Humility and Sin ~ Chapter 8

To benefit by all that Andrew Murray wrote on this subject we must each read this for ourselves. What I am attempting to do with this review of chapter 8 of Humility (PDF) is to combine this with Romans 5:12-21 after the preaching of our pastor’s August 31 sermon.

After studying Murray’s concerns for our humility we see the main purpose for his writing the book. He is trying to get us past our sin in Adam to our relationship with Christ in His gift of righteousness and grace.

We can never forget that we are sinners saved by grace but we do not continue in our sin, nor do we habitually draw attention to ourselves seeing only the sin side of man. If we understand Paul’s writing in the letter to the Romans we are reminded of the depravity of man by which the sin of Adam plunged the whole human race. But more, and far above this reality, is the continual teaching of the greater work and nature of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, in whom we are raised from death in Adam to life in Him.

Disobedience, sin and death came through the first son, Adam, even before the law; before God told other men what they should and shouldn’t do. We who live, after the fact and since the law was established, share in the life of another Son, an obedient Son; through whom forgiveness, and righteousness is ours. But do we believe this and by faith receive this gift; and after it is received know and live this life that is in Christ?

Grace and Humility
As Murray points out, using Paul as the example, true humility is not being humbled because we sin. True humility is living in light of the grace that has saved us from our sinning, while still remembering that we are sinners, saved by God’s grace. We are not saying that we never sin, but that we are no longer under its power. We do not continue sinning as if Christ has not saved us from it. When we understand this we will increase in faith and the humility of Christ.

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“The very essence of grace is to deal with and take away sin, and it must always be so. It is not sin, but God’s grace showing a man and constantly reminding him what a sinner he was, that will keep him truly humble.

I fear that there are many who have sought to humble themselves by strong expressions of self-condemnation and self-denunciation, and yet have to confess with sorrow that a humble spirit, accompanied by kindness, compassion meekness, and forbearance, is still as far off as ever. Being occupied with self, even amid the deepest self-abhorrence, can never free us from self. It is the revelation of God, not only by the law condemning sin, but by His grace delivering from it, that will make us humble. The law may break the heart with fear. But it is only grace that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its second nature.”

Many I talk to are struggling in their faith and growth in the Lord. They seem not able to overcome their doubts and fears.  Some say that they are “hanging in there:” others say, “I am surviving.” Many are depressed and anxious about life.

Where grace abounds there is life, abundant life that overcomes sin and humbles us as we look to Christ, seeing His victory for us over sin. We should be thriving, even in the middle of the madness in which we live. I understand where these are. I too have struggled over the years, prayed, and waited. I am now, at the age of 75 seeing a tremendous growth of the power of God’s grace in my own life, more than I ever asked for; and it is astounding and phenomenal. As Jacob said to God, “I have waited for thy salvation.” It is ordered in His timing and in His way through His everlasting covenant for His people, who are brought to Him through Christ.

A New Level
A few days ago a friend made reference to her daughter’s piano teacher who is taking her daughter “to a new level.” Music students rate themselves as “beginner, intermediate, or advanced.” Not many go from beginner to advanced, but from one level to another as they are trained and practiced in what they are being taught. This can be applied to our lives as disciples of Christ. Does not our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us to a new level of wisdom and understanding of His grace? If so, we will find ourselves more humble than we can imagine. We will be filled and enabled to thrive on the abounding grace and the abundant life that He promised.

As we continue to see our need, to desire this abounding grace, to pray and believe as we wait on Him, He will not fail to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us.
Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now live, should be an ongoing process as we pray, read, study, meditate, and wait. We should be advancing in our faith to higher levels of knowledge and holiness. This is a process working in us that will not exalt us, nor of which we can boast, but rather one that will humble us more and more.

“It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.”


Dear Father, you, the God of all grace, have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ.  You do not leave us to grow by ourselves.  You know what we need ~ grace and more grace.  Work in us according to your own good pleasure that we may witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.   Amen.  

