Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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The two paths – death through Adam or life through Christ

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The two paths – death through Adam or life through Christ – 05/15/2016

Romans 5:12 (ESV) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

Let’s start in verse twelve of chapter five…

V12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

Paul continues his thought talking about the hereditary sin that we have through Adam. You will notice that he says it is through Adam and not through Eve because Adam was meant to be the head of the home so he was supposed to protect his wife from temptation. Paul takes the account in Genesis 3 as a literal account and ascribes the truth to it that it deserves and there is no debate in Paul’s mind whether Genesis is literal or not. Paul makes the following points

  • Sin came into world through one man – The buck stops with Adam, as the head of the home he carries the can for his household and as the first man and the father of us all he allows us to partake of his folly. Do not think dear Christian that all sins go unpunished in this lifetime as often times our errors will have repercussions beyond ourselves and our children’s decedents.

    If you doubt this then have a read through the book of Nehemiah then you will see that once they became aware of their sins then they made sacrifices for not just their generation but also their children too. If you are a parent you will want God’s blessings on your kids and a good measure of how much you love them as a Christian parent is how much you pray for them. Until very recently I have been lax in this area but that is something I have been burdened to do.

  • Death through sin – Death entered the world and spread like a virus, due to the fall of man we see the heart of man did not strive with God and a sinful nature overcame him and it required obedience and sacrifice to obey God. Adam was warned that a result of the original sin that death would enter into the world. God had created a place that was safe, that man could go forth and multiply and that was very good and because of sin everything started to go wrong due to the introduction of sin and death.
  • Death spread to all men because all sinned – As Paul shows us the connection between sin and death we see the connection due to every single family on this planet has had someone who has died in it. If we are truly fortunate then we may have one or two generations in front of us still alive but I have resigned myself to the fact that unless Jesus comes back I will have a funeral service at some point.

I know this because I come from a family of people who have sinned, some have repented of that sin and some haven’t. The point of what I am saying is that at one point we were all in the same sinful state and this is what matters in relation to where you are with God at present.

Paul counters the idea that the law was given to counter sin. The law was never meant to be the antidote to sin but merely to show the difference between God’s standards and what man could achieve. It was always meant to point to Jesus. The law was too late for sin and was not powerful enough to take away sin.

V14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

Was their death between Adam and Moses? Of course there was and reading through Genesis you will see a constant strain of people who were born at some point and then…died – So Paul was correct huh? It wasn’t until the time of Moses that the law was given and people continued to sin. Paul compares Adam and Jesus because at the beginning of their life they were the same – SINLESS! However one caused a separation between man and God and the other repaired a separation and allowed a way to be reconciled to God.

Paul continues in this thought by comparing the free gift of salvation with the original sin because both had consequences for the human race because under Adams transgression allowed people to die in their sins due to their wrongdoing against God and Jesus death allowed the grace of God to be spread on the world. One brought death and eternal separation and one brought life and eternal life.

V16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Paul goes on to say that just as Adams sin brought condemnation and allowed death to reign over all in contrast Jesus brought justification, it allowed grace to multiply too many and show that Jesus gift of life would be much more than the power of death. Paul reiterates John 14:6 that Jesus was the only way to heaven and through him is the only way to have righteousness.

V18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

And this is where the rubber meets the road folks, when we pass from this earth we will be associated with one of these two paths we will either be associated with the one who justified us or be associated with disobedience against God. There is no neutral ground here because if you follow disobedience then there will only be one result and that will be separation from God but that does not have to be the way that it is. We can be made righteous before God by following Jesus. A good example of this is a topical one due to this being an election year because we will chose to align ourselves with our favored choice, who represents you best and that will answer that question.

V20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And Paul summaries his thoughts here and while the law shone light on the wrongdoing we see that grace was more benevolent than our wrongdoings. Does that not tell you the type of God I serve that regardless of how much you kick against him and try to make it impossible for him to have communion with you he loves you that much that his grace is enough to redeem you as his own. As a result of the disobedience we see that sin reigned in death but God wins due to his grace due to the salvation work of the cross in Jesus Christ.

Paul closes by showing us that we cannot save ourselves, the law and the works based faith will fail and we have to stand on the work of Jesus because that is the only way that this unrighteous man will stand righteous before God. It is not of my own doing but simply my recognition that I have sinned and needed forgiveness from God. We are saved by grace through faith and that is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we will look at verses one through fourteen in chapter six where Paul looks at whether we should continue in sin in order to maximize God’s grace. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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God shows up and man is ashamed – Genesis 3:8-13

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God shows up and man is ashamed – Genesis 3:8-13 – 05/03/2016

Genesis 3:8 (ESV) And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter three verse eight…

V8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

This is it! You can hear the dramatic music playing…God has come back into the garden and the ones who were the main focus of the story have become the villains due to the sins they have committed. God who loves his creation wanted to be with them because before this man and God were together and in constant communion and they were together in a close relationship that today man could only dream of.

God is described as walking in the cool of the day in a natural familiar phrase which suggests that this was a regular occurrence and that the fellowship they shared was familiar. That God was here for his regular afternoon stroll in the garden where he knew he would find his beloved creation.

God, who knows all things, knew of the sin of Adam and Eve before he took that stroll in the garden, but God who loves his children wanted to deal with it immediately. As a parent I understand that idea and I do likewise if my daughter misbehaves and punishment is imminent.

Man’s reaction is expected, they were ashamed, they knew that the temporary coverings would give the game away that they suddenly knew that they were naked and they decided to try to hide from God. They were feeling shame, embarrassment and dread for the first time in their lives and it did not feel good. They are now realizing the full weight of their sin as the one they wanted to go to with any problems they might have is the very one that they hid from now!

