Archive for April 2013

Romans 4:1-3

Quick thought tonight: Abraham is one of the great heroes of the Bible—God used him in amazing ways, but none of the great things Abraham did justified him in any way. The Bible is very clear in both the Old and New Testaments that Abraham was right with God because of his faith. Because Abraham believed God, God counted him righteous.Read more ...

Published on April 2, 2013 at 2:20 am |

Romans 4:4-5

Every other Friday I receive my pay from work via direct deposit. I never feel the need to thank anyone—I work hard for that money. I provide a significant amount of labor for my employer, and they compensate me accordingly. This is business—it is accepted and repeated the world over.Read more ...

Published on April 3, 2013 at 2:56 am |

Romans 4:6-8

There are certain things about Scripture which we will never know until such a time as God deems fit to clue us in. One of those things for me is just how much (if at all) certain Old Testament characters understood about God’s plan for the salvation of men. We know that Abraham was counted righteous because of his faith—David seems to have understood this concept at some level as well. In Psalm 32 he says that the man whose sins are forgiven is blessed. Paul quotes those words of David in this passage.Read more ...

Published on April 4, 2013 at 2:43 am |

Romans 4:9-13

Whether you grew up going to Sunday school or whether you are newer to studying the Bible, it is easy to read the Bible and start to wonder whether you out of luck since you are not a Jew (you know…if you aren’t one).Read more ...

Published on April 5, 2013 at 3:28 am |

Romans 4:14

 

God has promised throughout Scripture that He will bless those who believe Him by faith. However, there have always been those (in every era of history) who believe that their “good deeds” can justify then before God. The Pharisees proudly donned that mantle during Jesus’ lifetime. They thought that their strict adherence to the law of God would impress God so much that He would have to allow them into Heaven.Read more ...

Published on April 6, 2013 at 11:03 am |

Romans 4:15-16

When I was younger I had pretty decent potential as a basketball player…and I knew it. Most times when I played ball I won. When I played my older brother, however, I lost. Badly. Always. Every time. Many, many times I walked off the court gritting my teeth with tears burning in my eyes—my competitive fire blazing. Once, I overheard my mother ask my brother why he felt the need to be so hard on me. I do not remember the exact words he said, but it was something to the effect of “I want him to know how good he is not.”Read more ...

Published on April 9, 2013 at 3:06 am |

Romans 4:17-22

Abraham had been promised by God that he would be a father of nations. The problem was that he was not a father at all. His youth, prime, and middle age had all come and gone. He was into his twilight years, and his wife was too. Menopause was well in her rearview mirror. Children were an impossibility and Abraham’s wife knew it. Yet, Abraham stubbornly clung to the promise God had made him that he would be a father.Read more ...

Published on April 10, 2013 at 3:04 am |

Romans 4:23-25

God uses Abraham as an example for believers from every period of history. Abraham’s testimony will always be one of salvation by grace through faith.Read more ...

Published on April 13, 2013 at 3:43 am |

Romans 5:1

Because of everything we have been studying in the last chapter about having been justified by faith, we can finally have peace with God. This is only accomplished though, through the work of Jesus. Peace with God—have we been at war? In fact we have been.Read more ...

Published on April 15, 2013 at 3:12 am |

Romans 5:2

Jesus is the one who gained access for us into the presence of God. By making peace between God and men, Jesus granted us access to God’s grace. Symbolically, this was portrayed by the rending of the curtain in the Temple. When Jesus was on the cross, he “cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” That curtain separated worshippers in the Temple from the place where God resided. When Jesus fully finally fulfilled the law of God and gained us direct access to God, the curtain tore in two. Read more ...

Published on April 16, 2013 at 3:24 am |

Romans 5:3-5

When you start a new diet or workout regimen, you typically have some optimism. You start with a problem (the button on my jeans and the hole it is supposed to fasten into are several inches apart), and a goal (I want to fit into these jeans again). If you never see any results from the diet or workout program, you quit and buy new “fat jeans.” If, however, you see some early results, it is easy to gain steam. The more weight you lose, the harder you want to work to meet your goal.Read more ...

Published on April 17, 2013 at 2:52 am |

Romans 5:6

 

Someone recently asked me if I thought it was the right time for my wife and I to have another kid…who knows? It is now, right? When is the right time to buy a new car, switch jobs, get a dog, join a gym, or make any other life decision?  We never really know.Read more ...

