Welcome to a study focused on the Book of Romans: Embracing and Living Out the Gospel of Grace.
Paul greatly desired to travel to Rome and personally greet the believers there. However, until such time as the trip became possible, he wrote them this detailed letter explaining the basic truths of the faith along with their implications for daily life. Many call this letter the “Magna Carta” of the Christian faith. Even today its practical life applications detail the transforming power of God for us in the 21st century.
This series provides for the student or teacher daily questions, audio and/or manuscript teaching, PowerPoint presentations and handouts. It is effective for individuals or for group settings. As the author, my hope and prayer for you is that as you read and study you will see yourself as a key part of God's great narrative, His Story of Grace and Redemption. As you embrace the great doctrines of our faith you will discover new ways to live out this amazing Gospel of Grace.
Blessings and love, Dianne
Note: The accompanying student study guide for the series may be downloaded to the right. The PowerPoint, Audio, and WordDocs may be downloaded on each lesson's page.
Did you have company over the summer? Summer is often when friends, family visit
Years ago when we first moved to Florida an hour from Disney and we had company all the time. Joke. Cartoon- woman on the phone, how nice you’d like to plan a visit come see us, but I’m so sorry, whenever you come, I know we’re going to be out of town. Company coming can stir up all kinds of feelings: depending on who is coming we can feel anything from dread to great excitement.
I wonder what the believers in Rome felt when they got a letter saying Paul was coming? How would you feel? We really don’t know, but we do know what the letter - that’s our study this fall.
I. Background of Romans
II. Book of Romans
A. Salutation Romans 1:1-17
B. Sin Romans 1:18-3:20
C. Salvation Romans 3:21-5:21
D. Sanctification Romans 6-8
E. Sovereignty Romans 9-11
F. Service Romans 12-16
III. Blessings of Romans
A. WHO? (Romans 1:1) Paul was author. Dictated letter to his secretary, Tertius (TUR shihuhs) (Romans 16:22). Common to many of his letters. To WHOM (Romans 1:7) group of believers=those that love God called “saints” in Rome= church, made up of Jew and Gentiles. HOW did the church get started? If Paul had never traveled there, how? ONE tradition is that Peter founded it. Another possibility is that according to Acts 2:10 there were pilgrims from Rome present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, perhaps some of them were part of the 3000 that believed and when they returned to Rome they started gathering together. A third possibility is that they were Christians from other cities that had moved to Rome, perhaps even some of Paul’s converts from other churches.
Even though Paul has not yet traveled to Rome he knows a lot of believers in Rome, something we need to remember as we read this letter, personal letter in many aspects. Romans 16. (read names)
B. WHAT? “Masterpiece” Uniqueness is not for telling a different gospel or new teaching but for spelling out the ABCs of the faith is a clear, logical understandable manner.
C. WHEN? WHERE? Less easy to answer. Clues from Romans 16, Acts 18. Reasonably sure he wrote from city of Corinth during his 3 month stay on 3rd missionary journey (MAP). If that’s true it’s probably sometime between 55-58AD.
D. WHY? Many
1. Personal - eager to preach (Romans 13,15) longing for many years (Romans 15:23). Acts 19:21 “I must see Rome” but never been to Rome, this would introduce him to them.
2. Theological - Great desire to systematically explain the gospel of Jesus Christ. Growing opposition to Paul’s ministry. Holy Spirit had been warning him that in every city he would face prison and hardship (Acts 20:23). He must have seen danger in his future and perhaps wanted to compile this while he could. In Romans we see pieces of Galatians, parts of letters to the Corinthians, Thessalonians, in Romans all laid out in order. Paul’s life message, his doctoral thesis.
3. Financial - Paul’s vision for Christ was world-wide, challenged to bring the gospel to Spain (end of known world) Romans 15:24. Hoped to arouse an interest in supporting his next missionary trip.
4. Instructional - Paul doesn’t deal with local church problems like in other letters but he does include some very practical aspects of Christian living Romans 12-16.
Conclusion: we’ve answered some questions regarding the background of this book and you may be asking at this point..SO WHAT
Why should we bother with background stuff? Why important, let’s just get into the book. Wrestled with that question Two reasons:
Credibility – knowing that Paul is the author immediately gave this letter credibility with the early church and is the reason it was included in the canon
(Council of Carthage 397AD one test=authority of writer, apostle/have apostle backing)
Interpretation - background information is invaluable because of our hermeneutic = the method or way we interpret the meaning of Scripture. Our hermeneutic, our way = literal, grammatical, historical= what did this letter mean to the original audience, how would they have understood it? Knowing who, what, where, why all help us interpret and understand this letter. Seek to determine what was cultural for that time and what is timeless for all times, what does it mean to us today.
QUESTION I need to ask you, good question at the start of a new study.
What’s your opinion of this book? Do you think it’s true? All of it? Parts of it? Is it reliable? Can you trust it? Do you believe it?
No matter how you answered this question, listen, you are welcome here. You are welcome to study, ask questions, express doubts, confusion or frustration. Our hope is that everyone that is here will feel safe and welcome to express differences of opinion and belief. However I think it’s fair to tell you where I stand. I believe this bible is truth, its truths are to teach us how to live in right relationship with God. What do you believe?
3 weeks ago Plane flying 30,000 ft, weeks ahead ground level walking thru verse by verse 16 chapters today brief overview…
JEWS AND GENTILES IN THE AUDIENCE….. (world divided in 2, either a Jew or a Gentile)
Paul having a conversation with himself: Game of Jeopardy: given the answer and you have to ask the question. Evident that Paul at times is answering questions that you his readers might have or ones that he has been asked before from other people.
Greetings (Romans 1:1-7) verse one “gospel of God” God has good news. He promised in Old Testament send a Messiah, Redeemer for sins of mankind, promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ who came to earth as a
Jew, died, rose again, saves all who trust in Him. Romans 1:8-15 Thanksgiving for you and your faith, praying for you and want to come see you. I feel an obligation to come and preach in Rome (READ Romans 1:16,17) Paul was gripped by the gospel, whole life was committed to it. Has the gospel in gripped you? Do you ever feel ashamed to be known as a Christian? Paul’s single focus on the gospel is going to challenge all of us.
Gospel is “righteousness of God” but Paul shifts to the “unrighteousness of man” because until one knows that he/she is a sinner, she cannot appreciate her need of a Savior. The rest of this section makes 3 statements that together prove all people are sinners and need Jesus Christ.
Gentile World is Guilty (Romans 1:18-32) Wrath of God poured out. Why? Paul explains. Human history begins with mankind knowing God but then turning away from truth and rejecting God. Paul says “your problem is you’ve distorted things. What things? First you’ve distorted conscience (Romans 1:19). Second distorted creation (Romans 1:20). You began to worship the created things instead of the Creator – all around you is proof that a powerful being took nothing and made something where did this begin? Anthropology shows that people groups all over the world have worshiped created beings, sun, moon stars instead of the one true God. Consequence= third, distorted your own person, your own sexuality (Romans 1:24-28). Truth, often the greatest judgment God can inflict on us is to let us have our own way.
Jewish World is Guilty (Romans 2:1-3:8) Jews have been clapping. You’re not any better than they are. You’ve had the law but have you kept it? Judging others but what about your own life? You’ve been well instructed but trusting in rituals to save you instead of the promises of God.
Whole World is Guilty (Romans 3:9-20)
Paul takes an X ray of typical person, sin from head to feet. Sin with your throat, tongue, mouth, all the way to your feet that are swift to shed blood. Romans 3:23 ALL sinned come short of the glory of God. Everyone who has ever lived has sinned and needs Jesus.
Application: in our culture we don’t even like this word sin much less being told we are all sinners. I think it’s much more politically correct to say I’m a good person who occasionally makes mistakes. Paul says all have sinned=Have you ever confessed that you’re a sinner? bad news but he pushes on to tell us the good news: Romans 3:22
Righteousness by faith? Not works, not the law, not rituals, in fact Paul says righteousness has always been by faith, gives perfect example = Abraham. Even the father of the Jews was declared righteous by his faith, before circumcision, before the law was given. Results: believers have priceless spiritual blessings: peace with God, access to Him, joy, hope love, His Spirit within us.
Some of you are sitting out there thinking:
If my sin has been taken care of by God’s grace, now it really doesn’t matter how I live, keep on sinning, grace can keep on covering it right?
Romans 6: NO WAY (Romans 6:2) If you think that way you haven’t understood your baptism or your conversion. Trusting Jesus means a whole new way of living. You’ve died to sin, we have a new allegiance, we can deliberately and consciously choose to free ourselves from sin, it is no longer our master, we have given ourselves to God, He is our new master. Dead to sin and alive to Christ (Romans 6:11).
Romans 7: OK Paul that raises some questions about the law. Are you for it or against it? Paul says “yes and no” If you think it’s a legal system of good works to gain acceptance by God like the Galatian church= NO. But if you understand its purpose was to reveal sin (Romans 7:7), lead us to a savior, show us God’s holiness, give us a moral standard of living=YES. To tell you the truth, this new allegiance to God through Jesus has created quite a struggle in my own life (Romans 7:15-20 READ) can anyone here relate to this? Truthful reality so glad Paul shared. I’m a Christian, but I’m still in this human body living in a fallen world, I struggle to do right. When I choose to live for myself (walking in the flesh) I do want I don’t want to do. I don’t really like that part - I want a perfectly sinless life - not going to happen here on planet earth. God has promised us grace not perfection. Here we are going to struggle to live this new life but there is more good news
Romans 8: It is possible to live a righteous, godly life by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-5). In Christ, we have help in our struggles, in surrendering our self-centeredness. The rest of the chapter Paul tells us there isn’t anything that God has made that in the last day will fail to fulfill its intended purpose except those rebellious to His call. God loves his world - not just people - all of creation, all creation is waiting for Christ’s return = Cosmic redemption (Romans 8:21). Paul encourages us, says there is purpose for everything that happens in our lives. God is working everything for good, for those that love him, called to his purposes. Nothing absolutely nothing can ever separate us from His love.
Application: Probably several here that are feeling like life is just too much, a struggle to keep going. Trying to do the right thing and the opposite is happening. Paul would say, don’t give up, consider giving in. Lay everything down, let Holy Spirit take control and pray “Lord I give up trying to work this out, I’m tired of failure after failure, teach me how to be controlled by the Spirit and not myself and Lord, do whatever you want with this situation. We acknowledge we have this help when we sing “The same power that conquered the grave, lives in me” Do you believe that? Would you trust God to help?
Believers are secure with God, what about the Jewish nation, the people of God, all the promises God made to them? As a whole, the nation has not accepted Jesus as Messiah, so what happens to them? How does the God’s acceptance of Gentile believers fit into God’s plan?
OK I’ll tell you. Romans 9 - God is not obligated to anyone, but He sovereignly chose Israel because of His grace and love (Deut 7:6-8). Chosen for a purpose=reveal God to a pagan world. Why did they reject Christ? Romans 10:2 my brothers, the Jews, have a zeal for God, but they stumbled over Messiah (Romans 9:33) Why? Interested in keeping the Law, good works blind to see God’s goodness in Christ, did not hear, did not seek. What about the future? Romans 11 - Gentiles, be assured that there’s always been a remnant that has truly loved God, even though the nation has rejected Messiah this rejection is temporary (READ Romans 11:25-26) What all Israel will be saved. YES WHEN? Silence, doesn’t tell us.
APPLICATION: something here we need to remember amidst the Tension in Middle east, probably will be until Messiah come back, not making a political statement, but a theological one= Romans teaches that GOD has not forgotten Israel, one day, all Israel will be saved.
Therefore (transition) in light of all the doctrinal truths, all that we believe, now how to we live it out? What does the righteousness of God look like on a daily basis? How am I to be different from the world I live in? Paul answers by looking at our relationships: ourself; others; in the church; enemies; government; those who disagree with us. Wraps it up the guiding principle: Live as Jesus, imitate Him, look like Him, love like Him, be Christ to others.
