The Gospel Was Promised By The Prophets
Since Paul systematically went to the Jews first in every city, he was extremely well-versed in showing how that Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Testament Law and Prophets. Every Messianic prophecy pointed to Jesus Christ: the Tabernacle plan, the Temple, its artifacts and furnishings, the sacrifices, the priesthood, the Messianic lineage, and so much more.
Romans 1:1-2 - "separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."
Sonship Is Declared By The Spirit Of Holiness
Paul declared himself to be "a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God." That speaks of 100% commitment. Paul had no other identity, no other agenda, and no other interests than Jesus Christ and the ministry of His Gospel. Servant - Called - Separated - because everything that has to do with Jesus and the Gospel is holy and separated. Christ is holy. Is your identity holy? Your agenda? Your interests? Can the Spirit of Holiness declare you?
Romans 1:4 - "Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness."
Pray For The Opportunity To Minister To Others
Paul greeted the Romans with a blessing of grace and peace, and with thanksgiving, "that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." Paul declared his fervent prayers for them. "Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; [that] I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you."
Romans 1:11-12 - "For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; ...that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me."
I Am A Debtor
Paul desperately wanted to minister to everyone he possibly could. He wanted to impart unto the Romans some spiritual gift so they would be established. He also wanted "some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles." He confessed, "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise." Would God that an army of men would rise up today with such a burden.
Romans 1:15 - "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also."
I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel
Here is a man with a fire shut up in his bones. Like Jeremiah, Paul could not keep silent. He knew no reluctance, no inhibition, no reserve. The Gospel burned in him like a furnace. He knew that the hope of eternal life for every man was sealed up in it. I feel that fire, too. Do you?
Romans 1:15-16 - "I am ready to preach the gospel ...For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
They Hold The Truth In Unrighteousness
A man's eternal destiny is completely and totally determined by his response to the Gospel. In the Gospel "is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." If you faithfully obey the Gospel, you will eventually discover all the righteousness of God." But if you live in ungodliness and unrighteousness after knowing the Gospel, the wrath of God will fall from heaven on you.
Romans 1:18 - "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."
Wrath From Heaven On Ungodly Who Knew The Truth
No fate will be worse than God's wrath upon those who knew the truth but lived ungodly and unrighteous anyway. Why? "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them." God revealed invisible things from as far back as Creation, including His eternal power and Godhead. "They are without excuse."
Romans 1:21-22 - "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."
God Will Give You Up To Vile Affections And Uncleanness
Paul saw the abominations of the Athenians, Corinthians, Ephesians and others who worshipped idols and false gods. He sternly warned Christians against perverting the truth of God. Spiritual perversions breed carnal perversions. If you love a lie, you can love anything perverted. If you pervert truth, God will give you up to perversions - self-destructive debaucheries.
Romans 1:26-27 - "Even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly."
The Reprobate Mind - Divine Curse On An Evil Society
The Apostle Paul had a frightening forecast for people who intentionally ignore God. He said that God would give them over to a reprobate mind. A reprobate mind says that good is evil, and evil is good. So much of our modern society is truly reprobate, condemning and fighting against God's laws, morals and principles, while boldly promoting and celebrating every imaginable evil. Saint of God, cleave to Jesus!
Romans 1:28 - "...even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient."
How They Change Truth Into A Lie
German philosophers Immanuel Kant and George Hegel inspired infamous thinkers like atheist Friedrich Neitzche and communists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Their triad -- "thesis > antithesis > synthesis" -- posited that any proposition (thesis) can be negated (antithesis) and the two can be reconciled (by synthesis). Communism and atheism used this tactic to overthrow spiritual and moral absolutes and create a society of evil where right is wrong and wrong is right. That defines a reprobate society.
Romans 1:28 - "...as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind."
Some Things Reprobates Do
A reprobate believes that right is wrong and wrong is right. These are the works of a reprobate: "unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful." They not only do these things, but also love to watch other people doing them.
Romans 1:32 - "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
Do Not Judge - You Do The Same Things
It is inexcusable to judge someone. When you judge someone, you condemn yourself, because you are guilty of the same things that you accuse others of. God's judgment is against those who judge others. You would be foolish to think you can escape His judgment. Stop judging if you want to be found innocent. Do not minimize the wealth of God's goodness and longsuffering that makes us want to repent in the first place.
Romans 2:4 - "Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
A Hard Impenitent Heart Draws The Wrath Of God
You can either go to God with a broken and a contrite spirit, willing to confess your wrongs and asking for repentance, or you can live your life in denial. You can tell yourself that you are as good as the next man, or that you are no worse than others. But your hardness and impenitence will only draw the wrath and judgment of God. Repent, or perish. There are no other options.
Romans 2:5 - "After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."
The Day Of Wrath And Righteous Judgment Of God
Everybody wants to go to heaven when they die, and if you listen closely to modern society, virtually everyone believes they will. What is virtually NEVER discussed is that every person must stand before God in judgment, and the wicked will be turned into hell. But even before THAT, God warns that the wicked on earth will face a dreadful Day of the Wrath of God when Jesus returns for the Battle of Armageddon.
Romans 2:5 - "...the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds."
Rewards: According To Your Deeds And Well-Doing
Many believe that our eternal rewards will not be determined by anything we have done. If that is true, the thief on the cross will receive the same reward as the Apostle Paul. But Paul said God "will render to every man according to his deeds." You are not saved by works, but faith without works is dead. You must have faith AND works. In the Kingdom of Christ, saints will rule in a tiered hierarchy of honor and glory.
Romans 2:7 - "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life."
