Romans – Chapter 13

Responsibilities Toward Those in Authority

Verse 1 – Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

God is sovereign and over human affairs. When we revel against the government, we are really rebelling against God. Paul is not speaking here of going against God’s laws which we never do.

Verse 2 – Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

Those who rise up against the government itself, who seek anarchy and confusion, and who opposes the regular execution of the laws of the land is what Paul is talking about. However, those laws shall not be such as to violate the rights of conscience, or oppose the laws of God.

Think about how blessed we are that live in the USA; how we have a constitution that governs us; voting rights; and choice of religion. If we don’t like the laws, we can change them by whom we elect to be our leaders.

Verse 3 – For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

Paul is speaking in general. It may not be universally true, which we know it’s not, that they are not a terror to good works, for many persecute those for trying to do good, but it is generally true that those who obey the law, have no fear of those in authority, unless the rulers are corrupt.

Verse 4 – For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he who does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Are there people in authority who are unjust and evil, yes, but Paul is talking about obey those who are just in their ruling, and those under them have nothing to fear, if they do what is right.

Verse 5 – Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience sake.

A good citizen yields obedience because it is the will of God and a Christian makes it a part of life to obey the laws of the land.

Verse 6 – For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very things.

Verse 7 – Render therefore to all their due; taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

If those in government and leadership are corrupt, because God appointed them, He will give them what they deserve. Our obligation as Christians is to pay our taxes so the government can run.

Responsible Towards Our Neighbors

Verse 8 – Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Verse 9 – For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment; are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

People who focus on the welfare of others, rarely suffer low self-esteem or depression. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and you won’t be stealing, lying, or committing adultery to your neighbors. Plain and simple. Do good to those in need.

Verse 10 – Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

How easy it is to excuse our indifference to others merely because we have no legal obligation to help them. But Jesus doesn’t leave loopholes in the law of love. When we go that extra mile to help someone, you just might have been what they were praying for.

Verse 11 – And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

All the requirements of the law toward our neighbor may be met by two things; one is by love; the other is by remembering that we are nearer to eternity than we have ever been. This will prompt us to honesty, truth, and peace.

Verse 12 – The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast of the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Verse 13 – Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy.

Verse 14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.

As Christians, we walk in the “light.” We put on the attributes that Christ has commanded for His followers. Self-gratification leads to all kinds of lust to the flesh; envy, strife, lewdness, licentiousness, and drunkenness. We are told to “Awake” and pay attention to what we are doing, because Jesus is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle!

Advertisements

Romans – Chapter 12

Responsibility Towards God

Verse 1 – I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your responsible service.

Paul is talking to all Christians, then, and now. A Christian should dedicate the whole person to God’s honor. We are to be different from non-Christians. We should experience a progressive transformation of life by the renewing of our minds.

Verse 2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Do you see the difference in people who “call” themselves Christians and never open God’s word, let alone never go to church, and those who know God’s word and don’t have to tell you that they are Christian’s because you know it? No one will ever be transformed to prove what is God’s will if they don’t read the Scriptures!

Verse 3 – For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one the measure of faith.

Keep in mind, Paul is talking to Christians, not the lost. Here’s what happens sometimes when a believer starts to get a little Bible knowledge without understanding and think their ways are always right – they become arrogant, thinking they are better than others.

Verse 4 – For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

Verse 5 – so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Just as parts of the body function under the brain, all Christians work together under Christ.

Verse 6 – Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

Verse 7 – or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

Verse 8 – he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberty; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Look at these gifts and understand that these are the characteristics of those who have these gifts. Those who prophesy are often bold and articulate. Those in ministry are faithful and loyal. Teachers are clear thinkers. Those who exhort, encourages and know how to motivate others. Givers are generous and trusting. Leaders are good organizers and managers. Those who show mercy are willing to give their time to help others.

All these gifts are used together to build God’s family. No one person can do them all by their self. We should let our strength in certain gifts, balance the weakness in another. This is why we are called “one body in Christ.”