What kind of blessing are we talking about? Next 9 wks.
Historical letter=Romans 1st century, some that provide academic interest
Doctrinal letter- masterpiece, tool to understand the Christian faith
Personal letter=to you and me expounding truths, giving abundant application transforming us I believe that’s how God planned it to be. PRAY Romans 16:25-27.
Introduction: Do you have a favorite TV show? True confession=my daughter-in-law introduced me to the Biggest Loser and now I’m hooked, drama and competition and the transformation - keep hoping I’ll get encouraged to lose a few pounds too. Interesting about that show = all the contestants share that they have come to the realization, they can’t do it themselves, they’ve failed over and over and they all say they need HELP. That is so hard for us to confess. We need help because we can’t help ourselves. We’re born defensive and have an immediate reaction of wanting to protect our failures and inadequacies, to hide and defend them. That’s our nature, but the gospel message always begins with tearing down our defenses, destroying our illusions. It starts with saying to us “You need help, it doesn’t matter who you are, how educated you are, what your economic status or who your family is, how religious you are – you aren’t going to like to hear this- but you need help”.
I. Greetings and Gospel Romans 1:1-17
II. Sin in the Gentile world Romans 1:18-2:16
III. Sin the Jewish world Romans 2:17-3:8
IV. Sin in the entire world Romans 3:9-20
A. Read Romans 1:1- letter is from Paul, a servant, a slave of Christ Jesus, sent out to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not some new message. Its roots in the Hebrew scriptures, Old Testament, good news now fulfilled that was promised by the prophets, about Messiah: The study about Jesus Christ=”Christology” dual nature of Jesus Christ who was both human (descendant of David) and divine (declared/power by the Spirit of Holiness to be the Son of God), resurrected from dead. There is a suggestion here of the existence of the Trinity - Father, Son, Holy Spirit = Paul will make that definite statement in his closing prayer to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all). BUT Paul’s focus here is on the message of good news=this calling from God to have faith in Jesus Christ.
Greeting: Grace and Peace= Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:25) prayer that God would be gracious to his people and give them peace. This is Paul’s condensed version of the gospel: BY God’s grace we are saved and have peace with God through Jesus Christ.
B. Read Romans 1:8 - You are on my prayer list, I long to visit you so that “impart some spiritual gift” (Paul had gift of teaching preaching exhorting) and as iron sharpens iron we can encourage each other, compelled to share Christ to the whole world (Greeks/non-Greeks, wise/foolish, Jew/Gentile). That’s why I’m coming.
C. Read Romans 1:16, 17 - Theme
Did you think as you read this, Why did he use the negative “I’m not ashamed” instead of the positive “I’m very confident” or “I’m proud”? I wonder did Paul ever feel tempted to be ashamed of his faith, to hesitate or to keep quiet, like we sometimes do. We do know he came to Corinth (I Corinthians 2:3) in “weakness, fear, trembling” right after preaching in Athens. Yet, he writes with firm conviction that the gospel is the power of God for salvation, With one condition=for everyone who believes. Talk about this word= SALVATION. Biblical understanding is that our sins have separated us from God, through believing/trusting in Jesus Christ, atoning death on the cross, we are saved from an eternity apart from God. Jew first - means that God chose them, made His covenant with them, salvation came to them first but now also to the Gentile (rest of the world). In this gospel, good news about Jesus Christ, a righteousness from God is revealed. Right standing with God is offered as a gift that we receive by faith, always been by faith that we are right with God, nothing we’ve done to be good enough, or deserving enough. Crowd that followed Jesus asked him John 6:28, 29 “what work do we need to do that God requires? Jesus replied, the work = to believe in the one he has sent” Believing, having saving faith that God requires.
APPLICATION: Do you have faith? What do you have faith in? Yourself, your heritage, your church? Have you considered faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior? Rome, Hearing this; asking Why do I need a Savior.
A. Wrath of God is being revealed READ Romans 1:18 “wrath of God” is totally unlike our anger. Things happen to us and we lose our tempers, say things, do things out of frustration. Gods’ wrath is not like that. DEFINITION “God acting in revulsion against sin” (Robinson). His wrath is against evil, godlessness, wickedness, SIN. The essence of Sin is godlessness. God loves his creation, loves every human being, however when men/women turn away, reject God, deny his existence, refuse His love, they then experience His wrath= God lets us experience the consequences of our choices. Paul uses the phrase “God gave them over.” Denying or ignoring God leads to a downward spiral
B. READ Romans 1:19, 20 describe= General Revelation of God through nature. Psalm 19 “the heavens are declaring the glory of God, whole earth is full of his glory.” General=available to everyone who has ever been born, experience planet earth, sun, wind, rain, sky, plants, animals, life and beauty that must have been created by an intelligent being, and people saw and knew this truth and turned away from worshipping God to worshipping created beings Romans 1:21-23. In Paul’s world, pagan idolatry was either the worship of images of human beings or images of animals, but we know that other people groups have worshiped the sun, moon, stars, mythological gods/goddesses and countless other created or imagined beings. Ie Friend who worships her fortune teller, she’s my age, seeing one since 15, doesn’t pray to God, doesn’t seek a relationship with Him, her greatest desire is knowing her future from the stars. As innocent as that may seem to some, God has powerful words to say how that displeases him= when we turn away from worshipping Him.
C. As the spiral descends from ignoring God, to idolatry, we see God “giving them over” Romans 1:24-28, 3 times Paul uses that phrase to what he then calls a degraded sexuality and a depraved mind. Before I read these verses I want to make two comments:
1. Probably everyone person in this room has a family member, or a friend or neighbor that is living in a same-sex relationship. We all know people we love and care for that have an alternate life=style. In our world today, a same-sex relationship is more and more the “norm”. To hear otherwise regarding people we care about is difficult. Article regarding Anne Rice if you’re familiar with her and her recent comments about leaving Christianity on the website under resources.
2. God’s plan for our sexuality is Genesis 1, 2 one man, one woman in a committed lifelong marriage. Scripture tells us that sex outside of that is sin whether it’s pre-marital, extra-marital or same sex.
READ Romans 1:26-32. In this potpourri list of sins, Paul indicts the Gentiles for practicing behaviors that they know are violating God’s standards, denying His reality and following their own desires.
Truth: There are consequences for failing to acknowledge God as Creator.
This human dilemma, this spiral downward, in one or all of the sins listed, is the result whenever God is ignored or denied in a person’s life.
You Jews have been listening carefully, that’s right Paul, that’s just like those Gentiles who didn’t worship Jehovah, all those pagan idols, all that sinful living.
But some of you Gentiles are saying I wasn’t like that before I came to Christ, ok so I didn’t worship Jehovah and I went to a pagan temple, but I had a high moral standard, I would never have done those things that other people did.
Paul says “yes, I know that, but you listen, both of you.. when you pass judgment on someone else and don’t see your own sin, that’s sin too.”
D. Judgment - Romans 2:1-16. READ Romans 2:1-3.
Stott: “Paul turns from the world of shameless immorality to the world of self-conscious moralism” the one who is critical of everyone else, passing judgment on other people and never seeing their own hypocritical behavior. This is the group who doesn’t approve bad behavior like Romans 1:32, condemn and judge and never turn the mirror on themselves. Paul exposes all of us to some degree, so easy to see someone else’s sin and not our own.
Ie. In my family of origin we have a bad habit of interrupting and correcting each other. My husband, the outsider noticed it right away, Family reunion, my mother and her siblings sitting at the table talking, my aunt interrupted my uncle, he complained, she said, you took a breath..she jumped in, that’s what we do, we interrupt and correct, I see it in others but it’s amazing I don’t see it in me.
We often have the double standard “a high standard for other people and a comfortably low standard for ourselves". It’s easy to be blind to this, but don’t think God isn’t watching. The Message Bible= God is kind but He is not soft, he will judge all people based on truth, His truth. Romans 2:6-8 talk about our deeds. Tense of the verbs help us understand this section. Paul writes in the present continuous tense.. Romans 2:7 those that “keep on seeking” =eternal life; “keep on rejecting” the truth. This really speaks to the condition of the heart, is the heart seeking and committed to God, or is it ignoring and rejecting God and self-focused? A person’s habitual behavior shows where his/her heart is toward God. Doing good deeds does not save us, only faith and trust in Jesus Christ can, however, those who trust Christ want and will do good deeds.
Some of you may be asking, If God is going to judge all of us, what about the people in the world that have never heard of Jesus, never had the law how will they be judged?
That question doesn’t have a clear answer, however, some people have thought that was what Paul had in mind when he wrote Romans 2:14-16 READ
I don’t know what the answer is, but I know this 1. God is love and God is just. 2. He is trustworthy to do what is right. 3. He will judge according to whatever revelation of Himself a person has been given, and their response. 4. The mandate for believers is the great commission, our responsibility is to go to tell the whole world about our Savior. NOW Paul turns to talk to the Jews directly.
A. READ Romans 2:17- Paul, who is Jewish himself, lists some descriptive phrases that describe the way these Jews saw themselves; you rely on law, brag about relationship w/God, know his will, know the law, convinced you are a guide for the blind, light, instructor of the foolish, teacher of infants (sense the spiritual elitism) but what about your life? READ Romans 2:21-24 You too are guilty of judgmental hypocrisy that points out the wrong in others and overlooks the same in oneself. Claiming special treatment because you know the Law doesn’t work if you don’t keep the Law. Then Paul makes an unbelievable, astounding statement
B. READ Romans 2:25-29, Circumcision. Jews historically have believed that circumcision was the sign of the covenant between God and his people, it served to remind them of God’s promises and their commitment to Him. Paul says “Jewishness” is not a matter of race but of the heart. A true Jew, a real Jew is one whose heart has been figuratively cut around removing anything that would keep one from being wholly devoted to God. This would be shocking to hear if you were a Jew for while Paul was writing this there were men going around to the different churches telling the Gentiles converts that to be a “true” Christian you had to first get circumcised and become a Jew and then you could accept Christ the Messiah (Judiazers = Paul would passionately fight against their heresy, as it to him denied the essence of the gospel which is Grace).
C. You Jews are sitting there shocked, speechless, Paul anticipates several of your questions.
1. First question - READ Romans 3:1.
Paul you’ve been saying that both Jews and Gentiles have sinned and are guilty before God, so is there no difference, has there been no value in being a Jew? Romans 3:2 - yes, great value. You’ve had the commands of God, His very words.
2. Second - READ Romans 3:3. If people are unfaithful, is God also unfaithful? Romans 3:4 no way, the fact that God judges unfaithful Jews shows His justice, He is impartial and does not overlook sin even among his chosen people.
3. 3rd question - Romans 3:5. This question reflects the reasoning of those who try to excuse their sin by saying it gives God an opportunity to show his righteousness, so they shouldn’t be condemned, Paul strongly rejects this too - and he shows how that kind of perverted reasoning when taken to its extreme says Romans 3:8 Let’s do evil so that good can come of it. We say the same thing when we say “the end justifies the means” we tell a little white lie so that no one will get hurt , we intentionally cover up a wrong instead of facing it because we’re afraid of the consequences. That’s sin, all….
All, Jews and Gentiles are under sin, all fallen short of God’s standards, his perfection, apart from the gospel all of us are hopelessly lost. Romans 3:10-18 Paul combined phrases from a collection of OT texts to prove his point. This was a common method used by the Rabbis called charaz=literally stringing together pearls. In this list 3 general universal truths about human nature:
1. No one seeks God, no fear of God (Romans 3:10, 18). Most of us are seeking a God that fits our category of what God should be: we have our own list : all loving, not judging, tolerant of all sincere people, answers all prayers, ultimately everyone goes to heaven, maybe not Hitler.
2. No one sees how sin pervades our whole bodies (Romans 3:13-17). Sin affects our minds, emotions, our sexuality, our conscience, our will, our actions. The doctrine of Total Depravity = humankind, in every part is permeated and adversely affected by sin. This doctrine has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. Total depravity doesn’t mean we all sin the same way or to the same degree: Not are murderers, felons, or adulterers; yet, sin has affected all of us. J. I. Packer: “no one is as bad as he or she might be, and on the other hand, no action of ours is as good as it should be”.
