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The new covenant we have with God depends upon our belief in His righteousness. The old covenant depended on our righteousness in keeping the law.
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The non-Christian lives in harmony with the desires of his flesh, but we Christians are trying to bring our flesh into conformity with the will of God. Now our will and desire is to serve God. So, when we sin, it's because we still have the sinful nature. Through Him we're accounted righteous. What shall we eat?
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What shall we drink? What shall we wear? It's a waste of time to pray for things that are contrary to God's will. Sometimes we don't know God's will in a certain situation; then the Holy Spirit interprets our groanings and intercedes with God for us, according to God's will. When God watches our lives, it's as if He were watching a rerun, because He knows what we would do Psalm Christ was the first-born. He is for us. The world, the flesh, and the devil are against us, but they're no match for God. Jesus doesn't want to condemn us. He pleads our case for us. The glory of God's presence filled the tabernacle and the Temple.
God made a covenant with the people that He would be their God and they would be His people. God gave the law and the order for service to Him Leviticus. God gave numerous promises to Israel, some that are still in effect today.
This text should read " Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever. He loves and accepts all who come to Him. His ways are beyond our human understanding. The idea of righteousness by faith was difficult for the Jews to accept after the years they'd spent seeking righteousness by the law. He was longing to release them from their futile attempts to become righteous by following the law. He doesn't take more pleasure in a Jew coming to salvation than a Gentile.
Nature testifies to God's existence. He defended them when Isaiah complained to Him. The Jews were cut off because of their unbelief, not merely to make room for us. He only wants us to believe, trusting Him with simple faith. It was a gracious act.
They're here to protect us, and we should have an appreciative attitude toward them. He'll judge our works and the motivation behind our works, then give us our place in His kingdom Philippians 2: We can do something that isn't wrong in itself but is evil because it offends someone else. Phebe carried this epistle from Paul to Rome. Wherever they lived, they opened their home for Bible studies and helped to establish new believers.
Paul warns the Christians to take note of those who brought divisions into the Church and to avoid them. Paul wanted the Christians to be wise in spiritual things but unlearned in evil things. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.
Blue Letter Bible study tools make reading, searching and studying the Bible easy and rewarding. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs. Keep me logged in! Also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles … in which are some things hard to understand. The Book of Romans has life changing truth but it must be approached with effort and determination to understand what the Holy Spirit said through the Apostle Paul. Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.
The life and ministry of Paul also known as Saul of Tarsus is well documented in Acts chapters 8 through 28 , as well as Galatians 1 and 2 , and 2 Corinthians 11 and It is almost universally agreed that Paul wrote Romans from the city of Corinth as he wintered there on his third missionary journey as described in Acts This is based on Romans A variety of commentators pick the date of writing anywhere from 53 to 58 A. By the time Paul wrote Romans, he had been a Christian preacher for some 20 years. In Corinth, on his way to Jerusalem, he had three months without any pressing duties.
He perhaps thought this was a good time to write ahead to Rome, a church he planned to visit after Jerusalem. What if he were unable to make it to Rome? Then he must write them a letter so comprehensive that the Christians in Rome had the gospel Paul preached, even if Paul himself were not able to visit them. Because of all this, Romans is different than other letters Paul wrote to New Testament churches.
Other New Testament letters focus more on the church and its challenges and problems. The letter to the Romans focuses more on God and His great plan of redemption. It may be that he had memorized it, and that the reading of it became a part of virtually every meeting of the Roman church. As well, many scholars Bruce and Barclay among them believe that an edited version of Romans - without the personal references in Romans 16 - was distributed widely among early churches, as a summary of apostolic doctrine.
A bondservant … an apostle: Paul's self-identification is important. He is first a servant of Jesus Christ , and second called to be an apostle. There were several Greek words used to designate a slave, but the idea behind the word for servant doulos is "complete and utter devotion, not the abjectness which was the normal condition of the slave. Separated to the gospel of God: The idea of being an apostle is that you are a special ambassador or messenger. Paul's message is the gospel good news of God. It is the gospel of God in the sense that it belongs to God in heaven.
This isn't a gospel Paul made up; he simply is a messenger of God's gospel. Separated unto the gospel: Paul may here refer to his former state as a Pharisee , which literally signifies a separatist , or one separated. Before he was separated unto the service of his own sect ; now he is separated unto the Gospel of God. The gospel of God: Other New Testament letters focus more on the church and its challenges and problems; Romans focuses more on God.
