The Book of Romans
God's Power at Work
As we embark upon this study the objective of this Book is to get the reader to understand that he has been given spiritual authority by the Lord and that he completely and wholly belongs to Christ. Belonging to Christ, there's no other created being that has the power or ability to sever this relationship unless the Believer allows it to happen.
I'm convinced that many struggles in our lives happen because we are not aware of and further we are not convinced that God really has all power and that His power is just as strong today as it was during the time our initial New Testament apostles and prophets lived.
The fact that God has all power and can distribute it to whomever He wants to means nothing if the Believer is not going to set His life in agreement with God through obedience to the revelation of God's Word that he or she has come to know.
This means we must know:
1. What the Bible says specifically to us
2. Learn how to properly relate to God, leadership, and other people
3. Learn how to take control of our sinful Adamic nature by allowing the Spirit of Christ to bring us where He desires
Having a desire to live a consistent victorious life that is really only an obscure wish and distant hope without consciously applying the principles of the Word to your life every day will never give you this life you desire.
Your life is made up of choices and when confronted with a choice, you must make the one God tells you to make. If He tells you to make a certain choice, He knows you have what it takes to gain victory in that area because He empowered you to do so.
However Christ also knows that through satanic, demonic, fleshly and lustful, opposition you will be tempted to compromise His Word and live in accordance with a nature that you no longer have to obey.
God wants you to fight until you gain victory and when you do He wants you to help other people that may wrestle with similar issues.
The Book of Romans is a blue print that will give you the knowledge to navigate through the earth the way God desires and will further empower you to live the victorious life He desires for you to live.
As we say so many times, you cannot live the way God wants you to if you don't know how He wants you to live. Also, taking this statement a step further you will overcome all the temptations, tests and trials that the world, your flesh and the devil brings to you because you have confident knowledge of God's will.
Romans Chapter 1
As Paul begins this Book, in verse 1 he refers to himself as "a servant of Jesus Christ. The Greek word for servant is doulos and is a term used by the Greeks to indicate someone who is a slave, a person that is bound to another master.
This Paul who was born a slave to sin and satan, has now freely bound himself to the Lord Christ in the same manner. We will see this terminology used as the Book of Romans unfolds.
This Paul, who is the same person in the Book of Acts that had an experience with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus when he was referred to as Saul of Tarsus. Here he refers to his God given position as an apostle saying that he was "called to be an apostle.
In the King James and New King James versions of the Bible, when you see words translated using "italics this means that those words are not in the original Greek text the translators were transcribing. The words that have italics are put there by the persons that translated the Scriptures to make what is being shared clearer to the reader so they can grasp God's intended meaning.
His being "called to be an apostle," should actually refer to Paul as a "called apostle. This means that the authority that Paul has in writing the Scriptures is given to Him by a Higher Authority, "God. Therefore he is called an apostle or a "messenger, Greek word, "apostello," or "one sent on a commission on behalf of another," because God called him to that position and placed him in it.
Often in the Body of Christ there are many people that receive a genuine call from God to function in one office or another. They hear the voice of God and that message is often confirmed by a prophetic message. However they neglect that calling is not the same as being separated or commissioned to the purpose for which God called them.
Because of this negligence, many called men and women of God are out of position and operating in the Body of Christ without God's affirmation through apostolic authority and proper church government.
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
As you look at verse 2, you see God's intent for those who are called to the ministry. The "call that Paul received initially was released in Acts chapter 9, when Jesus met Him on the Road to Damascus. From that point, he preaches and ministers and works in order that the Gospel would be established. However, he wasn't released to walk in that purpose for which he was called until Acts chapter 13.
What must be understood is the thing that qualified him to be separated unto God's ultimate purpose for his life was "faithfulness and loyalty."
The Book of First Corinthians 4:2 says, "It's required of a steward that he first be found faithful." To be faithful means: Worthy of belief, trust, or confidence; to be Trustworthy." This is where most Christians miss God's ultimate purpose for their lives as without proper preparation through faithfulness, they will never reach their greatest level of potential.
After Paul was called in Acts 9, he had to work and therefore did whatever was before him so that he would be positioned when it was time for him to be separated. The calling always precedes or comes before a person's separation and without preparation and faithfulness they will never reach their potential or they will struggle with constant unwarranted frustration. The separation is actually their being selected. This is why the Bible says, "Many are called but few are chosen.
This is an eternal principle that warrants our utmost attention. As the precept when Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 22:14 dealt with eternity; but the principle deals with those called to any task and what it takes for them to actually see God's desire for them fulfilled.
Most Christians are not willing to submit to a governing authority as Paul and Barnabas did so the end result is a life of "religious service, knowing what to do but often only giving God lip service. This is where God said, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Matthew 15:8
Paul didn't give Christ lip service when he was called. He immediately went about the Father's business and submitted to the apostles and leaders of the Church and when the time came, God separated or commissioned him to begin walking in the purpose for which he was called.
Because God is the One that called, appointed and sent Paul, this commissioning also gives his writings credibility and therefore they can be trusted as coming from the God that placed him in the position as His very own ambassador. His credentials as this apostle sent on a specific commission by God gives him the authority to share the message he was given revealed in verse 2.
Here it says he was separated to the Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ Who was as verse 3 states:
1. Born of the seed of David as was prophesied in Second Samuel 7:12 and First Chronicles 17:11 among other places. Speaking to David, Nathan the prophet repeats what God told him to say. II Samuel 7:12
And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever. '
So you don't miss God's intent here, it must be understood that this was not referencing Solomon's Temple, but a House that was going to be composed of "Living stones."
You are the house that Christ has set up His Kingdom in [individually] and among [corporately]. First Peter 2:
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Therefore the house that God is speaking of in Second Samuel 7:12 is you and I as New Testament Believer's who understand that "we are Christ's House AND we belong to His "spiritual house. The body that our human spirits have been given to live in is both part of Christ's Body and Houses Christ as He dwells in each of us.
2. Secondly, speaking of Jesus Christ, verse 4 says He is¦
Declared to be the Son of God as spoken in Acts 13:33:
32 And we declare to you glad tidings”that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm:
˜You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'
34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ˜I will give you the sure mercies of David.'
35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ˜You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.'
36 "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.
38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Because of these credentials, Jesus Christ is the Son of God AND the Son of man making Him 100% human, Jesus and 100% Divine, Christ. The uniqueness of Jesus Christ's DNA is affirmed when He was on the cross and the centurion who was appointed to Him observed what the Scriptures declared:
37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!
The message Paul was given is vital to the integrity of the Gospel because both terms of identification are used in the Scriptures¦ sometimes inter-changeably. There are times when Jesus Christ is used; Christ Jesus other times; Christ by Himself; Jesus by Himself; Son of God; Son of man; Messiah; Redeemer; as well as many other references. These are all references to the same Person, Jesus Christ.
Christ always existed¦ He was ever present with the Father. However because of the sin Adam committed in the Garden of Eden, there had to be an "incarnation whereas the Christ had to step out of eternity and into the realm of time in order that He could purchase back or redeem fallen mankind and reconcile us to the Father.
It's in this incarnation [or when Eternal Christ, clothed Himself with human flesh] that God placed His Holy Seed in the womb of Mary and gave birth to the "Man Jesus who would walk the earth, destroy the works of the devil, and redeem God's people from their sins.
Jesus was and through the Resurrection remains the Son of God, but when He took on human flesh He became a mortal man and lived with the limitations of flesh. This message is important to the integrity of the Gospel because the prophecies of Christ made reference to Him as being a Man at times and as God on other occasions.
God knew what He said in the Garden of Eden when dealing with satan after Adam's disobedience and Eve's deception whereas Genesis 1:15 says, the Seed of the woman was going to crush satans head while satan was going to bruise the seed's heel. This was the proclamation of Redemption that we are part of today.
This was not only referencing the defeat of satan through the death of Christ, but the empowerment of those who would follow Christ by believing in His Atoning work on Calvary to live free from the bondages of sin. This Gospel message that Christ commissioned Paul to bring to the Jews and Gentile nations is the basis for the foundation of the Book of Romans.
Romans is not about sin and determining right from wrong, but is a transcript of redemption and empowerment so God's people can live the life that He intends for them to live.
In verse 8, Paul begins commending the Christians for the faith in God they were displaying and he lets them know that they are the product of his continual prayers. What is so important about this commendation to the church in Rome is because of the fact that they were living as best they could in the midst of all types of evil, sin and wickedness.
To have a Christian Church in the capital city of the Roman Empire, and to have the saints that lived there living pure lives to the best of their ability, was a great testimony to God as the divine source of Christianity. It had to be God keeping them on the right path.