3. No one is righteousness, not even one (Romans 3:10) We can’t depend on the Law, we can’t keep it perfectly, we break it, that’s where it condemns us and points out our sin to us. That’s what rules do, they show us the knowledge of our wrong doing but don’t forgive us of our sins.
Truth: All people are guilty before God, all have sinned and need a Savior. Jew, Gentile doesn’t matter, all people in the world.
Application: Do you think you need to see yourself as a sinner before you can become a Christian? Paul would say yes and that’s why this letter begins with this heavy discussion of sin. He would say “why would you need a Savior unless you were lost?” Why would God send his Son to die a horrible death on a cross unless there was an atonement needed for sin? But this becomes personal when I ask “do you see yourself as a sinner?”
William Barclay writes, “no one saw so clearly the evil of human nature as Paul did: but it must be noted that the evil of human nature was to him, not a call to hopelessness but a challenge to hope. When William Jay was an old man: My memory is failing, but there are two things that I never forget-that I am a great sinner and that Jesus Christ is a great Savior.”
Do you ever get tired of repetition? Same thing over and over? Certainly when you go to the gym do all your reps again and again, think about making dinner - how many times can we have spaghetti?, alarm goes off say another day- dressed and go to work. That’s the nature of repetition. I have to admit to you, reading Paul in Romans at times seems to me a little repetitious, sometimes I say, I’ve already read that. Why? So yesterday when I picked up this months’ Christianity Today I was captured by this article that answered my question. Article is with classical scholar and professor, Sarah Ruden written a new book titled Paul Among the People: The apostle reinterpreted and reimagined in his own time...read article
I. Doctrine of Justification Romans 3:21-31
A. Apart from Law
B. Available to All
C. Apart from Achievements
II. Illustration of Justification Romans 4:1-25
III. Benefits of Justification Romans 5:1-21
A. New Relationship with God
B. New Understanding of Suffering
C. New Position in Christ
A. Apart from the Law (Romans 3:21) “but now”=contrast word, “now”=time since Christ has come. “Righteousness of God” right standing with God has been manifested (Romans 3:22) thru faith in Jesus Christ, separate from law. Paul had been devout Pharisee, raised believing he was righteous thru keeping law. Zealous, committed to traditions of the fathers, Damascus Road - met Jesus Christ radically changed him. He saw that when Jesus Christ confronts us with good news of salvation, he does not hand us another list for us to keep, another set of rules, offers us a new relationship apart from the law.
B. Available to all who believe (Romans 3:22-26) “no distinction” last week “all have sinned” Jews, Gentiles, all guilty before Holy God. We all fall short of His perfection. God Himself has taken the initiative=offers acceptance to anyone and everyone as a gift, totally undeserved, but totally available to all who trust in Jesus Christ. Way he has done this is thru Christ’s death on the cross. 3 Key Words crucial to understanding
1. Justification (diakioum) Romans 3:24. Declared righteous, to treat, to reckon, to count as righteous, legal term “to acquit” Picture a courtroom, you are the guilty person, committed all kinds of crimes, standing before the judge, deserve dreadful sentence. Because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross - because you believe what Jesus has said about God, you are acquitted, not guilty. “Just-as-if-you-had not sinned”. Justification is God’s righteousness imputed to our account.
2. Redemption (apolutrosis) Romans 3:24 - ransom, redeem, liberate, buy back. Ancient times slave market. Born slaves, prisoners of war. Payment, sum of money buy freedom for slaves. Redeemed from bondage. Illustration here=you were separated from God, bound, enslaved to sin, now bought back. How? Payment=Blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9 - “eternal redemption”.
3. Propitiation (hilasterion) NIV=sacrifice of atonement (Romans 3:25) “to appease” OT when you broke law, you brought God a sacrifice –your aim was that the sacrifice would be a substitute, it would turn aside the punishment you deserved, the sacrifice would restore the relationship between you and God. Looking back, we see that animal sacrifices were foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice by Jesus Christ on cross – His sacrifice that atones for sin, forever.
C. Apart from Achievements (Romans 3:27-31) Romans 3:27, 28 LB Then what can we boast about doing, to earn our salvation? Nothing at all. Why? Because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds; it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in him. So it is that we are saved by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do. You can’t keep a profit/loss accounting system with God. You can’t earn your salvation, you can’t brag about how good you are. We shift our focus from what we do to what Christ has done and our trust in Him.
Romans 3:29-31 God is Lord of all, Jews and Gentiles, He accepts anyone who comes to Him by faith.
Truth: Faith in Jesus Christ alone is the way to become justified: to be right with God. It’s a free gift, we don’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, we are asked to receive it by faith.
Application: sounds so simple doesn’t it? You may ask: if this justification is available to everyone as a free gift, don’t have to pay for it, why don’t more people accept it?
1. “Do it my way” world. Don’t like to feel dependent on anyone else, don’t want anyone, even God, telling me how to live my life. I want to choose my own course.
2. “You deserve a break today” world. Main goal= self- satisfaction. Possessions, pleasure, toys, because “you deserve it” selling out to God may mean giving up too much, I don’t want to change my lifestyle.
3. “I can do this myself” world. I believe in God, Jesus Christ, but this grace thing can’t be all there is, I know there must be something more, something I need to do to really merit salvation, surely I’ve got to be a nice person and do good deeds as well as believe in Jesus.
Do any of these categories fit you? Are you trying to find God’s acceptance?
Paul would say: there’s only one way –thru FAITH in Jesus Christ alone.
Seems that he knows that you Jews are still wrestling with this “grace, faith alone” vs. keeping the law, Paul says this is nothing new: looks at roots of our Jewish faith, the life of Abraham/David
A. Founder of Hebrew nation “Father of the faith” how was he justified?
1. Justified by faith not good works (Romans 4:1-5) We all know the story of Abraham, called by God to leave home in Ur go to Canaan, God promised 1. nation 2. Land of Israel 3. blessing all nations thru you, big promises, settled at Hebron, troubled, no son, no heir for the promises, feared his servant would be the heir, God said, “no, the promises will come through you, your own child” Genesis 15:6 He believed the Lord and he credited it to him as righteousness.
2. Justified by faith not religious rituals (Romans 4:9-12) circumcision. Paul says let’s take a look at timeline of Abraham’s faith. When (Romans 4:10) did God declare him righteous, before or after circumcision? Genesis 15 = righteous, that is 14 years before Genesis 17. God instituted the rite of circumcision. Already saved why did need to be circumcised? Answer = Romans 4:11. Circumcision was a sign of faith not the source of his faith. This truth takes larger significance; it makes Abraham the spiritual father of all who have faith in God’s word, not just the circumcised Jew. Helps us to shift the emphasis from outward symbols and ceremonies to inward faith and trust. Do you realize there is not any religious ritual, not anything we do or is done to us that makes us righteous in God’s sight, we are justified by our faith alone, just like
3. Justified by faith apart from the law (Romans 4:13-15) contrasts law and grace, key word=Promise. God’s promise to Abraham he would be “heir of the world” (Romans 4:13) that included the promise of Messiah, not given in connection with law or circumcision but by God’s grace alone. Law would be given through Moses 400 years later.
4. Justified by faith despite his circumstances (Romans 4:17-22) this promise that A believed seemed impossible, how could they have a son at their age? A knew God, attributes, his character, his power, God could do anything he wanted to, trustworthy, didn’t matter that he was almost 100yrs, Sarah -90, he believed God could do a miracle (Romans 4:18-21) because God said he would hope against hope he trust.
Application = In your walk of faith, how much of your life is a reaction to your circumstances vs what God has said in His word? Do you look at your life and say this is hopeless, never going to happen, it won’t change, I’m not even going to pray about it. Relationships, finances, career? Abraham believed in a big God who could do great things, keep his promises = counted as righteous.
David justified (Romans 4:5-8) Though viewed from a different perspective, this same truth can be applied to life of King David who when he repented of his sins of adultery and murder, believed that God forgave him. He didn’t have to do penance or any good work to be forgiven, he confessed his sins, trusted God to forgive.
Truth: we are justified, declared forgiven of our sins, righteous by faith, not any good work, religious ritual, family heritage, no it’s faith in Christ alone.
Application: Honestly, what have you been depending on to get to heaven? Faith in Christ, plus baptism, confirmation, communion, church attendance, keeping 10 commandments, golden rule? = all good things, According to Bible, simply faith. John 6:28, 29.
A. New relationship with God (Romans 5:1-2) gifts. a. Peace with God=isn’t that something we all are desiring; b. Access – available to you; c. Rejoicing in hope looking forward to actually becoming all that God has planned for us to be.
B. New understanding of our Suffering (Romans 5:3-5) Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that once you’re a Christian you’re immune from suffering, disaster, tragedies. Paul is clear about that here. Live in a fallen world, no one can be part of this world w/out experiencing tough times. BUT for the Christian we can have a different attitude = we can choose to view our tough times through the lens of faith, we can believe that God is working out all things, for ultimate good, believe that tough times can produce character traits we would never know apart from learning to trust through our tears. This suffering, tough times, can produce perseverance, endurance, hope = assurance that our lives count, assurance against loneliness, assurance that God will never leave us alone, He loves us.
C. New position in Christ (Romans 5:6-21).
While we were still sinner, Christ died for us (Romans 5:9-11) justified by his blood, saved from God’s wrath, reconciled to him when we stop trying to be good enough for God, and simply trust the finished work of Christ.
Paul goes on the compare Adam, the first man with Christ. Great comparison chart on the resources page on website. The Message Romans 5:18ff Here it is in a nutshell, just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life. DO YOU HAVE THAT LIFE? ETERNAL LIFE?
Prayer: I Thessalonians 5:23-28.
Editor's Note: There is no audio message, PPT, or PDF handout for this lesson.
Have you ever had a “make-over”? You can have a cosmetic “make-over” for your house, your yard, your face!
The best news: If you are a Christian, in God’s sight you have had an eternal, forever “make-over”. There is a “Before/After” for you. Before what? Before you came to know Christ as Savior = you were a “slave of sin” (Romans 6:16). Now, because of your spiritual rebirth (John 3:16) your after = “a slave to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).
Let’s review the Original outline of Romans.
I. Salutation - Romans 1:1-17. Paul’s testimony, introduction of the theme= gospel.
II. Sin - Romans 1:18-3:20. Paul establishes that all people, everyone, has fallen short of the God’s holy standards. We’re all under the penalty of sin=death, separation from God= bad news. Yet we are not without hope.
III. Salvation - Romans 3:21-5:21. God has provided a way for man to be redeemed-through faith, not works, in Messiah Jesus Christ. His death on the cross became our atonement, our perfect offering to God, our covering, the payment for our sin. Through His resurrection we are assured of our eternal life with God.
IV. Sanctification - Romans 6-8. This section will have the greatest meaning for us as believers. Now that we are saved, how do we live the Christian life? The new way that pleases God? Irving Jensen says:
A. Chapter 6 = Principles, key word = surrender
B. Chapter 7 = Practice, key word = self
C. Chapter 8 = Power, key word = Spirit
Outline of Romans 6:
I. Know that you are dead to sin and alive to God Romans 6:1-10
A. Baptism Romans 6:1-5
B. Crucifixion Romans 6:6
C. Slavery Romans 6:7-10
II. Reckon that truth to be personally Real Romans 6:11
III. Yield yourself to God’s control Romans 6:12-23
A. How we are to yield Romans 6:12-13
B. Why we are to yield Romans 6:14-23
A. Question. Romans 6:1 is rooted back in Romans 5:20 - “You’ve just said God’s grace is so great, forgiveness is for every sin, so if we sin more, more grace grows” Yes. “Grace is the most wonderful gift in the world” Yes. “OK, if that is true, let’s keep on sinning so grace can keep on growing” READ Romans 6:2 - NO. The first step in living as a Christian is knowing we are Dead to sin. Ie. We’re like businesses, restaurants, that put up new signs, “under new management”. Through faith we have passed from the old management (sin) to a whole new management headed by Christ. The sin nature we inherited from Adam that once ruled our lives, no longer has complete authority, no managerial power to keep making the directives of our lives. The new management brings new power to live a new way. It would be to Paul unthinkable for a Christian under new management to live as if sin is still in control.
