1. Paul had been hand-picked by Jesus to be an apostle; he was called to be an apostle, and he was separated unto the gospel of God. The apostle Paul was also chosen by the Holy Spirit to write more of the New Testament then anyone else. But Paul never became arrogant as we see in this very first verse where he calls himself a servant.
Jesus uses Christians who have a servant's heart. Jesus uses Christians who do not seek great things for themselves, but do all things for the glory of God.
2. Back in the Old Testament, hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, God promised that he would send a Savior to pay for the sins of man.
3. Jesus is one person with two natures. He has a human nature and a divine nature. Jesus is 100% God and he is 100% man. His human nature came from the royal line of David through his mother Mary.
4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the father's way of saying, Jesus is my son.
5. Obedience comes from faith. Trying to obey God without putting your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation is a waste of time.
This is the order which has been ordained by God: first you repent of your sins and you put your faith in the cross of Christ which paid for your sins, and then you live out your faith with good works. That's the way it needs to be if one is going to be saved.
We are saved by faith, by grace, and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, but the Bible also says that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. In other words serve Jesus out of appreciation for his death on the cross which purchased your forgiveness and reconciliation to the father.
6. If you belong to Christ because you trust in his death on the cross than the reason you you are doing that is because God called you to be one of his own people. God wanted you, and that's why you felt the need to trust Christ, and it is why you are trusting Christ right now.
People have a free will to choose Jesus or reject him, and yet the Bible is clear that if one does choose to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior it is only because God has called them to do it. If we understand that then we will appreciate God more than ever because we will realize that without him and his grace working in us we would never have turned to Christ and received eternal life.
7. A saint is someone who has repented of their sins and asked Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.
We don't become saints by being good enough; we become saints by trusting in Jesus Christ and receiving him into our life as Lord and Savior knowing that he alone is good enough to reconcile us to the father.
8. The Roman Christians lived for Jesus so much that anyone who ever heard of them heard of their great faith in Christ as well. They were not ashamed to be connected to the Lord Jesus Christ in a world where Jesus was not popular.
Great faith will cause you to live for Jesus even when no one else is. Great faith will cause you to live for Jesus even if it cost you something.
9. God deserves total dedication from every Christian. The apostle Paul served him with his spirit; that means deep down inside that was Paul's greatest desire and when something is your greatest desire more often than not you going to do it, and that's what God deserves.
God does not demand perfection from Christians in order to be saved, but he sure does deserve perfection from Christians because they have been saved.
10. It doesn't matter how badly we may want something; if it is not God's will then we shouldn't try to force it. Our first choice will be a terrible one if we rebel against God to get it.
11,12. If a Christian is under the control of the Holy Spirit as they should be then they will have a positive effect on other Christians.
Good Christians like to be around other good Christians because they make each other better Christians.
13. Sometimes the good things that we want to do only happen after a prolonged struggle and those are some of the most difficult situations because we know what we are asking for, what we would like to do seems to lineup so perfectly with Scripture.
Just because something is right doesn't mean you won't have to persevere before your able to do it or receive it. If something is right then it is worth enduring difficult times and disappointment to get it.
14. In other words, God says that every single human being in the entire world deserves to be told how to be saved; we owe it to them. Everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel of salvation which comes through Jesus Christ. Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. We Christians are called by God to tell everyone about Jesus Christ; to tell everyone that Jesus is the only way to heaven and the only way to avoid hell; if that were not the case he would not have told us to proclaim the message of salvation to everyone in the world.
15. There is something wrong with any Christian who isn't eager to see the word of God spread so that lost souls can be saved, and so that save souls can be sanctified. Where's your priorities if that's you? Where's your concern for what Jesus wants if that's you? When I got saved my main concern was to do the will of God and my greatest desire was to see others avoid hell as I had done by receiving Christ, and I'm nothing special; according to Scripture spreading the word of God is normal for a Christian; at least it should be.
Worldliness has taken control of the soul of the Christian who doesn't care, who doesn't give so that the word of God can spread; worldliness has taken control of their soul in the place of the Holy Spirit. That wasn't the case with Paul; he was eager to get the word of God to everyone including those in Rome.
16. We don't have the power to save ourselves from hell which is why we need God's power. Only the power of God can deliver us from his holy justice which condemns us because of our sin.
The death of Jesus paid for our sins. Salvation is a gift given to all who will repent and receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
When the Bible says that the gospel is the power of God to salvation that's exactly what it means. When witnessing to lost souls just give the facts of the gospel and the Holy Spirit will convict those who are hungry for truth, and bring them to repentance.
We don't have to be cute; we don't have to be an expert in every other religion, or every cult; we don't have to be eloquent. Just give the facts of the gospel: Jesus lived a sinless life. Jesus died on the cross and payed for our sins. Jesus was raised from the dead three days later proving that he was sinless and that his sacrifice was sufficient. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior are sins are paid for. That is the simple gospel message that is the power of God unto salvation.
17. Nothing less than the righteousness of God applied to our spiritual account can save us. We need the righteousness of God to get into heaven. The bad news is that none of us are that good. The good news is that Jesus is that good because he is God, and the better news is that Jesus credits our spiritual accounts with his righteousness when we repent and receive him as Lord and Savior. That's how sinners are saved. That's the only plan he has given us, and there's no need for another because that one works fine.
18. God is a sin hating, sin punishing God. He wants to show people mercy and he offers forgiveness to everyone. But if his offer of salvation through Jesus Christ is rejected then he will do what he must do; he will punish.
It is one thing to know right from wrong and to confess when one fails; it is one thing to feel terrible one one fails, but it is something entirely different when a person suppresses the commandment of God because they love their sin. People who do that are digging their own eternal, fiery grave.
18,19. God would not punish people if they were not guilty. God has no pleasure in punishing the wicked. It is his justice that compels him to punish those who refuse his offer of mercy through Christ.
19,20. People are born with an inner witness that tells them there is a God who loves right and hates wrong. People are born with an inner witness that tells them they're going to answer to their Creator someday. That inner witness can be suppressed by willful rejection of God over time, but it was there at one point so people are without excuse.
21. If you turn away from the truth about God that you understand then you will soon accept what is false. We all have to believe something so if we don't believe the truth then we're going to believe a lie. God labels that "futile thinking". It is futile; it is empty; it is void of substance which is why it only leads to that which is bad.
22. Some people think that God's word is for simpletons. They devise their own body of truth which is contrary to Scripture, and they call it wisdom. Those are the people that God speaks of here in verse 22 when he says that they claim to be wise, but they have become fools.
He is talking about people who at one time understood holy Scripture, but didn't like what they understood because it condemned the sins that they enjoyed too much to give up. Consequently, rather than giving up the sin they decided to make up their own truth which is sort of like hopping on the trolley in Mr. Rogers neighborhood and fleeing to the land of make-believe, only the consequences of fleeing the word of God are eternally horrible.
23. If you're going to change truth, then you have to change gods also. Of course whether people realize it or not changing gods creates a big problem because there's only one God, there's only one real God, and he is the God of truth, the God and father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God who has given us the holy Bible. You walk away from him and you've got nothing!
24. God lets people go their own sinful way if that's what they really want.
But I would suggest to you that if you are headed in that direction that you put the brakes on just as fast as you possibly can because that is the ultimate punishment. When God says, go ahead have your own way then that means his Holy Spirit will no longer strive with you and you are doomed to hell because you are completely given over to your sinful, soul damning lusts.
25. If you do not worship the God of the Bible then whatever you worship is a lie, and you do worship something because if God Almighty doesn't have first place in your life then someone or something else does and whatever it is is your god.
26,27. I understand that the United States of America is not a Christian country and never has been. A person can believe in God if they want to, and they can be a Christian or anything else if they want to.
If people would like to have a homosexual lifestyle God will let them, but God in his word says that it is indecent, shameful, and unatural. You can choose to believe what you want, but that is what Scripture says and that is what God says and no one can change that. You can deny it but it's not going away.
28. Depravity is rejecting God's word, rejecting God's word is moral depravity. Depravity is loving your sin so much that you would dare to say that what God calls good is bad, and what God has called evil is good. Notice beginning in verse 29 some of the things that God labels depravity:
29-31. And that pretty much covers the entire human race.
Everyone at some point has been guilty of one or more of these sins. The good news is that God still loves us in spite of how depraved we all have been. He loved us enough to become a man, and die a horrible death to pay for our sins on the cross. He loves us enough to gladly forgive everything that we have done if we will only repent, confess, and receive his son Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
32. This that is described in verse 32 is the thing that will seal a sinners doom.
Sinners don't go to hell simply because they sin. If that was the case no one would be saved. Sinners go to hell because they sin and because they love their sin too much to repent; they love their sin too much to turn away from it and receive mercy from God through the Savior Jesus Christ.
1. If I criticize someone for doing something wrong but I'm guilty of doing the same thing myself then I'm just as sinful as that other person. I am guilty and without excuse because I obviously know that it is wrong. They may be doing it in ignorance which means they would be less culpable than I am so I better get my act together before I criticize someone else.
2. When it comes to God's judgment he goes by the book.
God's word is truth therefore his word will be the standard by which all words, actions, and motives will be judged.
3. Some people act as if God has a double standard. They seem to think that they are God's pet; he will punish others, but not them even though they are just as sinful. They need to understand that God's judgment is according to truth and they need to understand that before it's too late.
4. God isn't patient with sinners in order to give them more time to sin. His patience is designed to give a person more time to repent.
God puts up with many things that he hates in order to give people opportunities to stop doing what he doesn't like and in the process avoid his wrath.
5. God is patient, he gives sinners time to repent. However if they despise his kindness and use his forbearance as an opportunity to do evil then the Lord says that they are stockpiling sin and storing up wrath.
6. You can't get any more fair than that; then rendering to each person according to their deeds. There will be no excuses and no blame shifting on judgment day.
7. We can't work for our salvation, on the other hand only those who persist in doing good will go to heaven; we can't explain this verse away and we shouldn't call it a problem verse because there are no problem verses. God says what he means and it's up to us to accept it as it is. Let's read verse seven again: "eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality."
Only those who persist in doing good will go to heaven. We are saved by faith, but if our faith is saving faith it will be accompanied by good works. It will be accompanied by good works that persevere through hard times, and good works that persevere until we die.
8. God graciously warns us by describing those who will go to hell. He tells people ahead of time so that if they fit the description then they have a chance to change if they want to, before it's too late.
So the Bible is clear; this is what a person who is going to hell lives like: if a person is self-seeking, if they reject God's word, and follow after evil, then you better change or you're going to experience the wrath of God in hell forever.
9. "Tribulation and anguish." In other words, sinners will be punished if their sins are not forgiven and their misery will last forever.
10,11. Salvation cannot be earned by good works because no one can do enough good works to offset their sin. On the other hand we see once again that good works go hand-in-hand with saving faith.
12. Not having the written law of God, not having the written word of God is no excuse for sin, and just having the word of God, which includes God's law, will not be sufficient to save one's soul from hell. Possessing or knowing the word of God isn't the issue.
13. There are some who believe that since they know what the Bible says, and since they go to church they will be saved. But the truth is knowing what's right, without living right will not save anyone. Knowing God's word is just the first step. Knowing the word of God is an important step because one cannot be saved without God's word, but it must be applied.
The Bible says that people should find out what pleases God, and here God tells us that we should find out what pleases him so that we can do what pleases him.
14,15. Those who don't have the written Scriptures, but live right because they know it's right prove that God has built the knowledge of right and wrong into our souls. God holds people accountable for how they respond to that built in law.
16. Everything everyone ever did, thought, said, and all the motives for all those things will be on the table and judged.
The things people do that are hidden from man are not hidden from God, and those hidden things will be brought out into the open and compared to the standard set by the Lord. That is the agenda for Judgment Day.
17-20. And all these things were true. The Israelites were very privileged to have the revelation of God. They certainly knew what God wanted more than anyone else because they had the Bible.