Verse 9 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Love without hypocrisy – love that is manifested in acts of kindness and deeds of charity, not simply mouthing words. Love will have evidence of treating people with kindness. Abhor – means to hate; to turn from; to avoid. The word evil here has reference to malice, or unkindness, rather to evil in general. Cling to that which is good – gluing, uniting firmly by glue. Christians should be attached to what is good, and not separate or part from it. This does not mean “on occasion,” it means constantly.

Verse 10 – Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

God calls us to go beyond pretense, just being polite. Sincere love requires an effort, giving our time and money to benefit others. And don’t expect anything in return when you help someone. That would be holding it over their head in order to manipulate.

Verse 11 – not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

We should watch our motives when we serve.

Verse 12 – rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Verse 13 – distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Christian hospitality focuses on the guests. Their needs, whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or concern – are the primary concern. Christian hospitality can happen in a messy home, around a dinner table without fancy food. It can even happen while doing chores together. Unlike social entertaining’s where everything is perfect.

Verse 14 – Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (mock)

Verse 15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Verse 16 – Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Verse 17 – Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

Verse 18 – If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Verse 19 – Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Verse 20 – “Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.

What Paul commands sounds impossible for Christians to do. Some relationships will never be mended. However, as we were given grace and forgiveness, we do the same for others, because we received the same from God when we didn’t deserve it. Paul says that by being kind to those that have despised us will cause them to become ashamed and turn from sin. This does not always happen though, often it causes that person to just continue taking advantage of the one who is supposed to forgive.

Verse 21 – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

 

 

 

Romans – Chapter 11

Verse 1 – I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am a Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Paul points out that not all Jews have rejected God’s message of salvation. There is still a faithful remnant. Paul himself, and all of Jesus’ disciples were Jews and nearly all the early Christian missionaries.

Verse 2 – God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel saying,

Verse 3 – “LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.”

Verse 4 – But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

Elijah supposed he was alone, and yet God let him know that there were seven thousand who were the true friends of God, still alive. Paul was proving to them that even when the Jews seemed to all reject God, there was a remnant of true followers. This is a fascinating story of how the prophets of Baal were destroyed. God showed up and Elijah was proven to be the true prophet of God (1 Kings, chapter 19).

Verse 5 – Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Paul refers here to that part of the Jewish nation which embraced the Messiah.

Verse 6 – And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Too many think because of the way they have been taught by leaders and other Christians that, we are saved by grace and works. It is by grace alone! Good works are the result of being saved.

Verse 7 – What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were hardened.

Meaning: The Jews that sought to obtain salvation through the works of the Law have been rejected. They sought God’s favor by their own merit, which was impossible to obtain. However, the elect, the reserved, the chosen, have obtained grace through faith in the Savior Jesus Christ.

Verse 8 – Just as it is written: “God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.”

At the end of verse seven, it says, “and the rest were hardened.” Unbelief causes a hardening of the heart against God. They more or less had eyes that wouldn’t accept the transformation that takes place when one is saved, and they had closed their ears to the gospel. (A spirit of stupor is, “not awake,” sleeping, no understanding.)

Verse 9 – And David says: “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense to them;

Verse 10 – Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see and bow down their backs always.”

The petition is: That while they were seeking refreshment and joy, and anticipating while at the table no danger , it might just be their ruin. Their temporal enjoyments would lead them away from God, and produce stupidity and indifference to their spiritual interests. This is often the result of seeking sinful pleasures.

Verse 11 – I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

The Jews stumbling had a purpose – to bring salvation to the Gentiles. Salvation to the Gentiles will eventually provoke the Jews to envy.

Verse 12 – Now if their fall is riches of the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

If the Jews unbelief brought riches to the Gentiles, their future faith in Jesus the Messiah will enrich the world.

Verse 13 – For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,

Verse 14 – if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.

Should we not as Christians, provoke the lost to want this blessed life? Would others that don’t know Jesus want to know Him by watching our lives? Do others see the hand of God on our lives in order to draw them to Him? The lost constantly watch our behavior and they watch how we respond to hardships and to others. We all need to ask ourselves this question: Does my attitude and behavior make others jealous of my relationship with the Savior? If not, change it!