Romans is a book about God. No topic is treated with anything like the frequency of God. Everything Paul touches in this letter he relates to God.
In our concern to understand what the apostle is saying about righteousness, justification, and the like we ought not to overlook his tremendous concentration on God. The word " God " occurs times in the book; an average of once every 46 words - this is more frequently than in any other New Testament book. In comparison, note the frequency of other words used in Romans: Romans deals with many different themes, but as much as a book can be, it is a book about God.
There are many important words in the vocabulary of Romans we must understand; Bruce quotes Tyndale's preface to Romans: Which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;. He promised before through His prophets: This gospel is not something new, and it is not a clever invention of man.
Paul's world was much like ours, with people liked "new" teachings and doctrines. Nevertheless, Paul didn't bring something new, but something very old in the plan of God. This is the center of Paul's gospel, the "sun" that everything this else orbits around. The center of Christianity is not a teaching or a moral system, it is a Person: This Jesus has both a human origin born of the seed of David according to the flesh , and an eternal existence declared to be the Son of God.
The evidence of Jesus' humanity is His human birth; the evidence of His deity is His resurrection from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus shows His divine power because He rose by His own power: Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again. This ancient Greek word horizo comes from the idea "to bound , define , determine , or limit , and hence our word horizon , the line that determines the farthest visible part of the earth in reference to the heavens.
In this place the word signifies such a manifest and complete exhibition of the subject as to render it indubitable. Jesus Christ our Lord: It means something that the Apostle Paul called Jesus Lord: The really significant background, though, is its use in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to render the divine name, Yahweh … Christians who used this as their Bible would be familiar with the term as equivalent to deity. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith: Paul's gospel impacts individual lives.
Chuck Smith :: Study Guide for Romans
It isn't interesting theory or philosophy, it is life-changing good news. The gospel gave Paul and the church grace and apostleship , and one reason those two gifts were given was to produce obedience to the faith. The gospel is big enough and great enough for the whole world; it must go out to impact all nations. The gospel had reached the Roman Christians, demonstrating that they are the called of Jesus Christ.
To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you but was hindered until now , that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
To all who are in Rome: Paul had never been to Rome, and did not found the Roman church. This makes the Book of Romans different because most of Paul's letters were to churches he founded. It seems the church in Rome began somewhat spontaneously as Christians came to the great city of the Empire and settled there. There is no Biblical or historical evidence that the Apostle Peter founded the church in Rome. Beyond that, the origins of the church in Rome are somewhat obscure, but Christians continually migrated to Rome from all parts of the empire.
It shouldn't surprise us that a church started there spontaneously, without the direct planting by an apostle. Even so, through mutual acquaintances or through his travels, Paul knew many of the Christians in Rome by name because he mentions them in Romans Even if Paul only knew many of the Roman Christian by acquaintance, he knew two things about them and every true Christian.
He knew they were beloved of God and that they were saints.
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Called to be saints: These believers in Rome were 'called saints. Lenski says Romans 1: Grace to you and peace from God: Paul formally addresses his readers with his familiar greeting, combining the Greek greeting of grace with the Jewish greeting of peace. This grace and peace is not the kind wish of a man; they are gifts , coming from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world: Paul was thankful for the good reputation of the church in Rome. Because of its location, this church had a special visibility and opportunity to glorify Jesus throughout the empire.
These Christians had to be strong. In large numbers, then, they became the victims of the imperial malevolence - and it is this persecution of Christians under Nero that traditionally forms the setting for Paul's martyrdom. Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers: Paul wanted the Roman Christians to know he was praying for them, and praying for an opportunity to visit them I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. Some churches would prosper better if some of you remembered them more in prayer.
For God is my witness is perhaps Paul's acknowledgment of how easy it is to say you will pray for someone, and then fail to do it. He wanted them to know that he was really praying. I may impart to you … that I may be encouraged: Paul's desire to visit the church in Rome is not merely to give to them, but to receive as well, because Paul realized that in their mutual faith , they have something to give to him.
