1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
6 Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ: 7To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 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; 10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let (prevented) hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
1Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things. 2But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3And think you this, O man, that judges them which do such things, and do the same, that you shall escape the judgment of God? 4Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11For there is no respect of persons with God. 12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. 17Behold, you are called a Jew, and rest in the law, and make your boast of God, 18And know his will, and approve the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19And are confident that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which has the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21You therefore which teaches another, do you teach yourself? you that preaches a man should not steal, do you steal? 22You that says a man should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? you that abhors idols, do you commit sacrilege? 23You that makes your boast of the law, through breaking the law do you dishonour God? 24For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. 25For circumcision truly profits, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? 28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
1What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. 3For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That you might be justified in your sayings, and might overcome when you are judged. 5But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? (I speak as a man) 6God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? 7For if the truth of God has more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? 8And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. 9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19Now we know that whatever things the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God. 3For what says the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9Comes this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law works wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17(As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were. 18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be. 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by theHoly Ghost 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God. 11Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. 19I speak after the manner of men and because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2For the woman which has an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. 7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet. 8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees why does he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies.
34 Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
. CHAPTER ONE
To the church at Rome
I am Paul the Apostle. Many might not accept that I am an apostle but as an apostle is someone sent with a message so I am certainly an apostle to you, for I have been sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles by Jesus Christ, whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament.
I have it in my mind to set out the whole gospel and explain how it works.
This gospel is founded upon Jesus Christ who lived as a Jew and declared that he was the promised Messiah and Son of God. He was crucified as prophesied, and after three days he was raised from the dead. This is sure confirmation that he was whom he said he was- The only begotten Holy Son of God, as only God could do such a thing
I saw Jesus myself and from him I received the grace and privilege to be his apostle. The call I received was the call of this gospel. I obeyed that call by faith. All faith is shown by obedience and obedience of necessity involves suffering. Obeying a command to do what you want to do, can hardly be called obedience. In obeying my call, I have suffered much, but like Jesus, we learn our obedience by the things which we suffer. (Hebrews 5:8)
v.6. Now dear Romans, you and I have this one thing in common, we have all “been called”. We are the church, the “Ecclesia”, which means “the called-out ones”. I have been called out from my old religious self-righteousness and you, like myself, have been called out from the world, to be holy, different from the world, and separated from the World, the flesh and the Devil. We all have been set apart unto the truth and declaration of the Gospel.
I am thrilled when I hear of your faith, it is known about everywhere. As Rome is the centre of the world then like everything else, it goes out from Rome to the rest of the world
I am praying earnestly to be able to come to see you. For three reasons;
1. That I might use the gift given by the Holy Spirit to impart some spiritual gifts to you for the edification of the church in Rome.
2. That we might share fellowship. Being with you will encourage me in my missionary work and you will be made stronger as I come alongside to strengthen your faith.
3. I just want to preach the gospel in Rome just as I have to other Gentiles all around the world. I want to see more fruit added to the tree.
So firstly let me define the gospel;
The Gospel I unashamedly preach is the means by which God brings lost sinners to eternal Salvation. It is a powerful gospel. It is very much like a train which takes people who get on board in faith that the train will take them to their desired destination.
The “train” of course is Jesus, God’s own son, for as we will explain later, all those who enter “into Jesus Christ” will be saved from the consequences of their sin, which is the wrath of God. The Gospel is for Jews and Gentiles alike.
Secondly, I want to show you that the Gospel is an expression of a particular attribute of God. We know that God is Holy, that he is good, and that he is great etc. For we learn of the Holiness of God through the Law and the Tabernacle which Moses built. We know that God is good, we learn that in Creation and Providence. We know that God is love, for Calvary screams out the fact.
The Gospel shows us, specifically that God is a Righteous God.
Righteousness has to do with Justice. If you are counted righteous after a court case you are said to be justified. Justice is symbolised outside the Old Bailey as a pair of scales, and for things to be just- everything must balance. If scales are not true there will be no just measurement, and we know that if the witnesses are not telling the truth there is no way that Justice will be served. The Gospel declares that God is Righteous and just and speaks only the truth. In chapter three we read “Let God be true and every man a liar.” If God said one thing and the whole world said another – It would be God who would be speaking the truth.
