Monday’s Blog: Paul Series (recap Romans)

Since going through Paul’s letters one chapter at a time (once a week) will take over a year to complete, I’ve decided to take a week in between letters to pray and allow God to recap what He’s taught me so far. We  finished Romans last week. Next week, we will move onto First Corinthians.
Here’s a list and the links of the chapters we’ve studied so far in Romans:

Romans 1  – benefits of faith and consequences from unbelief

Romans 2 –  justified through Christ

Romans 3 – faithfulness of God

Romans 4 – receiving God’s promises

Romans 5 – benefits of being justified by faith

Romans 6 – dead to sin and alive to God

Romans 7  – released from the law and bound to Christ

Romans 8 – setting our minds on the Spirit

Romans 9 – children of the promise

Romans 10 – believing and confessing Jesus as Lord

Romans 11 – remnant chosen by Grace

Romans 12 – living a life surrendered to Christ

Romans 13 – lay aside deeds of darkness and put on the armor of Light

Romans 14 – accept those weak in faith and do not judge one another

Romans 15 – be filled with the Holy Spirit and build others up

Romans 16 – faithful servants of Christ

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for these teachings from Paul. We pray that as we study his letters You would fill us with Your love and give us revelation to know You better and to understand Your will for our lives. You have all the wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We know nothing apart from you. We humble ourselves before You and receive all that You want to reveal to us.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

*We will be studying 1 Corinthians 1 next week. Have a blessed week in the Lord!

 


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 16”

We continue our study of Paul’s letter this week with Romans 16. Paul begins with special greetings for his brothers and sisters in Christ:

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

v. 1-16 (NASB)

Let’s take a closer look at the men and women Paul mentioned above:

Phoebe (mentioned only in this chapter) was a servant of the church and a helper of Paul and many others. The KJV notes at the end the chapter that she sent this letter from Paul to the Romans.

Prisca and her husband, Aquila, were Paul’s fellow workers in Christ who risked their lives to help him. They also worked as tentmakers with Paul and ministered to others in their home (see Acts 18 and 1 Corinthians 16:19)

Epaenetus (mentioned only in this chapter) was the first convert to Christ from Asia.

Mary (not clear if she is the same as any other Mary mentioned in Scripture) labored hard for the church.

Andronicus, Junias, and Herodion (mentioned only in this chapter) were Paul’s kinsmen (not clear if blood related or related through Christ). Andronicus and Junias were notable among the apostles and fellow prisoners with Paul.

Urbanus (mentioned only in this chapter) was a fellow worker in Christ.

Ampliatus and Stachys (mentioned only in this chapter) were beloved (Agapetos: beloved by God) in the Lord.

Apelles (mentioned only in this chapter) was approved in Christ.

Aristobulus’ and Narcissus’ (mentioned only in this chapter) households were in the Lord.

Tryphaena and Tryphosa (mentioned only in this chapter) were workers in the Lord.

Persis (mentioned only in this chapter) was beloved and labored hard in the Lord.

Rufus (not certain if he is the son of Simon who was forced to carry Jesus’ cross in Mark 15:21) was a choice man in the Lord. Paul called Rufus’ mother his mother too. It is not clear if she was his birth mother or mother in the Lord.

Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas (all mentioned only in this chapter).

Though most of these were not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture, we can see in Paul’s greetings that they were all faithful and approved servants of Christ. Paul doesn’t mention them by any titles. He mentions their devotion to Christ. We often think we have to have a title and notable position to be productive in ministry. As a homeschooling mom of four, I struggle with finding time just to write this small post every week (hence the reason it’s often posted late). There are times when I feel my time is wasted with never-ending household chores and schooling. It’s hard to see that what I’m doing at home is just as important. God often reminds me that I’m not just wasting my days away. I am being productive in serving him by raising up my kids to be servants for Christ.

They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.

