Thursday, October 12, 2017

Romans 3

Romans 3:1-18 – God’s Faithfulness

Paul says, what is the advantage in being a Jew?  There is much in every way.  They have been entrusted with the very word of God.  What if some did not have faith?  Is God unjust in bringing His wrath on us?  Is God just in bringing His wrath on us?  He judges the world.  If my falsehoods enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases His glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?  Some might say let us do evil that good may result.  No one is righteous.  Jews are no better than Gentiles.  They are all under sin. “There is no one righteous, not even one.”Rom. 3:10.  All have turned away and have together become worthless.  There is no one who does good, not even one.  (Rom. 3:1-18)

Paul raises several questions that his Jewish critics would have probably have asked of him.  He responds that the Jews had many advantages.  After all, they have God’s Word and are His people.   They were honored by God.  They were entrusted with His message.  They are God’s chosen people so they have a big responsibility.  They should be the example for others to live by.  But the Jews didn’t obey God’s covenant and were not loyal to Him.  God’s Words are true even though people lie, but they thought God was unfair.  God is never unfair.  That is not His nature.

Christians today also have advantages and a huge responsibility.  We have God’s Word.  Without it we would be left with no answers.  What can we ever possess greater than the Scriptures?

How are you using the advantage of His Word?
Do you take it for granted?

The Jews didn’t realize that God’s judgment was on them, too.  God’s judgment was for them as well as the Gentiles.  We are all like a slave, because of the power that sin has over us.  Paul is saying that they can raise all the objections against God that they want, but they will lose and God will win.  They will be held more accountable under His righteous condemnation.

If you grew up in a Christian home, that is a privilege.  You were taught about God and His ways.  You went to church every Sunday.  You read your Bible.  But if you have not responded with faith in Jesus or repented of your sins, you will not be saved.  You will be held more accountable to God on judgment day.

Principle:  Spiritual privileges don’t give you any advantages with God, but increase your accountability. 

Like Paul’s message in this chapter, there are things in the Bible that are very hard to understand.  You can be a critic like these Jews demanding answers and argue with God or you can ask Him to give you more understanding and accept it on faith.

When have you argued with God?

Romans 3:19-20 – God's Law

The whole world is accountable to God.  No one will be declared righteous by observing the Law, rather through the law we become conscious of sin.  (Rom. 3:19-20)

What is the Law Paul is talking about?  It is the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17).  They are summed up in, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself.”Matt. 22:37-40. 

Maybe you think you live by the Ten Commandments, but can you even name them all?  Which one of God’s laws have you broken?  Have you ever fudged on your taxes?  That’s stealing.  Have you ever stretched the truth?  That’s lying.  Have you ever been angry with someone or gossiped?  That’s a form of murder.  No one is made righteous by observing the Law.  God gave the Law to reveal His standard of righteousness to live by.  Its purpose is to show us our sins and proves that everyone is guilty.  The Law makes us accountable to God.  Obeying the Law does not save you.  If you have broken one of God’s laws, you are guilty of breaking them all.

It is very clear.  The human race is guilty before God and the only way to be free from guilt and God’s wrath is to be justified before God by faith in Jesus.  No one can be saved by anything they can do.  God gave us the solution to sin and it was Jesus.  The only way is to have faith and belief in Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sin.

Principle:  Keeping the Law does not save us, but makes us all accountable to God.

Romans 3:21-31 – God's Righteousness 

But now there is a righteousness from God that has been made known, to which the law and the prophets testify.  This righteousness comes through Jesus Christ to all who believe.  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Rom. 3:23-24.  God presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood.  He did this to demonstrate justice.   Boasting in observing the law is excluded.  Man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.  God is the God of the Jews and the Gentiles. (Rom. 3:21-31).

“Righteous” means to be free from quilt or sin.  You are morally right or justified.  Now that we are condemned as sinners, how can we be made right?  We all can be made right with God through His free grace by trusting in Jesus, because of His sacrifice on the cross.  His death on the cross justified us to God.  Justify means we are declared righteous.  It’s a free gift given to us by His grace.  Grace is God’s favor shown to those who deserved His wrath.  It’s unmerited favor.  It’s a gift that no one deserves.  If you deserve it, it’s not grace.