Verse 15 – For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Paul refers to the recovery of the nations from the death of sin which shall take place when the Jews shall be converted to Christian faith.

Verse 16 – For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Verse 17 – And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them become a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,

Verse 18 – do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

Paul is speaking to the Gentile Christians. Paul warns them not to boast because God rejected some of the Jews. Abraham’s faith is like the root of a productive tree, and the Jews are the tree’s natural branches. Because of faithlessness, the Jews were the broken branches. Gentiles believers have been grafted in. Jews and Gentiles share the tree’s nourishment based on faith in God.

Spiritual pride has no place in salvation by grace.

Verse 19 – You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”

Verse 20 – Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.

Paul plainly tells the Gentile Christians not to get arrogant because of their position. Fear does not mean terror or horror, but it denotes humility, to abide in faith.

Verse 21 – For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

Verse 22 – Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God; on those who fell severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you will also be cut off.

Did you catch the little word “if?” Unbelief and disobedience were the reasons for the Jews to be rejected. Will God not treat the Gentiles the same?

Verse 23 – And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

When the Jews believe in the Messiah, they will once again be grafted in and become part of the main tree.

Verse 24 – For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more will these, who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

Both Jews and Gentiles have to be born-again. The Gentiles, non-Jew, are grafted into the olive tree, Israel, God’s chosen, when they are born-again. The Jews were part of the original olive tree, but with their unbelief of the Messiah, they were cut off. However, God is able to graft them in again when they believe.

Promise of Israel’s Restoration

Verse 25 – For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

A mystery means that this was concealed or hidden until now. Being wise in their own opinion – trying to reason why God had rejected the Jews in their own speculation. “In part” – they are not completely blinded –  not all the nation was blinded, some were enlighten and had become Christians, and many more would be.

The word “fullness” in relation to the Jews in Romans 11:12, means until the abundance of the great multitude of the Gentiles shall be converted. This doubtless refers to the spread of the gospel among the nations.

Verse 26 – And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:”The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

Verse 27 – for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

The word “all” in verse 26 means what it says, “all.” Some like to argue that these verses do not mean that every individual Jew will  be saved, but the Scripture says “all.” We don’t know when, but there is coming a time when all of Israel will realize that Jesus Christ is the Deliverer that the Scriptures spoke of, and will believe on God’s Son. Argue if you will, but the word all still means all of Israel.

Verse 28 – Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

Verse 29 – For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

The enemies of God denote all who are not His friends; Colossians 1:21, Romans 5:10. The word here is applied to the Jews because they had rejected the Messiah, and had become opposed to God. By the Jews rejecting the Messiah, the gospel had come to the Gentiles. God still has purpose of mercy toward them and still intends to do good to them. This does not mean that He approved of their conduct.

For the gifts and calling – favors or benefits which God bestows on men He will not take back.

Verse 30 – For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,

Verse 31 – even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.

Paul is talking to the Gentiles and tells them, through the disobedience of the Jews, mercy came to them, but because they received mercy, the Jews could also obtain mercy.

Verse 32 – For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

Israel’s Restoration

Verse 33 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Verse 34 – “For who has know the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?”

Verse 35 – “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to Him?”

Verse 36 – For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

God governs the universe and our lives with wisdom and judgment beyond our comprehension. God alone is the possessor of absolute power and wisdom. Who are we to question His plans?

 

 

 

 

Romans – Chapter 10

Verse 1 – Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

The expression seems intended particularly for the Jews. His earnest and sincere desire was for all of Israel to be saved.

Verse 2 – For I hear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

Verse 3 – For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

Both Jews and Gentiles that are confident in their own righteousness, Paul says, are ignorant without knowledge. They are as lost as they can be. The greatest obstacle to salvation is a self-righteous sinner.

Verse 4 – For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Verse 5 – For Moses writes about the “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

Christ is the end of the Law in being both its fulfillment and its termination. Any system based on performance is excluded. If a person chose to live by the Law to gain righteousness, they had to do so perfectly.

Verse 6 – But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)

Verse 7 – or, ” ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ”

I always thought these two verse meant not to say, “Well, I think they went to heaven and another went to hell.” That’s not what Paul was talking about at all. He’s simply saying one doesn’t have to go to heaven to have access to Christ. One only needs to believe in their heart to make Christ accessible and that is the righteousness of faith.