According to a Roman historian named Tacitus, in the city of Rome there was a constant "flow of all things that were vile and abominable, and living this way was encouraged." Something that is vile is: despicable; revolting; hateful and awful. Something that's abominable is: repulsive, offensive, detestable, terrible and horrible.
Not only were these sinful acts being done, but the officials and those who were common citizens all encouraged this type of behavior. However, there were a group of people within this wicked city that stood for righteousness and these are the persons that Paul was commending.
Then in verse 13, he says that he wanted to get to Rome long before this time, but was hindered until now. What we do not know is the reason things often do not work out in our time and timing. God knows and when the proper time is at hand, opposition can no longer stop God's ultimate plan. One thing for certain is when God finally opens the door His intended result is that there would be "fruit" among the Saints.
This is similar to First Thessalonians chapter 2 where he says to the Saints in Thessalonica:
17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. 18 Therefore we wanted to come to you”even I, Paul, time and again”but Satan hindered us.
Then in verse 16, Paul begins revealing that the power of God is contained in the Gospel he was entrusted with. Romans 1:16
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith.
As he speaks of the Gospel of Christ, he says he's not embarrassed by the message, or the contents of the message because there's something contained within the message that you cannot get any place else... God's power.
Marvin Vincent "Word Studies in the Greek New Testament says that the gospel is "not merely a powerful means in God's hands, but in itself a divine energy. It is the good news of salvation energized by the Holy Spirit.
It must be understood that this is not the ultimate power that God has and Is, but "a" power that He contains and has been released for the specific reason of accomplishing the purpose for which it was sent, therefore it has what is referred to as inherent power.
The end result of this power that God released is "salvation to everyone that believes it..." the Jew first, or the persons that were in covenant with God through the Law, and the Greek as well or those that lived in opposition to God's Righteous commands.
First Corinthians 1 says:
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
The Greek word for salvation is "soteria and means: "safety, deliverance from danger, preservation from destruction; deliverance from slavery and from your enemies." Luke chapter 1 confirms that salvation is more than going to heaven and should be a promise that God gives us to be enjoyed while we live in the earth.
Speaking of his son, John the Baptist his father Zacharias prophesied:
68 "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, 70 as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, 72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, 73 the oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,
78 through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring [Comforter, first light of Dawn] from on high has visited us; 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
God has an intended purpose in granting you this great grace of salvation and that is verse 74 so you might serve Him without fear, verse 75 in holiness and righteousness.
John the Baptist is this horn of salvation that verse 76 says was to "prepare the way of the Lord. Yet, the salvation God brought was one in which the people of God would experience peace as they are saved from the hand of their enemies and those that hated them.
Salvation also means deliverance from present danger or trouble, or more especially, from defeat in battle. However, it is also deliverance from the future condemnation that God could rightly bring upon His people Israel resulting in eternal death.
Yet this salvation also has wrapped within it, "Deliverance from sin and its spiritual consequences, because through our confession of faith in Jesus Christ we are attached to the Body of Christ, and guaranteed admission to Eternal Life in the Kingdom of God with Christ.
However with our call to salvation there is also an empowerment to live as God intends. But the mistake that most Christians make is they think that they will receive everything God says in His Word because they know what it says. That's just not the case. The power that's associated with the Gospel will only benefit those that believe it. The reason is because as verse 17 says, its "¦In this Gospel that God's Righteousness is revealed.
With righteousness also comes judgment on those who are unrighteous. Often it's this judgment that is called into question when someone wants to make an excuse for living a life of sin.
They either blame God for making them that way or giving them sinful tendencies, or they try to excuse sinful behavior saying that God is just and therefore will not condemn them to hell¦ after all, they did say a prayer to receive Christ as their Savior. But the reality is that there must be actions that reflect a change in the heart. John the Baptist told the Pharisees to "Bring forth fruit worthy of repentance.
God is not unrighteous. He is Just and True and because of this He is obligated to bring judgment on all unrighteousness. Romans 9 says
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens
Because of the righteousness of God that's revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God's not judging us based only on our perspective of right or wrong; good or bad. God is judging the heart attitude of a person towards the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary, their sincerity and evident change that's associated with a converted life.
It's because of someone's rejection of the Only Person [Jesus Christ] with the power to forgive someone from their sin that they are condemned to hell or an eternal existence spent separated from God.
Faith in Christ and therefore the Gospel that God revealed to Paul has the ability to bring them as a "sinner into this state of righteousness, even while they still may commit an "act" of sin. This is God showing mercy on whom He wants to. This is the true power of the Gospel message as it frees us from the lifestyle of sin that we were bound to and releases us to "freely obey God without the guilt and condemnation that would keep us prisoners in our minds.
As powerful as the Gospel is, it's foolishness to those that God has not revealed this to. If people think it's foolishness, then it will be foolishness to them. But to us as it says, it is the power of God. And if there is a confident trust in what this Gospel contains, through faith and patience you will receive or inherit what God promised through it. Hebrews 6:12...
This is why he continues here stating that the "Just shall live by faith." When God references a person that is "just the Greek word used is "dÃkaion and speaks to those that have adjusted their lives to:
what is right
conformable to right
pertaining to right
that which is just
Because this is a standard that God sets for a specific group of people "those who are just these rules and regulations that God refers to are to be obeyed by us as followers of Jesus Christ. Therefore we must order our speech, actions and thoughts after the manner that God intends.
It means that IF you are a person that has confessed Jesus Christ as Lord, living a "just or righteous life is expected as an obligation therefore you must make up your mind to conform to the rules of God.
Because you are a "free being, these rules of conduct are self“imposed; this being the case you willingly conform your actions to your holy, righteous and sanctified character. This is why this is referenced in Romans 12:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
God in His wisdom knows that no man in his behavior can fully meet the expectations of God in his life as Romans 3:10 says: As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
In the NT those that are called righteous (dÃkaioi) are those who have conditioned their lives by God's standard not their own. They are related to God through Christ and because of that relationship they "walk with God which is the true posture of the End Time, New Testament Church. Genesis 5
So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
A righteous person is justified by faith and shows his faith by his actions of obedience. In essence, if we say we're Christians we will walk or live the way God wants us to live. We will do what God wants us to do and will reflect Christ's nature and character to those we come in contact with.
James 2 says
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe”and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
We often look at this Scripture from the perspective of our relationship to our brothers and sisters, but this is just as true when it pertains to the relationship we have with God. If we say that we are the righteous people of God and we are living by faith, then our actions are to validate what we say.
God has a standard that He "expects" those that profess His Name to follow and they are expected to do so of their own free will. The Father does not "force us to follow Christ; if He did we would be involuntary slaves as we were when we served satan.
He does not force someone to pray,
He does not force someone study His Word,
He does not force someone to love,
He does not force us to forgive
He does not force us to tithe
But in obedience to is Word, we freely choose to do all the above with no strings attached.
God has written in His Word that there is a Day of reckoning coming when the Master will settle all accounts and it is then that we will see who the people are that followed God with a pure heart.
As verse 17 ends, the "Just will live [or conduct how he lives] by faith, we see that it leads to another aspect of the judgment of God. Because there is another aspect of disobedience that God will not overlook as Romans 1:18 begins.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness AND unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
If you look at this closely, just because we said a prayer we cannot make the assumption that God will overlook "unrighteous actions committed willingly by His people and then use the Blood of Jesus as a way to escape judgment.
It is clear here that there are specific actions that God requires from His people and we cannot look at our eternal state from the perspective of saying a prayer only and thinking that will bring us to the place where our salvation is secure.
God expects righteous actions and we have a responsibility to live in a way that is godly. When it speaks of God's wrath being released, it's talking about His Divine judgment against all acts of wickedness. God's judgment, verdict, sentencing is going to be swift and done with finality.
The Book of Acts chapter 17 says:
30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
This judgment is reserved for those that know what the Truth is and turned their backs or turned a deaf ear to what God has the right to expect from them.
The Bible reveals two specific Biblical Judgments. Second Corinthians 5 and Romans 14:10 both speak of the Judgment seat of God where Christ is the judge. Here He will meet out our sentences for the things we do in the body.
Second Corinthians 5
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
This is not speaking of judgment that leads to condemnation where we are sentenced to an eternal separation from God and Christ. That Judgment is referred to as the White Throne Judgment. At the Judgment seat of Christ God separates the sheep from the goats.
31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ˜Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Notice, Christ is interested in His sheep, as He will separate those that belong to Him, from those that have infiltrated the camp of the Lord without coming in by following God's mandated order.
The ethnic groups, or as verse 32 begins referencing all "nations [ethnos, Greek] belong to Christ as it says in verse 32 As a shepherd divides his sheep, so shall Christ reveal His true followers in that hour.