Truth = Dead to sin but alive to God (6:11).
B. Three pictures that convey this Truth.
1. Baptism - Romans 6:3-5. Spiritual baptism. At conversion, when the Holy Spirit regenerates us He positions us “in Christ” We are identified with Christ. Water baptism is symbolic of this spiritual act. We need to know that when Christ died, we died with Him, when He was buried, we were buried, when He was raised, we too were raised to newness of life with Him. As far as God is concerned identifying with Christ resulted in our dying to the sin nature within us and living to the resurrected life of Christ (Romans 6:5).
2. Crucifixion - Romans 6:6. Sin is crucified, powerless, inoperative, no longer powerful, ineffective.
3. Slavery - Romans 6:7-10. Christians do not have to serve sin ever again. Instead this new life is empowered by God for the overcoming of sin in every aspect of our lives.
Truth = The Cross delivers us from Sin and gives the Power to live.
We are freed from sin (Romans 6:7) through our union with Christ. But you may say “I don’t feel freed from sin, I look at my life, I still have bad habits, thoughts. I’m still angry at my spouse, with my in-laws, I can’t control my eating. How can you say I’m delivered?
Truth = God’s truths are not dependent on our feelings, emotions.
Whether you feel like your sin nature has been made powerless or not, God’s Word says it has. We’ll see in Romans 7 what causes us to continue to sin but in God’s sight our sin nature has been crucified with Christ. The critical truth we need to understand is that
We don’t have to keep on living defeated or discouraged because of sin, we now have the power of the Holy Spirit to live alive to God and dead to sin.
The word “reckon”= count, consider, regard, think, look upon. It’s the same word used in Genesis 15:6 when God reckoned Abraham righteous. In this context, reckoning goes one step further than knowing. As Christians we need to continually take into account, in our thinking, that sin is no longer our master, but Christ is. We need to know the facts stated in Romans 6:1-10. Count them as true and act accordingly. When sin tempts us, we should act as though we were indeed dead to it, giving absolutely no response to the temptation. But when God speaks we should act as though we are very much alive, giving instant, absolute obedience (Abraham). Reckoning is a matter of faith that issues in action. It’s like endorsing a check if we know that there is money in the account, we will sign our name and collect the money. Reckoning is not claiming a promise but acting on a fact. God does not command us to be dead to sin- He tells us we are dead to sin and alive to God and then expects us to act upon that fact. Listen, even if we don’t act that way, the potential of that fact is true.
Truth = Reckoning sin dead in our lives is the beginning of experiencing God’s power to make sin dead and Christ’s life within me REAL.
When I count myself dead to: worry, anger, losing my temper, demanding perfection in my children, overeating, recreational drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, excessive drinking, breaking the law, smoking, gossiping, criticism of friends or family, flirting with a wrong relationship, stealing, little white lies, self-pity…then I will choose not to let that sin be part of my life.
Ie. Maybe you have someone in your family who likes to control, you and everyone else. A situation comes up and they exert their power, they want their way totally insensitive to others. You are tempted to be angry, and resent them. That’s when you can say to yourself: I’m dead to responding that way, I choose instead to exchange bitterness for Christ’s attitude. I can handle this another way. Oh confrontation may be necessary and boundaries may need to be set, but not done in anger or frustration.
Application: What sin are you going to reckon dead today? Do you have a habit, attitude you’d like to see changed? Name it. Tell God you know it’s wrong, you know that according to the Word of God that sin has been made inoperative, it is powerless to control you anymore because of the Cross. Consider, count it dead from today on, it has no power to rule your life. Trusting not on your feelings but on faith that He will help you and make this real. Paul’s first instruction (Know) focuses on our Mind. His second instruction (reckon) focuses on our Hearts. His third instruction (Yield) focuses on our Will.
READ a modern translation like the Living Bible or The Message. Yielding = giving up the right of way. Up to now Paul has been talking about what we must THINK, internalize. Now he tells us what we must Do to put this truth into practice. Surrender our bodies to Jesus.
First, he gives a negative = Romans 6:12 DO NOT LET SIN REIGN then Romans 6:13 DO NOT YIELD, do not go on presenting, offering yourself to sin. This passage assumes we can quit sinning and calls on us to do that. When we sin, the responsibility is put on our doorstep. No one caused us to do wrong except ourselves. James 1:13-15. In practical terms; don’t put yourself in a position, a situation, a place where you know you’re going to fail. Ie. If you deal with lust, a wrong desire for the wrong person, don’t go to movies that have sex, nudity and approve of extramarital affairs. Don’t present your eyes to see that. If you deal with gossip, you find yourself talking about others and very easily slip from just the facts to judging their motives, behavior, dress or Christian walk, then don’t let yourself bring up other people’s names, don’t present your ears to hear, stop information before it gets to gossip. Don’t present your tongue to spread gossip to others. If you battle with dieting and are tempted to overeat, don’t bring certain foods into your house, avoid the “all you can eat” buffets, don’t present your body to be tempted. If you’re trying to give up smoking, don’t buy cigarettes, don’t hide them in the bottom drawer just in case.
Truth= you will never be dead to the temptation to sin, it’s always there.
Ie I used to smoke but gave it up. Occasionally I smell it and it smells really good (to me) and I want a cigarette. But I know that it’s not good for me, linked with cancer, I need to take care of myself. So I don’t buy them, avoid being around smokers, don’t put myself in a place to be tempted. I don’t have any control over someone else but according to this passage I can choose to do certain things that will result in my victory over smoking.
This passage says we can stop yielding, we can stop giving in to what is incompatible with our new life in Christ.
Second step is positive = Romans 6:13b. Present, offer, yield yourselves to God. Start living in a way that shows to yourself and others your right standing with God. Be Christ-like in what you say, think and do. And as you denied yourself those things, places, people that would cause you to stumble, now put yourself in places that will build you up, be around people that will encourage your faith. Because the best defense is a good offense, protect yourself by NOT doing certain things.
You might ask: why is God so interested in our bodies anyway? I Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us our bodies are the temple of God and He wants to use them for His glory. He wants to use you to build His Kingdom. The Bible gives numerous examples of people who have permitted God to use their bodies to fulfill His purposes. God used Moses’ hands to hold a rod and deliver His people from bondage in Egypt. He used Paul’s feet to travel across Europe from city to city, and his mouth to proclaim the good news of the gospel. He used John’s eyes to see visions of the future, his ears to hear God’s message, his fingers to write the various books he penned. God wants to use our bodies in the same way- to minister, to love, to teach, all to accomplish His will and purpose on earth. Psalms 24:4 to be right before God, to be used of Him, to have “clean hands, pure heart.”
1. Favor - Romans 6:14,15. It’s because of God’s grace that we yield ourselves to Him. How foolish to think that being saved by God’s grace could be a reason for living as if we had not been saved at all! Remembering that we have a new master who is holy and righteous and expects us to live in a way that reflects His character gives us the reason to live a new life. Love for Him gives us the motivation. God did not save us so that we could continue sinning. As believers we come to know that continuing victory over sin DOES NOT DEPEND on our own efforts but on the abundant supply of God’s grace, his favor toward us, His power in us, that He says is sufficient for all our needs.
2. Freedom - Romans 6:16-20. Paul uses the illustration of master and slave. It’s obvious that whatever you yield to becomes your master. The basic truth is: ultimately there are only 2 masters = we can choose to obey sin or the Lord. When we yield (surrender, give in) to our sin nature, we are not simply sinning but we are developing sinful habits (Romans 6:16) When we obey sin we get enslaved to a lifestyle that leads to death. Death not a loss of our salvation but alienation from God. We lose our fellowship with Him. We lost our joy, peace, spiritual growth, our clear conscience. It leads to more sin unless we turn to God in genuine repentance, confess, then He forgives and restores and helps. If we choose to obey God, submit to Him, develop habits of holiness, those will lead to purity in our lives. Paul speaks of our PAST condition (Romans 6:17) We used to be slaves to sin, but now we that we have obeyed and trusted Christ we are free from sin and bound to righteousness. An unsaved person is free from righteousness (Romans 6:20) Slavery to sin makes it harder and harder to do right.
Ie Example of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24).
When the son was at home he wanted his freedom, so he left home to find himself, to be free. But his rebellion only led him into deeper slavery. He was a slave of wrong desires, wrong deeds and literally became a slave who took care of pigs. He wanted to find himself and he lost himself in the process. What he thought was freedom turned out to be slavery. It was only when he came home and yielded to his father that he found true freedom and love.
QUESTION: If we are freed from sin, no longer slaves to unrighteousness, why do we keep on sinning?
Why does Paul have to tell us (Romans 6:19) present, offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness?
a. We still have our old sin nature, it has been rendered inoperative by the cross but it is still there as long as we are alive on planet earth. It no longer has authority over us in that we can overcome but its potential is there until we are with the Lord
b. We still have free will. Our salvation from sin has given us the freedom and desire to live righteously but we are not forced to do so. We make choices. We can choose to obey sin when it tempts us or reckon it dead and refuse to respond. Every day we come to forks in the road. One path is labeled RIGHT and the other WRONG. The Lord calls us to make the right choice and through the power of the Holy Spirit He enables us to carry through with that decision. However we have to first choose right.
3. Fruit - Romans 6:21-23
If you work for someone you can expect wages. Sin pays wages=death. God also pays=holiness, eternal life. In the old life, we produced fruit that made us ashamed, guilty, or happy for a short time until that guilty feeling came. In the new life, we produce fruit that glorifies God, gives purpose to our lives and causes lasting joy.
Truth = It’s possible to be free and still live like a slave.
Believers can realize intellectually that sin is no longer their master, they can know this truth and yet fail to reckon or consider it true in reality. Maybe that’s you. You know you need to change. Name that sin. Consider today that God has freed you from it and given you the power to overcome. Pray and commit to begin developing new, right habit, attitudes, behaviors. Trust God to help you.
Truth = It’s possible to be a slave and think you are free.
This is only true for those who have not trusted in Christ. You are not free until you come under new management, until you have changed masters. This chapter of knowing, reckoning, yielding applies to Christ-followers. God calls us to Himself first. “Now is the day of salvation”. Is God calling you?
God wants us all to have His “make-over” whether it’s to receive Him as Savior and Lord or as a believer to live free.
Walk for the Cure - Have you ever walked this?
Paul would really like this walk. He’d be there, along with cheering, also he’d be preaching: said “walk for the cure” of cancer is commendable, but you who are Christians = really need to “walk for the cure” of sin, “walk in the Spirit” that’s the only real cure. Talk about this today and next week.
Remember the megathemes in Romes: CHART - sin, salvation, sanctification (growth, maturity, living the X life).
I. Died to the Law Romans 7:1-6
II. Doomed by the Law Romans 7:7-13
C. Results in death
III. Defeated by the Law Romans 7:14-25
IV. Delivered by the Spirit Romans 8:1-4
Underlying question to this chapter that is still bothering some of you Jews, “Is the believer under the law?” Already told you Romans 6:14 fuller explanation. Jewish legalism in the church, book of Acts is filled w/episodes where some Jews insisted the road to faith in Christ led through Judaism. To be a true Christian faith plus circumcision, keep Mosaic law, traditions. Paul always resisted trying to mix faith and law. As he writes to Roman believers, aware that legalism was a potential if not actual problem. In expounding the truth that believers have been freed from bondage to the Law through union w/Christ, his basic point is that the LAW is operative only for those who are alive; DEATH nullifies the effect of law, obviously law can have no authority over a dead person. Illustrate his point…
According to law, a woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive. If during his lifetime she has a sexual relationship w/another man, the Law of marriage condemns her as an adulteress, broken the law. But if her husband dies she is no longer bound by the Law of marriage, free to marry another.
