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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

romans 3... Part 1

It is not difficult to see that the condition of man, in respect to God, is important in this chapter, Paul digs right into the subject matter. Once more it is important that we remember where the verses and chapters in the scriptures came from. That and the fact that this is a letter from Paul to the Roman Christians so this is still a continuous flow from the very beginning of chapter 1.

Rom 3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?
Rom 3:2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.

False Teachers and Ear Ticklers abound in this world today and one popular lie that is told and received, gleefully, by millions is that God has forsaken the Jewish People and that these, that believe, are the New Nation of Israel or that they are the replacements for the Jews. Remember that Paul spent three years with Jesus when he was in Asia Minor (Galatians) and here he adress' the issue before it ever reared it's ugly head.

Without the nation of Israel we would not have a Measuring Devise to stand against to see our Spiritual Condition. The Mosaic Law that people, even inside the Church, think so little of today is the device that tells us of our condition.

Rom 3:3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?
Rom 3:4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED."
Rom 3:5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)
Rom 3:6 May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?
Rom 3:7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?
Rom 3:8 And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), "Let us do evil that good may come"? Their condemnation is just.
Rom 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;
Rom 3:10 as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

Christians are oft thought to be fools for their belief and their understanding of the Bible. This, of course, is of no concern to the seasoned Christian. The very title, Christian, was meant to be an insult, meaning Little Christ. The first requirement to become a Christian is faith and faith comes from belief, belief that there is a God.

Faith is an essential part of this world and without it we could not progress. Without the faith that it could be done we could have no electric lights in our houses, no internal combustion engines to power our cars and remember the Bicycle Builders, the Wright Brothers? They were the goofiest of the lot... having faith in the idea that a man could fly... preposterous.

And yet in the end of it all we must take our mind's eye off ourselves and look at God to see our standing. The horrible news is that every single one of us, Jew and Gentile alike, fall short of the mark. None of us are what God designed us to be.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Romans 3... Part 3

Rom 2:17 But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

Rom 2:18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

Rom 2:19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

Rom 2:20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

Rom 2:21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

Rom 2:22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

Rom 2:23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? (ASV)

This is a point of scripture that I have lost more than one student on and once was even told that everybody couldn't be as holy as I was. There are few statements that anyone can make that hurt as much as that one did. My holiness is wrapped up in the fact that I have been set aside for service to my LORD and His Father. My only claim to righteousness is wrapped up in the Imputed Righteousness of Jesus, the Christ. The only difference between me and some Christians is that I have believed in my LORD and my Salvation and have sworn my life to His service. Because God loved me in spite of my many sins, I have, like the Jew of the Bible period, made myself His Bond Slave. I do not have my ear pierced by an Awl but I am just as bound.

Whether we be Jewish Christians or Gentile Christians, we must be careful not to make the mistakes of our fore-runners, the Jew by religion. These seven verses describe a condition of arrogance that is pure sin. The only important difference between a Cop Killer, on Death Row, and myself is that most of them will never call out to Jesus and I did. That places me, smack, in the middle of some very uncomfortable company except for Jesus.

These verses speak to the issue of Judgment also. This subject is a much misunderstood matter today in Christian circles. The problem here arises from several sources. First we have, far, to many Ear Tickling preachers in the pulpits and on Soap Boxes. (They fear the subject because of the next source.) Then we have the World and their skewed version of what Matthew 7:1 means. In Proverbs we learn a great deal about Wisdom and the fact that God has not called us to be foolish. i.e. If I see a man running from a Bank with a pistol, wearing a mask and carrying a sack of money, when he hails me for a ride I must Judge him right there and then. Failure to do so will make me dead or at best an Accomplice after the fact.

Now to the other extreme. We must judge when a brother or a sister in the faith has stumbled. What we are not called to do in this case is to shoot them so that nobody else will know about the shame that can befall a Christian. Rather than go there, we need to take this passage and learn to begin judging ourselves and to pick up a copy of the Nave's Topical Bible and do the Topic Study on Judgment.
The Matthew 7 verse is jerked from the context of the Sermon on the Mount and if we read the Sermon we learn that Jesus, our LORD was teaching us a few things to do and one of them is to judge righteously, the same way that we wish to be judged. This is a touchy subject that deserves a great deal more study than we generally are willing to commit ourselves to do.


Rom 2:25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

Rom 2:26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Rom 2:27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.

Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (NASB)

As much as the world hates Christians and loves to misuse Matthew 7:1, to silence us, our Manifesto, this letter to the Romans demands that we not be foolish. When I was a young Atheist, I was a foolish young man. i.e. We had just disengaged from a fire fight to keep as much fire as possible away from the Huey landing in the rice paddy to pick up the pilot and crewchief that had been shot down. As we disengaged, the rescue completed, my pilot climbed out to five thousand feet. On disengaging I looked at the instrument panel and the Fuel Gage was seeking the Empty Mark rapidly.

At five thousand the pilot pulled back to twenty knots and told me to look at the bottom of the ship and to see if we were leaking fuel, I did so without thinking. And just as I hung from that landing skid with no safety devices so do Christians shut-up when they are told to. Just as the Jew, in the Bible, dishonored God by judging others while breaking the same Law they applied, Christians dishonor God.

2Ti 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2Ti 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

2Ti 2:17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

The above is from the NASB and the KJV renders verse 15 as study to show thyself approved. Although I often find myself in trouble on Christian Web Sites and have even been banned from a couple for my direct answers that reflect the truth of the scriptures, I will not change! God can change me if it is His will but I know that He will never teach me to dance around the truth. My most recent 10 day suspension from a site is for this series of messages on the letter to the Romans.