So when God pronounces a verdict upon mankind, it just has to be true. (seen later in ch 3)
In the Old Testament we see a prophecy concerning the gospel which says “the just shall live by faith” (Hab 2:4) That is a prophecy referring to the gospel we now preach. For the gospel declares that salvation is by faith from beginning to the end, that is from the moment we first believe to the day we die, it is only by faith that we can be justified before God.
The word “Gospel” means “Good News” but before we can appreciate the good news we need to know the Bad News,
So first we will spell out the Bad news.
The Bad news is about the wrath of God. (v 18) The good news is about being saved from the wrath of God. The bad news is that God’s wrath is against all men because of their Unrighteousness.
Righteousness simply means that which is Right. For example, if one is short changed in a store, then we know it is not right. If a guilty person goes free, it is not right. If an innocent person is found guilty, it is not right. If a person paints a picture and someone else gets the glory, it is not right. We even insist that our children learn to say “please” and “thank you”. For them not to do so would not be right. Things would not balance.
God has placed in all men a light that is able to judge when things are not right, and unjust. Even little child sometimes cry “It’s not fair”.
God, the righteous judge counts all men, both Jews and Gentiles as guilty for breaking his righteous laws. The weight of man’s guilt, lays in the fact that God has revealed his truth, but man has failed to walk in the light of such revealed truth. It is not as though God has not shown to mankind the path of righteousness, but mankind has chosen from day one to go his own way and has refused to walk in God’s revealed light.
God’s revealed truth has come in four different forms. He has revealed himself through Nature, Conscience, The Law of Moses and finally through Jesus Christ.
Chapter 1 v. 20 tells us that Creation is ample proof that whoever made the universe is both Great and Good.
If God is good then we should be thankful and love him.
If God is great then we should count him worthy of our praise and worship.
We are not slow to compliment other humans for any handiwork we admire.
But man has failed to give God the praise and thanks which he is rightly due. In fact man has chosen to make false gods, and attribute the praise due to God unto himself, to other animate and inanimate things.
So let’s take for example the classic illustration of a Watch. Supposing someone found a watch and they had never seen one before. It should not take any intelligent man long, to realise what it was and how it worked. He would not for a minute suppose that it had come together as a result of an explosion in a scrap yard. He would know that someone had made it and probably that it was designed and owned by someone.
God-given intelligence, of which man is proud, should cause a man to recognise the universe as a ginormous watch. Which, without question, spells out “design and purpose” rather than “time and chance”. (Evolution)
Verse 21. The created universe, which clearly shows the mighty Eternal power of the creator and his sovereignty over all, demands a true response to such a revelation. That response should be one of thankfulness and worship. Instead, man became proud in his thoughts and imaginations, and his heart was filled with darkness rather than light.
V. 22 This first chapter is a reminder that such unrighteousness goes back to the time before the Law of Moses was revealed. Man had sufficient light in nature and creation to respond to God’s goodness and greatness. Here we read that men became professors of wisdom, as in today’s colleges and universities, but in God’s economy and wisdom, they are but fools. This chapter is clearly relevant today. The same light and knowledge of God is seen in creation. (More so in this millennium with the amazing advance in photography on land, in the universe and in the depths of the seas.) There is good evidence that before Noah and the flood, that men had reached a great standard of educated wisdom. No doubt education led to pride and pride to independence and a rejection of God, just as it is in these present so-called educated days. Man has not changed since Adam to Noah, which this section covers.
For instead of worshipping the everlasting God they worshipped the corruptible creatures of birds and man, animals and beasts and creeping things- making for themselves, false gods. So in rejecting the holy God they became unholy and followed the lusts of their own hearts, and dishonoured their own bodies between themselves. Is there not the same immorality today?
25. They changed the truth of God into a lie. And they wilfully accepted lies as truth.
Verse 26. Consequently man became even more vile and unnatural- rejecting the light that shines from nature itself. The bible records immorality of women with women and men with men.
Furthermore, not only the people who committed these sins were unrighteous, but also those who have pleasure in them that do such things. We are all no doubt guilty of such vicarious sins. [the entertainment world thrives on such things]
So God’s verdict is that all men, since the beginning of time from Genesis, have been guilty of unrighteousness. The first truth of the gospel is that every human being is a sinner, in God’s sight. As an apple tree bears apples, a pear tree bears pears, a plum tree bears plums so the sinner is a sin-tree and bears sins against God by his very nature.
Some may seek to excuse their guilt by saying “we were born like this”, but in God’s court it is not an excuse for our sin, but merely a fact that he requires us to acknowledge. God knows we were born as sinners, we don’t have to tell him.
