The Epistle To The Romans COVER
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The

Epistle

To The

ROMANS

A Bible Study And Commentary



By
Anthony Livingstone




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Copyright

This work is copyright © Anthony Livingstone (2019). All rights reserved.

You are free to download copies of this ebook file and share them with friends in their unaltered state.

Scripture quotations marked (KJV) are in the public domain.

Scripture quotations marked (NKJV) are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) are taken from the Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (AMPC) are taken from the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation




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Romans Chapter 1

The first three verses introduce straight away what the entire book of Romans is going to be about; it is going to describe the gospel of God, also known as the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

5Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
- Romans 1:1-‬6 NKJV

Paul was set apart by God for the work of writing and teaching this gospel that had long ago been promised through the prophets.

It is about the pedigree of Jesus Christ both as a son of man, and then as the son of God.

Christ was declared the son of God by the Holy Spirit who raised him from the dead and it is through him (Christ) that Paul and the other apostles by grace received their commission as apostles with a mandate to disciple the nations to the obedience of the Faith.

This gospel therefore became a gospel to the whole world and was no longer the exclusive preserve of the Jews.

They were to disciple NATIONS, not just the Jewish people.

It was not to be a religion like the Jewish religion of Judaism, hence it is described as the Faith and its adherents are to be people who are in obedience to its tenets.

The Faith therefore is descriptive of a set of teachings taught to the nations which if they were obeyed from the heart, would result in life transforming realities.

It is this body of teachings - the things that its adherents BELIEVE in, that we call the doctrines of Christ.

Their belief in the value and efficacy of the teachings as a whole is what is then described as the Faith.

Paul then finishes his introduction by mentioning the group of people he is writing to specifically; they are not just anyone curious to hear or know what is going on, this particular group are already aware of the fact that they have been set apart to live a holy or sanctified life.

They are clearly no strangers to the doctrines of Christ especially with regards to the doctrine of sanctification.

Paul must have met with them previously both at the conversion of many of them and possibly afterwards, so that this epistle was meant to follow up on teachings they had previously received from him.

We must remember that Paul was the apostle to the Gentile nations.

7[I am writing] to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called to be saints (God’s people) and SET APART for a SANCTIFIED life, [that is, set apart for God and His purpose]: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Romans 1:7 AMP

Having finished with his introduction, Paul launches into the reasons for his epistle or letter.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith [your trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] is being proclaimed in all the world.

You see, even though they were relatively new believers their Faith (that is; their obedience to the body of teachings they had BELIEVED into) was already renowned the world over.

So that we truly understand the import of Paul's words, here is the KJV translation:

8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is SPOKEN OF throughout the whole world.
- Romans 1:8 NKJV

How was it possible for their Faith to have been known in this manner to the Christian Community at large?

The believers lived in communities, that is; they lived among each other as one large family and no one lacked anything among them.

They shared and cared for each other and this is the foundation of all true fellowship - you cannot be FELLOWS or equals with others except you are on the same level.

This presupposes that there is a sharing of the Word, spiritual gifts, services, helps and where possible, the sharing of things, exhorting and encouraging one another.

In modern parlance we would probably describe these activities as being THE MAKING OF THE BODY, for indeed unless these things become reality in our midst we cannot very well describe ourselves as The Body of Christ!

Faith such as that can hardly go unnoticed!

When a body of people come together conscious of the fact that they have been separated from the world unto God, the knowledge bonds them together spiritually so that they tend to do things in common because they are of ONE mind in all they do, seeing as how their activities and daily routines cannot be separated from their spiritual lives.

This bonding together serves to REINFORCE each other's Faith.

12That is, that we may be MUTUALLY encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
- Romans 1:12 AMP

In an age like ours where technology and far larger populations than what existed in biblical days beggar belief, we must find other ways of expressing the life of the Body so that though we may not be physically present to share and care, we can use the technology at our disposal to communicate and interact with one another.

In verse 16, Paul finally starts on the core of his teaching:

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
- Romans 1:16‭-‬17 NKJV

We must not be too hasty to gloss over those two verses, for if we have a deep understanding of them then the rest of this epistle will be opened up to us by the Spirit.

Firstly, the gospel is intended to be a tool of power not just a body of beliefs.

This tool of power is designed to SAVE. In the general context of salvation all over the New Testament, this refers to the continuous process of transformation we are undergoing that will ultimately fit us to receive the last instalment of salvation - the glorified body of which Paul speaks in the first epistle to the Corinthians.

Many believe that verse 16 above refers to salvation from God's wrath, and that is very true but it is not the full scope of our salvation and until we compare scripture with scripture, we may not grasp the full meaning and import of our salvation.

Verse 17 reveals that inherent in the gospel is a revelation of the righteousness of God and it is proportional to our level of faith (or obedience to the teachings to which we are committed to); it is FROM FAITH TO FAITH, and it explains the Old Testament scripture that the just shall live by his faith (or obedience).

The righteousness of God is from one level of faith (obedience) to the next.

In other words, righteousness is a path that further reveals itself to us as our obedience to the faith deepens.

This is how we are led by the Spirit of God; by our walk of obedience along the path of righteousness.

As the bible says:

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the PATHS of the righteous.
- Proverbs 2:20

But the PATH of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
- Proverbs 4:18

In the WAY of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
- Proverbs 12:28

The WAY of the just is UPRIGHTNESS: ( that is; righteousness) thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
- Isaiah 26:7

So Paul continues with his theme of righteousness in verse 18.

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

19This particular verse is directed at all men in general as the next verse will show. The wrath of God will come upon all who practise every form of ungodliness and unrighteousness, but he doesn't stop there; Paul then directs his attention to those who know the truth about righteousness but suppress it anyway!

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
- Romans 1:18‭-‬20 NKJV

But there is no hiding place for anyone because God has revealed both his presence and his power to all men through the works of his hands so that not even the unregenerate are excused:

20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
- Romans 1:20 NKJV

So even though mankind know that there is a God behind the creation of Nature and its myriads of living creatures and things, they still refused to acknowledge him as the Creator of all life and give him his due honour.

But there are consequences for all who choose to ignore the God of all creation:

21Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

23And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
- Romans 1:21‭,23 NKJV

Instead of seeking to obey the God behind all life, they created gods that would pander to their own lusts as an excuse not to seek a righteous God.

They suppressed the truth about righteousness so that conscience would be salved and no longer bother them.

22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

So the wrath of God that was revealed from heaven came upon them.

24Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
- Romans 1:22‭-‬25 NKJV

Since they chose to OBEY the gods of their lusts, therefore God gave them up to the path of obedience they had chosen.

26For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.

27Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
- Romans 1:26‭-‬27 NKJV

A dark corruption took possession of them and made them begin to lust for, and enjoy perverse things.

We can immediately see demonic connotations in this because the very relationships God created to be enjoyed are now being destroyed and perverted all over the world - homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality and so forth are now rampant all over the world far more than in any age of history - it is the wrath of a God who has given mankind up to its vile passions.

28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness;

The root of mankind's problems is in the fact that they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.

That is; even though they were AWARE of God, they were not interested in KNOWING God.

They do not understand that the knowledge of God is God's way of preserving man from corruption of spirit, soul and body.

So in addition to perversity, they lost soundness of mind and became shadows of the creation God once created.

They are whisperers, 30backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
- Romans 1:28‭-‬32 NKJV




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Romans Chapter 2

This chapter begins with a rebuke to those who judge. But the verse begins with the word THEREFORE, meaning that it is premised on a discourse or argument or statement that preceded the THEREFORE.

Nobody uses THEREFORE to start a sentence because it is an adverb that means 'for that reason'; or 'consequently'.

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
- Romans 2:1

So we must look to the preceding chapter to find out what the THEREFORE is THERE FOR.

In the last verse of chapter one, we find Paul writing about a set of people who take pleasure in unrighteousness and make friends with those who equally enjoy unrighteousness.

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
- Romans 1:32

The things they do are listed from verses 28 to 32.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
- Romans 1:28

There is a certain relationship here between retaining God in our knowledge or consciousness or mind; and God giving people over to a reprobate or worthless mind.

The unwillingness or reluctance to REMEMBER God with reference to our desire for his approval is the grounds on which God also reluctantly has to wash his hands off such people, for he will not force himself on anyone.

The effects or characteristics of a reprobate mind - one that God has given up on - are as follows:

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
- Romans 1:29

In the above verse it starts with what can now fill their minds unrestrainedly, for it was God preventing those things peradventure such people might repent.

But then it progresses or degenerates from what their minds are filled with, to what they gradually become!

They BECOME -

Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
- Romans 1:30

Finally, they lose all morality and natural human affections for anyone but themselves. They are merciless, unforgiving and ultimately become haters of God.

Clearly the aspect of demonic possession cannot be ruled out in all of this, for this is the ultimate degeneration of Man's tripartite being as a result of a total rejection of God.

Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
- Romans 1:31

The picture painted here is one of absolute rebellion against God. In fact in verse 30, Paul refers to them as HATERS OF GOD.

Verse 32 states that even though they already know the judgment of God concerning the unrighteous things they do; they not only continue to take pleasure in them, but they also take pleasure in those that do the very same things.

There is a fellowship of unrighteousness among these people who clearly defend themselves by seeking others with like minds.

Paul therefore holds up this group of people as an example of what we believers should not be.

He says we condemn them for being haters of God, fornicators, covenant breakers and so forth but then turns around to point the finger at believers who criticise such people and yet are as much fornicators and backbiters and haters of God as they are!

But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
- Romans 2:2

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
- Romans 2:3

What Paul is addressing here is hypocrisy both among the Christian Jews and Gentiles, he is not talking about NOT exposing the works of darkness.

He qualifies the people to whom this rebuke goes out to in verse 3 - O MAN THAT JUDGES THOSE WHO DO THESE THINGS AND DO THE SAME!

There is a very real danger of believers putting on a 'holier than thou' attitude when they hear of such unfortunate people and yet secretly they practice in some small measure the very things that condemned these people.

After having addressed the Roman Christians, he addresses the Christian Jews on this very same matter.

Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
- Romans 2:17

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
- Romans 2:21

Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
- Romans 2:22

Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
- Romans 2:23

For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
- Romans 2:24

We dare not judge or criticize others when our own lives are not scrupulously clean either -I would rather remain silent than lend my voice to the criticism of others in the name of zealously exposing the works of darkness.

As Christ taught - I should first take out the speck in my eye and then I will see clearly enough to take out the log in someone else's eye.

Paul does not condemn the exposure of the works of unrighteousness; he is rebuking hypocrites in the Body of Christ among both the Christian Jews and Roman Christians who pretend to be righteous but secretly practice the very same things they condemn in other people.

The whole of chapter two is a call to repentance from hypocrisy and a definite assurance that God is no respecter of persons, and will reward people for exactly who they are.

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
- Romans 2:4

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
- Romans 2:5

Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
- Romans 2:6

We need to understand the difference between God's wrath and God's judgement.

As we read in chapter one, God's wrath has ALREADY been revealed from heaven against those who practise ungodliness and unrighteousness.

The natural consequences of their actions show that it is the result of God's wrath.

Let's revisit chapter 1:27-28 again:

And in the same way also the men turned away from the natural function of the woman and were consumed with their desire toward one another, men with men committing shameful acts and in return receiving in their own bodies the inevitable and appropriate PENALTY for their wrongdoing.

The word PENALTY means punishment. The punishment for their unwillingness to retain God in their knowledge was the perversion of their natural desires (you remember how Nebuchadnezzar was turned into a beast as punishment for exalting himself above God?).

Well they did the same thing except in an inverse way. Instead of exalting themselves above God, they exalted created things above him.

22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.
- Romans 1:22‭-‬23 AMP

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive,
- Romans 1:‬28 AMP

God's judgment is coming to all men in the future, but his wrath is already revealed from heaven.

We must understand that the natural consequences of a sinful life represent God's wrath, just as much as his righteous judgment which all of us must someday be judged by.

Paul explains that God's reward system is based on the works of the conscience, not the appearance of good or evil which is only what men can see.

By rewarding men according to their deeds, he is in fact rewarding them according to their actions and choices and decisions based on their obedience or disobedience to their conscience.

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
- Romans 2:14

Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
- Romans 2:15

Unbelievers who have never even heard of Christ - they do not know the Law or the word of God; yet the law is already ingrained in their nature and while their conscience testifies to it, their thoughts justify whether or not to follow the law already written in their conscience!

The book of Hebrews reveals a promise of God to put his laws

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
- Hebrews 10:16

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
- Hebrews 10:17

No man has any excuse for not knowing God as we saw in our study on chapter one, because not only is he known through the works of his hands (creation); but now in chapter 2:15 we see that his law is written in the hearts of even unbelievers.

Paul's theme in this chapter is therefore about how man should live according to the dictates of his conscience rather than his feelings, pleasures or even his thoughts, because God will reward everyone according to his deeds, knowing that those deeds are based on obedience or disobedience to the law of the conscience.

This is the law by which unbelievers who may not have heard about Christ will be judged by; because God's law is written in the hearts of ALL.

Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
- Romans 2:6

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
- Romans 2:7

But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
- Romans 2:8

Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
- Romans 2:9

But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
- Romans 2:10

Paul reasons with the Roman Christians about the significance of the conscience, saying that if unbelievers are able to obey righteousness through the law of God written in their conscience, will they not be counted as having been circumcised just like the Jews?

Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
- Romans 2:26

There were a lot of back and forth arguments put forth by spurious teachers in those days claiming that one was not born again unless one had also been circumcised and Paul had to debunk them once and for all, and so he ends chapter two by making it clear that true circumcision is no longer in the flesh but in the heart - the conscience.

A real Jew is one who has had his conscience circumcised - the fleshly nature has been dealt with; cut away, just like the foreskin of a man's genitals in the circumcision of the Jews.

We all will be judged by the law of conscience, not by the profession of our faith in Christ; for if truly we believe what we profess then the word in our hearts and conscience will be what we will follow and obey.

For He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
- Romans 2:28

But He is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
- Romans 2:29

Brethren, guard your conscience with all diligence for out of it flow the important choices and decisions of life!




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Romans Chapter 3

In this chapter, Paul addresses the Christian Jews living in Rome.

They seem to have had the notion that now that they are in Christ, being a Jew previously, amounted to nothing.

Paul then lays down for them the benefits of having been Jews; for now it is clear to them (the Jews), that in God's kingdom neither race nor nationality has a place, for ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

1THEN WHAT advantage remains to the Jew? [How is he favored?] Or what is the value or benefit of circumcision?