“Justification” means you are declared innocent or acquitted.  That is done only through Jesus’ blood.  He was the last sacrificed needed.  He freed us from the guilt and the penalty of our sin.  We are now acceptable to God.

Why do you think God sacrificed His own Son?
How do you express His great love?

“Redemption” means to buy something back or to release someone with a payment of a ransom.  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”Mark 10:45.  Through Jesus’ death He paid our ransom and we were redeemed. 

“Atonement” means to be reconciled with God through the sacrificial death of Jesus.  His death for our sins satisfied and made amends with God.  All our wrongs are paid in full.  Another word for atonement is “propitiation”, which means turning the wrath of God aside.

“Apart from the law” doesn’t mean the law has no value.  The law was given to point to and show us the need for Jesus.  To be saved is not through any human actions, but through belief and faith in Jesus.  The law makes us conscious of sin.

“No one can boast” means no one deserves to be righteous.  We don’t earn peace with God by our own good actions.  That’s pride.  We become righteous only when we accept God’s gift of Jesus.  There is only one God and faith is the same for everyone.  We are justified by our faith in Him alone.

Since I mentioned pride, let’s talk about it.  Pride was the very first sin.  Pride made Satan want to be like God.  Pride was the sin of Eve and Adam.  Pride of religion is the worst kind of pride.  Remember the Pharisee who boasted and thanked God that he was not like other men - robbers, evildoers, adulterers or the tax collector?  He boasted that he fasted twice a week and gave a tenth of his money.  He was seeking human approval and demanded approval from God.  His pride kept him from being justified by God.

People today boast about the good deeds they do, how many committees they’re on, how much money they give to the church and charities, how often they attend church, and their position in the church just to name a few.  When you brag about your righteousness and look down on others, you become proud, arrogant, and self-righteous.  You are just like the Jews in Paul’s time.  To guard yourself against self-righteousness do things for God in secret.  Ask God to help you not be self-righteous.  Be humble and give God the credit not yourself.

Where is there pride in your life?
What areas in your life do you tend to be self-righteous?
Do you give honor and glory to God or do take the credit for yourself?

Principle:  The only way we can become righteous is through faith in Jesus Christ.

“Faith” is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1).  Faith begins with knowledge of the truth, then belief, and then trust and commitment to God.  Remember even demons have knowledge of God and believe who He is, but they don’t yield themselves or trust in His promises.  He is their enemy not their Savior.

If you have confessed faith in Jesus, know you are saved and will have eternal life with God.  He has given you the gift of grace.  Nothing you have earned or deserved can do this.  God created you and has redeemed you.  As you grow as a follower, you love what He loves and want what He wants and want others to know Him.

Who in your life is God calling you to be a witness?

Next time we will study Romans 4.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.  --  I encourage you to trust in Jesus.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Romans 2

Last time in the Romans 1 we learned because of all of God’s creation humanity is without excuse.  We should not doubt God, the truth, or who He is.  We learned because of men’s wickedness God gave them over to their desires and depraved minds.  They suppress the truth and don’t give Him thanks.  They know what is right, but choose to exchange truth for lies.  This time we will see that God will cut through our excuses and the truth about our stubborn unbelief will come out. 

Romans 2:1-16 – Impartial Judgment

Therefore you have no excuse.  You pass judgment on others and the things you pass judgment on is the exactly the same things you do yourself.  You are condemning yourself.  You know that God’s judgment is based on truth.  When you pass judgment, how can you yourself escape God’s judgment?  You show contempt of the riches of His kindness, His tolerance and patience and don’t realize God’s kindness leads toward repentance. (Rom. 2:1-4)

Are you self-righteous?
Are you prone to judge others?

Principle:  God’s judgment will be according to truth.

Paul is again saying that mankind has no excuse.  His repetition is dramatizing the truth that we as humans can’t seem to admit when we do wrong and are always making excuses.  God will cut through those excuses and the truth about our stubborn unbelief will come out. 