Indignation, Wrath, Tribulation And Anguish To Sinners
Those who meet the terms of New Testament covenant as defined in the Gospel will inherit eternal life. But sinners will not inherit eternal life. Many heard and knew the Old Testament law, but hearing the law did not justify them. Only DOING the law justified a man under the old covenant. The failure of the law is that nobody but Jesus ever kept the law perfectly.
Romans 2:8-9 - "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil."
God's Favorite People
One version of the Bible interprets "there is no respect of persons with God," as: "God doesn't have any favorites!" That is not true. (i.e., "Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.") God does indeed have favorites. He favors those who make greater efforts to do His will. The point is that God does not have a double-standard. It is a level playing field. God clearly defined the terms of our relationship in the New Testament covenant. Everyone obtains favor with God under identical terms.
Romans 2:11 - "There is no respect of persons with God."
Lawless Judged For Sinning Against Their Conscience
Those who are ignorant of divine laws will be judged for transgressing their conscience. "As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law." Gentiles had no law, but often kept various laws unawares. Our conscience proves that some laws are written in our hearts.
Romans 2:14 - "When the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, ...are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another."
The Law-Teacher Is A Law-Breaker
"The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did," (Hebrews 7:19). Without the law, we could not have known our sins. The law reveals our sins, indicts and convicts us. But grace MUST follow. No one will ever be perfected by the law alone.
Romans 2:21-23 - "Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?"
The Spirit Of The Law Exceeds The Letter Of The Law
Theoretically, if a Gentile fulfills all the law, he might be considered one of the Jewish circumcision. Would such a Gentile be eligible to stand in judgment of a Jew who was in transgression? A Gentile with the spirit of the law is ahead of a Jew with only the letter of the law.
Romans 2:26-27 - "Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?"
A True Jew
Paul declared that true Jewishness is not based upon mere outward, fleshly criteria. A true son of Abraham is spiritually circumcised in his heart. His heart is submitted to God. He serves God in the spirit, not just in the letter of the law.
Romans 2:28-29 - "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
The Jewish Advantage
What advantage hath the Jew? What profit is there of circumcision? Imagine Paul dictating these lines to Luke. These are million-dollar questions. Since Jesus has purchased our salvation with His blood, Jews and Gentiles may freely enter into Christ. "What advantage hath the Jew?" In the resurrection, they will look upon Him whom they pierced, repent and be saved. (See Ezekiel 37:12-14). Israel will have favor in both the Kingdom of Christ on earth and in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
Romans 3:2 - "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."
Let God Be True, But Every Man A Liar
What about Jews who reject God? Should we allow a secular or atheist Jew to convince us that God does not exist and that the Bible is a farce? There are plenty of Jews who do not believe in God, but that does not make God or the Bible a lie. Paul quoted from Psalm 51 which says, "That Thou (God) mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest." Should we give more weight, more credibility to the skeptics and doubters?
Romans 3:4 - "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar."
Our sins accentuate the righteousness of God. Does that make it wrong for God to take vengeance on us? "God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?" Strangely enough, our lies glorify God, showing Him to be infinitely more righteous than we. If our lies magnify truth, and sin magnifies righteousness, can we justify sin? Of course not! Shall we sin so that righteousness will increase? How foolish! Such are the outrageous arguments of those who justify themselves. No one is justified outside His grace.
Romans 3:10 - "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."
By The Law Is The Knowledge Of Sin
Paul did not speak well of sinners. He said that nobody understands, nobody seeks after God, everybody is unprofitable, nobody does good, they use deceit, poisonous words, cursings, bitterness, blood-thirst, destruction, misery, and know nothing of peace. "There is no fear of God before their eyes." That is why God had to give us His law. "That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."
Romans 3:20 - "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
Righteousness Without The Law Witnessed By Prophets
God gave the law with the end in sight. It was to be a schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ. It showed us that there is not one righteous. It made nothing perfect, but the Gospel did.
Romans 3:21 - "That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets."
God Will Justify Circumcision And Uncircumcision By Faith
Judgment is coming. All the prophets declared it. Only the righteous will fare well in the Day of Judgment. How can we attain to His righteousness? "The righteousness of God ...is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." "Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith." The just shall live by faith.
Romans 3:28 - "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
Faith Embraces Prophetic Destiny
God made covenant with Abraham for the first time at the age of 75 (Genesis 12:4). Abraham was not circumcised until he was 99 (Genesis 17:24). God's promised blessings came twenty-four years before circumcision (works). Abraham obtained a prophetic destiny by faith that works cannot purchase at any price. Faith embraces promised future blessings.
Romans 4:3 - "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth... his faith is counted for righteousness."
Righteousness Is Imputed
Has someone ever transferred money to your bank account? Perhaps a payment was sent by wire transfer, or a company paid you by a direct deposit. That is how "imputation" works. When God "imputes" righteousness, He credits righteousness to your account as "payment" for your faith.
Romans 4:4-6 - "To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works."
Circumcision: A Seal Of The Faith Before Circumcision
Abraham "received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised." Circumcision was a covenant token of His faith in God. Therefore, faith preceded circumcision, which of course preceded the law. That means that the sons of Abraham can include even those who are NOT circumcised (i.e., Jews) IF they have faith like Abraham's.
Romans 4:12 - "And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised."
The Promise Was Through The Righteousness Of Faith
Since Abraham obtained righteousness by faith (not circumcision), then the heirs of Abraham's covenant with God should be sons of faith, not of circumcision. Abraham "received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also."
Romans 4:13 - "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith."
