I may be offline for a few days. Please check often. I’ll resume articles, earliest possible, hopefully in the next 4-6 days. I value your involvement. Be assured that I pray that these articles will bring you to Christ if you haven’t come to Him yet. If you have received Him, I pray that you will be strengthened in your experience of discipleship. Pastor Ron Pinkham
God’s Best to you and yours!
There is a teaching abroad today that one can receive Jesus as Savior without necessarily submitting to His Lordship. How absurd this is becomes very clear, when we consider the implications of Romans Chapter Six. In verses1-6, we learn of a remarkable baptism. This baptism is a Spiritual one. It is the "one baptism" spoken of in Ephesians 4:5. It is the baptism that takes us out of our position in Adam and places us in Christ and in His Body, the church (I Corinthians 12:13). In the opening two verses, Paul, under inspiration, forever shatters the notion that we can continue in sin and thereby exalt the grace of God. He asks, "…How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer in it?" (Verse 2). Let me mention in passing, this caution: This is not teaching "sinless perfection". The life of an unbeliever is characterized by increasing sinfulness, that of the believer is characterized by constantly increasing victory over sin. Let’s look at verses 3-10 This wonderful baptism has accomplished a truly amazing thing. God, in a tremendous display of his wisdom and power, has carved us "out of Adam" and grafted us "into Christ". We died with Jesus! God caused us to be "identified" with Him on the cross. We were buried with Him and rose again with Him (these too were by "identification"). We arose to walk in "newness of life"! Goodbye to the old life, hello to the new life! Now, we live under the gaze, discipline, and leading of God. There is much more here but these are a few thoughts. Selah! Weigh your options. There are two ways to travel in life. The broad way leads to hell! The narrow way leads to Heaven. If you are going in the wrong direction, turn around while you can. Turn to God. Read Romans 10:9-10 Ron
Since we are doing this study, for the most part, in broad strokes, I’ll take the liberty of condensing Romans Chapter 5, Verses 12-21 into a few thoughts. Sin, and consequently death, entered the human race because of one man’s sin. Law came later. For this reason, sin was not charged against those who didn’t have a knowledge of the Law. Nevertheless, death reigned over mankind. What follows in this portion is, the wonderful contrasts between the first Adam and the Last Adam (Jesus). Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection made possible a rescue from sin’s damage. He provided salvation for whosoever will. Every member of Adam’s race is atoned for but that atonement will only be applied to those who receive the gift of eternal life. Law was introduced to make mankind aware of God’s Standards. It also revealed our failure to measure up. When we break God’s Laws, we know it because God has told us what is wrong and then we still go ahead and break His Law. When we see how sinful we are and that we are accountable to God for our crimes against Him, we can turn to God and let Him meet our need for salvation. God’s abounding grace can overcome all the various aspects of sin’s destruction. Man lost his connection to God’s Life and that resulted in degeneration. Jesus’ Sacrifice made it possible to be re-connected to God’s Life. That is regeneration! Selah! Mull this over: Failure to avail ourselves of God’s offer of restoration, before it is too late, will leave us disconnected forever. Do you want that? Ron
( May I remind you that you will find these studies to be most profitable by reading the portion, under discussion, in your Bible.) Returning to Romans Chapter Five, let’s examine verses 6-11. Here is a glimpse into the Heart of God. Gazing on Him and meditating on the scope of His Love is truly overwhelming. In verse 6, we are reminded that before we were born again, we had no strength to reach up and take hold of God. ( Spiritual corpses do not have strength anymore than physical ones.) At just the right time, Christ died for the ungodly! Not for the righteous, for the ungodly! Verse 7 says that it would be rare for someone to die for a good person, (by implication, even more rare for a bad person). Verse 8 amazes us by telling us that God’s love is so strong that Christ died for us while we were sinners (enemies and without strength). He reached down when we couldn’t reach up! He couldn’t care more when we couldn’t care less! Verse 9-10 apply to those who have received His gift of salvation. If God rescued them in their sin and us in ours, how much more will He keep those for whom He paid such a price! Having been saved from the penalty due our sin, He will now save us, day by day, from the practising of sin. Verse 11 reminds us that we joy in God because of His great love that is lavished upon us. This pouring out of love was made possible because Jesus paid the price needed to reconcile us to God. Selah! Think how much God is worthy of our love and gratitude and express it to Him daily. Ron