This is you, applies to our union with Christ. Remember Paul has already said, thru faith we are united with Christ (Romans 6:3-5), potentially dead to sin (Romans 6:11-13). Now Paul says, we died to the Law. Just as death breaks bond between a husband/wife, so our identification with Christ’s death breaks the bond that yoked us to the law. We’ve been released from our marital union with Law and entered into a new marriage with Christ, share his name, His power, experiences, position, glory, eternal relationship. WHY has he saved us? READ Romans 7:4 bear fruit for God, not fruit that perishes, embarrassed about, but fruit that is good and pleasing to God. Speaks to our motives. We used to keep a code of rules to try to gain God’s approval, NOW that we have experienced His love, assured of His acceptance of us in Christ, we want to thank Him, show Him our love, “walk in newness of life” Romans 6:4 and serve God in the “new way of the Spirit” Romans 7:6. Have you ever really stopped and thought about your motivations? Why you do the things you do? Why do you serve at your kid’s school? Is it to minister kindness and love or so that the principal will favor your child? Why do you work in the nursery at church? To pay your dues, or to show God’s unconditional love and model what the church should be for all, even the little ones? What’s your motivation when you go to work, get through the day, or do you see yourself on the mission field, as one who carries God’s love to the world? Paul says, you’ve been released from an old way of thinking/doing to be free to love and serve God in a brand new way. Truth: because we are no longer under the authority of the law, died to it, united to Christ, the motivation of our obligations should be radically different. Our obedience to God is not like a slave fearing a master, but bride lovingly pleasing her husband. Motivated to serve God, because we love.
Paul has said through Christ’s death we are dead to sin and the Law. Does that mean the Law and Sin are the same thing? Is the Law sinful. NO. Here through the rest of the chapter we have an intimate look at the apostle Paul, picture of his spiritual autobiography. See his perspective and his own personal experience with sin. Now this section Romans 7:7-13 verbs are past tense. Caused some to believe these verses refer to Paul’s life before Christ. 4 things Paul wants us to know:
Law is not sin, law exposes sin, defines sin. Game of Tennis. Imagine you have never played, don’t know the rules, volley back/forth, you let the ball bounce more than once before returning it. No problem, no rules. Tennis pro shows us. Explains the game. Only allow ball to bounce once-bounces twice=fault. Learn the rules, there are rules that define the game, what is allowed, what is not allowed Law is like that, the law defines what God says sin is. Interesting to note the wisdom of Paul to choose the 10th commandment to illustrate his point. Differs from the other nine in that it is an inward attitude not an outward action. Insidious sin that most people never see but God’s law reveals it to our hearts. Sin of the rich young ruler Mark 10:17-27. Young man, outwardly very moral but never had faced the sin in his heart. True, never committed adultery, robbed, never given false witness, or dishonored parents, but what about covetousness? When Jesus told him to sell his goods, and give to the poor, follow Him, he went away, in great sorrow. Why? Most likely very attached to his possessions, in heart he coveted his stuff. The commandment “Thou shalt not covet” revealed his sin.
Before the law came I had freedom from an accusing conscience, false peace, law changed that. Showed me there is something in my human nature that wants to rebel whenever a law is given. Think about kids, tell a child you can jump on the trampoline outside but not on the couch, where do they want to jump? Can’t have a cookie until after dinner, but you can have a carrot, what do they want? The sign says “wet paint, don’t touch” Hermitage in St Pete, only Michaelangelo statue in museum roped off, man touches it…don’t touch makes me want to touch, roped off pews
Law cannot give life, it can only show a person that they are guilty and condemned not by the commandment but by sin. READ Romans 7:11. Sin deceived me=that’s sin’s greatest power it deceives us. We’re fooled into thinking we have life under control, when in fact it’s sin that controls us. Three ways sin deceives:
1. find satisfaction. No one ever took/did something forbidden w/out thinking this will make me happy, then to find that misery followed behind. ie friend affair, read Anna Karenina Tolstoy. 2. Excuse our sins. When sin deceives someone, endless excuses and defenses for doing the wrong thing - the one that tears my heart out is when someone says, “well God wants me to be happy, right?” as the justification for sin. Reality is God is more interested in our holiness than our happiness. You can’t use God as an excuse for sin. 3. Believe we will escape the consequences of sin. No one sins without the hope of getting away with it. Numbers 32:23 - Be sure your sins will find you out. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.
Truth: The Law of God is righteous, revealing our sin, desperate need for God’s grace to help change us.
Application: As you have studied Romans, has God revealed a sin in your life that you need to confess and put away? Has God’s Word pointed out something that makes you feel unsettled, not right? Maybe it’s the first time you really see half-truths as really whole lies? Your critical spirit is really just sin. Offering help is really Manipulation: taking control where God says hands off, let me. I don’t know your sin, we’ve all got areas God is working on in us, what have you seen that needs God’s grace and forgiveness. Process of maturing, growing up in faith = seeing sin, confessing, asking for God’s help. We are never going to be sinless, but the time between seeing our sin and our confession hopefully gets shorter because we are listening to the Holy Spirit convict us, learning what God’s word says is sin, deliberating asking Him to help remove it from our lives.
Paul now switches to present tense verbs. Perhaps this is a key to understanding the timing, the when. Before salvation, after? I wonder how you answered the challenge question this week. Who is Paul describing in these verses? I hope you had a chance to read the article, at least the conclusion. Debated for centuries. The best I understand: Paul is describing the life of a Christian ANYTIME when SELF is in control. Anytime when self is trying to be good, do the right thing, stop bad habit, anytime when you’re working in your own energy. Result: you will most likely lose the struggle with sin.
PAUL saying “Let me tell you about my own personal experiences, what happens when I try to live the Christian life on my own determination, willpower, my own strength.” READ the Message :
I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it! I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decided not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decided to do good, sin is there to trip me up.
Application: Can you relate to that? Sure you can, we all can.
Paul is outlining the scenario that is familiar to all Christians. We know the right thing to do, but find ourselves failing to do it, in fact we do the opposite. WHY? Explanation is simple, yet, profound. There dwells in us, in our flesh, a sin principle, a law of sin, persistent tendency toward sin (17.18.21) sin nature. as a Christian, we have something within that wants to do good, agrees w/law, says “Do right” at the same time there’s something inside us that rises up and says “no” even when our determination is to do right, given a set of circumstances, our determination melts away, our willpower is gone, we end up doing exactly what we don’t want to do.
This totally frustrates and stresses us out. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?
Application: Is there anyone feeling that way right now?
Paul does not leave us hanging - Romans 7:25. Thanks for what? For the wretchedness, frustration? What’s he referring to? Thanks for the truth he is leading us into in Chapter 8: Only God can deliver us from our struggles with sin. Put it another way, we cannot handle the struggle with sin on our own. Our Christian life must be defined as “God dependent, not self-dependent”. Paul says, I need help to live this new life…God is there, Jesus Christ our Lord.
These verses actually answer his question in Romans 7:24. Conclusion of his argument in 7. He has told us that the key to overcoming this struggle with sin is seeing Jesus as Lord of our lives. What does that mean? Dictionary defines “lord” as one who has power, authority over another. When the Bible says Jesus is our Lord = He came not only to save us, Savior, but also He is the Lord, authority, ruler over those who trust Him. So for Paul, this meant that Jesus was in charge of every aspect of his life, that is the solution to the dilemma in chapter 7. But how does that work out in every day life? Chapter 8.
Truth: We see Jesus as our Lord to the extent we recognize and accept the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
You don’t have to feel “condemned.” READ Romans 8:1. Therefore, because Jesus is Lord. We do not have to feel put down or insecure in our spiritual struggles. There is no sin that you’ve ever committed or ever will commit that will put you back under God’s wrath. You may feel guilty from time to time, probably the Spirit convicting you of some sin you’ve committed, like gossip about a neighbor, angry yell at kids, bad mood spills over to hurting others, you need to confess that. But you should never feel shame from God, no condemnation. Those kind of feelings are not from God, scripture tells us that is the mark of the evil one, trying to make us feel unloved by God. Don’t listen to that.
You don’t have to feel “trapped” in chapter 7. READ Romans 8:2 - NO condemnation BECAUSE…You have been “set free” from the prison cell of sin and death. Now you can walk back into that tiny cell, but the Spirit of God will keep trying to tell you, you’re free, you’re free to live the new life in Christ.
You don’t have to live in chapter 7 “according to the sinful nature”. READ Romans 8:3-4. Jesus became the “sin offering” for us so that we have eternal life with God but also so that we have power to live this life radically different. This what Paul calls living according to the Spirit…controlled by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit.
Application: Do you know what that means? The walk in the Spirit? Can you describe that? Have you experienced that?
Ie. Church in Richardson. In 1972, married 4 years, never gone to church, invited by husband’s boss, Sunday brunch, after a couple weeks, visit Sunday School class, women separate from men, small church 80, pastor 28-30 year old seminary student, old (anyone 10 years older than you is old) wife taught the women, sitting in circle, someone shared “the Holy Spirit impressed me to” …didn’t really hear the rest, someone else said “I asked the Holy Spirit to help me …” again all I hear was the Holy Spirit. That day after church, thinking and told my husband, “I think we’re in a cult”- it says “Hillcrest Baptist” – I grew up in the church, all the time, I tuned out a lot, never heard the Holy Spirit spoken of as a person who is involved in your life, I heard about don’t sin and do your Christian duty, we sang the doxology “In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.” I knew about the Trinity, but had no idea of how important the Holy Spirit is in living the Christian life. I had no clue. Wonder do you?
Walking in the Spirit is intentionally allowing the Spirit of God, Holy Spirit to live His life through you. Colossians 1:27 - To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
John 14:16 - Jesus said when I leave you I will send a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who will be with you and in you, He indwells believers. He is the one that has the power to overcome the struggles of Chapter 7 - we, alone, ourselves without His help, we never will. Walking in the Spirit, coming face to face with overcoming a sin, or fulfilling one of Jesus’ commands, saying I can’t do this, done, I can’t, BUT you can… Holy Spirit live through me the life of Jesus, help me now.
I.e., Corrie Ten Boom
How good are you at remembering American History? If it happened in my lifetime= pretty good. All remember President FDR, he made a speech before Congress 11 months before Pearl Harbor in Jan 1941. Our nation was unsettled, concerned about the war in Europe, much has been forgotten but part of that speech lives on because it speaks to the core of what it means to be an American. READ speech.
In Romans 8 Paul also makes a Declaration of Freedom, spiritual freedom through the Holy Spirit. He also speaks of 4 freedoms that we who are believers are to enjoy right now. Review last week chapter 7 struggle to live the Christian life - Romans 7:24 “Who will set me free?” Answer we saw in 8:2 “through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free”. Holy Spirit frees us, gives us the power to really live for God. Review: been studying 3 weeks doctrine of sanctification: maturing in our faith, this is the culminating chapter.
I. Freedom from Judgment Romans 8:1-4
II. Freedom from Defeat Romans 8:5-17
III. Freedom from Discouragement Romans 8:18-30
IV. Freedom from Fear Romans 8:31-39
A. Law cannot condemn us - Romans 8:1. One of Paul’s favorite expressions = “in Christ”, writes this in all his epistles, it means we have a new position, new sphere of living.
B. Law cannot control us (Romans 8:2). “Free from that cycle of sin and death” Romans 7:25 because Jesus gave himself willingly as a “sin offering” requirements of the law are met.
Truth: In Christ Jesus we are eternally Free from Judgment of our sins.
We have been declared right-with-God thru faith in Jesus Christ, God has wiped our slate clean. Scriptures teach one day God will judge the world, anyone that has ever lived, will be judged:
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15.
Application: But for you, you who are believers, you are free from that judgment.