Verse 8 – But what does it say? “The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart,” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Verse 9 – that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Verse 10 – For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

Paul hasn’t changed the subject of understanding salvation, he is telling them its a matter of believing and confessing. With the mouth a person confesses that God raised Jesus from the dead and believes in the heart Jesus is who He says He is and thou shall be saved! By faith we confess!

Verse 11 – For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Verse 12 – For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Verse 13 – For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

We call on Him with a repentant heart, a humble sense of our sinfulness and our need of a pardon, and with a willingness to receive eternal life as it is offered us in the gospel. And as this passage teaches, all may be saved who will do it. He will cast none away who comes in this manner. This invitation extends to all nations and to all people of all times.

Verse 14 – How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

Verse 15 – And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who brings glad tidings of good things!”

To preach means to proclaim in a public manner, the gospel to people. They are sent, divinely commissioned, and sent forth by God. Being a preacher is a special calling on one’s life. To preach the Good News of the gospel proclaiming reconciliation with God by the gospel.

Verse 16 – But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Israel says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”

That is, Isaiah complains that his declarations respecting the Messiah had been rejected by his countrymen.

Verse 17 – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

This does not mean that all that hear will believe, but that faith cannot come without the gospel message. People are converted by the gospel of grace when they hear it and how can they hear it unless a preacher be sent?

Verse 18 – But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

Verse 19 – But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says:  “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will anger you by a foolish nation.”

Verse 20 – But Isaiah is very bold and says:  “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask Me.’

Verse 21 – But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.

The gospel message was preached throughout the Roman Empire. The Jews listened and simply did not believe. Even knowing the Old Testament prophets, they didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah when He came. The Gentiles heard this too, and many believed Paul’s citations and this shows that the Gentile conversion was predicted in the Old Testament.

There are too many preachers and churches in the world today for a person not to have heard the gospel. It’s available all across the world. It is the individuals responsibility to respond.

 

Romans – Chapter 9

Paul’s Sorrow

Verse 1 – I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,

Verse 2 – that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.

Verse 3 – For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

Verse 4 – who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving law, the service of God, and the promises;

Paul insisted that he felt intense sorrow and continual anguish over the Jewish unbelief and would willingly forsake his own salvation if it could save his brethren, his own flesh and blood. How many of us are willing to sacrifice time, money, and efforts, to see the lost saved?

Verse 5 – of whom are the fathers and from whom according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God, Amen.

God’s Sovereignty

Verse 6 – But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,

Not all the descendants of Jacob have the true spirit of Israelites. It was a basic misunderstanding of the Old Testament promises to think that all who were in the nation of Israel were guaranteed to receive God’s spiritual blessings. Paul provides examples in the following verses.

Verse 7 – nor are they all children because they are seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”

Verse 8 – That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

This statement was in opposition to one of the most settled and deeply cherished opinions of the Jews. They supposed that the mere fact of being a Jew, entitled a man to the blessing of the covenant, and to be regarded as a child of God. But Paul shows them that just because they were natural descendants, they were not automatically entitled to these blessings.

Verse 9 – For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

Verse 10 – And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac,

verse 11 – (for the children not yet born, nor having done any good or evil, that they purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),

Verse 12 – it was said of her, “The older shall serve the younger.”

Rebecca had twins, but God’s choice of the younger twin, before their birth, indicated again that God’s blessing are His to hand out and that they are not an automatic birthright.

Verse 13 – As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Jacob, the Israelites, and Esau, the Edomites, both nations were punished for their sins, about only one received grace. God has shown affection for Israel and bestowed privileges and blessings, as proof of Him preferring Jacob to Esau. This is explained in Malachi 1:3.

Verse 14 – What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!

Verse 15 – For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”

God is sovereign and doesn’t have to give an account on why He has mercy and compassionate to some and not to others. Think about this: Do we not show mercy and compassion on those we choose to do so? Do we help some and not others?