21,22. They preached the Bible but they didn't attempt to live it. Somehow they got the impression that they were better than everyone else simply because they were more privileged than others. They looked down upon the heathen, and yet they acted just like the heathen.
23. They talked about how holy the law of God is; they pointed the finger at the heathen and called them dogs for breaking the commandments, and then they turned right around and disregarded the law of God themselves. Consequently, as God's representatives, which they were supposed to be, they dishonored God.
24. The heathen didn't know the one true God and they really didn't care if they did or not. One big reason they didn't care was that Israel did claim to know, and did claim to represent God, and yet they didn't live any differently than the heathen. That's why, as far as the heathen were concerned, Israel's God was just as repulsive and depraved as anyone else's so-called God; who needs him? Who needs to change God's? What's the point if his people are no different than anyone else?
25. In other words, going through a religious ritual doesn't mean anything unless one also repents. Ritual is never a sufficient substitute for repentance and a real relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
26. To be circumcised was to be one of God's people. It was an Old Testament Jewish right which brought a person into a right standing with God. Of course it was meaningless if the person didn't care about the Lord. On the other hand if one didn't know about circumcision, but still had a heart for God then that person was accepted by God.
A sincere love of truth, and a heart for God is more important then religious formality.
27. On judgment day the person who never saw a Bible, but had a heart for God will prevail over the religious person who didn't care about the Lord. The God-fearing, nonreligious person will stand as a witness against the religionist who had greater privileges, but didn't take advantage of them.
28. A Jew is one who knew the Lord. Jew was supposed to be a synonym for being saved. Of course just claiming to be a Jew didn't make you one of God's people, just like claiming to be a Christian today doesn't mean you're a Christian, or one of God's people.
28,29. Again we see that God looks at the heart of a man. A saved person is one who has repented of their sin and is living for the Lord.
1. If being a Jew an Old Testament days didn't guarantee heaven what good was it; what was the advantage?
2. In other words, they were given the word of God, and that's a huge advantage. They had the complete revelation of God during Old Testament days.
Without the word of God a person can't be blessed because we can't do God's will unless we know God's will and the written word of God is where God's will is found.
3. In other words, do we affect God's character? Can a world full of sinners rub off on God? If a man is unfaithful will God say: I'll show you you're not to be able to trust me either? Is that the way it works?
4. God is always true to his word. One of the great things about God is that he is reliable. God is reliable so you know where he stands and you know what you have to do to please him and you know what you have to do to be blessed.
5. If that isn't warped reasoning then I don't know what is. "My bad makes God's good look even better so I should be congratulated by God for my sin, rather than punished."
God doesn't need a sinner to help him look good.
6. God is objectively righteous and just. His standard is truth; his character is pure holiness, and the measure by which we shall be judged is perfection. That is what will make judgment day a fair deal.
7. The same foolish suggestion which was made earlier.
8a. In other words, let's just keep sinning so that God can forgive us. If we sin a lot then God will forgive a lot and everyone will see how forgiving he is; we'll be doing God a huge favor if we're depraved. And believe it or not there were some so-called Christians who were spreading lies saying that Paul was teaching that nonsense. What does God have to say about that?
8. Anyone who would seriously think that we should be bad in order to make God look good doesn't have a relationship with Christ and therefore will be condemned.
Saved people do not look for excuses to sin; saved people look for ways to avoid sin. In other words, they aren't perfect, but deep down they care about God.
9. By man's measurement some people are better than others. By God's measurement we're all the same because the Bible says we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
10. No one is perfect; no one is good enough to make it to heaven by their own merits; not even one.
11. The natural tendency of man is to run away from God. Man runs from God because God's holiness makes sinners feel uncomfortable.
12. Unprofitable means worthless. That's what God says about human beings. Sin has destroyed man and made him worthless in the eyes of God. Of course this isn't a popular message today, even among Christians, which is why so many untruths are told about man's depravity. I heard an evangelical preacher a while back, and actually I've heard many over the years say that we are of such great worth to God. That's funny because God says there is none who does good; God says we have become worthless, so who are you going to believe; you can't believe both, you have to choose. Are you going to believe the word of God, or are you going to believe some preacher who wants to be popular, and wants a big offering?. I've heard Christian preachers say: Jesus died on the cross because you are worth so much, when the exact opposite is true.
The thing that makes God's grace so amazing, and the thing that makes his love so amazing is that he suffered and died for worthless sinners. If Jesus died on the cross for us because we were so lovable than his death would have nothing to do with his grace, instead we would have earned it to some extent by being so lovable. Many evangelicals rewrite the Scripture to say God so loved the world because we were so irresistible; how could he possibly resist loving us? That's what people want to think, but it's not true.
God doesn't love us because we are lovable, or because we are of such great worth. God loves us because it is his nature to love. That truth will not make us feel good about the human race, or ourselves, but it should make us feel good about God, and it should also make us grateful that he is so gracious.
13. People use their tongues in very nasty ways sometimes. We've probably all experienced words that bite like vipers and in fact are worse than the bite of a viper because a lot of times you never forget nasty words that have been spoken to you.
14. People curse. They take God's name in vain, or when something happens they don't like they use other words to curse.
People think way too highly of themselves. Somehow they think that they deserve to have things their way which is why they get upset and curse when that's not the case.
15. Not every human being is a murderer, but every human being has hated, and according to Jesus that's murdering somebody in your heart. It doesn't matter if it's murder, or hatred the point is people are so selfish, and corrupt that they don't see any problem in either hating another human being or taken it one step further: murdering someone who was created in the image of God. "That person angered me so much that I'm going to snuff out his or her life and be justified in doing it."
16. The reason this world has so many problems is that sinful man keeps doing things their way instead of God's way.
17. Sinful, self-centered man will never have the peace they say they want. People want peace until someone else has something that they want, then they throw the lofty idea of peace out the window. People want peace until someone says something that they don't like, then they throw the lofty idea of peace out the window again.
People want sin more than they want peace which is why in all of human recorded history (at least 6000 years), the amount of years in which no countries, cities or tribes waged official war with each other certainly is less than 300 years. And lately it hasn't been any better, in fact since the beginning of World War I in 1914 there has been continual conflict somewhere in the world.
18. And that's the fundamental problem with man, and that's the root of all sin, and all of its terrible consequences. Man doesn't fear God enough to stay away from doing evil.
19. God's law was never intended to be a means to salvation. It was given to show us that we are sinners and guilty before God.
20. There are those who believe that if they do a pretty good job keeping the commandments then they will be saved. There are those who believe that if you keep the commandments more than you break them, or if you don't break any of the so-called big ones that you will be okay. But the Bible says no one is saved by the commandments. The purpose of the commandments was to show us that we have disobeyed God and need a Savior.
21. God doesn't save anyone by his law, but he doesn't leave us hanging out there with no hope either. We are not righteous enough to save ourselves, but God has a perfect righteousness that he will give us and that perfect righteousness is his.
22. If something must get done and you can't do it then you have to trust in someone else who can. I can't do plumbing, and I can't do electrical so if I need those things done I have to put my faith in a plumber or an electrician. That's how salvation works as well. We can't save ourselves so we have to trust someone who can save us and that someone is Jesus. If we realize that we can't save ourselves, and we put our trust in Jesus to save us then he will do that. We are saved by putting our faith in Christ and his death on the cross.
23. We're all in the same sinful boat. None of us are perfect, and that means were all in trouble because perfection is needed to get into heaven.
23,24. We are not righteous; we are guilty and condemned. But if we put our faith in the death of Christ on the cross than God declares us righteous. God justifies us which means he, as judge, officially declares us to be righteous.
25,26. Meaning all people in the Old Testament who had faith in God and believed him when he said he would send a Savior to pay for our sins went to paradise after they died. God didn't punish them because they had faith in the Savior who was to come and today we know that Savior is Jesus.
The death of Jesus on the cross pays for the sins of the people who trusted God before and after Christ died. As a result God doesn't violate his just character by not punishing them even though they are guilty. God's justice was satisfied because Jesus Christ was punished in their place.
27. Christians are saved and headed for heaven, but not because of anything good they have done. Christians have no reason to boast. They are sinners saved by the mercy of God and only by the mercy of God.
28. Those who say, yes we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ but we must also keep the law and if not keep it perfectly at least give it our best shot are wrong. Law keeping has absolutely nothing to do with us being saved. Salvation is all about what Jesus has done on the cross not what we do or attempt to do here on earth.
29,30. God only has one plan to save people from hell. It is a one-size-fits-all plan of salvation; it is the crucifixion of Christ and faith in what he has accomplished on the cross.
31. Our faith doesn't cancel the purpose of God's law. Our faith fulfills the purpose of his law which was to show us that we can't save ourselves. The law reveals that our only hope is to put our trust in Jesus. If we look at the law honestly and compare ourselves to it we will recognize that we don't keep it and we need someone to keep it for us and then die to pay for all of our sins and that someone is Jesus.
1. In the first three chapters God taught that to be saved we must trust in Jesus and his death on the cross. Here the question is asked: what about Abraham; was Abraham justified by faith, or was there a different plan back then; maybe he was saved by good works? What about Abraham?
1,2. If Abraham earned salvation by doing good works then he is entitled to sit around heaven and talk about how great he is and how hard he worked to get to heaven.
3. What does the Scripture say? Always remember that Scripture has the final word on every subject dealing with faith, morals, and salvation. Do not look to man or even to religious systems for the final answer because it's only found in the Bible. And the Bible says that Abraham was called righteous by God because of his faith.
4. Your employer doesn't come up to you every week or two weeks and say look I have a present for you; he doesn't say open it and see what I have for you; it's a gift! He doesn't say that because you worked your hours and you earned your wages. He gives you what you have earned; he doesn't give you a gift.
4,5. You can't work for your salvation and trust in Christ for your salvation at the same time. You can't do both; you must choose which one you're going to do. You can either trust in your own good works or trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross but you must make a decision. You can't be saved by faith in Christ until you quit trying to work your way to heaven.
You say well I think I'm going to do both; I'll trust Jesus for my salvation but I think I'll add my own good works for insurance. No because the moment you add your good works as insurance you have ceased to trust in Christ; it is all or nothing, it is one or the other.
5. In other words if you don't try to work your way to heaven; if you don't trust in your own ability to be good enough for God, but instead you trust Jesus to save you, then God will declare you righteous.
6. In other words, salvation by faith is not a new thing; it goes way back to Old Testament days. The only way anyone has ever been declared righteous by God is by faith. The only way anyone has been saved is by trusting in the Savior who paid for man's sin on the cross.
7. Verse seven records the best that any one of us can hope for and that's that our sins will be forgiven. You never to be good enough to get into heaven. Our only hope is that the bad that we have done will be wiped away by God.
8. We sin, and we cannot make up for our sins. Our only hope is for God not to hold our sins against us.
9. In other words, does the blessing of God canceling our sins occur after we do some religious work, or after we keep some aspect of his law, or can it happen without doing those things. In other words, if salvation is by faith does that faith need to include some good works before it saves? God says it's easy to find out just look at Abraham. The Bible says that Abraham was saved by faith. Did God say that Abraham was saved by faith before or after he kept the religious law of circumcision?
10. There's our answer. Abraham was saved by his faith and it didn't have anything to do with keeping any of God's laws, including the very important Jewish law of circumcision. Here's the answer to the faith question: your faith in Jesus Christ saves you and that's it, that's the end of the story. You are not saved by faith after you do some religious work or keep some commandment.
11. A police officer has authority to arrest people, but he better have his badge because that's the outward symbol of his authority. You can't see the authority of a policeman but you can see their badge and say that person has authority.
Abraham was saved by faith and then later he was circumcised as a symbol of his faith. Circumcision was the badge of his saving faith just as baptism and holiness are the badges of our saving faith today. We can't see saving faith, but we can see the outward signs of it. The outward signs do not save, but they show that one is saved.