V9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

God asks the question “where are you?” in a concerned tone when he cannot find them in the same manner I would had my daughter be lost from my sight for more than a few seconds (Yes I am that parent) and despite the fact that he knew exactly where they were and what they were feeling we see the very nature of God that he waited for them to come to him because he knew of their shame and dishonor.

V10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

And here we see the distance between God and man, we see from that point man hid himself from God and let’s be honest; man is still doing that today. The only ones who are not hiding as much are the ones who have taken Jesus as their Savior. Today the ones who run are those who do not want to listen to God, his Word or the plan that God has for their lives. Do you relate to any of that? Please do not think that I am not saying that we should not “fear God” but my fear of God is a healthy one which is based on the holiness and it is based on the reverence that I have for God and my desire to serve Him to the best of my ability and in the will of God.

V11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

Up until this point Adam had the opportunity to appeal to the judge for “good behavior” by “fessing up” and taking ownership of what he had done and essentially broke the only rule he was given up until this point. He chose not to and God had to then ask him they question they were both dreading. This was where the conversation was going to get waaay uncomfortable for the man.

Adam had two options here…

  • Own the sin and plead mercy from God
  • Try to blame someone else

Much as none of us want to talk about it, we all sin and because of that we do “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and you notice that God wasn’t interested in what they were wearing or not wearing, the shame they felt or the fact that they hid from him. He wanted to deal with the sin. Adam shows which of the above 2 options he chose in the next verse…

V12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

Like any primary schoolyard in any country you see Adam acting like any first grader who gets caught on a place that he shouldn’t be, he looks for anyone who was with him to shift the blame to. As Eve is the only candidate he decided to say “it wasn’t me, it was that woman that you gave me.

Adam blamed the following for his sin…

  • Eve for being there
  • God for sending him Eve

God addresses Adam because he is meant to be the head of the home and he was supposed to be responsible, Adam displays ineptitude in leadership and caused his whole household to sin. There is a lesson there to every man who is married and the head of a home that we have that extra responsibility and I pray for those women who have had to assume the “head of the home” role because their husbands have either left the next or have remained and been unwilling to undertake the role that God had placed them to be in. I say this as a former “Adam” as I in the past and to my shame have not always been a strong head of the home and it had an impact on my home. It was not too late for me and I pray that men who are like this read this article and repent to God and their wives and lead their home in the way God intended.

This may seem obvious but it is not appropriate for Adam to blame God for sending him the woman or blame the woman because God gave the instruction to Adam and not Eve, Eve was deceived and Adam willingly took the apple and sinned. There is a note to us today in our prayer lives that when we talk to God, do not do what Adam did and try to dress up our sin as not sin. Please know that when you pray God can see your heart as well as your words. Even if you dress it up in “holy words” He can still see your MO, your motivation and where your heart lies.

V13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

And learning from Adam we see that Eve continues the circle of blame to the serpent. Actually this is correct and whilst she may have had a point she had a certain amount of responsibility. The facts of the matter were that she was deceived but she also knew of God’s command and chose to go against the wishes and commands of God.

That is the issue of Eve that she knew better but allowed herself to be in that situation where she could be entrapped into sin. Like so many of us who allow temptation to take hold of their hearts, she edged in closer and allowed the serpent the opportunity to trick her into misquoting God, she was then entangled in her own words and caught in a situation where until she took that first bite she was still in communion with God.

When she took that action she allowed sin into the world and so started a chain of events that separated man and God, God’s original creation was no longer “very good” and many generations later we see what we have today and we also see the reason why Jesus had to come in the first place and that was to redeem man from many generations of sin by his sacrifice at Calvary. Today’s world is a very pale copy of what God had intended for his creation.

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we will look at verses fourteen through twenty four in chapter three when we realize that all sin has consequences and the consequences of that original sin can still be felt today. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Gods authority is challenged by the serpent – Genesis 3:1-7

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Gods authority is challenged by the serpent – Genesis 3:1-7 – 04/19/2016

Genesis 3:1 (ESV) Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter three verse one…

V1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

As the title suggests this was the first challenge to the authority of God and although the text does not clearly state that this was Satan, however elsewhere in the bible it does make it clear, let’s look at the book of Ezekiel…

Ezekiel 28:13 (ESV) You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.”

And we read that the serpent was crafty and cunning and this is a warning to us today not to engage Satan in a battle of wits or attempt to even outsmart or try to do battle with the word of God against Satan, he knows the word of God and knows how to twist it to suit his ends and we see this in this text that this is what he tries to do with Eve. It is important to recognize that Satan is a created being; he is not equal or equivalent to God. To elevate him to such stature is giving him what he desires most, to have the power of God. He can be defeated and Jesus is more than a match for him.

He understood the woman and understood that by going to the woman and attacking the one that the command was not explicitly given (see Genesis 2:15 onwards) to he may expose a weakness in the relationship of the man and the woman. The question is not a friendly one and exposed by Satan’s purpose in all of our lives that is explained in John 10 where he is listed as “the thief”…

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

I know all about Satan’s plan in this area as often times we have been attacked as a family unit when either myself or my wife has been at their weakest and here is how he attacked “He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” He decided to go against the very word of God and whilst this may be a bold assertion for us mere mortals, Satan genuinely believes that he is equivalent to God and will attempt to place himself in that place.

He would have had foreknowledge of whether Adam did a good job telling Eve God’s plan for the garden and he approached it in a manner taking what God had said as a positive (He gave them so much to eat and a perfect paradise to roam in) and the devil focused in on the ONE LIMITATION that was given and even then he asked the question in a manner that was designed to trip up Eve.