Verse 16 – So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

Verse 17 – For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “Even for this same purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be declared in all the earth.”

God raised Pharaoh as ruler of Egypt and used him as a foil to reveal His name, Yahweh, and His power, so the One true God would be known. Pharaoh believed that he was Ra the sun-god.

Verse 18 – Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

Meaning, a sinner will be left to their own course, and to place them in circumstances where their character will be more pronounced.

Verse 19 – You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”

Will the one who contends with Almighty correct Him? Do we question why God does certain things for others and not for us? Some do. Who are we to question or correct God?

Verse 20 – But indeed O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

What right or authority do we have, being the creation, to ask our Creator what or why He does anything?”

Verse 21 – Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lumps to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Paul is not saying that some of us are worth more than others, but that the Creator has control over the created. Some are called to a higher calling. He sees the determination and intents of the heart.

Verse 22 – What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

Verse 23 – and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

Verse 24 – even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

These verses prove that Gentiles might be called as well as Jews. Two things are established here, (1) that the grace of God was not confined to the Jewish people; (2) and that God was not bound to confer grace on all the descendants of Abraham, as He bestowed it on those selected from the mass according to his own will, and not of necessity on the mass itself.

Verse 25 – As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.”

Verse  26 – “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they will be called sons of the living God.”

About seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth, Hosea told of God’s intention to restore His people. Paul applies Hosea’s message also to God’s intention to bring Gentiles into His family after the Jews rejected His plan.

Verse 27 – Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved.

Verse 28 – For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”

Verse 29 – And as Isaiah said before; “Unless the LORD of the Sabbath had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

God has the right to show His mercy on whom He chooses. If not for saving a remnant of the Jews, they would have been destroyed long ago. Wherever Paul preached there was only a small amount of Jews that accepted Christ as the Messiah.

Verse 30 – What shall we say then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness, having attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;

Verse 31 – but Israel, pursuing the law, of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.

Verse 32 – Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.

The Gentiles, who were not seeking righteousness, were granted it by grace through faith. But Israel missed it by seeking righteousness through the Law and by their works.

Verse 33 – As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

People are still like what Paul was talking about today. They think they can gain God’s blessings and favor through good works. Those who think this, “Don’t read their Bible.” Because if they did read God’s word they would know that the only way to God is faith in Jesus Christ. The good works come after salvation, not to earn God’s favor, but because we are His children and it becomes a part of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romans – Chapter 8

The spirit Delivers from the Power of he Flesh

Verse 1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

People like to quote this verse because it seems to free them from all guilt of sin. However, I never hear anyone quote the entire verse which is, “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

This verse implies that there was condemnation under the Law, and would be still but for the intervention of the gospel. No, condemnation does not mean that sin in believers is not to be condemned, for the contrary is taught everywhere in Scripture.

It means to pardon; set the soul at liberty. The design of Paul is not so much to assert the different functions of the Law and the gospel, as simply to state the fact in regard to a certain class of people, “to those in Christ.” This is deliverance from the curse of the Law.

It is pertaining to those who walk by the spirit: Galatians 5:22, 23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Verse 23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. If a person has these fruits of the Spirit, they are a Christian, if not, they are a stranger to Him.

Verse 2 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

The Holy spirit living in every Christian, the power to live free from sin.

Verse 3 – For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,

Verse 4 – that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The believer’s freedom comes from Jesus, a once for all time sacrifice, sin offering, fulfilling the law’s demands in His life and death.

Verse 5 – For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Those who walk by the flesh have not had their minds renewed. They are devoted to the gratification of their corrupt desires. The outcome for these two walks, flesh and Spirit, are either death or life.

Verse 6 – For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Nothing but strife and misery will come when someone is carnally minded. Everything is decided on “What I feel,” emotions. “I want,” “I feel like,” or lustful desires. It is always about what is “for themselves,” guilt and condemnation will follow.

Verse 7 – Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

You cannot be a carnal Christian! That is an oxymoron. When someone is not submitted to God and does not choose to do His will, then they are as lost as a ball in high weeds. This verse is very plain, so don’t act as mean as a snake and try to tell me you are a Christian!

