Roaming Through Romans-Part 37

The two-fold aspect of Romans 12:2 is a necessary context in which to consider the Will of God. We are not too likely to have God’s Will revealed to us if we are not living Godly lives, and not having our minds renewed by being saturated with the Word of God. Of course, we also need to apply and obey the Word, with God’s enabling. When these things are in place, we can “prove” (i.e; discern, realize, discover) “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect Will of God.” There are some other factors to consider. Scripture, in other places. states that certain things are God’s Will. (Examples: 1Thessalonians 4:3; Ephesians 5  [emphasizing Verse 17]; and others). Wherever God commands and calls for loving obedience is the Will of God. After checking all of this to be sure we are in compliance, then we can be alert to “open or closed doors”. We can seek guidance from Godly counselors. Another indicator might be peace of heart and mind or lack of this. We would be wise to take into account, at least somewhat, how God has gifted us. Be sure to seek Godly, honest and objective confirmation. We can be very mistaken to go only by our own feelings. Also be sure that what you assume is God’s Will is not in violation of any Biblical principle. (We are told to provide for our family but it would not justify driving a beer truck to do it.) No place on earth is better than being in the “dead-center” of God’s Will.  Selah! Think this over: If we are what God wants us to be in Christ-like Character, He will have no problem leading us into His specific Will for our daily lives.    Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 36

We are still closely examining Romans Chapter 12, Verses 1-2. Based on our response to the mercies of God (Verse 1), we yield ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice, placed on the altar to stay, for our whole lives. In Verse 2, we are commanded to resist the pull of the world’s basic mind-set and manner of life. Obedience is rendered, in love for and gratitude to God, and in dependence on Him to enable us to live lives that are a credit to Him. But how are we to see this kind of life developed? The answer is in Verse 2. We are to be “transformed” by the renewing of our minds. “Transformed” in the original language conveys essentially the same idea as “transfigured” as in Jesus being changed on the Mount of Transfiguration. We are born with the mind blinded to God’s way of thinking. When we come to know Jesus in a personal way, as Lord and Savior, our minds begin the renewal process. The Holy Spirit, using the Word of God (and prayer), gradually fills us with the mind of Christ Jesus. We are to cooperate with Him and let this work be done. This demands a lifelong study of, and application of Scripture to ourselves. Christians often ask, “How can I know the Will Of God?” This renewal of the redeemed mind is one thing that we are told explicitly, is the will of God. More on the Will of God tomorrow, Lord willing.  Selah! As you, (if you are a born again Christian), think about it , are you able to discern in your thoughts more and more of God’s way of looking at life? One, very aptly, said, ” that the greatest exercise of the mind of man is to think the thoughts of God after Him!”    Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 35

In our day, preaching and teaching about “separation” is conspicuous by its absence. If any Christian dares suggest that our lifestyle should be different from the world’s way, to any significant degree, he is apt to be accused of being “legalistic”. This kind of attitude hinders Godly living and betrays a sad lack of knowledge as to what it really means to be “legalistic”. Paul, under inspiration, in Romans 12:2 issues a clarion call for holy behavior! He tells us not to be conformed to this world-system and its mind-bent. J.B. Phillips puts it something like this: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold.” Now if our conduct is imposed from without by some authoritative source then we have missed Paul’s key point in Verse 1 of this chapter. Our determination and desire to live separated lives is motivated by love for our Lord, and gratitude for His super abundant mercies to us, and because we want Him to be honored by  the way we live. When an animal was placed on the Old Testament altar, it was a one time sacrifice and was all over quickly. When we are placed on the altar, we are a living sacrifice and our dying to the old way of living and thinking becomes a life-long process of being more and more “set apart” from the world’s way and to God (i.e; sanctified [or “saint”ified] ). Tomorrow in Verse 2,  we want to consider the other side of the coin. Selah! If you and I were accused of being a Christian, do you think there would be enough evidence to convict us? Let’s hope so!   Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 34