11,12. In other words, the important thing, the absolutely critical thing for anyone whether they're Jew or Gentile, whether they're black, white, red or yellow is that they have asked Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior and therefore are trusting completely in his death on the cross. Salvation is by faith alone, not by faith plus works, religious works or any other kind.
13. God didn't say: Abraham, if you keep my law then I will save you because of your faith. That wouldn't even make sense. That would be like your boss saying, if you work 40 hours and earn your paycheck then I'll give you your paycheck is a gift. No, it has to be one or the other; it's either a gift or its wages and that's the way salvation is also, it's either a gift or its wages; you either work for it or you've receive it as a gift through Jesus Christ; the choice is yours.
14. Trying to be saved by works cancels out salvation by faith, and salvation by faith cancels out salvation by works. Again, it's the same as working for your paycheck eliminates all possibilities of that money being a gift.
15. If we were obliged to keep the law for salvation then none of us would get salvation because we don't keep it sufficiently. Instead of getting salvation we would get wrath for breaking God's law.
15. Breaking a law is transgression, but Christians are not under law so it's impossible for us to be guilty of any transgressions against God. In practice we still sin, but since Christians are not under the law we' re not guilty of transgressions; we are clean; our record is clean. Like Jesus told his apostles: "you are clean because of the word that I have spoken unto you." We have no guilt, we have no transgressions, and therefore we will experience no wrath.
16. Abraham is the spiritual father of all Christians. That means anyone who is saved is saved the way Abraham was and that's by faith in the Savior God.
17. Abraham knew that he wasn't perfect. But he put his faith in the Savior to come ; in God who calls things that be not as though they were. We're not perfect, but God calls things that be not as though they were. That's how, because of our faith in Jesus Christ, God can call our imperfections perfection.
18. Abraham believed God, not because what God said seemed plausible or even possible humanly speaking because it didn't. He believed God because he trusted in God's perfect character.
19. God told Abraham who was 100 years old that he and his 90-year-old wife would have a child. That made no sense at all to Abraham, but he still believed because God said it.
20-22. We honor God when we believe him. When we believe his word we are saying: God, it may not make sense to me, but I trust your integrity and your honesty.
23,24. We cannot earn righteousness. To be saved we have to receive perfect righteousness credited to our account by God. He credits that righteousness to our account when we repent and put our trust in Jesus Christ to save us from God's punishment.
25. Jesus was punished for us on the cross, and when God raised him from the dead he was telling everyone that his son's sacrifice did the job. The resurrection of Christ proves that when we put our faith in him we are justified by God. Without the resurrection of Christ Christians would have to wonder whether their sins were really paid.
1. Sin separates man from God; sin makes man God's enemy, but Jesus reconciles man, who was hell bound, to God. All is well between Christians and God thanks to Jesus.
1,2. We are saved by Christ, and we are given access to God through Christ as well. We are given access to God's grace which provides salvation, forgiveness, and opens the door to fellowship with our Creator. Jesus is why Christians don't go to hell. Jesus is why God hears the prayers of Christians. Jesus is why Christians can enjoy fellowship with the Lord through praise, prayer, and the word of God.
3,4. For the Christian suffering is not an end in itself, rather it is a means to an end. God uses the suffering of a Christian to do many things which includes chipping away at their sin and making them more holy.
5. The whole year we are the closer we are to God and the closer we are to God the greater our hope in God will be. And when our hope in God is strong and secure the love of God will fill us in flow out from us.
Holiness makes us close to God; it helps us to enjoy him. The closer we are to God, the better we will know him, in the better we know him the more we know that we can trust him. The more we know we can trust God the more we're going to love and appreciate him. we're going to say: Almighty God is wonderful, and when we get to that point his love will flow-through us and touch the people around us like a clear running stream. What I have just described is what makes the Christian life so wonderful.
6. Jesus didn't die for us because we could somehow repay him with something that he needed because he had no needs; the one and only perfect God doesn't lack anything. Our Lord's death was completely unselfish and entirely for our benefit. God was perfectly content with himself; he didn't need to have sinners reconciled to him to make his life complete.
7. There may be a kind soul out there who in a moment of unselfishness would die for a good person. Certainly there are the occasional heroes on the battlefield who take a bullet for their fellow soldier, and likewise most parents would die in place of their child.
8. Jesus didn't die for us because we were of such great worth. He didn't die for us because he found us irresistible. He died for us because it is God's nature to love even the unlovable.
I have heard preachers say "you should feel good about yourself; just think you are so valuable that the son of God died for your sins." That misses the entire point of our Lord's death on the cross and it also destroys the doctrine of God's grace. Our salvation is a credit to God's grace (for by grace you are saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God not of works lest anyone should boast); our salvation is a credit to God's grace not to anything that we are.
9. Jesus died to save us in spite of our unworthiness and he also forgives sinning Christians after they confess in spite of their unworthiness.
Do not allow feelings of unworthiness stop you from asking God for forgiveness; God is used to being good to the unworthy.
10. Jesus died for us when we were God's enemies so that he could make us his children. If he was willing to do that for his enemies then he certainly will forgive his children when they confess their sins.
11. It feels good to know that you're right with God, and it will feel even better to know that when you're on your deathbed. In fact nothing else will matter at that point.
12. When Adam sinned, sin came into the entire human race. When Adam sinned the entire human race, all people who would ever live were infected. Sin entered and spread separation from God and eventual physical death to everyone.
13. People committed sin from the time of Adam until 2000 years later when Moses was born. But during that time God did not judge people guilty and worthy of death because of their personal sins. Why? Because God had not yet given his laws to people, or told them what he wanted them to do.
13,14. When people died during the interval from Adam to Moses it wasn't because of their own sins. They had no law from God so God did not consider them worthy of death for the wrong they had done. People died because they inherited the sin that Adam committed which was very definitely direct disobedience to a specific command of God.
15. One man: Adam brought death to many by his one sin. One man: Jesus brought forgiveness to many through God's mercy and his death. The sinless life of Christ and his sacrificial death on the cross reverses the death sentence that came to man through Adam. The obedience and death of Jesus gives eternal life to all who repent and receive him as Lord and Savior.
16. Adams one sin brought the death penalty to many. Jesus removes many sins and brings spiritual life to many.
Jesus undid all the bad that Adam did for the Christian. When a person becomes a follower of Jesus Christ God removes the sin of Adam and all their personal sins as well.
17. God's mercy and grace are more powerful than Adams Original Sin and all of our sins together. That's why when a person receives Christ as Lord and Savior the grace of God completely removes the guilt and stain of sin.
18. The sin of Adam brought guilt and judgment to everyone. The death of Jesus on the cross takes away all guilt and punishment for those who receive him as Lord and Savior. Jesus has done all that needed to be done to make guilty sinners right with God.
19. Adam caused many to be made sinners because of his disobedience. The obedience of Jesus caused many to be righteous.
20a. God gave the Commandments in order to show us how sinful we are. God gave his law so that we would recognize that we are guilty and consequently condemned.
20. God's grace is more powerful than the sum total of our sins. If your sins could be measured on judgment day and found to way 100 pounds then God would give you 101 pounds of mercy so that your sins won't be an issue. Jesus has more mercy then you have sin. Jesus has more forgiveness then you have failures.
21. Adam' s sin brings eternal hell. Jesus' death brings eternal life to all who repent and receive him as Lord and Savior.
1. In other words, should we keep sending since God is so willing to forgive? Should we sin and not care? God has the answer:
2. No! Absolutely not! A real Christian doesn't continue in sin with no regrets and no desire to change. A real Christian hates their sin.
3. In other words, why should a Christian keep sinning when they don't have to do that? Answer: they shouldn't because since power to enslave us apart from our Will has been broken in Christ; Christians are free to not sin.
4. Jesus lives inside of Christians, and he does two things: he gives Christians the desire not to sin, and the power not to sin. It is true that we still have a sin nature that wants to sin, but there's a deeper spiritual part of them that despises it. Jesus gives us the desire to do what is right and the power to do what is right in spite of our sin nature's desire to do wrong.
5. Since Jesus died and paid for our sins we who have received him will be raised from the dead just as he was, and with the same kind of physical, sinless, perfect in every way resurrected body that he had.
6. In other words, Jesus didn't die just to give us a ticket out of hell. He did that and we' re grateful, but the power of sin to control us was also broken by the death of Christ. I'm not sure how it works; I just know that it's true.
We don't need to understand the details of something in order to enjoy its benefits. I don't understand electricity but I still appreciate a lightbulb; I don't understand the engine of an automobile but I still drive my PT cruiser, and I don't understand how the Lord Jesus Christ broke the power of sin to control a Christian but I know that if I walk in the spirit I will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
7. One thing I've noticed and that's that you cannot tempt someone who has died. You can wave a bottle of whiskey under the nose of the deceased drunk but he won't care; he won't want anymore.
7,8. The death of Jesus removes the penalty of sin and also its ability to control us. We will go to heaven because sins penalty has been paid, and we can live the right way because sins controlling power has been broken. That's what it means when it says that we will live with him. We can live with Jesus here on earth, and we will live with Jesus in heaven.
9. Jesus rose from the dead and he will never die again. Death only has one Stinger for each of us so when Jesus raises you from the dead you don't have to worry about it ever happening again.
10. Jesus died once for all. He'll never die again; he'll just keep on living in unbroken fellowship with the father.
11. In other words, since you don't have to give into sin, don't! You can live for God so do it. Say no to what you're sin nature tells you to do, and say yes to what Jesus is tells you to do. We must get out of the habit of sinning, and into the habit of holiness.
12. If we don't have to sin, then it follows that we shouldn't. When our bodies want to say or do something that isn't right we must decide that it's not going to happen. "Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus;" in other words I don't care what you want to say or do sin nature I'm going to do what my Lord and Savior tells me to do.
13. You can do two things with a hammer: you can hit a nail or hit a window; it's your choice. The hammer is a tool that you control for good or evil. Likewise your eyes, hands, tongue, and every other part of your body are tools that you control for good or evil. Don't use your tools to do sinful or foolish things that hurt God or others. Use your tools to do wise things; things that please God and things that are helpful to others.
14. By God's grace we Christians don't have to be a slave to any sin. But if we are careless and do become hooked on some sin it's important to know that we don't have to stay hooked. If we want to quit more than we want to keep doing it God will give us the victory; the choice is always ours; our will belongs to us.
15. We Christians are not under law, we are under grace. We've already seen what it means to not be under the law; it means that we cannot be guilty of transgression the way, for example, Adam was, and that's because we have no laws except the law of love.
We are under grace so does that mean that we should just go on sinning; after all the sins we commit are not held against us; what's the harm? God answers that question very quickly: no; don't go on sinning simply because you're not under law.
16. You play with sin figuring it's no big deal and you will soon find out that it is a big deal after all. You'll find that out when you realize that it's killing you or destroying your life in some other way; you'll find out that sin is a big deal when you realize that it is stealing your happiness and you can't quit so easily because it has enslaved you.
Those who allow themselves to become a slave to sin will be miserable. Those who allow themselves to become a slave to God will be joyful; the choice is yours and the choice is mine.
17. Notice that Paul is talking to Christians and he says: "you were slaves of sin." Christians were slaves of sin; Christians used to be slaves of sin and then what? And then we obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which we were delivered. In other words one indication that a person is saved is that they used to be a slave to sin but they aren't anymore. And even if they are battling some habitual sin deep down they hate it; they're sick of it, and they want to obey God. That also is an indication that one is saved.
18. That's a Christian! Christians are slaves of righteousness. Deep down they want to obey God and when they fail they feel terrible. They want to get back on track just as fast as they possibly can. Why, because they are slaves of righteousness; they want to be righteous in order to please Jesus.
19. The Holy Spirit is saying do you remember how you used to behave before you were saved? Do you remember how you used your body to do things that were wrong? Why not let your saved do the exact opposite; use your body to do things that God likes.