The Man To Whom The Lord Will Not Impute Sin
Who is the blessed man? He "whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." If people had to keep all the law perfectly to gain God's blessing, the blessing would only be a payment for works. But faith in Jesus Christ, evidenced by our obedience to the Gospel, gets the blessings of God. He will forgive us, save us and reward us.
Romans 4:16 - "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all."
By Hope And Faith, Abraham Possessed God's Promise
Abraham knew that God "quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were." Therefore Abraham, "against hope believed in hope." Against that reality of Sarah's dead womb, Abraham hoped "that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be."
Romans 4:19-21 - "He considered not his own body now dead, ...an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; ...being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform."
Strong In Faith, Giving Glory To God
Abraham, "Father of the Faithful," believed God, and obeyed the voice of the Lord. Whether he was pulling up stakes and forsaking his home and family, or trusting God for a miraculous child in his old age, or circumcising himself and his sons as a token of divine covenant, or taking Isaac to Moriah to offer before the Lord, Abraham gave glory to God. Regardless of where the road of life takes you, give glory to God.
Romans 4:20-21 - "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God."
Faith Gives You Access To Grace
How are you justified by faith? To be justified means to be rendered innocent or righteous. If you have faith in the Gospel, you will be able to obey anything and everything God requires of you. Faith enables you to repent. Faith enables you to be baptized. Faith enables you to receive the Holy Ghost. Faith enables you to live a godly life. Faith ultimately renders you righteous.
Romans 5:1-2 - "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand."
Tribulation + Patience + Experience + Hope + Love = Great Strength
Knowing that grace is greater than sin gives us profound peace - so much peace that we can actually glory in tribulations. We know that tribulation produces patience. Patience produces great experiences that generate hope. When we have hope, we have no shame. We sense God's love because the Holy Ghost fills our hearts.
Romans 5:6-8 - "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: ...But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Christ Died For His Friends And His Enemies
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," John 15:13. Only rarely does someone give his life for a friend. Hardly ever does someone give their life for a stranger. Almost never does a man lay down his life for his enemies. Jesus did, saving us not just from death, but eternal wrath!
Romans 5:8-9 - "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
Sin By The First Adam, Salvation By The Second Adam (Jesus)
Paul waxed eloquent as he compared and contrasted sin with righteousness, disobedience with obedience, law with grace, condemnation with salvation, offenses with reconciliation, and death with life. The first Adam offended and brought sin to all, but the second Adam (Jesus) atoned for our sins, and brought righteousness to all who are in Him.
Romans 5:12,15 - "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, ....much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."
The Free Gift
New Testament grace is a GREAT GIFT to everyone who obeys the Gospel. Jesus Christ's atonement made it easier to enter into right relationship with God than ever before.
Romans 5:15-18 - "...so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, ...hath abounded unto many. ...so is the gift: ...they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. ...by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men."
Grace is Greater Than Sin
We sometimes panic when we contemplate the enormous challenges life presents to us. As we watch society crumbling before our eyes, it is difficult not to wonder if we will be able to endure the hostile world much longer. But God's promises are unchanged in any generation. He has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Just as God finally delivered Israel from Egypt's bondage, He will deliver you and me. His grace is forever stronger than any evil.
Romans 5:20 - "...But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
God Forbid That We Continue In Sin
Some people are deliriously zealous to preach grace as if God has no objections to our carnality and worldliness. They would have you believe that as long as you confess Christ, only the most gigantic sins offend God. That kind of teaching is pernicious, deceptive, and far distant from the real truth. God forever hates sin, and expects us to keep His laws. It is wrong to teach that God did away with the law. If there was no law, there could be no sin.
Romans 6:1-2 - "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid."
Baptism Is Burial
If you have genuinely repented of your sins, you should be dead to sin. You are determined never to commit willful sin. If you are dead to sins, you should be buried - not in the ground, but by water baptism. Being baptized in water in the name of Jesus means, "we are buried with him by baptism into death." When you receive the Holy Ghost as they did in Acts 2, you resurrect with Christ.
Romans 6:5 - "If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."
Repentance Means Death To Sin - Crucify The Old Man
Through the self-deprecating act of repentance, we are crucified with Christ. Real repentance does not merely say, "I am sorry." It says, "I won't do that anymore." Repentance is supposed to turn you around completely. If it doesn't, maybe you did not genuinely repent. If your repentance was what it should be, you will be dead to old sins in your life.
Romans 6:6-7 - "Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin."
The Second Death
There are two deaths. One is the death of the natural body - ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Another death occurs when you repent of your sins - death to sin and selfishness. If you fail to repent, the second death will occur when God casts you into hell. You can voluntarily die the second death by repentance leading to the new birth, or God will force the second death on you on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:14).
Romans 6:11 - "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Instruments Of Righteousness
In the past, you used your body to perform countless acts of unrighteousness and sin. When you crucified the flesh, you stopped doing those things. Now you must walk in the Spirit. Life is in the Spirit of God. Practicing great religious restraint without being filled with the Holy Ghost is an empty lifestyle. Walk in the Spirit, doing what is righteous and godly.
Romans 6:13 - "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
Let Not Sin Reign In Your Body - Do Not Obey Sin
Can sin rule you? The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life can control and destroy you as certainly as heroin, morphine or other narcotics and barbiturates destroy an addict. Resist while you can. Commit yourself to God. Yield all your faculties to Him; all your members as instruments of righteousness.
Romans 6:14,16 - "For sin shall not have dominion over you: ...Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
The Gift Of God Is Eternal Life
While you lived in sin, you were a slave to sin. But because you have repented and turned from your sins, you have given yourself to become a servant of righteousness. As you once yielded yourself to uncleanness and iniquity, you now yield yourself to righteousness and holiness. If you had continued in sin, the prophesied end of those things is death and damnation. But now you produce holiness and righteousness, and you will live forever.
Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Are You Married To Sin, Or Married To Christ?
Under the law of God, a married woman becomes an adulteress if she marries another man while her husband is alive. By similar logic, your soul cannot be married both to sin and to Christ. Christians who continue to love sin and the world commit spiritual adultery. But when the old spouse (sin) dies (in genuine repentance), that old marriage ends. The survivor may take another spouse (Christ).
Romans 7:4 - "Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead."
The simple definition of righteousness is "right doing." You can make the Bible as complex and difficult as you want to, but it really isn't that way. God's laws cannot be kept perfectly. They never could be! God judges us by the spirit, not the letter, of the law. So we strive to please Him by keeping His commandments with the understanding that His grace will cover the blunders we make during our pure efforts.
Romans 7:6 - "...that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."
Sin, Condemnation And Death
If God had not said, "Thou shalt not..." could He condemn a man? "Sin is not imputed when there is no law," Romans 5:13. "By the law is the knowledge of sin," Romans 3:20. "The law entered, that the offence might abound," Romans 5:20. "Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, ...reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ," Romans 6:6,11.
Romans 7:7,11 - "I had not known sin... Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, ...slew me."
That Sin By Commandment Might Be Exceeding Sinful
Among Christian religionists, we hear many pejoratives concerning the law. Some teachers of free grace and easy believism love to speak evil of the law. But Paul said, "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Furthermore, "The law is spiritual." Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. God prophetically gave the law to expose the exceeding sinfulness of sin - and that is good.
Romans 7:13 - "Sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."
I Delight In The Law Of God
Occasionally, one of my readers will write to ask me something like this, "When will our lessons get into the New Testament? I do not get that much out of the Old Testament. You know the law has been done away with." I am sorry that I may be perceived as legalistic, out-moded, or contentious, but the Old Testament is just as important to us today as the New Testament. The law is the schoolmaster that led me to Christ. I love His law.
Romans 7:22 - "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man."
Overcoming The Flesh In Jesus' Name
The flesh and the Spirit are always at war. Our carnal mind is enmity against the Spirit of Christ. Paul confessed exasperation: "The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. ...O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Crucify the carnally-minded old man, and nurture the spiritually-minded new man by prayer and meditation in the Word, to daily overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, in Jesus' name.
Romans 7:25 - "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Freed From Condemnation
In criminal law, a condemned man is one who has been convicted as guilty and has been sentenced to punishment. In religion, condemnation occurs when you are guilty before God. You will be sentenced to hell for eternity. In present terms, we feel condemned when we admit the guilt of our sins. The condemnation that came from Adam's sin happens to all of us. Jesus suffered condemnation at Calvary to pay our debt.
Romans 8:1 - "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
The Spirit Of Life In Christ Jesus
If you walk in the flesh, the law will condemn you for every sin. But if you walk after the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Ghost), you will not be condemned. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." The law can only condemn; it cannot give life.
Romans 8:3-4 - "For what the law could not do, ...God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, ...condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us."
The Carnal Mind
God created Adam and Eve with pure minds and not a single thought contrary to their Creator. But Satan tempted them, and the carnal mind was born. Satan is the father of the carnal mind.
Romans 8:5-7 - "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Two Natures: The Flesh And The Spirit
When you receive the Holy Ghost (i.e., Acts 2), a new spiritual nature is born in you. Your old nature is carnal and worldly, but your new man, or new creature, is "Christ in you, the hope of glory," (Colossian 1:27). Starve the old nature. Feed the new nature.
Romans 8:8-10 - "They that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
New Birth: Death, Burial, Resurrection
We cannot become a new creature by thought alone. A change of heart or mind does not constitute new birth. Jesus was born again by dying and resurrecting: Death-Burial-Resurrection. We must also die (repenting of our sins), be buried (by water baptism in Jesus' name), and be resurrected (by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost as in Acts 2).
Romans 8:11 - "...if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
To "quicken" is to give life to something. The Spirit of Jesus Christ (the Holy Ghost) is the only power that can give you eternal life. If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ in him, the Bible says "he is none of His." Paul instructed the Ephesians to "be filled with the Spirit."
Romans 8:11 - "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
The Holy Ghost Will Resurrect Our Mortal Bodies
Paul said there are terrestrial bodies and celestial bodies (I Corinthians 15:40). Our earthly bodies will return to the earth - ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The angels will escort our heavenly bodies into the presence of God. However, our earthly bodies must be resurrected when Jesus returns, because we will need earthly bodies during Jesus' 1000-year earthly kingdom.
Romans 8:11 - "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
I was fortunate as a young man to participate in the Texas All-State Choir. Our 200-voice choir was accompanied by a 200-piece band and a 250-piece orchestra before an audience of 7000. The Czechoslovakian conductor led the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to a majestic grand finale and a standing ovation. Not one musician performed his own agenda! One script was led by one man. God would conduct our lives even more beautifully!
Romans 8:14 - "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
We Cry "Abba, Father"
Jesus came to baptize every believer with the Holy Ghost (Luke 3:16). "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" (Luke 12:50). Why was Holy Ghost baptism His priority? "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." The Holy Ghost is "the Lord from Heaven," (1 Corinthians 15:47). "Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Abba means "father").
Romans 8:16-17 - "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
Our present sufferings do not compare to the glories we will discover if we are faithful to God. What an infinitesimal speck our labors are, compared to the eternal joys and wonders our Creator has planned. "It will be worth it all," must be the biggest understatement of all time. What is sickness, disease, heartache, poverty or death compared to the eternal glories of God's heaven?