Do you make excuses?
Do you blame other instead of admitting you are in the wrong?

To pass judgment is condemning others for sin when it’s God’s job not ours.  Being self-righteous is a sin we find it hard to see in ourselves.  It tells others that we are good enough in ourselves to qualify for heaven and don’t’ really need a Savior.  A self-righteous person is quick to accuse others and doesn’t want to think about his own sin.  When you condemn other sinners for the same sin you do, on judgment day God’s says you will be without excuse.  It isn’t wrong to judge those in the church who profess to be believers, but are living in sin. (1 Cor. 5:9-13).  Paul is talking about self-righteously judging.  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”Matt. 7:1-2         

I think we are all a little self-righteous.  Maybe we don’t act immorally or practice impurity, but what about how we fill our minds with TV and movies filled with profanity, violence, and sexual immorality?  Sometimes we pick parts of the Bible we like that condemns others and ignore other parts that condemn us.  This makes us hypocrites.

How are you a hypocrite?
Do you pass judgment on your spouse, but fail to look at your own failures?

God is tolerant and patience.  He doesn’t strike us dead instantly when we sin.  If that were the case, we would have been dead long ago.  God is slow to anger and gives us every opportunity to repent so we won’t face His judgment.  Just because He is tolerant, kind, and patient don’t think you will escape His final judgment.  He is all that so you will repent.  He is just giving you more time.

Because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath.  God will give to each one what he has done.  Those persistent in doing good and obeying seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.  Those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, will experience God’s wrath and anger.  There will be trouble and distress for everyone who does evil – Jews and Gentile.  All those who do good will have glory, honor and peace.  God does not show favoritism. (Rom. 2:5-11)

Our biggest problem is unrepentant hearts.  Yes, we are all stubborn to a point.  To repent means to have a change of heart and mind and turn away from sin and turn to God.  It’s being sorry for our sins enough to stop sinning and turn to God.  If you have not come to Jesus and confessed your sins and turned from them, He is waiting for you.  He will forgive you no matter what you’ve done.  Spend time in His Word for guidance as to how to live the way He wants you to live.

What do your actions reveal about your heart attitude toward God?

Paul says that Jews are God’s chosen people, but they don’t get special favors when it comes to judgment.  If fact, they will be first in line.  He will judge everyone according to his deeds.  He will judge everyone impartially.  All will stand before God is judgment.

If you are not a believer, you will see God’s wrath.  There will be trouble and distress for you.  There will be eternal punishment for you.  You will go to hell and that’s not a place where you want to be.  God will judge each person individually and will be impartial. 

If you believe in Jesus, He gives you eternal life.  To have eternal life means after your earthly death, your life will go on forever.  You will be in the very presence of God forever and ever.  Eternal life really begins the moment you come to know God through faith in Jesus.  Paul says eternal life is glory, honor, immorality and peace.

Good works do not earn salvation, but are evidence of salvation.  Genuine saving faith results in a life of good deeds.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Eph. 2:8-10.

If you knew you would stand before God tomorrow, how would you live your life differently today?

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.  Those who obey the law will be declared righteous.  The Gentiles don’t have the law, but do things required by the law.  The requirements of the law are written in their hearts and their consciences, which is defending them.  God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ as the gospel declares. (Rom. 2:12-16)

The Jews relied on the law and bragged about their relationship to God.  They sinned under the law and the Gentiles sinned without the law.  The Gentiles have an inner sense of right and wrong.  They have a conscience.  He is saying that everyone should know it is wrong to mistreat others, to murder, to steal, etc.  No matter who you are there will be judgment of all according to your outward deeds as well as your secrets.

God knows our hidden motives.  He knows all our secrets.  He knows when we outwardly serve Him, but He also knows the lust in our hearts.  He sees everything.  Nothing will escape Him on judgment day.

What are your secrets?
How can you make your conscience more reliable?