I often planned to come to you but was hindered until now: For a long time, Paul wanted to visit Rome and was only hindered by external circumstances. Perhaps some enemies of Paul implied he was afraid to go to Rome and preach the gospel in the "major leagues," in the Empire's leading city. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise: Paul recognized he had something of a debt to Rome. The Roman Empire brought world peace and order, they brought a common cultural, and an excellent transportation system to the world.
Paul used all these in spreading the gospel, so he can best repay this debt by giving Rome the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul was such a tireless evangelist, working all over the world because he believed he had a debt to pay, and he owed it to the whole world. Spurgeon wonders if Paul didn't use the words " I am ready " as his motto. Almost the first words out of his mouth when he was saved were, "Lord, what do you want me to do? He had never heard of it before; but his leader called him, and said, 'Brother, will you go to Greenland? He wanted nothing else but just that pair of boots, and he was ready to go.
Paul, not even waiting for his boots to come home from the cobbler, says, 'I am ready. I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also: This is a bold way of talking. Where in all history can you find one like Paul? Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, marched with the protection of their armies to enforce their will upon men. If He does not, the end of the age is surely at hand and multitudes of believers will face destruction in the day of resurrection. The Great Commission charged the Apostles to teach the nations to keep the commandments of the Lord.
Whenever this goal is changed for any reason whatever, no matter how "correct" the reason may seem to be, we know that Satan has been at work. If we are saved by belief alone, then God will not recompense "every man according to his deeds. God will not repay the believers according to their deeds. The current Dispensational teaching is that upon receiving Christ the spiritual laws of cause and effect are done away.
The Christian will not be held accountable for his behavior in the world. He will not reap what he sows. His lies, his stealing, his fornication, his rage, his gossiping, his self-will shall not be dealt with as will the wickedness of people who have not accepted Christ. According to the current deception, the inhabitants of Heaven and of the new Jerusalem will not be people who practice righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.
They will bear malice in their hearts, and they will not forgive. Their behavior is not of critical importance because they all are saved by grace—"saved" meaning they have been allowed to enter Paradise. For ten thousand years, according to one commentator, the believers will be praising God for His grace, meaning they still are filled with wickedness but God has brought them into Paradise.
It is maintained by deceived teachers that the main thing God is searching for is our statement of belief in His Son. What kind of character we demonstrate is important, but not critically so—at least not as far as Divine judgment is concerned. The Dispensationalist holds that a true Christian saint is one who possesses the correct statement of faith concerning the Lord Christ. Whether or not he or she practices fornication, stealing, self-will, self-exaltation, disobedience to God, murder, covetousness, or strife will not have a significant bearing on his or her destiny when death comes and Divine judgment is administered.
It is not what Paul, James, Peter, and John taught. It is not what Paul meant when he taught that we are saved by grace through faith. The sinful man or woman, boy or girl, on coming to the Lord Jesus for salvation, receives total forgiveness of all sins committed. This is a full pardon. God remembers these sins no longer. When a Christian sins he is to confess the sin to the Lord and repent of his conduct, receiving Divine grace to enable him to resist the devil in the future.
Upon confessing his sin he is forgiven and cleansed, and the particular behavior will never be mentioned to him again provided he does not resume practicing what has been confessed and repented of. The above two provisions apply to the Christian. There is no provision for the individual who has not believed in Christ, who has not come under the new covenant. Divine grace, which is the Virtue of God imparted to men through Christ, includes within itself the supernatural wisdom and power which, when received by the saint, enables him or her to meet the Divine standards of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.
God has showed us what is good, and all He requires is that we behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Not so hard at that! He has given us these so we will have the wisdom and strength to behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. God expects that we will accept His forgiveness and also the provisions He has made so we will live in obedience to His will. There always is a way of escape that has been constructed for the particular temptation. To maintain we are debtors to the flesh to walk in the flesh; to say we are condemned to disobey God while we are in the world; is to deny the ability of the new covenant to make us new creatures in Christ.
If we will study the Scripture, examining the provisions God has made for us and mix faith with the Word that we read, we will find that God is expecting each saint to grow in grace. To grow in grace is to mature in the ability to distinguish between good and evil and in the strength to choose the good. Now you have become aware of two different viewpoints of Divine grace. The first viewpoint is that Jesus saves us in our sins so we can go to Heaven. The second viewpoint is that Jesus saves us from our sins so we no longer will be incurring the wrath of God but can have fellowship with Him throughout all the marvels of the ages to come.