This is the bad news before the good news.
Because God is Holy, man is separated from God. In fact, spiritually, man is dead- cut off from the source of Eternal life. Just as we would burn dead branches from trees so one day God will destroy all who are dead to Him.
However, God has provided a way of escape: this is the good news of the gospel; There is a “train” that takes us from “Doomed city” to Salvation.
Therefore man will not go to hell because he sinned, but because he rejected God’s gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ his Son. They have refused the train ride. There is no excuse, for anyone can be saved. Salvation is by faith alone, and not by anything we can do, even though we might accomplish what we would term “good works”. This is the good news of the Gospel. There is nothing “to do”, merely believe and accept. which we will explain later.
Although Man refused to give thanks, God did not stop giving: John 3:16 says;
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life”
Conscience & the Law of Moses:
The long list of sins in ch 1, is a general list of the sins of all men, but we are all individual sinners of one kind or another. So, any person who can discern the sins of another has no right to condemn them as they do equally wrong things themselves, it is just sin in another form.
Our judgments are biased in favour of ourselves but God’s judgment is the only true judgment, and he counts us all to have broken his laws. So no human being should think that just because they can see sin in others, that they will not be judged for their own sins.
Sometimes we may even see others in sickness or distress and dare to suggest they are reaping what they have sown, while we ourselves are not suffering. But if we don’t suffer as a consequence of our sin, it is only due surely, to the longsuffering and mercy of God. For the delay in our inevitable suffering is to allow us time to come to repentance.
But you can be sure that God does not overlook sin, in fact the wrath of God is being stored up and one day will be poured out. For God will judge all men of all nations according to whether they have sought after righteousness and good works or done evil. Those who have committed evil and unrighteousness will receive the wrath of God whether they are Jews or Gentiles. For there is no respect of persons with God. And it makes no difference to God whether you have the Law or not. For there is no merit to the Jew in just having the law, for it is in the keeping of the law we will be judged.
So we come to see the second and third revelations from God – Conscience and the Law of Moses. The Law reveals the fact that God is Holy and cannot tolerate sin, nor allow it to go unpunished for the damage it does to society in general.
The Gentiles may not have the Law of Moses yet they have an in-built Law of Conscience and when they obey that they will fulfil the law. Many of them don’t steal, commit adultery or dishonour their parents. So it shows that the law is basically written on all hearts, they all know right from wrong. The Conscience is evident in all of us, for we can easily see the wrongs of others and then feel the need to justify our own faults. This proves that man is more than an animal, and that God has created him as a moral being, knowing right from wrong.
So the day will come when all men will be judged according to the gospel I preach, which I am now setting before you.
So to the Jew I say, you have the law and you may stand on your soapbox to all the Gentile nations and declare to them what is right and wrong. But having the Law hasn’t made you holy- on the contrary the law has sealed your condemnation because you do the very things the law tells you not to,- you steal, you commit adultery, you worship idols in not putting God first. You boast to other nations that you have the Law but at the same time it is obvious to those nations that you dishonour your God because you don’t obey Him. Your behaviour reflects on your God to those who don’t know him.
You are really no different from the Gentiles, even though you are circumcised. It counts for nothing, for the uncircumcised Gentiles can at times obey their conscience and keep your law. And if you break your law, you are no different to them when they break the law. So when they keep the law, the uncircumcised can stand on their soapbox and accuse you. So there may be a “physical” difference but there is no moral difference between Jew and Gentiles. Bodily circumcision means nothing.
The true circumcision is when by faith, our flesh life has been cut off. For when we truly believe in Christ Jesus, because He was our substitute and by his own death paid the price and penalty for sin, God counts us to have died when Jesus died. The penalty of the Law is therefore paid.
When Jesus died, we died, when He was buried so our old sinful flesh was buried. This is the reason we are baptised after we believe in Jesus.
So as Jesus was resurrected, so God then brought us who believe, to NEW Life in Christ Jesus, he created a new creature within us. We become alive unto God in the Spirit. That is the invisible realm in which God dwells and operates in. Our faith takes us into that spiritual realm. So man has nothing to boast of, except being dead in sin, and all glory goes to God who raises the dead to new life in Christ Jesus. We will explain this more fully later.
So in conclusion we learn that both Conscience and the Law of Moses fail to make men, righteous, on the contrary they serve to condemn their sins.