20. In other words, a slave to sin is incapable of being righteous and believe it or not every unsaved person is a slave to sin. The definition of an unsaved person is that they are a slave to sin. You say that's crazy because I know unsaved people who do nice things. Well I do to, but motive is just as important as action to God and if one's motive isn't to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ with their good works then the good works are not good in the eyes of God so they're still sinning. The only thing an unsaved person can do is sin either by word, action, or if nothing else motive.
21. I can tell you what the fruit of sin is: hell! Separation from God in this life, and burning in hell in the next life are the end results of sin that has not been forgiven through Jesus Christ.
22. You see again the Lord assumes that if you're a Christian you are a slave of God. And no that doesn't mean that you are perfect, but it does mean you want to be perfect, and that the general direction of your life is holiness. And the end result of being a slave to God is everlasting life, not because you want to do the right thing; wanting to do the right thing is indicative that you are a child of God and therefore destined for heaven.
23. Sin will get you physical death, and eternal hell if left untreated. Sinners earn hell; Christians deserve hell, but they don't get it because they accept the mercy of God through the Savior Jesus Christ.
1. Police officers do not go to Pinegrove, dig up dad, and issue him a citation for not paying a parking ticket. Dad is home free regarding the law because it doesn't apply to the dead.
2. Death removes the authority that the law has over a person. The IRS cannot collect overdue taxes from a dead man; the penal system can't force in inmate to finish out his term after he's dead; the law doesn't apply to the dead. The law of marriage is discontinued after a person dies.
3. Again, God wants us to understand that his law has no authority over us after we die. The 10 Commandments are for this life; they are for the living. Someone says: well I'm alive so I must still be under the law of God; I'm not dead. Well if you're a Christian you are dead, dead to the law, dead with Christ.
4a. The second you asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior you died with Jesus on the cross. Consequently, God sees you as being dead with Christ and since you are dead you are no longer under the law. You won't be punished in hell for breaking the commandments because Jesus has already been punished for your sins and God will not punish a crime twice because that would be unjust and God is incapable that.
4. I don't spend time with my son because there's a law that says I have to; there is no law. We spend time together because we enjoy each other's company and we like each other. That's how it should be for Christians and Jesus; Jesus doesn't hold a hammer over our heads and say be holy or I'll punish you. He says I love you so maybe you could love me back and show it by making me happy. That's the way it's supposed to be and that's the way a true Christian wants it to be.
4,5. The fruit of sin is death. In other words, the result of sin is death; the results of sin are all bad.
There's no good reason to sin, only bad reasons. If you want to destroy your life and your relationships and make yourself miserable then by all means commit sin.
There are many bad reasons to sin but no good reasons.
6. Since we' re not under God's law and therefore not threatened with hell for breaking it we are free to serve Jesus, not out of fear, but out of love. And the fact is if you're a Christian you do want to live right because you care about Jesus; if your saved that' s your attitude. If your saved than the last thing you want to do is hurt Jesus. You don't need a list of rules to tell you how to live.
Churches that give their people rules to live by insult Christ by implying that Christians won't do it in less they're forced.
7. The law doesn't save, but that doesn't mean that the laws bad. The law is good because shows us right and wrong.
8. Man's sin nature is naturally rebellious. You give it a law and it will be enticed to break it. You say: I've never been enticed to break the law of murder, or I've never been in enticed to break the law of God against homosexual behavior. Well that may be true, and that's good but it doesn't prove you're not rebellious. Not everyone is tempted to break every law, but everyone is tempted to break some laws which proves that our sin nature is naturally rebellious.
9. God's law is needed to show people that they have sinned. Before the apostle Paul was saved he thought he was a spiritual giant, good enough to get into heaven by his own merits. But when he got a clear look at the commandments of God and honestly measured his life by them he knew he was in big trouble.
10. The commandments could bring eternal life if people would keep them perfectly but no one does. People break the commandments and that brings guilt, punishment, death, and hell.
11. Christians are not under the law but non-Christians are, and since they don't keep God's law perfectly they also are under the penalty of the law which is eternal death, which is eternal hell.
12. There's nothing wrong with God's law; in fact it's perfect in every way. God's law reflects God's holy character which is flawless. Reading God's commandments is sort of like being in the very presence of God because you're in the presence of perfect holiness.
13a. The law of God isn't the problem; man is the problem. Man doesn't keep God's law, that's the problem.
13. God's law gives us a clear honest evaluation of ourselves from God's point of view. In other words, God's law shows us that we have been bad and that's good to know so that we can fix the problem before we die and it's too late.
14. Even the most Christ loving spirit filled Christian is sometimes unspiritual. We don't like it, but that's the way it is, and it's that way because of the sin nature that stays inside of us even after we are saved.
15. It's very frustrating to love Jesus, to want to do what is right, but to so often do what is wrong.
16. Our spirits, that deepest part of us where the Holy Spirit lives wants to do what is right. That part of us doesn't want to sin. It's the part of us that feels horrible when we do sin.
17. The deepest inner part of a Christian appreciates Jesus and wants to do good, but our depraved sin nature is a spiritual parasite that grabs the reins of our lives and pulls us into sin.
18. The sin nature is the sinful part of us that we inherited from Adam. Our sin nature is strong, and it is used to having its own way. When it gets the upper hand on our new nature which wants to please Jesus we commit sin.
19. Did you ever try to hold back to sneeze and fail? There's something there that overpowers your will and even though you don't want to do it you do it.
The sin nature is like a depraved sneeze. You don't want to do it, you don't want to commit sin, but it grabs your mind and body and you sin, and it's very frustrating for the child of God when it happens.
20. The new "inside person" that comes into existence when we receive Christ is not responsible for the sin that we commit. The old sinful self is the culprit. The old self is still a part of us so we can't blame anyone but ourselves for our sin, but Christians hate that old self because it causes us to do what we don't want to do.
21. Christians want to do good, but there is evil in us so we don't always do it. That's not a copout; that's Bible! If it sounds like an excuse then you're not reading the Bible because it's not an excuse, it is reality.
22. If were really saved then deep down we want to obey God. Good works don't save us but the saved want to do good works.
23. The battle of the Christian's two natures takes place in the mind. Our body wants to sin so it tells our mind to let it happen. It does its very best to influence the mind to give it permission to act sinfully. Our mind is the part of us that decides if were going to do right or wrong. Our body simply follows the dictates of our mind.
24. The apostle is miserable because he can't deliver himself from sin. He's miserable because he can't deliver himself from his misery.
Deliverance from sin has to come from someone other than us. We need a power greater than our own to deliver us from sin and its misery.
25. Jesus Christ saves us from hell, and only Jesus can save us from our sin nature and its evil desires. Our minds are no match for our sin nature, but Jesus is more than a match.
Jesus defeated every temptation the devil threw at him and only Jesus can defeat the temptations that we face. Cry out to Jesus for help when you are tempted and put your faith in the victory that he won for you on the cross. But understand this: your old sin nature will be around bothering you until the day that you die.
1. If you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you are in Christ. If you're in Christ you are saved. If you're in Christ you're not condemned. If you're out of Christ you are condemned, you are damned.
What does that tell you? It should tell you that Jesus is everything! There is no salvation outside of Christ. There is no condemnation in Christ. Why aren't Christians condemned; after all we still commit sin? The answer is in verse two:
2. The non-Christian is under the law of sin and death and because they have no Savior, they have no one to deliver them from that law. The unsaved sin and die, not just physically, but spiritually and eternally in the fires of hell.
Christians are set free from the law of sin and death. The Bible says right here that we are under the law of the Spirit of life. We don't serve the letter of the law; we have the Holy Spirit in us and he gives us the desire to serve Jesus out of love. Someone says: I don't have that. Then I would say you better get saved. You may have something, you may have religion, but you don't have the Holy Spirit; you don't have the Spirit of life spoken of here.
3. The law of God cannot save us from hell because our sin nature doesn't keep it. But God's son died and paid for our sins. Since we can't be good enough to be saved our only hope is for God to remove the punishment for all of the sins that we commit. That's what Jesus did on the cross. He paid the penalty for our sin by his suffering and death.
3,4. Anyone who says that they can meet the righteous requirements of the law is either lying or has watered down the law because God says they can't. We can't, but Jesus did. Jesus lived a sinless life and by dying on the cross he paid the penalty for all of our sins.
The law required an offering for sin and Jesus met that requirement by offering himself. On the cross Jesus said: "it is finished." Literally he said: "paid in full." Someone says well how do I know if my sins have been paid for? If your saved then you know that your sins are paid for. Well how do I know if I'm saved? If your saved Jesus isn't just a religious figure; if your saved you love Jesus. If you're saved you hate your sin nature, even though you still sin. If your saved you live for Jesus even though you don't do it as well as you wish you did.
5. This is the key: the more a Christian thinks sinful thoughts the more they will sin and the more they sin the more sinful thoughts they will have. The Bible says: "your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you."
To restrain sin we must put thoughts of God into our mind, and the best way to do that is to put the word of God into our mind.
6. If our sin nature is controlling our thoughts then we will sin. If we let the Holy Spirit control our thoughts then sin will be restrained and we will have the peace that comes from fellow shipping with our Lord.
7. It's impossible to reform the sin nature and make it pleasing to God. The mind that is controlled by the sin nature of man will always be filled with rebellious thoughts. Man does not need to reform; man needs to be changed from the inside out; man needs to be cleansed and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ the Savior. Man can't possibly reform enough to make himself acceptable to God and to save himself from the wrath of God.
8. They that are in the flesh, or the sin nature, cannot please God which poses a huge problem for the non-Christian because that's the only nature they have. There's nothing in man's sin nature that pleases God. That's why it's impossible for a sinner to be good enough to be saved.
Saying that it is impossible for a sinner to be good enough to be saved hits right at the pride of man which is why that message is despised by so many; nevertheless it is true and recognizing it is the first step toward salvation.
People have to understand that man's sin nature is filled with moral rot and everything it expresses in word, thought, action, or motive is just as bad. If the unsaved are not sinning in word, thought, or actions, then they are sinning in motive because as I said earlier the only motive God accepts is the desire to honor Jesus Christ. God says do all things for the glory of God.
The sinful nature cannot please God. The unsaved only have a sin nature. Conclusion: they can't please God; that's why they need a Savior to pay for their sin and a mediator to bring them to the father and that Savior and mediator is Jesus.
9. If a person doesn't have the Holy Spirit living in them than they don't belong to Jesus and if they don't belong to Jesus they're not saved. Someone says: I have to know if I have the Holy Spirit in me; how do I know? It says right here: if the Holy Spirit is in you then he will control you. In other words, the general direction of your life will be holiness and when you aren't holy the Holy Spirit will let you know in a hurry. In other words, you're going to feel terrible unless you repent and confess.
10. In light of verse 10 I think it's important for me to define death. Death means separation; death does not mean annihilation; death does not mean cease to exist. Death means separation: physical death means our spirit is separated from our body; spiritual death means our spirits are separated from God; eternal death means that we are eternally separated from God with no chance of reconciliation.
The body of a Christian will eventually die like everyone else because we sin like everyone else, but our inner person, our spirit is alive, and will not die because we have been saved by Christ. Jesus eliminates spiritual death for the Christian and will reverse the physical death that we eventually will experience. Our spirit will one day be placed in a new sinless body which will never die. On that day we will at last have the perfect combination: a sinless spirit and a sinless body. The days of worrying about death and struggling with ourselves to be holy will be over and done with.
11. If you have repented and received Christ as your Lord and Savior then deep down you want to please him. If your desire is to please Jesus then God promises that he will raise you from the dead just as he raised his son from the dead.
12. We don't owe our sin nature anything except maybe to treat it as badly as it has treated us. We shouldn't give that troublemaker anything it wants. If we do, it will just cause more trouble. You feed your old sin nature and it will destroy you. Cut it off; starve it to death.
13,14. Again, those who have a heart for God which leads to holiness are children of God, and therefore they will live with God forever. Those who don't have a problem with their sin, don't care that they disobey God are spiritually dead and if that isn't corrected they will eventually be eternally dead meaning separated from God in hell.