V2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Eve was really proud to be asked this question and answered him in the first place and secondly that she answered in her own pride and here is the first mistakes made in this whole unfortunate encounter. She also does not name the tree by name and lastly she adds her own addition to the end of the command from God. Here is what God actually said…

Genesis 2:15 (ESV) The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

No-one expects Eve to repeat the command verbatim but she was not supposed to add to the words of God and this is what Satan jumped on. She added the “nor shall you touch it” and whilst it may have been a sound policy to avoid temptations she was not bound by that recommendation by God and I see that a lot with Christians who bind themselves up in a whole bunch of traditional dogma that is not actually biblical and have been passed down as a tradition as opposed to sound theology. Eve really had a poor understanding of what God had actually said and did not understand the heart behind it. This for me as a man, husband and father falls squarely on Adams shoulders as he was the one who was supposed to take care of that.

V4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

As stated prior, Satan jumped on this like a flash exposing her false doctrine he had planned this and from the first moment asking the question in the way he did he opened up this situation to his benefit. He did not have to discredit God’s word; he just had to make Eve doubt and want to defend it. That is how he got a foothold in that conversation and from this he then went on the attack.

He stated “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He starts with questioning to make sure that Eve did not know what she was talking about and now moves in for the kill by contradicting God’s word. God’s word shows two good ways of dealing with the devil…

Jude 1:9 (ESV) But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Ephesians 4:27 (ESV) and give no opportunity to the devil.

Basically the bible states that we should not be tackling him dead on and instead leaving him to the Lord because greater is he that is in us than the one who tempts us. The devil concentrates on what he believes the benefits would be to them if they carry out this sin. The most dangerous part of this that there was a little truth in that their eyes would be opened…to their sin and just how inferior and different they were to God. Satan promised the opposite, he played on the pride that was in the heart of the woman wanting to be like the one who created them and made them fall in the same way he did, by wanting to be equal with God.

V6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Satan focused on how good the food was and Eve looks at the food and is enticed by the very thing that we are warned about in the epistle that we call First John…

1st John 2:15 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Eve did all of that…

  • She gave into the desires of the flesh – when the woman saw that the tree was good for food
  • the desires of the eyes – was a delight to the eyes
  • and lastly the pride of life – desired to make one wise

Now the seed was sown Eve was sunk, she had backed herself into a corner and now wanted to go against God. This is a common story because every sin, whether it is a small sin like disobedience or a slightly larger one like lusting after another, they all start in the same manner, they start with pitching your tent closer and closer to the place of sin until the sin overtakes you. Whether that is a look that gravitates to a thought that cultivates a desire and concludes with an obsession it is all the same.

Up to this point it was all temptation and Eve still had to make the choice to sin and she chose that path but before you get to hard on Eve please note that it does state that her husband was with her and he took the fruit from his wife and ate it. As the man of the house he should have covered his wife and protected her from the devil. Eve was deceived but Adam had all the information direct from God and he chose to willingly rebel against God.

V7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

True enough their eyes were opened and the promise was fulfilled, they saw their nakedness and understood shame for the first time. They understood exposure, they understood vulnerability and they were experiencing things that God did not want them to have to go through. We know this as guilt, suddenly everything was worse and they had realized that they had done something wrong and they decided to cover their shame with leaves and for the first time they had a desire to be modest. God made us to be beautiful in who we are, our sin and fallen nature is the reason we wear clothes.

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we will look at verses eight through thirteen in chapter three when we look at what happens the next time Adam and Eve talk to God. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Abraham justified by faith – Romans 4:1-12

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Abraham justified by faith – Romans 4:1-12 – 03/20/2016

Romans 4:1 (ESV) What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” 9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

Let’s start in verse one of chapter four…

V1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?

Paul continues on what he was saying in Romans three and uses Abraham as an example to show his point. Abraham was known as the father of the Jewish people and was revered and esteemed by the Jewish people. Paul knew what he was doing when he chose this example. If Paul was looking at addressing the American people he would probably have used a similar analogy by using some of the names of the Founding Fathers.

V2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

After introducing Abraham he makes the question on whether Abraham was justified by works and whether he could boast in the good things that he has done, Paul comes back to Romans 3:23 and states that no he could not boast before God because we are all sinful by nature and have not and cannot attain God’s holy and perfect standard on our own.

V3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

And like any good teacher Paul bases his argument on scripture, he shows where it states that he was not indeed justified by works, but by belief and it was counted to him as righteousness. In context I have attached the scripture below…

Genesis 15:1 (ESV) After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

I love how Paul takes away any notions that Abraham was somehow exempt from the rules that the rest of mankind had to follow and that by the same train of thought he would have had to look at the possibility that God makes exceptions from his holy nature which of course is preposterous.

Abraham is never mentioned as being “perfect” but only mentioned as being counted as righteous and the reason for the righteousness was based on the action of the belief of God. I would say that Abraham sought after God’s will before the Law was given in the same manner that we would make deposits in a financial institution Abrahams credit worthiness or righteousness was high with God because God saw the heart of Abraham and knew who he was and that is why he was declared righteous.

You will notice that it only mentions how God saw Abraham and not how his fellow man saw him. This is convicting for me because man will look at the external package first and I am no different. I have been surprised by who God has used in the past and it is very God to use someone whom the world didn’t think much of. I am very much in that camp because often times I have been passed over for things (both in the world and in Christian circles) because of assumptions that people have made on limitations they perceived me to have.

V4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.