Ch 3 :1-4 – So are the Jews any more special than the gentiles? Well, they were in the past, certainly. For they were chosen as the nation to whom God would speak personally and reveal himself exclusively.
But just because the Jews did not obey God’s commandments, the Gentiles should not think that it reflected upon God himself or his commandments.
For if every man in the world did not believe what God said, and disobeyed his commandments, it would still be the truth. Truth is not a matter of democracy, or even opinion.
David was happy to admit that fact when confessing his personal sins in Psalm 51:3. For he wrote, “What you say O God, is righteous and your judgement is true” We cannot argue with God’s law, even though we don’t like the verdict, and the condemnation it brings.
Some people may even seek to excuse their unrighteousness by maintaining that God should be glad of their unrighteousness as it shows up more clearly the righteousness of God. So why should he punish them, they say, for something as good as that. The same could be offered as an excuse for man’s lying- that it glorifies more the truth of God. But if God accepted such excuses, how could he judge the rest of the world. There could never be any true justice.
Some even philosophise that doing wrong has merit, for it shows up more that which is right. Some people even accuse us of preaching that the more we sin, the more we exalt the grace of God. But that does not justify sin. Sin is sin, wrong is wrong and those who do such are justifiably condemned.
So then, we cannot say that the Jews are any better than the Gentiles or the Gentiles better than the Jews- for we have already proved that all are guilty as charged.
The scripture is absolutely true which says (in various places)
“There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there are none who seek after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb (Ps 5:9) with their tongues they have practised deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips’, (Job 20:14-14) whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes”. (Psalm 10:7-11)
The Law, as given to Moses by God, is established, without fear or favour of any man. None can refute it. It closes every mouth of excuses. There is no way a man can justify himself with words or actions before God. Nor is there any man who can keep the Law. However, God obviously knew this before he sent the Law. The only reason God sent the Law was to teach man what Sin was.- and to show that his actions were an offence to a Holy God, and a hindrance to God having a relationship with the people he loves and has created. Had men kept the Law they would have known and lived in fellowship with God, but instead the law actually brought death. For with it came the penalty for breaking the law. Therefore the rooted Sin in man, of which we spoke earlier, gained the power to separate man from God. So all men by their very nature are separated from God who is Holy. So unless a massive change takes place, man is destined for eternal separation from God in hell. That’s the bad news! You’ve got to believe it!
But here’s the Good News- There is a righteousness which we can have, without the necessity of keeping any laws. It is a righteousness that comes by faith alone,
3:21-26 – In chap 1 we read that in the gospel we see the Righteousness of God, which is now available to man without even considering the standards of the law.
This is the righteousness of God- Wow! Which he gives freely to anyone –who believes in Jesus Christ as their Saviour, be it Jew or Gentile. There is no difference between the two, from God’s point of view, for all have broken his laws and brought no glory whatsoever to a holy God, who created them. How could God now call sinners, saints? It is like calling black white.
Well, because Jesus stepped on the scales and took our place and paid the debt, for all our sin, God now will accept Jesus on our behalf as the one who paid the penalty for our breaking of God’s laws. The penalty was death, and he died in our place. So God now counts as righteous and justified i.e. the scales are levelled for all who trust in Jesus as their Saviour and substitute. Jesus redeemed us (bought us back) from our sin which was our old slave master, by the shedding of his blood. The death penalty has been paid. The Just died for the Unjust.
Because God has seen the blood that was shed, He is now able to offer forgiveness to all, including those who had sinned under the old agreement (testament), who never paid the true penalty for breaking God’s law, which was death.
Under the Old Testament, on the day of Atonement the High priest would take the blood of a bullock into the Holy of Holies where God dwelt, and he sprinkled the blood on the Mercy seat (the lid of the ark of the covenant). God, due to his grace and forbearance, accepted this as a “temporary measure”. For in God’s economy it was only a prophetic picture or shadow of the real sacrifice for sin that was eventually made once and for all by Jesus. What Jesus did was the real thing. The word “atonement” could be thought of as “at-one-ment”- for it breaks down the dividing veil and brings Man into fellowship with God. (more of that later)
Christ is our “propitiation”, which means that God is satisfied. His price has been paid in full, the blood has been shed. Furthermore, he is our “Redemption” which means he has bought us back from slavery to sin and death, and God, without partiality now freely showers His grace upon all who believe in his Son, as their Saviour.
