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“…Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith…” (Romans 3:24-25 ESV)

July 16, 2016

What is “propitiation?” In the original Greek, the word is ἱλαστήριον, hilastérion. It is a sin offering put forth to satisfy and appease the wrath of God towards sin. It may also refer to the mercy seat, which was the covering of the ark, upon which the blood of the lamb was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement. Propitiation involves two parts: 1) It satisfies the offended party’s need for judgment, and 2) It reconciles the offender to the offended party. Since the “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 3:23), the only acceptable justice is death. Yet God, the offended party, put forth His own propitiation for us in the offering of the blood of Christ Jesus, satisfying both His holiness and His love. At the cross we see both the terrible ugliness of our sin and the awesome love of God intermingled. For God’s great love and holiness are there displayed. Those who have “received by faith” this propitiation are now completely forgiven of their sins and fully reconciled to God.

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21 ESV)

July 13, 2016

The beauty and order of creation points to the unseen Creator, yet sin has lowered humanity’s vision to the visible creature. With an innate need to worship, they praise nature instead of nature’s God. This fallen focus puts a lie at the center of their thinking, so that their thinking devolves into foolishness and futility. This falsehood cannot be exposed without spiritual power. Mere words and human persuasion will not suffice. Sin has blinded their eyes and their minds are darkened. Only the power of God and the preaching of the gospel can shine the light of truth and reveal their need to repent and be saved.

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (Romans 1:11-12 ESV)

July 12, 2016

Paul expressed his longing to see the believers in Rome. He desired to impart spiritual gifts to strengthen them and to be mutually encouraged by being together. The sharing of gifts and encouragement are what we give and receive when we come together in Christ’s name. And I as I celebrate another birthday (thanks for all the “Happy Birthdays”), I long to see you for the same mutual encouragement.

Connect to God’s People

October 11, 2015 | Romans 12:4-5 | community, discipleship, three commitments

In the book of Romans the apostle Paul told the Roman Christians that even though they had followed Christ by an individual decision they must recognize that in following Him they had become one body, connected to other believers. When we follow Christ we must make an individual decision to follow, but that leads to a corporate identity. We become the body of Christ connected to every other believer.

[Pray] “that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you” (Romans 15:32 NKJV)

August 2, 2015

In Paul’s closing remarks to the church in Rome, he shared his prayer that the Lord allow him to visit them. He prayed that he might come to them with joy so that both might be mutually refreshed. There is an encouragement that refreshes us when we fellowship with other believers in the joy of the Lord. We have had this prayer answered as we visited our brothers and sisters in London this past week. It had been our heart’s desire for some time to visit and know this mutual refreshment. And God finally made it possible. Do you know this fellowship that refreshes?

“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11 NKJV)

July 30, 2015

Spiritual and gospel urgency. Spiritual urgency, because we must put off sin and any hindrance that belongs to the flesh, so that we might finish the race of life well. Gospel urgency, because “time is running out” on those who haven’t heard and received the Good News that we are called to announce. Are you living with a sense of spiritual and gospel urgency?

“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” (Romans 12:16 NKJV)

July 29, 2015

Paul described the state of mind that the believer should maintain. In this verse, he focused on our thinking towards others. Be “same-minded,” but not “high-minded.” Be careful not to think of yourself more highly than others. Be willing to “associate” with those of humble status, instead of rushing to be with the popular and important. Stop being a know-it-all. One who has this state of mind, has been “transformed by the renewing of their mind,” so that they have the mind of Christ. What’s your state of mind today?

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)

July 27, 2015

True faith needs an object as its anchor. It’s not the amount, nor the quality of faith that matters so much. It’s the reality of the object and its quality that counts. It is the gospel, God’s Word that saves. And it is hearing and believing this Word that brings salvation. Our faith is activated by hearing the Word. And it is by continual and constant hearing that we grow in faith. Yet, all this requires a preacher. And a God who calls and sends.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NKJV)

July 22, 2015

“In Christ Jesus.” When judgment fell on the earth during the great flood only those “in” the Ark were saved. The rain of God’s wrath fell on the Ark, but Noah and his family were kept safe inside. Jesus is our Ark. He took our sin, our separation and our death upon Himself, so that we might receive His righteousness, Sonship, and eternal life. Jesus took our condemnation (Rom. 8:3-4). There is none left for those who are “in” Christ. God’s judgment was satisfied, His wrath appeased at Calvary’s cross.
As the hymn, “In Christ Alone” (by Getty and Townsend), says:
“Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.”