Re: Verse reading–Romans 4:1-25 (day three)
“Abraham believed God.” Paul was conversant enough with the intellectual traditions of the ancient world that he undoubtedly knew the questions that had vexed thinkers for centuries: What is the good life? How does one become a truly good person? Paul would have asked those questions this way: What enables a man to live like God does–loving, pure, true, good, giving, and whole (in short, righteous)? In answering that question, Paul recalls Genesis 15, and points out that living like God lives starts with faith. It starts with believing what God says. Until we do that, nothing else will help us.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 4:1-25 (day two) ..yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. vs. 20-21
Stories and an unbelievable promise. These are the things that Abraham had available to him. Stories that he had heard of creation, the corruption of men and the flood. Nothing written, no law, no system of religion, and now came this far-fetched promise that God would bless the offspring of a centenarian! What did in Abraham’s world gave him the courage to follow this absurd promise?
Something in those stories he had heard as a child resonated in him when he was issued this promise. Something in the presentation of the messengers gave him a taste of the authority of God, but it was his faith that was credited to him as righteousness. We have so much more of a broad picture than Abraham could have ever imagined, but all that is truly necessary is trusting in the Almighty to deliver on his promise. Can we throw away all that would hinder us from seeing with Abraham’s eyes. Trust and believe.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 4:1-25 (day one)
“What then shall we say that Abraham, our father has found?”–v 1.
Don’t believe the commercial. The true title belongs to someone else. About the Bible rather than beer. Truly, the most interesting man in the world.
His name is Abraham. Three world religions point back to his story as the foundation of their concept of God. Judaism. Christianity. Islam. He changed the world more than any army that ever marched. His impact is still felt. We are his offspring. He is our father.
What did Abraham find? That God is trustworthy. That the foundation of the human responsibility is to conclude this basic moral fact and then to genuinely trust Him. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3, Genesis 15:6)
Why is Abraham so fascinating? Because his life illustrates the same powerful principle by which God still saves men. He is the most interesting man in the world.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day seven)
“But now a righteousness from God. . .has been made known. . . [which] comes through faith in Jesus Christ”–v 21-22. For three chapters, Paul has described what “was”. A sad picture. Honest. Hard to hear. The fair judgement of God on the human race. Gentiles. Jews. “But now” he says with great energy and excitement! Something new. The righteousness of God. That righteousness that God intrinsically has. That righteousness that He requires of all who would be part of His Kingdom.
The riddle is solved! (Mercy offered) How could God be merciful to people who did not deserve it? How could He love those who had not loved Him and, at the same time, maintain His own Holy standards? Christ is the solution to this problem that no human could have imagined.
Christ became our redeemer. Christ became our propitiation. His blood paid our debt.
In ages past, this wasn’t clear. BUT NOW it is!
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day six)
The Law declared the righteousness of God by contrast. Up against the Law, the starkness of our own brokenness and idolatry, only ever served to draw attention to the righteousness of God. The Law was both microscope and telescope; bringing into view the fissures left in the wake of our idolatry, as well as bringing into proper view the true immensity of God’s righteousness. It could never bring life or restoration to dead and dying things; it was never meant to. This is why Paul tells us that the Law and Prophets(v. 21) always pointed to the righteousness of Jesus, the very image of the invisible God, and the fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17).
And so we rejoice, not in the doing of the Law, but in Jesus. He is the cornerstone, the glory of God, and our righteousness by grace through faith!
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day five)
Romans 3:23 is a good reminder that God looks at the human race far differently than I do. It is easy is to compare my sins to the sins of others. I imagine that some sins are worse or more deplorable than others. The scripture leaves NO room for that kind of thinking/reasoning. There are no “unsatisfactory, poor, satisfactory“ levels of sin. I remember asking a group of students how many of you are included in the group “all”. Everyone raised a hand. Of course that’s the point isn’t it? All of us, each of us, belong in this group!! No grades or progress reports are given. Everyone has failed- a discouraging thought indeed.
But, the despair of the “all” in verse 23 finds great hope in the “all” in verse 22. (Look it up). The righteousness of God needed by all (Romans 3:23) “who have sinned”, is offered to all (Romans 3:22) “through faith in Christ”.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day four)
It is not often we see a snowflake in Texas, but it is said that there are no two alike. God is a creative genius. Flowers, stars, animals, and people…God has endless creativity. One thing though is common with all people…we have all sinned against God. We have all disobeyed His commands and have chosen our own will rather than His. Something else is common to man, forgiveness for our sin is available by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the only way we can be justified and it is available to all men. Jews, Gentiles…rich, poor…good, bad…God’s grace reaches to every man, woman, or child who places their faith in Jesus Christ. There is nothing…absolutely nothing…that we can do to earn our salvation. It is a gift from God. Faith in Christ is the key to the grace of God. Have you received His forgiveness?
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day three)
“We uphold the law.” The law of God sums up, in terms human minds can understand, the way the universe actually works, physically and spiritually. The universe still works in the same way, and the law is still God’s word about those workings, Paul says. It has not stopped being true. It enabled the formation of a people–the nation of Israel–but the law was never going to be scalable to the kind of future God designed for the human race. Through Christ, who came from that nation, God subjected himself to his own law–and lived where all others would have died. God spoke to Israel through his law, and it is the truth. God has now spoken to Israel and to the whole world through Jesus Christ, and he is the truth. Hear him. Believe him.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day two)
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. vs. 21
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have know what sin was except through the law. Romans 7:7
70, 75, 80, 85 – don’t you just love Texas highways? Somebody seems to have figured out that if you have 800+ miles of interstate from East to West, you will be helped to get where you are going if you can get on down the road. For this, I am grateful. But why do those signs exist? Clearly they are they to remind, or sometimes simply inform you of how fast you are legally allowed to go as you travel. So, if you are at or below those speeds does that make you a good driver? No, it just means you obeyed that particular law. Good driving is about courtesy, defensive driving, awareness in addition to abiding by the rules of the road. The idea of abolishing those rules would be foolish.
The law continues to be our guide for moral behavior, but it is insufficient on its own to guarantee salvation. Keeping the law is an essential step in nourishing our faith. Together they build our story of being a good driver, or Christian.
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day one)
“There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”–v 23. Remember the old Randy Newman song? “Short people got no reason to live” sings the catchy melody. He (Randy) says it was about prejudice. “Short people are the same as you and I”, sings a later verse.
Paul says that all of us are short people. From God’s perspective. From the vantage point of what we were made to be. We have fallen short. Way short.
Humans do NOT achieve God’s lofty dream–not individually, not collectively. HIS glory is not even our ambition. “They did not honor Him nor did they give Him thanks.” Trashed the environment. Blamed others. Served self.
“The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”–Genesis 6:6
Consider His great mercy in sending His Son! We fell short. He stood tall.