There is also the Great White Throne Judgment when those that have rejected Christ referred to as the "dead receive their Judgment for their rebellion and disobedience to God's mandate of salvation.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
It's clear here that those who are separated from God for all eternity are those that "only died once as verse 14 refers to this as their second death. What mose Christians do not realize is that when they received Christ and went through God's ordinance of Baptism that they died at that point and then when their life has ended in the earth, they die a second time.
But for those that never received Christ in the pardoning of their sins and followed each of His commands for us including water baptism, [or the death of their old man] they will have their second death sentence carried out here at the White Throne Judgment where it's also clear that they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
For those of us that are serious in our walk with God and have placed His will, plan and purpose above our own, we have the awesome privilege of missing this White Throne Judgment and will enjoy an eternity with God and Christ.
This is what makes bringing our lives into alignment with God so imperative as without the Blood of Christ applied to our hearts and lives, we are still dead ion our trespasses and sins. And if we die in that state, we will find ourselves at the White Throne receiving the just wages for our sin¦ death!
The way God chose for us to get us out from under the weight of disobedience is through repentance; or changing your view of what is wrong and replacing it with what is right.
Going a step further, true repentance also entails a change in these thoughts that causes you to "choose to do the right thing. Therefore true repentance is making a conscious change in how you think which in turn causes you to make a conscious change in how you act.
Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we have no excuse and we cannot say "I didn't know or I couldn't help myself. We have been empowered by the Holy Ghost and have authority over our flesh and therefore we have the ability to live how God wants us to live IF WE WANT TO LIVE HIS WAY.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
When Christ speaks of this "Helper He's making reference to the Holy Spirit as He uses the Greek word here "ParÃ¡klÄ“tos With this Greek meaning, the Holy Spirit is actually one who stands in place of another that has the same qualities. He is the legal representative of Jesus Christ and is therefore Christ's Intercessory Advocate as the Holy Ghost stands in His place as one that "pleads on our behalf or as most of us understand this term, legal advisor or attorney. As our Helper He is also our "comforter, encourager and exhorter and comes to our aid in any way we need Him to.
We must understand that when the Holy Ghost is referenced in our lives and the Scriptures, He is not less than Christ or the Father, but specifically as the word ParÃ¡klÄ“tos indicates He is "Another of equal quality; not another of a different quality. Therefore He is equal to Jesus Christ Himself and because of that He is also God.
The Holy Spirit is called this Helper, Parakletos or another of equal quality because He undertakes Christ's office in the world while Christ is not in the earth as the God-Man in bodily form as He was when He walked the earth over two thousand years ago. He is Christ's substitute on earth.
The reality is if you allow your conscience to become "seared as with a hot iron you will act in ways that are contrary to God's Biblical order. When you place a higher premium on living to satisfy the world, your flesh and the devil rather than living to satisfy Christ, He will not be the Sovereign Lord over you. Therefore you will not receive the help from the Helper when you need it.
Placing more confidence in anyone other than Christ is in essence giving heed to someone that you were not supposed to. This someone is referred to as deceiving spirits and demons. First Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
The conscience being seared is "A conscience that has become hardened to the conviction of God's Word and God's Spirit. Something seared is burned or scorched like a branding iron marks horses and cows killing that portion of the skin. In essence, you become deadened to God's voice.
When Paul says that you gave "heed you didn't just "give in during a time of weakness you thought about it and decided to do the opposite of what God required. The word heed means that you "gave attention in your mind to someone. Like a ship, you allowed them to "take you off course.
According to our Scripture, we see that this someone that our attention was given to spoken of is: deceiving [misleading, lying, cheating, deceptive, dishonest and unreliable] spirits and Paul includes doctrines [principles, rules and guidelines] taught by demons. Literally these are things contrary to God's commands that are taught by people who are influenced by demon forces. These are often people you trust, people in your life with influence and that could possibly have position in society that is respected and admired.
Having earthly credentials alone will never give someone heavenly approval. They still have to believe the Gospel as God reveals it in His Word and apart from having the Word of God as their foundation; they can have good intentions and be good people, but risk leading many people astray from the Truth.
Therefore, when you give heed¦
You apply your mind to it
You attend to it
You nurture it
You believe it
And you embrace¦
¦ What was not based on the Truth of God's Word and you made it your own.
Many Christians do this by default as they disregard the simple Truths of God. They hear the messages of God through the people of God, but have no intention of doing anything about. They have become content living a minimal, border line Christian walk that is void of God's power because God's power is released through obedience. These people are doing only the basics of Christianity by performing at a minimum what God expects from them as a life and lifestyle.
We must make a concentrated and determined effort to follow Christ and not only mentally agree to or affirm that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to salvation. You can agree that something is right and have no intention of doing it. You can agree that you are to study, pray, forgive, walk in unity, go to church, serve God and give as God commanded; but just not do it¦ as you view the pleasures associated with this life more important than pleasing God.
These deceiving or seducing spirits and doctrines taught by demons will sound right and good, but not knowing the Word of God [because you didn't value what God wrote] you give in neglecting the fact that God is everywhere and all things that are created, points to His Sovereignty and authority.
As Romans 1:20 begins, Paul is stating that when people stand before God they will not be able to say there is no God or they didn't know about Him. Often this premise is argued by people saying:
What about indigenous people who didn't hear the message of being born again
what about people in religions that do not believe in God the same way we do
What about people that live a good life without going to church and gave their money, time and talent to good causes
Most times these questions are not asked from the perspective of trying to get an answer, but to appease their own consciences as they try to justify a life and lifestyle they are living that's contrary to the Word of God.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man”and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Verse 20 reveals a paradox when it speaks of the "things you cannot see as being clearly seen. These things that are invisible of God are His eternal power and Godhead. They are hidden but by the same token are clearly seen by those that will open their eyes. These things have been true since the creation of the universe and are now understood by things we see in this "material creation.
Because of this through the created universe, all created beings recognize the fact that there had to be a Supreme Being Who created it. This Supreme Being has eternal power and divine qualities and characteristics and being The Creator, worship and obedience are due Him.
This is the truth that the Unbeliever is suppressing or prohibiting to influence their understanding¦ by standing in defense of humanistic philosophies, scientific perspectives, educational viewpoints and religious rhetoric. Their rejection of the Truth is the reason that God is Just in condemning the entire race if He had to; since it has not lived up to the light or revelation which is revealed to them.
Turning a deaf ear to the things of God and closing your heart and mind to the conviction of the Holy Spirit will not give anyone an excuse for rejecting Him.
They cannot say I could help it because they were empowered with the Holy Ghost
they couldn't say they didn't know because their own conscience is bearing witness that these things are wrong
They could not say no one told them because God's invisible attributes are clearly seen
When Paul uses the term "They are without excuse this comes from two Greek words "an and "apologÄ“tos and means they are "without defense. A word some Christian teachers embrace and is often used is "apologetics which means to defend the truth. The first Greek word in "anapologÄ“tos "an means "can't and reveals that these people can't defend themselves and therefore they don't have a defense when they stand before God.
Because God is revealed in Creation and people refuse to acknowledge this and although they knew God because of this experience of creation, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Even today, people take God's provision for granted. They are ungrateful for their gifts of food, clothes, shelter and even life itself.
When the word futile is used here, it is more than a state of mind as the word futile can often be interpreted. It means: "They became vain; were destitute or deprived of real wisdom; and they acted perversely, irrationally or unreasonably. In reality, they "got off the right path to follow foolish or bad courses or roads.
Because of this¦
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
When it says God "Gave them up the Greek word for ˜gave up' is paradidoµmi, "to give into the hands of another, to give over into someone's own power or use. God therefore gave the people over to their own sinful appetites and instead of getting better they became worse and worse.
Sin begets sin and when sinful men have the free course to do what his heart desires; he will commit more and even worse acts of sin. This is why people became more wicked and immoral while not even considering the consequences for their actions.
Since people choose to give up God and worship the creature, God gave men into the control of the sinful things they preferred to God. In other words, God would not violate man's will and force him to do something he did not want to do. When men persisted in following their totally depraved natures, God allowed them free rein. The natural result was immorality of the worst kind.
As verse 25 says, they exchanged one thing for another¦ "The Truth for the lie and the course of their lives were "reversed and instead of men having the dominion God intended, they became the servant to the very things they were supposed to rule over. They began to worship animals; make gods out of silver and gold worshipped the moon and stars the earth and fish of the sea. They even began to worship other men and women that are created in God's image. They set up "things to act as or replace God just as the children of Israel did in the wilderness.
