All posts by Henry / Audrey

Romans 3

Paul goes on to teach us about the Justice and Faithfulness of God.  “What good is it to be a Jew? “ he asks.  The Jewish nation were God’s chosen people, and even though many denied Christ and so failed to inherit the salvation which was freely offered, they remained privileged in that they had received the Word of God which led them to the salvation of Jesus Christ.  They received the offer of salvation, but like the gentiles if they do not receive it in faith it is futile and they will die with the rest of the unbelievers.  But some say, that if we sin than God’s righteousness is shown ever in greater amount.  This of course the apostle opposes and points out that the condemnation of unbelievers is just and therefore sin is not to be encouraged.

Paul goes on to describe the nature of man.  Quoting from various passages in the Old Testament, he lets everyone know that Man is totally depraved.  There is no good to be found in man.  This is a hard truth for man to accept.

Many today would have you believe that Man still has some good in him.  That he is able to choose a good thing.  That man can in fact participate in his own salvation by “choosing” Christ.   Paul here unequivocally describes Man’s sinful nature as totally depraved.  Paul demonstrates this in verse 12:

“All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good not even one”

Therefore no matter what we do, we will daily increase our debt towards God.  So by trying to keep the law, we cannot be saved.

The solution, Paul says, is to receive righteousness through Jesus Christ.  Jesus took upon himself the punishment of all sins and paid the debt that God’s justice demanded.   This righteousness comes solely from God.  It does not involve the work of mankind.  Christ died to pay for our sins, and also for the sins of those who passed away in Old Testament times, for God had delayed punishment of those sins until Christ’s time had come.   We see here God’s mercy at work, suffering the sins of his people over all those ages, in order that they may still be saved by the sacrifice of Christ.  Remember that here we also learn that sins are not just wiped away, as if they did not matter.  No they were paid for by the blood and suffering of Christ.

So there is no reason to boast.   We have done nothing to earn our salvation.  It was God’s grace.   We simply have to accept the Gospel message by faith.  And that will lead us to change the way we live.  More and more we will live in accordance to God’s Law, and Will.  And this is a process that will last a life time until we finally reach Heaven and live with Christ in perfection.

THIS IS THE GOSPEL that convinced Luther to question the Roman Catholic theology of being saved by Christ but also by doing penance.  This gospel sets us free from the confines of Man’s limitations to do good, and allows us to look solely to Jesus Christ for our salvation.   It is a gift from God merely out of Grace.  Because He loved us.

THAT IS THE GOOD NEWS OF THE BIBLE.  Available to all who believe.

Romans 1

Introduction to the first chapter of the letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome.  (circa 57AD)

 

Paul begins by introducing himself.  He is a servant of Jesus Christ and an apostle.  These are qualities that give him authority to proclaim the truth of God’s message, and then also to demand respect or attention back.

He is a servant of Jesus Christ.  Not just any Jesus, but he who was Christ – that means “anointed”.  It is His message that he brings.  Paul goes on to describe Jesus Christ as having been promised in the time throughout the Old Testament days.  As one who had dual natures.  Paul explains that as to his human nature he was the son of King David, but as to his divine nature he was called the Son of God.  This dual nature of Christ is important when we talk about who can possible take away the sins of the world.

Paul then goes on to explain that he had longed to come to Rome for a long time, but was prevented from doing so.  It is a good indication that Paul did not do all the work just on his own, but that God directed his path.  We see in other places where God for example urges Paul to go to Macedonia.  So Paul was a tool in the hand of God to bring the message of salvation to the Gentiles  (Non-Jews). Paul then ends this portion of the letter with a beautiful description of this task

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[b]

 

At this point Paul begins bringing his message of salvation. From verse 18 on, he begins to expound the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He begins with explaining why we need a saviour.  He begins to point out why God is angry.  Paul points out that mankind could easily know God, because he can be seen in all of creation, and in the way he continues to govern the universe.  So men are without excuse.  But instead of glorifying and thanking God, man chose to live apart from God.  They traded in the wisdom that God had given them for foolishness.  Instead of serving a living and almighty God they made images of animals and other created things to worship.  They worshipped creatures instead of the creator.  Since they did not deem God’s gifts worthy of them, God gave them over to their own desires and lusts.  They did unspeakable things with one another as a result plunged themselves into all kinds of sins, further and further away from God’s will and wisdom.  This of course applies to all of us, and is the reason why we all need salvation.

 

We can see many of the things that Paul talks about in our society all around us.  Not only those who do the sins, but also those who approve of them.  In this respect we can talk about abortion, gay rights, war, poverty, drugs and many other sins.  We must however remember that there is no degree of sin.  All sin is wrong, so it it not my intent to pick on gays  or abortion as only being wrong, but also many other things such as gluttony etc.  We all have sinned and so we all stand in need of salvation through Jesus Christ.

 

After this introduction you may have some questions and you may pose those on the chat at this website.  Every Wednesday from 7:30 to 8:30 we gather with anyone who wants to join to discuss yours and other questions.

Is this the year?

Many thoughts swirl through our minds as one year fades away and another begins.  Memories  – good and bad – of the year just past mixed with questions about the year ahead.Is this the year?

Is this the year of new beginnings … a new career, a new marriage, a new baby?

Is this the year of endings…a job you never liked, children leaving home, the death of a loved one?

Is this the year?

Is this the year of global stability…or of global calamity?

OR is this the year when you take the time to confront some of the big questions in your life?

Why am I here?

Where am I going?

Does it even matter?

Is this the year you discover God’s meaning for your life? It could be.  Read your Bible; pray to  God; join a Bible study; come to church.  This could be the year that will make the difference for  all eternity!

God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son that whoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life! (John 3:16)

By Sarah & Lyn