When a person comes to believe in Christ, they begin to “renew” their mind, and then their desires and their wanting’s change to what God wants and desires for them. You cannot stay in rebellion against the laws of God and still call yourself Christ-like.

Verse 8 – So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

They are engaged in hostility against God; and if they do not repent and forsake it, it will result in an eternity without the Lord Almighty.

Verse 9 – But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

The Spirit’s presence is the mark of Christ’s ownership. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “There has to be a transformation, and that’s not a little emotional crying that took place somewhere, sometime.” There will be evidence of a changed life!

Verse 10 – And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

The body and the flesh, will no longer rule in our mortal bodies, dead to sin.

Verse 11 – But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

The spirit Gives Sonship

Verse 12 – Therefore, brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

Verse 13 – For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Live by corrupt inclinations and passions, which are called deeds of the flesh, and you will die an eternal death. However, if your sins are put to death through the blood of Christ and the dwelling of the Holy spirit, you will be saved.

Verse 14 – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Those who are filled and led by the Spirit are given “Adoption!” One who yields and submits to the Holy spirit’s influence, those are the sons of God.

Verse 15 – For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Verse 16 – The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Verse 17 – and if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may be glorified together.

In many parts of he world today, Christians face just as much persecution as they did in Paul’s day. Nothing, however compares to the suffering that Christ had.

Verse 18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be received in us.

Verse 19 – For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

The afflictions, sickness, persecutions, and hardships are nothing in this life when compared to an eternity with Christ. As Christians, we have a great expectation of our inheritance throughout all eternity with Christ.

Verse 20 – For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;

Verse 21 – because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Sin has caused all creation to fall from the perfect state in which God created it. However, it is the purpose of God that deliverance shall be granted. The hope is, that this renewed person shall be delivered from all toils and cares of this life.

Verse 22 – For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Verse 23 – And not only they, but we also who have the firstfuits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body,

Verse 24 – for we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees?

We will be resurrected with glorified bodies. We have the “firstfuits,” the first installment or down payment of the Holy Spirit, as a guarantee of our resurrected life.

Verse 25 – But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

As Christians, we look forward to Christ’s return. In the meantime, we keep believing and doing what we know is right, striving to keep that hope of His return.

Verse 26 – Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weakness. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

In our weaknesses we have the help of the Spirit. Jesus is our intercessor in heaven and the Spirit is our intercessor on earth within our hearts. The Spirit’s requests are always according the will of God and are always answered.

Verse 27 – Now He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Verse 28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Notice this promise is not for everyone. It can only be claimed by those who are the called, and according to His purpose. Those who are “called” are those the Holy Spirit convinces and enables to receive Christ. Not everything is good in and of itself, but God uses everything for our good, for those who love Him.

Verse 29 – For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Verse 30 – Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called, whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

You and I were never an afterthought! Predestine means that God planned from eternity that those whom He foreknew would become like Christ through spiritual rebirth. Called is the way in which God opens the heart so we can hear His voice. This is a sovereign summons that draws the sinner from death to life.

Justified is God’s act of declaration that we are right in His sight because Jesus paid the penalty for sin. We then receive Jesus’ righteousness. Glorified is the final stage of our salvation. Notice that our future glorification is so certain that it is spoken of in the past tense.

Verse 31 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Sinners may be against us, and so may the great enemy of our souls, but their power to destroy us is taken away. God is more mighty than any foes the Christian might have against them.

Verse 32 – He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

God’s first great gift to us was Jesus. It is not by money or merit, but it is by the mere mercy of God that He gives His sons and daughter all things.

Verse 33 – Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Verse 34 – Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Who is he that condemns? Who shall pass sentence of condemnation? The function of passing sentence of condemnation on people shall pertain to Christ, the judge of the quick and the dead, and the apostle proceeds to say that it was certain that He would not condemn the elect of God. They are therefore secure.

Verse 35 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Verse 36 – As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Paul simply states that anything we might go through in this life as a Christian, is not strong enough to separate us form the love of God!