Your choice may determine whether or not you decide to conduct your life as the Lamb and His Apostles taught us; and as a result whether you enter the Kingdom of God. To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: If we are speaking of people who have never received Christ, we are claiming that an individual can receive eternal life by good works.
If we are speaking of people who have received Christ, we are stating that a Christian person must endure steadfastly in well-doing, continually seeking for glory and honor and immortality, if he or she is to attain eternal life. We Christians must—absolutely must—endure steadfastly in well-doing if we are to attain eternal life. We must choose each day to live in Christ. Eternal life does not come on the basis of a correct statement concerning the work of redemption and the lordship of Christ. Rather, eternal life comes to us as we cast ourselves on God through Christ, receiving into ourselves the Divine Life that enables us to escape the lusts of the world.
What will people Christian or not receive who are contentious and self-willed and are not yielding to the truth but to unrighteousness? Anger and wrath, tribulation, and sorrow, on every soul of man who practices evil—on the Jew first, and also the Greek. The spiritual principle is that we are judged in terms of our knowledge of God. To whom much is given, much is required. To whom little is given, little is required.
When the Law comes, sin "revives" because the Law brings to us the knowledge of sin. One error in Christian theology is the concept that people who never have heard the Gospel of Christ will be cast into the Lake of Fire. This doctrine is heartless, unrighteous, and does not agree with the manner in which the Scriptures describe the administration of the judgment of God.
Notice the following passages of Scripture. They teach that God judges us according to what we know, not according to what we do not know or what we have not heard. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: For until the law sin was in the world: We need to keep this principle in mind.
Many of the tribes of the earth who have never heard of the Scriptures have developed moral codes—principles of right and wrong. Sometimes these correspond to the eternal moral law of God. Honor, truth, honesty, loyalty, courage, moral cleanliness are found in some of the native codes of conduct.
The tribes judge themselves in terms of their own standards, their own conscience. They show the requirements of the Law of Moses written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness as to what is right or wrong. It always has been, it is and shall continue to be, wrong and evil to bear false witness, to steal, to murder, to commit adultery. There are instances where tribes of the earth have adopted codes contrary to these principles of right and wrong.
This is not because their hearts or consciences are different from other men, it is because demon spirits have warped their natural instincts of right and wrong. When these spirits are cast out their natural instincts of right and wrong will be restored. The name of God has been blasphemed among the nations because of the Jews, just as it is written. And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land Ezekiel He will be able to judge those who, although they possess the letter of the Law and covenant of circumcision, are breaking the Law.
This is the same under all Divine covenants. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked Deuteronomy This may be a play on the Hebrew name Judah , meaning "praise," from which the term Jew has been derived. There is much superiority and profit. First, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles, the Word of God. The concept here may be that the lack of trust of some of the Jews in the oracles, the Scriptures, that were entrusted to them, could not in any manner take away from the trustworthiness of the Scriptures. When the Jews broke the faith, this did not mean the integrity of what God had given was harmed or changed in any manner.
The Jews were supposed to approach the Law with faith, thus learning to walk in righteousness before the Lord. Instead, the Scripture took the place of the Lord, and the Jews served by the letter of what was written instead of looking to God continually for every aspect of life. The same mistake has been made by Christians. The grace of God is intended to lead the Christian to faith in God through the Lord Jesus, resulting in righteous behavior. Instead the grace of God has been perverted into an excuse to break the moral commandments of the Lord.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: Some Christian teachers have come close to such a conclusion in their teachings of grace. They have stated that any attempt on our part to live righteously is an affront to Divine grace. This type of preposterous, harmful conclusion is reached when one aspect of Divine truth is emphasized and the remainder neglected.
Are we, who understand that God does not want us to practice wickedness so His righteousness may be enlarged, better than those who advocate such foolishness? For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inner part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue Psalms 5: His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes Psalms Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: The Gentiles, having not the Law of Moses, are under Divine judgment because they chose to ignore the knowledge of God that has been given to them through the natural creation.
The Jews, who do possess the Law given at the hand of Moses, are under Divine judgment because they have not observed the commandments of the Law. Let us repeat our earlier comment. The following quotation from Taylor Tyndale House Publishers. Living Letters by Kenneth N. Apart from the fact that finding the way to Heaven is never presented by Paul as being the goal of salvation, nor does going to Heaven have anything to do with the context of Romans 3: The expression "the righteousness of God without the law" means vastly more than an imputed ascribed righteousness.