Romans 8:18 - "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
Groaning For The Redemption Of Our Body
We are compelled to yearn for the day when, as children of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, ALL the sons of God will manifest together in the presence of Christ. What a glorious jubilee when all the saints shall gather within eye-shot of the Lord of Glory. O Lord Jesus! Come and take us into Your Majestic Presence!
Romans 8:22-23 - "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, ...we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Spiritual Adoption: The Coming Redemption Of Your Body
Jesus told Nicodemus, "you must be born again," of water and of Spirit. Born-again believers are legitimate sons of God. Why then, do we need to be adopted? Because our mortal nature remains unchanged. The sinful carnal man with his carnal mind never changes. God has to adopt our old bodies as they are. Only our new creature is genuinely born of God. When the trumpet sounds, God will miraculously transform our mortal bodies to immortal, our corruptible to incorruptible. Adoption redeems the old body.
Romans 8:23 - "...waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Cryptology or cryptography is the study of secret codes. A noted cryptographer said "cryptography is about communication in the presence of adversaries." Is it any wonder then that God provides encrypted language for believers to communicate with Him, indecipherable to Satan? Those who are baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in unknown tongues are praying encrypted prayers.
Romans 8:26 - "...the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
The Holy Ghost Makes Intercession For The Saints
I first received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues when I was eleven years old. For almost fifty years I have been praying in tongues.
Praying in the Spirit enables me to communicate with God in an indescribable way. Every person needs the Holy Ghost Baptism.
Romans 8:26-27 - "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. ...because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
Divine Destiny: ALL Things Work Together For Good
If you truly love God, and have obeyed the call of God to fulfill His purpose, then you are being guided by divine destiny. "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." EVERYTHING in your life is guided by the foreknowledge and predestination of God. Even your worst enemies are helping you. Remember that Calvary seemed like a defeat, but it was actually a great victory!
Romans 8:29 - "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son."
Predestined To Be Called, Justified, And Glorified
While we move sequentially and chronologically along the line of time, time is but a speck in God's eternity. He sees the past, present and future simultaneously in static timelessness. Everyone is predestined according to His foreknowledge of our response to His Word and His Spirit. Whoever He predestinates, He calls into His kingdom. If He calls you, He will also justify you to stand before Him. At last, He will glorify you.
Romans 8:30 - "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
If God Is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?
Since God in His infinite foreknowledge foreordains both our calling and our justification, we can conclude that if God is for us, nobody can be against us! If we live by obedient faith in God, then God is for us, and our destiny cannot be rerouted by any enemy. Nobody but you can betray your destiny.
Romans 8:31,33-34 - "If God be for us, who can be against us? ...Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ... who also maketh intercession for us."
The Inseparable Love Of Christ
God's love toward us can never be intercepted or obstructed.
Romans 8:35-39 - "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Israel: Repository Of A Prophetic Agenda
Israel is God's chosen line of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. The very revelation of God to mankind was routed through Israel. Israel was the mother of Jesus Christ through Mary, and Judaism was the seed-bed of Christianity. Now, Israel is fulfilling a prophesied role in world events which will culminate with Jesus' physical return to Jerusalem.
Romans 9:4-5 - "...to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came."
I Could Wish Myself Accursed For My Brethren
Being as it were, a blue-blooded Jew, Paul deeply yearned to convert his brethren to the Gospel of Christ. "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren." Paul might have prayed incessantly for them all, but he realized that because of their hard hearts, many Jews after the flesh were not Jews after the Spirit. Only some would believe.
Romans 9:6-7 - "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children."
Jacob - The Heel-Grabber
The birth of Isaac's twins was ominous. Jacob came from the womb grabbing the heel of the firstborn, Esau. Jacob's name means "supplanter; one who usurps or takes the place of another." In time, Jacob did supplant Esau, buying his birthright for a bowl of beans, then tricking his father to lay hands on him for the family blessing. His strong desire for the birthright, which included God's covenants with Abraham and Isaac, impressed God, despite his unscrupulous methods.
Romans 9:13 - "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."
God Has Every Prerogative To Do As He Pleases
We may not understand God's reasoning, but we must accede to His sovereignty. He has exclusive rights to everything He has created. Before you file another complaint against God, remember that He does ALL things well (Matthew 7:37). Despite the fact that Hagar bore Ishmael to Abraham, God said, "Sara shall have a son." And although firstborn children always had priority, God told Rebecca (concerning Esau and Jacob), "the elder shall serve the younger."
Romans 9:15 - "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Say Not, "Why Hast Thou Made Me Thus?"
Divine election is a great enigma that has challenged theologians for centuries. Whether or not you understand how or why God chooses His elect before they are born, the incontrovertible truth is that He does. I am persuaded that the election is not made by arbitrary prejudice, but by omniscient foreknowledge. Why question your destiny? Submit wholly and trust God.
Romans 9:20-21 - "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"
Vessels Of Wrath, Vessels Of Mercy
Paul speculated that God would endure, with much longsuffering, the unbelief of Israel, "the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction," while simultaneously revealing "the riches of His Glory on the vessels of mercy. ...not of the [believing] Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" He quoted Hosea, saying, "I will call them my people, which were not my people; ...in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."
Romans 9:30 - "The Gentiles, ...have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith."
A Stumblingstone And A Rock Of Offence
If they had acknowledged that Jesus was God incarnate, He would have been their Cornerstone. But in rejecting Him, He became their stumblingstone. Isaiah had prophesied of Messiah, "He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, ...And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken," (8:14-15).
Romans 9:31-32 - "Israel, ...hath not attained to the law of righteousness. ...Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone."