Isaiah 65:23 (NIV)

After Paul sends his love to the faithful servants, he warns the Romans to be on guard and turn away from those who are unfaithful, who serve their flesh instead of serving Christ.

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

v. 17-20 (NASB)

This is similar to what Paul rebuked the Corinthians for in 2 Cor. 11:3-6:

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.

We are to stand on God’s Word. We aren’t to bear with false teachings just to keep the peace and unity in the church. Of course, this doesn’t mean we turn away from everyone who doesn’t know or understand everything we’ve learned in God’s Word. As we read a couple weeks ago in Romans 14, we are not to critically judge those who are weaker or stronger in faith than us. Prisca and her husband, Aquila, were not critical to Apollos when they heard that he was missing something in his teaching in Acts 18:23-26:

Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Paul closes the chapter with some final greetings.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.

 I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord.

Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.]

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

v. 17-27 (NASB)

Paul was a faithful servant in Christ, who correctly handled the truth. This is why he could confidently, without pride, say “according to my gospel.” Paul’s gospel was God’s gospel.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your wisdom. Help us to be faithful and approved servants of Christ. Fill us with Your wisdom. Give us revelation of Your truth so we can turn away from deception and false teachings, and effectively share Your truth and carry out Your will.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

2 Timothy 2:15-19 (NIV)

*This series will continue next week with 1 Corinthians 1.

 

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 15”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters today with Romans 15. Last week, in Romans 14, Paul warned the Gentiles not to judge their Jewish brothers who were weaker in faith. He starts chapter 15 instructing them to accept and build up those who are weak.

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

v. 1-6 (NASB)

I love how Paul says that God gives us perseverance and encouragement and that He will grant us to be of the same mind with one another. God doesn’t ask us to give anything that He hasn’t first given to us. He wouldn’t ask us to persevere without giving us perseverance. He wouldn’t ask to love and encourage others without loving and encouraging us. And He wouldn’t ask us to accept one another without first accepting us, as Paul writes in the next verse.

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

v. 7 (NASB)

We need to believe and receive what God’s given us so we can have the power to do all that He’s asked us to do.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

v. 13 (NASB)

Paul knew the power that he had in him. He knew everything he had was from God, and not from himself.

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

v. 14-19 (NASB)

Paul said he would not presume to speak anything except what Christ accomplished through him. By allowing God to fully work in him, he was able to turn the Gentiles in obedience to God. He didn’t just preach to them. They were able to see the power of God working through him (in signs and wonders) as proof that what he taught was true.  We can learn through his example that to fully preach the gospel as he did, we have to allow God full access to work in us. We must be full of the Holy Spirit and not full of ourselves to fully reach others.

And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; but as it is written,
“THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL SEE,
AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND.”

For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while—but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

v. 20-33 (NASB)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You give us everything we need to do everything You call us to do. We humble ourselves before You, and ask You to completely immerse us in Your Holy Spirit. Let Your glory work and reign through us, so the power of Your Holy Spirit can be clearly seen in us as a testimony to others.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 16.  Have a blessed week being filled with the Holy Spirit!


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 14”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with Romans 14. Paul begins encouraging the Gentiles not to judge their Jewish brothers who were weak in faith and still kept the Jewish laws regarding eating certain foods and observing special days.

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

v. 1-4 (NASB)

It’s like when a new believer comes to know Christ, they don’t instantly change all their old ways. Romans 1:17 says, For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (KJV).” We grow in Christ as our faith grows in Him.

Paul continues to explain:

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

For it is written,
“AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME,
AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”

So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

v. 5-12 (NASB)

We may not think this applies to us because Paul is talking about the Jewish law and traditions, but I believe the overall message is still the same today. We aren’t to despise our brothers and sisters who are weaker or stronger in faith by judging them based on what they do or do not do. For example, God reminded me recently not to critically judge when I pointed out to my husband how inappropriate a Christian woman on television dressed. God humbled me when my husband replied, “She dresses how you used to dress.” The longer I’ve been walking with Christ, the more I tend to forget how I used to be and how much God has changed me. When I was weaker in faith, I didn’t need someone criticizing me and looking down on me because of the way I dressed. I needed to know who I was in Christ. I needed to know I was righteous in Him. As I learned who I was in Christ, my faith grew and my actions began to change because of His Holy Spirit working in me, not because of someone criticizing me.