The Jews thought they were special, but God is impartial.  Some Christians think they are special and hold themselves with high honor.  God does not show favoritism.  All will be held accountable.  God will judge by the standard of Jesus.  That’s good news.  Jesus knows what it’s like to be a man and He will not punish those who trust and believe in Him.  He has rescued them from sin by His death on the cross.

Principle:  God will impartially judge each person according to his deeds.

Romans 2:17-24 – Hypocrisy

The Jews knew the law and relied on it.  If they know His will and are convinced to be a guide to the Gentiles, then they should teach and as they teach they will also be teaching themselves.  Paul questions them about their attitudes.  Were they teaching it is wrong to steal, commit adultery, rob temples, and dishonor god by breaking the law?  (Rom. 2:17-24).

Knowledge alone is not enough.  God will judge according to what people actually do.
The Jews were privileged people.  They had knowledge about God.  They were God’s chosen people.  They had a special relationship with Him.  They were chosen to serve in His temple.  God gave them the Law to live by.  He protected and provided them for 40 days in the wilderness and throughout history.  He promised them many descendants.  Instead of being grateful they were arrogant, boastful, prideful, self-serving, and even hypocrites.

Are you a teacher in your church?  Do you practice what you preach?  Are you a hypocrite?  Are you setting good examples for your students?  Do you have wrong attitudes?  Do you boast in God, but do not honor Him?  Do you honor yourself instead?  How are you humbled before God?  How are you leading others to worship Him more fervently?  Do you apply His Word to your own life?

Principle:  Hypocrisy dishonors God and damages unbelievers.

Romans 2:25-29 – Ritual VS Reality

Circumcision has value if you observe the law.  If those who are not circumcised keep the law, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?  The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the law and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.  A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly.  A man is a Jew if he is one inwardly and circumcision is of the heart, by the Spirit not the law.  This man’s praise is from men not from God. (Rom. 2:25-29).

The Jews trusted in their religious rituals.  Circumcision was a sign God gave to Abraham to show a covenant between God and Israel.  It symbolized moral purity and separation from the world.  The Jews said the Gentiles needed to receive circumcision.  But with God it is not a matter of outward appearance.  It is a matter of the heart.  Circumcision doesn’t free anyone from sin or make a good relationship with God.  Many people are circumcised, but refuse to obey God.  True circumcision is not a matter of the flesh, but of the heart.

We can substitute baptism or church member for the word circumcision in verses 25-27.  People today use these are outward signs for their relationship with God.  Just because you are baptized or belong to a church doesn’t necessarily mean you are saved.  God looks at the heart, not the outward appearances.

Churches today have rituals like pastors dressed in special robes, infant baptism, lighting a candle for the dead, making a cross sign over their chest, confession to a priest, etc.  There are really only 2 rituals we should observe.  They are baptism and communion.  It’s not about rituals, but about what is in your heart.

What rituals do you practice?

Principle:  True circumcision is a matter of the heart.

Next time we will study Romans 3.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.  --  I encourage you to trust in Jesus.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Romana 1 - Part 2

Romans 1:18-23 – Wicked Dishonoring God

To understand why we need God and His gospel we need to understand His wrath against our sins.  God is angry because some people have chosen to be wicked.  God cannot tolerate sin.  In these verses Paul explains in detail the sinfulness of man.  He is saying that people have sinfully rejected God.  We see His creation, but still reject Him.  We see His wrath through His creation.  We see floods, earthquakes, famine and disease.  There is immorality everywhere which brings on STD’s and Aids.  We see drug addictions, wars and terrorism.  We saw His wrath when He destroyed the world by flood and when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  We even saw it when Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins, which shows that God cannot ignore our sin.

Why do people reject God and His truth?  We want to be in control of our own lives so we dislike God’s sovereignty.  We want to be free to do what we want so we reject God’s holiness.  We want to hide from God because He is intrusive and knows everything we do so we dislike His omniscience.  God is immutable and is unchanging so we dislike Him because He does not bow to our demand.

What sin are you hoping God will ignore?