My Prayer To God Is That Israel Might Be Saved
Paul knew from his upbringing in the Temple that the people of Israel "have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." He knew that they sought to obtain the blessings of God by the works of the law, but had not realized that they could only attain by believing in Jesus. With prayer and strong desire, Paul determined to preach Christ to them.
Romans 10:1,4 - "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. ...For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
The Word Is Nigh Thee, Even In Thy Mouth
Moses said that you can attain to righteousness by the law IF you do everything in the law. But there is a problem. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all," James 2:10. If you hope to become righteous, you must find another way. Begin by speaking the word of faith in Jesus and His Gospel.
Romans 10:6,8 - "The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, ...The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach."
Call Upon The Name Of The Lord
"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." That verse CANNOT override Jesus' requirements. "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," John 3:5. Both verses work together. Repent (Luke 13:3). Be baptized (Acts 2:38). Receive the Holy Ghost (John 7:39).
Romans 10:13 - "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Truth lies latent in the pages of a book until the preacher opens his mouth and preaches the Word of the Lord. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe," I Corinthians 1:21. Preacher, preach the Word!
Romans 10:17 - "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
I Will Move Them To Jealousy And Provoke Them To Anger
God revealed Himself to the world through Israel. But God foresaw Israel rejecting Him, and prophesied that Gentiles would preach to them. "They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; ...I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation," Deuteronomy 32:21.
Romans 10:18,21 - "Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. ...All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."
Sometimes Our Prayers Are Wrong In Facts And Motives
Paul warned the Gentiles, newly come into the Church, not to pray against the Jews. "Has God cast away His people? God forbid." "I also am an Israelite!" He and the infant Church were all Jews! When Elijah "made intercession to God AGAINST Israel," for their abominations, God reminded him that He still had 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Take care that your prayers are not based on wrong facts or motives.
Romans 11:3 - "Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life."
A Remnant According To The Election Of His Grace
God has always perpetuated at least a small remnant of believers in every generation. That is a bigger miracle than most people realize. Israel's unbelief should have driven them to extinction, but God would not allow that. The same is true with the Church. God is gracious. He always identifies and elects a remnant in whose earthen vessels He can place His precious treasures. If you are in right standing with God today, it is because of the election of His grace.
Romans 11:5 - "At this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Saved By Grace; Works Are Insufficient Funds
If you want to earn your salvation with good works, you should give up now. Nothing in this world can pay for eternity. Nothing has enough value. Either you will be saved by the grace of God, or you will not be saved. Righteous works cannot purchase salvation, but are gifts given in loving obedience to honor and glorify the Lord. God will reward us additionally for our works.
Romans 11:6 - "If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace."
The Coming Fulness Of Israel
God cut off Israel because of their long-term rejection of Him. In its place, He raised up the Gentile Church. But the story has not ended yet. God will soon raise up both the Church and Israel to stand together in the millennial kingdom of Christ. That will be the most glorious day!
Romans 11:11-12 - "Through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?"
I Magnify My Office
From the very beginning of his conversion under the tutelage of Ananias, Saul (Paul) understood clearly that Jesus Christ was sending him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. That calling was extraordinary. Not another man on earth held a more significant station in the early Church. If every man who is called of God would magnify his office (his God-ordained station in life) as Paul did, many more multitudes would certainly be saved. Magnify your office.
Romans 11:13 - "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office."
Holy Batter, Holy Root
If you are making bread, you must start with good dough. The batter must contain the proper ingredients and be prepared correctly. Otherwise, your bread will be a failure, and the hungry will not be fed. If you are growing a fruit tree, you must start with a good root. Otherwise, you may never have fruit. That is why we must be grafted into Christ. No other root can give us life. No other bread can satisfy.
Romans 11:16 - "If the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches."
Natural Branches (Cut Off), Alien Branches (Grafted In)
Because of their persistent sins, God cut off Israel from divine favor, like cutting a branch from a tree. Simultaneously, God grafted in alien branches from the Gentile Church. God can cut anybody off, or graft anybody in.
Romans 11:21,24 - "If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. ...For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?"
The Goodness And Severity Of God
Do not think that you are better because you believe in Jesus Christ, while the Jews reject Him. You may think, "The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in." But unbelief broke them off, and faith saved you. If you become an unbeliever, you will be broken off, too. "For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee."
Romans 11:22 - "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off."
Israel Blind Until The Fullness Of The Gentiles Comes
Here are two watershed prophecies in one statement. 1. Israel will be blind (not recognizing Jesus as Messiah) until the fullness of the Gentiles has come. 2. The fullness of the Gentiles will occur immediately before all Israel is saved (when Jesus returns).
Romans 11:25-27 - "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."
Enemies, Yet Beloved
A curious circumstance occurred when Israel rejected Christ and the Gentiles believed. The Jews became the enemies of the Gospel, as well as enemies of all those who believed it (the Church). Nevertheless, apostate Jews cannot escape their divine destiny. Jesus will return, and they will look upon Him whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10), and finally believe that He is their Savior and God.
Romans 11:28-29 - "Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
The Gifts And Callings Of God Are Without Repentance
When the Jews rejected Jesus, God turned His mercy toward the Gentiles (even while we were unbelievers). God will again show mercy to the Jews, even while they remain in unbelief, "for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." God does not take away your gifts or your calling when you fail. He still wants to redeem you.
Romans 11:32-33 - "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments!"
Present Your Bodies A Living Sacrifice
Your body is worthless to God if you will not cease having your selfish, carnal, worldly ways. Paul warned that God cut off the natural branches (the Jews) because they failed to conform to His will. God can just as easily cut off Gentiles (you or me). Crucify your flesh. Begin by verbally consecrating everything you have and everything you are to Him. We must decrease. Jesus must increase.