15. If we have received Christ then the Holy Spirit causes us to have a heart for our heavenly father. Real Christians are members of God's family and therefore want to be close to him. Being close to God is the most natural thing in the world if you're a Christian.
16. In other words, if you are saved than the Holy Spirit inside of you gives you the realization that you care about God and Christ. People can tell you you're not saved but deep down inside you know that Jesus died for your sins; you believe it and you and Jesus have something real together.
17. You can't suffer enough to get yourself saved or keep yourself saved, but if you are saved then you're going to suffer in some manner for Jesus. Sooner or later genuine faith in Christ leads to sacrifice and suffering in some way for the Savior. Suffering in one form or another always accompanies salvation. You'll endure hardship before you deny that Christ is your Lord. You will give something for love of Christ. You will do something for love of Christ. You'll suffer the loss of someone or something for love of Christ. Why? Because the faith that changes your destiny changes your priorities and therefore your behavior.
18. Just remember, whatever you suffer for Christ will seem like nothing when you see him. When you catch your first glimpse of his nail scarred hands and feet you will wish that you would have done more.
19. Nature is due for a big upgrade when Jesus returns. The environment will be clean and perfect like it was in the garden of Eden.
20. Blight, drought, floods, storms, earthquakes, etc. are more fallout from Adam and Eve's sins.
21. It will be wonderful living on the new Earth. Fruit will ripen but it won't get overripe or decay. Nothing that resembles death will be found anywhere on the new Earth.
22. If nature had feelings it would be sad today because of how things are and it would look forward to the coming of Christ just like Christians do.
23. When Christians fellowship with God in his word they get a little taste of the good life they will enjoy throughout eternity. Our spirits enjoy the benefit of God to a degree today, but in eternity our physical body as well as our soul and spirit will experience complete satisfaction and happiness.
24a. The hope of our salvation which is also the promise of our salvation is a perfect eternity for our resurrected body and soul. In contrast to that the unsaved will experience torment forever in their body and soul as punishment for their sins.
24,25. The good times to come are worth being patient to obtain. How long do we have to be patient? Well people usually don't live beyond 100 so I would say that no one waits longer than 100 years and even 100 years is a drop in the bucket compared to the great times Christians will have forever.
26. The best part of prayer is that we are spending time with God. Half the time, maybe more, we don't know what to pray for; we may think we do, but we don't. Half the time God can't give us what we ask for because he knows it wouldn't be good for us. It's a good thing the Holy Spirit in us is busy praying to the father for the things that we really do need.
27. God the father hears every single word the Holy Spirit prays for us because all his prayers make perfect sense. We don't know what they are, but then again it's probably good that we don't. If we knew, we'd probably say: "don't pray that for me Holy Spirit; that's not going to be fun." But God knows what's best for us, and the prayers of the Holy Spirit on our behalf are exactly what we need.
28. This promise is for Christians; God promises Christians that he works all things together for their good if they love God, and they better love God because if they don't I wouldn't bet on them being a Christian. I would never tell people who haven't repented and received Christ that God is working all things together for their good because he isn't.
28. God works all things together for the good of Christians, and who is a Christian? He tells us right here: a Christian is someone who loves Jesus, they appreciate him and they want to please him.
Christians sometimes fret over bad things that happen, but they shouldn't. I say they shouldn't because God is using all things, both good and bad to bring about their long-term good; that is there long-term spiritual good. God has a purpose for Christians and he is using everything, good and bad, to bring that purpose to pass.
29. God's plan for Christians is to make us more like Jesus. He wants us to think, act, and talk like Jesus and to that end he's been working on us from the day that we were saved.
As soon as we receive Christ God begins to work on us; like a sculptor he starts to chip away at our old ways and replace them with holiness which is a big job that will continue our entire life. As we live out our days it's important for us to remember that all the good, and all the bad, and everything in between that we experience is part of the sculpting process; he is using it all.
The natural things that we experience are the consequences of our decisions and those of other people. But more importantly there are spiritual reasons for everything that happens. God may not tell us what they are; we may not understand exactly what he's doing, and how he is using all things until we get to heaven, but then again were not supposed to understand right now because the Bible says we live by faith.
30. What a great verse this is concerning our security in Christ. God says, I finish what I start. God is saying, if I save you then I'm going to stick with you until I get you to heaven. Everyone God justifies will also be glorified.
31. If God, who is all-powerful, and loves us with an infinite love, overseas Christians from start to finish then what difference does it make who is against us?
If for some reason I'm against trains I can stand on a railroad track and say halt to a speeding locomotive. I can do that, but while they are scraping me off the tracks everyone will know that my opposition to trains didn't matter and I didn't matter and that's because I'm not all-powerful.
Likewise, it doesn't matter what anyone thinks, or does God is working all things together for our good, and he has our best interest in mind. No one or nothing will stop him from accomplishing what he wants to achieve in us.
32. The really hard part for God was to become a man and die on the cross to pay for our sins. Our redemption is what caused him to be under so much pressure that he sweat drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane. Our salvation is what caused him to endure a horrible flogging so that he didn't even look human anymore. It took a horrible death on the cross to open the gates of heaven and make us fit to enter so he already did the hardest part. Now, since he did all that he certainly will give us everything else that we need. It's ridiculous to think that he won't; it's ridiculous and it's not biblical.
33. If you are saved, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then God says that he has justified you. Justification is a legal term which means that the divine judge has heard your case, examined your record, and concluded that since you have received Christ as Lord and Savior you are declared righteous, even though you deserve to be guilty.
The divine judge says, you've committed many sins, but since you have repented and received my son as Lord and Savior I am wiping all those sins off your record and I officially declare you to be righteous.
God says, who out there would have the nerve to condemn you after I have declare you righteous? Who would do that, and what difference would it make anyway? The devil, or people can condemn you all day long, but all they're doing is wasting their breath because their accusations will fall on deaf ears.
34. Jesus is the judge he's the one who sends people to hell. But the judge has already said that you're not guilty or condemned. Consequently, as a Christian you have absolutely nothing to worry about; you've already been tried and found not guilty. God is telling you these things so that you don't worry about dying because there's nothing for you to worry about.
Someone says, well if I've already been declared righteous than I think I'm going to commit sin and not worry about it. If you say that you're not saved because although a Christian still commits sin they do not turn God's grace into a license to sin.
35. Someone says, maybe Jesus won't condemn me today because he loves me, but what happens if he stops loving me? If he all of a sudden stops loving me he could change his mind and say: you're going to hell. True, but he doesn't stop loving us. Verse 35 teaches that nothing can stop God from loving us. We can turn our back on him, we can say Jesus I don't want you anymore, and he will love us enough to let us go, but he doesn't want anyone to go; he doesn't stop caring about us.
If we choose to go then we can go, if we choose to leave then we can leave and God will honor our free will, but God will never be the one to leave us.
36. Circumstances can make it seem like God doesn't love Christians, but he does.
Consequently it's good to remember that when we go through hard times it is because God is accomplishing something for us; it's not because he has stopped loving us.
You say, but what if I do something really bad and I don't deserve God's love? Answer: God's love for us has always been undeserved. Those who say, I've done something really bad so God has stopped loving me imply that they must have been good enough for God to love them at some point in the past. Good enough for God to love? No one is good enough for God to love. God doesn't love us because we are lovable; he loves us because it's his nature to love. His love for us has always been undeserved, and it always will be. That's why we can't possibly do anything bad enough to make him stop loving us.
37. God will make everything work out for us. By his almighty power Christians will make it through hard times and be better because of them.
38,39. You cannot make God stopped loving you. You're sin doesn't cause God to say, I don't want you anymore. If you want Jesus then you'll be right with God.
1. What the apostle is about to say is so remarkable that he feels as if he must reassure his readers that is not lying.
2. A spirit filled, Christ loving Christian can be sad. They will not be said because they feel sorry for themselves, but they will be sad about the things that grieve God, they will be sad about things that are not right because they're not right.
3. Paul was a Hebrew and he was sad because so many of his fellow Hebrews were going to hell for rejecting the Savior. The amazing thing is that he would switch places and go to hell for them if it were possible.
The more we care about others the more Jesus will use us. No wonder Jesus was able to work so well through Paul. The level of our skill or intelligence isn't what determines how much God can use us. Our love for Christ, our kindness and consideration toward others, and our willingness to sacrifice for the good of others determines how much God can use us.
4,5. The Hebrews had so many advantages; they had so much going for them, but so many of them squandered their advantages by rejecting the son of God. What a waste! Salvation was knocking at their door, but they wouldn't open and let Jesus in.
6. God promises to save his people, but not everyone who claims to belong to him really does. That was true with Old Testament Israel, and it is true today in the church. Jesus says: "not everyone who says to me Lord Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." Some people know about Jesus without really knowing him.
7. From the very beginning God has made a distinction between the saved and the unsaved.
The saved and the unsaved may have certain outward things in common but God knows everyone's heart. He knows if a person wants him and his son or not, and that's the big difference between a saved in an unsaved person.
8,9. No one gets into heaven on their parents coattails. Abraham the man of faith had many children, but many of them were not saved because they didn't care about God like he did.
10a. Not only what? Not only does one need a heart for Christ to be saved; not only does one need a sincere faith in Jesus to be saved, but something else:
10,11. God is the one who initiates salvation in us. Jesus said no one can come to me unless the father draws them. And it's important to understand that God doesn't save a person because they're better than others; that has nothing to do with it. It has nothing to do with it because no one deserves it. God saves those who respond to his mercy. Abraham's son Isaac had two boys; neither one of them were any good.
12,13. Neither one of those two were anything to brag about. However underneath a whole lot of spiritual rust Isaac's younger son Jacob had a heart for God while his older brother couldn't care less about the Lord. The point is, no one deserves to be saved, but God has mercy on those who come to their spiritual senses and ask for his mercy. Those are the ones that God chooses for eternal life.
14. Certainly not! God can't possibly be unjust or unfair in any way; that would go against his nature. God couldn't be unfair any more than a cat could bark like a dog; it's not in his nature to bark and it's not in God's nature to be unfair; he can't be that way.
14,15. No one is worthy of God's mercy so if he shows mercy to one person who doesn't deserve it he is not being unfair to others who do not deserve it. The person that he doesn't show mercy to is simply getting what they deserve and God is not being unfair to them by showing someone else mercy.
16. Salvation doesn't come from us working for it. It comes from God deciding that he will show a particular person mercy.
17. God put a lousy sinner on the throne of Egypt to show the world what happens to a person who rebels against him and refuses to repent. And let's be clear about this, if the King would've done something else for a living then he would've been just as corrupt. God did not force Pharaoh to be corrupt and then make him an example; Pharaoh king of Egypt did what was in his heart. He could've been a ditch digger and he would've been a miserable, ungodly, corrupt digger of ditches. God raised him up, God put him on the throne and Pharaoh acted the way he wanted to act. God simply decided not to let all the kings wickedness go to waste so he used it to prove a point; point being: God hates sin, and sinners always lose no matter how powerful they may be.
18. This is God's world so he can save anyone he wants to save.
God is not being unfair to unworthy sinners who he doesn't save simply because he chooses to save a different unworthy sinner. No one who burns in hell is they are unfairly, and no one who is saved deserves to be saved.
19. No one can resist God's will once he sets his mind on doing something like for example hardening a sinner's heart. Once God does that it's hard, and it won't get soft again. Of course God wouldn't harden anyone's heart if they hadn't harden it themselves first which is why they are to blame.
20. God doesn't have to explain his actions to anyone. If man doesn't like something God does the problem lies in man's understanding not in God's actions. God does whatever he wants to do, and whatever he does is the definition of right so man should be quiet and not presume to judge him.
20,21. This is God's world so he can do whatever he wants with it or with us. A potter has the right to make an ugly container and use it as a garbage can. An artist as the right to paint an awful picture and hang it in his living room, and Almighty God has the right to take a no account sinner and use him to display his righteous wrath if he wants to do that.
