Introduction

Is there any way to measure what the Book of Romans has meant to humanity?  What has been the impact?  How many have entered into a life in the Spirit?  Where have the saints been emboldened, encouraged not to be ashamed of the Gospel?  What number of believers has been set free from the doctrine of justification by faith?  Imagine what European and western history would have been without a Martin Luther or a John Wesley.  These two giants of the faith both acknowledged their lives changed when they understood salvation by faith and faith alone. How much do we owe to this letter of the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome?  It established the doctrine of the New Testament.

As I begin this study, I embark on a spiritual journey myself, on a holy crusade.  The destination is heavenward.  The trip is all that matters.  Each day will bring fresh discoveries.  Every step of the way is on ground where only the saints have trod.  Lead me, O thou great Jehovah!  I take your hand and gratefully enter into Beulah Land.

Romans 1.14-

            In the history of the Jewish people, was there ever a man who felt obligated to those outside Judaism?   Paul was most eager to preach in Rome because the Christians there were both Jewish and Gentile by birth.  He was also obligated to all men regardless of their station in life, regardless of their intellect.  In other words, Paul felt obligated to anyone who had not had a chance to hear and receive the Gospel.  This describes Rome.

            The Good News cuts across the entire fabric of mankind.  It was as much for Nicodemus, the Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, as it was for Onesimus, the Greek the slave.  It is the power of God unto salvation for all those who believe without regard to persons.  For God is not a respecter of persons.  What opportunity!  What a Savior!

August 27, 2013

Romans 3.27-

A paradigm shift describes a movement outside of, what was thought to be previously, real or imagined boundaries.  The Apostle Paul is attempting to move the devout Jew from the understanding that they are separated from the Gentiles by the Law.  It was drummed into their heads that they were superior to the uncircumcised by virtue of their position with God- they were the chosen people, the seed of Abraham and the ones who received the Law of Moses. It resulted in their boasting and alienation from Gentiles.

The facts that are set before the Jews in the present are all these things are to your advantage but will count for nothing without faith.  If the Jew has all that previously mentioned and has not been justified by his faith, then he is looking up to the Gentile who has been justified by faith.  The faith that Paul here speaks of is apart from observing the Law.  Talk about a difficult adjustment to make in ones belief system.  The whole religion is built on observing the Law and now it is of no benefit, according to Paul.

To be on an equal playing field with the Gentile world had to rock the Jew to the core.  Those with the Law are as much the objects of God’s plan of salvation as those without.  Why the Law then?  To demonstrate God’s righteous standard to Jew and Gentile alike and their inadequacy to meet that standard without an infusion of righteousness.  Is my paradigm correct?  Many Jews could not shift theirs.  How about me?

May 11, 2013

You see, at just the right time,

when we were still powerless,

Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5.6-

            The young heroine is tied to the railroad tracks by the evil lecher.  With big black hat and cape he twirls his mustache and with a sneer and evil look he laughs a cruel laugh.  The reason he is so happy in a sinister way is the train is whistling in the distance and closing in fast.  His quarry is hopelessly trapped.  The engine will come around the bend and not have time to slow down let alone stop.  The situation appears hopeless.

            But in the nick of time, up rides Dudley Doright to save the pretty Nell.  Everyone is pleased.  The handsome Canadian Mountie rescues the helpless girl and the two ride off together.  Jesus is our Dudley.  We are the Nell’s of the story.  Except with this twist, Jesus took our place on the tracks.  The hero in all his perfection and strength replaced the helpless person bound to death.  Why?  Ask Dudley why he did it?  It’s obvious, righteousness, courage, and- oh, yes- love.  Jesus Christ demonstrated that he was the original Dudley.  He chose the right moment when we were forced to recognize how helpless we were.  Not only could we not save ourselves but, on top of that, we weren’t worth saving!  There was nothing pretty or good about us like the lovely Nell.  We can understand Dudley’s desire to win the heart of the beautiful woman and take her away to live happily ever after but not me.  There’s nothing worth the ransom God paid for me.  Although, from a personal view, I cannot understand it, it all comes down to love.

Romans 6.19-

A conscious decision must be made.  It used to be that we did whatever sin we wanted to almost without thinking.  Many times it was all impulse.  Now that I have been saved from my sin and wickedness, I must weigh something called ‘consequences’.  I have the past to look at. What happened in my life as a result of doing wrong?  Nothing good.  What is happening in my life since I began to purposely and willfully choose righteousness?  Even the ‘bad’ is good.  Strictly, in terms of benefits, it is a no-brain er.

Unfortunately, my choosing righteousness is not cut and dried.  Even though the wages of sin is death- and I know it!- if I do not involve the will I could very easily choose death.  The mind, if left alone, will choose slavery and death every time.  I used to choose sin not know any better.  Once I began to understand the greatness of such things as holiness and righteousness, I wanted to pursue them.  And they must be pursued!  May I exercise my freedom to choose righteousness today, at every turn, and make holiness my goal.

Romans 7.21-

  So I find this law at work:  When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 

  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;

 but I see another law at work in the members of my body,   

waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at war within my members. 

What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?   

Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

            Certain things about my universe are true and not subject to change.  One is that I have this thing, this sinful nature; this counterintelligence living inside my mind undermining my desire to do right.  My desire may be there but gets short-circuited when turning that desire into right actions.  Once in a while the good things happen but never without a fight.  I wish this ‘monster’ would just go away but it manages to hang on like coral to a sunken ship.  I am given to understand the battle in my mind will continue until I leave this body.  The only open question is will I forever remain prisoner to its evil demands or will I be rescued.  There is hope!  His name is Jesus and he has the key to save me from my wretched condition.  All I want is the freedom to be good and do good things.  I need help!

Romans 8.4-

            “And so he put to death sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

            The world was made up of law-breakers.  There is none righteous, no not one!  On the face of the globe there was no one who sought after God.  Unless the Father intervened, the whole human race was doomed.  He stepped in by providing atonement- a blood sacrifice.  It was His One and only Son as the perfect Lamb.  With the sacrifice accomplished, the Father sent the Spirit to live inside each one who trusts in His Son by faith.  The greatest redemptive act of mankind’s history is the coming of the Spirit to indwell the Believer.

The Cross struck the fatal blow.  The empty tomb sealed the fate of death- it was conquered.  The Holy Spirit living inside us means the sin nature has been replaced by the Spirit.  Now, the good I want to do, I do.  The evil that I don’t want to do, that I do not do.  What a blessed man I am!  I have been saved from this body of death.  Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ my Lord.  I am naturally fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law simply by living in the fullness of the Spirit.  (e.g. Gal. 5.22f)  I choose this day to be filled with the Spirit of God, to rely on the Spirit of God, and to prod and plead with others to do the same.  It is the only hope.

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