So God’s justice has been satisfied and he is able to count a sinful person, who trusts in Jesus, as though he had never sinned, because he puts his faith in the payment that Jesus made when he died willingly upon the cross. His or her debt has been paid in full. To prove such faith, the repentant sinner will no longer try to justify himself by works or rules, but will believe that he is fully justified by faith in Christ.
So now, who can boast in themselves? Is it the Jew because he has the Law or the Gentiles because they are as good as the Jews when they obey their conscience? The answer is “no-one”.
Those laws never justified anyone, but rather condemned all men. But now God has introduced a new law- the LAW OF FAITH. This law EXCLUDES any works or actions. There are no legal attachments to it. There is nothing we can do which will add to the value or worthiness of the work of Christ on the cross. To even think there was any need to add the merit of good works to the sacrifice he offered, would be an insult to the shed blood of Jesus. All our own “self” righteousness is like filthy rags in God’s sight. So if, as the bible says “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags in His sight (Is.64:6), goodness knows what our sins look like in his sight.
So now because all can be made righteous in his sight, He is no longer just the God of the Jews, He is the God of all – both Jews and Gentiles. There is one God who justifies all.
So then, is the Law now on the scrap heap? No, the Law is, and always was and ever will be a good thing. It represents the character and holiness of God. For the good news is based upon the Bad News. We could never rejoice in the glory of our justification, if there was no Law. The Law is God’s plumb line, and we have been brought into the same uprightness in Jesus. The Law still exists to condemn unbelievers, but we are not condemned for we are accepted in Christ Jesus.
When one examines the Old Testament, one can find instances where certain people were justified by faith. So we should not think of this as plan B in terms of Salvation, because Plan A, the Law, seemed to have failed.
The truth is that no-one has ever been justified by keeping the Law. But significantly we read that both Abraham and David were justified before God, by faith. It speaks of Abraham in these words “Abraham believed God and God counted it unto him for righteousness.”
How did this come about?
God gave to Abraham an amazing promise; that he would be the father of many nations, although at the time his wife was 90 years of age, well past the age of child bearing. Abraham had such faith in God that he believed the promise. He knew that it was beyond his human ability to do anything towards becoming a father of many nations. So we can see that Abraham was justified not by his good works but by faith alone. He did not earn this amazing privilege. He simply believed that God would do, what he promised to do. Therefore, God alone would receive the glory, and Abraham would have nothing to boast about. So we can see the good news of the gospel even under the old covenant. We can say the same of David for he wrote in Psalm 32, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputes not iniquity.” He must have known the blessing of being counted as righteous, even though, like Abraham he was patently a sinner.
We can even see that Abraham had this experience of being counted righteous by God, long before the Law came and long before circumcision was initiated. So technically, we can regard Abraham as still being a ‘Gentile’. So it is definitely not a new thing with God, nor is it just for the Jews and definitely not by keeping any Laws, for Abraham was neither a “Jew”, nor had the Law.
So this Gospel of Grace is designed and available to all, both Jews and Gentiles. All God requires to see in a person, before He can count the person righteous in his holy sight, is faith in Jesus his Son. Faith by definition, is not a work, if it was then man would expect to be rewarded for it, and could have something to boast about. But because God wants to show the extent of his love and grace to mankind, he requires faith, not works, so that he can pour out unmerited favour upon all who believe on his Son Jesus Christ. Faith is the opposite to Sin, in that sin is independence and faith is total dependence.
So if you want an example of the kind of faith that God requires, in order to justify the sinner, consider the kind of faith that Abraham had. He was called the Father of the Faithful. Let us all follow in the same steps of faith that Abraham walked. Abraham believed in a God who could bring the dead to life and make something out of nothing.
He was in a hopeless and humanly impossible situation, yet he set his mind to believe in the seemingly and unbelievably impossible. He did not even think of the fact that he and his wife were so old, and her womb was literally dead. The thought of any human ability in the matter never entered his head, he just counted that God could do what he had promised. With unstaggering faith, he just praised God for what he was going to do.
When you truly understand the gospel, you might think to yourself “this is unbelievable”
You might find it hard to believe that God is willing to accept you as if you had never sinned.
This is the kind of faith God looks for, from dyed-in-the-wool sinners. Yes, we are sinners by birth, nature and behaviour, yet God is willing to cover us in a robe of righteousness simply because we believe his promise of salvation through the work of his Son Jesus. He paid for our sins by his death and was raised from the dead by God, as proof that his sacrifice had been accepted. So now, we can be justified by our faith, Christ having done all the work necessary to satisfy a thrice–holy God.
