Archive for June, 2012

Romans 5:19 (12–21) “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Paul emphasizes again the importance of understanding that there is only one way to be saved from the judgment to come, one way and one way only.

So he explains again that just as sin entered into the world by one man Adam (who represents the human race) salvation comes through one man Jesus (who represents the saved). This salvation doesn’t save us from suffering in this life; sin is too much in control for us to be able to avoid that.

But the difference between Adam and Jesus is that although because of Adam we are all automatically sinners, through Jesus we’re not all automatically saved. What I mean is that we must want to be saved and then make that decision. Jesus did not come to save those who don’t want it.

This was Moses’ problem, when he left Egypt, he left with all the Jews whether they wanted to go or not. Jesus is not making that mistake. To be saved you have to want it enough to make the decision to accept what He has done for you and change.

Wisdom involves recognizing and rejecting my natural inclination to explain away what I know to be true.

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June 28.12 ethot

Romans 5:1 (1–11) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we take that step of faith (trusting that He will keep His promise to keep us from the day of judgment) our relationship with God changes.

Yes, we actually have a relationship with God, even if we don’t believe He exists. Until we make a decision to be reconciled to Him our relationship with Him is not good. He will send us to where we want to go, as far away from Him as possible, Hell, if that is our desire.

But we have an opportunity now (as long as we have breath) to change the relationship and make it what it should always have been, a parent child relationship. I want to be able to burry my face in His chest when I need to cry out loud. I need Him to shout for joy with me when I win. And, when I need help I want to hear Him say, I’ve been watching you and know exactly what you need… here.

Yet, this faith (trust) is not blind. Our faith is actually based on the evidence of the faith of others. This is partly what Paul was trying to do, show how on the basis of how God has treated others (Abraham) He will treat me, Romans 4. So my faith isn’t blind in any way.

Faith involves acting on the knowledge that our trust on His name will keep us on the Day of Judgment.

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June 27.12 ethot

Romans 4:7 & 8 (1–25) “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.

Paul here argues that the sin that the Law reveals in our lives was covered over by the blood of Jesus for those who believe that it can save them from the ultimate judgment to come.

In the same way that Abraham believed that although he and his wife Sarah were way too old to have a child (4:18–21), yet he would have one because God said so, we are believers. So, the only thing we do is to believe (trust that the promise of God will be fulfilled at the appropriate time).

Just as there was nothing Abraham could do to be considered just before God (circumcision), there is nothing we can do (sacraments, baptism, fasting, waking on your knees). Only One was able to fulfill the essence of Law and He is now my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God.

Faith involves acting on the knowledge that our trust on His name will keep us on the Day of Judgment.

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Romans 3:31 (19–31) “Do we then nullify the Law through faith?  May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

Again, although the Jews occupy a special place in God’s heart, it does nothing for them in the way of salvation, 3:23.

Paul clearly states that the purpose of the Law was to first show the Jew where they were wrong, and then the rest of us. The Law helps us to understand what is right and wrong behavior, but it can’t make us obey it.

Obedience is a decision we make on our own, hopefully with the aide of a well-founded resource like the Law, 3:20. The decision to believe that that Law will help me be the person I need to be is a step of faith I take.

I state it that way only so that we will understand that our faith is based on our trust in God’s promise, His word that He will save us from the Day of Judgment. The Law is equally His word and trusting the principals of the Law will help us become the kind of people God originally intended us to be, on this earth.

Obedience involves acting on the light that God has shown you.

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Romans 3:2 (1–20) “that they were entrusted with the oracles of God;

Although the Jews had for all practical purposes turned their backs on God they still maintained a special place in the mind of God.

For whatever reason God choose to use the Jews to bring to all mankind a way to verbally verify knowledge of their creator. Remember that in Psalm 19 David first reminds us that God has spoken about Himself in nature (the creation as we know it) and then has also spoken about Himself in the words of the Law.

Everything we need to know about God and what He requires of us can be found in those first five books of the Bible. Those writings come to us through the Jews. So they are a very important people both to God and to us.

Although this position won’t save them from personal, individual judgment it doesn’t nullify the fact that they hold a special place with God and this is also evident because God still has work for them to do in the Great Tribulation and Millennium.

Wisdom involves recognizing how God is using my story to influence the lives of others.

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Romans 2:25 (17–29) “For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law;

Paul now reminds the Jew that although they thought they had a special relationship with God, they had rendered it of no value because they didn’t actually value that relationship.