22. If God wants to put up with someone's sin and display his hatred for it by punishing them on earth rather than rid the world of that person by sending them to hell then he can do that.
23. One way God displays his power to his people is by punishing the wicked.
By displaying his power over sinners, and his hatred for sin God increases the faith of his people. By the time God finished blasting Pharaoh and Egypt Israel's faith in him was sky high.
24,25. The church is made up of people who at one time did not belong to God because they didn't care about him. But now they are God's people because he graciously reached out and drew them to himself and then he had mercy on them when they responded by receiving Christ.
26. Not just God's people, not just saved, not just Christians, but God's children. When God saves a sinner who receives Christ he takes that former rebel off the road to hell and places him into his family even though he doesn't deserve any of it.
27. Like with Gentiles only a small number of people with Hebrew blood in their veins will go to heaven.
God's people in every age are always a small remnant of the whole population.
28. Talking about judgment day; it will be swift judgment and swift eternal punishment with no opportunity for appeals.
29. If it wasn't for the mercy of God no one would be saved. People ask, why does God save so few? That's the wrong question; the correct question is, why does God bother to save anyone since even those he does save do not want it until he draws them to himself by the power of the Holy Spirit.
30. "Gentiles" simply means people who do not know God and who do not care about God. There is hope for Gentiles who know that they are bad and that they have nothing to offer God in exchange for salvation. If they understand that they are hopelessly lost and therefore receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior God will give them eternal life.
31. On the other hand people like the Jews of our Lord's day who thought that they were smart enough and good enough to earn their salvation will not make it.
32. I hope you can grasp the meaning of this verse. Those who pursue their salvation by works will not attain it. Salvation by works, by self effort, by trying to be good enough is a hopeless pursuit which will end in failure, which will end in hell.
33. Jesus Christ and the work he did on the cross to pay for man's sin is the stone. Some people hear the word of God concerning the cross and they put their faith in Christ and are saved. Others say I don't believe it, it sounds too simple, it's not intellectual enough, it's not sophisticated enough, besides I think I can measure up and make it to heaven on my own merits. Those people stumble over the message of the cross and as a result go to hell.
There are only two groups of people in the world: those who trust Christ and those who do not. Every other race every other social status every other educational status are sub points in those two general groups that God recognizes.
1. Israel was under the dominion of Rome when Paul wrote this letter so naturally it would've been good if they would have been given their freedom. Many things are good, but only one thing is best, and that's to be saved from hell. More than anything else the apostle wanted his fellow Jews to be saved.
2. The Jews were religious, but it was a big waste of time because their religion had degenerated into something that was contrary to Scripture.
3. They didn't believe the word of God which offered them the righteousness of God through faith in Christ. Consequently they settled for a man-made substitute righteousness, which always fall short.
4. God isn't picky about who he saves. He will give anyone who believes in Christ and receives him as Lord and Savior a righteousness that will get them into heaven.
5. In other words, you can obtain righteousness through the law of God all you have to do is keep it perfectly and never do one thing wrong from the second you are born until the second that you die.
6. In other words, God isn't sitting way up in heaven saying, I hope some of these people figure out my plan of salvation because I'm certainly not going to tell them. God has told us; he's not a distant God who leaves us to guess about how to be saved.
6,7. We don't have to go looking for God because he's been reaching out to us. The entire Bible consists of God reaching out to us. It's the story of Jesus, it is the story of redemption. We don't have to go beyond the grave, find Christ, and bring him back to earth to teach us God's plan of salvation; God's plan to save is laid out for us in holy Scripture.
8. Salvation by faith in Christ is easy to understand, and it's within reach of anyone who wants it. God doesn't play hide and seek with his plan of salvation. Those who are open to the simple plain truth of Scripture will find that the message is clear.
8,9. Anyone can say "Jesus is Lord". Many unsaved people call Jesus Lord, but he's not really their Lord. If you confess that Jesus is Lord and you mean it, because he really is, then you will be saved. The plan of salvation is simple, but the sinner needs to be sincere. It's simple, but a person needs to be serious about receiving Christ.
9,10. Salvation begins in the heart. It begins with a firm conviction that Jesus died and paid for your sins. It begins with a firm conviction that Jesus is your only hope. It begins with a settled conviction that you're going to trust in his death on the cross to give you eternal life. If a person is sincere about those things then it will manifest itself in their words and actions. In other words, a real Christian isn't ashamed to say that Jesus is my Savior, and Lord; a real Christian isn't ashamed to live for Jesus in a sinful world.
11. Christians are not losers; they may have to sacrifice and suffer and maybe even die for Jesus, but they're not losers. Those who reject Jesus Christ are the big losers. Everyone in hell is a loser, and they know it, but everyone who trusts in Christ goes to heaven and there isn't one single person up there who is saying: what a mistake; I never should've put my faith in Christ.
12. Universalism is a massive deception that is leading souls to hell. Saying that non-Christians have a chance of being saved is a lie!
Jews and Gentiles cover everyone in the world, and there is one Lord for both groups: Jesus. There is one Savior for both groups: Jesus. The only ones from either group that God saves are the ones who call on Jesus for that salvation. You say: you mean to tell me that the only people who will be saved our those who call on Christ for that salvation? My answer to that is what does God say?
13. And logically it follows that everyone who doesn't call on Christ will not be saved. Salvation is for everyone, but only those who ask Jesus for it will receive it.
14. If Christians do not use every means available to proclaim the word of God, to proclaim salvation through Jesus Christ it's not going to get done. Every Christian is responsible to help get the message of Christ out to a lost world that is filled with hell bound sinners. That's not the job of a denomination; that's not just the job of a preacher; that's not just the job of a pastor; it is the job of every single Christian.
Someone says, there are church buildings all over the place so if people want to know about Christ they can go to a church. But that's not what the Bible says; the Bible says we are to take the message of Jesus to them.
Many people have heard about Jesus, but many people do not know what the Bible says about salvation through Jesus Christ. Many people do not know that it has nothing to do with religion, it has nothing to do with church, but instead involves repenting and receiving Christ as Lord and Savior.
14,15. I'll preach the word of God any way I can, through any media I can, but I shouldn't have to do it alone. God is sending me and I am going and I'm using every means that I know of to proclaim the entire Bible from Genesis through Revelation without watering down any of it, and I will go, and I will continue to go, but the Bible says that preachers should be sent. Meaning:
Every single Christian who is blessed by the word of God should in some way help the teacher who has blessed them. Every Christian needs to get involved, number one, because it is commanded by God. Every Christian needs to be involved so that others can be blessed also. We' re talking about souls being saved from hell, we' re talking about Christians being fed the word of God so that they can live the way Jesus wants them to live. That's what God is talking about in verse 15.
It would be unthinkable for a man who finds water in the desert to not share that water with others who are dying of thirst. Christians have found the water of life; Christians have found the message that saves people from hell; they have been saved from hell, and it is unthinkable that they would not care about helping others to avoid that horrible place.
16. Some first century Jews recognized that Jesus is the Savior and repented, but not all, not even most.
Nothing has changed today; most who hear about Jesus do not care, and won't be saved, but God still wants them to be told because it is right to tell them.
17. No one gets saved unless they hear the word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. In other words faith has to be based on the Bible or it's not faith. If God has not said it, if God has not promised it, then you can't accept it by faith.
People sometimes do all sorts of ridiculous things in the name of faith, and it isn't faith at all. By faith I'm going to buy this car that I can't afford; by faith I'll trust that God will give me enough money to make my payments. There's just one problem with that, God has not promised to give us enough money to pay for that car. God expects us to use our brain. Faith is not a leap in the dark. Faith is believing what the Bible says and living it.
17,18. Talking about Israel. Israel had the Bible. When Jesus started ministering he taught the word of God exclusively to the Israelites. They had the word of God and many of them knew the word of God, but deep down they didn't believe it and so it didn't do them any good. They believed what they wanted to believe and they rejected what they didn't want to believe even though it was there in black and white, and they paid, and continue to pay for their willful rejection of truth.
19. Israel understood the Bible but they rejected it. The son of God was born, grew up and taught them the word of God in person, and they rejected him as well.
Then you have the Gentiles who didn't know anything about the Bible. When the apostle started giving them truth they latched on to it and came to Christ by the droves. God saved many Gentiles and in the process made some of the Jews jealous. Why? Because after years of being God's people they were finished; they were finished because they rejected the son of God and the word of God and God doesn't have to put up with that garbage and he doesn't. They were replaced by those who receive Christ.
God doesn't have to two sets of people today; anyone who tells you that Jews and Christians are both his people is telling you a lie. He has had one people since the crucifixion of Christ and its those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
20. God, through the word, and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit reaches out to sinners who are hell bound and draws them to Christ. If God didn't draw people to himself they would never seek after him.
21. God does not give up easily. He will extend his offer of mercy to a sinner for as long as he possibly can, right up until the moment of their death. No matter how many times a person willfully rejects Christ and refuses to repent God's hand is still extended to them in friendship. Jesus wants them; the Father wants them; the Holy Spirit wants them; it's a shame that so many people don't want him.
1a. God has not rejected his (Old Testament) people Israel, nor has he rejected anyone else; people reject God, he doesn't reject them. They reject God every time they sin; they reject God when they refuse to repent; they reject God when he offers them mercy through Jesus Christ and they say no.
1. Again, "his people" refers to the Israelites. God did not reject them. Most of them rejected him. Most of them rejected him throughout their history beginning shortly after the Exodus and they continued to reject him until it culminated in them rejecting his son. They rejected God when they rejected Christ because Jesus taught that no one who rejects the son has the father either.
2. God chose the Israelites to be his people and they rejected him. You go back to the very beginning and you will see that throughout their history the Israelites had a bad habit of wanting to do things their way instead of God's and their rejection of Jesus Christ was in keeping with their rebellion against God.
The Israelites along with anyone else who tries to have things their way instead of God's way will end up defeated because God doesn't lose.
2,3. Back in Old Testament days the great prophet Elijah felt all alone. It seemed like all the other Hebrews were lukewarm at best in their walk with God and no one supported him.
4. There were more people who served God then Elijah thought. God said he had 7000 faithful people besides Elijah. Of course that's not very many when compared to the entire population which consisted of millions. However, that's always been the case; God's people who really care enough about Christ to put him first are always a minority in every age.
5. God has a small group of faithful followers who give, and pray, and serve, and care; he has a small group of followers who are holy; who care more about him than they do about themselves. In other words, God has a small group of people who are actually producing the fruits of salvation, as for the rest only God knows if there saved, but many of them show no evidence of salvation.
5,6. You can't mix works and grace when deciding which road you're going to take for salvation. Every person comes to a fork in the spiritual road; one road is grace, and the other is works, or self effort. You can't go north and south at the same time, and you can't choose the way of grace and the way of self effort at the same time because they exclude each other. One either attempts to work for salvation or they accept it from God as a gift through Jesus Christ.
6,7. Those who try to be saved by doing good things will fail just as Israel failed. Many people like to think that they're good enough to earn salvation by their own effort. Some of them are very impressed with their religious activity, others are impressed with their good works in general and so they assume that God is impressed with them as well.
Someone says: the Bible talks a lot about good works. Yes it does, but not as if they are a stairway to heaven. Jesus is the stairway to heaven; he's the escalator to heaven. Christians do good works because they're grateful to be on that escalator.
7,8. Rejecting the simple plain truth of God's word is the most dangerous thing anyone can do. When a person willfully rejects the truth of Scripture they will eventually become blind to it. They will reach a point where they will be able to see it written in black and white on the pages of Scripture, and yet they won't understand. That is what has happened to Israel, and it still happens to many people today.
Never attempt to explain away what the Bible says; don't do that for any reason or anyone. You explain away the truth that you know is true and your heart will become hard and it will be the biggest mistake you have ever made, a mistake with eternal consequences.