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Faith that Rejoices

Romans 5 is packed with the glorious treasure
imagesof the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul continues to describe the effectual working of the gospel in the life of the believer. In chapter one and chapter sixteen he expresses his purpose in writing this letter to the first church in Rome; “to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,” (1:6; 16:26) He keeps building upon the precepts of God’s grace, showing the power and authority that is in His word, to His own glory.

From the pit of degradation described in chapter one we are brought to chapter five to see the glory of the saint that is saved by the power of the gospel that was given to Paul. (Some of what I am saying is redundant, but well worth repeating.)
From the word, “Guilty, guilty, guilty,” God brings us to, “Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice.”
From the wrath of God, because of our disobedience, we are brought, through His own promise, to obedience. And what a glorious promise it is that brings us to this faith. It is the faith by which we are justified. No longer is God angry with us, because He has brought us to Himself through the death and resurrection of His own Son ~ what greater love than this! What would be the natural fruit of that justification, but rejoicing in hope of this promise? This “great salvation” (Hebrews 2:1-4) through Jesus Christ is the greatest news on earth and in heaven. The angels rejoice when one sinner is brought to Christ. (Luke 15;10)

We remember that the gospel is the word of God given for revelation and salvation. Christ is the living word of God, sent to save His people. (Matthew 1:21) He still speaks today through the written word, even as He lives and reigns at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. The power is in His Holy Spirit to finish the work of salvation that was promised, planned from the beginning, and which Christ came to fulfill.

 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

Our justification is proven by His love for us (vs. 6-111 John 4:9). Jesus Christ is the heart and love of God given for sinners. We could not know or imagine such a God or His plans for our justification. We are but dead in our trespasses and sin, until He quickens us through His word to new life and faith. This is the power of the gospel that brings us to peace with God.

 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

This grace that has saved us is the grace in which we stand; the grace in which we live, and are being prepared to share His glory ~ the same glory that Jesus has with God the Father. The work of justification is the beginning of the work of sanctification for our glorification. The Holy Spirit carries on the work within each believer so that we rejoice in hope for what He has promised for the future ~ sharing the glory of God.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing……………………………….

 The power of the gospel in the believer, the grace in which we stand enables us to rejoice not only in the good times but also in adversity. There is intelligence in the gospel, knowledge of its power to build upon our faith (for obedience) and to create the image that God has planned for those who will share His glory. It is His grace, His image, for His own glory. (See also Colossians 1:11; James 1:2-3)

The experience of faith is that of knowing what His grace does in and through us.

knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
and hope does not put us to shame,

Water-pitcher-pouring
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  
Romans 5:3-6

It is this love, by which He accomplishes all that He planned in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:9)

It is through His own will, His plans, His way, His power, that He is creating a people for Himself, conforming us to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)

This world and the suffering that has come through the power of sin no longer have a stronghold on God’s people. This is our deliverance in Christ; that we live, enduring the cross that we must bear for His sake. This endurance produces the character of Christ in us, which adds more fuel to our hope, with the understanding and reality of God’s love being continually poured into our hearts.

This is what the gospel does when it brings us by faith to embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

It is not something we wait for after this life. Because Christ died for us while we were yet in our sin, dead and unable to respond, we are now reconciled and have begun eternal life in Him. By His death we are reconciled. By His life (His resurrection) we live, now and eternally in Him. If we hear and believe what Paul is saying it sounds as if we are already there. Yes, but not yet. This is the power of the gospel; that we live in hope and light of the promise that is ours in Jesus Christ.  All of true life is Christ; all is centered in Him.

“We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:11 

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Dear Father, thank you again, and again, for your love poured into our hearts that brings us to yourself and spreads throughout our lives.  Thank you that we know this love as Christ, your Son given for us, for our justification, our sanctification and our glorification.  Let us live today knowing your mercy and grace, your love, joy, and peace, your presence and your power within; to love you with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourself.  Make Christ evident ~ faith that is the evidence of things not seen, the assurance, the substance of our hope ~ in our lives today.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.  Amen.

The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans

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Abraham and Paul ~ Heirs of Promise

How exciting is our God!
The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ continues to amaze me as I sit under the preaching of His word.
It is a joy to have my heart and mind opened to the truths that are expounded through the messengers that He has chosen. Such is the case as I am experiencing the preaching of Paul’s letter to the Romans. I have read it many times and studied it; but never before heard and seen what I am seeing now. So had Martin Luther, and God changed his understanding, his life, and the church.