2Much in every way. To begin with, to the Jews were entrusted the oracles (the brief communications, the intentions, the utterances) of God. [Ps. 147:19.]

3What if some did not believe and were without faith? Does their lack of faith and their faithlessness nullify and make ineffective and void the faithfulness of God and His fidelity [to His Word]?
- Romans 3:1‭-‬3 AMPC

Lack of faith cannot render ineffective the commitment of God to his word.

You remember from chapter one how the gospel of God is his power unto salvation.

The word of God does not rely on our level of faith to work; all it requires is simple obedience.

Christ told his disciples that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed, it would still move mountains.

Paul in this chapter is showing the Christian Jews that by self righteousness - that is; by good works or one's own righteousness or moral code, no man can please the Lord.

The Jews were used to obeying a moral code (the Law of Moses), and assumed that if they obeyed it then they were righteous before God.

But they also knew the impossibility and futility of obeying every point of the Law and wondered why God would punish them for not obeying standards that no human could possibly adhere to.

4By no means! Let God be found true though every human being is false and a liar, as it is written, That You may be justified and shown to be upright in what You say, and prevail when You are judged [by sinful men]. [Ps. 51:4.]

5But if our unrighteousness thus establishes and exhibits the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unjust and wrong to inflict His wrath upon us [Jews]? I speak in a [purely] human way.
- Romans 3:4‭-‬5 AMPC

So they began to think adversely and started teaching heresy about how their unrighteousness simply proved how righteous God is; in other words, no one was to feel condemned by their inability to obey the Law, because its purpose was not to condemn but to magnify God's righteousness - how wrong they were!

7But [you say] if through my falsehood God's integrity is magnified and advertised and abounds to His glory, why am I still being judged as a sinner?

8And why should we not do evil that good may come?–as some slanderously charge us with teaching. Such [false teaching] is justly condemned by them.
- Romans 3:7‭-‬8 AMPC

At this point Paul points out to them that Jews are not the only ones powerless against sin even though they are God's people - everyone else is!

9Well then, are we [Jews] superior and better off than they? No, not at all. We have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), are under sin [held down by and subject to its power and control].

10As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one. [Ps. 14:3.]
- Romans 3:9‭-‬10 AMPC

Paul then lists the natural tendencies that are characteristic of ALL men regardless of nationality.

12All have turned aside; together they have gone wrong and have become unprofitable and worthless; no one does right, not even one!

13Their throat is a yawning grave; they use their tongues to deceive (to mislead and to deal treacherously).

The venom of asps is beneath their lips. [Ps. 5:9; 140:3.] 14Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. [Ps. 10:7.]

15Their feet are swift to shed blood. 16Destruction [as it dashes them to pieces] and misery mark their ways.

17And they have no experience of the way of peace [they know nothing about peace, for a peaceful way they do not even recognize]. [Isa. 59:7, 8.]

18There is no [reverential] fear of God before their eyes. [Ps. 36:1.]
- Romans 3:12‭-‬18 AMPC

At this point Paul reveals the true purpose of the Law:

20For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law.

For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character].
- Romans 3:20 AMPC

The Law was to prove to everyone that mankind's NATURAL moral code as good as it may be, was by far inadequate in meeting the standards of a holy God.

The Law was to put Man's moral code to the test and it was found wanting and therefore not suitable in bridging the gap between Man and God as a result of sin - something far more powerful than a mere moral code was needed.

21But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets, 22 Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

[And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.

24[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,
- Romans 3:21‭-‬24 AMPC

25Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith.

Christ - God's 'moral standard' can now be received by faith - faith not presumption, for remember in chapter one we are called to the OBEDIENCE OF THE FAITH.

Therefore this faith spoken of here is the receiving of Jesus Christ to the full intent of obedience to him - this is how to receive Christ by faith.

God did this to demonstrate his righteousness which was shown in his refusal to punish our former sins.

This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.

It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus.
- Romans 3:25‭-‬26 AMPC

So then, no one has any cause or occasion to boast about how 'holy' or righteous they are, knowing that God leveled the playing ground; not even his own people - the Jews were better or superior to other races - ALL were subject to the power and dominion of sin and not even the Law was able to deliver them!

Then what becomes of [our] pride and [our] boasting? It is excluded (banished, ruled out entirely). On what principle? [On the principle] of doing good deeds? No, but on the principle of faith.
- Romans 3:27 AMPC

Faith (obedience) is the level playing ground that now does away with all boasting and glorying in one's 'high' moral standard. After clearing the air on the matter of self righteousness, Paul states clearly the foundation of all belief in Christ - it has nothing to do with our pious works nor our obedience to the Law.

28For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent of and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.]

29Or is God merely [the God] of Jews? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
- Romans 3:28‭-‬29 AMPC

Since God is not the God of Jews alone but the God of all mankind, ONE common faith now unites ALL.

Since it is one and the same God Who will justify the circumcised by faith [which germinated from Abraham] and the uncircumcised through their [newly acquired] faith. [For it is the same trusting faith in both cases, a firmly relying faith in Jesus Christ].
- Romans 3:30 AMPC

Paul finishes this chapter by cautioning that the Law is not done away with in the light of the new Faith, it has simply been fulfilled - we should no longer observe its tenets but uphold its virtues!

Do we then by [this] faith make the Law of no effect, overthrow it or make it a dead letter? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law.
- Romans 3:31 AMPC




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Romans Chapter 4

Paul continues his case for faith and how it differs from works in that whereas works lays the ground for a person to pride one's self in his/her ability to be principled or moralistic, faith humbles itself knowing that true righteousness is unattainable by one's efforts.

This pride in man that tends to cause him to believe he is in some way better than others (forgetting that ALL men are sinners before God), is what Paul refers to as boasting.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
- Romans 3:27

1What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 3For what does the Scripture say?

“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
- Romans 4:1‭, ‬3‭-‬4 NKJV

So Abraham had nothing going for him in the natural (in the flesh).

Even though he obeyed God in the flesh to the point of his intention to sacrifice his son at God's command; the bible says it was because Abraham BELIEVED God that righteousness was credited to his account.

The scriptures referenced here are:

And He brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
- Genesis 15:5

And He believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.
- Genesis 15:6

So it is clear that Abraham was not justified by his works (the acts ensuing from his own self righteousness); but from simple belief in God's promise to not only give him a seed, but to multiply that seed till they could never be counted.

For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God). [Gen. 15:6.]
- Romans 4:3 AMPC

Belief in God's ability to make good on his promise is what was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

Paul gives a further example of how the employee's salary is not given as a favour to him but as his right.

4Now to a laborer, his wages are not counted as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation (something owed to him). 5But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God).
- Romans 4:4‭-‬5 AMPC

Even so, one who relies on his moral ability to please God claims to be righteous, based on his works and appearance of righteousness, and so you hear people today saying things like:

"Except I'm not a man/prophet of God or;

"Except I'm not a child of God"; or"Except God is not my father."

These think they have earned the right to speak thusly because of a certain righteousness they have, but it is mere self righteousness.

But one who relies on God to input righteousness - such a one knows that his works of righteousness or right doing have nothing to do with the righteousness God has given.

Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does:
- Romans 4:6 AMPC

We cannot work through good deeds to earn righteousness; God's righteousness is given based on faith and even at that, it is still the righteousness of God IN Christ Jesus, not in ourselves!

Righteousness is imputed to those whose sins have been forgiven.

7Blessed and happy and to be envied are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered up and completely buried. 8Blessed and happy and to be envied is the person of whose sin the Lord will take no account nor reckon it against him. [Ps. 32:1, 2.]
- Romans 4:7‭-‬8 AMPC

Paul then asks whether this blessing of the forgiveness of sin belongs only to the Jews (the circumcision) or also to the Gentiles.

Is this blessing (happiness) then meant only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.
- Romans 4:9‭-‬10 AMPC

Paul answers his question in a surprising manner; for Abraham received the promise of righteousness that was credited to him BEFORE he was circumcised!

10How then was it credited [to him]? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.

The circumcision was only meant to be the proof of having received the righteousness God had imputed to him.

In this manner Abraham became the father of all who receive this same gift of righteousness by faith.

11He received the mark of circumcision as a token or an evidence [and] seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised–[faith] so that he was to be made the father of all who [truly] believe, though without circumcision, and who thus have righteousness (right standing with God) imputed to them and credited to their account,
- Romans 4:10‭-‬11 AMPC

Righteousness is a gift, not a reward for right doing and certainly not something we earn by right doing.

There is a huge difference between obeying the Law (or obeying God) in order to become righteous; and on the other hand, receiving God's righteousness in order to do his works of righteousness.

The former is the earning of righteousness BY Man in order to please God, and is what we refer to as self righteousness; and the latter is the conferment of the gift of righteousness BY God in order to do His works.

In the former, Man does his own works through his own righteousness; in the latter, Man does God's works through God's righteousness.

We cannot be saved by righteous works that we have done, but by receiving God's righteousness.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
- Titus 3:5

You remember Matt 7:21 and following, where 'men of God' began to list the works of righteousness they had done, then Jesus told them to depart from him.

He labeled them workers of iniquity (just another word for unrighteousness).

They had all along been practising their own self righteousness.

They've got all these TV programmes going and invitations from all over the world but the righteousness that is of God is not presumptuous as to dare say "all the Egyptians you see today, you shall see no more!".

Oh they performed works of righteousness alright, just not by God's own righteousness; for had it been God's righteousness, they would have known that they were presumptuous for saying in your name WE cast out demons and raised the dead - who then did the works? WE!

They USED Christ's name to 'perform' their works of righteousness.

You cannot USE Christ like that so that at the end of the day it was the man of God in Jesus name that got the credit or glory!

It is either God or man, it can NEVER be both God and Man!

So Paul goes on to say that if it is only those who obey the Law that are righteous, then faith had been nullified - no longer of any effect.

When we make a show of ourselves by putting ourselves forward then we are receiving the credit that is due to God for a 'work' we claim God did; and yet only the man is visible - this is a work of SELF righteousness because it is self serving and self seeking.

If it is the adherents of the Law who are to be the heirs, then faith is made futile and empty of all meaning and the promise [of God] is made void (is annulled and has no power). Romans 4:14 AMPC

For the Law results in [divine] wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression [of it either].
- Romans 4:15 AMPC

Those who wish to earn righteousness will eventually face the wrath of God because at some point their righteousness will show up for what it is - filthy rags, and God will find them wanting.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
- Isaiah 64:6

Therefore, [inheriting] the promise is the outcome of faith and depends [entirely] on faith, in order that it might be given as an act of grace (unmerited favor), to make it stable and valid and guaranteed to all his descendants–not only to the devotees and adherents of the Law, but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, who is [thus] the father of us all.
- Romans 4:16 AMPC

It was faith - unwavering belief in God's ability to fulfill his promise that God counted as righteousness for Abraham, not his obedience in sacrificing his son.

Hence God stopped his sacrifice - God only wanted to test the extent of Abraham's obedience, but the righteousness that was imputed to Abraham was NOT a reward for his obedience, otherwise it would have meant that Abraham EARNED God's imputed righteousness!

Here is the reason why righteousness was imputed to Abraham!

18[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. [Gen. 15:5.]

19He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah's [deadened] womb. [Gen. 17:17; 18:11.]

20No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God,
- Romans 4:18‭-‬20 AMPC

It was his unshakable belief in God's ability to give him a child! He didn't for one moment doubt God!

Today if any man no matter how terrible will believe with unshaken faith that God is able to make him righteous, in spite of all his weaknesses and sinfulness; then his belief is accounted to him by God as righteousness!

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
- Romans 10:10

Like Abraham you have to NOT CONSIDER the weakness of your flesh and your deadness in sin, but believe in the goodness and mercy of God towards you in imputing you with HIS righteousness.

REPENTANCE DOES NOT PRECEDE THE IMPUTING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, FOR THEN YOU HAVE EARNED RIGHTEOUSNESS, BUT GODLY SORROW COMES FIRST!

Godly sorrow or remorse and regret comes before a change of ways and behaviour (repentance).

37Now when they heard this, they were PRICKED IN THEIR HEART, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- Acts 2:37-38

The PRICKING OF THE HEART (the conscience), came before Peter's call for repentance!

It is this PRICKING (godly sorrow for sin) and our belief in the mercy of God unto forgiveness of sin that is accounted to us as RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Abraham's PAIN and REGRET was that in his old age he had no heir, but when God promised him one, he held on to God WITH BOTH HANDS!

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
- 2 Corinthians 7:10

It is a GODLY sorrow, not human sorrow! A sorrow born of man's conscience, not his emotions; hence it is with the heart (conscience) that man BELIEVES unto righteousness!

For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].
- 2 Corinthians 7:10 AMPC

How can we truly repent without godly sorrow, yet we have made repentance to look like a change of mind or a turning around in lifestyle when it runs far deeper.

There is a repentance that can NEVER be repented of and it is produced by godly sorrow.

Esau sought this repentance with tears (human emotion) but not with godly sorrow and so he didn't find it!

For ye know how that afterward, when He would have inherited the blessing, He was rejected: for He found no place of repentance, though He sought it carefully with tears. Hebrews 12:17

And so Abraham having persuaded himself fully that God was able to give him an HEIR - a SON, received the righteousness of God.

When we believe into righteousness, we believe into the SON of God - he who is the righteousness of God!

We believe that God will give us an INHERITANCE!

For Abraham received an heir, but we receive an inheritance in Christ Jesus - God's righteousness!

21Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. 22That is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God).
- Romans 4:21‭-‬22 AMPC

God keeps his word! For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son so that whosoever believes in him will not perish eternally but will have eternal life; BECAUSE OF THE IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD!

Oh my brethren have you truly been brought to repentance by GODLY SORROW?

23But [the words], It was credited to him, were written not for his sake alone, 24But [they were written] for our sakes too. [Righteousness, standing acceptable to God] will be granted and credited to us also who believe in (trust in, adhere to, and rely on) God, Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].
- Romans 4:23‭-‬25 AMPC




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Romans Chapter 5

Paul now brings his argument about the differences between faith and works (that is, the doing of good or righteous deeds as a means of winning God's approval or earning his righteousness), to a close.

In the first two verses, he concludes that we are no longer guilty of sin if we have been reconciled to God through the forgiveness of our sins and his consequent imputation of righteousness to us is proof that we have been found not guilty.

1THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted and declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

2Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.
- Romans 5:1‭-‬2 AMPC

But in addition to our rejoicing at being not only forgiven of sins but also freed from sin's dominion; Paul also encourages us to maintain a triumphant attitude through all the subsequent tests and trials that must now certainly come our way as a result of our new found freedom because these tests and trials are God's way of developing and growing the various fruits of righteousness in our newly regenerated spirits.

3Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.

4And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

5Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.
- Romans 5:3‭-‬5 AMPC

God's love has been poured out in our hearts or spirits and this is proof that we can now love our fellow man in exactly the same way that God loves us, and Paul shows exactly how God loves us in the next few verses.

6While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly.

7Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die.

8But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.
- Romans 5:6‭-‬8 AMPC

You see, we love people not because they love us but while they are yet our enemies we love them by demonstrating our love for them in sacrificial ways.

9Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ's blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.

10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin's dominion) through His [resurrection] life.
- Romans 5:9‭-‬10 AMPC

So Paul says that if God's love was strong enough to save us while we were still his enemies, how much more will that same love not deliver us daily from the dominion of sin!

In other words, the way we BELIEVED into righteousness by accepting God's mercy and his consequent forgiveness of our sins is the same way we MAINTAIN ourselves in his righteousness which is the daily deliverance from the dominion of sin - we BELIEVE into deliverance from sin.

In the following verses Paul explains how death is the power that unrighteousness exerts on Mankind in the same way as how Life is the power that righteousness exerts over the forgiven.

12Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.

13[To be sure] sin was in the world before ever the Law was given, but sin is not charged to men's account where there is no law [to transgress]. 14Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] as Adam did.

The Law had not at this time been given to determine what unrighteousness is, yet nonetheless, the power of unrighteousness (death); still controlled Mankind, even those who were yet to disobey a commandment of God as Adam did.

Adam was a type (prefigure) of the One Who was to come [in reverse, the former destructive, the Latter saving]. [Gen. 5:5; 7:22; Deut. 34:5.] 15But God's free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man].

Adam was the inverse type of Christ, so that where Christ prefigured righteousness, Adam prefigured unrighteousness.

However, God's free gift of righteousness completely towers out of proportion over the offence Adam committed in that though many died as a result of Adam's disobedience; by far many more were given a second 'life' by reason of the loving sacrifice of Christ for us (for which he didn't have to).

For if many died through one man's falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God's grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.

16Nor is the free gift at all to be compared to the effect of that one [man's] sin. For the sentence [following the trespass] of one [man] brought condemnation, whereas the free gift [following] many transgressions brings justification (an act of righteousness).

17For if because of one man's trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God's] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

18Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.

19For just as by one man's disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man's obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him).
- Romans 5:12‭-‬19 AMPC

Christ's obedience to the death on the cross is therefore the pattern for our own obedience to death on the cross; hence Christ's words - if any man will follow me let him deny Self, take up his CROSS and follow me.

This then is the obedience to which we are called; it is the obedience that causes the power of righteousness to work in us, developing and growing the Life that overcomes the dominion of sin!

So that, [just] as sin has reigned in death, [so] grace (His unearned and undeserved favor) might reign also through righteousness (right standing with God) which issues in eternal life through Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) our Lord.
- Romans 5:21 AMPC

The life we are called to reign in is eternal life, not a reigning (or taking dominion) over this world.




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Romans Chapter 6

Following up on the previous chapter where he reveals how those who have been made righteous will now reign in eternal life, Paul now poses a question:

So because God's grace of forgiveness and the righteousness that came with it by far exceeded Adam's disobedience and its ensuing unrighteousness; does it now mean that we should continue to sin so that God's grace can be highlighted the more?

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
- Romans 6:1

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
- Romans 6:2

Paul then gives the reason why this option of continuing in sin shouldn't even be thought of!

3Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

4We 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.
- Romans 6:3‭-‬4 AMPC

This baptism of which Paul speaks was firstly a baptism into the death of Christ so that by reason of Christ's resurrection, we can now live like him in resurrected life.

We cannot experience the resurrected life if we first do not experience the death of Christ into which we all were baptized.

The next verse reveals how exactly our baptism into the death of Christ played out in spiritual reality.

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.
- Romans 6:6 AMPC

The death of our self or old man is necessary if we are to be set free from Sin's dominion and control.

For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].
- Romans 6:7 AMPC

So while we yet live biologically (or in the flesh), there is an inward part of man (the self) that must die in order that the total man inclusive of his biological life and living, may be set free from sin.

The process of dying to self - that is; the practical outworking of our baptism into the death of Christ is spelled out in the next two verses:

12Let 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.

13Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.
- Romans 6:12‭-‬13 AMPC

You see how the physical body of Man and its inherent lusts, desires, passions and so forth are particularly prone to the control of Sin, and how the Sin referred to in the above verses does not refer to the many SINS we commit, but to the parasitical virus that feeds and lives vicariously on the energies supplied by our lusts, passions and desires.

So entwined is this SIN virus with our bodies that it is impossible to kill it without also destroying the very passions, lusts and desires it feeds on - destroy Sin's food and it will starve to death!

It was for this very reason that mankind was given a second chance at life through God's grace and mercy, that we may rid ourselves of this plague in our bodies.

For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy].
- Romans 6:14 AMPC

No one is a master unto him/herself; we are all subject (in OBEDIENCE) to a spiritual master whether we like it or not; it is therefore the master whom we truly serve that our bodies will truly be in obedience to.

We only need to pay attention to the likes and dislikes of the body and we will have our answer as to whom we truly serve.

Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?
- Romans 6:16 AMPC

Then Paul goes on to thank God for the Christians at Rome because their BODIES have been clearly shown by their manner of living, to be in subjection to Christ through their OBEDIENCE to the truths concerning righteousness.

17But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.

18And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action).
- Romans 6:17‭-‬18 AMPC

Paul knew and could see that they had been set free from sin. It is possible in this world to be set free from sin!

He saw it by the way they lived their lives and the things they paid attention to; the things they derived joy and pleasure from.

Yes, people can tell from the way we live our lives, our behaviour, priorities and so forth; where our loyalties lie - to Sin or to Christ.

Paul continues therefore to admonish us to keep yielding not only our bodily members, but also our faculties - our minds, will and feelings to the control of Christ through OBEDIENCE to righteousness.

He urges us to do this ONCE AND FOR ALL; not to keep going back and forth between unrighteousness and righteousness.

I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] ONCE FOR ALL as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification.
- Romans 6:19 AMPC

Because when we were still in bondage to Sin, we were under no moral obligation to obey righteousness; even so now, we are under no moral obligation to obey Sin.

20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed?

[None] for the end of those things is death. 22But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.
- Romans 6:20‭-‬22 AMPC

The ultimate result or consequence of a life of servitude to Sin is eternal death as opposed to the reward of eternal life being the reward of service to Righteousness.

The choice is ours.

For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 6:23 AMPC




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Romans Chapter 7

In this chapter, Paul begins to approach the high point of the revelation on Righteousness upon which the entire book of Romans is based.

He shows that since the Law - or any law for that matter - is only binding upon the living, only death can free one from the legal claims and consequences of forced obedience to the Law.

Verse one makes it plain that he is chiefly addressing the Christian Jews, for they are the ones who 'know the Law'.

In verses 2 - 3 he gives the example of the law concerning adultery, and how a married woman remains married by law and cannot have intimate relations with another man until the death of her husband.

1DO YOU not know, brethren–for I am speaking to men who are acquainted with the Law–that legal claims have power over a person only for as long as he is alive?

2For [instance] a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is loosed and discharged from the law concerning her husband. 3Accordingly, she will be held an adulteress if she unites herself to another man while her husband lives.

But if her husband dies, the marriage law no longer is binding on her [she is free from that law]; and if she unites herself to another man, she is not an adulteress.

Through this illustration, Paul then shows the very same way in which the believing Jews have already died to the Law of Moses since as we have seen in a previous chapter, that they have already been baptized into the death of Christ Jesus

4Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.
- Romans 7:1‭-‬4 AMPC

The whole point of our death in Christ not only for the Jewish Christians, but for all believers who were baptized into Christ's death, is so that WE MAY BELONG TO ANOTHER FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF BEARING FRUIT (or characteristic likeness) UNTO HIM - CHRIST!

Verses 5 and 6 next point out that before our baptism into Christ's death, we lived mere physical lives that answered only to the sating of physical desires, appetites and pleasures alone; seeing as how the fleshly life LIVES only to please it's SELF - that is; the SIN nature that has become its parasitical life.

(The difference between the soul of Man and his Self is that whereas the Soul is the seat of Man's personal faculties of will, mind and emotions; Self is the virus otherwise known as Sin that has taken up residence in the soul of Man and from where he firmly controls the actions of the body through its manipulation of the soul's faculties).

Hence Christ does not say if any man will come after me let him deny his soul, but rather he says let him deny Self.

So now that we are dead through the death of Christ on the cross, we no longer have any obligations to fulfill the written Law; we only have a duty and obligation to obey the inward directions, guidance and supervisions of the Holy Spirit by a new way of living life; totally different from the old way of pleasuring the Self.

5When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death.

6But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].
- Romans 7:5‭-‬6 AMPC

7What then do we conclude? Is the Law identical with sin? Certainly not! Nevertheless, if it had not been for the Law, I should not have recognized sin or have known its meaning. [For instance] I would not have known about covetousness [would have had no consciousness of sin or sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, You shall not covet and have an evil desire [for one thing and another]. [Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:21.]

8But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing].
- Romans 7:7‭-‬8 AMPC

The Law therefore is that which defines to us what Sin is and the many sins that issue forth from it - Sin the source of all sins.

So that by having an understanding of what Sin is through the written law, we finally see that the very things that are NATURAL to the flesh to indulge or take pleasure in are the very things that the Law condemns with grievous consequences.

Paul makes reference to the book of Psalms in describing the blissful ignorance of being unaware of the Law and the consequences of disobedience to it.

So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
- Psalms 73:22

Through the prophetic utterance of David, we see that Sin was unknown then, (before the time of Moses) for sin is not counted to be sin where there is no law as we have read in a previous chapter:

(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
- Romans 5:13

But when the Law of written commandments was given, Sin immediately became exposed for what it really is and by its workings and operations through the desires and passions of the body, condemned us to the consequences of disobedience to the Law - death.

9Once I was alive, but quite apart from and unconscious of the Law. But when the commandment came, sin lived again and I died (was sentenced by the Law to death). [Ps. 73:22.] .

10And the very legal ordinance which was designed and intended to bring life actually proved [to mean to me] death. [Lev. 18:5.]

11For sin, seizing the opportunity and getting a hold on me [by taking its incentive] from the commandment, beguiled and entrapped and cheated me, and using it [as a weapon], killed me.
- Romans 7:9‭-‬11 AMPC

Sin therefore once again shows itself to be not merely the act of indulging in things forbidden by the Lord, but as an INTELLIGENT spiritual 'creature' that can SEIZE opportunities to BEGUILE (that is to trick); and TRAP and CHEAT people (its host bodies); and therefore using our own bodies as a weapon against us finally succeeded in causing the Law to pass the sentence of death over us.

But Paul is not yet done; for he says that this sneaky, cunning nature of Sin is the proof of the HOLINESS of the Law seeing as how it is the exact opposite of the SINFULNESS of Sin.

Sinfulness is the opposite of Holiness as unrighteousness is the opposite of righteousness.

12The Law therefore is holy, and [each] commandment is holy and just and good.

13Did that which is good then prove fatal [bringing death] to me? Certainly not! It was sin, working death in me by using this good thing [as a weapon], in order that through the commandment sin might be shown up clearly to be sin, that the extreme malignity and immeasurable sinfulness of sin might plainly appear.

The Law was not the reason for our sentencing unto death, it was Sin using our physical bodies as instruments to perform acts (sins) worthy of death by the standards of the Law!

14We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin.
- Romans 7:12‭-‬14 AMPC

There is nothing spiritual about our fleshly bodies; they are carnal - the opposite of spiritual, and they are firmly under the control of Sin.

It is the very reason why we must actively experience in our lives the baptism into the death of Christ, for in so doing we die to Sin the master and ruler of our physical bodies.

In the next few verses, Paul details the experience of the believer who is yet to experience the baptism into the death of Christ.

15For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns].

17However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me.

At this point, Paul acknowledges that it really isn't the physical body acting of its own volition, but acting on the pressures and demands that the indwelling virus called Sin exerts on its desires which it has corrupted into lusts to better suit its tastes.

18For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can WILL what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]

(The believer still possesses the function of the Will to exercise as he sees fit; but the will lacks the power to execute or perform what it wills, proving that its functionality is useless to all intents and purposes and can only be utilized effectively by the one who controls it - Sin!)

19For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing.
- Romans 7:15‭, ‬17‭-‬19 AMPC

The above verses table the woes and miseries that this believer who is still in the grip of Sin goes through.

The verses further reveal the unwillingness of this believer in obeying Sin, but at the same time his utter powerlessness in preventing himself from obeying Sin.

So then, Paul exposes the real culprit in the next few verses through a process of deduction and analysis.

20Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [fixed and operating in my soul].

21So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands.

You see how Sin created a situation in which the believer begins to HELPLESSLY CONTINUE to enjoy in his body, what he once enjoyed SHAMELESSLY as an unbeliever.

But Paul also recognizes the fact that this believer still takes pleasure in the inward promptings and directions and teachings of the Holy Spirit, even though there is a different kind of pleasure and fleshly gratification that his body enjoys.

It is therefore this inability to hate these fleshly gratifications of the body by its master - Sin that reveals the body to be Sin's prisoner indeed.

22For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature]. [Ps. 1:2.] 23But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh].
- Romans 7:20‭-‬23 AMPC

Paul now identifies himself with the state in which such a believer finds himself - unhappy, wretched and indeed one to be pitied!

But there is still hope for such a believer still being held prisoner by Sin! Jesus himself will deliver such a one from the dominion of Sin!

Clearly Paul has a plan which he shall most probably unfold in the coming chapters!

24O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? 25O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
- Romans 7:24‭-‬25 AMPC




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Romans Chapter 8 Part 1

You will recall that Chapter 7 was all about the Law and how Christ has set us free not only from the written Law but also from the inward law that binds us to perpetual service to the flesh and the virus nature of sin that controls it.

It is much like the law of gravity; it isn't a law that is written or even spoken, yet we feel its effects - once we jump up something pulls us right back to the ground whether we like it or not.

Thus Paul says:

So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands.
- Romans 7:21 AMPC

So he continues in chapter 8 based on his theme in chapter 7.

1THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.]

2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.
- Romans 8:1‭-‬2 AMPC

To walk and live after the flesh is a law that is binding on all Mankind whether we like it or not; but then Paul introduces another law that did not exist prior to the death and resurrection of Christ.