Paul continues to explain that when we critically judge one another we put a stumbling block in their way and actually make it harder for them to grow.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

v. 13-23 (NASB)

We are to pursue the things which make for peace and help each other grow in the Lord, not seek to tear one another down and hinder each other from growing in Him.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for transforming us from glory to glory, from faith to faith. Let us pursue righteousness, peace and joy in Your Holy Spirit, and seek to build our brothers and sisters up instead of tearing them down and hindering them from being transformed into Your image. This coming New Year, may we all experience the liberty that Jesus’ died to give us.

In His precious name we pray, Amen!

but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NASB)

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 15.  Have a blessed New Year being transformed into the image of Christ!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 13”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with Romans 13. Paul begins instructing us to submit to authorities by doing what is right.

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

v. 1-7 (NASB)

Submitting to governing authorities does not mean we are to obey their commands over God’s. As a wife, I am instructed to submit to my husband, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). If my husband tells me to do something in opposition to God’s will, I am to obey God over him. I submit not doing something ungodly to my husband in return, like cursing him. If those governing us are ungodly we learned last week in Romans 12 how to reply in love. We bless (speak well of) them and allow God to be our vindicator.

Next, Paul instructs us to love one another. As we see below, love does no harm.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

v. 8-10 (NASB)

We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to think of what we do to others as we are doing it to ourselves. When we hurt others we are hurting ourselves.

At the end of the chapter, Paul reminds us of Christ’s return and instructs us to lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

v. 11-14 (NASB)

“Put on” means that we have to take action and arm ourselves with the armor He’s given us. Colossians 3:12-13 says, So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” God has given us everything we need to walk in love, because He has given us His perfect love, which never fails. As we celebrate Christmas this week, we not only celebrate the birth of our Savior, but God’s great and infinite love for us.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your unconditional love for us. Fill us with the knowledge of Your love so that we can put on love and do what is right. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to reveal Your love to us. This Christmas, reveal that love to those who don’t know Jesus. It is not Your will for any to perish, and be apart from You, but for all to come to repentance and receive Your love through Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9).

In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen!

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

Matthew 24:42-44 (NASB)

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 14.  Have a blessed Christmas celebrating God’s love in Jesus!


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 12”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with Romans 12. In the first 11 chapters of Romans, Paul talked about salvation and being reconciled to God through faith in Christ, not by works of the law. In Romans 12, Paul instructs all who put their faith in Christ to live a life surrendered to Christ.

Paul begins exhorting us to:

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

v. 1 (NASB)

We have been bought at a price. We are not our own. We are God’s. We worship and honor Him by committing all that we have to Him.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

1 Corinthians 7:22-23 (NASB)

Paul continues instructing us to:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

v. 2 (NASB)

I often pray and ask God to show me His will for me. I always think that I have to be doing something that has an eternal impact on someone else’s life in order to be doing His will.  But God repeatedly reminds me that His will is to transform me into His holiness. I often forget that He has to work in me in order to work through me.

As we conform to God’s will, instead of the world’s, He can work through us to minister to others. When we use the gifts God’s given us to minister to others, Paul explains that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Our gifts differ from one another. But all gifts are equally important because they have been given to us by God to accomplish His purposes.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

v. 3-8 (NASB)

In the rest of the chapter, verses 9-21, Paul instructs us how to faithfully serve God. I found it helpful to break down these instructions and study them one verse at a time.

Paul instructs us:

  • Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. v. 9

First Timothy 1:5 says that our purpose is to love. And love (God’s love) springs from a pure heart, a clear conscience and sincere (non-hypocritical) faith. Our actions show our faith. If our faith is in God, we will hate evil and turn from it, and we will love Christ and cling to what is good. If we still love and cling to the things of the world, we are not fully trusting and putting our faith in Christ.