9,10. In other words, people will pay for rejecting the word of God. Jesus tells us to search the Scriptures. Jesus says the Scripture cannot be broken. The Bible is what it is which is why people will suffer for rejecting It. In verse 10 God says that their backs will be bent forever. In other words, they'll never have any relief from their sufferings in hell; sufferings that could have been avoided altogether if they had only listened to the word of God.
11. No one is beyond recovery unless they're burning in hell. God is a God of the second chance and the third chance and the fourth chance and the fifth chance and so on. If a person wants to repent and receive Christ they can do that. That goes for both Jews and Gentiles.
11,12. God turned to the entire world and offered everyone salvation when it was clear that Israel had rejected it. Israel's rejection of Jesus Christ meant good things for the rest of the world. And here God is saying just wait until you see how I'm going to bless the world when Israel finally comes to their senses and receives Christ.
13. Whatever Paul did for Jesus he did with all of his heart. He worked as hard as he possibly could work; he preached as hard as he could preach, he did it for as long as he could, and to as many people as he could.
13,14. It broke the apostle's heart to see so many Hebrews die without Jesus and go to hell. He preached the word of God to the Gentiles so that whoever was interested could be saved. And he also hoped that the Jews would see the peace and joy of those Gentile Christians and would want what they had through Christ.
And today hell bound sinners will not know that Jesus is real unless we Christians put Christ first. If we don't put Jesus first and we don't make holiness a priority, then were not going to have joy and peace and if we don't have that than we're not going to influence anyone in the direction of Christ and if they don't come to Christ then they will burn in hell forever.
15. In other words, if God used Israel's sin to bring about good then just imagine what God will do when they repent.
16,17. Think of God's salvation is being a tree, a salvation tree. Saved people are branches in God's salvation tree. Some of the Jewish branches were broken off, and replaced with Gentile branches.
17,18. In other words, Gentile Christians should never look down upon the Jewish race because their ancient relationship with God is the root of God's salvation tree.
There would be no salvation tree for Gentiles if it wasn't for the Jewish roots which feeds that tree. After all the Savior himself is Jewish.
19,20. The Jews who were pulled out of the salvation tree were pulled because they refused to put their faith in Christ. The Gentiles who are put into the tree are there because of their faith in Christ. Faith in Christ puts one in, and rejecting that faith pulls one out.
Faith in Jesus is the only thing that can save a person, and not having faith in Jesus is the big sin that condemns a person.
21. In other words, don't think you're special because you're in the salvation tree. Whatever you do don't become arrogant about being saved, thinking that you are special and that's why Jesus saved you. That's the mistake the Jews made; they were arrogant; they began thinking that they were saved because they were better than others. Their arrogance eventually led to the destruction of their faith and it will destroy the faith of any Gentile who go so far as to stop trusting Christ and instead depends on their own goodness.
22. God is stern towards those who reject his son even if they at one time followed him.
Whatever we used to be doesn't count; what we are now is what matters to God. If we are not following Christ and trusting in him now, then God will not have mercy on us.
22. God is kind toward those who trust his son. God will not give us what our sins deserve if Jesus is our Lord and Savior. He'll give us heaven instead of hell, but that promise comes with a warning and a condition which is: don't quit on Jesus; keep trusting in him for salvation.
23,24. Salvation is not about being good enough, or doing this or that good work; it's about faith in Christ. God says it again right here: If a person doesn't persist in unbelief toward Christ they will be put into that salvation tree.
25. Jesus knows exactly how many non-Jewish people will receive him as Lord and Savior and when that last one gets saved an amazing thing is going to happen: the hearts of a multitude of Hebrews will be softened toward the Lord Jesus Christ and many will receive him.
26,27. Every Israelite who is destined to be saved shall be saved. This doesn't mean that every person who has Hebrew blood flowing through their veins will eventually come to Christ or be saved; it simply means that everyone who wants to be saved and turns to Christ will be saved.
28a. The Jews were big enemies of the early church. The first major persecution against Christianity came from the Jews.
28. In spite of all the bad God did not slam the door shut on all Hebrews. God promised Abraham, the ancestor of the Jewish race, that he would not reject them. God's word is true which is why the Israelites have remained as a people for thousands of years in spite of being hated, hunted, and threatened with extinction by many.
29. God called the Jews to be his people, and he will make sure that at least some will always be around to answer that call.
God doesn't go back on his promises, gifts, or callings. People can refuse God's gift's, or say that they don't want them anymore, but God will never remove them from anyone who wants them.
30. God offered salvation to Gentiles because the Jews didn't want it.
God loves to bless so if one person doesn't want it he'll find someone else who does.
31. God showed, and continues to show mercy to the Gentiles, and he also shows mercy to the Jews.
None of us are worthy of forgiveness and eternal life. It's only through the mercy of God that any of us are saved, and we can only be saved when we know that our only hope is God's mercy and that it only comes through Christ.
32. We are all disobedient sinners, but God wants to show mercy in spite of our unworthiness. Actually our unworthiness is what makes his mercy, mercy. We all need it and every one of us can have it if we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
33. The best way to go through life is to obey God, confess when we fail, and trust that he knows what he's doing. God knows what he's doing, and what's best for us in the long run even if we can't figure him out, and of course we can't.
33. We don't know what God is thinking; we don't understand the mind of God; we can't figure out God's ways, or what he's doing, or how he is doing it.
It doesn't pay to ask "why" because God probably won't tell us anyway, and even if he did chances are we couldn't grasp it. Don't ask "why;" why are things like this God? Instead of asking "why," ask "what," what you want me to do, and "how," how should I behave. Don't worry about the "why" because the "why" is God's business. Our business is obedience.
34. Answer: no one! God doesn't need counsel. No one should ever try to tell God what to do, and no one should complain about how things are. God doesn't need correcting, because he is always correct. No one should say, God, would you like a little sage advice? He doesn't want it, nor does he need it, ever.
35. God doesn't owe anyone anything. Anything good we enjoy is a product of God's goodness and mercy; he doesn't owe it to us; God is not in debt to anyone because if it wasn't for him no one would even be able to take a breath; if it wasn't for him every single human being born would immediately die because of their sins, then they'd go to hell and burn there forever; God doesn't owe anyone anything, ever!
36. God doesn't owe us anything, but we owe him everything. We would not have been born if it wasn't for God. Anything good that we have ever experienced since birth is a gift from God. We owe God many thank you's.
1. Being saved from hell deserves a response of complete dedication to the Lord who saved us. That's the only reasonable response that there is.
2. If we change what we put into our minds, then how we live will change as well. If we put God's word, God's thoughts into our mind then we won't live like the people who don't care about him.
3. The sober judgment by which we should measure ourselves is the word of God. It's not helpful to compare ourselves with other people because people aren't the standard. God doesn't grade on the curve, he grades according to his perfect word.
If we look at ourselves in light of God's word we will never have a problem with arrogance, but we will be eternally grateful for God's mercy.
4. In other words, the different parts of our body contribute in their own unique way to the well-being of the entire body.
5. Christians are connected in the Holy Spirit. What one Christian does will affect others in the body of Christ just as an injury to your thumb is not an injury to your entire body but it does affect how your body functions.
6-8. In other words, be yourself in the Lord; be all you can be for Jesus; do your best at all times for him.
When every Christian does their best the church as a whole will be effective, and we'll be a blessing to each other.
9. In order to be good we must hate evil. Often Christians do not hate evil as they should until they've experience it's horrible consequences. God's discipline will also make a Christian think twice before committing sin.
No one loves good more than those who have experienced the bad caused by sin.
10. Treat others better than you treat yourself. As long as it isn't sinful let others have their way. Treat yourself well; treat others even better.
I have found that it is helpful to pray every morning that God would show me how to do five unselfish things for others that day. Unselfishness, like other behaviors, is habit-forming.
11. Be on fire for Christ! He saved you from hell so don't take that for granted. Live for him like you know it's true because you do know that it's true.
12. "Rejoicing in hope" means: look forward to the good times to come. Christians can't always be happy about their present circumstances, but we can always be joyful over the great future that we have, and prayer will help us to maintain that eternal perspective.
13. We shouldn't be selfish if we are Christians. If a Christian needs our help then we should care enough to do what we can to help them.
14. In other words, be like Jesus who sacrificed himself on behalf of those who offended him with their sin.
God wants us to be good to those who are bad to us.
15. We are to be sensitive to the feelings of others. If someone is happy then be happy because they're happy. If someone is sad then share in their sadness, and whatever you do don't try to be upbeat and bubbly when you're around them because that's like pouring salt on a wound.
16. There should never be any social, educational, or economic barriers in Christ. Wealthy Christians shouldn't think that they are better than poor Christians. Poor Christians shouldn't dislike wealthy Christians. The common laborer who works for minimum wage is just as important as a Christian billionaire.
And if a person is filled with the Holy Spirit they will not look down on any other Christian because that sort of thing is abhorrent to Christ.
17a. Never say, I'm going to get that person back for what they did to me. Getting someone back makes you as sinful is the one who hurt you in the first place.
17. Be a good person. There are certain things that most people agree are proper behavior; don't violate those universal principles of goodness if you are Christian.
18. Don't be the reason for trouble. Bend over backwards to get along with others. Of course sometimes it doesn't matter how nice you are because it still won't be enough for some people. It's important to recognize that as well.
19. When we get revenge then we are attempting to do God's job. Getting someone back also suggests that God cannot be trusted to carry out justice so you have to do it yourself.
20. Be good to those who have been bad to you. Be kind to them because your kindness will be a contrast to their bad behavior and hopefully make them feel guilty.
Getting someone back is tempting, but showing the kindness of God to them may actually wake them up, cause them to repent and be saved.
21 In other words, don't allow evil to win. When we respond to evil with sin then sin wins; when we respond to evil within the boundaries of Scripture then sin loses.
1. Respect all authority. Those who have been put in power have been ordained to that position by God. We may not understand how, or why it's true but it is. They need to be obeyed and they need to be respected because of their position even if you disagree with some of the things that they do.
2. Parking tickets are judgment from God; speeding tickets are judgment from God; being arrested for drunken driving is a judgment from God; being put in prison is a judgment from God; being executed is a judgment from God. When we are punished for breaking the law we are being punished because we rebelled against God's authority.
As long as the law doesn't insist that we go against Scripture we must obey it, or we ourselves are going against Scripture.
3. You hear about things like this every now and then: a police officer wants to pull a car over because their taillight doesn't work so he flashes his lights for a routine traffic stop and all of a sudden the car takes off 90 mph, why? Because his backseat is full of illegal drugs. You don't have to be afraid if you don't break the law.
4. God wants there to be law and order in his world which is why he established civil government to enforce it. The government is God's instrument to keep people from hurting each other. The further a nation is from God the less they will govern themselves and the more they will need to be governed by civil authorities.
We sometimes hear politicians say that the United States should spread democracy and freedom throughout the world but there are some people in this world who cannot handle democracy or freedom. Some people cannot handle it because freedom and democracy will not work unless the people of a nation govern themselves. Some nations need to be ruled with an iron fist because the people are too immoral to govern themselves. As a matter of fact, that's the direction we' re headed which is why we continue to lose our freedoms.
An immoral people cannot be trusted with freedom because they'll use that freedom to do destructive things.
5. It's smart to obey laws because it makes sense to avoid pain but most of all because it makes sense to be in God's will. You never want to be on the opposite side of God with regard to anything.
6. God wants us to pay our taxes because if we don't then we' re cheating him. The Bible says, "the laborer is worthy of their pay." Taxes are the way we pay for government services and whether you like the government or not they deserve to be paid. If we don't like how some of our tax money is being spent then we need to work within the rules to try to change things, but until things change we are responsible to pay our taxes.
7. Give people what God says they've got coming not what you think they've got coming.
8. Christians should pay their bills; it's a sin if we don't. If we owe then we should pay.
8. One debt we can never pay in full is the debt of love. We always owe more love. We can never say: I have loved enough; I've met my quota, at least until next month, or I loved my wife a quite a bit recently so now I don't have to do it again until she returns the favor. We can't say I'll love my neighbor when they earn it. They may never earn it but God says they should have it; we owe it to them.
