Archive for March 2013

Romans 2:3-4

Over the last few verses we have talked about how we are all sinners. All of us have made terrible choices and violated God’s perfection. So, for us to feel a silly sense of superiority and condescension because we do not participate in the same sin as another is ridiculous.

Paul asks in these verses if his reader thinks God will overlook this type of judgmental attitude. He asks how dare we assume we deserve God’s mercy? Then, Paul asks this question… “Do you not know that the mercy of God is designed to lead you to repentance?

We are so arrogant in life. We make these terrible choices and violate God’s law, God mercifully forgives us, and we proudly think we are great because at least we do not sin the way that other guy does. How warped is that. God’s mercy should lead us to humble repentance, but instead we are proud and pretentious.

Romans 2:3-4   Do you suppose, O man- you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself- that you will escape the judgment of God?  4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Published on March 1, 2013 at 1:07 am |

Romans 2:5-8

Over the next few days we will get into specifics of how God uses the Law to point us toward Him, but this passage explains the basic framework of eternal life and death.

God made a plan; he established a means of redemption for us. We reject His plan and try to follow our own. This is not a one-time rejection—it is a way of life. Our hearts are stubborn and proud. Paul tells us that each day we store up more wrath in judgment if we live in constant opposition to God.

God is a righteous judge. To those who have obeyed His plan, trusted Jesus, and have thus lived a life in obedience to God’s Word, there will be great rewards. On the other hand, for those who have rejected God and lived for themselves, there will be intense judgment.

Romans 2:5-8  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.  6 He will render to each one according to his works:  7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;  8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

Published on March 2, 2013 at 3:19 am |

Romans 2:9-11

In our culture everything is seen as subjective—many people believe there are no absolutes.  You often hear the phrase “Well, that is true for me.” God does not agree. There are absolutes—He instituted them. It is wrong to steal, it is wrong to cheat on your spouse, it is wrong to gossip, it is wrong to covet...

Now, we know that our eternal standing with God is not simply dependent upon our actions. Our standing is based on the work of Jesus in our lives. If we have turned to Jesus in repentance, Jesus changes our lives and we are no longer characterized by these wrong choices. If we have rejected God, we will epitomize these wrong choices.

God says there will be no quibbling—a life which reflects our belief in or rejection of God will result in tribulation or honor, distress or peace. You reap what you sow; this is an immutable law of God’s universe. God will judge without partiality. When Jesus walked the earth He used several analogies (sheep and goats, wheat and weeds) to demonstrate the clear delineation which will be made. God sees in black and white.  

 

Romans 2:9-11   There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Published on March 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm |

Romans 2:12-13

There is a large number of people (both inside and outside the visible church) who question whether God would judge someone who had never been exposed to the Law or made aware of the Gospel.Read more ...

Published on March 6, 2013 at 1:47 am |

Romans 2:14-16

Previously, (v.12) we saw that whether someone explicitly knows God’s Law or not, they will still be judged by the truth of it because we all know the basic tenets of God’s expectations—we have them written on our conscience. Today’s passage gives an example.Read more ...

Published on March 7, 2013 at 2:24 am |

Romans 2:17-21a

I recently read a very interesting book called Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne. His major point is that no one sets out to be a Pharisee. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day who spawned that modern colloquialism had good motives—they wanted to please God. The problem is that they were more focused on personal religious success than on pleasing God and serving people. So, they got off track.Read more ...

Published on March 9, 2013 at 4:33 am |

Romans 2:21-24

Really quick but poignant thought today: don’t be a hypocrite. None of us is Jesus. Each of us fails and lapses into sin. However, you do not want to be the reason that an unbeliever points to as his reason for ongoing disbelief. People outside the church love to point inward and say that churches are full of hypocrites…sadly, they are right.

Romans 2:21-24  While you preach against stealing, do you steal?  22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.  24 For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."