  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; v.10

We should show special affection and honor to our brothers and sisters in Christ because they have been adopted into the same family of God as we have been.

  • not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; v.11

The original Greek word translated here as “serving” is douleuó, which means: “slave” to the Lord. We must not look at the word “slave” in the Bible as we know it today. The world dictionary defines slave as a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.” God’s definition is not the same. God did not purchase us back to force us to obey Him. He rescued us because He loves us. Even though we are His, He hasn’t taken away our free will. We still have a choice to serve Him. My husband prayed recently, “God, take my free will. I just want Your will.” God’s great love for us makes us willingly surrender all that we have to Him. Knowledge of His love keeps that fire burning in our spirit and helps us diligently serve Him. 

  • rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, v. 12

Nehemiah said, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Staying connected to God, looking to Him with great expectation, knowing that He causes all things to work together for our good, gives us joy and strength to persevere in hardships.

  • contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. v. 13

I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 8, where the Macedonian churches gave generously to the needs of the Lord’s people. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.” Notice that they gave themselves FIRST to the Lord, and then God moved in them to give themselves to Paul and his fellow laborers.

  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. v.14

“Bless” here means to speak well of. The Bible says, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech” (1 Peter 3:10, NIV). Jesus instructed us to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44, KJV).  Jesus blessed His enemies as He asked God to forgive those who were crucifying Him (Luke 23:34). Stephen blessed his enemies as he cried out to God while being stoned: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:59-60). David blessed his enemy, Saul, by refusing to lay a hand on him (1 Samuel 24:6-7). Paul blessed all who deserted him at his first trial. When no one stood by him, He prayed, “May it not be held against them” (2 Timothy 4:16). We bless those who come against us because Jesus said, “they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

  •  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. v. 15

Thinking of others, and putting ourselves in their shoes, will help us relate to what they are going through so we can sincerely weep with them in their trials and rejoice with them in their blessings.

  • Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. v. 16

First Corinthians 4:7 says, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” We are all the same in God’s eyes. None of us is greater or less than anyone else. We are unwise to compare ourselves to others and use ourselves as the standard of measurement (2 Corinthians 10:12).

  • Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. v. 17

We are instructed in 1 Peter 3:9 not to repay evil with evil or insult with insult. We are instructed, on the contrary, to repay evil with blessing so that we may inherit a blessing.

  • If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. v. 18

We can do our best to live at peace with others by trusting God to care of the wrongs done to us. We need to remember that our struggles are not against people (Ephesians 6:12). It helps me keep peace by remembering that Satan uses other people’s weaknesses to attack my weaknesses. If we know Satan uses others to provoke us, it will help us not retaliate when they treat us wrong.

  • Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. v. 19

Don’t step in front of God and tell Him “I got this. I can handle it on my own.” Let God be your vindicator. He will repay.

  • But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” v. 20

We had a neighbor once that treated us poorly. No matter what she did to us, my husband and I refused to treat her poorly in return. Instead, we blessed her by helping her with things she needed done. By doing so, it convicted her and eventually changed her heart toward us.

  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. v. 21

There may be a lot of evil in this world, but we can overcome it with good, because He who is in us is so much greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for these powerful truths in Your Word to encourage and help us live a life surrendered to You. Help us apply these truths every day with the help of Your Holy Spirit in us.  Help us not to be wise in our eyes, but to fear You and depart from evil. For it shall be health to our body and nourishment to our bones (Proverbs 3:7-8).

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 12? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 13.  Have a blessed week faithfully serving the Lord!

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 11”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with Romans 11. Last week, at the end of Romans 10, Paul quoted where God said that He was found by those who did not seek Him, and He revealed Himself to those who did not ask for Him. And as for Israel God said, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Romans 10:21, NASB).