In Romans 4 there is a remarkable revelationimages of how well the apostle Paul knew Abraham. Should it not be so, since Abraham was his father ~ twice born?
Jews throughout history have claimed him as their father. But, Paul gives us a backward view of who has a true claim to this relationship.

God, the Father, chose Abram to be the father of many nations, not just a nation called Israelites. He made an everlasting covenant through him for all nations and changed his name to Abraham. He chose Abraham, made a covenant with him and gave him a promise to bless people from all nations through his obedience of faith.  This is how he became the “father of faith” to all nations.

Let’s look back in time to this covenant blessing upon Abraham that is our blessing, too. We cannot skim over this, but we need to take the time to see the truths here.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,
that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”
Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him,
“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. Genesis 17:1-7

The Lord appeared to a mere man on this earth, gave him a promise that through his physical seed a new nation of people would be born; a covenant that God, Himself would fulfill ~ an everlasting covenant ~ not just to the nation of Israel; and not just for a certain time, but a promise and covenant forever to all who believe in His promise.  God is a God of covenant; a faithful God to His people who accept His word as truth.

How would this covenant be established except through Abraham’s physical offspring, a son that God promised to Abraham? Through him would come the Messiah promised by God since the beginning (Genesis 3:15). But do we see the catch ~ Abram was ninety-nine years old and had no offspring. There was yet no son through whom a people would be born.

But God promised. And Abraham believed what God promised, though it was physically impossible. His faith was counted as his righteousness before God.  As difficult as it was for him to believe is it impossible for us to believe through our own insight.  We are each in our own country, our own little worlds until God speaks through the power of the gospel to us.  By human thinking we cannot see the incarnation, the righteous life of Jesus Christ, his death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven.  It is by His grace, and His light in our hearts (2 Corinthians 4:6) that reveals Christ to us and gives us the new birth by His Spirit, so that we see and believe. (John 3:3; 6:44-45)

The essence of Romans 4 is that Abraham’s faith preceded his action of circumcision. It was his faith in what God promised that made him righteous, not his works. His obedience to God’s command for circumcision was a result of His believing God’s promise.

(Remember the purpose for Paul’s letter was to bring a people from all nations to the obedience of faith. His preaching the gospel was not to tickle the ears, but to lead people to faith in the gospel and therefore to proof of salvation and righteousness by obedience to God’s word.)

How well Paul relates to his father Abraham; and how well he knew his own people who trusted in their circumcision and the law for their righteousness before God.
The Lord had chosen Saul, appeared to him, changed his name to Paul, and sent Him, first to his own people. They tried to kill him, because they did not like the good news of faith in Jesus Christ. They proved themselves not to be true offspring of Abraham, because they did not believe that God had sent His Son for their salvation.

And so, Paul was sent with the gospel to the Gentiles; and all who believe God are the heirs of the promise; joint-heirs with Christ, Abraham and Paul.

 “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.
But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also.
It will be counted to us who believe in him
who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Romans 3:4, 24,25

 Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for calling Abraham out of his own country to establish a new country, a new people of faith and obedience to your word. Thank you for stopping Saul from persecuting your people, that he might become your servant to all nations with the good news of our salvation. Thank you for giving us your word and your promises through others of faith. Thank you calling pastors to preach the gospel in our time. Thank you for calling each of us as your people, by your Spirit and through your word, that others may see and know who are your children; though there are those who will reject your promise and persecute us who live in obedience of faith.  Today make us to know who you are, that we may know whose we are ~ heirs of promise. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Obligated and Eager  Romans 1

The Foot of the Cross ~ Ground Zero

Scan 142190000As Jesus was crucified the Jewish leaders looked up and ridiculed Him. He looked down and said, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they are doing.” By His death He was proving how desperate was man’s condition, with no means of escaping His Father’s wrath, except by a sacrifice given on their part. The purpose was that through Him a pardon would be provided, and eternal life given to those who would believe the “good news” (the gospel) and accept Him as their Lord and Savior.