Published on March 10, 2013 at 1:44 am |

Romans 2:25-27

Part of the ultras-strict lifestyle for God’s people in Old Testament times was that all the baby boys had to be circumcised on their 8th day of life. This circumcision was supposed to be a distinctive sign of God’s people, but it became a colloquialism for being an active follower of all the outward aspects of the law. So, if someone said, “He is of the circumcision,” it would be equivalent to us saying, “He is a practicing, Orthodox Jew.”

Now, Paul makes the point that if you were to live the law perfectly, then the outward aspects of the Law would have some value. However, if you sin and break the Law (which we all do) the outward, ceremonial aspects of the Law are worthless.

In the same way, if your heart is right with God, the outward aspects—the “religion” if you will—are considered of value.

Though we do not follow the Law, the point for us is that outward manifestations of religion are only helpful if one’s heart is right with God. Do not get caught up in trying to impress people. God is your Judge.

 

Romans 2:25-27  25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.  26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?  27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.

Published on March 12, 2013 at 4:15 am |

Romans 2:28-29

Paul addresses the fact that the Jews of the day thought that they had cornered the market on belief in God—which was sort of true. The problem was that though they had been given many advantages (which we will discuss in great detail soon), they were not “good to go” simply by virtue of being Jewish.Read more ...

Published on March 13, 2013 at 4:14 am |

Romans 3:1-2

In his writings Paul uses several different literary devices often. One of his favorites is that he will anticipate a likely question from his readers, state it, and then answer it. Paul uses that technique here. He says, if all that ceremony has very little actual value, can we even say that the Jews have had any advantages? He answers, “yes, in many ways.” The first and foremost is that the Jewish people have been entrusted with the Scriptures.

We as Christians have the same sort of privilege/responsibility. We have God’s Word. We know God’s standards and expectations. Is it a huge advantage for us to be so aware of God’s plan and purpose for mankind.

 

Romans 3:1-2  Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?  2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

Published on March 15, 2013 at 2:52 am |

Romans 3:3-4

God’s plan for the salvation of mankind was run through a particular people group—the Jews. God used them to communicate His Word, and it was through them that God became one of us. Jesus was ethnically a Jew.Read more ...

Published on March 17, 2013 at 2:00 am |

Romans 3:5-8

Some would say that God is unrighteous to punish evil if He “benefits” (receives glory) from the evil. The thing to remember is that the evil in the world is a result of our purposeful choices. We choose to do evil; we decide to disobey. If and when God turns situations for good, He is by no means a participant in evil—His ability to judge righteously has not been compromised.Read more ...

Published on March 19, 2013 at 2:38 am |

Romans 3:9-10

Many people have the mistaken idea that God operates something like Lady Justice—all your actions get placed on a scale. If the good side outweighs the bad, you make it into heaven. In reality, one sin is enough to outweigh all the “good” you do for your whole life. God is perfect. You would have to be perfect to experience His presence in Heaven.

The problem is that we are not perfect. Each has failed. All of us are sinners. We are hopeless before God in terms of our own actions and decisions. Righteousness is fulfilling your obligations. Perfect righteousness would require that you did the right thing every time, in every situation for your entire life. Can anyone do that?

No, we are sinners—the lot of us—we have no hope outside of God’s mercy.

Romans 3:9-10  What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,  10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;

Published on March 20, 2013 at 3:04 am |

Romans 3:11-12

My wife and I used to watch a TV show the cast of characters of which included one guy who was a complete idiot and another who was a Harvard grad—a real intellectual. One day the moron asked the smart guy, “How are you doing?” Smart guy responded, “I am doing good.” The buffoon replied, “Nope, Superman does good. You are doing well.” The scholar stood there with his mouth agape—shocked that his grammar had been corrected by the dunce.Read more ...

Published on March 21, 2013 at 3:48 am |

Romans 3:13-18

The last several verses have made it clear that no one earns heaven on his own merit. There is no “good outweighs the bad” scenario. In verses 13-18 Paul drives home God’s point—we will miss Heaven by a lot. It is not close.