The righteousness of God without the Law comes as we leave Moses and are married to Christ. Our marriage to Christ, requiring as it does an intense interaction with the living Christ in every detail of life, produces a righteousness of character and behavior that the Law never could produce. We leave one source of godly character and behavior, the Law of Moses observed by a devout heart, and go to another source of godly character and behavior, which is the forming and dwelling of Christ in us. When studying Romans, we must keep in mind that Paul had an ongoing battle with Jewish theologians and teachers who were insisting that righteousness could come by the Law of Moses.
Some of the Jewish teachers had become Christians and they believed that the new converts must follow Moses as well as Christ. The Law of Moses, and the new covenant, have precisely the same objective: The difference between the old covenant and the new covenant is not that the old covenant works by the letter and the new covenant works by faith. The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews uses people from the time of Abel to prove to us that no person, under the old covenant or the new, ever pleased God other than by faith.
The people under the old covenant displeased God, attempting to please God apart from faith in Him. Devout Jews do the same today as they attempt to keep the Sabbath by not throwing a light switch. The Sabbath commandment has nothing to do with throwing a light switch or riding in an elevator. The Sabbath commandment has to do with setting apart a day to think about God and to seek His pleasure, not with straining over light switches. Again, God gave us the new covenant so we might exercise faith toward Himself.
And again, we have missed the point entirely. We have adopted a few key verses, such as Romans We have made the same mistake as the Jews—and for the same reason. Our hearts are not right in the sight of God! For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: The Jews were supposed to mix faith with the gospel of deliverance from Egypt and possession of the land of promise, but they did not do so. They chose instead to follow the letter of the statutes while their hearts were far from God. This was a perennial complaint of the Lord against Israel.
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to practice righteousness, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? The difference between the two covenants is not only that one was of the letter and the other is by faith.
The main difference is, the old covenant contains a provision for forgiving sin while the new covenant contains both a provision for forgiving sin and also a provision for removing the tendencies of sin. Both covenants require faith on the part of the worshiper, for without faith it never has been possible to please God. The confusion over the nature of new-covenant grace is an understandable error, given the complexity of the concept, but it has been deadly in its effect.
True saints must now throw off the false security given by the teaching of "workless grace" and follow the exhortations to holiness given by the Lord Jesus and the Apostles of the Lamb. A righteousness coming from God through faith in Christ for all those who believe, no difference being made between Jew and Gentile. As the Mercy Seat, as the propitiatory covering, as the atonement, the reconciliation to God, so through faith in the blood of Jesus the sinner may possess the means of satisfying the requirements of Divine justice, enabling him to come into the Presence of God.
God has shown His righteousness with respect to the sins that have been committed previously. He has provided this means of demonstrating His righteousness to people, while at the same time, in His forbearance, "passing over" the sins that men have practiced. In the cross God has demonstrated both Divine righteousness and Divine mercy. Divine justice has not been harmed and a way has been provided for the repentant, believing sinner.
The blood of Christ reveals the righteousness of the Lord God of Heaven. A man is counted as being righteous on the basis of having placed his faith in the provision God has made through Christ, the works of the Law not being able to add anything to it or to subtract from it. Is important to keep in mind that the Jew always is first in the plan of God. This is not the case. Christianity in the beginning was a Jewish religion and will once again be a Jewish religion when the Lord gathers His people from the ends of the earth.
We Gentiles are guests at the banquet. It appears to us, from the text of the Book of Romans and from the logic of what is being stated by Paul, that by the term Law he is referring to the Ten Commandments and to related moral injunctions Romans 7: The substance of the discussion from Chapters One through Eight is the transgression of the Divine standards of moral righteousness, and the provision God has made under the new covenant for delivering people from the guilt and the power of the transgressions.
It seems clear that Paul is thinking about the moral conduct of human beings, especially of those in the lustful city of Rome—Jews and Gentiles alike. God has made a way of salvation through Christ that deals directly with the problem of such immoral, abominable behavior. The Divine grace in Christ does not do away with the Law of God as though God has changed His standards for human behavior.