Paul uses the idea of a salary to compare and contrast the idea of grace versus works because as we know (those of us who have accepted Christ) that grace is a free gift given to those of us who does not deserve it. I often laugh internally if I hear someone praying “Oh Lord- give us what we deserve!” I then back away a little in case God takes them literally.

If a system of works was correct then that would mean that we were owed something by God, in which God would be in debt to us (in this case for a salary) I am uncomfortable with that because it puts you on some severely shaky theological ground. It is true that works will come as fruit of faith but I do not see that faith will come from God being in our debt.

V5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

Paul agrees with the above hypothesis by stating that belief is greater than works as the one who does not work but believes will have his faith counted as righteousness. Seems obvious huh? Not always though as Gods ways are higher than our ways. We are to believe in the one who justifies the ungodly (God himself) who grants grace and mercy to all who do not deserve it. God justifies us as a result of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross where he took the punishment for our sins.

God is holy and hates sin, and he hates separation between his beloved creation and Him so he loves us enough to justify us despite our sin but we have to want to be saved. There is no “catch all solution” I do not doubt that God justifies the ungodly but I marvel at the sheer miracle that he does. (Going back to getting what we deserve!)

King David is mentioned and this is beautiful because he was described as a “man after God’s own heart” but he was a sinful man who committed murder and adultery but he was a man who strived after God and repented of his sins. (Sound familiar?) He was a man who understood sin, the impact and the repercussions of that sin and the relief and weight that is lifted off you when you are truly forgiven. If King David were judged based on his works, he would be sunk but the just God convicts him based on his belief as none of us can atone for our sins on our own.

V7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

And should God forgive your sins by belief (and He will for the truly repentant) then you truly are blessed because this forgiveness is based not on your nationality, genealogy, social status or where you were born it is based on your relationship with God. The sins are not just forgiven but they are covered and removed from sight! These verses are a quote from Psalm 32…

A Maskil of David.
Psalm 32:1 (ESV) Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Make no mistake about it God should count our sin but we truly are forgiven and regardless of how holy we think we are we all stink and reek of sin, some of us smell a little better than others but we are all in the same boat. I am reminded of the following parable by Jesus…

Matthew 18:23 (ESV) “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

We are all debtors to God in relation to sin, sin is the debt that we cannot possibly pay and without Jesus we are in that hopeless situation. The good news is that the gospel is for everyone. This is why David was quoted because if we could work it off then we would all be at it like little worker bees and that would be easier and more palatable for the human mind, however God has decided to bless everyone who will just have faith and turn to him. Paul continues…

V9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.

The beauty of it is that we can do nothing for God but we have great joy in the grace of God. It truly is a blessing for us, not just the Jew but also the Gentile and uses Abraham as an example why circumcision, whilst it being a sign of obedience is not the be all and end all of entry into heaven. Paul asks a logical question if circumcision is the key to salvation and that question is “When was Abraham justified? Was it before or after circumcision?” and as we have looked at before we see that Abraham was justified in Genesis 15 and let’s now look at Genesis 17 when he was circumcised…

Genesis 17:9 (ESV) And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

As you can tell I like to back up the claims that I make with scripture to back it up! Paul states quite clearly that Abraham was circumcised AFTER the blessing and Paul closes this part of scripture with the following…

V11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

So the sign was exactly that A SIGN! He was to do this to show an outward sign that he was with God. As Christians we are reminded that the circumcision we go through is that of the heart and in remembrance of this please observe what Paul said in Romans 2…

Romans 2:25 (ESV) For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

You see if we wish to burden ourselves with the Law then we will be held accountable by the Law, Paul explains that in Galatians 5…

Galatians 5:1 (ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

The Christian faith is not a case of Christ+ (Christ and something else) What I mean is that Jesus was serious when he said “I am THE WAY” he is the definitive article, Son of God, part of the triune God and the only one who could be sacrificed for your sins. Just as today, the Jews of that day used circumcision to prove that they were in some way the true descendants of Abraham. Paul flips this on its head by asking “Why are you not walking in faith like Abraham did?” or “If you are Abrahams descendants then why are you not following in his footsteps?”

Lastly what Paul was stating was culturally sensitive as the Jews did not like the Gentile proselytes referring to Abraham as the father or their descendent. (That was their thing) And now Paul states that classification is available to all who are reconciled to God in Christ. That we have a share in Abrahams blessings, what a bountiful God we serve.

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we will look at verses thirteen through twenty five when we explore the promises that we looked at today being realized through faith, which is really a part two of what we look at today. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Deal with the soul first and then the sin

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Tale of two viral blog articles

In the last few weeks I have had two articles that have went “viral” (by my standards) which have addressed two issues that the Internet were talking about. I am of course talking about commentary on the situations with Josh Duggar and the accusations of molestation and also the Vanity Fair cover that displayed and introduced Bruce Jenner as Caitlyn.

I have appealed in both of these articles that we pray for these people and I would go further and state that we should pray without ceasing. Josh Duggar, his sisters and his other victims all required prayer and I do wonder whether this public shaming of Josh does not victimize the victims as much as the perpetrator. Some are doing it out of compassion for the family, some are really doing it because they hate Christians and want to see the show off the air and there are some are doing it just to gossip and slander.

Josh Duggar has had less “abuse” from the Christian circles and I believe that generally there was a good feeling towards the family prior to this news being broken because of the show and the fact that Josh is now a born again Christian make him less of “fair game” in the eyes of the Christian bloggers but the same cannot be said of Bruce Jenner.