Picking up in Romans Chapter Five at verse 3 and going through verse 5, we find that God’s pattern for developing maturity in His disciples is outlined for us. As we exercise patience during tribulation, we gain experience. We come to see that God knew what he was doing, even when we couldn’t understand it. We learn that He can be trusted. We also learn that He can sustain us in the midst of trials. As we experience God’s working, it gives us hope (confidence). Instead of discouragement, we have joy knowing that God is doing things in us and through us. Having hope (anticipated certainty) like this, we will never be disappointed. We won’t be ashamed (or even embarrassed) because we trusted Him. As we go through this lifetime of learning more and more about His love, grace, and wisdom, we come to love Him even more intensely. The Holy Spirit who has been given to us spreads that kind of love for God and our Lord Jesus Christ all through our hearts. Trusting God will always pay off, both soon and also later. Selah! Reflect and rejoice! "Jesus Never Fails"! Ron
The first eleven verses of Romans Chapter Five contain wonderful truths beginning with verse 1 where Paul announces that the war is over. We were fighting God’s activity in our lives. We didn’t want to surrender the control of our lives to Him. We didn’t want to admit our need of salvation. Finally, His love captured our hearts. (Reader, has His love captured your heart?) We trusted in His offer of forgiveness. We believed that His Perfect Righteousness credited to us made us acceptable to Him. In short, we were, "justified by faith (trust)". We had been condemned and awaited sentencing. In that moment of surrender, the Words of the Judge of all, fell on our spiritually renewed hearing. "You are not guilty! You are justified! you are acquitted!" All this forgiveness, cleansing, relief, and release, is all through our Lord Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. Yes, "Calvary covers it all"! There’s more! In verse 2 an amazing truth is unfolded! By faith, (trust) we have been granted access into His Grace. We stand in that Grace (i.e; we live in it, we are enveloped in it). We spiritually exist in His Presence. We are in "the Holy of Holies"! There is still more! We rejoice in hope( anticipated certainty) of the Glory of God. We will see God’s Splendor, His Majesty, His Magnificance! All this, in the Person of Jesus! There is even more. Come and visit tomorrow when we continue to stand in awe over these astonishing blessings. Selah! Could you have thought up all this? Of course not! However, God did plan all these things. Amazing Grace! Ron
In the last verse of Romans, Chapter Three, Paul reminds us that we don’t make void the Law through faith. Contrariwise, we establish it. The Law is the expression of God’s Character. It’s demands have to be met. We can’t measure up to those demands and He, Jesus, did on our behalf and to satisfy God’s Justice. As we try to appraise our lives in the light of His Law, we discover that we are very sinful and must depend on Him for our deliverance from sin’s stranglehold and for a sufficient Righteousness to warrant being accepted. All of Chapter Four is devoted to making it very clear that man’s best efforts to be and do right is worthless as a means of earning God’s favor. We do not earn a gift! To even try to earn it is offensive to the one whose love generated the desire to give it to us. We dishonor God when we don’t trust Him. Even Abraham was justified because He trusted God’s provision, not by his works. Before the Law was given, while the Law reigned, and after Jesus fulfilled all the Law, faith is the only way to appropriate God’s gift. We are credited with all we need when we trust in His death and resurrection and embrace His Lordship for ourselves. (We trust our lives to His gracious control.) Trust, it must be mentioned, is a choice, a decision, not a certain type of feeling. You and I decide to trust Him, no matter what. Selah! Consider this: God gives us only truth in the Bible, no error! God’s Word is absolutely reliable! Ron