Romans 12:1 - "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
Think Soberly, Having Faith
Every petition we make of God is determined by the frame of our heart. Every man's relationship with God is affected by his mindset. If you are carnal, worldly, selfish, egotistical, etc., your prayers and communion with God takes on a misguided essence. The prayers of a misguided man are different than those of a man who has sober faith.
Romans 12:3 - "I say, ...to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
The Motive Gifts
Different members within the body of Christ are motivated differently. "All members have not the same office." Among the saints are gifts of Prophecy, Ministry (Serving), Teaching, Exhorting, Giving, Ruling, and Showing Mercy.
Romans 12:6-8 - "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness."
Pray Continually Without Ceasing
Paul listed over two dozen admonitions to the saints in Rome. At the heart of them came this: "Continuing instant in prayer." Similarly, he charged the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing," (I Thessalonians 5:17). Combining both admonitions, they say of prayer, "Continue... without ceasing." Is that really possible? Can a person actually pray "continually" and "without ceasing"? Try it! EVERY time you find yourself idle, start praying! Pray every possible moment. You will be amazed at the results.
Romans 12:11-12 - "...fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer."
Bless Them Which Persecute You, And Curse Not
Noah blessed Shem and Japheth. Melchizedek blessed Abraham. Isaac blessed Jacob. Jacob blessed his sons. Many other saints blessed their descendants. But here is a surprise: When Pharaoh received Jacob and his family into Egypt, Jacob blessed Pharaoh, King of Egypt! We can afford to bless even those who may oppress us. Why? Because ALL things work together for the good of God's called and chosen (Romans 8:28). Even your enemies bless you, because God is still in control. You do not need to curse your enemies.
Romans 12:14 - "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not."
Rejoice With The Rejoicers, Weep With The Weepers
God did not create us to live solitary lives isolated from the family of God. "God setteth the solitary in families," Psalm 68:6. He tells us to bear one another's burdens, and share with others in their victories and defeats. When two or three join together, whether in celebrations or in supplications, God comes into their midst. And when God is there, anything can happen. Set a miracle into motion today by showing someone that you care. It is a privilege with many rewards.
Romans 12:15 - "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
Instructions In Righteousness
Let your love be sincere, unfeigned. Hate evil things. Cling tenaciously to good things. Be kind, show brotherly love and honor others. Do not be lazy in business. Be fervent. Serve the Lord. Hope with joy. Be patient in tribulation. Help the saints who are in need. Be hospitable. Treat people equitably. Do not seek to be "big time." Be comfortable with humble people. Do not proudly think that you are smarter than others. Do not seek vengeance. Deal honestly with everyone.
Romans 12:18 - "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Overcome Evil With Good
These instructions seem illogical at first glance. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him. If he thirst, give him drink." This verse does not promise that you can always appease an enemy, or even disarm him. But in treating him kindly, you will "heap coals of fire on his head." Perhaps this means that you will either melt him into repentance, or ascertain his condemnation.
Romans 12:19,21 - "Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord ...Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
The Higher Powers
Every soul must submit to the higher powers. There are no powers but of God. All are ordained of God. If you resist, you resist the ordinance of God, and will receive damnation. "Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil." If you do good, they will praise you.
Romans 13:4 - "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."
Along with the divine principle of submitting to the authority of higher powers comes the obligation to pay tribute (taxes) to the same. Jesus paid taxes, and instructed His followers to "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's."
Romans 13:5-7 - "Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."
Love Is The Fulfilling Of The Law
The primary laws (against adultery, murder, theft, lying, covetousness, etc.) can easily be kept if you will merely love your neighbor as yourself. If you love people as you should, you will not behave in an immoral way with them, murder them, steal from them, lie to them, or covet what they have. People who love everyone simply do not break the law.
Romans 13:8,10 - "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. ...Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
The Night Is Far Spent, The Day Is At Hand
Atheists and non-believers sense no urgency for right living. But God-fearing people know that judgment is fast approaching, and prepare.
Romans 13:11-13 - "Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying."
Receive Weak Ones Without Disputes Or Judgments
To the best of our abilities, we should accommodate even those who are weakest in faith, and not embroil ourselves in trivial disputes with them. If one eats meat and another is a vegetarian, respect both and do not judge, despise or reject either one. Let God be the judge, and let His judgment have precedence over yours.
Romans 14:1,4 - "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. ...Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. ...God is able to make him stand."
Whatever You Do, Do As Unto The Lord, Giving Thanks
Some Christians observe various practices which are not universal. Some observe certain holidays, while others do not. Some eat certain foods, while others do not. Only the Lord can judge these practices, because each person feels he is doing what he does as unto the Lord.
Romans 14:6 - "He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."
Every Knee Shall Bow, Every Tongue Shall Confess To God
Before you engage in judging another person, remember that "none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. ...whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Nobody needs your judgment. God's judgment is already in force, and everyone answers to Him.
Romans 14:10-11 - "Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
Every One Of Us Shall Give Account Of Himself To God
The certainty and the solemnity of the coming Day of Judgment should have the utmost bearing on all our living. It is not good enough that you or I should be concerned about saving our own souls. We should also do our part to save others. First, we must stop judging others, and take care that we do nothing to cause anyone to stumble or fall. We must not destroy weaker ones. We should carefully judge ourselves before we stand before the Righteous Judge.
Romans 14:12 - "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Meats, No Longer Unclean
"I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself." Paul dismissed the Old Testament teachings which forbad the eating of certain "unclean" meats, "which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving ...For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer," 1 Timothy 4:3-5. Nevertheless, we must not offend those who still abstain.