Resuming our study of Romans 12:1-2, let’s take another hard look at this portion of His Word. (I am laboring more on these two verses because they are so important and pivotal.) Picture the animal sacrifice on the old testiment altar. Before the priest can position the beast firmly in place, it slides off of the altar or is half on and half off. The priest(s) using a couple of flesh-hooks manages to finally put the sacrifice just where it should be. When God’s “living sacrifices” (i.e; each one of His born again ones) are moving away from or resisting His working, He uses the twin flesh-hooks of conviction and chastisement to make their surrender a complete one. Because He is dealing with “living sacrifices”, they are useful for a lifetime and not just for a brief period of time. Before anyone might assume that this means that God forces His children into compliance, remember that if our conversion is genuine then we willingly allowed ourselves to be placed on the altar. We did so out of overwhelming gratitude to and love for God because of His super abundant love, grace, and mercies. This kind of surrender is an act of worship! Astonishingly, this sacrifice of ourselves implies that our fleshly (sinful nature) must be being put to death and it is out of the ashes of death to self that we discern the manifestation of His Resurrection Life!!  The outcome of this produces a living advertisement of what God can do with a life that is yielded to Him. Selah! Think about Major Ian Thomas’ unique way of putting this. “God wants to be what He is: Everything, in what we are: nothing, and that will really be something!”    Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 33

Perhaps "Roaming" is not the best word to be used for today's study. Instead, stop and take a hard look at these opening verses of Romans, Chapter 12.  Let's focus on Verses 1-2. The  first 11 chapters are amazing in terms of what they reveal. Mankind's corruption, condemnation, and hopeless condition is fully explored. The myth that we could earn God's favor or forgiveness is exploded. God's remedy for our sin and sins is unfolded. The dynamic for Godly living is available to those who receive His gracious offer of salvation. We learn that there is no condemnation for those who truly know Him. His love comes shining through these pages. His plans for Jew and Gentile (and the world), as to the future, are opened to our wondering minds. There are important considerations in relation to the Church. God's Mercy is abundantly available to all who trust in Jesus' Sacrifice for themselves and yield their lives to Him. Based on all His overwhelming mercies, in Verse 1, Paul beseeches all brethren to put their bodies, alive, on God's altar as a sacrifice of gratitude for God's amazing grace. When we surrender our bodies to Him, we are actually surrendering all. This kind of sacrifice is holy (i.e; we are "set apart" to God and from the world-system), it is acceptable to God, and is our reasonable service (i. e; a logical lifelong act of worship).  Selah! Think about your own response. Are you on the altar to stay? Have you fallen off?  How do we get back on when we have fallen off? How would you answer these questions?  (We will delve into this more tomorrow, as we continue our "hard look" at these opening two verses.)  Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 32

Where does what we have been studying leave Israel?  Romans, Chapter 11 gives us very important information. There are some Christians (and others) that teach that God has "written Israel off". Not a few Christians believe that the Church has become "true Israel". In Verses 1-6, Paul (under inspiration, remember) makes it very clear that God has not abandoned Israel. She has a promised place in God's plan for the future. She is on hold, for now. Verses 7-12 highlight the present condition of Israel (from their rejection of the Messiah until the beginning of their 70ieth week, right after the Rapture). In Verses 13-24, the Apostle goes on to caution the Gentiles not to make the mistake of assuming that they are better than Israel. He further warns them that they could be "cut off", nationally. He reminds them that God is using them to provoke Israel to jealousy, with a view of opening Jewish minds to the need of salvation. Verses 25-32 drive home the truth that God doesn't give up on His loved ones, Jew or Gentile. We are told that God has concluded them all in unbelief, in order to make His mercy available to all those who open themselves to Him and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.  In the closing verses of this chapter, Paul's heart overflows with admiration and wonder for the wisdom and knowledge of God and asks who can outsmart or out give God. It is a rhetorical question to which the obvious answer is, no one!  His heart rises to a crescendo of praise as he reminds us that God is "all in all" and he climaxes his worship with a resounding "Glory to God!!!!".  Selah!  Does God fill your thoughts with this kind of Holy Obsession?   Ron

“Special Extra” for Today

I felt that some response to the recent extensive religious survey is called for. The first thing that I would point out is that there is a vast difference between "religion" and true Christianity. It is, of course, true that there are many religious entities that usurp the title: "Christianity", without any Scriptural basis for doing so. Religion is an attempt to reach out to God or a god (whatever their concept of "god" might be). It is usually believed that "good works" merits favor from one's god. What constitutes "good works" is defined according to each group's own ideas. "Christianity" is God reaching down to fallen mankind with the offer of salvation by Grace alone, through faith in His revealed Truth in the Bible. It offers forgiveness, cleansing, and the entry of God's Holy Spirit into the trusting heart. The Indwelling Holy Spirit provides the dynamic motivation to live Godly. I would also mention something that most of you probably know already but some might not realize. In spite of the current emphasis on toleration (some of which is appropriate), Jesus taught this Truth: He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me!" John 14:6. That method has not been rescinded! There is an appalling amount of Scriptural illiteracy today. Selah! Think how stupid and eternally fatal that it is to trust in fallen men's spiritually blind reasoning rather than to trust in God's revealed Truth. Don't make that eternally horrible mistake!  Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 31