It is a law that drives and compels people to walk and live after the dictates or commands and instructions of the Holy Spirit.

This law however works only in the new man or new being, not in the flesh and those who accept to follow and obey this new law and ruling principle are discharged and acquitted from following the old law that rules over the flesh - also called the law of sin and death, because Sin is the ruler and death is the reward he pays for faithful service.

3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev. 7:37.]

The Law was ineffective to bring about righteousness in Man because the law of Sin and death that governed Man's body, passions and pleasures was stronger than the written Law, hence it was "weakened by the flesh " as we read in verse 3.

However, God's plan and solution was to send his Son - the Word of God - disguised as 'sinful man' (like all men); yet unknown to the powers of darkness was without Sin - that is; the virus nature of Sin did not live in his fleshly body though he was subject to all the fleshly temptations of men.

In this way, if one man died without Sin controlling his life, then this was justification for God to give mankind another chance to live without the Sin virus nature.

Thus the Sin virus nature was rendered powerless over all who choose to accept the representative death of Christ as their own.

4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].
- Romans 8:3‭-‬4 AMPC

Paul then explains how the Sin virus nature controls the flesh; it is not directly, but through its task master - the mind!

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.
- Romans 8:5 AMPC

People who are controlled by the desires and passions and emotions of the flesh do so BECAUSE they have set or FIXED their minds on pursuing things that will gratify those impulses - in other words, they have already MADE UP THEIR MINDS and MADE THEIR CHOICE as to whom to serve and be in obedience to - it is the flesh under the able rulership of the Sin virus nature.

On the other hand, those who follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit are those who have MADE UP THEIR MINDS to do so.

It is therefore important to fully understand what it means and takes to make up one's mind.

The Bible speaks of being either carnally minded or spiritually minded. All of mankind fall into one of these two categories and there is no third option, though even the regenerate are not entirely excluded from the minding or tending of the flesh, for as Paul says elsewhere, the flesh (still) lusts or harbours enmity against the Spirit (or man's spirit which I believe is the right interpretation), so that we are not able to do what we want.

This means that at any point in time and more likely in a CONSISTENT manner, either the mind is continually fixated with the things of the flesh or with the things of the Spirit.

If it were the Holy Spirit himself that the flesh lusts or wars against then it would be tantamount to saying that sometimes the flesh wins the battle against the Spirit SO THAT WE ARE UNABLE or powerless to do what we really want to do!

The mind is not a sentient being even though it is 'reasonable' and 'intellectual' in nature; nevertheless less it is simply a piece of 'clay' that can be molded into any shape by its owner.

Thus Romans chapter 12 warns us not to be conformed or molded to the image of the world, but be transformed or molded into the image of Christ by the RENEWAL of our minds.

This molding is achieved by what we fix our minds on - it is the transformation of the mind into the exact image of what it is continually staring at and listening to.

So Paul says that such persons who are continually using their minds to stare and listen to things that incite and excite the pleasure of the flesh are those who live in the flesh and therefore cannot please God, because they have another Master (Sin); with whom their wages have already been prepared - death.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- Romans 8:6

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
- Romans 8:7

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
- Romans 8:8

9But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you].

But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]. [Rom. 8:14.] 10But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you].

11And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.
- Romans 8:9‭-‬11 AMPC

Paul shows that the very indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit should be the proof that not only are we living a spiritually minded life, but also that we now BELONG to Christ as opposed to the doctrine of 'accepting' Christ like some condescending favour we do to him.

12So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh. For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die.

We must realize that we who have the indwelling Spirit of God are no longer obliged to FIX our minds on the loves of the flesh.

It is a revelation of this truth that we must prayerfully seek and which will free our minds to be FIXED on the loves and interests of the Spirit.

13But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.
- Romans 8:12‭-‬13 AMPC

Never forget that the mind is an inner eye - it has to keep looking at something as we shall see in later epistles.

We therefore deaden or starve the loves and interests of the flesh by simply choosing NOT to look at them.

Job understood this principle of LOOKING:

I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I THINK upon a maid?
- Job 31:1

You see the relationship he makes with the eyes and thinking? (the function of the mind).

Christ explained it better:

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
- Matthew 5:27

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
- Matthew 5:28

The eye of the mind (the imagination) is the principal place through which the desires of the flesh are VIEWED with intent to relish, savour and store up its contents to be viewed again and again.




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Romans Chapter 8 Part 2

In Part 1 we saw how the mind plays a pivotal role in controlling the flesh, that is; the physical body and its various appetites, lusts, desires and affections.

We saw that when it is firmly FIXED on spiritual things, it tends to keep the body in line with spiritual desires, but when it is FIXED on carnal things, it tends to drag the body alongside so that both the desires of mind and body tend towards earthly and worldly things.

However in Part 2 of this same chapter, Paul moves on to something else. He begins to discuss the reason or essence of becoming spiritually minded.

Those who are spiritually minded are the ones led by the Spirit of God. They are the ones who can truly call God their Father because they are the ones who have been ADOPTED as children by God.

You will remember John 4:24 - God is SPIRIT and they that worship (or commune with him - paraphrase mine); must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The Holy Spirit cannot LEAD or GUIDE anyone who is not spiritually minded, that is; he cannot lead anyone whose mind is not CONTINUALLY FIRMLY FIXED on spiritual things.

It isn't about merely praying for God's guidance - it cannot be given to those who still live and walk after the flesh!

Let us then continue our study beginning from verse 14.

14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

15For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” ... 17and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
- Romans 8:14‭-‬15‭, ‬17‭-‬18 NKJV

We are heirs of God; but there are two meanings to the term HEIR.

The first is one who succeeds another upon his death.

We know God is eternal so this cannot be the scriptural meaning, which leaves us with the second definition:

A person who inherits and continues the work of a predecessor.

By predecessor we mean God handing over power and the reins of governance of all creation to his children much like a father would hand over his business to his children.

Again we read that in chapter 5:

For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness SHALL REIGN in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
- Romans 5:17

The heirs of God will inherit his work and continue it. That's what children of a father do, they CONTINUE the work of their father! It is their legacy, their inheritance!

But there is a proviso to this promise:

We cannot experience the reality of our heir ship unless we SUFFER with Christ.

Suffering together with Christ is the process by which our identification with him is complete.

That is; we have to overcome death like he did, by going through the cross experience; hence we are called to mortify or crucify the deeds of the flesh and the affections of both mind and body.

Every genuine believer must pass through this death experience if he is to experience resurrection.

The overcoming of death in our bodies is the reason why the Holy Spirit shall quicken our mortal bodies.

We saw that in verse 11:

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
- Romans 8:11

Paul continues by stating that as far as he is concerned, whatever it is we have to pass through in terms of each individual's death experience is not worth comparing with the glory that shall be revealed IN us.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

The end result of our death experience is the birth of a glory that is as yet hidden but in due course will be revealed in us.

I am reminded of the verse that says Christ in you is the hope of glory.

Christ within us is REENACTING or working out his death in us, so that just as he rose again from the dead, all those who partake of the suffering of this death experience shall also rise in a similar manner.

The next four verses speak of the whole of creation waiting to be delivered from the dominion of death, but this dominion cannot be broken until the heirs of God - the sons of God are manifested or REVEALED as we have read earlier on.

19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. Romans 8:19

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
- Romans 8:20

It was God who subjected creation to the vain and futile life cycle of birth and death, but he did not do so willingly; yet he did not leave his creation without hope - their hope is in the revealing of the sons of God.

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
- Romans 8:21

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
- Romans 8:22

The whole of creation groans in pain now under the sufferings and pain that the constant cycle of death brings to every creature.

Even human kind is not exempted, and so the sons of God groan for deliverance from this fleshly body controlled by Sin - its slave master; because in this body that now belongs to Sin, we cannot please God.

The only way out is to die inwardly to this external body that is owned by Sin!

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
- Romans 8:23

Our groaning is a sighing and a wishing for the redemption or CHANGING of our bodies into bodies that will be eager to please God.

You see, only spiritually minded people have come to the point where they feel like absolute strangers or worse - prisoners in this body of flesh.

They have lost all sense of pleasure in it, they are no longer comfortable in it.

(Sometimes I weep for myself because I who teach these things will be judged by them; I only say this to let you know that I'm just like everyone else, I've not arrived! I too am striving desperately! And so should you!)

It is at this point that the natural division this part of Chapter 8 ends.

We concluded that section with the knowledge of the redemption of our bodies which all who have the first fruits or initial deposit of the indwelling Spirit of God shall experience.

This redemption of our bodies is what we read about briefly earlier on in this same chapter:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
- Romans 8:11 NKJV

The giving of LIFE to our mortal bodies signifies the redemption of our bodies.

You see, the indwelling Spirit is the firstfruits of the Spirit, meaning that there is much more to come - the fullness of the Spirit in bodily form, which will be manifested in the redemption of our bodies.

23Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

24For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

26Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
- Romans 8:23‭-‬26 NKJV

In a similar manner to waiting with perseverance in hope of the promised redeemed body; the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses or frailties of this mortal frame by undertaking to pray for us because we are limited in our understanding concerning how we really ought to pray as we should.

The Holy Spirit therefore intercedes or stands in the gap for us in prayer.

27Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
- Romans 8:27‭-‬28 NKJV

It is God who searches our hearts concerning what we truly need through our prayers rather than what we want.

But since the Holy Spirit undertakes to intercede for us in prayer, God knows what the Holy Spirit is interceding about concerning us because the Spirit - not us; prays according to the will of God.

It is because of the Holy Spirit's intercession that we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.

Remember that those who in truth love God are those who walk not after the flesh; those who have FIXED their minds on the things of the Spirit - not just anyone who calls him/herself a 'believer'.

Some have said that it is when we pray in tongues that the Holy Spirit prays for us but not so!

The Holy Spirit prays for us independent of our prayers.

Paul makes it clear that it is our spirit that prays when we pray in tongues and not the Holy Spirit.

For if I pray in an unknown tongue, MY spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
- 1 Corinthians 14:14

All things work together for our good because God already knows those who are his and has already predestined them to be conformed to the likeness of Christ.

In the next two verses, Paul lists certain steps that God has already taken in securing our salvation.

He says God who predestinated us to be conformed into the image or likeness of Christ, also called us and then justified us and then glorified us (talking about the redemption of our bodies).

You see, in God's eternal mind, all these steps are as good as done and nothing can change it, hence Paul talks about all of them including our glorification in the past tense.

29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
- Romans 8:29‭-‬30 NKJV

There cannot be the slightest mistake on God's part. We are merely going through the timeline of what God has already accomplished for us.

He who sees the end from the beginning has made every provision including the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit in ensuring that his will concerning us comes to pass.

You see, the presence of the indwelling Spirit of God is to ENSURE that all who are LED by the Spirit will arrive at the destination God has predetermined for them.

So Paul is exultant!

31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who is he who condemns?

33Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

34It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
- Romans 8:31‭-‬33, ‬34 NKJV

But then Paul makes an astounding statement that immediately reveals God's master plan!

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
- Romans 8:35‭-‬37 NKJV

You see, Paul was quoting from Psalm 44. It tells the story of God's people having to pass through great trials and tribulations from verse 9-22.

The Psalm is clearly prophetic and refers to the Church.

In every age the identification with Christ in his death always results in the testing of God's true saints, that their faith may come out shining like gold.

As it is also written in Hebrews:

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
- Hebrews 13:13

His reproach refers to his shame as being the odd one out; the one who is treated like a criminal because of his claims as the son of God, just as we too will have to claim that we are his brethren.

Yea they that will live godly shall suffer persecution - it is inevitable.

We all must partake one way or another in the experience of the baptism into Christ's death if we are to be resurrected with him.

It is therefore for this reason that many will be accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

This forewarning from Paul is to strengthen and prepare us for what is inevitably coming.

By this testing of our faith, God SEARCHES our hearts to sift us and find our true measure.

It is the reason why we must ENDURE hardships - look for it; it is the training that will prepare us for the end!

But Paul was fully persuaded that none of these horrors will be able to separate us from the love of God.

The presence of the indwelling Spirit will strengthen us mightily when the time comes, just like Stephen and Antipas - Christ's faithful martyrs and a host of others.

None of them went through it in the strength of their weak mortal frames.

Stephen saw Christ standing in heaven as he was being stoned. So caught up was he in this vision that he lost concentration on the pain.

God will never let us pass through things we are unable to endure but will always make a way of escape - the vision of Jesus Christ was Stephen's escape route.

They were strengthened with might in their inner man and so shall everyone who is led by the Spirit of God!

37Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 8:37‭-‬39 NKJV




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Romans Chapter 9 Part 1

In the first five verses of this chapter, Paul laments Israel to whom once exclusively belonged the Covenants, the Law and the adoption by God as his people.

So deep was his grief that he wished he could be cursed or rejected by Christ if it would somehow save his people Israel!

You will recall that Moses almost did the same thing too when he told God to blot his name out of his Book if he wasn't going to go with them any longer.

1I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.

3For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. Romans 9:1‭-‬5 NKJV

But in the next few verses he consoles himself with the fact that Israel is not lost to God because Israel is now a spiritual race, no longer the mere descendants of Abraham.

6But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”

8That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
- Romans 9:6‭-‬8 NKJV

In fact he proclaims in the above verse by revelation that the natural blood descendants of Abraham were never actually the Israel that God had in mind; the real Israel is rather the descendants of Isaac by the promise.

In other words, just as Isaac was given to Abraham by promise, the descendants of Isaac (who was NOT born from Abraham's loins by his efforts but by the promise of God; that is; he was not a NATURAL descendant of Abraham) are those who receive this same promise, not having necessarily been born as blood descendants of Abraham or Isaac, they are the ones counted as God's true Israel.

Abraham received the circumcision as a seal or confirmation of the promise for a child given by God.

Let's back up a little bit to Chapter 4 again:

18[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. [Gen. 15:5.]

19He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah's [deadened] womb. [Gen. 17:17; 18:11.]

20No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, 21Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.

22That is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God).
- Romans 4:18‭-‬22 AMPC

Did you see that?

It was because of his unwavering faith and complete confidence in God's ability and integrity to deliver his promise to give him a son, that faith was credited to Abraham.

Therefore all those who express the faith and confidence of this nature in God's integrity to deliver on the promise of a new Life not born of our own loins or flesh (represented or symbolized by Isaac); these ones also will have the same kind of righteousness of Abraham credited to them; making them by proxy, the true descendants of Abraham.

