Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Romans 7 The Law and the Gospel

Romans 7:1-6 – Released from the Law

Paul is speaking to those who know the law.  He tells them that the law has authority of man only as long as he lives.  He uses the example of a married woman being bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if he dies she is released from the law of marriage and can remarry.  But if she remarries while her husband is still alive, she is an adulteress. (Rom. 7:1-3)

Paul says we also died to the law through the body of Christ so we might belong to another, the one who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit to God.
We were controlled by the sinful nature and sinful passions aroused by the law which was at work in our bodies so we bore fruit for death.  But now by dying to what bound us, we have been released from the law so we can serve in the new way of the Spirit.  (Rom. 7:4-6)

Believers have died to sin and the law.  We have been freed from sin and are released from the law.  We now walk in the newness of life and serve in newness of the Spirit.  This victory is tied to our union with Christ in His death and resurrection.  We are release from the law and the power of sin like the woman is released when her husband dies.  We are now joined to the crucified risen Lord.  We are remarried to Christ so we might bear fruit for God.

What area in your life do you need to be widowed from and married to Jesus?

The Jews thought the law was given to make us holy, but Paul says the law served to arouse us to sin.  The law is holy and good.  We are the problem.  Just because we have died to the law doesn’t mean we can live the way we want and do whatever we please.  We died to the law so that we are legally free to be joined to Christ and His authority and as our husband.

The law is not the answer to our sin problem, because all of us have violated the law many times and will continue to do so.  You can post the commandments on your refrigerator and try to keep them by your own strength, but it won’t work.  The law just arouses our sinful passions and will not quench our sinful desires.  Because of the power of Jesus, we are free from the condemnation of the law and the power of sin is broken.

Are you a Christian?  You cannot be partly Christian.  You are either dead or alive, born or not born.  It is not a gradual process.  You are or you are not a Christian.  If you are not a Christian, you are under condemnation of the law.  Put your trust in Christ and then you will be released from the law and joined with Christ.  Then you can bear fruit for God.

Principle:  We are released from sin through Christ to bear fruit for God.

Romans 7:7-13 – The Purpose of the Law

Paul says the law is not sin and that he would have not known what sin was except through the law.  Apart from the law sin is dead.  He uses the example of “do not covet”.  Once he was alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and he died.  The commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.  Sin deceived him and through the commandment put him to death.  The law is holy and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.  In order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in him through what was good so sin might become utterly sinful.  (Rom. 7:7-13)

Paul said the law isn’t sinful and he chose the commandment of “do not covet” as an example.  To want others possessions is a sin.  He didn’t know this until the law was shown to him.  The law is good, but it’s our human nature that seems to want things just because God forbids them.  The law is holy and righteous because God gave it and God is holy and perfect.  God intended the law to help people.  He says the law is good.  It is sin that causes death.

Romans 7:14-25 – The Law and Our Struggles

Paul says he knows the law is spiritual, but he is unspiritual and sold as a slave to sin.  He doesn’t understand what he does.  For what he wants to do he doesn’t do and what he hates he does do.  It is the sin living in him and nothing good lives in him in his sinful nature.  He has the desire to do good, but doesn’t carry it out.  (Rom. 7:14-25)

Paul is speaking of the past in 7-13, before his conversion.  Verses 14-25 is after his conversion.  There is a lot of controversy of whether Paul is speaking of himself or not in these verses.  Some think it was before he was saved.  Some think it was when he was a new believer and some when he was a mature believer. 

Either way I think we can all identify with him.  The Christian life is not easy.  Paul struggled with his own sin conflict with sin.  We all have struggles against sin and we are not perfect.  We will continue in conflict with sin as long as we live in this world.  We have to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide when tempted.  We like Paul should give thanks to God for Jesus who rescued us.

How has Jesus rescued you?
Where do you struggle in your Christian life?

I have been a Christian most of my life and have studied the Bible over the years.  You would think because of this I would feel better about myself, but I’m like Paul and I don’t.  I think it’s because the more I study and experience Him the more He reveals my sins to me.  I want to do what I should, but my sin nature sometimes keeps me from it.  I will never arrive to perfection in this life.  I am constantly learning and growing in my faith.

This is a very difficult passage to understand, but that is not Paul’s main concern.  His concern is not to share his personal experience, but to tell us that God’s law is not evil.  He is trying to show that the law bring conviction of sin and that we are powerless and need Christ’s power to save us.

Principle:  The Christian life is a struggle, but Jesus rescues us.

Next time we will study Romans 8.  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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Monday, November 20, 2017

Romans 6

Romans 6:1-14 – Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

Paul emphasized God’s grace, but some suggested to get more of grace they should do more sinning.  He strongly opposed this idea.  He is saying that sin ended when we became Christians even though we still do wrong things.  We should not let sin control our lives anymore.  We were buried with Him in baptism so we too are raised like Christ to a new life.  Paul says we died to sin and repeats it several times throughout the chapter, because he wants us to really get his message on living a godly life.  We are rescued from sin’s power.  We still sin, because we are not perfect, but sin doesn’t control us.   (Rom. 6:1-4)

Principle:  Christians died to sin and were buried with Him in baptism to live a new life. 