Think about the analogies used to describe unbelievers: the deceitful words spoken are as disgusting as rotting corpses. Their speech is poisonous—full of bitter cursing. They are eagerly violent. Their actions are ruinous. They make others miserable. They do not even know what peace is…that’s brutal! That is who we were. We were saved from that.

What is the difference? What changed for us that is not true of unbelievers? It is the fear of God. When one does not fear God, everything is subjective. If we do not fear God, we are our own ultimate standard. We become like the people in the time of the Judges--when every man did what was right in his own eyes.  That is a dangerous place.

Romans 3:13-18  13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."  14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."  15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;  16 in their paths are ruin and misery,  17 and the way of peace they have not known."  18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Published on March 22, 2013 at 3:40 am |

Romans 3:19-20

I once went swimming in a big lake. Out in the middle of the lake was a floating dock. Some buddies of mine and I decided to swim out to the dock. It was further out than we realized and we really started to tire as we got closer. When I was fairly close, I decided to take a deep breath and swim the rest of the way underwater. The water was murky, so I had my eyes closed. When I figured I was close, I tried to come up for air and to get my bearings, but to my horror I realized I had overshot and was stuck under the dock. Read more ...

Published on March 23, 2013 at 3:32 am |

Romans 3:21-22

In the Old Testament the unrighteousness of man is put into sharp focus by the impossibility of following the Law. The Law crushes men and produces despair. Man was made painfully aware of the righteousness of God because he was unable to meet God’s standard.

Then, however, God revealed His righteousness another way. Though mankind had heard of the righteousness of God through the Scriptures, God’s righteousness was revealed in a visual day-to-day kind of way through the life of Jesus. Jesus lived like God would…because He is God. If you want to know how God loves, look at Jesus. If you want to see how God gets angry, look at Jesus. If you want to see how God responds to His enemies, look at Jesus.

Most importantly, if you want to see how God gives His righteousness to us, look at the work of Jesus. Through Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death, the righteousness of God was made available to us. When we believe in the work of Jesus, we are made righteous before God.

 

Romans 3:21-22  But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-  22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. 

Published on March 26, 2013 at 1:59 am |

Romans 3:23

Certain aspects of humanity cross all racial, national, ethnic, political, and socioeconomic lines. Among these is a survival instinct, nurturing our young, love of music, etc. Foremost among these, though, is the fact that we are all sinners. God has a perfect standard, and we all miss it. The most common word for “sin” literally means “to miss the mark.”

There is no difference between Jews and Gentiles or any other people or person. Every single person is a sinner. We all need help because we are hopeless in our own strength.

For anyone to have hope, he must turn to Jesus.  

Romans 3:22-23  For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Published on March 27, 2013 at 3:43 am |

Romans 3:24

Every person has fallen short of God’s glory because we miss the mark, and it is only if we are justified by God’s grace that we can be restored to a proper relationship with God.Read more ...

Published on March 28, 2013 at 2:18 am |

Romans 3:25-26

God offered Jesus as a propitiation—which of course begs the question, what is a propitiation? The word is used only twice in Scripture, here and in Hebrews 9:5-- Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat.“Propitiation” and “mercy seat” are the same word.  Read more ...

Published on March 29, 2013 at 3:28 am |

Romans 3:27

Pride is something with which we all struggle in one way or another. It may be over different things (possessions, relationships, accomplishments, etc), it may manifest in different ways, and it may be in varying degrees, but we all face that battle. The gospel, however, leaves no place for pride.
Read more ...

Published on March 30, 2013 at 3:32 am |

Romans 3:28-31

We are justified, or declared to be right with God, totally apart from any works we can do. God has a perfect standard, but we cannot live up to it. So, for us to think we can work out our own salvation is crazy. With that being said, we find our hope in the work of Jesus. He fulfilled God’s standard, died for our sins, and made our salvation possible. When we trust in Him by faith, we are justified. God declares that our relationship with Him is fixed.Read more ...

Published on March 31, 2013 at 3:35 am |

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