Let's look together at the rest of Romans, Chapter 10 (Verses 14-21). In Verses 14-17, the strategic role of a preacher is spelled out. It is the responsibility of the preacher to expound and explain the Word of God, with the enabling of the Holy Spirit. By extension, "the preacher" includes missionaries, evangelists, and the like. Generally speaking, this is the way that people hear the message of salvation. All this is the thrust of Verse 14.  Moving to Verse 15, this principle emerges: preachers have to be sent. We send them by a church's appointment, in Godly recognition of their calling, and with support, prayer and accountability. They preach the Gospel and glad tidings of good things. They are welcome ambassadors, (the underlying idea of beautiful feet), of Jesus to those who are responsive to their message. Verse 16 reminds us that, tragically, there are many who will not receive the Truth. Verse 17 reveals the means of delivery and the source of the message. The means, ordinarily, is "hearing". The source of the message is God's Word. The Bible is the instrument God uses, for faith to be born and grow. Paul shares some interesting considerations in Verses 18-21. Verse 18 informs us that a witness went to the all the earth (probably the known world of that time). Verse 19 indicates that God intended to make Israel jealous by seeing Him bless others with what they felt belonged only to them. In Verses 20-21, God indicts Israel by what He impresses Isaiah to state boldly. He was found by multitudes who never sought Him but were sought by Him. As for Israel as a nation, God's Love reached out to them but to no avail. How tragic!  Selah!  If you stop and think, it is the same today. Some very unlikely people place their faith in God's revealed truth, while others who have heard it over and over ignore and or reject it. Reader, what is your response?   Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 30

The first thirteen verses of Romans, Chapter 10, are loaded with significance! Paul, under inspiration, starts in Verse 1 with his burden for Israel . He longs for their salvation. (Do we long for the salvation of our fellow Americans?)  In Verse 2, he gets right to the point. Israel has a zeal for God but without proper knowledge of what He requires. Verse 3 reveals that they are trying to achieve righteousness by their attempts to conform (externally) to God's Laws. This is impossible! Verse 4 re-introduces us to the truth that Christ's Sacrifice is the end of the Law as a means of righteousness. In Verse 5, Paul puts his finger right square on the problem. If salvation is to come through good works, (a mistake still made by multitudes today), we would have to be perfect. We aren't!  Verses 6-13 unfold the means of true righteousness. It is by faith in His (Jesus') perfect righteousness, credited to us who open our hearts and lives to Him and trust in Calvary's sufficiency to provide what we need and only what God will accept. We don't have to go up to Heaven or down to hell, looking for Him. He is as near as the Word (i.e; the Bible). The object and substance of faith is found there. We confess Him as Lord, with our mouths, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead. We call upon Him (surrender to Him) as Lord and Savior. This kind of heart belief and testifying to His Saving Grace results in holy living. Whoever truly embraces these truths for themselves will never have cause for regret, only for rejoicing. It is open to Jew and Gentile.  Selah!  What a provision, what a God! Grace is amazing!!    Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 29

In the remaining verses of Romans, Chapter Nine (Verses 25-33), we come upon something that holds special meaning for us who are not Israelites. In fact, God is letting us in on some very fascinating new information. It is that God has a purpose for the Gentiles as well as for His own people. God loves the "world" (of mankind). Israel is in trouble with God. The nation, as a whole, is numerous but only a remnant will be saved (Verse 27). God has left this remnant or there would be no more Israel which will not happen since God will keep His promises to her. Therefore, we can depend on His promises to us. In reaching out to the Gentiles, God is giving Israel a "wake-up" call. Looking at us Gentiles, it is very apparent that most of us will not yield to Him. However, in our day all (Jew and Gentile) who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior are incorporated into His (Jesus') Body, the Church. The outcome of all this is that Gentiles who didn't pursue righteousness and the Jews who did (and didn't find it) have all failed to respond to God in a way that He accepts, the way of faith. This is what God is after! He demands a trust in the work and Person of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. When we take Him (Jesus) as our personal Lord and Savior, we are credited with His Righteousness which is perfect! Jew and Gentile, then and now, struggle with this, foolishly assuming that God will save them on their terms. Will you, if you haven't, receive Him on His terms?  You will not be disappointed (verse 33)!  Selah!  What a wonderful thing it is to be in His Church and immersed in Him, forever!!   Ron