Series - Romans

The Gospel Applied: "Intruder Alert!" (Part 2)

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Paul made the case that Jews of his day were abandoning the message, but Gentiles were coming to Christ even though they hadn’t been seeking the God of Abraham. At the end of Romans 9 we read:

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. (NASB, Rom. 9:30)

The first insight that we surely must gain from that reality is this:

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The Gospel Applied: "Intruder Alert!" (Part 1)

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Rodents and pests are both creative and enduring creatures—but they are intruders. To be fair, in many cases, we may be the actual invaders, for we build houses in the middle of their habitat and then desperately try to keep them from living in our space. How do we do it? We fill every gap and close every opening so that we can keep them from getting in. What do they do in response? They find another way in! It can be a battle if they have found your stuff to their liking.

We may think of them as pests, but what they do is actually quite ingenious. A mouse can squeeze his body into a hole the size of a dime. He can pull his bones from joints to get himself from tight places. There is something admirable about that kind of tenacity. At the same time, such an ingenious behavior and tenacious approach doesn’t always work.

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The God Who is There - Romans 9:1-10:4 (Part 4)

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Considering the justice of God in Romans 9, Paul corrected the presupposition error that people deserve a relationship with God. He addressed the approach error of placing God across from men in an equal relationship. In Romans 9:22-29, he also corrected the limitation of error of seeing God’s agenda as limited to a single people.

But the apostle didn’t think the issue of watching his people slip into darkness was fully explored. He asked and answered two questions:

Paul asked: “Are we saying that the Jewish people, whom I deeply love, have fallen out of a vibrant relationship with the God of Abraham while those who were reached by missionaries (but weren’t looking for God to meet them) are now the recipients of a great and intimate walk with that same God?” Then Paul followed up with another question: “Why is that the case?”

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The God Who is There - Romans 9:1-10:4 (Part 3)

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In Romans 9, the apostle responds to series of questions regarding God’s sovereignty. The question in view in 9:14 is, because in God’s plan He chose to have only some relationships, has He been unjust? In his response the apostle first corrected the presupposition error that people deserve a relationship with God. Next he addresses an approach error.

Approach Error: The view that God has been unjust places Him across from men in an equal relationship—but that is wrong!

Paul knew that the very trial of God’s justice was inappropriate. He wrote:

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? (Rom. 9:19-21)

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The God Who is There - Romans 9:1-10:4 (Part 2)

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Recognition of God’s sovereignty in His work with people can be a tough subject to tackle. Even believers can become so earthly minded that we forget that God is not an elected leader Who seeks our approval. He is the Supreme. He is the Creator. All answer to Him, and He answers to none.

That can be deeply offensive to the American mind, but that makes it no less true. God is God—and as such, He is the Planner, the Author and the King. Don’t skip what Paul wrote and focus only on the offense: Paul made the point that God had (and has) a plan. He is at work. He has decided on the basis of His own desire to work through some people, and that wasn’t based entirely on them—but on His sovereign right to make such a decision.

Before you dive into what seems objectionable about those words, look at them. If you have a relationship with the Living God, you can celebrate the fact that you are not a cosmic accident. God has a plan He is working. He wanted you, and He chose you! How can that not be an exciting reality?

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The God Who is There - Romans 9:1-10:4

If the first five chapters of the Book of Romans describe the Gospel, the next three chapters (6-8) make clear the implications of the Gospel in your life.You don’t follow lust or list, but are Spirit led. The next section of the letter (9-11) describes why the plan to transform lives is secure—because it rests on a faithful God who painstakingly works in lives for generations to tell His story.

Key Principle : Human Resistance to Following God Isn’t Evidence of God’s Failure, but of His Faithfulness.

Imagine living in a country that once openly embraced a relationship with God as a good thing. It didn’t mean that everyone had such a relationship, but it did mean that people openly acknowledged such a relationship built character and framed the general principles of good society. One day those who felt themselves on the outside of a relationship with God pressed hard against that frame. They decided the moral statements of those who expressed a relationship with God made them feel demeaned, and they didn’t think anyone had the right to make them feel the things they wanted in life were wrong. They saw themselves as victims, abused and misunderstood by those who held a moral premise based on a relationship with God. They found a forum in which they could come together and gang up on those who believed, attempting to topple the premise that a relationship with God was a good and necessary thing.

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Dying to Change - Romans 6-8 (Part 4)

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A New Approach - Life Led by the Spirit

The simple fact is that many people around you today are driven. They are trying to satiate their inner lusts. Others are clothed in religious piety and chasing a list. Neither of those things will work for very long. They are both exhausting and will leave you tired and empty. There is a third way, and Paul offered us a picture of it in Romans eight.

First, get rid of the guilt, and grab the Savior’s hand.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (NIV, Rom. 8:1)

Christians notoriously get wrong the meaning of this passage. The “law of sin and of death” is this: “sin brings death; where there is sin, one will die.” The atonement system was a temporary substitution—a man sinned but a lamb died. In Christ, a man sinned but the Savior died, once for all. The law of continuous and temporary atonement through the death of animals was voided, because Jesus paid the full bill for sin.

Step back for a moment. Take a breath and recognize that Jesus paid for your sin. Take your choices seriously, but don’t think that it all rests on your shoulders. Jesus is walking through this with you.

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Dying to Change - Romans 6-8 (Part 3)

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Believers need to set aside their hunger for earned righteousness.

Sometimes we chase after inner desires. Other times, it isn’t lust that we serve, it is a list. Paul went back in Romans 7 to the death illustration he used in Romans 6, this time to move into the argument against living to serve religious lists and keep God happy:

Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. (NIV, Rom. 7:1-4)

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