“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT).

July 16, 2018

All humanity has missed the mark of God’s righteousness. Therefore, all humanity falls short of being able to get right with God by our own effort. For even our best efforts are as “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6) before the Lord. The word “sin” seems to have origins as an archery term, meaning to have missed the mark, or to have missed the bulls eye. So, we have all missed the bulls eye.

For this reason, God provided One who fulfilled the law, One who never missed the mark, to pay for our sin. He took our sin, separation and death and offers His righteousness, Sonship, and eternal life. His name is Jesus and He alone has hit the mark, so that by faith in Him we might be saved from our sin and made right with the Father.

“The Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God” (Romans 3:2 NLT).

July 15, 2018

In chapter one of Romans, Paul wrote of God’s general revelation to all humanity through nature, how God’s creation revealed God’s character. In chapter two, he continued his argument for general revelation, explaining how human conscience is evidence of God’s righteousness. Now in chapter three, Paul moves to the doctrine of special revelation, which was given to the Jews. For God chose Abraham and his Seed to be the recipients of His Word revealed. For God “entrusted” His written revelation to the Jews, even ultimately the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

“They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right” (Romans 2:15 NLT).

July 14, 2018

In chapter one of Romans, Paul made the case that humanity is without excuse because God’s character has been revealed in God’s creation. In this second chapter, Paul builds on that case by showing that knowledge of God’s law is written in the human conscience. Both of these revelations of God, found in creation and conscience, bear witness of God’s eternal existence and righteousness, so that God is justified in His judgments concerning humanity.

In addition to God’s general revelation through creation and conscience, He has given us the special revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through which all who believe might be saved and all who reject are condemned already.

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT).

July 13, 2018

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, he taught that all humanity was under God’s wrath because they had rejected even the most basic revelation He had given them, namely, creation itself. This is what theologians call General Revelation or Natural Revelation, which is the knowledge of God available to all through the observation of His creation. In other words, many of God’s attributes may be readily ascertained by the observation and study of God’s works in creation. As a result, all humanity is without excuse for they have always had access to knowledge of Him.

Paul laid this foundational truth early in the book of Romans to prepare for his proclamation of God’s intervention through Special Revelation, that is, the word of the prophets, the Scriptures, and the supreme revelation of God through Jesus Christ, His Son.

Everyone has already received God’s general revelation, yet Christ has commissioned us to share God’s special revelation, which is most fully expressed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is so that the people of God might be ransomed by the blood of Jesus from every tribe and language and people and nation (See Rev. 5:9).
Before God inspired the writing of Genesis and all the Scriptures, He wrote large on the parchment of the earth and painted bright on the canvas of the heavens, so that every creature might know their Creator.

“One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you” (Romans 1:10 NLT).

July 12, 2018

Towards the end of 57 AD, on his third missionary journey, Paul penned this letter to the believers in Rome while working in Corinth. In the letter, he expressed his heartfelt prayer that God might allow him to preach the gospel in Rome, so that he might have “some fruit” (Rom. 1:13) among them as he had in other Gentile cities. Some three to four years later, Paul’s prayer was answered. Although, it probably wasn’t answered in the way he had visualized, it was answered none the less. For Paul’s journey to Rome was filled with trials, storms, shipwreck, snakebite, and imprisonment. Yet, he spent two years from 61 to 63 AD in Rome under house arrest, but with unhindered freedom (See Acts 28:31) to preach the gospel to all.

“As a result we were showered with honors, and when the time came to sail, people supplied us with everything we would need for the trip” (Acts 28:10 NLT).

July 12, 2018

Paul spent three months on the island of Malta after being shipwrecked there. He healed people from all over the island, including the chief official’s father, in the name of Jesus. What should’ve been a disaster turned out to be a divine opportunity. Paul had been rejected in Jerusalem, but he was honored in Malta. The gospel was going out to the Gentiles.

“The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to make sure they didn’t swim ashore and escape. But the commanding officer wanted to spare Paul, so he didn’t let them carry out their plan” (Acts 27:42-43 NLT).