Their observance of the Law (the Ten Commandments) was purely external and legalistic to their own advantage in their dealings with fellow Jews and gentiles, let alone God. They failed to understand the purpose of the Law and so weren’t able to completely obey it.

Remember that the Law (Genesis to Deuteronomy) was originally to a people who had for 400 years become more Egyptian than Jew. An essential part of the Law’s function was to get them back into looking at themselves as official representatives of God on this earth, they needed to learn how God’s servants were to look and act and why.

Today, good churches set up good rules and regulations not so much to define themselves, but to insure they don’t forget whom it is representing in this world, 2:24. All of us are tempted to become legalistic observers of any law when we fail to remember our purpose.

Wisdom involves recognizing how God is using my story to influence the lives of others.

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June 21.12 ethot

Romans 2:3 (1–16) “But do you suppose this, …that you will escape the judgment of God?

Yesterday we looked at the first reason why he Gospel is needed, man’s rebellion against the rule of the God who made him. The second need for the Gospel is the judgment of God.

When we look at the creation we wonder at its beauty and also how it all seems to work together for each other’s benefit and this is no accident, it was designed. Therefore nature follows that order.

Yet, man is not just a natural being (subject to natural law), he is a moral being (Genesis 1:27) and subject to another set of rules that nature doesn’t have to, 2:14 & 15, Psalm 19:7–12. It is this part of his nature man has determined to ignore and rather become like the dumb animal an unmoral being.

No man will escape the judgment of God. All men are subject to it and no matter how dumb we try to be, thinking that it is a way to escape, it is not the answer; the Gospel is.

Wisdom involves recognizing and rejecting my natural inclination to explain away what I know to be true.

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June 20.12 ethot

Romans 1:24 (16–32) “Therefore God gave them over…

In 1:16–17 Paul declares he’s not ashamed of the Gospel. In 1:18–32 Paul explains why the Gospel is needed.

The first reason is because man has determined to ignore God even though all of creation is, unashamedly, stamped in His image. Everything in the creation points to only one conclusion, that it was all made by the same person, the God of the Bible.

Psalm 19:1–6 repeats the premise of Genesis 1:1, that nature tells us there was a beginning for us, which was determined by God. Mans life is only as complicated as he wants to make it, 1:24. It’s kind of interesting that what the ridiculous theory of evolution has succeeded in producing is a desire for alien intervention.

We naturally reject the idea that we were and are and always will be an accident. But since we don’t want to go back to God (1:21), we’ve now come up with the idea that all which God did was just done by others like us? Our fear is that we are alone in the universe and we’re not, God is here and calling to us, if we would just stop and listen, Psalm 19.

Humility involves understanding how ease it is to fool myself into thinking I am God.

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Romans 1:17 (1–17) “But the righteous man shall live by faith.

Paul finally visits Corinth and from there has the time to write to the church at Rome, which he had not visited although had intended to, 1:13. His letter to them was intended to introduce himself and prepare them for his eventual arrival. When you look at the end of this letter you’ll see that he already knew many of its members from having worked with them in the past.

So, Paul wants to make sure they understand where he stands, doctrinally (what he believes), and where they should be as well.

What caught my eye this morning was that Paul quotes from Habakkuk. Habakkuk was a minor prophet before Nebuchadnezzar invaded Israel. The focus of his message was to explain to his people why God would use such an evil nation to punish them.

Their pride in being the chosen nation of God had gotten in the way of being faithful to that God. But the man who stands right (righteous) before God does so in his trust that his God will keep him on any day of wrath. So, it’s interesting to me that although Paul wrote the letter primarily to a gentile church he pokes at the Jewish pride from which they still suffered.

Humility involves understanding how easy it is to deceive ourselves into thinking that there are things we do and don’t deserve.

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2 Corinthians 13:11 (1–14) “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete,

When I read this mornings verse it reminded me of this other verse, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials”, James 1:2–4. We usually think of the trials, which James here talks about as, things that happen to us and not as something I do to myself.

Like James, Paul goes on to say that the trial will produce in us maturity. May I suggest that we need to constantly look at whatever is a trial in our lives today and also use it as an examination of where we are today in our spiritual development to the end of becoming, as Paul says “complete”.

Peter suggests for us some practical steps we can use in that self-examination, 2 Peter 1:3–11. Here Peter also emphasizes the importance of believers being diligent in that self-testing process, 2 Peter 1:10.

Alertness is not just to danger. It involves paying attention to opportunities God presents for real change, right now.

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