Thus Paul says:

For He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
- Romans 2:28

But He is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
- Romans 2:29

No longer does the circumcision of the flesh count as a covenant between Israel and God; the new Covenant is now between God and those who have been circumcised in their hearts; they are the REAL Jews.

Moving on...

It was not only Abraham who received this promise, but in a different way (by God's election, rather than by his promise); Isaac too was given two sons of which God elected or CHOSE one.

9For this is what the promise said, About this time [next year] will I return and Sarah shall have a son. [Gen. 18:10.] 10And not only that, but this too: Rebecca conceived [two sons under exactly the same circumstances] by our forefather Isaac, 11And the children were yet unborn and had so far done nothing either good or evil.

Even so, in order further to carry out God's purpose of selection (election, choice), which depends not on works or what men can do, but on Him Who calls [them], 12It was said to her that the elder [son] should serve the younger [son]. [Gen. 25:21-23.]

13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (held in relative disregard in comparison with My feeling for Jacob). [Mal. 1:2, 3.]

14What shall we conclude then? Is there injustice upon God's part? Certainly not! 15For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion (pity) on whom I will have compassion. [Exod. 33:19.]

16So then [God's gift] is not a question of human will and human effort, but of God's mercy. [It depends not on one's own willingness nor on his strenuous exertion as in running a race, but on God's having mercy on him.]
- Romans 9:9‭-‬16 AMPC

You see therefore that God's gift of life is not given by merit (self-worth); neither is it given to the deserving (self-righteous); but it is given based solely on God's mercy.

It is this God's mercy that has therefore been thrown open to all and sundry - for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that WHOEVER believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.




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Romans Chapter 9 Part 2

We have seen in the first part of this chapter how the Promise of God came to pass in Abraham's life through the birth of a son Isaac, from loins that had long since ceased to be productive and the womb of his wife that had been not only barren from the very beginning (even in her youth), but also long after she had passed child bearing age.

So that the birth of Isaac was literally OUT OF A DEATH SITUATION; in other words it was so to speak, a RESURRECTION BIRTH!

For he was born by two biologically impotent people incapable of ever producing a child.

In that very same way God promised to give life to mortals who were spiritually dead from the beginning and therefore incapable of producing spiritual life.

To them he promised eternal life if they like Abraham would only believe that it is truly possible to live spiritually here and now and will not laugh in their hearts like Abraham and Sarah once did, saying can one who is dead come to life again?

But right after the Promise, God introduced the concept of Election (that is; his sovereign choice).

In the next few verses we will see how he preferred one of Isaac's sons over the other while yet in the womb of their mother, ever before they had done right or wrong.

10And not only that, but this too: Rebecca conceived [two sons under exactly the same circumstances] by our forefather Isaac, 11And the children were yet unborn and had so far done nothing either good or evil.

Even so, in order further to carry out God's purpose of selection (election, choice), which depends not on works or what men can do, but on Him Who calls [them], 12It was said to her that the elder [son] should serve the younger [son]. [Gen. 25:21-23.] 13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (held in relative disregard in comparison with My feeling for Jacob). [Mal. 1:2, 3.]
- Romans 9:10‭-‬13 AMPC

17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying My power in [dealing with] you, so that My name may be proclaimed the whole world over.

18So then He has mercy on whomever He wills (chooses) and He hardens (makes stubborn and unyielding the heart of) whomever He wills. 19You will say to me, Why then does He still find fault and blame us [for sinning]? For who can resist and withstand His will?

20But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? [Isa. 29:16; 45:9.]

21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use?
- Romans 9:17‭-‬21 AMPC

Paul questions the right of mere mortals to criticise the Almighty God in his choices over who should be saved and who should not.

As is typical with mortals, they say in their hearts; "since he himself has chosen or predestined those whom he himself has called, why does he find fault with those whom he has not called?"

Paul likens their foolish reasoning to the clay telling the Potter how it ought to be formed - into what kind of vessel and for what kind of use - where is that ever done even among human beings?

Do patients tell doctors how they ought to be treated? Do students tell their teachers how they ought to be taught?

But there is an added dimension to God's election or choice - what if God had made his choices based on his mercy that had been rejected over and over again?

22What if God, although fully intending to show [the awfulness of] His wrath and to make known His power and authority, has tolerated with much patience the vessels (objects) of [His] anger which are ripe for destruction? [Prov. 16:4.]

23And [what if] He thus purposes to make known and show the wealth of His glory in [dealing with] the vessels (objects) of His mercy which He has prepared beforehand for glory, 24Even including ourselves whom He has called, not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles (heathen)?
- Romans 9:22‭-‬24 AMPC

In verse 23 above; we see how he TOLERATED or ENDURED with MUCH PATIENCE the objects of his anger.

In enduring them with much patience it is clear that it was in hopes that they would eventually come to repentance.

God hardened the heart of Pharaoh for a reason:

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying My power in [dealing with] you, so that My name may be proclaimed the whole world over.
- Romans 9:17 AMPC

He made Pharaoh king and hardened his heart in order to demonstrate his power as a means of proclaiming his name the world over - hence the parting of the red sea and other miracles that preceded it.

It was the same with Nebuchadnezzar and with Herod also.

So then we see that God's election is never frivolous; for just as his Promise of Salvation is to all, even so his Election is for those who avail themselves of his Promise.

It is for this reason that though Israel were God's people by Election, when they rejected Christ the Promised Messiah; God returned to the Promise so that ALL who avail themselves of the Promise might be ELECTED.

25Just as He says in Hosea, Those who were not My people I will call My people, and her who was not beloved [I will call] My beloved. [Hos. 2:23.]

26And it shall be that in the very place where it was said to them, You are not My people, they shall be called sons of the living God. [Hos. 1:10.] 27And Isaiah calls out (solemnly cries aloud) over Israel:

Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, only the remnant (a small part of them) will be saved [from perdition, condemnation, judgment]!
- Romans 9:25‭-‬27 AMPC

The last verse above is very clear about how Israel's election has been nullified and now only a remnant of them who have chosen to believe in the Promise will be saved.

Remember in previous chapters we read that the Jew is no longer the natural descendant of Abraham but descendants through the same Promise that Abraham believed in.

28For the Lord will execute His sentence upon the earth [He will conclude and close His account with men completely and without delay], rigorously cutting it short in His justice. [Isa. 10:22, 23.]

29It is as Isaiah predicted, If the Lord of hosts had not left us a seed [from which to propagate descendants], we [Israel] would have fared like Sodom and have been made like Gomorrah. [Isa. 1:9.]

30What shall we say then? That Gentiles who did not follow after righteousness [who did not seek salvation by right relationship to God] have attained it by faith [a righteousness imputed by God, based on and produced by faith],
- Romans 9:28‭-‬30 AMPC

Whereas Israel, though ever in pursuit of a law [for the securing] of righteousness (right standing with God), actually did not succeed in fulfilling the Law. [Isa. 51:1.]
- Romans 9:31 AMPC

The abruptness with which the end of the age will come upon us is described above in verse 28 - the Lord will close his account with men WITHOUT DELAY!

This is a clear warning to always be in a state of readiness.

Israel were so used to following Laws that they could not understand PROMISE!

But the heathen were a law unto themselves - they followed by instinct the things contained in the Law and therefore did not need the Law and so they could understand the concept of PROMISE.

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
- Romans 2:14

You see, just because we receive the Promise does not mean the 'child' will be born.

Abraham received God's promise several times but he was not convinced; hence he kept asking God when he would have his own heir.

At a point he begged God to allow Ishmael to live rather than continue promising him a son through the practical impossibility of his reproductive circumstances.

17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
- Genesis 17:17

18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
- Genesis 17:18

19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
- Genesis 17:19

At this point even though God had PROMISED him a son, he wasn't convinced, so he asked instead that his other son 'of his flesh' might live.

Believers are like that also; we have been given the Promise but we have not yet believed it fully.

But there came a time when Abraham was FULLY PERSUADED, meaning that it took a while for his persuasion to come to fullness.

And being not weak in faith, He considered not his own body now dead, when He was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
- Romans 4:19

20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
- Romans 4:20

21 And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
- Romans 4:21

Here was one who had previously laughed in his heart concerning God's 'ridiculous' promise of a son, but now had become fully persuaded that God was ACTUALLY going to give him a son - so what had changed?

The high point of Abraham's CONVERSION from mere acceptance of the Promise to ACTIVE BELIEVING of the Promise came when God took him out under the starry skies and asked him to count the number of stars in the sky.

That was the time when Abraham realized and SAW God's bigger picture - he wasn't just going to have a son, but so many sons he wouldn't be able to NUMBER them!

God had to bring him to a point where he SAW or REALIZED the magnitude of God's power.

The revelation of how mighty and awesome God truly is dawned on him when he gazed up at the innumerable stars that God himself had created.

Today, every believer must be brought to a point of active rather than passive believing - that is, the point of our CONVERSION from passive to active believing; because until then, we cannot be fully persuaded of eternal life - Christ in us the hope of glory; the same Christ whom Paul told the Galatians that HE hadn't yet been FORMED in them and so Paul would have to initiate intercession for them until this happened.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
- Galatians 4:19

There is a connection between us being fully persuaded and Christ being formed in us; for Abraham and his wife could never have birthed his son Isaac until they were fully persuaded.

Abraham never knew that his scepticism was the reason for the delay in God's promise of a son coming to pass.

He had to be brought to the point of active believing.

In the same way, our scepticism about the hopelessness of our present lifestyles being changed to conform to the Christ life; the high standards of holiness we are expected to live up to, are the very things causing the delay in Christ being formed in us - that is; in us coming to the point of FULL PERSUASION just like our father Abraham.

"Can I ever truly have a new being (an heir) that can take over from me (my flesh)? Oh that this flesh shall live!"

It was Abraham's cry as well for a long time. But have you numbered the cloud of witnesses in heaven lately? They are the evidence and proof that you CAN be in their number too!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
- Hebrews 12:1

And so Israel lost out on the Election of God because instead of receiving the Promise like their father Abraham, they chose to 'earn their way' into eternal life.

32For what reason? Because [they pursued it] not through faith, relying [instead] on the merit of their works [they did not depend on faith but on what they could do]. They have stumbled over the Stumbling Stone. [Isa. 8:14; 28:16.]

33As it is written, Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone that will make men stumble, a Rock that will make them fall; but he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations. [Isa. 28:16.]
- Romans 9:32‭-‬33 AMPC

The faith we are called on to exercise in believing into righteousness is one that relies heavily on God's ability to uphold us with his right arm of righteousness.

Nothing must be done or maintained by will power or emotion or intellect.

We must not lean or trust in our understanding or intellect as to how to live in the Spirit - it does not work that way.

We cannot compartmentalize our lives and say; " I have to be this kind of person at work or school and another kind at home", for it is the same New Man within that lives both lives!

Be conscious of the New Man in all you think, say or do; for that growing consciousness of him will result in increasing sensitivity to his guidance in thought, word and deed; and by proxy that of the Holy Spirit as well.




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Romans Chapter 10

The first three verses of this chapter not only reveal Paul's deep desire and yearning for the salvation of Israel, they also reveal the righteousness that is acceptable to God - it is a righteousness that can only be conferred on Man by God; making him righteous in thought, word and deed that is contrary to the righteousness Israel pursued - a righteousness of works.

The righteousness of God is not the kind that Man can earn by doing works of righteousness, for in those very works is revealed the arm of flesh which scriptures have said will fail.

Rather, God's righteousness is divine, not of this world and because Israel did not seek it, they were lost (not saved); hence Paul's lamentation over them.

1BRETHREN, [with all] my heart's desire and goodwill for [Israel], I long and pray to God that they may be saved. 2I bear them witness that they have a [certain] zeal and enthusiasm for God, but it is not enlightened and according to [correct and vital] knowledge.

3For being ignorant of the righteousness that God ascribes [which makes one acceptable to Him in word, thought, and deed] and seeking to establish a righteousness (a means of salvation) of their own, they did not obey or submit themselves to God's righteousness.
- Romans 10:1‭-‬3 AMPC

In Acts 13, Israel rejected God's righteousness when it was offered to them through the preaching of the gospel, hence Paul turned his attention hereafter to the Gentiles or heathen peoples.

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
- Acts 13:46

Paul then proceeds to explain the difference between the righteousness of God and the righteousness of Man.

He first of all reveals that the coming of Christ rendered the Law of Moses and its accompanying ordinances obsolete; no longer relevant to Man's relationship with God, for a new way of relating with God as Father, no longer simply as the God of a privileged race (Israel), but as Father of individuals regardless of race.

By his coming therefore, Christ has revealed himself as the substance and reality of all that the Law stood for or symbolized.

4For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled.

That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him. 5For Moses writes that the man who [can] practice the righteousness (perfect conformity to God's will) which is based on the Law [with all its intricate demands] shall live by it. [Lev. 18:5.]
- Romans 10:4-5

The Law was meant to be a temporary means of PRACTISING a form of righteousness that could keep Man in right standing with God (by means of sacrifices and offerings for sin where one fell short of the standards of the Law) until Jesus came to input God's own righteousness to Mankind.

Unfortunately the drawback of the Law was that all who practice the Law must practise it in all its points and ramifications otherwise they have failed in their bid to be righteous.

No man was successful in practising the Law in all its points, hence Isaiah says:

But we are all as an unclean thing, and ALL our RIGHTEOUSNESSES are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
- Isaiah 64:6

(Note how Isaiah describes Man's righteousness as plural in its varied forms).

Paul continues as he now begins to explain the stark difference between the two kinds of righteousness.

6But the righteousness based on faith [imputed by God and bringing right relationship with Him] says, Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into Heaven? that is, to bring Christ down; 7Or who will descend into the abyss? that is, to bring Christ up from the dead [as if we could be saved by our own efforts]. [Deut. 30:12, 13.]

8But what does it say? The Word (God's message in Christ) is near you, on your lips and in your heart; that is, the Word (the message, the basis and object) of faith which we preach, [Deut. 30:14.]
- Romans 10:6‭-‬8 AMPC

For just as it is impossible for Man to ascend to heaven of his own accord, or to descend into the abyss by his own power; even so it is vain for Man to think he can ever be accepted by God based on his own merit or by his own standards of righteousness.

On the contrary, the only way given to Man to be saved is through the receiving of the gospel of righteousness into the heart and the professing or declaration of this righteousness we have received that others may also partake of the goodness and mercy of God.

Verse 9

9Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

The above verse has often been quoted as THE salvation formula when all it simply means is that a person cannot openly profess Christ (that is actively talk about Him); without having first received the gospel of righteousness into the heart and begun to experience the wonderful changes wrought in the life of such a one.

