made; six of them are before the Judge, and the other eight are before the Great Physician. God does not just say to us that we are sick, He says that we are sick nearly to death. I would go so far as to say that we all are dead men walking until we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin(3:9).
Paul isn't so much trying to prove that man is a sinner as much as he is showing that God judges sin. He believes God and assumes that all men are sinners for it is amply evident in their actions. Paul is stating that which is very, very obvious even today. He states here that no one is "better" than any other in the case of sin.
What does it mean to be "under sin?" Man is a sinner four different ways. (1) Man is a sinner by act. (2) Man is a sinner by nature. Sinning does not make us sinners, we sin because we are sinners. (3) Man is a sinner by imputation, or by attribution. This is seen later in this book of Romans. (4) The estate of man is under sin. This is the entire family of humanity. Now for the first charge:
As it is written, There are none who are righteous, no, not one(3:10).
This is a rendering of Psalm 14:1 where David makes the positive statement that "none...do good." "Doing good" and righteousness are the same thing. Of course, the argument then becomes what defines "doing good?"
What does "righteous" mean? It means to be right. Right with whom? We all are to be right with God, rather than being right with our fellowman. When we have differences with our friends, we may or may not be to blame, but we have to reach some sort of compromise with them. But it does not operate the same way with God. If we are going to be right with God we have to play by His rules. In reality, we can't play games with God at all. His salvation is a take it or leave it proposition. God forces no one to take His salvation offer. You do not have to be saved. You can choose to turn it down. In essence God says to each of us, "This is My universe. You're living on My little planet, using My sunshine and My water and My air, and I have worked out a plan of salvation that is true to My character and My nature. My plan and My program is the one that's going to be carried out. You're a sinner, and I want to save you because I love you. Now here it is. Take it or leave it." That is what He is saying to each of us today. I have accepted it, how about you? To be right with God means accepting His plan of salvation, not trying to figure out one of your own devising.
I am not going to make the rules, you aren't going to make the rules either. God has made all of the rules, that is His plan and that is His program. No one is righteous, no one is right with God. No one has done good according to God's standard. So this is the Judge's first charge. Now for the second:
There is none that understands, there us none that seeks after God(3:11).
Are there any who act on the knowledge that they have? Are there any who are the person they truly would like to be? So the second charge laid against mankind is one of a lack of true understanding.
The third charge is "none seek after God." God is not concealed from us today. He is not playing hide and seek with mankind. He has revealed Himself and there is no grounds for claiming ignorance. Not anymore. Acts 17:30 stops all of those arguments dead in their tracks. From the time of Jesus Christ unto today, God is out in the open telling men that they are sinners and that they need to repent, that they need to accept His offer of salvation. The collections of religion all say that man is out seeking God. How false those claims are! Claims are made that in the evolutionary process religion is man's search for God. Is this true? It is not what the Bible teaches. Man hasn't found out very much about God on his own. He hasn't advanced very far in that direction, because he's going the wrong way. Man is going away from God, not towards Him.
That is all for today, my dear friends. Next time I will continue on with the next few charges laid against mankind by God. We wil also begin with some clinical diagnoses. Until then, peace and grace be with you the remainder of the day.
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