Published on April 18, 2013 at 2:34 am |

Romans 5:7-8

I recently saw a news program about a teen girl who has a blood disorder. She needs several bone marrow transplants to survive. Because she has a rare blood type, donors who are a bloodtype match are few. There is a national registry of people who have been tested and have said that they are willing to donate if they are needed. There are over 250,000 people on the registry—6 are a match for this girl on the news program. However, when the six people were contacted and asked to donate two hours of their time to save this girl’s life, all six declined. Read more ...

Published on April 19, 2013 at 3:09 am |

Romans 5:9-10

This is the very heart of the gospel—the good news about Jesus. Jesus fixed our broken relationship with God in two ways: first He lived a perfect life and transferred His righteousness to us. Second, He took our sin on Himself and stood before God and received our punishment for us. For the three hours that Jesus hung on the cross, God poured perfect punishment down on Jesus. Jesus hung there, alone, and absorbed that punishment for you and me.Read more ...

Published on April 21, 2013 at 3:05 am |

Romans 5:11

The series we are preaching through at my church has dovetailed nicely this weekend with this study in Romans. Today in church we covered the death of Jesus on the cross. We really focused in on the triumphant declaration of Jesus—“It is finished.” What was finished? The entire work of Jesus was completed. He had lived a perfectly righteous life for us and died in our place. He added His righteousness to our account and subtracted our sin from our account thus balancing our spiritual equation.Read more ...

Published on April 22, 2013 at 2:53 am |

Romans 5:12

The next few verses will be an ongoing discussion of a theological concept called original sin. God created a perfect world and placed two perfect people in it. Adam and Eve lived perfectly in this perfect world for a time—no one knows exactly how long—until the day when everything changed. Adam and Eve were presented with a choice: they could continue to live perfectly in the perfect world God had made, or they could follow the direction of one of God’s other creations—Lucifer.Read more ...

Published on April 23, 2013 at 2:47 am |

Romans 5:13-14

 

The payment for sin is death (ch. 6 v. 23—we’ll get there soon). This was established very early in Scripture. This was at the very heart of the lies Satan told Adam and Eve. God had said that if they disobeyed, they would die. Satan said, “God is lying, you won’t die.” Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan rather than God. Read more ...

Published on April 24, 2013 at 4:01 am |

Romans 5:15-19

I have seen graphics, charts, analogies and illustrations to explain how far in debt the USA is. I believe it is something like 16 trillion dollars right now. I made no decisions to add to that. I did not get to spend any of that. Though the debt has grown in my lifetime, it was massive when I was born. Now, I am no economist, and I have no idea what the ultimate result of the USA’s indebtedness will be, but there is nothing I can do about it. Something must be done, but it is beyond me. I was born into it, but I do not have much hopeRead more ...

Published on April 26, 2013 at 2:25 am |

Romans 5:20-21

One sunny summer day I was in my back yard shooting hoops when my brother walked by and watched me shoot a few shots. He told me, “It’s time for you to change from shooting the ball like a little kid to shooting like an adult.” Now, those who know me know that I have never been especially good at taking criticism—even constructive criticism, so I resented his opinion about my from-the-waist flip technique. I slung another one straight into the bucket and saucily opined that my shot was just fine. He told me that might be true when I was in the backyard by myself, but I wouldn’t even be able to get a shot off with a defender present. He then said, “Here, I’ll show you. Try to get a shot off.” What happened next was a classic battle of the wills where I was too stubborn to give up, and he was too stubborn to let the lesson be over. Only God knows how many shots in a row he swatted before I angrily relented. He then patiently re-arranged my shooting form and told me to practice the right way. I angrily replied that I hated that way because it felt weird and I couldn’t make any shots that way. My brother then said something I have never forgotten-- “A lot of times things have to get worse before they can get better.”Read more ...

Published on April 27, 2013 at 3:49 am |

Romans 6:1-2

So, in the same way that sin used to reign in our lives, now the grace of Jesus is the dominant force. However, though Christ is gracious, we do not continue to live sinfully because we know God is gracious. That cannot be our way of life. We must strive to lead righteous, Godly lives. Read more ...

Published on April 28, 2013 at 3:24 am |

Romans 6:3-5

We often couch our salvation in terms like “live forever with Jesus” or “have everlasting life,” and while these terms are correct at some level, it is easy for us to miss one big point.Read more ...

Published on April 30, 2013 at 3:27 am |

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