Now verse 26 says:
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile [shameful; reprehensible; disgraceful; appalling; awful; terrible; horrendous; and inexcusable] passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
Because of this God gave them over to disgraceful, vile, detestable, revolting and despicable passions as the women exchanged their natural use for that which is against nature by engaging in sexual practices with one another. In the same way the men put aside the natural use of women, burned themselves out in their lustful appetite toward one another, men having sexual relations with other men going against God's natural order for His prized creation.
The tragedy of homosexual relations is that those that practice such things are operating in disobedience to God's command to mankind which was to "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. The only way this could happen is through heterosexual relationships. If the entire world were given over to homosexuality, mankind would become totally extinct within 120 years.
In today's Church there are often two extremes when it comes to homosexual relationships or as it's often referred to in modern society LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender encompassing every sexual tendency apart from God's natural order]. This in itself reveals how corrupt and wicked our society has become when you compare it to God's righteous and moral standard.
The first extreme is that the Church accepts as righteous sexual relations that contradict Scripture and has exalted those that practice such things to places of honor¦ even making them pastors, priests and leaders over God's people¦ In Christ's Church. The other extreme is that there is hatred towards those that practice such things and with great animosity we abuse them as being sub-human and people that have no rights in our nation.
I submit a balance to this as "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in His shall not perish, but have everlasting life. The world that Christ died for includes people that practice such things and therefore we are obligated by God to love the sinner, but hate the lifestyle of sin that they may be living. I'm afraid that we have not really learned to separate the two. Our responsibility is to fight against the very principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness that we fought against and were eventually freed from and not "flesh and blood
Paul continues dealing with the issue of judgment and sin while allowing us to see God's greater plan in bringing us to realize just how much His Grace is ooperating in our lives.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind [debased: unapproved; unworthy; undiscerning, not distinguishing, void of proper judgment], to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Until we are able to pray those who are separated from God no matter what life or lifestyle they live, into the Kingdom of God and be willing to share the Gospel with them, we will live hypocritical lives and will find ourselves judging those that we have no authority to judge. Therefore we will come under God's judgment even though what we think and say may be right.
God loves all people and just as you and I found Christ as the Savior to our sinful problem, God is also able to bring those ordained to salvation into the Kingdom. We have to do things God's way and allow the results to remain God's business. Like Jesus told Martha when she complained about Mary worshipping Christ while she did all the work¦ 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.
We are often distracted from our responsibility to worship and serve God the way He intends because we are fighting battles that God never intended for us to fight. Sometimes doing good things like sharing the Gospel, but being Pharisaical in what we say; or serving God but condemning others because they are not working as hard as we may be working. When we have the right focus, we will be able to remove the splinter from our brother's eye because we now see clearly. God really is able to judge those that are His own people and does not need our help.
This brings us to Romans chapter 2 as we look at Paul letting us know that if it were not for the grace of God that we would still be practicing things just like those we often are condemning who are revealed at the end of chapter 1. Here he uses the argument between Jews and pagans or Greeks or non-Believers as his platform to prove that God loves all people and has intent in bringing those chosen to salvation into that relationship with Him. Romans 2
1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness”indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
When it says "you who judge practice the same things it does not imply that "you do the identical actions, but your conduct or behavior is the same whereby you sin against God. The sin of the Jews was the same as they disobeyed God, but how they sinned was different¦ again, sin is sin!
Often we are ready to judge the sinner but forget that the same principle on which the unbeliever is condemned, namely, that he does evil in spite of knowing they are supposed to do better¦ also condemns us. If we know that something is wrong and we do it anyway to us that is sin and as Romans 1:32 says, "Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. And James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
We know better and instead of participating in unrighteous actions we are supposed to live in total obedience to God's Word. Therefore it is inexcusable or you are without an argument or without a defense for your actions and you cannot talk yourself out of the charge against you. We must live up to the light that we have of God and His Word and live as God wants us to live¦ on purpose.
As verse 1 continues, "for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things Paul is referencing judgment to condemnation. It is a derogatory appraisal of someone else's character or judging against someone else's character. When we do, we are actually condemning ourselves as there is most likely a character flaw in our own life that leads to an act of sin.
Then looking at verse 4 it says "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? The word despise here means "To look down your nose at a thing or to think it nothing and the thing in question here is "the riches of God's goodness or His [uprightness, nobility, kindness and worthiness] as well as His "forbearance [or patience, mercy and tolerance] "and longsuffering [or forgiveness] that He lavished on you not knowing that it's God's goodness that leads us to repentance.
What is being conveyed here is the fact that no matter what sins you or someone else may have committed, God is patient with them just as He was with you and it is His same goodness, forbearance and longsuffering that is leading them to repentance which is the only way to rid our lives and conscience of the sin that does so easily beset [or harass] us. Therefore God's goodness is not available to cover us in our sin¦ but bring us out of it once and for all through the principle of repentance.
This word repentance bears some reiteration as it means to change your mind from evil to good, and change your behavior from evil to good. True repentance is having a change of heart towards acts of disobedience to God which influences your thoughts¦ therefore causing a change in how you live and act. The fact is whenever you have the opportunity to repent, you are experiencing God's goodness towards you. Yet we're not to use our freedom as an instrument to sin which we will be seeing in the coming chapters.
Verses five through 10 you have Paul letting you see that there is a Righteous judgment that everyone is going to partake of and when this happens we will see that God is a Just God and will hand out the sentences equally. Verse 11 says "For there is no partiality with God. This is used with reference to God's judgment where there is no respect of persons. Therefore Jews and Gentiles, slave and free will all be judged the same way¦ with God's Righteous Judgment. Taking this one step further, this serves as our example when dealing with people just as the Book of James tells us in chapter 2:1.
But I like how Leviticus 19 says it: 15 ˜You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. As God has no regard to persons, so there should be no partiality [preference, prejudice or favoritism] in the Christian congregation. You cannot fully follow Christ while at the same time show partiality. This is not speaking of inclusivity where all things are permissible, but speaking of condemnation or criticizing someone because of how they look, act, live or because of their state in life.
Continuing here verse 12 says:
12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
The one thing that we want to acknowledge here is that verse 13 makes the same reference to our obedience to the Law as our New Testament command does to grace. James 1:22 New Living Translation says, "But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. As we are familiar with the King James Version it says "But be ye doers of the word, not hearer's only, deceiving yourselves.
We can't get around obedience to God whether we know what the Bible says and openly ignore it, or as verse 14 states, we acknowledge that we have knowledge of what God desires when we do the things the Law says even if we don't openly profess to abide by the Law. The Law spoken of is the commandments that the Jewish nation was professing to keep, however this is applicable to every person in the earth that knows right from wrong yet chooses to follow the dictates of their flesh. Verse 14 again
¦for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness
We can't get away from our responsibility of obedience to God with all the prosperity teaching in the world; all the miracles of healing, speaking in tongues, worshipping and praising, or all the crying at the altar. This is why Paul said in First Corinthians that love is the more excellent way¦ the Reason is "God is love and we are to "love the Lord our God with all your heart, soul and strength and "Love your neighbor as yourself.
Loving God is demonstrated through our obedience to His commands because if we love Him, we will keep them while obeying His teachings.
In verse 17 he begins another discourse with the Jews letting them know the importance of keeping the Law, but the reality was they were doing the very thing they were telling others not to do. This hypocritical lifestyle was bringing a reproach on God as they were supposedly standing in the place of God and pointing those without the Law to the Great Law-giver.
17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, "Do not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, as it is written.
The reality is that although Paul is specifically speaking to the Jew because they had the Truth, this is reflective of our lives as well because we have been entrusted with the Gospel and are Christ's ambassadors as though Christ was making His plea through us.
As we tell others their need to be saved, they reflect on how we lived, what we said and how we treated other people and they judge the God we serve by how we are.
Verse 24 says, "¦the name of God is blasphemed among the unbelievers because of some of you [meaning us Christians]. To blaspheme means, "To hurt the reputation of God with negative and untrue reports or words; speak evil of, slander or insult.
We must always live and act in ways that bring God glory when around people and when we are all alone. The reason is because what we do when no one is looking or listening will eventually be tested when we are interacting with others.
Bringing us to verse 25 when Paul addresses the "mark of those that were considered God's people, circumcision.
25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
When we look at circumcision for the Jew, it was the "seal of the covenant, and the assurance God gave to them indicating that they belonged to the race which was the heir of God's promises. In the same manner, we are the heirs of God's promise as New Testament or New Covenant followers of Christ. However our circumcision is not of the flesh, but of the heart and is not only for the male, but the female as well.
Speaking of "Jew he speaks of a person descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob according to the flesh and observing the outward ordinances of the Mosaic Law, but having the same type of faith Abraham had; or did not believe in the Seed which is Christ.
