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

Advertisements

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

Roaming Through Romans-Part 28

Yesterday, in Romans 9, Verses 4-24, we considered some of God's dealings with certain people groups (i.e; Jews and Gentiles, especially Israel) and two types of individuals. In the larger picture, God had chosen Israel for special blessing. However, at that point in history, Israel just didn't "get it". So, in these chapters (9-11), God places His emphasis upon the Gentiles. This began with Israel's failure to recognize and receive Jesus as their Messiah. The Age of Grace started at Calvary when Jesus cried out, "It is finished". The Church Age began at Pentecost. (These two ages run concurrently with slightly different starting points.) God  set aside Israel, placed her on hold so to speak, and while she is on hold, God is working with Gentiles. However now, within the larger frame of Jewish and Gentile peoples, God is starting a new entity that we know as the Church. God is taking those Jews and Gentiles who exercise "saving faith" and bonding them into this new body, the Church. The time will come when God will resume His Work with Israel and fulfill all His promises to her. Selah!  What an awesome and all-wise God we serve!     Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 27

It is my intention to touch lightly on Romans, Chapters 9-11. I would like to survey the major thrust(s) of these chapters.  In Chapter 9, Verses 4-24, Paul deals with two people groups: Jews and Gentiles. He then brings to our attention that there are those that are not children of God. He goes on to explain that there are the children of promise. Not all Israelites are the children of the promise. Those that come through Isaac and open themselves to God by faith are. However, this becomes a bit complex. In a shift of discussion, God, in His mercy, brings certain people to Salvation. Jews or Gentiles who receive God's gift by faith constitute the "redeemed". It happens not because of any merit on their part but solely through God's grace and mercy. There is a great deal of theological debate on the details of how this works. For my part, I have no doubt that any and all (in our age) Jews and Gentiles who receive God's gift and open their hearts and lives to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrate that they are the called and the elect. Anyone who will honestly do this will be saved and anyone who wants to be, can!  God only hardens those who first harden themselves! If anyone reading this is not responding to Him and His offer, that person is hardening himself. There is a danger of resisting to the point of being unable to be saved. Don't make that fatal mistake!   Selah! Think about this: the door that is wide open today may permanently close, sooner than you might think!    Ron   (More tomorrow.)

Roaming Through Romans-Part 26

Today, let's focus on only Verses 1-3 in Romans, Chapter Nine. I believe these three verses need special attention before we go on to take a hard look at Israel. Paul really bares his heart here!  In doing this, he, in a small yet passionate way, reflects the love of God for lost men and women, as well as young people and children. In Verse 1, he emphatically defends the truth of what he is about to say. He appeals to his conscience. With a clear conscience, he insists that he is telling the truth. However, he adds that it is his conscience that verifies his honesty and does so with the Holy Ghost as a witness. What is his burden?  Look at Verse 2. "…I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart."  Why? The answer is that his kinsmen (Israel) are blind and lost. He has this great burden for those who have despised and rejected him. (This mirrors Jesus' love for lost mankind!)  His burden is so intense that, in Verse 3, he lets us see right into his heart. He cares for Israel so much that he wishes that he could bear hell in their place. Remember, he says this with God as his witness. What would happen if we had that kind of love for the lost?  Selah!  Do you suppose that our lack of love, this intense, is what produces such a lethargy and casual attitude about our witnessing to those outside of Christ in our day?  Ron

Roaming Through Romans-Part 25

In these closing verses of Romans, chapter eight, Paul gives a shout of triumph! In Verses 35-36, he shares a list of problems that would stagger the heartiest soul (including being killed). (Before he mentions death, he tells of seven things that could make death seem good by comparison.) Then, he startles us with this reminder, "In all these things we are more than conquerors."  We are?!  Yes! "….through Him Who loved us." (verse 37). Having referred to God's love, Paul then informs us that nothing can separate us from that love!  He then runs us through nine things, in Verses 38-39, that might try to interfere with that love, all without success. Then, in Verse 39, the Apostle, wanting to make sure that he hasn't left anything out, brings this to our attention, "…nor any other creature…". (Actually, no created thing!)  This includes you and me, if we are truly saved. Selah! If you stop and think about this, there is nothing that can take us out of His love because, "…love never faileth."   Ron

 

"Oh love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!

It shall forever more endure, the saints' and angels' song." (Frederick M. Lehman)