Faith is the life of God, that is why he desires to see it in those who would be his children. Faith glorifies God.
Now that Jesus has died and the scales of justice have been levelled up, no longer does God’s wrath hover over us. On the contrary we have total peace with God and are completely justified before Him. We are now his children. We are the object of his amazing grace and love, just because of Jesus. We no longer have to think that our acceptance by God is in so far as we keep his laws or do good deeds but we are now so related to God as his children that we can rejoice in that he is able to bestow upon us unmerited love and favour. This turn-round in the God/man relationship is a miracle far greater than the first creation. Although, we are still sinners by our old nature, God now sees us IN His Son Jesus,- as amazing as it is wonderful.
We are his children and we stand in and are covered by Grace and live in a constant relationship of grace.
When World War 2 ended and peace was declared there was great rejoicing and celebrations, throughout the Isles. But there was also great joy at the thought of the future. The country and the lives of the people could be rebuilt. The old rubble was soon cleared away and shops were opened and rationing was no longer needed. Schools, buildings and houses were built, purely because of the hope of the future.
Likewise, when Peace was declared between God and man, it gave to us as his children a certain hope that we could look forward to, of sharing the glory of Jesus Christ in Heaven. This is not a hope as we think of hope in our every day life, this is a sure hope, like an anchor to the soul. (check out Hebrews ch 6)
So now that peace has been declared between God and man, God has promised to his new children that they will share in the glory of His own Son, if they continue believing in that promise, despite the fact that while they remain on this earth they will suffer and their faith be tested. The anchor of our faith for such a hope, through the storms of life, is anchored in the Love of God. This love is amply shown in the fact that Christ died for us when we were ungodly. So he must have loved us before we were saved. “God so loved the world” of sinners. It was that love which caused him to provide a substitute for all, even before they had repented and believed. He took the initiative, and left the response to us. The scripture clearly says “Christ died for all” and “he is the Saviour of all men” and that the gospel is an invite to “whosoever believes”. God is not short on grace, he has more than enough to cover only a select few. His love is without measure, and his grace abundant, according to scripture.
So we have a sure reason for rejoicing. How thrilling to know that a thrice-holy God can look on us and be pleased, so that he should glory in us and promise that we will one day share in His glory. “That’s my child” says the thrice- Holy God proudly. Jesus is happy to call us his brethren. (Hebrews ch 2)
So certain is our hope, that we can even find reason to rejoice in the trials and problems of life which will beset our earthly road on the way to that glory. The problems and afflictions of life, are not to be compared with the glory that will be seen in us later.
So we might well ask, why does God allow our faith to be attacked? Some of the circumstances in which we may find ourselves, might seem as a great contradiction to the wonderful new relationship we now have with an Almighty, all-loving Father, mentioned above. For sometimes when in a spot of earthly bother, God does not seem in a hurry to get us out, despite our crying to him as our loving Father.
But this is all in God’s plans. What he wants us to realise is, that our former father and owner the Devil, will not give up the fight to get us back under his control. He knows that the thing which joins us in fellowship with God is our faith, and our faith rests simply in God’s promises. So because he has control of earthly circumstances among the sons of men, Satan can even create circumstances which will make you wonder if those promises are real and if God is the kind of father you would expect. For quite often we might think, that we would never allow such things to happen to our own children as God allows to happen to his. The reason God allows this to happen is because of his greater wisdom and he knows that such tests of our faith actually make our faith stronger, and it is surely one in the eye of his arch enemy.
In fact real faith is only that which has been tested, and after testing, it could be renamed as “endurance” (patience). God looks for Endurance. So we can rejoice in such examinations because we know that we will not be asked questions beyond our knowledge. We will not be tempted above what we can bear. So we must hold on, and continue to believe, despite the trials. The greater the test and the longer we keep believing, the stronger our faith will become. This test leads us to the next stepping stone to our hope of glory, which is “experience”. This word means “approval”. So it is as if God tests the product, assesses it as genuine and stamps his approval upon it. May be Jesus had this in mind when he said “Those who endure to the end will be saved”
When Jesus was being baptised, God could not resist proudly shouting from Heaven “That’s my boy,” for he had endured 30 years almost, of earthly trails and temptations,
You may recall that God had similar joy in showing off Job to Satan.