In Bruce’s case it is open season on him from the Christian point of view and many are judging him as if he is a brother in Christ, he may very well be but his actions recently suggest otherwise. My earlier blog about his situation I spoke about the need to deal with the soul first and that is my priority for Bruce or anyone who is still in their sin. They need to come face to face with their messiah, repent of their sins, then and only then can we look at the sideshow of what their lives are like.

Keep the main thing the main thing

We have to remember as Christians to keep the main thing the main thing! We are here primarily to “Go forth and make disciples” and in that commission we are not to be shy, we are to be bold in our proclamation that Jesus is the messiah and that the words in John 14:6 are true that only Jesus is the way, only Jesus is the truth and only Jesus is the life and that no-one came to the father except through him.

Closer to Jesus or further away?

We have to examine our conduct and ask if what we are doing (especially online) is bringing people closer to Jesus or further away to Jesus. Are we serving the LORD with our words or ourselves? It says in the book of Jude that we have to have wisdom and “have compassion on some” but also have discernment to “save others with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” and we have to be discerning on how we evangelize and present the gospel. 

Read the article before you comment

For this purpose I am saddened when I read people who comment on social media, not appearing to have read the article and commenting things that border on hate, they fail to grasp that he is in the world and of the world, the world by in large has been accepting of his procedure and call him words such as “brave” and “courageous” and Christians fall into the trap of appearing to have the moral high ground when all the world wants to see if the Christian condemning the sinner so they can report that the Christian behaved the way that they thought they would.

Prayer comes first

We need to pray for this and other situations because these two situations come on our media screens, social media newsfeeds and news reports because these people are “famous”. We live in a world that is fallen, the sin upon sin upon sin upon sin that has been the case since the Garden of Eden has allowed us to distance ourselves that far away from God that we are completely alien to the purpose of why we were created and that was to glorify God.

Bruce won’t find peace in his surgery, in the change he has made and the pharmaceuticals that he has consigned himself to take. He will only find peace through Jesus and I pray that he will fall to his knees, repent and follow the one true messiah, I pray that for the whole family, I pray that for the whole Hollywood circus, I pray that for the whole of the USA and lastly I pray for the world to come to repentance in Christ Jesus.

Pray not Pharisee

We need to be more like Jesus and less like the guys who wanted to condemn and kill him! It is easy to get lost in our Religious-ity and that in our mind look for the “right answer” or the “holy answer” but we are called to love first, evangelize unto repentance and then make disciples and allow them to repeat the process.

As stated a few days ago in a previous article that we need to make prayer the first priority, it is the most dynamic weapon in our arsenal and often times it is the one that is least used. It is amazing how much your countenance changes towards a person when you are genuinely praying for God’s blessings, praying because they hate you, (that is the toughest one) praying that they repent or praying for their walk with Jesus. We are to be recognized as Jesus disciples because of our “love for one another”.

I am not saying don’t deal with sin in the brethren

If a brother is in sin then respectfully deal with it as you would in Matthew 18, but we love to “name and shame” in our culture as if by tearing someone down we somehow raise in righteousness, I see this in churches where brothers become “ministry rivals” and friendships are scorched due to ambition coming before serving. 

We have to check our motivation why we do these things. I was once asked by a pastor “What was your motivation for …” and when I answered it allowed him to tailor his advice to the situation, in many cases when gossip occurs we have to ask whether we are fanning the flames or putting out the fire. Often times we can make it worse when we pass on a “95% true statement”.

There is a lot to read here and I apologize, should I have not covered anything, if there are any questions or anything that you feel should be added or you simply wish to have your voice heard then please comment below. If you liked this article and you wished to know when new articles are posted then please either “follow this blog” at the top right hand corner of the screen, like our social media pages or bookmark this site in order to find us again. Lastly I would appreciate if you would please share or like as God leads you to on any social media sites or blogs you use.
SDG
TGBTG

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

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I write this shortly after watching the Emmys last night, as I type this I can sense that at least 5 legalistic who read my blogs are reaching for the big red x at the top right hand part of their screen.

Measuring the climate of a culture

I read a quote several years back that spoke of measuring the climate of the culture of that day that in order to assess what they were really like you had “to examine the literature that was popularly read at that time”. Today reading sadly is falling by the wayside as we get further and further strapped to our gadgets and I fear that unless I reverse the trend in mm you own house, turning the page of a book will be a forgotten art.

Anyways, back to the Emmys!  When I watch awards shows I realize how little TV I actually do watch, many of the shows mentioned I had never seen. I don’t actually have either DirectTV,  Dish or Cable & if I want to see a series that bad I will impose on someone else or wait until it comes on Netflix.

Back to the literature analogy, the writers of the books of that day had to make them relevant to the potential reader otherwise we would not have the evidence of their book to analyze and see what they were reading about. If it was irrelevant then it would not be popular,  the same with many of today’s shows.

Today’s shows have so much competition in both content,  genre’s,  channels and trying to engage the audience and get them hooked in as short a time span as possible. I have two feelings about this.

My 1st feeling is that as a Christian I should not have anything to do with it and avoid as much as possible.  It is true that many of the shows that become popular have really bad stuff in them in order to keep them as real as possible.

If TV affects you in a negative way then I would say that it is best to not allow yourself to stumble. In reality it is all down to the individuals walk with Christ and where your sin issues are.

But there is some value in knowing what is going on in the world,  it does allow you to keep relevant to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to people, a way if you will of making conversation on a neutral ground?  If that is why then that is awesome.

The downside of popular TV

Because if this competition, networks have had to outdo each other, whether it has been more sex, more relevant characters, (gay, divorced, wherever Hollywood’s sympathies are that month) more alcohol, more drugs (and that’s just breaking bad) whatever they think will keep the public interested enough to stay with their show.