Verse 37 – Yet in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

That is one of the most profound statements in this chapter. Paul writes, “In all things.” To many times I hear Christians complaining about what everyone else is stopping them from accomplishing. They are weak in knowing what God has already written about them. We are not failures in this Christian life. The only reason a Christian will be defeated is when they don’t know who they are in Christ!

Verse 38 – For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

Verse 39 – nor height, nor depth, nor any other created things, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Before we became born-again what separated us from the Father was sin. Paul makes it very clear, once a born-again believer belongs to God through Jesus Christ, “Nothing can separate us from His love!”

This is another reason it is imperative that you read Scripture for yourself! We are not joined one day with Christ and then separated the next. If we sin, we repent, and move forward, but God still loves you!!!!!

 

 

 

Romans – Chapter 7

The main design of this chapter is to show the insufficiency of the Law to produce peace of mind to troubled sinner. Paul showed in the previous chapters that the Law was incapable of producing justification.

Verse 1 – Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

Verse 2 – For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.

Paul uses marriage to illustrate our relationship to the law. When a spouse dies, the law of marriage no longer applies. Because we have died with Christ, the law can no longer condemn us. We now serve and are obedient because a changed heart and mind that overflows with love, will love what God loves.

Verse 3 – So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

Verse 4 – Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

When a person dies to that old life and belongs to Christ, a new life begins. Believers find that their whole way of looking at the world changes when they have their eyes opened. Far too many Christians try to hang onto that old way of life and soon find themselves slipping backwards. Before long their lives become a yo-yo, up and down, with all kinds of turmoil. Maybe they were never fully committed.

Verse 5 – For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

This verse and the following verse, is designed to show the effect of the Law, whenever and wherever applied. It’s always agitation and conflict in the mind. Trying to keep the whole Law is frustrating, because it can’t be done perfectly. The only hope of release in deliverance is the sanctifying power of the gospel.

Verse 6 – But now we have been delivered from the law having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

There are some who think by going to church and keeping the Ten Commandments and doing good deeds, they earn God’s approval. But in reality, all their efforts cause frustration and discouragement, because we all fail and can’t be perfect in all areas. However, when we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit will turn your focus off of your performance and turn it toward Jesus. He will free us to serve Him out of gratitude and love.

Law Cannot Deliver From Sin

Verse 7 – What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

The Law in itself was not evil or sinful. It’s function was to reveal sin. We wouldn’t have known not to want what another has, unless a law had been written.

Verse 8 – But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

Verse 9 – I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.

Paul no doubt is referring to his past experience. Yet in this he speaks of all who are unconverted, and who are depending on their own righteousness.

Verse 10 – And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.

Verse 11 – For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.

Verse 12 – Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Sin deceives people by misusing the law. The serpent deceived Eve by taking away her focus from the freedom she had to the restriction God had made about the Tree of Life. If we look at things the way God looks at them, we will understand that God only restricts us from actions and attitudes that ultimately will harm us.

Verse 13 – Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what was good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Verse 14 – For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

When we struggle with sin on our own, making decisions according to the flesh and emotions, we will become a slave to sin. We can’t combat sin without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 15 – For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Coming to faith in Jesus Christ takes but a moment. But learning to be Christ-like, is a life-long process. Most of our struggles will come from within. We must never underestimate the power of sin.

James 4:7 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. The problem most Christians have with resisting the temptations from the devil, is that they won’t submit to God! They continue to make excuses for their actions by believing they can resist all on their own.We can’t overcome anything without God’s Holy Spirit and by submitting to Him!

Verse 16 – If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

Verse 17 – But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Verse 18 – For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

In our flesh there dwelleth no good thing. Even after conversion, the only part of us that is holy is our new Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit living in each believer. We still have fleshly desires, attitudes, and behaviors that are sinful. The difference now though, is the Holy Spirit helps us by correction, to clean our mess up.

Verse 19 – For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Verse 20 – Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Even though sin dwells in all of us, we are still responsible for our actions!

Verse 21 – I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

Verse 22 – For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

Verse 23 – But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Verse 24 – O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Verse 25 – I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

The believer recognizes that in his mind he wants to serve God’s law since it is holy, just, good, and spiritual, but at the same time his fallen nature is in service of this alien power – sin.