This test of faith is totally normal for the Christian life. God is not so much concerned about our body or earthly comforts, as much as he is concerned about the life of our soul which depends upon us staying connected in the Spirit to our spiritual father. It is our faith in God’s word that keeps us alive to him.
We can view the chapter as a forewarning chapter concerning Satan’s method of attack in trying to destroy our faith.
He not only uses Tribulation, as we have said, but he also uses Sin. For he has access through our flesh to produce behaviour that is totally foreign to a true child of a Holy God.
For it is a sure fact, that even after we are born again and Jesus Christ lives within us, then we will still be plagued with our old nature, which is sinful.
As we grow in faith so we will grow spiritually as a child of God, and there will be an equally diminishing of Satan’s life flowing out of our bodies. The new life in us will produce righteous fruit.
The rest of this chapter and those following, tell us how this happens. Now we all know that we could never measure up to God’s standards before so how can we do it now? That is a good question. The answer is BY FAITH in God’s love and Grace. Simply by believing certain truths you will live differently. All humans live according to what they believe. Your new faith will change you from the inside. Your whole demeanour and body language will be different. There are thousands of situations where certain things which come to a person’s mind and which they believe, change them for good or for bad. Their life style and outlook on life is completely due to spiritual hidden forces operating inside them. Man is a spiritual being. Faith, love, hope, determination, faithfulness, joy, and a thousand other spirits cannot be discovered by a surgeon on an operating table.
So we have to learn to deal with sin in our everyday life by faith. This is as much a process as the faith growing through trials. Life can be a long journey and every phase of life brings different temptations. The lust of youth can easily be replaced by the pride of old age.
The final joy of the believer is found in v 11.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement”.
At one time this word “atonement”, meant nothing to the Gentiles. For it originated from the Jewish religion.
The word “atonement” could be interpreted as “cover” or “covering” and derives from the lid or cover of the Ark of the Covenant which is called the Mercy Seat. It was upon the Mercy seat that the High Priest sprinkled the blood of a bull, once each year on the day of Atonement (Lev ch 16) The most important day in their religious calendar.
So the Atonement is valid on all who are trusting in the real atoning blood, which is the blood of Jesus. For after He died, Hebrews tells us that He ascended to the true tabernacle in heaven, and there sprinkled his own blood as proof to the father that the death penalty had been paid in full. What God had demanded, Jesus had fulfilled.
So to understand this atonement or covering, let us consider two people – Adam and Jesus.
In many ways they are alike, but in some ways different. Jesus could be looked upon as “the Last Adam.” For by his death he brought an end to Adam’s effect upon mankind, and by his Resurrection brought to life a new generation of new creations.
This is where the covering aspect comes in. For until Jesus, everyone was covered by a curse through Adam and destined to die, but Jesus came with a greater covering than Adam’s and covered us with His Grace.
So now our sin no longer brings separation from God- which of course is spiritual death. We now have everlasting life, simply by believing. All we do for our salvation is shelter under Christ’s sacrifice and rest in the love of God.
So we have all now received the atonement, the covering by the blood.
Just as sin “reigned over” (covered) mankind so Grace reigns over (covers) sin. May we never forget which is the bigger covering.
The obedience of Jesus overcame the disobedience of Adam.
So in summary let’s compare the First Adam to the Last Adam
The first Adam by one offence (sin) brought Death to many.
The last Adam, Jesus, brought Grace to many.
What was termed a mercy seat (throne) under the Law is now a throne of Grace, under the new Testament. (Heb 4:16)
Death reigned over Adam’s lot and Life reigns over those who are in Christ.
So if we are now no longer under the Law, which gave Sin its power to separate man from God (death), but are under the great and all-covering Grace, where does that leave us in respect of sin. Surely the next question is; - Can we now carry on sinning without worrying about it having any eternal consequences? If you are asking this question, it shows that you have truly understood the Gospel so far. This is the very question we will now address.
“Shall we continue sinning so that God’s grace may abound and cover it?
Some might think that this amazing gospel of grace is an encouragement to sin. But it may sound like that, but we know that God would not want that. Surely we realised that when we were being buried in baptism. We were acknowledging that we would from henceforth be dead to our old way of life. So there must be a different viewpoint to grace, other than that of a sinner. There is; It is God’s viewpoint. He is a holy and a righteous God, so his children must be the same by nature. So he has made a covenant whereby our sins can never separate us from him.