Wholesome entertainment

I will admit, I have bought into it as much as the next couch potato. However I do yearn for more shows like Duck Dynasty, ones that have a good overall message, Regrettably I am in the minority and these shows don’t sell.

I am not telling you, nor would I want to be your “Holy Spirit” that TV is all bad because we know that it is not. When John Logie Baird from Helensburgh,  Scotland first made pictures appear in that box, I bet he had no idea how wide ranging or far reaching his invention would be.

How does it affect you?

TV itself cannot make you sin, you and only you and how you deal with it is what makes you sin, is it removing time from what God has placed as his will and plan for your life?

The same could be said for anything,  it is only a sin if you let it become a consuming passion.

Why the title?

Well sin is designed to be a temptation.  Even as far back as the Garden of Eden,  we were tempted with something that would enrich our lives, however it was slowly killing us, hence the title,  it is in my opinion the perfect description of sin.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing please share, comment or like as the LORD leads.
TGBTG
TTE

No excuses, because every one of you judges

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No excuses, because every one of you judges

Romans 2:1 (ESV) Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

We read in chapter one the sinfulness of the heart and how far man had gone to get away from the righteousness of God. This is somewhat expected by those who are novices or do not know what Gods word states, however, as we revealed in our last devotional at the end of the 1st chapter, these folks actually knew better.

Romans 2 starts the same way with the same thought pattern and states that the one in iniquity is one who “judges”, they are one who sits in a seat of authority. In this time, much like today we had two types of people who judged

1) The religious judges
2) The worldly/Roman judges

In both cases, they saw themselves as the authority, the religious judges used the 613 laws to justify their position, the Roman or worldly judges used the law of man to justify his position. By both standards they could pull themselves up and declare themselves “righteous” and “fit to judge”. Neither were looking to God as the absolute authority and using man made positions (even positions of faith) and both would have placed themselves above the “immoral people”.

I think it is awesome that Paul wrote this having come from the zealous, law worshipping, Christian persecuting, and Pharisee background that he did. He saw the massive difference between “empty religion” or a “law keeping relationship with God” and the freedom that exists within the Christian life.

Paul isn’t just looking to expose the wrongdoing, he wants them to change their ways. He uses the very thing the hold the dearest, their moral superiority and compares it to the absolute, the law of God and shows how far they fall short of the perfect standard and the only way it can be achieved through the messiah.

Does anyone face that objection today? From “Moral Non-Christians” stating that they are good?

Both are hypocrites

You see, keeping folks in check in love (discipleship) is okay in God’s eyes as you are doing it for the benefit of the recipient. The advice is non-judgmental and done under the assumption that even if the person who is discipling has a struggle, it is a struggle that is not done in a hypocritical nature.

These folks were judging, but practicing the self-same things behind closed doors. Jesus called these type of people “whitewashed tombs” who look great and holy on the outside but reek of death internally where it really matters. Paul is speaking to the ones who know better when he speaks in verses 2-5. 

The “heart” of the matter

 …Is of course the heart, their hearts were hard, they had the knowledge, they should have had the wisdom, they know God was long suffering and slow to anger and quick to love. But Paul tells them they are storing up their own judgment and they need to repent.

The Christian is no better than the sinner! They have just realized that God has been better to them than they deserve, that God sent a solution to the problem that man created. That despite the mockery, the ignorance and all that man can throw at God; God is perfectly willing and able to forgive. God has come 99% of the way, we just have to complete that 1% and accept the free gift that is freely available from a loving father God.

This is what sets the Christian apart, our willingness to serve God out of gratitude that he was so gracious to us. We still mess up, still sin, but we humble ourselves and repent.

If you seek a relationship with Jesus, then please contact a local bible believing church, if you need help I would love to help so please contact me on the details on my contact page.

God bless you one and all, I hope this has been a blessing and I pray that you like, share or comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Filled with all manner of unrighteousness

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Filled with all manner of unrighteousness

Romans 1:28 (ESV) And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

This is a very sad bunch of verses for me, in previous verses and articles, we see the slide into sin, the gradual moving away from God and despite God wishing to have communion with them, they reject God for a new worship, a self-worship that puts a new way of living, instead of “thy will be done” it becomes “my will be done”. They are in many sins, when I listen to or read about these verses they focus on the sexual sin, but the real issue is the heart of the one who is wandering further away from God, the sins that are listed are simply symptoms of the root cause, the carnality of the heart.

Paul now completes this thought by wrapping it up by stating this by writing “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” God is a just God, but will not be mocked, I have learned so much about the will of God and how fatherhood works from being a father myself. If it was up to be I would wrap my kid up in cotton wool and never allow her in danger, however the world is out there, she will scrape her knee at times, she will get dirty in the yard, she will scatter her toys and not know to pick them up without being told. If we go with our own wicked heart desires, we will act like that; we will mess up and not be able to clean up.

I thought God was a God of love…

In the beginning of the Bible, we read about how sin entered the world by man’s disobedience and man choosing his own way against what was Gods perfect plan. Imagine it, no sin, no decay, everything was perfect but we blew it. Since then man has been at odds with God and has had to battle against his flesh to live a holy life. Here is how sin grabs a hold of you and destroys from within.

Sinful thought comes into your mind – Your mind dwells on it – it becomes a desire or consuming passion – Thoughts turn into actions and you act upon it.