Paul begins Romans 11 explaining that God has not rejected His people. There was a remnant chosen, not by works, but by His grace.

I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

v. 1-6 (NASB)

For the rest of Israel, who did not believe, they were hardened for a time so they could not see or hear the truth.

just as it is written,

God gave them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
Down to this very day.”

And David says,

Let their table become a snare and a trap,
And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.
Let their eyes be darkened to see not,
And bend their backs forever.”

v. 8-10 (NASB)

But God did not leave them to fall beyond recovery. He had a plan to use their disobedience to save the rest of the world. By bringing salvation to the Gentiles, God’s mercy was shown to all, so if Israel would not continue in their unbelief, they too would be shown mercy and receive salvation.

I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

v. 11-24 (NASB)

Because of their disobedience, Israel was hardened and cut off for a time so the world could be reconciled to God through Christ. I love how Paul stated above that if they do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. God is so patient and merciful toward us!

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimationthat a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,

The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
“This is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.  For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen

v. 25-36 (NASB)

Just as we were once disobedient to God, we have been shown mercy because of their disobedience. And because of the mercy shown to us for our disobedience, they may be shown mercy for their disobedience. Praise God for great His mercy and kindness toward all who believe Him!

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You haven’t given up on Your people. And You will not give up on us. You are faithful to Your promises. Thank You for bringing salvation to world through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your mercy and kindness to all who believe. Help us to continue in Your kindness, keeping our faith in You, so we will not be cut off from You.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 11? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 12. Have a blessed week receiving God’s mercy and kindness!


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 10”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon this week with Romans 10. In Romans 9, Paul talked about how Israel tried to pursue righteousness through works, instead of by faith. Paul expressed his love for them by saying he would give up his salvation if it would save them.

Paul starts Romans 10 off by expressing:

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

v. 1-4 (NASB)

They had a zeal for God, but because they lacked knowledge of Him they sought to establish their own righteousness through man made ideas and rules.

‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

Matthew 15:8-9 (NLT)

Paul explains in the next verses of Romans 10 the only way to know God and be righteous before Him:

The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

v. 8-13 (NASB)

Believing Jesus is the only way to know God, be righteous, and live eternally with Him. As the familiar saying goes, “Know Jesus, Know God; No Jesus, No God.”  In the verse above, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the Word (God’s testimony) as John1:1-14 explains:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-14 (NIV)

Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (KJV). Jesus is the lamp that lights up the path to God. He is the revelation of God (the Word of God). He is God’s testimony of who He is and what His will is.

Jesus said,

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.

You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

John 5:31-40 (NIV)

Scripture can’t save us. But Scripture testifies to the One who can save us. The Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV). God spoke through those He sent to write the Scriptures to testify about Jesus before He sent Him. Though Israel diligently studied the Scriptures, they all did not receive the testimony of Jesus. They denied the gift of eternal life that they so diligently sought to receive.

Paul explains,

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;

Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”

But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation,
By a nation without understanding will I anger you.”

And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I
became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Romans 10:14-21 (NASB)

People can’t believe if they haven’t heard the truth about Jesus. They can’t hear unless God has sent someone to tell them the truth. And even then, as Paul explained about Israel, though they hear they may not believe. When we are sent to share the truth about Jesus, we pray God shines His light and opens their heart to receive the truth, but we must not lose heart and give up if  they do not believe.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us knowledge of You and Your will through Your Son, Jesus Christ. We receive His testimony, which is Your Testimony. We receive all that You have given us through Him. Send us out to share His testimony with the world. Help us not lose heart when people do not receive Jesus’ testimony. Give us strength to press on and continue fearlessly sharing Your truth, and allow Your light shine to brightly in us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:1-4 (NIV)

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 10? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 11. Have a blessed week sharing God’s testimony in Jesus wherever He sends you!


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 9”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. This week, we are reading and studying Romans 9.

Paul opens the chapter by expressing his sincere love and concern for his people, Israel, because they did not believe Jesus.