July 10, 2018

When it appeared that Paul and the 276 people aboard the ship would survive the storm, he and his fellow prisoners were threatened by the soldiers. Yet, even in this, God protected Paul, giving him favor with the commanding officer. The storm, the sailors and the soldiers, all at different times, threatened Paul’s life, but God intervened every time. Not only did Paul survive, but all 276 passengers did as well. Many a ship and all aboard have lost their lives in lesser storms on the Mediterranean Sea, but God had called Paul to go to Rome, and to Rome he would go. The miracle on the Med gave Paul a platform to preach the gospel to every passenger with great credibility.

“But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul” (Acts 27:11 NLT).

July 9, 2018

The Roman officer in charge of getting Paul and the other prisoners to Rome showed great favor to Paul, allowing him to travel with his friends, Luke and Aristarchus, and permitting him to go ashore at Sidon to visit friends and get personal supplies. However, his kindness didn’t extend to taking advice from Paul on maritime matters. Ignoring Paul’s warning not to sail, the Roman officer chose to follow the advice of the ship’s captain and owner, who preferred a more comfortable winter’s anchorage in nearby Phoenix. Yet, as soon as they set out on what should’ve been a short journey along the Southern coast of Crete, a “Northeaster” of typhoon force blew them far out to sea. As their condition grew more desperate, Paul’s prior warning must have continued to ring in the Roman officer’s ears.

Paul’s influence began to grow with the Romans and the sailors from that day. As their situation in the storm worsened, Paul’s voice would became the only voice of hope in their midst. The Lord gave a Paul a platform of influence everywhere he went, that he might share the gospel with everyone.

‘Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”’ (Acts 26:29 NLT).

July 8, 2018

After Paul gave his defense before Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice and a crowd of Roman military officers and Jewish dignitaries, Agrippa realized Paul’s purpose. It wasn’t only a defense of his innocence, but a testimony of his salvation through the resurrected Jesus Christ. Paul wanted to persuade his audience to join him in believing and trusting in Jesus. This is why Agrippa interrupted Paul, saying, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”

Agrippa got the point. Paul’s purpose and prayer was that they believe the gospel and follow Jesus. Agrippa had used the name “Christian,” a name first used in Antioch to describe disciples of Jesus (See Acts 11:26). It was a new name, more respectful than that which Paul’s accusers had used, calling him a “ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5).

The “Nazarene” is what they had called Jesus. And it is the name that ISIS recently used to label Christians in the Middle East, forcing them to wear the Arabic letter “N” on their clothes and painting it on their houses.

Paul was proud to wear either name, as long as they identified him with Christ. His purpose and prayer was that others would join him.

“So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Festus ordered that Paul be brought in” (Acts 25:23 NLT).

July 7, 2018

Porcius Festus was the new Roman governor over Judea. He replaced Felix who had been recalled to Rome by Nero. As a result, Festus inherited the case against the apostle Paul, which Felix had delayed, hoping for a bribe. Historians agree, that overall, Festus was a better governor than Felix, who was actually recalled because of his poor administration. Yet, even Festus was easily wooed by the Jewish leaders who wanted Paul’s trial moved to Jerusalem, so they could kill him along the way. Festus was ready to move the trial from Caesarea to Jerusalem as a favor to the Jewish leaders, but Paul appealed to Caesar. Festus had to honor Paul’s request because of his Roman citizenship.

The next day after the trial, Festus received King Agrippa II and his sister, Bernice, who came to pay their respects to the new governor. Agrippa II, whose birth name was Marcus Julius Agrippa, was raised and educated in Rome, while his father, King Herod Agrippa I, reigned in Judea. It was his father who had beheaded the apostle James. Coincidently, Agrippa’s sister, Drusilla, was the wife of the previous governor, Felix. So, when Festus began to talk about the unusual case concerning a man named Paul that Felix had left to him, Agrippa was, no doubt, fully aware. When Agrippa asked to hear Paul for himself, Festus happily agreed.

Can you visualize the scene where the auditorium is arrayed in the banners of Rome as trumpets sound announcing the arrival of King Agrippa and his sister, Bernice? Can you see all the Roman military officers decked out in their dress uniforms, gathered there at the order of Governor Felix, along with the prominent Jewish leaders of the region who had received his invitation? Can you see the apostle Paul being led in to face this illustrious crowd, dressed in a plain robe with chains on his wrists?

The apostle Paul was given this amazing opportunity to give his testimony and preach about the resurrected Jesus to all the pomp and prominence of the region. And preach he did.