A few years ago I was blessed to hear a message by Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, he described in that area at that time there were some wildfires and how he started his day by duct taping trash bags over his external air conditioning units, he was informed by a firefighter to do so because of the following. Embers can travel a certain distance, dependent on how the wind is blowing, embers can get into the air conditioning units, land on insulation designed to protect the home, have enough air and combustible material to start a fire and destroy a home from the inside, he likened that to the way a sinful mind destroys us from the inside out.

Now there are ways to combat this, you can stop it at any point by faith. We all have the opportunity to have a debased mind, but we can also pray against it, we can remove ourselves from that temptation. My hot temptation spot is alcohol, so I avoid places where I am going to stumble, I avoid going into bars, as much as I can I avoid parties where people will be drinking heavily, because I know that if I allow myself and give into my flesh, I would stumble and sin.

God is a God of love, sometimes it is just as loving to allow you to have your way and learn from the experience. You see, God cannot win in the human psyche in this one, if he stops us from sinning, he is a tyrannical dictator God and if he allows us to have free will to choose him or choose our own way he is accused of not loving us. We are twisted in that regard that we will blame God regardless of how he allows us to act.

The word “debased” is also the same word that is used for “unapproved” and “substandard” in those times, that word was used for counterfeit currency or something that was not what it was reputed to be, or reaching the standard that was the standard expected of it.

How were they unrighteous?

Verses 29-32 gives us a list in great detail of what the “unapproved” or “substandard” behaviours displayed by the people of that day. (Remember we gave a list of how sin creeps in) Talk about taking the Ten Commandments as a bingo board and crossing off the ones, one at a time they were doing? That may sound unfair on a first glance, but Paul says before and also re-iterates in the last verse that “they know God’s righteous decree” so it was not that they were ignorant of Gods plan for their lives, it is that they chose to be in open rebellion of it.

If you want to “change the world” then showing them the messiah is the beginning, the world is in the state that it is in because it has abandoned the truth of God for a lie of self-promotion and rebellion. Imagine a world where we were serving one another like the church in Acts? Wow that would be awesome!

We read that “The wages of sin is death” in the 6th chapter of Romans in the 23rd verse, so these people were choosing to ignore the second part of that verse “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Let us not kid ourselves, we are all in this world together and one act of sin can destroy 30 years of just service to the LORD. For the believers who read this we need to keep ourselves pure and for the non-believers you have to repent, you have a Saviour who wants you to have solace and escape from the aforementioned “Wrath of God”.

God is a just God who will punish according to our sins, however there is a way of avoiding such judgment is to believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31) This is the first step to a lifelong relationship with the Messiah who came to seek and to save that which was lost. My prayer is that you find my Jesus and start a relationship with him. Should you need help, please contact me on my contact page.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing, please share, comment or like as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

They knew God but did not honor him

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They knew God but did not honor him.

Romans 1:18 (ESV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

People’s perception of the wrath of God

Who all likes talking about the wrath of God? (watches as no-one’s hand is raised!) Doesn’t “sell well” in today’s consumer driven, drive through; reap the blessings but to hang with the curses Christianity that we have here in quite a few Christian blogs and websites. It is a tough topic and no mistake, but it is integral to the gospel message and here is why.

In order for Jesus sacrifice to make sense, we have to have a God that has been grieved enough by the sin of the world to want to rectify the situation. You see, people’s perception of the wrath of God is all wrong! God hates the sin and desires that all would come to his saving grace. You see, we deserve the wrath of God because of “sin” what we do not deserve is Gods amazing grace.

The “benevolent dictator”

Failure to acknowledge this fact will have God as a “benevolent dictator” allowing us to be on this planet long enough so that we can accumulate enough sin so he can nuke us! Sounds ridiculous huh? This line of thinking is not scriptural and does not follow logical theological patterns. The wrath of God is always completely righteous.

Only God can judge me

As we see in the text God’s wrath is “revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” which does clarify what is being said above. If you set yourself against God then expect him to allow you to reap what you sew. I find it laughable when I read T-Shirts and tattoos that state “Only God can judge me” I feel like asking “do you really know what you are challenging God to do?”

If you are thinking this sounds unfair, well actually it is perfectly fair. The driver in whether the wrath of God comes down upon you is believe it or not you! You have the option of choosing to be on Gods side or not. You can choose a life of unrighteousness by Gods standards and live by your own standards that should you not change you will end up getting the eternity that you have asked for.

Ungodliness versus Unrighteousness

So why did he say ungodliness and unrighteousness? Well it deals with two distinct sins, ungodliness is man’s offenses concerning God and unrighteousness deals with man’s sins towards everyone else. You can be without God and still be seen as righteous in the world’s eyes. The question you have to ask is who’s judgment do you trust more?

They suppressed the truth, if you try to cover up, defame, lie about or otherwise pervert people away from God, and then this one is for you. This is for all of the evolutionists who try to contort the creation account in order to elevate man’s wisdom and try to cloud man’s thoughts towards the truth that is written in the Holy Scriptures.

The sad truth about what they know

Paul goes on to say that “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” this is tragic as they knew God but failed to glorify him, therefore they have the knowledge and really have no absolution from excuse. We tried to pervert, re-size God, and make him fit into what we needed him to fit into. This carries onto verse 23 where we turn God into what the Greek work “Eikon” (Where we get our modern day Icon) where they reduced God to an image of what they wanted him to be. They were not thankful for all that he had done, ungrateful and “professing to become wise they became fools”. The wisdom of God far supersedes anything that man could come up with.

I liken this to a desperate man, when I have been desperate I usually get scammed or do something foolish (almost always with money) which is why we have tried to elevate our thinking beyond God and why so many houses of Academia try to “dumb down” theological thinkers. It is happening today dear Christian. If you read a Creation/Evolution debate, the Evolutionist will always attack the intelligence of the Creationist first.