When we allow any person, no matter their title, to cause us to water down the Gospel Message, the message of truth, we cause others to speak shamefully of God's called, we become just like the Jew of old. Let's go back to Matthew 7 for a moment;

Mat 7:15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Mat 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?

Mat 7:17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

Mat 7:18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

Mat 7:19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Mat 7:20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.

Remember, never jerk any verse from it's context, without even leaving chapter seven we learn that verse 1 has nothing to do with foolishly ignoring sin. The Matthew passage, just like this one, is teaching us to live like we are judging others, that is without reproach in the eyes of the only Holy God.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Romans 2... Part 2

Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

This is very useful piece of scripture here. My favorite manor of teaching is by life example and every time the question, “Why are the Jews the favorite people of God,” I'm reminded of this passage and raising puppies. From every litter of pups and out of every litter of kittens I had a favorite. I did my very best to see that every one of them had the home they needed that would care for and nurture them but there was always one that caught my attention and I was slow to let them go.

Now go back to the book of Genesis and we see that God called Abram. God, being God, had the right to call out anyone He chose, but He called out His favorite. God did not ignore the rest of us, in fact He blessed the entire world through the descendants of Abram, latter named Abraham. Jesus is not just a descendant of King David, He is out of the line of Abraham also.

Some have replied to me, “What about the lost man, nobody died for his sins?” In 1pet. 2:24 we find the truth and the truth is that Jesus took the sins of the World upon Himself, that means Salvation is available for every one of us. The problem is that not every one of us is willing to bow our knee to God and to come under submission to Him.

Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
Rom 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Rom 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Rom 2:15 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;)

In this passage we learn that one does not need knowledge of the written law to be condemned to Eternal Suffering in Hell. In Rom. 1:19-20 we found that they are without excuse for God has given every man a conscience and written on that part of every man is God's eternal law, a.k.a. Right and wrong.

This paragraph is not and should never be considered theology but is just my personal opinion. I believe that just as the Wedding Feast Parable (Matt. 22:2-14) shows us that not all in Heaven are members of the Bride of Christ or in other words there are different levels of reward, there are different levels of punishment in Hell. And I do not know again, but God being full of justice it would appear that the same might be true of the Lake of Fire. What I am absolutely certain of, without further study and prayerful study is that we all need to seek out more of the unsaved that are willing to listen and to consider the truth of the message of Jesus, the Christ of all men.

The world is filled with very good men and women, who for, no other reason than their failure to ask for forgiveness, will go to Hell and ultimately into the suffering of the Lake of Fire. We also see that the Jew, God's own chosen people, those that have heard and many that know the Law so well that they have memorized it, are not justified by that knowledge alone. To be justified by the Law of Moses a man must do the Law and fail, not even once in any area. Doing so is to have failed the entire Law!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Romans 2...Part 1

Rom 2:1 Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judges another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost practise the same things.
Rom 2:2 And we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that practise such things.
Rom 2:3 And reckonest thou this, O man, who judgest them that practise such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Rom 2:5 but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Rom 2:6 who will render to every man according to his works:
Rom 2:7 to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life:
Rom 2:8 but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation,
Rom 2:9 tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek;
Rom 2:10 but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek:

For the beginning of this chapter it is important to remember the last section of the previous chapter, it gives context to chapter 2. Some have ignored what Paul has said, separating this into it's own chapter but it is important to recall that this is a letter written by Paul and letters have no chapter and verse division, those have been added for our ease of reference and do not always relate to the context.

For this beginning part of chapter 2 it is important to notice Matthew 7:1 also, the most misinterpreted verse in the Bible. Once again, in comparing Matthew 7:1 to chapter two here it is important to have the flow of the text in mind before trying to apply it to your life. Neither Jesus nor Paul told us not to judge when the context is used to understand the passage. In the case of the Matthew passage you need to read the entire Sermon and failing that, at least chapter 6 and all of seven. In our passage here Paul has just finished explaining that God has turned the Lost Man over to a reprobate mind and in the first verse of this chapter we are warned against condemning men for the same sin we are guilty of.

In the church we have a small body of Bond Servants belonging to Christ and then we have the bulk of the body who attend, some faithfully, for a variety of reasons. Christ knows who is who and we do not but the Church, not the building, but the Church is the body of Christ and we far to often fail to act as such. When a member falls into sin, and that does happen, we are to lift them up and restore them (Isa. 1:16-18) and not practice the common. We must stop shooting the wounded to get them out of the church.

It seems to be a much disliked title today but we must become the Bond Servants of Christ and seek to live a Holy life dedicated to God. Neither I nor anyone else can judge a thief when we, ourselves, are pocketing the extra five dollars or the extra quarter that the clerk mistakenly gave to us... that is also theft. We must judge enough to not approve of other's sin and we must judge when to lift them up because they are repenting.

One of the most vital points a follower of Jesus can learn to observe and learn to use for Christ is the change of seasons in a person's life. Everyone has these season changes in their lives, lost and saved alike. One of the most notable is the loss of a mate, everything about the surviving mate is subject to change. In the case of a Christian, it is then that we must move close to them and be willing to listen to them, whether they are crying or Wailing and ranting. And we must learn to do so and to keep our mouthes shut. You can help no one by revealing their inner most secrets to the world.

This is part one of Chapter Two.