When we speak of Abraham's "Seed here we must always keep in mind that God never intended to have only a "natural race of people, but one that would be "spiritual. In doing so, the reference to being a Jew inwardly was not speaking of a Jew that was from the natural race of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but one that dealt with the "Seed who would come by the faith that Abraham released when it pertained to God's promise that He would have descendants that would be more numerous than the stars in heaven or as numerous as the sands on the seashore.
16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed, who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
By one who is a Jew inwardly Paul means one who, whether Jew or Gentile by natural descent, is a child of Abraham through faith in Christ, the promised seed and therefore is a true confessor of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. This will be brought out a little more when we get to the 4th chapter.
Therefore we must have a heart that is circumcised and not look to the fact that wear the label of being a Christian that sets us apart from those who are considered Gentiles, or those apart from this personal relationship with God through Christ.
So the "seal of the Covenant or our circumcision with God is one that deals with changed hearts and minds that leads to different actions and not just a cross around our neck, speaking in tongues, singing real loud or just going to church.
As chapter 3 unfolds you have where God lets you know that there is a place that the natural seed of Abraham has in the plan and scheme of God. They were the people that God made His initial covenant with and entrusted the very Scriptures to. However, it's evident that they will also be judged just as the rest of the world.
What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
"That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.
5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come?”as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
You see again, people cannot live as if they will not be judged, yet many do. I'm not speaking of Un-Believer's, but of Christians. You're caught in a dilemma or predicament when you're a Christian and you want to live according to the flesh.
First you can't go back into the world because you know the ultimate end of the pending destruction of those that do not have Christ, and second, you face the condemnation of God as verse 8 and that condemnation is just and right.
This condemnation is defined as "a statement or expression of very strong and definite criticism or disapproval. It's not going to be "well done thou good and faithful servant, but just the opposite for those that choose to live to please their flesh.
Then we have were it appears to get even worse as Paul shows the futility of those that are living under the law, or living by the standards of the Law.
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.
13 "Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; "The poison of asps is under their lips;
14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.
18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
All the Law does is reveal how sinful someone actually is. And when you think about it from the time when we learn to make decisions for our own lives, all we do is try and live according to the law that's on our heart¦ consciously or un-consciously. This is why people have an understanding of right and wrong and it initially convicts them until their conscience becomes numb to sin and it becomes their lifestyle.
And for us as New Testament Believers, although we have moved from the Law and operate under the grace of God, it amazes me to see how many people of God are still trying to operate as if we have to keep the Commandments of God in their entirety in order to please God and for some it is the gage to determine whether they will enter heaven.
Focusing on right or wrong only causes you to do what you are commanded not to do, as the strength of the Law is in the sins that are committed which proves that God is right as verse 19 states,
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The reality is as verse 9 states, "we are all under sin¦ which means that we are all under the "power of sin and being such only those that are truly free are those that have turned that lifestyle of sin over to Jesus Christ as we begin to see in verse 21.
As we understand the love, grace, mercy and loving-kindness of God we will see that it was never and still remains so, that He never wanted us to live burdened down with either the acts of sin or the guilt and condemnation that having a sin-consciousness brings. This is where God's righteousness comes in¦
...Romans 3¦ When we speak of the righteousness of God, it is not a license to live anyway you want to live. Knowing that you are righteous empowers you to live the way God wants you to live. This is called the grace of God it removes the conscience that is filled with the guilt of living a life that was contrary to God and places a new mantle or a fresh anointing on you to live as God wants you to live.
Until Second Corinthians 5:21 becomes the anchor for which you are going to conduct your life, you will always wonder whether you are pleasing God. It says, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Righteousness fulfills the claims of God on our lives. He created us and has the right to expect His creation to live in the manner He determined. We are not our own and therefore every person ever created has the responsibility to adopt God's standard for living.
This is totally opposed to the way we are being told we can live today as we are told we can live as we want to as long as we don't hurt anyone. This is trying to live according to your own standard and will never satisfy the claims of justice that God has a right to expect from us.
Therefore true righteousness is conforming or adjusting how we think and live to the way God wants us to live which stands in opposition to lawlessness. This is viewed NOT as "the keeping of law but the acceptance of God's standard which is Christ and who the Bible says is the fulfillment of the Law.
This reflects what Matthew 5 says as Christ didn't come to abolish what God gave and expects each of us to live by, but fulfilled it so that we can live free from the guilt of falling short when we measure how we conduct our lives by the standard of the Law.
17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Since God IS the standard of the Believers, the righteousness of God means the righteousness that belongs to God; God“like righteousness; of God like living and acting. We are to be living as if God were living through us and this means in a way where others know that we "belong to God¦ not because we say it but because they see it. Therefore living a righteous life is "God's standard of living that He expects us to conform to.
Man in his natural, fallen condition has the tendency to accept his own set of standards and creating his own standard of what is right or righteousness in his own eyes. In reality, living by man-made values and principles is not righteous living and will never satisfy God.
God's righteousness is imputed [credited, assigned to us; or charged to our account] and given to us as a gift. It cannot be earned, or received and accepted by the Believer. Doing this results in God's act of justification by faith through Christ.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
As we see here every person that ever lived on the face of the earth has committed some act of sin that serves to judge us as reaping the rewards of that act of disobedience which is death. This is why the Bible says "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
As we look at this, something that is a wage is what you actually worked for, or compensation that is due you for time you spent doing a particular thing. You earned death for what you did, BUT¦ there was a corresponding Gift that is directly opposite of what you deserved and that is eternal that comes no other way but "¦in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We're not living according to what our actions deserved and we're not living in the manner we want to live so grace will abound as Paul says, "God forbid if we do. We're living in a manner that holds up in the court of heaven as the accuser of the brethren that accuses them before God day and night will try to have your sentence of innocent reversed based on what you did and how you used to live.
We have here "judicial or legal terms that God uses that surrounds the "grace of God, as verse 23 reveals. Looking at it through a judicial lens we see that this is not something that God just threw together and reasoned that it seems like a good idea. He was methodical and purposeful and therefore there are no loopholes to trap you or for early release if you do not accept God's Righteous Standard of Jesus Christ.
First as verse 24 says "¦we've been justified freely by His grace¦ A word that we can easily associate with this word justified is, we've been vindicated or have been rendered blameless FREELY or without any associated costs. You can't pay for it, you can't work for it, you can't give enough for it¦ when you're justified "freely, you just accept it and because you are appreciative of what God did, you work, give and live as God intends showing that you appreciate what He did.
Looking further at the word righteous in the New Testament the Greek verb dikaiÃ³Å that means "to justify, never means to make anyone righteous or to do away with his violation of the law, by himself bearing the condemnation and the imposed sentence.
In the NT, man in his fallen condition can never do anything in order to pay for his sinfulness and thus be liberated from the sentence of guilt that is upon him as it happens in the world. According to the worlds system of justice when a guilty person has paid the penalty of a crime, "he is free from condemnation.
We are guilty and the only sentence Holy God can impose is death because the only penalty that has ever been enacted in God's universal Law for committing an act of sin is death.
We often say "justified can mean "just ˜as' if I'd never sinned and I understand the term. However, being justified cannot remove the sentence of death in God's court¦ the price for your infraction must be paid. However, the Law does permit someone to die in your place¦ "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
This is why I said earlier, Second Corinthians 5:21 is to become the anchor for which you are going to conduct your life, you will always wonder whether you are pleasing God. Therefore God made us righteous by permitting Jesus Christ to bear for Himself "our condemnation, our judgment, our punishment which is our chastisement.
This is what makes Isaiah chapter 53 so important for us¦ this is the place of exchange and it was at the cross. This is a prophecy about the Incarnate Christ as He steps into time and fixes what Adam did when he disobeyed God.
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement [reprimand and punishment] and for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
As we stand before God in our defenseless state, God recognizes the work of Christ and declared us as righteous and He justified us by a legal act that cannot be reversed¦ unless we commit the same crime again.
What is the major crime that people commit that caused this sentence of death in the first place? John 3 says not believing in Christ.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Unless we commit this same crime again, we cannot be charged for the prior offence committed as that would be "double-jeopardy and against the law. But if you commit another crime or do the same thing that caused you to be brought to trial in the first place, you can and most likely will be sentenced to the fullest extent of the law.
As a matter of justice, God pardoned us; He acquitted us and He cleared us from any charge or accusation against us. We have been investigated and after examining us and having been found guilty as charged, God substituted Jesus for our penalty and absolved us of all charges. This is real justification¦ someone served out your sentence and freed you so you can live and not die and declare the works of God.
The second part of Romans 3:24 I want to look at is the fact that this is an act of God's Grace as it says you "...were justified without cost by His grace.