What does God do?

Well God allows them to go after the lusts of their heart. In the same way he allowed Israel to elect a king even although he knew it was going to lead to heartache, he is not that benevolent dictator that I spoke about earlier. If we are insistent on going a certain way, perhaps God will allow us to go through our consequences before delivering us.

By going after the lusts of their hearts they are inviting their own consequences. Anyone see a parallel with today? They are going after impurity, dishonoring their bodies and served the created rather than the creator. A horrible situation that sounds like my life in reverse. If you are reading this and are still in your sin or are thinking of walking away from God, please take this passage as a warning. I have been there! See my testimony page, I have been circling the drain many times and God has pulled me out of the toilet bowl.

Paul was surrounded by this writing from the city of Corinth where lusts, vile passions and basically whatever your heart’s desire was, you could get it there. They gave up the truth for the lie, notice Paul advises there is only one truth, by the same token they gave themselves up for the lie, the lie of idolatry.

I am hoping that this Bible study was fruitful for you and I pray that you share, like or comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Would you eat before coming home for your dinner?

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Would you eat before coming home for your dinner?

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (ESV) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Can I say this once to begin with, God wants his people to be pure. He designed a framework for us to work in because as he made us in the image of God, he knows our DNA, he knows what makes us tick, he knows what is inside of our heart. He sees the evil thoughts, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of our life. The crazy thing is – He loves us anyway!

Have you ever had that one friend that you baulked at being around, they drove your spirit down, they rubbed off on you, their humour was crass, you felt dirty after spending time in their presence. I can only imagine that God must be like with us, however, unlike us he has compassion on us and wants us to get better and become more like him.

Purity is important, the reason I write this is that sin starts always in the same way, it starts in the same way a flower does, it blossoms a seed, now the seed is your sinful thoughts, your desires, unless they are fed, watered they will wither and die (much like a flower) however if you feed it, it will grow.

Thoughts are thoughts; it is what you do with them that counts! You have one of two choices; you can dwell on them, crave them and then start sliding on that muddy slope to eventually begin to act upon them. Or you can extinguish the fire while it is still kindling. Coming from a state which is known for its forest wildfires, it is far easier to extinguish a smolder than a 15 acre fire.

What is love?

We have to be careful with the word “love” because in many cases, when we are fed things from the media machine that gives us our information, love actually means lust. Modern day love quits when the going gets tough, when the thrill is gone or when it just gets too tough.

Let me be clear, it can happen but does not happen often, we won’t often find love in our current culture called the “hook up” culture, where it is “free love” on steroids, it is all down to what floats your boat at the time, self-gratifying, self-pleasing, erotica where they may disguise it as seeing each other for dates, but it really is about what they do for each other’s lusts.

But I have never cheated, I am ok right?

Depends on your heart, Jesus states to the “righteous in deed” crowd called the Pharisees that if you “lust after a woman with your eyes, you have committed sin with her in your own heart”. This is not a Bill Clinton moment, there is no opportunity to ask us to “define what we mean by relations” It is cut and dried. It is down to your heart and what is currently churning through there.

We are asked to control our own body, (let me just say that women are not exempt even although it states “his”, women have lusts, desires and all that fun stuff to!) both internal and external, our eyes, our thoughts, our actions, our reproductive organs (yes I mean what you think I mean) which is the reason for my title “Would you eat before coming home for your dinner?”

What I mean by this is that God gave us those desires, they are natural desires. he also gave us a way to fulfill those desires by ordaining the union of marriage between one man and a woman in order that we may fulfil those needs in each other.

Lust like most sins is an appetite, if you are married and you know you have a good home cooked meal ahead of you, would you drive thru and get dollar menu knowing this will make you not eat what your loving wife has prepared for you? Why would you do likewise with your other appetites?

What about us singles? Are we off the hook?

No, not really. As singles you are commanded to be pure! If there is something that helps or empowers you to stumble, then don’t do it. If you can’t be left alone on the internet then do go on it, if there is a TV show that causes you to stumble then don’t watch it. If there is a book that inspires a thought life that will lead you to burn, then don’t do it.

TV shows and movies are dangerous if you fail in this area, you have to analyze why you watch some shows, is it because of a certain actor? If you are in a relationship and you start to compare your partner (spouse or dating) to that person, the real person will never shape up to the airbrushed person on the screen.

I always tend to avert my eyes (and I get teased for it) if there is something questionable on the screen, I want my wife to be the object of my affection and desires. I fail in so many other ways, I don’t need to add another to my pile of faults.

On Sunday, I was reminded that you can burn thirty years of good solid Godly ministry service with one indiscretion that is brought to light. People will not remember all of the things that you did to advance the kingdom of God, they will always see you due to that one act (or more if there was more)

We have not to be consumed with our lusts, so that it possesses us. We cannot be “called to holiness” if we are semi filled with our lusts. Light cannot dwell with darkness; there is no “Ying/Yang” in a hunger for holiness.

We are reminded at the end of this passage that should we continue in our sin, we set ourselves against God and not man! Personally, I find that a scary place to be! I would not wish to set myself against the one who created the earth and universe in 6 days. Makes me feel how small I am compared to God.

God will not be mocked, he knows our hearts, and he knows the ones who are trying to skirt his laws, to get as close to sinning but not actually sin. To push the envelope (usually in the name of exercising their “liberty in Christ”) and will have grace on those who genuinely try to live a life in holiness.

God bless and I hope this a blessing, a challenge and please comment with any views you may have
TGBTG
TTE