The word “died” refers to past action.  We are not “dying to sin” nor are we “continuing to die”.  We are “dead to sin”, when we believe in Jesus.  Christians no longer respond to sin.  Christians are dead to sin and will stay dead.  Dead is dead!

There is an uniqueness of believers.  Once sin defined us and sin was our life which gave us our identity.  Now that Christ is our life, believers have a new identity. 

As a Christian your identity is now in Jesus and you cannot return to practicing sin.  You can sin and you do sin, but now sin collides with who you are in Jesus.  Jesus has won the battle against sin for everyone who believes.

If we were united with Him in death, we will also be united in His resurrection.  If we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with Him.  Our old self was crucified with Him so we will not be a slave to sin, because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (Rom. 6:5-7).

When you decide to turn from your sin, baptism follows.  Baptism is taking part in His death and resurrection.  Baptism means to immerse.  Our sinful lives end and we rise again to a new life to live and serve Christ.  You begin a new relationship with Christ.  We were redeemed when Jesus died, was buried, was resurrection, and was raised.  This actually happens the instant we believed.  We express this symbolically in water baptism.

Christians are united to Christ by our faith.  Our old nature died on the cross with Christ and now sin has no power over us.  When Paul speaks of our old self, he is speaking of a life of evil desires, a life of self-indulgence, and a life controlled by our sin nature.

If we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.  We know He was raised and cannot die again and death no longer has mastery over Him.  He died to sin once for all and now He lives to God. (Rom. 6:8-10).

Christ died only once for all people then, now and in the future.  He will never die again.  Our resurrection will be like His resurrection.  Like Christ we will live to give honor to God.

How does your life show you are honoring God?
What does your union with Christ mean to you?

Being a Christian is not a lot of do’s and don’ts.  Christians are only human and not perfect so we will sin.  God will not stop you from sinning, but He will always forgive you when you do.  Sin will not be the master of your life, because you are under grace.  God is the master.  We will live to God.

As Christians we are to be ambassadors for Christ.  Being died to sin and alive in Christ in your home, workplace, community or church by setting a good example, making sure our children are involved in prayer, Bible study and church, not being selfish, being a witness, and  by worshipping and praising God in all circumstances. 

Principle:  Christians are united with Christ in death and will be united with Him in His resurrection.

Romans 6:15-23 – Slaves to Righteousness

We should not sin because we are under grace.  When you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin leading to death or obedience that leads to righteousness.  Thanks to God that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Rom. 6:15-18).

Either Christ is your master and you obey Him or sin is your master and you obey it.  There is no middle ground.  Everybody serves something or someone.  When God saves you, He frees you from sin and makes you a slave of righteousness.

Who are you serving – sin or God?

Paul is putting this in human terms because we are weak in our natural selves.  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.  You benefited nothing at that time.  Those things result in death.  Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefits you receive lead to holiness and eternal life.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:19-23).

God has freed you from sin, but if a Christian begins to sin, they will become more and more wicked.  Sin begins in small ways, but one sin follows another.  Then worse sin follows.  If Christians obey God, they will begin to live a holy life and please God.

Paul explains that Christians used to be slaves to sin and sin was like a master and controlled their lives.  They received no wages and no benefits for their efforts.  Death was the only result of their efforts.  God’s grace is a free gift that no one deserves.  It is the gift of eternal life.  This gift is received when you invite Jesus into your life.  Jesus is the only one who could pay the price to free you from sin by dying on the cross.

How can we win over sin since we have a sinful nature?  If you have never trusted in Jesus, you are hopelessly and helplessly under the reign of sin.  Christ died and rose again to free you from sin.  Let Him be your new Master.  Let Him have authority over your body, obey His Word, and remember He redeemed you.  Look forward to a glorious eternal life free from sin in His presence.  You won’t be sinless in this life, but you can grow in holiness and win over sin.

Principle:  You can win over sin by looking forward to your glorious future of eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Next time we will study Romans 7.  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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Friday, November 10, 2017

Romans 5

Romans 5:1-11 – Peace Through Christ

Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through Jesus.  We have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.  We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  (Rom. 5:1-2)

What does having peace with God mean?  Before we were justified through faith in Jesus, we were God’s enemies.  Being at peace means instead of being at war with Him, we are at peace with Him.  We are truly resting in God while all around us there is war.  We now have a friendship with God.  We have unity with Him and have the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Because of His grace, nothing can separate us from God’s love.

What is the hope of the glory of God?  Christian hope is different than the hope we usually talk about.  It’s not wishful thinking.  Hope in God is that He will do everything He promises.  It’s the hope that one day we will see God Himself – that gives us hope.  Sin has spoiled our glory, but one day God will change us and we will be a part of His glory.  That’s hope.                            