Even as the Jews were in that day thinking they were privileged just by being a Jew, there are people, Jew and Gentile alike, who do not believe; who are blinded to their own sin. Jews, then and now, still hold to their own traditions, thinking that they have the advantage over other nations without the need of a Savior. There are even those in the church, having grown up with Christian parents or with an infant baptism, who are lacking the righteousness by faith that is required for salvation.

Abraham, the Law and Circumcision
In Romans 3 Paul continues to drive home the point that all stand condemned as sinners under the wrath of God. He has stressed the depravity of all mankind; the power of this depravity in oppression and sin, to the extent of denying that which is natural to all mankind. Now Paul addresses the Jews in particular who suppose that their advantage of being children of Abraham, having the law and circumcision, exempts them from the need of faith.   Although Abraham was their “father,” the “father of faith” to whom the promises of the everlasting covenant for all nations was given ~ who came before the law and circumcision ~ they are relying on their position as Jews for their status before God. They are depending on their own righteousness; yet they proved that none could keep the law.

Paul is saying, “No, having the law and circumcision will not save you from your sins, and the wrath of God.” “There is none righteous before God.” “All have sinned” and fallen short of the expectations of God; none can keep His law and live up to His righteousness and glory. Only one has done that; and in so doing able to give His life a ransom; dying so as to be a propitiation for our sins; appeasing the wrath of God, and so taking away the death penalty that we justly deserve.

He is continuing to build upon the necessity for faith in the gospel; the good news is to be believed. God’s word is to be accepted as true. Jesus’ life, His sacrifice, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father are all His work on our part. No matter how hard we try we can never keep the whole law; but He did it on our behalf. Faith in Jesus Christ and His work on our part is our means of laying hold of His righteousness, our justification and our eternal salvation.

The law is meant to show how far we are from the kingdom of God. The rules of His kingdom are more than anyone here on this earth is able to keep. The law convicts us of our sin, which Paul said was meant to be our schoolmaster until Christ came.

imagesimagesThe Law and the Gospel Now we have the law and the gospel, the bad news and the good news. (My notes on the Book of Romans as our pastor is preaching through it are meant to help me to sort out the gospel of my Lord Jesus Christ; what it means to me; and how I can document what I am still learning of the phenomena of the Christian faith; a phenomena that requires the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and none of my own.)

The work of God’s Spirit is to use the law to convict us of our sin. Had we been there in Jesus’ day we would have been part of the multitude that shouted, “Crucify him.” As a Jew we would have probably mocked Him and spit on Him. But, now we also have the gospel, which the Holy Spirit uses to convict us of the forgiveness and righteousness that is ours in Jesus Christ.

imagesThe Cross ~ The Ladder
The power of the gospel brings us to the foot of the cross, the place where man is stripped away of all pretension, pride and unbelief. In Christ we see the righteousness of God given to us, “justified by His grace as a gift; through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26

In Luke 12:49 Jesus is recorded as saying, “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” On the cross He said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Jesus’ work on the cross brought to shambles every idea that man has concerning his own righteousness before God. Our good works become ashes at His feet.

Jesus told Nathaniel that because he believed he would see the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. (John 1:51) The first rung of that ladder for us is faith. In response to His revelation and regeneration (new birth), with a new heart we come in repentance to the cross of Jesus Christ believing the good news of our righteousness in Him. There is where His blood, His life, covered all the sins of those who believe in Him.

There, when we realize what took place, we will as “all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle” leave the ashes of our own ideas and works. We will in humility, as they “returned home beating their breasts” live in the reality of what our sins cost our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We will not, as some, throw out the law; but, by His grace, we “establish the law” as God’s first means of our understanding the need for the gospel. We see it as God’s rule for life, the standard of His kingdom, which He is building within each of us as He is conforming us to the image of His dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ ~ that image, that standard, will be complete and perfect when He brings us into His final glory. Now, it is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path as we continue in obedience of faith toward our final goal in Christ.

Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We praise you for your law on which we meditate day and night, seeking your kingdom and your righteousness that is in Christ, by faith in Him alone.  Thank you for the authority of your word commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit, shining that light into our hearts, convicting us of our sin and the salvation that by grace is given to us.  Thank you that it does not depend on anything we can do, but that all has been done in Christ for us. Open our hearts to Him, today.  Let us see Him; enable us in humility and faith to follow and obey.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.  Amen

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Scroll. Bible/cross,

“But, I Thought……”

Oh, how often our thoughts get us intothought-bubble-border-preview
trouble; how we lack in the most important things of life because our thought patterns are wrong. It is good to have light cast on our own thinking so that we can say, but , I thought.

“But, I thought I was okay.” My opinion was based on the lives of others. My standard was my own and not of one higher than myself.

Romans 2 of Paul’s letter is one of those lights from God’s word that brings conviction against my own standard. In light of God’s law the Jew nor the Gentile is okay. I cannot look at others I consider more sinful than I am to determine my status before Him. Without full obedience to His commands I stand condemned under His law. Even those who do what is right without knowing the law are in the same boat.

Paul is emphasizing again the need of faith in the gospel that is provided for our salvation.

“But, I thought my works were good enough.” The gospel shows me that works cannot save me from the friendship of the world of which we all are condemned.
All the good stuff that I do is but vanity; a mark of my own standard.

Paul is laying the foundation in this chapter, and building on it a means of our receiving the power of the gospel in our lives; so that his purpose for his letter is fulfilled in bringing about the obedience of faith.

7102751_staRepentance
“But, I thought that my faith was good enough.” When we turn from the preaching of God’s word; when I fail to see that it is meant for me, not just for other sinners, I miss the means and the power of God’s word to make me what He created and wants me to be.

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

The power of the gospel is not a one-time introduction into the hall of righteousness, but a lifetime guide for the heart, proving and improving on what God gives us in the salvation of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My standard every day is a conviction of all my sin. I see in the gospel His kindness, forbearance and patience that leads me to repentance at every turn. Faith and repentance are the twin proofs of the beginning of salvation.

Circumcision
“But, I thought circumcision was enough,” the Jew would say.  Like all others ~ all the human race ~ we all need a Savior. The good news is that the power of Christ in the heart displaces my thinking with His. My life is not compared to what others are, or doing, but with what God is, and doing in me. I don’t need to look at others, to condemn or covet; but to see myself in light of Christ, who “knew what was in man.” John 2:25

Seeing myself condemned by the law; in repentance I look forward to the promise and power of the gospel working in my own heart and life through the remainder of our series in Romans.

 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free
from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2

Dear gracious heavenly Father, thank you for your goodness and patience toward us, as by the power of your word and your Spirit you win our hearts to Christ, your Son, the one and sufficient hope for our salvation.  “I am foolish and ignorant and as a beast before you.”  Nevertheless, you are able to save, by the power of the Spirit of life that is in Christ.  Thank you for making Christ our standard.  In His name I pray.  Amen

Related Articles:
The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans
Impressions and Expressions of the Gospel
Obligated and Eager

Impressions and Expressions of the Gospel (Romans 1:16-32)

As our pastor is preaching through this most images powerful of Paul’s letters (to the Roman Christians) my desire is to make note of the impressions that the Lord is leaving on my own heart and life; with the prayer that the gospel to which Paul was called and set apart, and was not ashamed, would be revealed in me, so powerful and impressive; so as to be the expression of my own life.

In the middle of the first chapter of Romans (vs. 16-17) he speaks of “the power of God,” a reference of the same “power” in verse 4 ~ “the Son of God in power.” It is the same power and the same “gospel of His Son.” (vs. 9)  In these verses he also is setting the stage for the whole of the letter, as it refers to “salvation,” “righteousness” and “faith.”

Before he goes on to encourage with the main elements of the gospel for salvation he inserts the reason for this salvation, the knowledge and need of the gospel, using the backdrop of God’s wrath. Why can we not look over the wrath of God when we speak of the gospel? Why can’t the gospel be preached simply from the center of God’s mercy and love?

Before we can know where we need to be we must know where we are. Without understanding the power and depths of our depravity we cannot fully understand the need for the gospel and its power.

