July 21, 2018
SINCE GOD’S LAW CANNOT SAVE, WHAT GOOD IS IT?
Sin is aroused to further rebellion by God’s law. Does this mean that God’s law is itself sinful? Certainly not! If a mother tells her toddler not to touch the hot stove, she has given the child her law. Yet, the sin nature within the child is immediately activated to do the very thing she was commanded by her mother not to do. She feels the overwhelming urge to touch it! So, the mother’s law was good, but it did not have the power to affect the child’s desire.
If God’s law cannot save, what good is it? There are at least three good purposes for God’s law. In Romans 7:7, Paul has named the first purpose, which is to mirror our sinful condition by naming what is sinful, thus reflecting our guilty condition. Paul used as his example the one who covets and is proven sinful by the tenth command of God’s Decalogue, “Thou shalt not covet.” What are the three purposes of the law?
THREE “R”s OF THE LAW: (OR THREE “P”s)
1) Reflect our guilty condition (Like a perfect mirror).
2) Restrain our sinful behavior (Like a prison guard).
3) Reveal our need for a Savior (Like a pedagogue).
The law is good and useful, but it cannot save. Only faith in Christ saves and empowers us to produce a harvest of righteousness in His name.
July 20, 2018
WAGES ARE EARNED BUT GIFTS ARE RECEIVED
The word translated “wages” was used to denote a Roman soldier’s pay during Paul’s time. So, “wages” are earned. Since we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23), we have all earned death. Death is the just desert for a life of sin. This death is not only the death of the body, but as it stands in opposition to “eternal life,” it is the eternal damnation of the soul, which is the “second death” (Rev. 20:14-15).
So, the wages of sin coincides with and follows the life of sin. Wages are given as they are earned and after they are earned. But the “free gift” of God is given before the life of righteousness that follows. After all, it is the receiving of the free gift of God that sets the sinner free from sin’s slavery and sin’s wages, so that they are made righteous before God and given eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
The economy of fallen humanity is about earning, but the economy of God is about receiving. Will you stop trying to earn that which can only be received? Receive the free gift of God, which is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord and be set free from the wages of sin, which is death.
July 19, 2018
CONDEMNATION OR JUSTIFICATION?
If Adam’s one sin was enough to bring condemnation upon all, then how much more will Christ’s one act of righteousness result in justification and eternal life for all who believe? Being born to Adam’s line, we are already sinful and under the condemnation of death. But believing in Jesus Christ, we are born again by the Spirit, so that we are justified, made right with God, and given eternal life.
Why would you remain under condemnation when justification is available through Christ?
July 18, 2018
ABRAHAM’S SPIRITUAL FATHERHOOD
The apostle Paul quoted Genesis 17:5 to make the argument that God’s promise to Abraham was not only for his natural descendants, but also for the great multitudes from every nation that would believe. Paul retained the past tense language of Genesis, which quoted God saying, “I have made you” as if it had already come to pass, even though Abraham had yet to see his son, Isaac, born. God spoke of it as a thing already done, and in a sense, it was. For God had so preordained and determined, since before the foundation of the earth, that He would send His Son to redeem all those who believe (1 Peter 1:20). This Son, is Jesus, who is the “Promised Seed” of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). So, Abraham is the father of all, whether Jew or Gentile that believe in Jesus, the promised Seed of Abraham.
July 17, 2018
FAITH COUNTED AS RIGHTEOUSNESS
Paul explained that Abraham, the human founder of Judaism, was not considered righteous by his circumcision, but by his faith. Paul quoted Moses, who wrote of Abraham, “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). So, faith has always been the only way to please God. And what is the object of that faith? The object of our faith is the Lamb of God. Abraham believed that God would provide the Lamb. And God did, replacing Abraham’s son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.
Now, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world has already come. He is Jesus, the object of our faith, the One in whom we believe, so that God counts us as righteous because of our faith in Jesus.
July 16, 2018
SIN MEANS MISSING THE MARK
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.
July 15, 2018
SPECIAL REVELATION GIVEN
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.
July 14, 2018
CONSCIENCE AND THE CREATOR’S LAW
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.
July 13, 2018
CREATION REVEALS THE CREATOR
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.
July 12, 2018
PAUL’S PRAYER TO PREACH IN ROME
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.