It is this wondrous change in his/her life that COMPELS such a believer to proclaim the good news with joy!

That he has BELIEVED into righteousness is made obvious by the evidence of the FRUIT of righteousness such a believer has been experiencing.

Thus, it is not the confession by repetition (repeating words or prayers after the pastor or whoever) of the Lordship of Jesus at some altar call that saves him; it is the evidence of the ongoing work of righteousness in his heart and life as a result of his faith in the promise of righteousness that brings about the open declaration (in awe and joy as it were), of the wonders of the gospel of righteousness.

There has to be fruit, for by their fruit you shall know them says Christ!

I am reminded of blind Bartemeous whom Christ healed. He was never asked to preach about his sight, but the CHANGE from being blind to becoming one who could see again, impelled him to speak - ONCE I WAS BLIND BUT NOW I SEE!

It was the unspeakable joy in his heart at his newfound eyesight that could not keep his mouth shut -he couldn't help but talk about it!

He was speaking his EVIDENCE of a change of state or status.

It is the same way with those who have begun to experience the fruit of righteousness in their lives - they will feel compelled with joy to speak - ONCE I WAS A LIAR BUT NOW...

Paul continues...

10For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation. 11The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed. [Ps. 34:22; Isa. 28:16; 49:23; Jer. 17:7.]

(Note that the above verse uses PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE; meaning that his/her believing is a continuous one. There is a continuous believing into righteousness, hence a continuous proclamation with the lips as the change of status becomes more and more glaring in the sight of all men.

(That verse was never meant to be a church recitation).

12[No one] for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord over all [of us] and He generously bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him [in faith].
- Romans 10:9‭-‬12 AMPC

Paul assures the believer therefore that there is no one who has trusted in Christ Jesus for salvation that will ever be made ashamed of his faith in Christ, nor disappointed by a perceived lack of the fruit of righteousness in one's life.

For you see, it isn't merely the faith of such a person that is working on its own otherwise that in itself would be self righteousness working from the perspective of man's ability to have faith or not.

Rather, it is the POWER of the gospel working in the one who has trusted in its ability to produce righteousness regardless of the insignificance of one's faith.

13For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved. [Joel 2:32.] 14But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]?

And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent?

As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!] [Isa. 52:7.]
- Romans 10:13‭-‬15 AMPC

Verses 13 and 14 reveal a deep secret about salvation.

You cannot merely call on the name of the Lord and expect to be saved; you have to have first believed in him who has the power to save!

In other words; you cannot usher a person to the altar and give him words to say that will make him 'saved'; he hasn't believed in the power of the Lord to save him first!

One doesn't need to come to an altar to be saved, one needs to believe that Christ has the power to produce righteousness within his/her life.

It is the conviction born out of this unshakeable belief that results in such a person calling on the name of the Lord!

In such a circumstance, that person will neither be disappointed nor put to shame!

Verse 15 shows that it is those who have experienced a change in state of their innermost beings that are the most willing and active vessels in proclaiming the evidence of their change - they are the SENT!

As Christ said, and these signs shall follow them that believe, in my name they shall heal the sick, raise the dead and so forth.

They can do all these things because they first experienced all these things, hence they have become believers in all these things.

Verse 16

16But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? [Isa. 53:1.]

17So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).
- Romans 10:16‭-‬17 AMPC

They did not OBEY the gospel of righteousness because they did not BELIEVE the gospel of righteousness.

OBEDIENCE IS CONTINGENT ON BELIEVING.

Therefore one believes or develops faith by hearing the gospel of righteousness preached, and what is heard if obeyed, is translated into faith or belief.

Verse 18...

18But I ask, Have they not heard? Indeed they have; [for the Scripture says] Their voice [that of nature bearing God's message] has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the far bounds of the world. [Ps. 19:4.]

19Again I ask, Did Israel not understand? [Did the Jews have no warning that the Gospel was to go forth to the Gentiles, to all the earth?] First, there is Moses who says, I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry. [Deut. 32:21.]

20Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, I have been found by those who did not seek Me; I have shown (revealed) Myself to those who did not [consciously] ask for Me. [Isa. 65:1.]

21But of Israel he says, All day long I have stretched out My hands to a people unyielding and disobedient and self-willed [to a faultfinding, contrary, and contradicting people]. [Isa. 65:2.]
- Romans 10:18‭-‬21 AMPC

There were too many prophecies and warnings to Israel about their rejection of their Messiah and yet they ignored them all; blinded by their own righteousness and colorations of the Law.

God waited patiently for their repentance "all day long".

It was written in the words of their prophets that God would soon turn his attention elsewhere.

They knew this, but they just didn't BELIEVE God could do it.

We shouldn't take God's grace for granted, lest we become like the Jews, so secure in being the people of God, that we no longer hear his warnings to us to repent from our lukewarmness and backslidden conditions.

The Lord God Almighty always has a remnant reserved for himself!




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Romans Chapter 11

You will recall that in the previous chapter we saw how Israel rejected the gospel of righteousness and by proxy the salvation offered to them by God.

Paul continues with his theme by letting us know that even then, all is not lost for Israel, for it would mean that he himself who was a Jew would also be lost.

He makes it clear that in every generation, God always reserves and preserves a remnant for himself, therefore even with the rejection of the gospel by Israel, God still has a few whom he has saved!

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
- Romans 11:1

God hath not cast away his people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how He maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,
- Romans 11:2

Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
- Romans 11:3

But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
- Romans 11:4

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
- Romans 11:5

These saved Jews were chosen through God's grace, that is; his undeserved favour.

It was not by reason of their willingness to be saved, for as we established earlier on, Israel in totality had rejected God's salvation by rejecting the gospel of righteousness.

We read in Chapter 5 a good description of God's grace:

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 5:8

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
- Romans 5:10

God's grace is always towards the undeserving, that is; those who have rejected him and made an enemy of him.

It is especially towards such people that God commends or directs his love. What compassionate God!

So Paul continues his argument saying if therefore it is by God's grace that a remnant is saved, how can such salvation therefore be by merit or by being deserved?

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
- Romans 11:6

7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which He seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
- Romans 11:7

So Israel in totality did not obtain the righteousness of God that they sought by working for in order to deserve it; but the elected ones (those selected by God's undeserved favour) did!

(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
- Romans 11:8

And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
- Romans 11:9

10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
- Romans 11:10

David had seen it as a prophet long before it happened and spoke of it in the above verses.

It was their rejection of the gospel of righteousness that earned them a spirit of slumber for that was what they DESERVED - their conscience fell asleep, or became totally unconscious of; and insensitive to the gospel of righteousness.

I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
- Romans 11:11

Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
- Romans 11:12

By their rejection of the gospel of righteousness, the rest of the world stood to profit from it.

But in addition to that, Paul argues that if the rejection of the gospel of righteousness by Israel brought about the same offer of salvation to the rest of the world, then imagine what the world would stand to gain if the whole of Israel were reconciled back to God!

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
- Romans 11:13

If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
- Romans 11:14

For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
- Romans 11:15

He answers his own question in the above verse; if Israel's rejection of the gospel brought salvation to the rest of the world, then the reconciliation of Israel back to God could only result in life from the dead for all - resurrection!

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
- Romans 11:16

The first fruit in the above verse refers to those who formed the beginnings or foundation of Israel - the Patriarchs; the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel from which Israel in its entirety sprang from.

Let's read that verse in a different version:

Now if the first handful of dough offered as the firstfruits [Abraham and the patriarchs] is consecrated (holy), so is the whole mass [the nation of Israel]; and if the root [Abraham] is consecrated (holy), so are the branches. [Num. 15:19-21.]
- Romans 11:16 AMPC

The first fruits therefore refer to those who first benefited from a relationship with God and it began with Abraham who first cut covenant with God.

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
- Romans 11:17

So now Paul illustrates his continuing argument with an image of a tree in which some branches were broken off in order to accommodate the grafting in of other branches that were not originally part of the tree in question.

That in essence is what God had to do in order to save the rest of the world.

Paul warns the newly converted Gentile nations not to become conceited and arrogant because they have now been preferred by God over Israel.

He reminds them that Israel still remains the root of God's tree into which they have now been grafted and therefore it is the root that still supports the tree, meaning that were it not for Israel's fall, they would not have been grafted in in the first place.

18Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense. If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root [that supports] you.

19You will say then, Branches were broken (pruned) off so that I might be grafted in! 20That is true. But they were broken (pruned) off because of their unbelief (their lack of real faith), and you are established through faith [because you do believe].

So do not become proud and conceited, but rather stand in awe and be reverently afraid.

21For if God did not spare the natural branches [because of unbelief], neither will He spare you [if you are guilty of the same offense].
- Romans 11:18‭-‬21 AMPC

If Israel - God's first beloved were not spared because of their unbelief, then neither shall we the Gentile nations.

If we also are found guilty of unbelief in that though we have accepted the gospel of righteousness but do not continue in it, then we also shall be discarded; for the sin of Israel was rejecting the gospel of righteousness which was accounted to them as unbelief just as the acceptance of God's promise was accounted to Abraham as righteousness.

The KJV says this:

20Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: Romans 11:20

21For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.
- Romans 11:21

So it was the sin of unbelief that brought about the fall of Israel and we have seen that particular unbelief to be the rejection of the gospel of righteousness.

We too should therefore be afraid of committing the same sin; for if we fail to CONTINUE in the gospel of righteousness which we have received, will we not also be found guilty of unbelief just like Israel?

In the Book of Revelation, Christ was ready to vomit the whole church of the Laodiceans out of his mouth because they were neither hot nor cold.

They had lost their faith and fallen into unbelief. They didn't even know what they believed anymore, hence they practised nothing of the principles of the doctrines of Christ who is our righteousness.

Paul continues...

22Then note and appreciate the gracious kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's gracious kindness to you–provided you continue in His grace and abide in His kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off (pruned away).

23And even those others [the fallen branches, Jews], if they do not persist in [clinging to] their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.

24For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and against nature grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much easier will it be to graft these natural [branches] back on [the original parent stock of] their own olive tree.

25Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and MYSTERY, brethren: a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in,
- Romans 11:22‭-‬25 AMPC

We are privileged by God but only if we continue in the grace and mercy he has offered us; but should we spurn his grace and take it for granted or should we count his long suffering towards us as slackness or as having an ever benign attitude towards his children then we will go the same way as Israel and our hearts (consciences) will begin to harden to the point where godly repentance becomes impossible.

Israel shall eventually be restored back to God but only after the preordained number of Gentiles have been brought into God's Kingdom.

Paul spoke of a MYSTERY surrounding Israel as pertaining to the hardening of their hearts.

You remember Noah's ark and how Noah and his family went into it along with the animals (two by two) till every kind of animal was represented in the ark?

It was not until after the number of animals were complete before destruction rained down upon the world of Noah.

Remember also that Noah was a preacher of righteousness and the people rejected the righteousness of God at that time too.

Who did Noah and his family represent or symbolize but Israel that was saved, and who did the animals that went in two by two represent but the Gentile nations that are currently being saved?

Thus as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be at the return of Christ.

37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
- Matthew 24:37

38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
- Matthew 24:38

39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
- Matthew 24:39

In Acts 10, Peter had a vision in which God showed him wild animals of every kind and asked him to kill and eat but Peter refused, saying he had never eaten an unclean thing before in his life; but God soon interpreted the vision to him to mean that he should never call any man unclean.

For our study purposes I have copied most of the story from that chapter so we can see how God used wild animals to represent the Gentiles as he once did in the days of Noah:

10And He became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, He fell into a trance,
- Acts 10:10

11And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
- Acts 10:11

12Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
- Acts 10:12

13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
- Acts 10:13

14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
- Acts 10:14

28And He said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
- Acts 10:28

We therefore see how God used wild animals to represent the Gentiles as he once did in the days of Noah.

So we see how that in every age the gospel of righteousness was preached to the world of that time.

It was preached to Noah's world ever before the existence of Israel.

Even in the days of Seth the son of Adam and Eve; they began to call on the name of the Lord, but who could have preached to them if not Seth?

And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and He called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
- Genesis 4:26

(The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
- 2 Peter 3:9)

Paul continues...

26And so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. [Isa. 59:20, 21.]

27And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins. [Isa. 27:9; Jer. 31:33.] From the point of view of the Gospel (good news), they [the Jews, at present] are enemies [of God], which is for your advantage and benefit.

(At a future time after the number of Gentiles have come into God's Kingdom, God will forgive their sins; but at present they remain the enemies of God for our sakes - because we have now been preferred over them by God.)

Paul continues...

28But from the point of view of God's choice (of election, of divine selection), they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers.

29For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]

(Just because God discarded them for unbelief does not mean that he has discarded them forever, because his calling them as his people is irrevocable as is his gift of righteousness to them.)

(So in due time God will restore them back to himself.)

The chapter continues...

30Just as you were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained [His] mercy, through their disobedience, 31So they also now are being disobedient [when you are receiving mercy], that they in turn may one day, through the mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy [that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you–through you as messengers of the Gospel to them].

32For God has consigned (penned up) all men to disobedience, only that He may have mercy on them all [alike].

33Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!

34For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has [ever] been His counselor? [Isa. 40:13, 14.]

35Or who has first given God anything that he might be paid back or that he could claim a recompense?

36For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it).
- Romans 11:26‭-‬36 AMPC

So God shows his fairness to all mankind in ensuring that no man - Jew or Gentile has any reason to boast about their self righteousness or a special relationship with God, seeing as how these things can easily lead to conceit and boastfulness against one's fellow man.




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Romans Chapter 12

You will recall that chapter 11 ended on a note of praise for the excellence of God's wisdom in that through the temporary falling away of Israel, was justified in reconciling to himself his former enemies - the gentile nations.

Paul had severely cautioned the gentile nations (to whom he was sent), not to become conceited in the knowledge that they have also become children of God by the falling away of Israel.

It is on this note and for this reason that he includes a THEREFORE in his opening statement of chapter 12, showing us the continuity from the previous chapter.

He admonishes us therefore that rather than indulge in conceit or an overestimation of our SELVES or our importance to God, we should instead present our bodies to him as living sacrifices.

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
- Romans 12:1

The Strong's Hebrew Concordance translates the Hebrew word for REASONABLE (LOGIKOJ, pronounced log-ik-os); as LOGICAL or agreeable to reason; meaning the LEAST we can do in gratitude to God is to present our bodies as living sacrifices.

This therefore is the base line or starting point of the Christian's life - to present his body as a living sacrifice to God.

