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: Thanksgiving (Paul series continues next week)

Since Thanksgiving is this week in the U.S., I want to share a message I’ve posted in the past on Thanksgiving as a reminder to keep our hearts filled with praise for all that God has done for us. I’ll continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon next Monday with Romans 10.

 

Thanksgiving – The Reason Behind Praise

 

I pulled out a journal I started in 2002. As I was flipping through it, I noticed every page was about some trial I was going through at the time. Remembering some of the trials brought me to tears. I wanted to go back and say to myself, “Look ahead! Stop worrying! It works out on the next page. God got me through it!”

If we could write down our problems today, and then flip the page and write down, “It all worked out! God got me through it!” how much more would we find ourselves praising God instead of worrying!

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

I used to wonder why God instructed us to praise Him. I remember thinking, “Does God say that because He needs our praises?” But I knew in my heart that wasn’t the reason. I knew it had to be for our benefit.

God eventually revealed to me why He desires our praises. About seven years ago, I created an online praise report group where people could come and share what God was doing in their lives. When I wasn’t seeing God work in my life, it often encouraged me to see Him work in the lives of others. I knew God was not partial to anyone, so it helped me keep the faith, believing He would work in my life too. So I wanted to create the praise report group to bring encouragement to others.

The group started out well, but then slowly went down to me being the only one posting praises. During that time of praise, I noticed a significant difference in my life. Another woman who shared her praises at that time expressed the same thing. We felt more joyful when we lifted our hearts in praise because it brought us into His presence. His presence fills our hearts with joy.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:11

We often wait to praise God until something good happens in our lives, when we should be praising Him before it happens. Praise keeps us looking expectantly to God instead of focusing on our problems.

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2

I believe praise shows God that we trust Him. When we trust Him, we won’t be stressed out trying to solve our problems on our own. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

We tend to share our prayer requests with God more often than our praises to Him. In Matthew 6:9-10, Jesus instructed us how we should pray, beginning with, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

We are also instructed in Psalm 100:4 to: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.

Our prayers seem to mostly be, “Father, help ME … give ME … provide for ME … what about ME ….” I had a revelation of this at a church play one year. In one scene, all the individuals on the stage were crying out to God at the same time, each separately sharing their own troubles. Being in the front row, after about a minute of listening to their moans, it started to get overwhelming and I thought, “My gosh! Is that how we sound to you, Lord?”

If I had created a prayer request group, I don’t think it would have ended like my praise report group did. It’s a lot easier to focus on all the things we need than to focus on what we are thankful for.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we are often reminded to think about what we are thankful for. What if we challenge ourselves to remember to be thankful the other 364 days in a year? I believe we would see our lives dramatically change for the better. We would be content and enjoy our lives, instead of being depressed and worried all the time.

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus told us not to worry about our lives. He said to, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and ALL these things will be given to you as well.”

If we spent our days praising God and seeking Him we would find our needs being met. When I am filled with praise and enjoying God, my faith grows and I start trusting Him to provide for my needs. Praise strengthens our faith, which opens the door in our hearts to receive what Jesus died to give us.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 1:20

Everything God has promised in His Word has been given to us through Christ. So when a situation comes up, we should praise God that He has already provided the solution through Jesus.

The solution may not always be what we think it should be, but it will be what we need. In my journal, all my trials didn’t necessarily work out on the next page the way I wanted them to. They did, however, work out for my benefit. I may not have seen the good right away, but looking back now I can see how God used those trials to teach and equip me for the future.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I want to challenge you today to “Flip the page!” Fill your heart and mouth with praise that God has already provided the solution to EVERY  situation you will ever face. Thank Him every day. Be filled with praise. And watch and see your life change as God works everything out for your benefit!

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You work our trials out for our good. We praise You that You provide for all our needs.  You never leave us in lack. Help us to remember this as we praise You 365 days a year. You are more than worthy of our praises.

We praise You in Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

Have a blessed week praising God for all He’s done for you!

 

 *This post was also featured in Deborah Bateman’s newest book “Give Thanks.

 

 

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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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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 7”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. In Romans 6 last week, Paul instructed us to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. In Romans 7, Paul continues to explain how we are released from the law and bound to Christ:

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

v. 4-6 (NASB)

Paul explains that even though the law aroused sin in us, the law was not bad. It was given for our good.

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

v. 7-12 (NASB)

As Paul explains above, if apart from the law sin is dead, why did God make the law? If we were once alive apart from it, why did we ever need it?