As we look at the grace of God, it is another term that many Believer's really do not understand or they get a basic concept of it and think that they fully understand what grace is and how it applies to their own lives. Because eternal life is the gift of God to man-kind through Christ, we must understand that there is another force [if you will] at work here besides justification.
This other principle at work is grace whereas it is, "A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the abundance, kindness, compassion and generosity of God.
God's grace [Greek word "ChÃ¡ris| is "unearned, undeserved and unmerited favor, kindness and courtesy extended towards those who do not deserve it. God's grace affects man's sinfulness and not only forgives the repentant sinner, but brings joy and thankfulness to him. It changes the individual to a new creature without destroying his individuality.
This brings two scriptures into this equation. Second Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Being a new creation or new species that never existed before, we have to understand that we are the only created being that has authority in two realms, the spiritual and natural realms. No other species can do that as we go from a natural man with a spirit to a spiritual man with a body. It's this second perspective that we are living our lives from and is what gives us the authority to operate in the natural as it is in heaven.
Because of this, we purpose in our hearts to live the way God intends for us to live without compromise. The love we have in being justified by God's grace compels us to please God rather than man which includes pleasing our own life.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
When we receive "ChÃ¡ris, or God's grace by faith it transforms us and causes us to love and seek after the righteousness of God. With this initial act of the grace of God in bringing us into a relationship with Him, from that point God's desire is to bring every one of us under the "dominion of righteousness.
It's here that we are dominated by right acts, thoughts and actions all the time. It's here that many Christians fall short and the people that are not saved question the salvation of those who say they are followers of Christ.
The maintenance, upkeep and care of our position of righteousness requires an unbroken and large supply of God's grace because we are going to need our hearts and minds settled on the fact that we are pleasing God right where we're at.
Those that live to please God need God to breathe on their lives every day to free them from sin and keep them from sinning. It's when we sin, that God's grace is there to keep us from stooping so low that we beat ourselves up and walk away from God. Although we may fall and we may fail at some things, we are also among those who are not going to make an excuse for our failures. We're going to own up to them and as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, we will, "God and sin no more.
It's this attitude that does not take God's grace for granted because we are not living to fulfill the lusts of our flesh, but the God that justified us freely by His grace. Romans 6 brings this out clearly saying.
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Grace, love and faith remains the foundation in our fight against the devil as he comes at us from outside sources and grace and love remains the foundation in struggle inside us against sin. God's grace insures that we will persevere until the end of this life and when this life is over, we will enjoy eternal life.
The next word that we want to look at in our text of Romans 3:24 is redemption.
"¦being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
Redemption is defined as "Deliverance on account of the ransom paid. In our case, it is God recalling each of us as people who are captive to sin, from that captivity AND back to Himself through the payment of a ransom. A ransom is a payoff for someone or something that is in the possession of another person. The transaction is not complete until the full price is paid and the bill of sale is exchanged and the property in question is returned to it's proper owner.
We were initially the property of God; through Adam's disobedience we became satan's property and he had no intention of letting us go. The ransom was so high that there was not enough money in the world to release us from his grip.
As Jesus told the Jews of his day that were trying to justify their own lives¦ John 8:
42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
We were in satan's possession and had no way out until Christ stepped in and paid the ransom for us. First Peter 1 reveals the payment that was made
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
What was so unique about the Blood of Christ? Hebrews chapter 9 allows us to get a glimpse into this Truth.
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
In this redemption Christ secured our¦
Release: Discharge and freedom
Recovery: Repossession, recapture and retrieval
Restoration: Restored, renewed and re-established us...
¦and reclaimed [regained and retrieved] us for His own purposes.
His Own Blood had the power to release the people of God from the clutches of sin, sickness, poverty and death as no other blood could do. Hebrews 9 continues¦
13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
The conscience is the thing that allows us to determine our standing with God. This is not referencing a carnal mind or a conscience that has been deadened to the things of God and lives to carry out sinful desires. But a conscience that lives to please Him and instead of trying to live according to the Law, we live according to the voice of the Spirit that quiets our mind and calms our conscience.
16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you. 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
This is the eternal Truth that very few people ever grasp. They try to cover themselves with the works of the Law and use the gage of "good versus bad to determine whether they are pleasing God. However, this never settles the issue of relationship as God always wanted us to enter into a personal relationship and not base our standing with Him on what we do.
All our works of righteousness are as filthy rags and could never give us access to the heart of God. There is no forgiveness of sin if we are not going to accept by faith the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as He paid a debt He did not owe and brought us into an eternal relationship with God.
The debt paid was Christ's own blood and without the shedding of blood, there is no remission. There has to be a sacrifice and the sacrifice of animals would not be sufficient to satisfy the claims of God on His prized creation. A man [Adam] sinned and separated mankind from God and it takes the same type of sacrifice [man, this time it is Christ] to satisfy the claims of justice. The blood of bulls and goats and other animals were temporary, but Christ's blood is eternal.
The word remission in its simplest form means forgiveness, but in the Greek text we see it means to "separate a person's sins them as the sinner. Further it's the "putting away of sin and the deliverance of the sinner from the power of sin, although not from its presence, which will come later after the resurrection when our very bodies will be redeemed. At that point, our bodies are separated from any acts of sin.
Therefore the Blood of Christ brought forgiveness and removed sin from our lives while delivering us from the power that sin had over our minds, bodies, lives and families. This holds true as long as we walk with God and as long as you know that you are free. If you don't know it, you will remain bound while you are free.
If a person is in prison and does not know they have been released, they will remain in an imprisoned state. It's to the benefit of the people of God to know and understand their redemptive rights and privileges so they can walk in the liberty where with Christ have set them free. Galatians 5:1 says:
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
This is your responsibility as a Child of God that has a new Master. You stand fast in Christ's freedom and refuse to be subjected to or held captive by walking in unison with bondage or slavery. This is what being yoked means. You join forces with another.
In Hebrews 9, referencing the Old Testament sacrifices, these had to be made repeatedly and served to remind the people of their inability to overcome sin as sin was their master which was revealed through the Law they were determined to abide by. But to eradicate a conscience of sin and the consequences once and for all, it took the blood of a sinless human being. This is what makes Christ's sacrifice so crucial to our getting free and remaining free.
23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another”26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
By presenting His Own blood, Christ purchased our deliverance from calamities and death. His sacrifice brings an element of hope in hopeless situations and will deliver our souls from otherwise inevitable death and destruction.
Romans 3 again says that "24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith¦
If you notice here, our redemption or ransom is IN Christ and I will add "none other lest any man should boast. This is God's gift to us and after we receive the gift the requirement of God is unwavering service to His will, plan and purpose in order that His Kingdom could be established.
The word propitiation is not in reference to an "act but to a Person, meaning Christ. And it is through His blood that we are forgiven and received by the Father into His Kingdom.
Jesus Christ is designated as the propitiation hilastá¸—rion in Rom. 3:25 and Heb. 9:5 because He is designated not only as the place where the sinner deposits his sin, but He Himself is the means for our punishment or our "Atonement, purification, the removal of sin along with its guilt."
He is not like the high priest of the OT where the punishment of the people was accomplished through the blood of something other than himself (Heb. 9:25). Christ IS the removal of sin as the word propitiation also means that He is the Mercy Seat of God.
This mercy seat is not a "seat" as we know of it but it is part of the Ark of the Covenant where the Presence of God resided in the Old Testament. It is actually the lid or covering of the Ark of the Covenant made of pure gold, on and before which the high priest was to sprinkle the blood of the atoning and purifying sacrifices on the Day of Atonement, and where the Lord promised to meet His people.
Ark of the Covenant
Hebrew Word: Ê¾ÄrÃ´n, which in a sacred context, the Ark of the Covenant at one time contained:
The tablets of the Ten Commandments¦ Deuteronomy 10:5
A copy of the Book of the Law which Moses had written which contained over 600 commands for the people to observe¦ Deuteronomy 31:26
A pot of manna¦ Exodus 16:33, 34
And Aaron's rod that budded¦
5 And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I will rid Myself of the complaints of the children of Israel, which they make against you.
8 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die. 11 Thus did Moses; just as the Lord had commanded him, so he did.
These were the things that were inside the Ark. However there was also a Mercy Seat which in the Hebrew text is the word, "kappÅreá¹¯, meaning a lid, propitiation.
This word refers to the lid that covered the ark of the testimony. It was made of gold and was decorated with two cherubim.
God resided above this mercy seat (Exodus 25:17“22).
Only at specific times could the high priest come before the mercy seat (Leviticus 16:2).
On the Day of Atonement, the high priest made atonement for himself, the Tabernacle, and the people by a sin offering, which included sprinkling blood on this lid (Leviticus 16:13“15).