You must understand that the body is inclusive of all its senses and faculties, hence in Chapter 6 we were instructed to present our members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
- Romans 6:13

If this was a reference only to our physical body parts then all we would have to worry about would be our hands, feet and head, but since Paul again has made it clear elsewhere that our bodies are the temples of God, it is obvious that our bodily temples include far more than the external shell of the body and embraces all that is contained within it.

But Paul is not done yet, for he goes on to explain further how the inward faculty of the mind which is the major governor of the body, should be presented as a living sacrifice - it is by its renewal.

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
- Romans 12:2

Because of this instruction on the renewal of the mind, Paul once again cautions on the tendency of the mind to think of itself more highly than it ought to.

3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to THINK of himself more highly than He ought to THINK; but to THINK soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
- Romans 12:3

4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
- Romans 12:4

5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
- Romans 12:5

Man has a tendency to elevate himself according to the measure of gifting, but here Paul warns us to think SOBERLY in proportion to the measure of faith God has given each of us.

This means that the greater the measure of faith we perceive in ourselves, the less we think of ourselves; for the fruit of humility is the evidence of such a measure of our faith. Because these verses are in particular reference to the mind, we know that he is referring to humility of the mind; for being humble and being proud are both opposing attitudes of the mind.

Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
- Acts 20:19

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
- 1 Peter 5:5

Romans chapter 12 continues with an exhortation to each of us to use the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to build up and support each other, having established in verses 3 - 5 that no gift is more important than the other, but each has its significance and purpose.

6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
- Romans 12:6

7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or He that teacheth, on teaching;
- Romans 12:7

8Or He that exhorteth, on exhortation: He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; He that ruleth, with diligence; He that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
- Romans 12:8

Did you notice that these gifts include some that are not directly mentioned in 1st Corinthians 12 the chapter relating to the gifts of the Spirit?

For instance we have mercy mentioned here as a gift but not mentioned in 1st Corinthians.

Giving also is specifically mentioned as a gift here as well and is not merged with the gift of Helps.

Ministry is also differentiated from teaching. Another version translates ministry simply as Service.

[He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching;
- Romans 12:7 AMPC

This I believe was the ministry given to Dorcas in the Acts of the Apostles.

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms-deeds which she did.
- Acts 9:36

Then Peter arose and went with them. When He was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
- Acts 9:39

In the following verses Paul continues to instruct us on how to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God:

9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
- Romans 12:9

Love must be in SINCERITY and not simulated or pretended. We are also reminded to hate iniquity and cleave to that which is good; in other words - RIGHTEOUSNESS, the very thing Christ did throughout his earthly walk.

Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
- Hebrews 1:9

In the next few verses Paul speaks of several things affecting our communal life as believers not only in relating to each other but also in conducting our business from where we derive our sources of income.

Such business whether as an employee or employer is to conducted with a FERVENT spirit.

10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
- Romans 12:10

11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
- Romans 12:11

Patience while we go through various trials is a virtue for as we read in chapter 5, it is the very tribulation or trials that we go through that produces in us the genuine fruit of the Spirit known as Patience, this indicating that while we may possess natural patience as a gift, we cannot develop spiritual patience without passing through trials.

(And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
- Romans 5:3)

12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
- Romans 12:12

Our fellowship with other believers is not limited to meeting to eat, drink and share the Word but must also extend to meeting the necessities or needs of the saints.

13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
- Romans 12:13

Even when we are persecuted, we are not permitted to ignore such persecutors but rather to bless them.

All these things are the means by which we present our bodies as living sacrifices to God.

14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
- Romans 12:14

15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
- Romans 12:15

Finally, Paul returns to his warnings that began in Chapter 11, reemphasizing the danger in allowing ourselves to get conceited or puffed up by our new relationship with God on the one hand; or by our gifts on the other hand.

16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
- Romans 12:16

We are warned not to MIND high things - things that will make us haughty, looking down at others because they have not attained to the same level of revelation we walk in, or the same level of education or finance or whatever it might be.

Paul is simply warning us against the danger of becoming proud in our minds and it is a recurring theme in this chapter and the previous, showing how prone we are to pride and conceited - pride being the beginning of the downfall of the believer since God resists the proud but gives GRACE (favour not deserved or earned) to the humble.

The point here is that God's grace is only reserved for those who keep themselves humble especially in relating with their fellow man whoever he/she may be.

17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
- Romans 12:17

18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
- Romans 12:18

19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
- Romans 12:19

20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if He thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
- Romans 12:20

21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
- Romans 12:21

This entire chapter should be read over and over again for it contains the elements of how we present our bodies as living sacrifices to God and consequently how we are to treat our bodies as temples of the living God.




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Romans Chapter 13

In the first five verses of this chapter, Paul addresses the issue of obedience to civil authority for the simple reason that there is no ruler, king, or government that exists that was not put in power by God.

The humbling thought in these verses is that people may have exercised their voting privileges but ultimately it is God who sovereignly determines who rules in the affairs of men.

1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
- Romans 13:1

Verse 1 commands every soul - (believer and unbeliever alike) to be in subjection or submission to the higher or ruling powers because all powers are ORDAINED or appointed by God.

The AMPC puts it this way:

LET EVERY person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God's appointment.
- Romans 13:1 AMPC

It is God who permits or sanctions all authorities on the earth.

It has been so from the beginning and will remain so till the end:

15By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
- Proverbs 8:15

16By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
- Proverbs 8:16

So if there is a tyrannical ruler in power, we should know that he is there by God's appointment and we ought to seek God's face to find out why and what can be done to win back God's favour, for clearly such a ruler is there for a purpose!

2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
- Romans 13:2

We are not even allowed to rebel against such leadership lest we be found rebelling against God himself and in so doing, receive damnation to ourselves!

3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
- Romans 13:3

Paul and many others were persecuted for their faith - for doing righteousness, not for doing good. Here, Paul insists that in spite of what obtained in his day, rulers were and still are not a terror to good works.

This is because Paul was differentiating between righteousness and simple goodness.

The former for which he and the Church were persecuted for and the latter in terms of civil law and justice.

It is the upholding of the law by citizens especially believers that Paul is here concerned about.

4For He is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for He beareth not the sword in vain: for He is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
- Romans 13:4

5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
- Romans 13:5

We must not just be loyal subjects that abide by the law because we fear the punishment that comes with the breaking of the law; but we must be law abiding for the sake of our conscience.

In other words, the breaking of civil law for believers becomes a spiritual matter that could lead to the hardening of the heart or conscience.

In all of this, we need to realize that it is God himself we are dealing with when we come face to face with civil law, and not merely the custodians and enforcers of the law.

To this end, Paul next addresses the issue of tax - the very area where most believers may be found wanting in the eyes of the law.

6For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
- Romans 13:6

7Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
- Romans 13:7

8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
- Romans 13:8

Believers are therefore instructed to pay all dues in every sphere of life including custom, respect, honour and so forth.

We must not be indebted to anyone in any of these areas and because these things are written in the Word, they become spiritual duties for all believers in the which it becomes sin should we fail to dishonour the Word of God in any of these spheres.

Paul then explains further how all of this boils down to one simple law - to love one's neighbour as much as one loves him/herself, no less no more.

9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
- Romans 13:9

10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
- Romans 13:10

By the exercise of love towards all men, everything in the previous verses would be fulfilled.

In the following verses, Paul gives reasons why we should take these words the more seriously.

He is trying to wake us up from sleep - the inebriation we as believers have sunken into by reason of our habitual interaction with the world so much so that it has dulled our spiritual senses and we carry on daily living much like the worldlings among whom we live and interact with.

11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
- Romans 13:11

Believers still cloak themselves in works of darkness which they ought to cast off in favour of the armour of light.

(In Ephesians 6, we read about this armour - the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness and so forth).

12The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
- Romans 13:12

Our daily living is called to question here and strife, envying, rioting, dishonesty are all listed in the following verse as examples of the works of darkness that we should cast off, but the list is by no means exhaustive, for if we study Galatians 5:19-21 we will find a far more comprehensive list of the works of darkness we are to cast off.

13Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
- Romans 13:13

There is a very real danger in glossing over the words of this chapter lightly; yet they will be the very things that will cost many believers their access into the Kingdom of God.

14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
- Romans 13:14

Christ is the new man we are to put on and in doing so we are instructed not to give any opportunity for the fulfilling of the desires of the flesh.

All such bridges as will encourage a return to self indulgence of any form must therefore be burnt and destroyed such that it becomes impossible to return to who we once were, or what we once did.




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Romans Chapter 14

The Epistles were not originally written in chapter and verse format, that was done by the translators to make the Epistles more organised.

The Epistles are letters so we should expect that the chapters are not necessarily new topics of discussion but rather a continuation of the previous one.

So Paul ended chapter 13 with these words:

14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
- Romans 13:14

We know that he was referring to the mature believer because chapter 14 begins with words referring to immature or young believers - babes in the Faith.

1AS FOR the man who is a weak believer, welcome him [into your fellowship], but not to criticize his opinions or pass judgment on his scruples or perplex him with discussions.

2One [man's faith permits him to] believe he may eat anything, while a weaker one [limits his] eating to vegetables.

3Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed him.
- Romans 14:1‭-‬3 AMPC

With these words Paul makes it clear that believers are at different levels of spiritual growth and what a man may eat depends on what his faith will permit.

In other words, if a man believes that there is no sin in eating meat he is free to eat meat; but if another perhaps by reason of upbringing believes that it is wrong to eat meat then if he does eat meat because he sees another brother eat it, he has sinned.

You see, the sin is not in the rightness or wrongness of the eating of meat but rather in one's belief system - what one has been taught to believe and for this reason Paul strongly warns believers not to ridicule or question a man's beliefs concerning the eating of food.

This gives us a new perspective on the meaning of faith - it is what our conscience condemns or approves!

Verse 2 above might as well have said "one man's conscience permits him to believe he may eat anything..."

Often times there are things we see others doing and places they go to but we know within ourselves that it would be wrong for us to do or go there even though we can find no scriptural evidence of the rightness or wrongness of such things or places - this is our faith in action; it is also guarded and guided by our conscience.

So when the Bible says 'Faith works by love'; we should therefore understand that it is in reference to obeying the commandments of God that have already been engraved in our hearts at the new birth.

Christ said in the Gospel of John; "If you LOVE me KEEP (or obey) my commandments".

Thus by heeding our conscience and obeying the Faith that permits or disallows us, then indeed faith is working by love.

In this entire chapter Paul addresses the issue of criticism in all its negative ramifications.

He does not condemn the exposing of sin but rather he condemns the criticism of beliefs that are not foundational to our salvation - days considered to be holy or 'worship' days, what we eat and drink; he refers to things pertaining to the daily living of life.

4Who are you to pass judgment on and censure another's household servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to support him and make him stand.

5One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind.

6He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

7None of us lives to himself [but to the Lord], and none of us dies to himself [but to the Lord, for] 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.

9So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord. For Christ died and lived again for this very purpose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
- Romans 14:4‭-‬9 AMPC

His goal is to establish the fact that each man or woman is directly responsible to God for the life he/she lives, not to his fellow man.

Clearly there must have been several arguments about these matters in the Early Church and Paul had to draw a line between things that were essential to salvation and things that were not.

He leaves every man to his faith to determine how to live in the matters that are non essential to salvation.

We both live and die unto Christ says Paul and that speaks volumes about our OWNERSHIP. We BELONG or are OWNED by Christ and therefore whether we stand or fall is not another Man's responsibility but Christ's who is able to make the fallen stand again!

10Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother?

Paul describes the criticism of another's life style as a form of despising him or looking down on him just because he does not fit into one's way of living.

You must remember that from the beginning of this chapter Paul has been addressing the relationship between mature and immature believers - they are not necessarily on operating on the same level of faith and therefore Christ does not treat them the same way.

What he will permit for the babe in Christ may not be permitted for the mature believer and we should think in the same way and be more understanding towards the brethren who are still being fed on milk!

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God [acknowledge Him to His honor and to His praise]. [Isa. 45:23.]

12And so each of us shall give an account of himself [give an answer in reference to judgment] to God.

13Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:10‭-‬13 AMPC

As we shall see in a few verses from now, the issue of criticism was all about food and drink and Paul had to address it because it was beginning to discourage some and cause divisions within the Body.

Mature believers should therefore understand that there are certain things that are not worth arguing over as they are not fundamental to our salvation.

I hate to bring this up here but I do believe in retrospect that the matter of tithing is one such subject that is non essential to our salvation.

Whether we tithe or not will have no bearing upon who is saved or not.

We should learn to discern between matters essential to salvation and matters that are not, for there are many who are still weak in the faith and must not be discouraged or turned away just because we have known the truth in certain areas and they have not.

Paul continues...

14I know and am convinced (persuaded) as one in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is [forbidden as] essentially unclean (defiled and unholy in itself). But [none the less] it is unclean (defiled and unholy) to anyone who thinks it is unclean.

15But if your brother is being pained or his feelings hurt or if he is being injured by what you eat, [then] you are no longer walking in love. [You have ceased to be living and conducting yourself by the standard of love toward him.]
- Romans 14:14-15 AMPC

We wound the feelings of the babes in Christ when we boldly make mockery of the things they still hold sacred and this is fertile ground for the breeding of enmity between brethren.

So while we can share things among ourselves we must neither argue with nor condemn those who cannot digest the truth, Christ is able to make them stand!

Even though Paul primarily refers to physical food yet by the same reasoning it applies also to the spiritual milk or meat of the Word.

If we do not stop, then we have stopped living by the standards of God's love!

Paul continues...

Do not let what you eat hurt or cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died! 16Do not therefore let what seems good to you be considered an evil thing [by someone else]. [In other words, do not give occasion for others to criticize that which is justifiable for you.]

17[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

18He who serves Christ in this way is acceptable and pleasing to God and is approved by men.
- Romans 14:16-‬18 AMPC

19So let us then definitely aim for and eagerly pursue what makes for harmony and for mutual upbuilding (edification and development) of one another.

20You must not, for the sake of food, undo and break down and destroy the work of God! Everything is indeed [ceremonially] clean and pure, but it is wrong for anyone to hurt the conscience of others or to make them fall by what he eats.

21The right thing is to eat no meat or drink no wine [at all], or [do anything else] if it makes your brother stumble or hurts his conscience or offends or weakens him.

22Your personal convictions [on such matters]–exercise [them] as in God's presence, keeping them to yourself [striving only to know the truth and obey His will]. Blessed (happy, to be envied) is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves [who does not convict himself by what he chooses to do].

23But the man who has doubts (misgivings, an uneasy conscience) about eating, and then eats [perhaps because of you], stands condemned [before God], because he is not true to his convictions and he does not act from faith.