A. Power - Romans 8:5-13. Romans 7 dominated by words “I”, “my” “me”, struggle of our lives when we’re living out of our own power, hoping our self-determination will help us make good choices. That often ends up in defeat Romans 7:24 “what a wretched man I am”. By contrast, Romans 8 is characterized by the word “Spirit” 17 times - through power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that we have power to live the Christian life, not our own. That power is available to you when:
1. Holy Spirit controls your mind (Romans 8:5-9) - READ.
For Paul, there are only 2 different mind-sets, only 2 different thought patterns=they are opposites. Your mind is either controlled by the Spirit or the sinful nature. Remember Paul is talking to Christians, who have the Holy Spirit. He makes it very clear in Romans 8:9 that if you don’t have the Spirit, you’re not yet a Christian.
Note: in Scripture, sometimes the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of God” or “the Spirit of Christ” these different names are not to confuse our understanding of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Remember this truth about the Trinity: “although they are eternally distinct in their personal modes of being, they also share the same divine essence and will.” Stott
When you trust Christ as your Savior, Lord, (Ephesians 1:13) you were “marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance”. “Seal with Holy Spirit” = metaphor describing how God has given each believer the power of the Holy Spirit living inside enabling us to live differently than we did before. We know we can quench/grieve the Spirit to the extent that it seems we don’t even have the Spirit within us: you may be alive physically but may feel dead spiritually and that’s the reason. Paul says if you live that way, it does feels like death, you can’t please God, in fact the sinful mind is hostile to God (convicting words). The mind controlled by the Spirit is totally different: it’s life, peace, pleasing to God. The fact is you and I choose daily, hourly, even minute-by minute who will have control of our mind, starts w/our mind. Does the Holy Spirit control your mind?
2. Holy Spirit controls your body (Romans 8:10-13)
Those who are saved, evidence = Holy Spirit indwells you, because He does, your very body becomes the house, temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19, 20). Even though this mortal body is destined to die, for the believer death is not our ultimate destiny, we too have a resurrection awaiting us - by the same Holy Spirit power that rescued Christ from the grave, lives in us, will resurrect us too. Isn’t that incredibly comforting.
Illustration: most of us have TVs with remote controllers. Anyone ever fight over the controller at your house? Our youngest used to hide it so he would be the only one controlling it because whoever has the controller determines what is watched. Great metaphor for our spiritual lives. Paul says when self, the flesh, has the controller we live defeated lives. The flesh is always going to click on programs that encourage our self-absorbed, self-centered, pleasure seeking lives, things that turn us away from God, that engage our minds and our bodies in sin. However, when the Spirit has the controller, He will focus us, our minds and bodies, on what pleases God and will give us the power to turn off anything else. He gives us power: we also see He gives us a place in the family of God.
B. Place - Romans 8:14-17.
Paul says the Holy Spirit places us into the family of God 3 things about your place in the family
1. When you’re “led by the Spirit” in the family - Romans 8:14, verb=willingly led, as we yield to the Spirit, He guides us. John 16:13 - “When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth”. Do you realize that the Holy Spirit wants to help guide you in all you do, all the decisions you make. Is there something that you’re trying to figure out on your own? Have you prayed about it? Have you asked God to lead you or do you have the controller in your own hands.
2. When you’re in the family = Loved by the Father - Romans 8:15, 16. “Abba” is the cry of a baby for his father in Aramaic, in English, “papa” “daddy”. Jesus in Gethsemane called out to God, as “Abba, Father.” Through the regeneration of the Spirit was are adopted and have an intimate relationship with God, Spirit assures us that is true.
3. When in the family = Joint heirs with Jesus. READ Romans 8:17. Two-fold meaning: we expect sufferings now but we anticipate glory later.
Truth: Life controlled by the Holy Spirit provides Freedom from Defeat.
We get defeated when we feel like a failure before God. Chapter 7 = Feel like we have “blown it, let Him down” Those times Paul says remember you have the Spirit of God living in you (if you are a Christian), Let Him control your life, give it up. Application: I don’t know if anyone here feels defeated spiritually? But if you do, start by looking at who has the controller of your life? If “self” then hand it over to the Spirit, get free.
Just as we get defeated when we feel like a failure, God knows we get discouraged when we don’t have Hope: when we don’t see purpose or meaning in our lives. What often opens the door to discouragement is pain and suffering. Paul says “look, I know you all are going to have pain and tough times, it’s part of living life on fallen planet earth, living life as a believer in a hostile world, but it’s going to be worth it all when we see Jesus.
Truth: What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later (Romans 8:18 Living Bible). Our problems now are real but they pale in comparison to what awaits us.
When we come into the presence of God we will experience such joy, such happiness that will far exceed these temporary troubles, “groanings”, yearnings we have now awaiting Christ’s return. Until then:
1. Creation groans (Romans 8:18-22) When God finished His creation Genesis 1:31 “it was good” but today it groans. Now, there is suffering, decay and pain throughout our world. Our world longs for redemption.
2. Christians groan (Romans 8:23-25) Now, we are awaiting our full inheritance, our new bodies, when we see God face to face, we long for redemption. That is our “blessed hope”. That is ultimately why we have freedom from discouragement = because we have an eternal hope.
3. Holy Spirit groans (Romans 8:26-27) He groans as He prays for us, knowing we don’t always know what is best, He intercedes for us, praying that we might be led into the Will of God. We’ve all experienced times when pain, suffering, loss, burdens of life overwhelm us, we don’t have the energy or wisdom to know how to pray, what a comfort to know the Spirit is interceding for us.
There is a longing for redemption, time when we are with God, universe is re-created, thinking about this future picture can give us perspective on our present sufferings.
1. Suffering is temporary.
We look around at the process of death, dying and know that this is not the way God planned it to be. Beautiful flowers fade away. See depletion of natural resources, but Scripture says “one day creation itself will be liberated from bondage to decay (Romans 8:21).
One day everything that was ever created, except fallen angels and rebellious people, will fulfill God’s intended purpose. Revelation 21:4 - God himself will wipe away all tears, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, all of that is gone fore.
2. Suffering is a consequence (Romans 8:20a) Creation didn’t ask for suffering, subjected to futility, it came as a result of man’s sin. One of the consequences of Adam’s sin was the cursing of the ground. Suffering is a consequence. Ask “what about the bad things that happen to good people?” Tough theological question= Frances Shaeffer had a simple answer “we live in a fallen world”. We all have been affected by the tragedy of sin by being born here. This is not heaven, this is not shalom. You may say “that’s not fair” you’re right, this life is not always fair. Teach children.
3. Suffering is universal (Romans 8:22). Sometimes we forget that everyone suffers, wrapped up in our own “stuff” and fail to see that everyone suffers at some time in their lives, part of the human experience, though it differs, it is universal. I Corinthians 10:13.
4. Suffering is purposeful (Romans 8:28-30) Review:
Paul has been comparing our present suffering with the future glory. Living for Christ is going to be worth it all. Everything that was ever created is longing for that day.
Takes a breath and says, now let’s look at your life, I know you’ve been suffering too listen - READ Romans 8:28-30. Conditional Promise = only for Christians, not true for others. Promise for us to claim, incorporate into our minds, base our life responses on. We “know” Greek term refers to the possession of absolute unshakable confidence. “In all things God works for the good”…Lord uses everything that enters our lives to work together for good, we can’t call all things “good” some things are bad, but God will take those things, good and bad and works all things for our good. Many times we face suffering and we can’t see how this could ever be good, just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean God is without good reason, or He has lost control. I Corinthians 13:12 we see “in a mirror dimly” only “know in part” what God is doing in our lives. Ultimately we know He is working to make us look like His Son= that is “good” and it also helps us understand Romans 8:29,30. God’s plan for us will succeed. It started in eternity past when He chose us in Christ (Ephesians 1:4,5). He predetermined one day that we would be like Christ. He called us and when we responded He justified us and also glorified us.
Truth: We experience Freedom from Discouragement when we preserve in hope, pray with the Spirit’s help and trust in the purposes of God.
Illustration: Joseph=beloved son, hated by his brothers because of favoritism. Sold him into slavery, forgot about him. God never abandoned him. During 12-15 bondage, he was misjudged, imprisoned, betrayed but God was using all this to build character, strength. Eventually made Prime Minister in charge of famine relief, one day Famine finally reached Canaan, his father’s household. Brothers sent to buy food, when Joseph could no longer stand it, he revealed himself to them, father brought to Egypt and great family reunion. Then dad died, buried. Brothers began to fear that Joseph was holding a grudge against them, pay them back, sent a message begged for forgiveness. READ Genesis 50:19-21. God was working all things for good.
Application: we are the rest of the story. We can replace Joseph’s name w/ours, replace his specific suffering w/ours. Truth is the same, even when we are mistreated, misunderstood, hurt, we can be assured, God is working all things for our good.
Is that the way you’ve been looking at your life? Are you free from disappointment because you are trusting God?
Seems that Paul is addressing something we all have probably thought of at one time or another. Fear that we may lose God’s love, that we may do something so awful, so bad that He will stop loving us. We’ve all grown up on fallen planet earth and most of us have felt the loss of love, by a parent, friend, child or a spouse. Wonder if they could stop loving me, could God do that too? Are we really secure in our relationship with God? Paul gives us 5 arguments that prove NOTHING can separate us from God.
1. God is for us (Romans 8:31). Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.
2. Christ died for us (Romans 8:32). God gave his only Son, his very best for us, will He not give us all we need? Jesus says this same thing when He tried to convince the people not to worry or fear, God cares for the birds, sheep, lilies, surely He will take care of you.
3. God has forgiven us (Romans 8:33) - declared us righteous in Christ, although Satan would like to accuse us, we are in Christ.
4. Christ intercedes for us (Romans 8:34) - both the Spirit and the Son praying for us
5. Christ loves us (Romans 8:35-39) - Nothing can ever separate us from His love. READ Romans 8:38, 39.
Truth: God’s eternal love provides us Freedom from Fear. This week will you live free?
Overview Chapter 9 Israel’s Past, selected, chosen by God to reveal God’s person and plan to the world. Chapter 10 Israel’s present, rejection of Messiah that results in God setting aside His people, the Jews. Chapter 11 Israel’s future, one day all Israel will be saved, restored, reunited in the people of God. Paul’s audience=Roman church =Jews and Gentiles, he speaks to both.
I. Past: Israel Sovereignly chosen Romans 9
A. Children of Privilege Romans 9:1-5
B. Children of Promise Romans 9:6-13
C. Children of Mercy Romans 9:14-18
D. God’s Sovereignty Romans 9:19-33
1. Who are we to argue with God?
2. What did the Prophets say?
3. Why has God turned to Gentiles?
II. Present: Israel Willfully Rejected Romans 10
A. Reasons for their Rejection Romans 10:1-13
B. Remedy for their Rejection Romans 10:14-17
C. Results of their Rejection Romans 10:18-21
III. Future: Israel Miraculously Saved Romans 11
A. Partial Rejection Romans 11:1-10
B. Purposeful Rejection Romans 11:11-24
C. Promised Restoration Romans 11:25-36
Paul initially persecuted the Christians, they were his enemy, the he was converted, Jews considered him traitor and he became their enemy- he preached Jesus as Messiah, accused him of turning his back on the religion of his birth, questioned his sincerity. This may be why he says READ Romans 9:1-3. Isn’t His burden for them convicting? It is for me. Have you been continuing to think of that person you love that isn’t yet a believer? Lesson we learn from Paul, even though we may not have the opening to speak to them, we can keep praying and we can keep loving them. Israel’s advantages Romans 9:4, 5. 1. Israelites=named the people of God. 2. Adopted as sons of God. 3. Glory of God= shekinah glory=visible manifestation of God, a bright cloud that followed Israel in the wilderness, later filled the Temple. 4. Covenants= Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David. 5. Law given thru Moses. 6. Temple services=worship. 7. Promises=that still fill the pages of the OT Promises to a nation, that one day there will be a Kingdom centered in Jerusalem ruled by the Lord Himself to which all nations will go to worship. 8. Patriarchs - giant figures in Jewish history=Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David “the fathers” of the faith. 9. Messiah came from Israel by human history.