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

v. 1-5 (NASB)

That’s a powerful statement Paul made. He truly had the love of Christ in him to say he’d take Israel’s place and be cut off from Christ if it would save them. That’s humbling to me. I have to look at my own heart. Is my heart really filled with the love of Christ that I would desire to give up my salvation to save others?

So how do we sincerely love like Christ? What hinders our hearts from being filled with the fullness of His love?  First Timothy 1:5 provides us with the answer:

“Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love (agape), which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith.”

(AMP, emphasis mine)

We are called to agape love. Agape love is God’s unconditional love. Romans 5:5 says that the love(agape) of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. That agape love that God has poured into our hearts can only spring out from us when our hearts are pure, our consciences are clear, and our faith is in Him.

We are often misled to believe that to love  is to do good deeds. But Paul said, If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3). True agape love only comes through faith, completely believing and surrendering to God and His Word. Faith must come first. Faith will then lead us to action and produce the good works (James 2:18). When our complete faith is in Christ, He purifies our hearts and cleanses our consciences so that His love can flow freely through us.

…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 9:14 (NASB)

In the rest of chapter 9, Paul explains how Israel tried to pursue righteousness through works, instead of by faith.

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

v. 30-33 (NASB)

They were God’s chosen people, yet they rejected the One God sent to save them, Jesus. Paul expresses,  “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants” (v. 6-8, NASB).

The promise He made to Abraham and his descendants were not made to his physical descendants, but to his spiritual seed, those who would put their faith in Christ. It all comes down to faith. It doesn’t matter who we are, or what we do, if our faith is not in Him we cannot be filled with His love.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your agape love displayed through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Fill our hearts with Christ’s love. Cleanse our hearts of any unbelief and help us completely surrender our hearts to You. Purify our hearts from evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, for these are the things which defile us (Matthew 15:19-20, KJV). Remove everything that is hindering Your love from springing out from our hearts.   

In Jesus’ faithful name, we pray. Amen!

 

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:9-12 (NIV)

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 9? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 10. Have a blessed week allowing God to purify your heart!


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 8”

I am sorry this message is a little late. I have my house up for sale and we had an increase in showings last week. I wasn’t able to be at home much. When I was at home, I was busy keeping it clean for the showings. After an exhausting weekend focusing on my house, God led me last night to 2 Peter 3, humbly reminding me to set my mind on things above.

2 Peter 3:10-12 says:

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”

My house is temporary. Everything in this world is temporary. It’s easy to get caught up in the things of this world and take our minds off God’s Spirit. In our study of Romans 8 this week, Paul begins the chapter talking about how those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit (v. 5).

Those who are not in Christ do not have the Holy Spirit, so they cannot set their minds on things above and please God.

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

v. 6-8

Those who are in Christ have the spirit of God dwelling in them, working in them to know Him and live a life pleasing to Him.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

v. 9-11

Since the Spirit of God is in us, we have an obligation to set our minds on following His Spirit instead of our flesh.

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

v. 12-13

Last week, in Romans 7, Paul talked about how our flesh leads us in opposition to the Spirit. When we follow the Holy Spirit our flesh will inevitably suffer.

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

v16-18

God wants to set us free from everything that keeps us in bondage to sin. As He sets us free, He can glorify Himself through us to reach and set others free.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

v. 19-21, 29-30

At the end of the chapter, Paul explains how the Holy Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses as He intercedes for us along with Jesus in accordance with God’s will.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

v. 26-27, 33-34

If God is on our side, and we have His Holy Spirit living in us and interceding along with Jesus for us, what can possibly defeat us in this world?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

v. 31-33

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your unconditional love for us.  We praise You for always knowing how to get our attention and turn our hearts in the right direction. Help us to keep our minds set above, and follow and yield to Your Holy Spirit. Let Your glory be seen in us so the world can know You and the freedom You have given us in Christ Jesus.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 9.


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