For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful].
- Romans 14:19‭-‬23 AMPC

In conclusion, Paul appears to be far more concerned with keeping the bond of peace in the unity of the Spirit and so should we.

The conscience is a powerful faculty of man's spirit that should not be taken lightly, for as long as one is honest and sincere before God, the truth will always surface sooner or later in his life.

Be your brother's keeper, not his custodian.




To: Table of CONTENTS

Romans Chapter 15

Paul still continues from the previous chapter with his theme on how the mature believer should relate in love with the immature or weak believer so as not to wound their conscience or destroy their faith.

1We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
- Romans 15:1

2Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
- Romans 15:2

3For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
- Romans 15:1-3

Our main interest should be on how to please our neighbour (or brethren in Christ), for the purpose of building them up in the Faith.

This means that even if we know beyond any shadow of doubt that a certain thing is and spiritually right, we cannot impose it on the weak brother or sister but rather come down to their level and stay within the boundaries of their Faith at least while we are with them.

The AMPC explains it clearly:

WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [WE OUGHT TO HELP CARRY THE DOUBTS AND QUALMS OF OTHERS] AND NOT TO PLEASE OURSELVES.
- Romans 15:1 AMPC

So Paul says in 1 Corinthians:

Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
- 1 Corinthians 8:13

There is obviously nothing wrong with eating meat, but if a weaker believer sees me eating meat then he might be emboldened to do the same and in so doing though I have not sinned by eating meat; I have caused my brother to sin by eating meat and he will continue to sin by eating meat because I exercised my liberty in the faith without thought for others who are not so strong because of the spiritual background they are coming from.

4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
- Romans 15:4

5Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
- Romans 15:5

6That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Romans 15:6

7Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
- Romans 15:7

Paul prays that we be like minded towards each other, so what does he mean?

It means that we put ourselves always in our brother or sister's position before taking decisions on matters relating to faith so we don't cause them to stumble and sin.

It is in this way that we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God.

Praising God is also dependent on being in one accord with all whom we relate with as brethren - weak or strong.

So Paul in verse 7 encourages us to receive one another (that is, to accept one another regardless of where each of us stands in our level of faith); just as Christ too has accepted us at our various levels of faith to God's glory.

At this point Paul changes his topic to something else.

8Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
- Romans 15:8

The circumcision refers to Israel - they are the ones whom God cut covenant with by means of circumcision.

Christ was sent to them not to the Gentile nations. He was their minister or servant to fulfil the promise made to the Fathers .

9And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
- Romans 15:9

The Gentiles had reason to glorify God for his mercy in that even though they were not covenanted to God by circumcision, the mercy of God still accepted them in the Beloved (Christ).

For this reason the Gentile nations have reason to rejoice and to praise the Lord. But Paul does not say this lightly or religiously.

What he means is that we Gentiles having been given the opportunity to receive eternal life that was previously only meant for Israel; should use eternal life wisely in living a life of praise unto the Lord.

10And again He saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
- Romans 15:10

11And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
- Romans 15:11

12And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
- Romans 15:12

The above verse refers to Jesus Christ who has now become both King and Saviour of the Gentiles.

13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
- Romans 15:13

The hope Paul refers to in the above verse is a trust in God's power to fill us with all joy and peace in BELIEVING.

Notice that God is referred to as THE GOD OF HOPE; meaning he is the God who makes us ABOUND IN HOPE by filling us with joy and peace.

The process of BELIEVING requires being filled with joy and peace and these virtues God gives to every believer.

14And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
- Romans 15:14

Paul assumes that we are not only filled with goodness towards each other, but that we are also filled with all knowledge.

Deep familiarity with the word of God and the practice of it are implied here!

15Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
- Romans 15:15

16That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
- Romans 15:16

17I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
- Romans 15:17

Paul is Christ's minister peculiarly to us the Gentile nations and by studying his writings and practising them, we are being offered up to Christ as an acceptable offering that is sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

This tallies with Romans 12:1

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
- Romans 12:1

There is therefore a double interpretation of Paul's words - by the practice of the word of God given to Paul for the Gentile nations, we ourselves are presenting our BODIES as living sacrifices holy (or sanctified by the Holy Spirit) and acceptable to God.

In verse 16 Paul confirms himself as the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentile Nations to prepare them as a suitable offering to Christ, and in verse 17 (where we stopped); Paul says his work or service to God gives him legitimate cause to exult in what he has accomplished through Christ.

In Christ Jesus, then, I have legitimate reason to glory (exult) in my work for God [in what through Christ Jesus I have accomplished concerning the things of God].
- Romans 15:17 AMPC

The work he has been doing as a minister of Christ to the Gentiles involved making the Gentiles obedient to Christ in word and deed.

This is the work the word does in our lives if it is truly preached and believed - to make us obedient.

But Paul didn't just preach the word, signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit followed him as an apostle of Christ

18For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
- Romans 15:18

19Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
- Romans 15:19

He was constantly traveling to preach the gospel of Christ, this was full time ministry for him and he obviously funded himself because his method was to never burden people.

And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
- 2 Corinthians 11:9

Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not your's but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
- 2 Corinthians 12:14

But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.
- 2 Corinthians 12:16

His only interest was to preach the gospel and make the Gentiles obedient in word and to Christ.

People should never be burdened with the funding of the gospel, at least that was Paul's philosophy.

But he mentions further proof of his apostleship as preaching the gospel where the name of Christ has never been heard; risking his life to go to such unknown places not knowing if he would be well received or attacked or kicked out.

20Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
- Romans 15:20

21But as it is written, To whom He was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
- Romans 15:21

22For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
- Romans 15:22

This was the reason why he had not been able to visit the Gentile Church in Rome - because of his travels.

It had taken several years to preach all over till there was nowhere left for him to go.

23But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;
- Romans 15:23

24Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.
- Romans 15:24

25But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
- Romans 15:25

Paul then turned his attention to the church in Jerusalem where he went to minister to the saints by way of taking contributions from the church in Macedonia and Achaia.

Paul was a servant to the core and teaches us much in these verses about what and who a minister really is.

26For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
- Romans 15:26

27It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
- Romans 15:27

28When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.
- Romans 15:28

Paul went as far as Spain to preach the word and still found time to deliver contributions to needy churches!

He was scrupulously honest with the offerings entrusted to him.

In all this, the one thing that stands out for me is the selflessness of Paul; showing just how much he had dealt with his flesh and how much the Spirit of God ruled and owned him - he was completely sold out to Christ!

Whereas selfishness marks the presence of the Old Man, selflessness evidences the presence of the new man.

The more we mature in the Lord, the more selflessness should be evident in our lives.

29And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
- Romans 15:29

30Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;
- Romans 15:30

31That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;
- Romans 15:31

He only asked for the prayers of the Church not for money or anything personal, but so that he would not be held prisoner by unbelievers in Judaea which would prevent him from continuing the work of preaching the gospel.

32That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.
- Romans 15:32

33Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
- Romans 15:33

It is very clear that Paul's life and ministry should be something every minister of the gospel should study and emulate.

If we call ourselves ministers of Christ then this is our standard.




To: Table of CONTENTS

Romans Chapter 16

Paul uses this final chapter to show his appreciation to the many believers who not only have supported him over long periods of time, but have also risked their lives for him and sacrificed for the church.

He mentions them one by one, in most cases stating exactly why he needed to acknowledge them.

Phebe was a sister and he describes her as a SERVANT OF THE CHURCH; not in the sense that we might use it today - meaning serving within the temples built by men, but rather a servant or minister of the brethren who constituted the Church.

She was a servant of no local church that could be identified with a name tag, she was a servant of the church at CENCHREA.

That is to say, she was a servant of ALL the believers residing at Cenchrea

Churches were only identified by the location of believers, not the location of buildings; that is because the believers themselves were the Church.

1I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
- Romans 16:1

2That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
- Romans 16:2

Paul wrote this letter to the Church at Rome; meaning that if and whenever Phebe visited Rome, they should give her all the support she needed because she was coming for one purpose only - to be a succourer or helper of many!

3Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
- Romans 16:3

4Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
- Romans 16:4

5Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
- Romans 16:5

In the above verses, Paul sends his regards to Priscilla and Aquila who both risked their necks at one time or the other to save Paul's life.

Paul adds that his regards should also be extended to THE CHURCH THAT IS IN THEIR HOME.

Was he referring to the furniture? No! He was extending his regards to the brethren - that is; the CHURCH that met in the home of Aquila and Priscilla.

This clarifies a lot of things as to how the Church was understood by the Early Church.

The Church was simply the brethren that assembled in one place and usually that place was a home - nothing fancy, just a small home seeing as how not many among the brethren were wealthy:

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
- 1 Corinthians 1:26

Churches (or believers) met in homes in every city. A Church referred to the brethren, nothing more.

It was the reason why no special importance was attached to where they met - no sign posts.

It was never about the place where they met, it was about who was meeting.

It wasn't a "Come worship with us!" scenario; it was about fellowship - where believers could eat together and share their spiritual gifts together.

Obviously it had to be a SMALL gathering for this to be achieved or how else would they have practiced the following scripture?

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, EVERY ONE of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
- 1 Corinthians 14:26

If a pastor, apostle or any other ministry gift was in their midst he had to take his turn, he dared not take over the meeting and take up all the time; it was a meeting where EVERYONE had something to say!

It was MANDATORY - EVERYONE HAD TO HAVE SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FELLOWSHIP!

If EVERYONE was not allowed to say something then clearly ALL things were not being done unto edifying!

This was a fellowship among equals - everyone came to learn NOT from ONE man but from EVERYONE!

6Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
- Romans 16:6

7Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
- Romans 16:7

8Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
- Romans 16:8

9Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
- Romans 16:9

10Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.
- Romans 16:10

11Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
- Romans 16:11

This list of names represent those who laboured much among the brethren and FOR the brethren, whom Paul recognized as HELPERS of the brethren.

In verse 11 above, he extends his greetings to the household of Narcissus - this is another reference to the church in Narcissus' home. The brethren who met there daily.

This is the Church at Rome that Paul has been breaking down into homes and households, not buildings with name tags that portray a particular church's philosophy or brand of religious worship; displayed proudly on huge billboards all across the city and displaying the IMAGES of their SET MEN and SENIOR PASTORS and BISHOPS and what have you!

They advertise their many programs and display larger than life IMAGES of their guest ministers whom God will supposedly use to bring "deliverance", "anointing" and "revelation" to the "spiritually ignorant masses" who apparently keep learning but never ever come to the knowledge of the truth!

They forget that the scriptures are NOT their personal property but that ALL have EQUAL access to God's power to save and deliver and heal through the PREACHING OF THE CROSS AND THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST!!!

12Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
- Romans 16:12

13Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
- Romans 16:13

14Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
- Romans 16:14

15Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
- Romans 16:15

16Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
- Romans 16:16

Did you see that? The CHURCHES OF CHRIST salute you! That was the only identification tag they had or needed - they were collectively THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST - not the Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic Churches, just simply the Churches of Christ!

If Paul could remember each person's name in the Church at Rome and at Cenchrea, it speaks volumes about the DECENTRALIZATION of power such that the brethren THEMSELVES were in absolute control of their meetings as the Spirit of God led them.

Indeed POWER MUST CHANGE HANDS, but only from the pastor to the people!

Which is why Paul penned the very next verse, for many had been seeking a FOLLOWERSHIP of their own.

We read about them in Corinthians where some wanted to be of Paul, others of Apollos and so forth - even as far back as that time, they had begun to heap up teachers to themselves.

These were the ones who wanted to cause divisions in the Body of Christ for which Paul said NOTE ALL SUCH PEOPLE and have NOTHING to do with them!

17Now I beseech you, brethren, MARK THEM which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
- Romans 16:17

What they teach and practice is CONTRARY to the doctrine of Christ - the doctrine that the apostles taught.

He says we should AVOID THEM!

18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
- Romans 16:18

They have a hidden agenda of their own - they seek their own self advancement and material progress but will deceive you by words and speeches that sound SINCERE and RIGHTEOUS, but you must AVOID THEM!

Peter too warned us about them:

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
- 2 Peter 2:3

19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
- Romans 16:19

20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
- Romans 16:20

21Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
- Romans 16:21

22I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
- Romans 16:22

According to Church history, Tertius was a kind of secretary to Paul who often wrote down what Paul said in his letters to the churches.

23Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
- Romans 16:23

It seems Gaius was not only Paul's host but also the host of the entire Church at Rome - not the pastor but the HOST!

Pastors cared for the brethren, that was the nature of their calling - CARE GIVERS; the modern Church has however redefined it to mean something else.

(Oh the modern Church has so many things to answer for on the day of judgment!)

It appears Gaius was a travelling companion of Paul at some point or the other and also that Paul baptized one Gaius as well; but it is not clear if it is one and the same Gaius referred to in all the scriptures.

Here is a list of scriptures where Gaius is mentioned for your own private study:

A Christian, Gaius is mentioned in Macedonia as a traveling companion of Paul, along with Aristarchus (Acts 19:29).

One chapter later, Gaius who has a residence in Derbe is named as one of Paul's seven traveling companions who waited for him at Troas (Acts 20:4).

Gaius is mentioned as having a residence in Corinth as being one of only a few people there (the others being Crispus and the household of Stephanas) who were baptised by Paul, who founded the Church in that city (1
-
- Corinthians 1:14).

Gaius is referred to in a final greeting portion of the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:23) as Paul's "host" and also host of the whole church, in whatever city Paul is writing from at the time. In all likelihood, this was Corinth.

24The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
- Romans 16:24

25Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
- Romans 16:25

26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
- Romans 16:26

27To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
- Romans 16:27

God is able to establish us (to make us stable, rooted and grounded) ACCORDING TO the gospel (which by now we all know to be the teaching of the cross - God's power of salvation), and the preaching of Jesus Christ (that is; the doctrine of Christ).

This brings us to the end of our study of the Book of Romans.

Keep studying the word especially the Epistles for there is much we still have to UNLEARN before we can LEARN!

GOD BLESS YOU GREATLY!!!




Table of CONTENTS

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Copyright

Romans Chapter 1

Romans Chapter 2

Romans Chapter 3

Romans Chapter 4

Romans Chapter 5

Romans Chapter 6

Romans Chapter 7

Romans Chapter 8 Part 1

Romans Chapter 8 Part 2

Romans Chapter 9 Part 1

Romans Chapter 9 Part 2

Romans Chapter 10

Romans Chapter 11

Romans Chapter 12

Romans Chapter 13

Romans Chapter 14

Romans Chapter 15

Romans Chapter 16