BUT in spite of these blessings, being children of privilege, Israel failed. When Messiah came Israel rejected Him, crucified Him. They, just like we sometimes do, when confronted with new truth “chose a misguided notion of self-preservation over self-examination and correction.”
Some of you Jews are wondering-Does Israel’s failure mean God’s Word has failed?
Word failed= “ship going off course” Answer is No! Romans 9:6 - God is faithful to His purposes, His promises even when we are not.
Reason why God’s Word has not failed is Romans 9:6b, 8. Paul’s point is that being a physical descendant of Abraham, Issac, Jacob does not automatically make one a recipient of God’s promises - only those who are spiritual descendants. God sees 2 groups: those who are physical, biological descendants and those who are physical, biological and spiritual because they have the FAITH of their forefathers. This is the same argument we saw back in Romans 2:28= 2 groups: circumcised outwardly and those who has received a circumcision of the heart. The promises were made to the later. Paul gives 2 OT examples to illustrate that there has always been election, God’s choosing within the nation.
1. Abraham had 2 sons. Ishmael born first, but he was son of the handmaid. Issac born second, son of the promise, mother was Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
2. Isaac had 2 sons Romans 9:11 God chose Jacob. Challenging to understand Romans 9:13. Near-Eastern rhetoric. Paul quotes Malachi=later prophets who is rebuking Israel for their negligence in worshipping God. Opens up w/Malachi telling them that God loves them, how have you loved me? God responds “I chose you, loved Jacob, hated Esau” Comparison, contrast between the kind of feelings for the sons, not based on merit, but on God’s choosing. Only one of the twins could inherit the family line through which Messiah would come=God chose Jacob over Esau to receive the Promises.
Certainly some of you are asking “Isn’t God being unfair in His choices?” Romans 9:14
Right here I would like Paul to explain the doctrine of election, he has his chance. I kinda understand that Isaac should be the chosen one, son of wife, promise. But will you explain why Jacob was chosen over Esau? We know the rest of the story, Esau despised his birthright and Jacob valued it. But is that the reason? Paul is silent and doesn’t say.
Instead when you ask READ Romans 9:14, he says simply “no” and basically says What’s at issue is not a question of fairness or justice (God by His nature cannot be unfair) but God’s freedom to choose based solely on His own will=Sovereignty of God. What God does is determined by who God is: He is Merciful as Powerful 2 OT illustrations of God’s sovereign decision: remember He is not under obligation to give anyone mercy=all have sinned, but He chooses to have compassion on some= what he told Moses. Pharaoh=ask did he hardened his heart or did God harden his heart? Study the text carefully we have to say yes to both parts, but here in this context Paul is arguing that God can harden just as well as God can have mercy= his Sovereign choice READ Romans 9:18.
OK Paul, if God is totally in charge, He’s sovereign, chooses some, overlooks others, how can I be blamed for lack of faith? Maybe I can’t help it if I don’t believe? It’s God’s fault not mine right? This attempt to blame God for everything that goes wrong is as old as the Garden of Eden. Adam said, it’s not my fault God, the woman You gave me made me eat of the fruit. Blame God game. Paul answers the question with asking 3 questions of his own.
Romans 9:20-24 God chooses our parents, genetic structure, time/place of our birth, born w/some pre-determined facts about us. Then he like a potter shapes our lives with the clay of our hearts. Just like the clay can’t complain how it’s shaped, Paul says God has the same authority over our lives, even us Romans 9:24. Ok you want to talk about God’s sovereignty?
a. Gentiles-Hosea (Romans 9:25, 26) God had foretold He would turn away from Jews/call Gentiles.
b. Remnant-Isaiah (27-29) God also foretold that He knew only a remnant of Israel would be saved. Believing Remnant of Jews and the believing Gentiles=”my people”.
(Romans 9:30-33) Gentiles believed, accepted Jesus as Messiah, Jews stumbled over believing in Him, they rejected him.
If we stop here, then we would just conclude, God chooses and we are robots, He makes all the choices and we have no free will - that’s not true. God is completely Sovereign but we have responsibility of choice too. Move to the tension of these 2 truths: God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. Paul will build an argument in Chapter 10 for their accountability.
Paul affirms again his love for them.
1. They were sincere, but sincerely wrong about Jesus Romans 10:2. Their zeal for God was great but w/o knowledge, they did not know the “righteousness that comes from God.”
2. They were proud and self-righteous Romans 10:3 established their own righteousness, proud of their own good works, would not admit a need for a Savior.
3. They misunderstood their own law Romans 10:4-13.
Everything about the Jewish faith pointed to a coming Messiah: the sacrifices, priesthood, temple services, religious festivals, covenants. Law showed them they were sinners, needed a Savior, instead of letting the Law lead them to Messiah, they held on to the Law to make them righteous. Paul contrasts 2 ways to right relationship with God again uses OT to explain his points. Leviticus 18:5 - If you want to live by the law, you must obey it, all of it. Yet, no one ever has, we’ve all broken the commandments, we’ve all sinned. But there’s another way. READ Romans 10:6 again he quotes Moses: righteousness by faith, by quoting Moses here he not difficult or complicated, its available, accessible, near, you don’t have to perform difficult works, in fact READ Romans 10:9, 10. Salvation by faith, trust and belief that Jesus is Lord. READ Romans 10:11-13.
Application: We have been talking about the gospel and salvation since Romans 1. I know that most of you here have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, settled, for most of you and I are either living in Chapter 7 or 8 depending on how faithfully we’re dealing with our sin nature. But I wonder if someone here is still uncertain about their relationship w/God? This is a clear as it gets for how one is saved. Confess and believe Jesus. Only you know your heart- but if you have not received God’s free gift, today is the day to make that certain. You may want to talk to your leader or me or a good friend in your group. Scriptures say ‘today is the day of salvation’
Only way anyone can be saved is Romans 10:13. Reverse logic: Romans 10:14, 15. Before they call they must believe, in order to believe, must hear for its hearing the Word that creates faith Romans 10:17. Emphasis is on the oral communication of the gospel. Today we have many opportunities to tell others about Christ: internet, books, media, never lose sight of the personal one-on-one face-to-face contact. READ Romans 10:14 how can they hear unless someone preaches to them. Definition of preacher is anyone who is willing to tell others about Jesus, God expects us all to be preachers Acts 1:8 “you shall receive power when the HS comes, be my witnesses…” Paul quotes Isaiah - Witnesses have beautiful feet. Who was it in your life that had beautiful feet and brought to you the gospel in such a way that brought you to faith? A parent, a friend, a pastor? Have you thanked them? What about you? Do you have beautiful feet? Are you willing to share Jesus with others? How will they hear if you don’t tell them?
Truth: Remedy for rejection is hearing and believing
Romans 10:16 = not all who heard believed
Some of you are asking “Maybe the Jews never heard the gospel?” Romans 10:18 yes they have
OK, but if they heard, maybe it’s that they didn’t understand? No. This has been their attitude since the time of Moses, the Jews have refused to accept the plain revelation of God. Paul quotes Moses and Isaiah, concerning Israel READ Romans 10:21.
Most of you are thinking of family members, friends, Jewish heritage, asking “Is God going to get tired of holding out His hand, will His patience with Israel wear out? Is there any future for the nation? Paul answers those questions in Chapter 11. Learning the truths in this chapter changed my life, changed the way I think about world events, changed the way I think about Jewish friends, when I went to Israel, I thought about how one day I would return there with Jesus.
Paul asks what you’ve been thinking Romans 11:1. Did God reject his people? No Paul says look at me, I’m a Jew that has embraced Jesus. If God had permanently cast off the entire nation, no Jew could be saved. Yet, Paul had been called by God, converted by faith to Christianity (Acts 9) Paul shares the story of Elijah=concludes God has always had a remnant among the Jews, same is today. 100 Messianic churches in Jerusalem today. Existence today of Jews who have received Jesus as Messiah is evidence God has a plan for His people.
Three purposes God planned to accomplish thru the “transgression of the Jews”:
1. Salvation would come to Gentiles Romans 11:11b. Study Paul’s missionary journeys in Acts, you see a pattern: Paul would go to the synagogues, Jews first, preach Christ, a few believed, but more often he was kicked out, after their rejection, turned to the Gentiles who believed, started churches.
2. Gentile faith would move the Jews to jealousy Romans 11:11b.
3. One day Israel’s fullness will bring greater riches to the entire world Romans 11:12
Paul turns and says Romans 11:13 I’m talking especially to you Gentiles, understand this
1. Baking (Romans 11:16) - Jewish farmer raised a grain crop, he would bring the first shoot to the priest as offering. Similar when baking use the grain, first piece of dough was given as offering. If part is holy, all is holy. “When a representative piece is consecrated to God, the whole belongs to him, so when the first converts believe, the conversion of the rest can be expected to follow” STOTT
2. Gardening (Romans 11:16-17) - Allegory of the Olive Tree. Tree= people of God, whose root is the patriarchs. The branches broken off = unbelieving Jews who have been temporarily discarded, grafted in branches = believing Gentiles. You Gentiles, don’t become prideful, arrogant or prejudiced against the Jews, always be God’s chosen people. READ Romans 11:28, 29
When we study the last 200 years, we see Sad, shameful, contrary to biblical teachings points in Church history where we have been anti-semitic, that prejudice has been open, militant and promoted by the church. Shame on us. There is no room in the church of JC for Gentile pride or any feelings of superiority to the Jewish people. No room for crude anti-semitic jokes, no room for exclusive anti-semitic memberships. No room in the Christian life for any feelings other than love, concern for the salvation of Israel. Paul makes this very clear, sad to say, most who call themselves Christians haven’t read chapter 11.
READ Romans 11:25-27 Mystery. Partial hardening = key word “fullness of the Gentiles, last Gentile is saved, church age ends. Then God will turn again to the Jew and “All Israel will be saved” All Israel will accept Jesus. When will this happen, when will the fullness of the Gentiles actually happen? No date on the calendar. Zechariah 9-14 sound very much like this time, Second coming of Christ. It’s all God’s Plan, His purposes, His calling, His gifts His mercy, and God does not change.
Benediction (Romans 11:33-36) - Paul is overwhelmed and stops to praise and worship God. Pray.
Do you do crossword puzzles or Sudoku? Just learned this summer and I love it. In crossword puzzles and Sudoku you have to work both vertically and horizontally to complete the puzzle. Our lives have the same two dimensions. Vertically, we have a relationship w/God and horizontally we have relationships w/each other. For weeks now, our primary focus has been vertically: Sin, Salvation, Sanctification, Sovereignty. This week we move our focus to horizontally: Service: How we live out our theology, our beliefs about God with one another. Paul provides in these last chapters divinely inspired guidelines for applying the Christian life, we learn how God wants us to relate to each..
I. The Christian Servant Romans 12
A. Sacrifice our bodies Romans 12:1-2
B. Share our gifts Romans 12:3-8
C. Serve our society Romans 12:9-21
II. The Christian Citizen Romans 13
A. Live under authority Romans 13:1-7
B. Love our neighbor Romans 13:8-10
C. Look for Jesus Romans 13:11-14
III. The Christian Brother Romans 14:1-15:13
A. Accept on another Romans 14:1-6
B. Accountable to God Romans 14:7-12
C. Adjust our liberties Romans 14:13-23
D. Act as our Lord Romans 15:1-13 (Lecture stops here)
III. Paul’s closing remarks Romans 15:14-16:27
A. Ministry, Plans, Personal greetings, benediction
READ Romans 12:1, 2. “Therefore”, connecting linking word, 4th time: Romans 3:20 of condemnation, all guilty of sin; Romans 5:1 of justification, salvation thru Jesus Christ; Romans 8:1 of assurance, “in Christ Jesus”; Romans 12:1 of dedication, devotion. What is true devotion? 3 steps: 1. Give God your body. 2. Give God your mind. 3. Give God your will.