God and His eternal moral law, of which the Law of Moses is an abbreviated, negative part, never change. Sin is sin and the soul that sins shall die. This rule shall never be changed in any manner whatever. Calvary does not demonstrate that God has changed His mind about what is right and what is wrong. Rather, the judgment that fell on Christ on the cross reveals to us the terrible consequences of immorality and lawlessness.
God never is indulgent toward the sins of Christians, as some appear to believe. Some believers are rebuked and chastened by the Lord Jesus to their astonishment and dismay, shaking their trust in the goodness of God I Corinthians Every one of our sins was carried to the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ. Not one sin was overlooked. Not one was left unaccounted for. It is not true that God overlooks or is indulgent toward the sins of Christian people.
A fearful price was paid for each sin of each person. If we keep this thought in mind we will not be so careless about committing sin. No, the Law was not whisked away by the Lord God of Heaven in a change of mood. The awful consequences of rebellion and immorality were paid to the last drop of agony, as the Lord Jesus descended into Hell under the crushing weight of our moral transgressions, our wickedness, our rebellion.
Therefore Calvary did not change the Law, it established the Law in that it revealed the terrible penalty for sin and then made it possible for those who believe to be forgiven. Abraham, the "father" of the Jews by physical descent, and the father of all who believe by the promises of the Scriptures.
Abraham was called out of the large, prosperous city of Ur of the Chaldees. There was no basis of which we know for his being selected in this manner, other than the will and grace of God. The Scriptures are a record of a righteous God seeking men, not of righteous men seeking God. One starry night, after Abram had rescued Lot from Chedorlaomer, the Lord spoke to him a word of comfort and assurance: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
Abram Abraham told the Lord what was on his heart: Then God promised Abraham: Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness Genesis The Lord gave to Paul the Apostle the responsibility of explaining the transition from the old covenant to the new covenant. This explanation brought Paul into conflict with such leaders as the Apostle Peter. Paul based his explanation of the transition—of the way the new covenant differs from the old covenant—on the manner in which Abraham received the status of righteousness in the sight of God.
God gave to Abraham a promise concerning the Seed who would come from his own body and who would be multiplied as the stars of heaven. The reward of righteousness does not come as the gift of God but as the payment for what has been earned. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile Psalms The sign of circumcision was a seal of the righteousness that has been reckoned to him because of his faith—faith that had been demonstrated before he was circumcised.
To those Jews who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that Abraham exercised before he was circumcised. There was no written law of God at the time that Abraham received righteousness on the basis of his faith in the promise of God. The Ten Commandments were given several hundred years later. In his writings, Paul makes it clear that God does not judge people in terms of light they have not seen.
The Law of God is light. When that light comes it reveals sin. When sin has been exposed, Divine judgment must be exercised. Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is the Law of God, because God had not clothed them as yet. They became conscious of sin before Divine preparation had been made for their garments of righteousness, so to speak.
The moment the commandments came, sin was revealed and mankind became guilty and died spiritually. For I was alive without the law once: The garments of righteousness with which to clothe our nakedness are given to us through the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning death. Where there is no Law there is no transgression, no spiritual nakedness. The moment the Law comes our sinful condition is illuminated. We see, then, that Divine wrath, not salvation or inheritance, comes to us through the Law of God.
People can receive the pure righteousness of God as His gift, under His conditions, and in the manner and to the extent that satisfies God. This, instead of attempting to attain His lofty requirements through their own faulty efforts to keep the Ten Commandments by human virtue, wisdom, and strength. The promise is certain to all the Seed, not to those only who are under the Law but also to those who are the children of Abraham by faith.
Abraham is the father of the believing circumcised Jews and the believing uncircumcised Gentiles. To raise the dead into life, and to refer to things as being in existence although they are not as yet in existence in the material world. That he would become the father of many nations, based on the fact that God had told him his Seed would be as the stars in the sky. The fact that his body, being about a hundred years of age, was dead as far as bearing a son was concerned.
The same condition was true of his wife, Sarah. The fact that he was persuaded, assured, that what God has promised He is able also to do. Our faith maintains that what God has declared to be true in the Scriptures is eternally true and reliable. The righteous live by their faith in the dependability of God and His Word. To the end of his life on the earth the Apostle Paul was seeking to grasp ever more firmly the righteousness that comes from faith in God and His Word Philippians 3: No, it is referring also to us who believe in the One who raised Jesus our Lord from among the dead.