Paul says we also rejoice in our sufferings.  This suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.  (Rom. 5:3-4)

How can we be glad that we suffer?  I don’t know any suffering that is joyful.  Do you?  Paul says suffering does something and accomplishes something.  It’s productive and has value.  We know it works and that is what makes us rejoice.  It’s like a woman in labor.  She suffers during child birth, but she knows it produced something worthwhile.

I think he might also be talking about the suffering we endure as Christians.  Matt. 5:11-12 Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”  As Christians we are attacked for our faith and belief in Jesus.  When this happens, we are sharing what Christ’s suffered.  He too was attacked and mocked.  When we suffer because of our faith, we become stronger.  It develops our character and strengthens our faith.

Principle:  Being justified through faith brings hope and peace with God.

Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  We see just at the right time when we were powerless that Christ died for the ungodly.  God demonstrates His love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:5-8)

God will never disappoint us.  He has given us the Holy Spirit who helps us know God loves us.  God has proven His love by giving us His Son, Jesus to die on the cross.  He chose to rescue us just at the right time.  While we were sinners and powerless, He died for us.  There was and is nothing we can do to save ourselves.  He died for all sinners then, now and those in the future.

Have you accepted Jesus as your rescuer?

Since we have been justified by His blood, how much more can we be saved from His wrath.  We were God’s enemies, but were reconciled to him through the death of Jesus.  Then how much more can we be saved.  We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Rom: 5:9-11).

We are considered righteous because of Jesus’ death made us righteous and God has forgiven our sin.  We will not suffer punishment.  Our salvation is complete.  We were His enemies, but are now His friends.

If you have been reconciled to God, do you rejoice, really rejoice?

Romans 5:12-21 – Life Through Christ

Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and this death came to all men because all sinned.  Death reigned from Adam to Moses.  Adam was the pattern of the one to come.  Many died by the sin of one man, then God’s grace and gift came by the grace of the one man, Jesus that overflow to the many.  His gift is not like the sin.  Judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many sins and brought justification.  By the sin of one man, death reigned so those who receive God’s provision of grace and gift of righteousness will reign in life through one man, Jesus.  The result on one man’s sin condemned all men.  The result of one act of righteousness was justification bringing life for all men.   The law was added so that the sin might increase.  Where sin increased, grace increased.  Sin reigns in death and grace reigns through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus.  (Rom. 5:12-21).

Adam sinned because he didn’t obey God’s command to not eat from one special tree in the garden.  If he did, he would die.  Adam didn’t listen and he disobeyed so death was the result of his sin and then sin both physical and spiritual came to all people.  Everyone has the same nature as Adam so everyone has a tendency to sin.  There was sin in the world even before the law was given to Moses.  The law just made people recognize their sin.

Adam chose to do what he wanted.  Christ’s gift came because He loves us.  Many died because of Adam’s sin and many people received the gift of life because of Jesus.  Adam’s sin brought God’s judgment, but the death of Jesus was sufficient to make people righteous.  His death was the perfect sacrifice for sin and He had to die only one time for all people.  Adam’s sin makes everyone guilty, but the righteous act of Jesus can make everyone righteous for those who will invite Him into their lives.  People became sinners because Adam did not obey, but many became friends with God because Christ obeyed.

There is a lot in these verses and Paul seems to be repeating himself and sometime it seems he is going around in circles and sometimes he is hard to understand.  I think it is because he wants us to understand exactly why we must be justified by faith.  He wants us to realize that this gift of grace that Jesus gives us is the most import gift we will ever receive.

The lesson for me is that we should watch our behavior and the choices we make, because they affect our children and others who are watching.  Our choices probably won’t affect the entire human race like Adam, but our conduct will affect others.

Some people believe we are born a good person and just do bad things.  That is not what the Bible teaches.  We are sinners even from the womb - Ps. 51:5; 58:3, Rom. 3:10; 3:23; 5:12, 1 John 1:10 – just to mention a few.  We are born selfish and self-centered.  Just look at a baby and how he cries to get wants he wants.  Because we are born of the flesh, we are united with Adam because of our sin.  We are enemies with God and are separated from Him, because we are sinners.  We must accept and believe in Jesus to forgive our sins, and then we will be united with Him and reconciled to God.

Are you being deceived into thinking you are a good person and have nothing to worry about?
Have you repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus as your Savior?

Through Adam’s sin all were condemned, but through Christ’s righteousness all in Him are justified.
The law is necessary to expose and convict us of our sin.
There is abundant grace for sinners who have trusted in Jesus.

There are 2 kingdoms that reign – the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan.  Those who belong to Satan’s kingdom will suffer permanent death and eternal destruction.  Those who belong to the Kingdom of God will have redemption and forgiveness and eternal life.

To which Kingdom do you belong?

Next time we will study Romans 6.  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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