9. If we love others as much as we love ourselves then we won't hurt them, we will not sin against them.
The reason we try to please ourselves is because we love ourselves. That's why if we focus on the command to love our neighbors as ourselves all the other commandments will fall into place.
10. If we act in love the way God defines it in his word then we can be sure that we are keeping the rest of the commandments that relate to other people. If we love someone then we won't harm them. If we love someone we won't be mean to them. If we love someone we won't commit adultery on them. If we love someone we won't steal from them. If we love someone we won't cheat them. If we love someone we won't ignore them and their needs. If we love someone then we will be kind to them. If we love someone then we will be good to them. If we love someone then we will do whatever we can to help them in their walk with Jesus. If we love someone then we will want to spend time with them. If we love someone we' re were going to do what we can to make them feel secure in that love.
11. We' re all closer to being face-to-face with Jesus than we were when we first became Christians.
Reverting back to the previous verse: love others as much as you love yourself because you are moving quickly toward the moment when you're going to stand face-to-face with the Lord Jesus Christ. Make the most out of every second that you have to live for Jesus because the seconds go by quickly.
12. In other words, stop sinning and get on fire for Jesus because this life is almost done. I don't care if you have another 80 years to live that's nothing compared to eternity. No one knows if they will live another 50 years or only 50 seconds so live like today is your last day because Jesus deserves that type of commitment and also because it might be your last day.
13. More than anyone Christians should be decent people.
There are common sense standards of decency and no Christian should violate them because were supposed to be representatives of the one true God.
14. The moment we start thinking about sin we should redirect our thoughts. Don't think about sin; don't think about how to carry out sin, instead redirect your mind and start thinking about how not to sin. The longer we think about doing wrong the more powerful the temptation becomes.
1. Don't give someone a hard time if their convictions about gray areas in the Bible are different than yours. Let people be themselves in the Lord. Draw the line if someone condones something that is clearly unscriptural, but otherwise respectfully disagree with them.
2. Well-meaning Christians can have honest disagreements about certain things including food and God's okay with that.
3. Don't play God with your fellow Christians. If God's word doesn't prohibit something then we should not judge someone for doing it. For example God doesn't care about diet so don't judge someone who has different convictions then you when it comes to food.
4. God is the judge not man. We are God's servants, and on judgment day he will tell us the things that we did right and the things that we did wrong. We are not capable of judging another servant of God in areas where the Scripture is silent so we should just leave it alone.
5. If a Christian wants to observe special holy days that's fine; if they don't that's fine as well. In these gray areas God wants us to do what we believe is right and allow others to do what they believe is right.
6. Whatever a Christian decides to do in these gray areas should be what they honestly think will best honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
7,8. In other words, are duty is to try to please Jesus. If we can please our fellow Christian in the process that's great if not then we still must do whatever we believe will be most honoring to Christ.
There needs to be grace among Christians, grace to allow each other to be led by Christ in our own unique way.
9. Jesus is Lord, no one else.
Until someone else manages to live a sinless life, die, and then raise themselves from the dead three days later, we need to let Jesus be the Lord of our fellow Christians and not try to do that job ourselves.
10. God alone knows everything that we do, everything that we were trying to do, why we did it, and what we were trying to do that didn't turn out right. We should never presume to know what's going on inside the mind of another Christian; that's God's business, and he will pass judgment when the time is right.
11. It's not a question of will you bow down before Jesus; it's only a question of when. Christians bow before Jesus today but those who reject Christ as Savior will bow before him on Resurrection Day and admit that he is Lord. In other words, immediately before they are sent to hell condemned souls will give their Creator the respect he deserves.
12. Every one of us should spend more time making sure that we are doing right in the eyes of God instead of playing the judge concerning our fellow Christians.
13. Instead of ripping into other Christians because they don't see eye to eye with us on every little thing our focus should be on helping them, or encouraging them.
Some Christians think that their calling in life is to micromanage other people's lives which often ends up causing a lot of confusion and trouble.
Christians have the Holy Spirit to guide us in those scriptural gray areas; we don't need meddling believers who try to be a second Holy Spirit to us.
14. Food is food! Spiritually speaking it doesn't matter what you eat. But some Christians don't understand that; they think that some foods are sinful to eat. Consequently they sin when they eat something contrary to their convictions.
15. If a week Christian thinks that it's a sin to eat french fries because he doesn't understand what the Bible teaches about food then don't stop at McDonald's to get a large fry and eat it in front of him.
16. Our liberty in Christ is good, but if we flaunt it in front of an uninformed Christian than that good liberty will be labeled bad by that person.
17. In other words, give the weak uninformed Christian time to grow in their faith. It is better to give up some of our liberties in Christ then it is to enjoy them but in the process cause confusion to a week Christian.
18. Christ would have us sacrifice our rights if that would benefit a weak, uninformed Christian.
19. And if it takes self-sacrifice then that's what should be done. Do the best you can to avoid anything that would trouble an unlearned and therefore weak Christian.
20. God the Holy Spirit patiently works in Christians to make us more like Jesus. Flaunting Christian liberty in front of someone who can't handle it will hinder that work of the Holy Spirit. Something like that can actually cause a tender Christian to fall away from the Lord.
Often young Christians have an idealistic view of Christianity and convictions that go beyond the word of God and seeing those convictions violated by a more established Christian can cause them to stumble.
21. Christian love should determine our behavior instead of what we want to do. What is best for others is more important than what we want.
22a. In other words, don't try to shove your Christian liberty, or your convictions down the throat of someone who is not ready for them. Have your convictions in the gray areas, but keep them to yourselves.
22,23. Don't do it if you have doubts about it being morally correct. Something may be okay, but if we don't know that it's okay and so we have doubts about it but do it anyway then for us it is sin.
1. Someone who is physically strong shouldn't use their strength to get their own way; they should use it to help those who are not strong. And if we are spiritually strong, then we should use our spiritual strength and set aside our freedom in Christ to put up with the sensitive conscience of a week Christian. It takes spiritual strength to forgo our liberty in Christ for the good of others and that's what God tells us to do.
2. Watch out for the other guy. In other words make it your ambition to help your fellow Christian grow strong in their faith.
3. Christ willingly gave up his rights and privileges as God in order to give us eternal life.
No matter how much we may sacrifice as Christians for the good of others it doesn't even come close to the sacrifice of Jesus.
4. Reading the word of God will give Christians encouragement whenever discouragement begins to set in. Reading the Bible will help us to endure God's will when there's a price for doing it.
5. Following Jesus Christ brings unity among Christians because Christ leads his people to be unselfish and humble. If everyone is unselfish and humble because they're following Jesus Christ they aren't going to have any problems getting along with each other.
6. Unity among Christians brings glory to God.
Bickering children reflect badly on parents, and bickering Christians dishonor Almighty God.
7. Jesus accepts us even though we do bad things. We aren't even close to being perfect, which is what God demands, and yet he accepts us. That is the attitude that Christians should have toward each other. Do other Christians measure up to God's standards? No, and neither do we so if God can accept us then we should accept one another.
8. All the promises recorded in the Old Testament Scriptures about a Redeemer and an everlasting King were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God kept his promises, and fulfilled them through Jesus. If Jesus already fulfilled God's promises then people are foolish to wait for someone else because no one else is coming.
9. Jesus also made it possible for Gentiles to receive God's mercy and be saved.
10. Jews and Gentiles can rejoice together over the salvation given by God through Jesus Christ.
11. The Old Testament said that God would save Gentiles someday and that's what the church is all about.
12. Jesus rules over the nations. Jesus is the King of all Christians everywhere in the world and one day he will be the absolute ruler over every country in the world as well.
13. There can be no joy and peace unless one puts their entire confidence in Christ. Leave it to Jesus; trust that he is in control matter how things are going; that's the only way to have peace and joy.
14. The purpose for growing in our knowledge of Christ is so that we can be good and instruct one another.
No Christian has all the answers. We need to feed off one another, spiritually speaking.
15. Paul could write boldly because he wrote the word of God.
The word of God should always be spoken with boldness; speak it with authority because God is the authority.
16. Christians are supposed to be holy; we're supposed to be living, breathing offerings to God. In other words our entire life should be an offering to God; everything that we do should be filtered through the question: is this going to please God, and if the answer is no then we shouldn't do it.
17. We are called to glory in Christ; that should be our motive, that should be our goal, that should be our desire. We should live to draw attention to the greatness of our God and Savior.
18,19. It's all about Jesus. Any success we have as a Christian is because the Lord God has been working through us, both to will and do his good pleasure. So the "want to," and the doing of the "want to" both come from God; we can't take credit for any good thing that we do, and anyone who tells you that you can is either ignorant of the word of God or they're trying to flatter you.
20. It was the apostles ambition to break new ground for Jesus because that is what God called him to do.
If we are sold out to Christ, living for him, and loving him, then we can assume that our ambitions have been placed in us by the Holy Spirit just as Paul's were.
21. God wants everyone in the world to be given an opportunity to repent and receive salvation through his son.
22. Paul had wanted to visit these Roman Christians for a long time, which would've been a good thing, but he kept choosing to go to those who had never heard of Jesus, which was a better thing.
There may be many good things that we can do as a Christian, but we should always choose the best thing in light of the principles of Scripture.
23. He did everything he could; he exhausted all of his opportunities to do what he knew he was called to do so now he felt free to move on.
24. With the apostle, pleasure was always mixed with business concerning Jesus. Jesus was involved in every area of Paul's life; it was always all about serving Christ.
25-27. Giving money for the work of the ministry is a big part of ministry itself. God has chosen to minister through his called preachers, but also through the financial gifts of God's people; that's how things get done in the kingdom of God.
28,29. The apostle wasn't setting any dates for his arrival in Rome. He figured he'd get their, but he was leaving the exact day up to God.
It's best to trust God with the details. Do your best, and trust God with the details, and the results.
30. One thing that every Christian can do is be a useful part of God's church by praying. Praying is as important as any other part of the church's work.
30-33. Satan will use the world and the unsaved in the world to try to stop the spiritual work of God's people. Prayer keeps him from succeeding; that's one reason prayer is so important.
1,2. Phoebe was a servant; she helped many people and now God wants others to help her.
The Bible says we reap what we sow and since Phoebe sowed good things God wanted her to reap the same.
We'll skip the greetings and go down to verse 17.
17. Any teaching that is contrary to the doctrine; in other words, contrary to the word of God is going to cause division. The word of God is truth consequently it is always correct which is why it is a blessing when it is understood. Division and trouble occur when it is misquoted, misunderstood, or rejected.
18. In other words, watch out for slick talkers, especially slick talking preachers. Stick with preachers and teachers whose lives radiate the holiness and love of God and who teach the word of God and you'll be safe.
19. In other words, be so good that you don't even think in terms of evil. We should be righteous to the degree that wrong shocks us. If we lose that sense of shock and disgust over sin we probably aren't as close to God as we should be.
20. God is a God of peace which is why he will crush the devil. Those who are for peace but do not actively oppose those who cause trouble may be for peace, but they're going about it the wrong way. There can't be peace for good people until evil people are stopped; that's how God sees it. God is smart enough to realize that he has to remove the troublemaker Satan before he creates his new heavens and earth which will then be peaceful.
25. It is the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ which establishes us; in other words, it makes us secure. God secures sinners to himself when they receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
25,26. Faith and obedience go together. God wants us to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation and if we do, obedience follows. A genuine Christian wants to obey because they truly believe that Jesus is both Savior and Lord. A true Christian wants to obey because the love of God has been shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit who is in them. That gives them the desire and power to obey.
27. God gets all the glory when it comes to sinners being saved from hell. When a person understands the plan of salvation as God has laid it out in Scripture they naturally give him the glory through Jesus Christ. Salvation is the work of God from start to finish, and the Savior Jesus Christ is the instrument in that salvation as well as the focus of those who are saved.