The innocent had to die for the guilty in order to balance the scales of Divine justice and righteousness. The scales have been balanced for had they not been balanced, righteousness could not have been ascribed to us under any circumstances. Since God the Father has raised Christ from the dead the way is now clear for ascribed righteousness to flow to us as individuals.
Righteousness will be ascribed on the basis of our faith in the promise of God, as was true of Abraham. But on what promise will our faith rest? The promise that Christ died for our sins and that God raised Him again as an evidence that the sacrifice has been accepted. It remains to us to believe in God, and to demonstrate our belief by receiving the remission of sins that God has provided through the death of His Son. If we will believe God has forgiven us through Christ, that Christ has been raised from the dead, and that we too will be raised from the dead, God will declare us righteous apart from the works of the Law just as He declared Abraham righteous apart from the works of the Law.
On the basis of his or her faith in the things God has promised through Christ, just as was true of Abraham. Death ruled from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the same manner that Adam did. An unlearned person may have a clear conscience before God when he fornicates with a prostitute.
But he may nevertheless contract a venereal disease. Many people died as a result of the offence that Adam committed; but through the one man, Christ, many people were able to receive the grace of God and the gift of righteousness which brings eternal life included in that grace. The sentence of judgment was passed on the one sin of Adam bringing condemnation on all mankind; but the gift of God in Christ, recognizing the multitude of the sins of mankind, brings the righteousness of God to all who will receive it. They will reign in the authority and power of eternal, incorruptible life through the one Man, Christ.
The Law of Moses demonstrates how sinful human conduct actually is. The worst result of sin is that we are separated in this world and the next from the Presence of the Father, from the Presence of the Lamb, from the company of the saints and holy angels—from all that is joyous and peaceful. Through grace we receive forgiveness of our sins.
Being in a state of righteousness, we now are eligible to receive the Holy Spirit. Christ is born in us. Each day we behold the Glory of God in the face of Christ, and each day we are transformed into the image of what we are beholding. The Holy Spirit is eternal, incorruptible resurrection Life within us. The body and blood of Christ are eternal Life within us. The Divine Life enables us to walk in the light of fellowship with the Father. As we continue each day in fellowship with the Father, the blood of His Son, Christ, cleanses us from all sin. We are receiving the grace, the Virtue, of God continually.
The rule of grace keeps on creating righteousness in our personality. The end result is that we are living, moving, and having our being in eternal, resurrection life—life being issued to us from the Throne of God in Heaven. What question does Paul raise based on what he has just taught concerning our receiving righteousness on the basis of our faith in Christ? Should we continue in sin, that grace may abound— grace meaning the gift of righteousness and virtue that comes to us on the basis of our faith in the promise of God?
A related question is, will the sins of the Christian be judged, or has the believer been released from the consequences of his actions because of his statement of belief in Christ? Our point of view is, the believer is not released from the consequences of his actions, with two specific provisions:. The sins committed before the individual heard the Gospel and received the Lord Jesus. These are covered by the blood of the Lamb.
These are forgiven and removed by the Lord Jesus. It indeed is remarkable that the God of Heaven entrusted to one man—Paul—the explanation of the nature of the new covenant and the ways in which the new covenant differs from the old covenant. The differences between the two covenants are not as easy to explain as we might wish. Many Christian people would find it quite difficult to explain the principal points of difference.
Paul understood the differences and presented them clearly. We understand, therefore, that the Scripture itself reports that the writings of Paul contain "things hard to be understood. In explaining the difference between the two covenants many Christians would say, "We are not under the Law but under grace. Most likely they would claim that grace means God overlooks the sins of Gentiles who believe in Jesus whereas He would not overlook the sins of the Jews under the old covenant; or that righteousness came from obeying the letter of the old covenant while righteousness now results from faith under the new covenant.
This would be a mixture of errors. God does not overlook the sins of Gentiles who believe in Jesus. Also it is not true that righteousness came from obeying the letter of the old covenant. From the days of Abel righteousness always has come by faith, as we read in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. Faith in the Lord is a continuing relationship with the living Jesus in every detail of life. The demons have no faith in the Lord Jesus but they do indeed have a belief about Jesus.