10 "And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side, and two rings on the other side. 13 And you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. 14 You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them. 15 The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.
17 "You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. 20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. 21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. 22 And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.
As we read this and we see a picture of the Ark of the Covenant, we get a better understanding of what this is talking about. God was specific and Christ was the Propitiation as the blood was sprinkled on the tabernacle, the priest and the people for their atonement and there is no "inanimate object that has the power to forgive sins¦ only God can, so this was the very Presence of God being the Mercy seat.
Again, this shows that Christ was the true mercy seat, the reality typified by the cover on the Ark of the Covenant (Heb. 9:5). Therefore, He was and remains the place of conciliation, of atonement and sacrifice at the place that the people under the Old Covenant called altar or place of sacrifice.
Hebrews 9 reveals the Ark where God's Presence would abide...
Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
These verses speak of the tabernacle that God had Moses construct. This tabernacle is a dwelling place, sacred place or sanctuary. The most significant meaning of the word indicates the dwelling place of the Lord, the Tabernacle. The word is often used in Exodus to indicate the temporary lodging tent of God and where His glory would manifest among His people (Lev. 26:11; Ps. 26:8).
The Tabernacle was called the Tent of Meeting for there the Lord met with His people. It was also called the Tent of Testimony since the covenantal documents and the Ten Commandments were lodged in the Holy of Holies. God gave Moses the pattern of the structure for the Tabernacle (Ex. 25:9; 26:30). The Lord had His Tabernacle set up at Shiloh in Canaan, but it was later abandoned (Ps. 78:60).
The cherubim overshadowed Christ as God and not a structure that is built with the hands of men. This assures us that Christ was and is the true mercy seat, the reality is that the mercy seat being Christ, is a copy described as a cover on the ark of the covenant (Heb. 9:5).
Therefore, this mercy seat or propitiation Who is Christ is the place of reconciliation and the resolution of expiation where our sins are atoned for and are removed. Christ is the propitiation for our sins.
This Mercy Seat is what the ancients of old called the altar or place of sacrifice. Again, this altar is the place where Christ dwells and is not necessarily a place that is physically tangible. In the Old Testament:
When they came to the Altar, they came to Christ
When they brought a sacrifice they brought them to Christ
When they gave their tithes and offerings, they brought them to Christ
In the New Testament, when we come to the altar, we are also coming to Christ and are not to have a mentality that we are kneeling at a structure that is made with the hands of men and a convenient place to pray or sing. It's the place where God's Mercy Seat [Who is Christ] abides and there we receive forgiveness of sins, where we worship and praise the God of our salvation and the place where we receive direction for our lives so we can have a fresh start.
The last word we want to look at in the context of Romans 3:24, 25 is the word forbearance. Looking at our text in context¦ Romans 3:22
¦For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
As verse 25 says, "In His forbearance God passed over the sins that were previously committed... Looking at this word, "forbearance here we see that it is the reason or purpose in which God was able to "justify us freely; extend us grace; redeem us and allow Christ to be the propitiation [or mercy seat] for our sins.
Forbearance is different than forgiveness as it means that that there is a "temporary suspension of His wrath" [anger, fury and rage]. This lets us know that God was able to temporarily suspend the sentence of death that mankind was deserving of by passing over the sins we committed in ignorance of God's Laws and commands.
Therefore until we received this remission or forgiveness of sins that the prior verses reference, there had to be a "temporary injunction" imposed by God that would stay His wrath against us and keep Him from carrying out the sentence that are deeds deserved until the time Christ came to the earth and in our personal lives, until the time we received Christ.
This is why we were not consumed when we should have died and why we can walk around as if we never sinned even while we were yet sinners. God's wrath that was reserved for those who broke His Commandments was temporarily suspended until we came to the revelation of Christ being our Lord and Savior.
Prior to us, this is the manner in which God dealt with the Jewish nation until they also came to the revelation of Christ being the mercy seat and their necessity to receive His sacrifice as their own. This is still for them as it is for many of those who are Gentiles, and is a work in progress.
As verse 26 states, this is an example of the righteous actions of God towards those of us who have faith in Jesus Christ.
As verse 27 begins, God lets us see that not one Jew or Gentile is able to "boast or as the KJV translates this, "glory in their relationship with God because of who they are or what they did as the Law was powerless and our actions were not sufficient to rid our lives of sin.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
Therefore the Jew cannot boast of their relationship with God because they were born acknowledging the Law [which was insufficient to free them] and the Gentile cannot boast because they were without the Law and therefore condemned as Law breakers as well.
In verse 31 Paul's asks, "Do we make void the Law or ˜make it of no effect'? Paul says, "God forbid. The reason is because rather than make God's law of no effect, faith actually establishes it in its rightful place.
God joined the Jew and Gentile together through the element of faith and by doing this by way of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we establish the Law that God gave for mankind to adhere to. It's the fulfillment of the Law that we accept by faith that grants us free access to God and life eternal when we pass from this life to the next.
We now get into the element of faith and have examples of our father of the faith, Abraham to help us see if we are indeed walking in and walking by faith.
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found 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 accounted to him for righteousness.
As we look at these Scriptures, we see that they are referencing a conversation that God had with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15.
We begin this chapter with Abraham, we must understand that this speaks of him as our "forefather, therefore an ancestor. This does not mean that we are from his natural bloodline, but by following his example of faith and being joined by the Blood of Christ, we come under the same covenant that God made with him in the Book of Genesis.
These first scriptures reveal that Abraham was able to bring his life under New Testament grace even while he lived before the Old Testament Law was given. As verses 2 and 3 state, his life was affirmed because he believed God and not because of what he did.
Abraham was able to rest in the promises of God because the manifestation of these promises were not according to what the Bibles says are "works. These works speak of "the works of men in reference to right and wrong as judged by the moral law.
Remember there are three main aspects of the Law that God gave the Jewish people. From these three came the 613 laws they had to observe each day, year or amount of time that God determined.
The Ceremonial law is where the priests and the people had to go through specific cleansings and washings; it's where they had to use specific animals and do things a specific way in order to appease their conscience.
The Judicial law is in reference to the specific penalties someone had to go through or repay for breaking the Law as God wrote it. This was enforced by the leader of God's people whether the prophet, priest or king that was set up and as they rejected the kings, God set up Judges to ensure that the Judicial law was enforced or carried out.
When we look at the "works of the law as Romans says in chapter 4, we are looking at the "Moral law that God expected His people to carry out each day. This is the way God said His people were supposed to live. These are the "rights and wrongs that determines whether you are actually living a holy life. As we know, it was an impossibility and therefore God provided the sacrifice of His only begotten Son.
Some people think they are better than another person because they "do or don't do something that is referenced in the Moral Law. They even go so far as to think that "Because of these works, they will have eternal life¦ but they are wrong. You don't have eternal life because you do right; you do right because you have eternal life by way of being born again.
In Genesis 15, we have the encounter Abraham had with God and see that Abraham didn't have to do anything or any "works to walk in the promise of God. He believed what God told him and his actions [or what he did] affirmed his belief in God.
1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.
2 But Abram said, "Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? 3 Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!
4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir. 5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be.
6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
It doesn't stop here with a promise made, but God had to make a covenant that would be eternally binding. Because God could find no one greater than Himself He confirmed or ratified the covenant by Himself. He had Abraham provide and protect the sacrifice that God told him to offer and then God put him to sleep.
9 So He said to him, "Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:
"To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates¦
Therefore Romans 4:3 ends affirming that in this way, "Abraham believed God and it was accounted [imputed, credited, reckoned, and counted] as righteousness. This is how the principles of righteousness, grace and faith were instituted in the earth.
They are not only New Testament principles that are meant to separate one church from another or one denomination from another; they are part of a covenant that God set in motion so He could have a race of people that would live by faith and where He could be their God and we would be His people¦ relationship is what God always wanted.
As Abraham believed God this was reckoned to him as a righteous act, or on account of which "perfect righteousness was given him. This is the state we will all attain when this life is over and all our acts are righteous and there's no room in our relationship with God for error.
God see's us as righteous because of our faith in Christ, however the time will come when our outward actions will reflect our inner heart attitude and the transformation we went through when we made Jesus Christ our savior.
Similar to our New Testament Covenant with God Abraham trusted God to perform His promise and this brought him into the blessing that God promised.
In other words, it was the act of Abraham placing himself in such an attitude of trust in and acceptance of God's blessings that made it possible for God to bestow righteousness upon him.
"Counted is the Greek word logizomai. It was used in early secular documents; "put down to one's account, let my revenues be placed on deposit at the storehouse; I now give orders generally with regard to all payments actually made or credited to the government. Therefore, God put to Abraham's account, placed on deposit for him, credited to him, righteousness.