1. Why would God want my body? Tired, sick, out of shape. When we say that, we forget how God views us. Forget that He created us, sees us as His temple because the Holy Spirit dwells inside. Two biblical examples that will help us understand “living sacrifice”: 1st – Isaac - Genesis 22. Abraham sacrificed only son Isaac, forget that Isaac had a part too, Isaac willingly put himself on the altar and would have died in obedience to God’s command, but the Lord sent a ram to take His place. Isaac died to “self” and when he got off that altar he was a living sacrifice, to the glory of God. Other, Jesus Christ perfect illustration. He actually died as a sacrifice, but rose again, today in heaven He is our living sacrifice. Verb “offer” =once at for all=implies a definite commitment of our bodies to Christ just as a bride/groom commit themselves in their wedding service. Paul says 2 REASONS:
a. Right response to all God has done for us, “I urge you in view of...Pleases God”
b. Spiritual response, to God it is an act of worship.
How do you define worship? Singing, praising God, going to church, good. In this passage, God is saying “everyday, at work, home, living your ordinary life, I want you to worship me by allowing Me to use your body.” God wants to use your body, He created your body, has a plan for your body. Warning: If we use our bodies for only for ourselves, self-focused: my family, my world, we’ll miss knowing all we were created to be. 2 reminders: Romans 8:13 - stop abusing your body in sin; Romans 12:1 - intentionally give your body to God, material part of who you are. God also wants the immaterial part of you: next
2. The world wants to control your mind, but God wants to transform your mind. “Do not conform”= present tense verbs=on-going process. What does that mean? Someone might answer, I know, don’t smoke, don’t drink, gamble, dance, don’t wear too much makeup, fool around sexually, if you really want to be spiritual, sell your TV and give up caffeine. Is there a list in your mind if you gave it up, you’d be spiritual? Truth is, there are many people who have given up a list of “worldly things” but they are still conformed to the spirit of this world in their mind. Worldly thinking = what do I get out of this, what’s in it for me, my family? How do I win? How can I make you think I’m really good, smart, strong? Bible says don’t be locked into this kind of thinking, it brings heartache and pain. “World” is always seeking personal happiness, personal fulfillment, method: competition, rivalry, getting ahead, getting my way no matter who gets hurt in the process. God says “don’t be conformed but be TRANSFORMED=same word as Transfigured in Matthew 17:2 - Jesus on Mountain. It came into our English language as “metamorphosis” describing a change from within. Bible tells us believers have the mind of Christ, ability to see life through His eyes, not to advance ourselves, but to serve God. God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded, way He does that is His Word. As you spend time reading, meditating, memorizing the Word, it becomes part of your inner being, God will make your mind renewed, think different. Your mind controls you body, but
3. Your will controls your mind.
Many think we can control ourselves by our own willpower, our own strength. Chapter 7 - often fail. It’s when we give our “will” over to God, find ourselves in the center of His Will for us = good, pleasing, perfect. “Not my will, but yours” = knew God’s will=best.
Truth: As Christ-followers we need to break loose from worldly patterns of life and thought and give ourselves holistically to God.
Ie UNSQUEEZED book.
Think about your life, can you discern where your thinking is more like the world than like Christ? Have you ever consciously offered yourself to God to be a living sacrifice, would you want to? Do you make decisions and then ask God to bless them, or do you first ask God, what’s your will, what do you want me to do? Truth=to function horizontally, relationally with others as a Christian, we first must surrender vertically.
Paul reminds us to avoid overrating ourselves, natural tendency, but also implied is the opposite problem, we should not underrate ourselves. Both are flip sides of the coin of Pride, and are out-of –balance. Proper way to think about yourself is God’s way= Believer, loved by God, dependent on the indwelling HS, made in the image of God, being remade in the image of Christ. Not conceited but confident. We are all related, all part of one body=body of Christ, serve one another w/our gifts.
Definition: A spiritual gift is an ability that God has given that enables you to serve.
As I read the gifts, think about yourself, which one are you?
READ Romans 12:6-8. Prophets = speak forth the Word of God; Servants = demonstrate love by meeting practical needs; Teachers = impart knowledge and instruct in truth; Exhorters = encourage others to spiritual growth; Givers = share personal assets to further God’s ministry; Leaders = coordinate, delegate, lead others to achieve goals; Mercy = gifted w/sympathetic understanding of other’s problems, seek to comfort those in turmoil.
Truth: As Christ followers we have spiritual gifts to discover & to use for others.
READ Romans 12:9. The basis of our serving others is LOVE, sincere, genuine love. True love that comes from God flowing out of you to others. Learn from the Bible how we express that love to others. Romans 12:9-13 - Paul gives a list of imperatives dealing with our relationships with others both fellow believers and unbelievers.
1. Romans 12:9 - True love must be sincere, rejects sin but not sinner, opposite=hypocritical love, love based on behavior, performance, love not extended unless you measure up. That kind of love has turned off more people from Christianity than anything else. People hear words of Jesus about love, peace, joy, go to church expecting to find it there, instead they may find prejudice, rejection, contempt, exclusion. Other extreme is also hypocritical, like the Corinthian church-accept all behavior, all sin without discriminating between right and wrong=no you need to hate evil, cling to good.
2. Romans 12:10 - True love is devoted “full of tenderness”, unselfish, sees that we are all one family.
3. Romans 12:11 - True love is full of enthusiasm. Not lazy or indifferent about serving others, zeal.
4. Romans 12:12 - True love Rejoices One way to have joy in hope is that when storms come, begin and be constantly in prayer. Phil 4:6 - In everything by prayer & petition with thanksgiving make your requests known to God and you will experience the peace of God.
5. Romans 12:13 - True love is generous & hospitable. We are responsible to meet needs of others giving assistance spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially. Practice hospitality = Greek = “affection to strangers.” Take opportunities to openly invite new acquaintances, new people to spend time with you and your family.
6. Romans 12:14-21 - True love REACTS in love:
a. speaks well of our enemies. Romans 12:14 - don’t badmouth people who aren’t nice to you.
b. adjusts to others moods and circumstances. Romans 12:15 - laugh and cry with others.
c. does not show partiality. Romans 12:16 - live in harmony, don’t be proud, conceited.
d. is not sneaky or underhanded. Romans 12:17 - don’t do the “payback”, leave that to God.
e. is a peacemaker. Romans 12:18 - so glad was a realistic, included “if possible” some people will not allow you to be at peace with them, but don’t let that be your excuse not to seek peace and reconciliation, but know that it may not be possible, it takes 2, you can only 1.
f. leaves all revenge up to God. Romans 12:19-21 - Why? It’s His job, only He can work it out with fairness and justice. Our job is to Romans 12:20. What does Paul mean? Ancient way of lighting fires, no matches, you needed a light, borrow some coals from a neighbor. Good neighbor would fill up an earthen jar full of hot coals, you would carry them home on head, provide you necessary fire. Picture of generous response to a need. Became a metaphor for responding generously to an enemy.
Ie true story = Christian in military, prayed on his knees, ridiculed, made fun. One night, praying one guy threw his shoes at him, he said nothing, laid the shoes beside, continued. Next morning, guy woke to find his boots beside his bed, shiny, polished, melted him, asked why? Opportunity to share faith, led to conversion. Great example of what Paul meant by overcoming evil with good.
Truth: As Christ followers our call is to relate to others in selfless love.
Application: when was the last time you sincerely served someone else? Rephrase that when was the last time you sincerely served someone else who hurt you, took advantage of you, stabbed you in the back? Following Christ is loving like that.
Paul now turns to define the Christian’s responsibility and loyalty to one’s country. Romans 13 begins with basic principles for us to know & follow.
1. All government is established by God - Romans 13:1, 2 easy to believe when it’s a democracy, monarchy? Oligarchy? Totalitarian state? Regardless of the form of government God’s hand is in it. Title= Ruler of heaven and earth.
2. Purpose of government is to encourage good and prevent evil - Romans 13:3,4. God has ordained that there be human government, civil laws to preserve order.
3. Christian response to government should be obey the laws - Romans 13:5.
4. We are to pay taxes, don’t sneak things through customs without paying, respect & honor those in government.
Quick to add a higher principle: Truth: A Christ follower’s disobedience to government is justified when that authority requires disobedience to God.
Matthew 22:21 - Render to Caesar…but Caesar has no right to require us to worship Him or disobey God’s word. Point here: don’t resist the legitimate function of government.
Text turns from owing obedience to owing love. READ Romans 13:8-10. This should not be interpreted to mean under no circumstances should a believer incur a financial debt, “owe nothing” = pay your debts on time, don’t be late in paying what you owe, but realize you’ll never be able to pay back on Love. When you rub shoulders with other people=your first obligation is to show love to them. Greek used “love your neighbor”= heteros= of another kind, implying that we give unselfish love to those who have different beliefs, tastes, values, lifestyles than we do. James 2:8,9 - If you really keep the royal law ..Love your neighbor as yourself you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin...
Application: what kindness have you shown your neighbor lately?
1. Check the time, the hour is late Romans 13:11, 12a Time not hour on clock but a period of history we live in, the next event on God’s time table is the second coming of Jesus Christ, nearer now than yesterday.
2. Change your clothes Romans 13:12b give up the party life, don’t devote your life just to seeking the good times, don’t just live for pleasures, there is more, much more.
Take off your old clothes and put on the Living Jesus Christ, live for Him because He is coming again.
What do you do when Christians disagree? Believers in Rome, like other churches, divided over diets/special days. Some thought sin to eat meat/only vegetables. Others said it was sin not to observe the Jewish holy days. If each believer had kept their convictions to themselves, no problem. But they began to criticize and judge each other. One group was sure the other was not spiritual. Unfortunately, we too have areas of differences that cause divisions too. Often these are “gray areas”. Certainly there are behaviors that are clearly right/wrong but others are less clear and some things we wrestle with today are not even mentioned ie. music wars in our churches, bible doesn’t mention contemporary vs. traditional music, yet churches have split over this area, shame on us for demanding our preference over keeping the unity…that goes both ways.
Paul gives 4 guidelines:
What to eat? When to worship? Paul stood theologically on the side of the “strong” believer, the one who embraced liberty and freedom in his faith. However, he realized the deeper issue here was the critical responses of the 2 groups to each other. Basic point is Christians should be convinced of their stand. Romans 14:5 - do what they feel is right but without passing judgment on other believers who have reached a different conclusion. READ Romans 14:4.
Someday each of us as individuals will give an account of our lives to God - Romans 14:12. Believers will not face the Great White Throne judgment because we are no longer under condemnation, Romans 8:1, our names are in the Book of Life. However, we will face the Judgment Seat of Christ, Bema seat, our works will be judged as to whether they have been done in the flesh or through the spirit. I Corinthians - Paul is clear here, we are not responsible for anyone else’s life but our own, not husband, not our children, not parents, so this leaves no room for preoccupation w/what we may think are faults in others, not your responsibility, it’s God’s.
Our liberties in Christ are to be balanced. God’s desire is that we are free in Christ, enjoy that freedom. Yet without self-imposed limitations we risk being selfish and careless of others. As important as Christian freedom is, there is a principle that surpasses it: Love for a weaker brother/sister Romans 14:15, 21. If a “strong” Christian exercises his/her freedom to eat or drink in a way that offends, or harms, or retards the spiritual growth of another, she is not walking in love.
“Living under grace is like living with no curfews, but with the expectation of coming home on time.”
This principle of accepting others, thinking of them first was lived out in the life of Jesus Christ. If the world is to see Jesus, it must see Him in us - in our lives. Called to strengthen one another, accept one another, love one another. Height of Christian living is Romans 15:13…READ.
My hope for you is that you fully live both vertically and horizontally: accept His acceptance of you through Jesus Christ, you grow to know and love Him more and more, love and serve others for this is the Will of God for you.
Pray Benediction - Romans 16:25-27