Romans 14:14 - "But to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean."
Destroy Not The Work Of God
Jesus died in agony for everyone. If we recklessly offend His little ones after He paid so great a price for their souls, we are not walking in the love of Christ. Do not cause His good to come to evil. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Stand for what is right, but avoid destroying a hungry soul in the process.
Romans 14:20 - "For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence."
Whatsoever Is Not Of Faith Is Sin
Do not condemn yourself by doing things that might be sinful. If you are doubtful, don't do it. If you cannot be sure whether you can do a thing without sinning, then forbid yourself. You will condemn yourself if you do a thing without having complete faith that God approves.
Romans 14:22-23 - "Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
These Things Were Written Aforetime For Our Learning
We should help those who are weak in faith, even if it means that we will not be able to please ourselves. That is what Jesus did. The prophets prophesied that Jesus would bear the reproaches that wicked men heaped on God. Knowing that Christ's sufferings were foreordained, we can take comfort in the fact that our sufferings are also foreordained - known of God - and that He will see us through those times of sacrifice.
Romans 15:4 - "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."
Joy Comes From Hope
Hopelessness and joy are incompatible. They cannot co-exist. For years I wondered what exactly was the root of joy. I now know that it is hope. Joy and hope are inseparable. Without hope, joy is lost. With hope, joy is gained. Where does hope come from? It comes from the comfort of the scriptures. There is a word from the Lord pertaining to every problem. Knowing that God has everything under control and will meet every need gives me hope. And that gives me joy.
Romans 15:4 - "...that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."
In Genesis 17:11, God told Abraham, "...ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you." For all the centuries to follow, Jewish males were circumcised in the foreskin of their flesh to confirm their covenant relationship with God. The ultimate purpose of circumcision was to validate lineage; that Messiah was descended from Abraham. After Jesus Christ, circumcision became unnecessary.
Romans 15:8 - "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers."
In Him Shall The Gentiles Trust
Paul showed that Messiah was prophesied to rule the Gentiles.
Romans 15:9-12 - "That the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written [Psalm 18:49], For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith [Deuteronomy 32:43], Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again [Psalm 117:1], Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias [11:10] saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust."
The Minister Of Jesus Christ To The Gentiles
Paul blessed the saints in Rome, and expressed his satisfaction that they were "full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." But he boldly reminded them "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost." The man of God emphasized his indispensable, irreplaceable role as their minister.
Romans 15:19 - "Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; ...I have fully preached the gospel of Christ."
They That Have Not Heard Shall Understand
Paul was compelled to preach in places where they had never heard the Gospel, "lest I should build upon another man's foundation." He had a prophetic motive: "As it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand," (Isaiah 52:15). Ministers should resist the temptation to preach only in established Churches. Go into all the world and preach.
Romans 15:22 - "For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. But now having no more place in these parts, ...I will come to you."
Spain - Destination Never Reached
Twice, Paul told the Romans that he would see them again. "Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you." Paul obviously planned to take the Gospel to Spain, but history provides no evidence that he ever went. You may have your own big plans, and assume they are God's will, but don't be surprised if He sends you elsewhere.
Romans 15:28-29 - "When therefore I have performed this, ...I will come by you into Spain. And I am sure that... I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ."
With One Mind, One Mouth, Glorify God, Pray Together
Paul admonished the saints to pray and worship together as one. "Be likeminded one toward another... That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God... Rejoice, ...with his people. ...and laud him, all ye people." When you are in the company of brothers and sisters, lift your voices together to glorify God in one mind and one mouth. Also pray aloud in heartfelt agreement with your saintly brothers and sisters - at home, as well as in the Church.
Romans 15:30 - "For the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, ...strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."
Three Worthy Prayer Requests
In his epistle to the Romans, Paul begged them to join together in prayer for him. He had three special prayer requests. 1. That he would be delivered from those who do not believe. 2. That his ministry would be accepted by the saints. 3. That God would allow him to rejoin them and that they all would be revived. We would do well to pray for the same things, namely: 1. Deliverance from enemies. 2. Success in the ministry according to the will of God. 3. Daily renewal.
Romans 15:32-33 - "That I may... with you be refreshed."
Phebe, Our Sister
Paul commended Phebe, saying, "she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also." The final footnote in Romans added, "...written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea." Paul urged the saints at Rome to receive Phebe when she came bearing this immortal document. This precious "minor" Bible character hand-delivered to us Paul's epistle to the Romans. Never underestimate your role in the kingdom.
Romans 16:2 - "That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you."
Mark Them Who Deviate From The Doctrine, And Avoid Them
Paul bid farewell to dozens of saints by name, and gave terse warnings to identify and avoid everyone who caused divisions contrary to the doctrines he had taught them. Correct doctrine is paramount. These "dividers" sound really good, but their hearts are evil and they deceive the unsuspecting.
Romans 16:17-18 - "I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."
God Shall Bruise Satan Under Your Feet Shortly
Paul reminded the saints at Rome that God has the "power to stablish you," according to the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel message works, "according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets." The bulk of Paul's messages were based on the revelations of the prophets that he found in the scriptures. Knowing the prophetic message enables us to understand and believe in our ultimate victory.
Romans 16:20 - "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."
To God Be Glory Through Jesus Christ
Paul finished his epistle to the Romans by blessing a number of saints who were dear to him. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." Then he gave glory to God. The best way to end every conversation is to bless the Lord.
Romans 16:25-27 - "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, ...which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, ...made known to all nations... To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever."
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