The actual payment had not been made, the actual bestowal of righteousness had not been consummated, and for the reason that our Lord had not yet paid the penalty of man's sin and had not yet been raised from the dead. Abraham possessed righteousness in the same manner as a person would possess a sum of money placed in his account in a bank.
Since the resurrection, Old Testament saints share with New Testament believers the possession of Christ as the righteousness in which they stand, guiltless and righteous for time and for eternity.
4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.
9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
Here we have where God shows that Abraham was in covenant with Him before God gave the commandments. As a matter of fact, God told Abraham that his offspring was going to possess the land, then go into slavery for four hundred years.
God was letting them know of the bondage they would have to endure at the hands of the Egyptians. We know that after 430 years, God brought them out with a strong hand and outstretched arm. So the Commandments, do not nullify the covenant God made with Abraham and God continues to establish relationship with the people of the earth through the same means that He did with Abraham.
Remember Romans 2:29, God˜s not looking at His covenant being ratified by the cutting away of our flesh as the Commandments make reference to, but by each of us cutting away fleshly and carnal actions, thereby dealing with the sinful actions that accompany a heart of sin.
"...but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
Again God re-emphasizes the fact that faith in Christ or "Abraham's Seed" is the key that unlocks the door to salvation and allows us to enjoy the promised eternity that God provided for us. To gain greater understanding into the blessing that God intended and how it is appropriated, we must see Galatians 3 again. You will see the same language that was used in Genesis 15 and Romans 4 as it pertains to Abraham, the Law and the place that faith has in God's overall redemptive purposes.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them. 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith. 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them.
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed, who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Given as a promise, it is received also as a promise and not something that has to be earned. Our conscience should be clear knowing that although we may not be perfect, that we are stretching towards perfection. We are living to please God and not working to get His approval.
In verse 11, the first thing we must grasp is our position in the Kingdom and relationship with God. We are referred to as "Just and if we are "Just we must live by faith and not works of the Law.
Being just is another term that references a person that is righteous, however there's more to the meaning. Someone or something that is just is that which is right, conformable to right and which pertains to right.
Living right and doing right is expected by the one who sets the rules and regulations we must live by, in our case, God. Therefore, it means that which is expected as a duty and which is claimed as a right because of one's conformity to the rules of God. God has a right to have righteous expectations from His people and He doesn't have to apologize for this.
Without a set of standards for us to live by, the entire earth will be filled with lawlessness, and when Jesus said "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven he is also speaking of having a Kingdom of individuals that are living the same way on earth as He requires of the saints that have gone before us and are now in heaven.
So a just or righteous person refers to someone who acts in an obedient and dependable way in reference to justice and right. God is counting on you to be a certain way at all times. Being just, means that He is expecting us to conform our actions to God's Biblically outlined character.
What we don't realize is that the rules God sets for us are self“imposed; He is not making us do anything. However the day and time will come when God's absolute justice will be applied to us and we will have to give an account of what we did with the Standard God gave us to live by.
Therefore the blessing associated with the Covenant of Abraham mentioned here is not going to be enjoyed by "all people that say a prayer to receive Jesus. It is reserved for those that are just and have aligned their actions with the blueprint that God gave us.
There's a way that God expects us to live, but it's not in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Law as verse 12 states if you do them, you must live by them; it's in agreement with the righteousness that comes by faith.
Verse 13 is a quotation from Deuteronomy 21 which states,
"22 "If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.
As Christ hung on the tree, becoming a curse for us because "WE committed a sin that was deserving of death, He was removed in accordance with the Law and therefore fulfilled the Law that stated that our lives are not defiled and the blessing of Abraham can come upon us by faith in what Christ did.
Therefore the promise God made to Abraham that we saw in Genesis 15 becomes our inheritance and through faith and fighting the good fight of faith, we will see God prove true to what He promised Abraham and his Seed as well as all who place their trust in the Seed, who is Christ
As we begin verse 16, we see how God intends for our faith to operate. As Jesus said in Mark 11:20, we must be certain that our faith is in God and not our abilities, our works, our money, our family line or any other created being. "Have faith in God." However the challenge is knowing how to operate in Biblical faith so you can enjoy the principle of God's rest as you go through the earth.
Here starting in verse 16, you have where Paul uses Abraham's journey as an example for us to follow in our own walk as we endeavor to not only be saved by grace through faith, but live out our existence in the earth by grace through faith.
16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations) in the presence of Him whom he believed”God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be. 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
The promises outlined here are specific and refers to what God said to Abraham and his Seed, both natural nation of Israel and the spiritual nation that is all inclusive meaning, "whosoever will believe¦ in Jesus Christ. What is often neglected is that there are some things that are specifically given such as lands, houses, etc., that serve as the principles for our inheriting the "things that are in the land that we were given.
It's important to understand that when God gave the land to the children of Israel, they also inherited whatever the land would produce. Therefore, this example is both a precept, or specific command or teaching; and it's a principle that we are to use to secure the things that God places on our hearts that are in accordance with His overall will, plan and purpose.
Verse 17 establishes the place that our system of belief has in our lives and the Kingdom of God. We have to establish the manner in which we believe God.
This bears some thought as believing God is more than going to Church, reading your Bible, or praying in a specific manner. When we believe God, we will first and foremost have The Bible as our rule of conduct and standard for living.
This means "What the Bible says, we will do and do it in the manner that God states for us to do it.
This means that "We will not fight against what He said, but will submit to His wisdom and knowledge of knowing what's best for our lives.
This means that "We will put Kingdom living as our first priority while we look for ways to serve God when no one is looking.
This means when God says Forgive, we will be quick to forgive; Love, we will love unconditionally; Give we will give in proportion to the manner in which He said.
Abraham believed God and because of that, even when the situation was hopeless, he didn't give up. When the dream appeared to have died, Abraham still trusted in the God that IS Resurrection power.
Abraham believed in the God that gives life to that which appeared to cease to exist and like God who spoke the worlds into existence without any evidence of their existence, Abraham did the same thing. He called those things that did not exist as though they actually did as verse 17 ends.
This is not a statement of denial, but a declaration of perceived fact. He took God at His Word and when the circumstance was contrary to what Abraham faced, he chose to say what God said instead of what the facts stated. He knew that facts were subject to change and that Truth is eternal. We therefore change the facts we face that are contradictory to the Word of God with the Truth of God's Word. This is calling things that do not exist as though they did.
In the same manner we have to know the Truth and be firmly convinced of what is written as coming from the Heart of God and therefore personal promises and blessings that will benefit our lives and the lives of our children.
Verse 18 goes on to say: "¦who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be.
The New Living Translation says:
18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping”believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, "That's how many descendants you will have.
The Message Translation:
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, "Deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said He would do.
If you are going to become or receive what God said you're supposed to become or receive, you have to often look past where you are and what you have to the promise that God gave and then like Abraham, you will have what He promised you.
The reality is a hopeless situation does not reflect "hopelessness. Hopelessness means that it is impossible and we know the Bible says, "With God all things are possible. We are to give life to our circumstance by what we say and what we are going to do
You are the one that determines whether there is any hope left and often your relationship with God, your understanding of the promises of God and your obedience to them will either foster faith or a spirit of hopelessness.
Verse 19 picks up with the same premise¦ the very thing that was to deliver the promise was incapable of producing the life necessary to secure the promise, however it says "And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb.
Something that is dead is not able to produce life as it is powerless and impotent. But Abraham was not weak in faith which tells me he consistently cultivated his relationship with God so His faith could increase as Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
In the same manner, if you are going to endure through the process, you have to have a regimented [disciplined; well-organized and regular] relationship with Christ that will cause your faith to increase to meet the challenge.
20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Having his faith built up, Abraham didn't waver or vacillate between two opposing opinions. Defined, to waver means that you "fluctuate [or go back and forth] between two or more possibilities; to be indecisive in making a choice; to change an opinion becoming unsure; to move one way and then another in an irregular pattern.
Abraham's eyes had to be on what God promised as it says, "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief. This is important as again, where you place your faith determines your steadfastness in trusting in what God said.
Verse 21, He was "¦fully convinced that what God promised, He was able to perform. This is important as you must remember that he was faced with an impossible situation. There is no way he was going to produce a child looking at not only his situation, but the situation that needed his wife Sarah's participation, which was also hopeless in the natural.
But, like the myth of the Phoenix, his body, his wife's body and the child of promise all rose from the ashes and because he focused on the promises of God, he received what God said.
The importance of this example is in the fact that verse 23 says, this example was not for Abraham's benefit only, "but ALSO FOR US.23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.