God has revealed Himself through His creation.  We see His power and divine nature through His invisible qualities.  We see Him throughout our world – the sky, moon, stars, sun, oceans, and all through nature.  Because of all this, Paul says men are without excuse.  Sinners can’t plead ignorance at judgment as an excuse.

Paul says that they knew God, but didn’t glorify Him as God or gave Him thanks.  They think they are wise, but their foolish hearts were darkened.  They worshiped man made images instead of God.

Principle: God reveals Himself through His creation and through His wrath against sin.

Romans 1:24-32 – Wicked Man Abandoned

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather that the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.”Rom. 1:24-25.

When people reject God and do not worship Him, He gives them over to their sin and its consequences.  “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.  Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”Rom. 1:26-27. 

I didn’t say this, God did!  He’s talking about homosexuality here.  Are you listening?  Homosexuality goes against God’s intention in creation.

Some say homosexual are born that way, but there is no evidence to support that claim.  Even if that were so, it is still sin to practice it just as it is for heterosexual lust or drug addiction.  We are responsible before God if we yield to any sin. 

God has a plan for marriage and sex.  Here are some verses on this subject:

Gen. 2:21, 24
Malachi 2:14-15
Matt. 5:28; 19:4-6
Mark 10:6-9
Rom. 7:2
1 Cor. 6:9, 15, 18; 7:39
Eph. 5:3, 31, 33
Gal. 5:19
Heb. 13:4
1 Thess. 4:1-8 

The root of sin is the rejection of the truth of God and the worship of self instead of God.  He gave them over to a depraved mind which is expressed in all sorts of destructive sins.  They dishonored God and never gave Him thanks so their foolish hearts were darkened.

“The truth of God” refers to the truth He has revealed about Himself which is centered in Jesus Christ His Son.  He reveals Himself through His creation and His wrath against sin.  Sinners exchange this truth of God for the lie, which is idolatry.  They worship things other than God.  They think they don’t need God.  They think they are self-sufficient. 

God created everything by speaking it into existence.  He has sovereignty over all people and all things.  Therefore, we need to depend on Him and should be subject to Him.  He is the One True God.

We don’t have to worship and pray to actual statues.  There are many forms of idols.  We can rely on family, investments, and even church in place of God.  Anything we put our hope in other than God is idolatry.  Many things dominate our lives and can become idols.

What idols do you worship?
How will you make God the only One you worship?

“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”Rom. 1:28.

Paul says 3 times, “God gave them over”.  He gave them over to impurity, degrading passions (homosexuality), and depraved minds.  This doesn’t mean God causes people to sin.  They abandoned God so God abandoned them.  He took His hands off their lives and let sin takes its course.  We as a society are no longer shocked at this sin.  We have become desensitized.  Adam and Eve rebelled against God and sin entered the world.   Their actions screamed “leave me alone and let me live my own life”.  So God does.

Paul lists several kinds of wickedness – evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, God-hater, insolent, arrogant, boastful, disobey parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless.  Paul is not talking only about sexual sin, but all sin.  “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Rom. 1:32.  Did you see that?  Even those who approve of those who practice them deserve death.  People have actually come to approve of evil.  Good is evil and evil is good.

When have you gossiped?
Have you ever been envious of someone?
Are you jealous of someone?
Do you hold a grudge?
When have you pursued your own desires with disregard of how it affects others?

I think we can all identify with some of these sins, because we are human and certainly not perfect.  The good news is Jesus came to deliver us from those sins.  “And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor. 6:11.


These verses are almost too horrible to think about, but they make us aware of sin’s horror and then we can really appreciate the gospel.  These verses should cause us to examine our hearts to see if we are truly living for God.  The only solution is the gospel.  It can change our hearts.  We all deserve God’s judgment.  These verses also lead us to the good news that God has provided what we need – Jesus Christ.  His gift is not given if we try really hard, but to those who trust in Him.  We will hear more about this good news in chapter 2.

Have you trusted in Jesus to save you?
Are you applying God’s Word to you daily life so you can overcome sin?

Next time we will study Romans 2.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.  -- I encourage you to trust in Jesus.

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