Oppression and Suppression of the Truth
“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.”   In Romans 1: 18-32 we have a description of humanity in its lowest state of sin and misery. Since the antithesis began in the garden oppression has a grip on the hearts and minds of the creatures that God created to be His image-bearers. Instead of obedience to God man has rebelled, and stirred the wrath of God upon us all.

Instead of accepting all that God has created as evidence of His rule and reign over us, man continues to suppress the truth. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God, but became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”

Even as God proved the weakness of our thinking and living on our own, with Adam and Eve, so in giving man up to their own lusts, He reveals how deep into our own depravity we come without Him. Under the power of oppression and sin man suppresses the truth and love of God; and becomes as the lowest creatures, following their own lusts as they have no power of righteousness within them.

Having read and studied Paul’s letter to the Romans, meditating on the truths that are written there, I was not prepared for the tears that came during this sermon. Knowing the mercy and love of God that comes through the power of the gospel of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and how Paul was not ashamed to live and proclaim this salvation for righteousness, I am amazed at how the ungodly are not ashamed of their sin, and of those who “give approval to those who practice them.”

We, as a congregation, were reminded that we, though believers are part of this fallen humanity, still subject to the oppression and temptation to sin.  It is only through the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ that we have any hope of righteousness and of escaping God’s wrath.

I praise the Lord for such power of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that works faith by His grace, (Ephesians 2:8-10) to make known to us and overcome the ungodliness and unrighteousness in us who believe.  This power is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  (Ephesians 1:19-20; Ephesians 2:1-6) a power greater than the oppression of this world and our sin.

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:11

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for this letter to the Romans. Please open our hearts to hear, and obey the gospel wherein your righteousness is revealed from faith for faith to us. Keep us aware of our own nature; keep us close to you. Search us and know our hearts; try us and know our thoughts; see if there be any wicked way in us; and lead us the way everlasting. Fill us with the power of your Spirit to speak the truth of Christ ~ not ashamed but eager to share the gospel of Christ wherever you lead us.

Related articles:
The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans
Obligated and Eager
The Father’s Glory and Mother Nature

Obligated And Eager (Romans 1:1-15)

imagesSo as not to lose the main thoughts of the study begun by our pastor yesterday in the Book of Romans I wanted to note and save these ~ not all, but those that we come away with; that apply to here and now, for us.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans described himself as “called” and “set apart.”

He had “received grace and apostleship” for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
His purpose for this grace and apostleship; his calling and being set apart for the gospel of God concerning His Son, was to bring about “obedience of faith” in others who were called. (See The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans)

This book was written by one “called to be an apostle.” Vs. 1
It was written to those “called to belong to Jesus Christ.” Vs. 6
It was written to those in Rome “loved by God and called to be saints.” Vs. 7

Though not all are called to be an apostle, all who are called, then and now, belong to Jesus Christ; all are loved by God and called to be saints. None are called to be nominal Christians, then to go their own way.

It is a holy, high, and heavenly calling, as noted in Paul’s other letters and in the Book of Hebrews. All are called to live out our faith in obedience to Christ wherever He has placed us.

Paul describes his obligation to those he ministers to as an apostle. He has “received grace” and in his calling as an apostle administers this grace to Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and foolish.

And here with the obligation is the proof of his “calling and receiving.” He is “eager to preach the gospel to those in Rome.” Why was he still preaching the gospel to those whose faith was proclaimed to all the world? It was the gospel that had been preached that brought them to believe the gospel. It is the gospel that keeps us receiving and believing. It is the gospel that keeps us encouraged, obligated, eager and obedient to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 We can easily forget the debt we owe for the mercy and grace that has saved us through Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
To keep us in obedience of faith we need, as Jerry Bridges in his book Discipline of Grace, to preach the gospel to ourselves every day.

It is in hearing the gospel that we receive our calling, and know where our obligations and eagerness are directed. As our pastor spoke of this I was reminded again of where my calling is at this time. My obligation is to my husband as his wife and caregiver. As I am writing this he is still sleeping. I am eager to spend the day with him, realizing that the Lord has planned our time together; and all will be to His glory, and our joy.