Paul explains the answer in the following verse:

Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

v. 13 (NASB)

I believe the purpose of the law was to show us our need for God. The purpose was to reveal how evil sin is so we would choose to follow God to life instead of the devil to death. Before I knew Christ I didn’t see a need for God. I didn’t see or understand the effects of sin. I didn’t know I had an enemy who was deceiving me trying to lead me to his fate. Once God got hold of my heart, and I started reading His Word, my spiritual eyes opened to see sin for what it is. Gaining knowledge of sin drew me closer to God. The knowledge of sin changed my desires to detest evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).

If we detest sin, and no longer desire it, why do we still sin?

Paul ends the chapter explaining why we sin even though we no longer desire it:

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

v. 14-25 (NASB)

Paul understood his deep need for Christ. He knew that nothing good was in him. His sinful flesh was a reminder of how helpless he’d be without Christ. Instead of allowing his flesh to have dominion over him, and being depressed by his sin, he rejoiced that Christ set him free.

As Paul explained above, the battle is against our minds. The Bible says to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV).

We can’t turn from sin by just setting our minds not to sin. Believe me I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work. We turn from sin, and win the battle Satan wages against our minds, by rejoicing that Christ has set us free from sin. I didn’t understand this when I first started following Christ. I wanted to change and not have sin rule over me, but the more I tried to do good, the worse I became. As I was sitting in a parking lot one day, worn down and depressed that I was not changing, I cried out to God for revelation. A minister was on the radio that moment explaining how we can’t change ourselves. God showed me that instead of putting my faith in Him, and relying on His Spirit to change me, I was relying on my flesh to change me, which was impossible.

You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.

Galatians 5:4-5 (NIV)

The law shows us how sinful our flesh is, so we can turn to His Spirit to free us from our flesh and transform us. The devil attacks our minds to keep us depressed in our sin and take our attention away from God and the work He wants to do through His Spirit in us. We must remember this whenever we are reminded of our sinful flesh. We can take those depressing thoughts captive and rejoice that He who the Son has set free is free indeed (John 8:36).

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for making a law and revealing how evil sin is so we would see our deep need for You. Fill us with joy in Your Holy Spirit that we have been set free. Sin no longer has a hold over us. When the devil reminds us of our sin, remind us to take captive those thoughts and rejoice that Your Spirit is doing a wonderful work in us. We rejoice in Christ that we are truly free.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 7? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we study Romans 8. Have a blessed week rejoicing that you are free in Christ!

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 6”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. Last week, in Romans 5 we learned the benefits of being justified by faith. Two of the benefits Paul talked about were grace and righteousness.

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ

Romans 5:17 (NASB)

In Romans 6, Paul talks about how God’s grace and gift of righteousness are not licenses to continue in sin.

In the first half of the chapter, he shares why as he explains how we are dead to sin:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

 v. 1-2 (NASB)

I like how the Amplified version explains what it means to be dead to sin:

Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.

For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].

We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.

For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him.

For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].

Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.

v. 3-12 (AMP)

When you die, sin no longer has control over you. Paul is telling us that since we have died with Christ, we have been freed from sin, so we should no longer submit ourselves to its control.

Even though we know that we have died with Christ, do you often feel like sin does have power of us? How do we break free from its control?

Paul instructed us to consider ourselves dead to sin. But we can’t forget that he also instructed us to consider ourselves alive to God. In the second half of Romans 6, he explains what it means to be alive to God:

and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

v. 13-17 (NASB)

To be alive to God is to be living in unbroken fellowship with Him. When we died, our relationship to sin was ended. But when we were made alive, our relationship to God was restored. Paul instructs us not to submit ourselves to sin’s control by presenting ourselves as slaves to it once again. Instead, we are now to submit ourselves to God’s control and present ourselves as slaves to righteousness.

Do you notice how easily you fall when you neglect your relationship with God? When sin has control over us, we have broken fellowship with God and returned to being a slave to sin. To break free from sin’s control, we simply return to God and restore fellowship with Him. Since our relationship with Him has been permanently restored, we can approach Him with confidence that He will give us the grace we need to help us turn away from sin.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV)

To summarize Romans 6, we have died with Christ and been set free from sin.  We have been raised with Christ and made alive to God. To no longer submit ourselves as slaves to sin, we must submit ourselves to God as slaves to righteousness.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

John 8:36 (KJV)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You have set us free from sin and broken our relationship to it. It no longer has power over us. We praise You for making us alive in Christ, and restoring our relationship with You, just as You intended from the beginning. Help us to keep our fellowship with You and submit to You, so You can fill us with Your righteousness.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 6? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we study Romans 7. Use the share tabs below to invite others to join us in this study of Romans to Philemon. You can also subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. Have a blessed week in fellowship with our amazing God!

 

 

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