A Christian believer might say, "I am not saved by works but by grace. Also, he probably would explain grace as salvation obtained by acknowledging and accepting Christ as the Son of God apart from godliness of character and behavior. This is the modern form of Gnosticism, an ancient heresy that emphasized the possession of certain secrets of knowledge, belief in which would bring the person into union with God. If Paul, in the early chapters of Romans, meant we are saved by belief in points of theology pertaining to Christ, and godly moral behavior is not the proof of our salvation, then Paul is contradicting Jude, First John, Hebrews, First and Second Peter, Revelation, much of the writings of the Old Testament Prophets, and the bulk of his own statements in his Epistles.
Paul, in his arguments, was not contrasting grace and righteous behavior. Someone recently taught that the saints do not have to overcome sin. Jesus did all the overcoming, they stated, and we receive perfect righteousness by believing that Jesus overcame sin. Our belief "actualizes" victory in us. Furthermore, they maintained, whenever we are convicted of sin, this is a trick, a lie of Satan. There can be no sin in us because we believe in the victory won by the Lord Jesus.
An experienced Christian might find such a viewpoint too close to Christian Science or other "science of mind" doctrines or the "faith-prosperity" errors to accept it as being the Divine plan of salvation. There would be no reason for the Christian to put on his armor because there is no need for him to fight. Jesus did it all. But how does the "Jesus did it all" approach to salvation differ from the concept that righteousness comes by faith in Christ apart from godly behavior which is the basic Christian position?
If Christian grace is salvation by naked belief in the existence and atoning work of Christ, then repentance can never have a place in the Christian experience. Of what would one repent if God does not see his behavior except through Christ? If Jesus did all the overcoming and we merely accept the finished work by faith, then repentance is a meaningless exercise.
In fact, it is an affront to God who already has given us perfect righteousness. We saints may suspect that something is wrong with the concept of receiving and maintaining a perfect state of righteousness apart from a change of our behavior. When Paul spoke of works he actually was referring to the observances of the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, circumcision, the Sabbath day, the dietary regulations, and the sacrifices of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
Certain Jewish teachers, some seeking their own gain, were following the Apostles into the Gentile assemblies and teaching the Law of Moses. When Paul contrasts grace and the Law of Moses, as he does in the beginning chapters of the Book of Romans, he is refuting the teaching of the Jewish teachers. Paul is contrasting being saved by the covenant God made with the Jews with being saved by accepting what God has accomplished through Christ. Paul is maintaining we are saved by faith in the Person and atoning work of Christ and that it is not necessary to add to the Divine atonement the statutes of the Law of Moses.
He was comparing the atonement made by Christ with the Law of Moses. Paul was teaching that we are not saved by the Law of Moses but by the atonement made by Christ on the cross. The atonement made by Christ does not lead to keeping the observances of Moses: There is a difference between grace and the Law of Moses. Can you understand the distinction between these two different comparisons: Paul was stating that because we are under grace we no longer are required to observe the Levitical statutes the "works" to which he was referring.
If, however, Paul had been maintaining that because we are under grace we no longer are required to crucify the flesh with its lusts and appetites, we no longer are required to observe the eternal moral laws, then most of the New Testament writings, including the Sermon on the Mount, would not be part of the new covenant. Some theologians teach that Christians are not obligated to observe the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount because Christians are saved by grace and not by works. The Dispensational purists are teaching that the New Testament exhortations to holiness are not a part of Christianity, since we are saved by grace and not by godly behavior.
Study Guide for Romans 1 by David Guzik
They are teaching error, and the result is that the testimony of many of the Christian churches has been ruined in the latter part of the twentieth century. Modern Christian teaching is a mixture of humanism, Gnosticism, and Dispensationalism the most dangerous of the three. Righteous behavior must proceed from both the old covenant and the new covenant or else Divine judgment certainly shall follow.
If righteous behavior does not proceed from the new covenant, while it did in many instances proceed from the old covenant as we know from the godly lives of the saints mentioned in the Old Testament, then the old covenant is superior to the new covenant in accomplishing the eternal purpose of God. However, righteous behavior indeed does proceed from the new covenant.
Righteousness and holiness are revealed in the behavior and teaching of the Apostles of the Lamb. The eternal purpose of God is the creation of both righteous conduct and praise to Himself in the earth. The covenant that best accomplishes these two goals is the superior covenant. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations Isaiah