We are totally identified with Christ. We are in Christ and he is in God; We are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. (Col 3 3)
We are doubly hidden- doubly covered.
So we are what we believe. Real faith abides in the heart- faith only in the mind is mere credulity. Previously our whole outlook on life was dominated by sin- in our beliefs, emotions and desires.
But now we are dead, being free from the law, sin no longer affects our connection with God whatsoever. Where there is no law there is no transgression. We have new life in Christ and like a caterpillar that dies and becomes a butterfly enjoying the freedom of the air, so we can enjoy fellowship in the spirit constantly with Christ who is our new life.
We know that a butterfly can crawl around cabbages just as it did when a caterpillar, but it doesn’t, for it is now free to fly in a higher realm of life. Imagine how you would feel if literally you were very poor and sick all the time, and you died like that, then you were miraculously brought back to life and you are fully fit, full of life and exceptionally rich. Wow. Would you want to go back?
Well the gospel you have believed is no less than that.
His desire is to set us free from sin, not only in our minds, but in our hearts. The gospel of grace is not only designed to do that, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, which raised Christ from the dead, it will accomplish that very thing. The gospel will not return unto God void but accomplishes its purpose. So we should let it do its work. God is love and by that power he is able to persuade man to choose his will rather than their own. The gospel has the power to change a person’s will.
When the gospel truly enters your hearts, you will automatically live a new kind of life. We are what we believe.
We will be like the slaves of old who were set free every seven years, but because they loved their master they nailed their ear to the doorpost of their master’s house and confessed they wanted to stay as a slave to him. We know the other master is Satan (in Adam) who brought us to sin and death but Jesus our new master has brought us into the free gift of eternal life. Free Gift can be defined as grace. So we now have free grace eternally, and continually as we continue to keep living in Him (plugged in) by faith.
When we believe in our hearts, we count ourselves to be saved by grace, it is not of ourselves or by our own efforts- it’s a gift.
“Thank you very much” is all we need say and then go on and use the gift or live with it or under it, as the case may be. Grace is a covering. So live under it, and grow in it and let it be the motivating power that controls your body. Before you exercised this faith in your hearts, you lived Adam’s life, so sin was the motivating power, so everything you did brought death-separation from God.
So let righteousness be your master. “Let” means to allow. No struggle just “let”. Force can be used to change a man’s will, but unless his heart is changed he will never want to. Love changes hearts- hearts change wills- even stubborn ones.
If you count yourself dead in mind heart and will- then there is resurrection power in the gospel. “My people will be willing in the day of my power.” (Ps. 110:3) Willingness brings the power.
Be a slave of God, be holy, let everlasting life be your empowering hope and the stimulus of every ambition.
It seems sad that one should have to add a warning to those who abuse the grace of God, - “Carry on sinning and serving your old master if you wish, but know this, you will live to regret it and one day will have to eat the fruit that sin produces.
Verse 23; “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”.
So if while we are children of God in Jesus, we still sin, how is it that such sin no longer separates us from God- bringing death, if the wages of sin is death.
Let me explain something before endorsing the fact that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus
I take it that you all know the Law. For to anyone who knows the Law they will know that a woman who desires to be free from her nit-picking, fault-finding husband, knows she can never be free to marry a better man, until the bad husband dies.
So death brings an end to the lawful relationship. But in our case, death has brought an end to our relationship with the fault finding Law, but it is not the law that has died but us. For the Law ever lives and never dies, even after we are saved. Those of us who know the Law will always be aware of it. So how do we deal with it? The answer is by counting yourself dead to the Law, by faith. Believe what God says; - you are dead. God counts you to be dead. Yes, the wages of sin is death, and wages are earned, so we truly deserve to be separated from God. But the penalty of death no longer comes with our sin for Jesus paid that penalty for us. We have received the gift (grace) of eternal life. What we must always keep in our minds is that we are dead to the law which pronounces the death sentence over sinners. Let me explain to you, how the Law and Sin are related and how you, with a sinful body operate together after you are saved.
Sin has always existed in man, like a benign cancer. But when the Law came, that benign disease suddenly became malignant for the Law brought the knowledge of sin and the wages of death with it. When there was no law, there was no feeling of doing anything wrong. But those of us who know the Law always feel guilty when we break it. It can’t happen any other way while we have knowledge of the Law. So is the Law separating us from God? if so, then it is surely just as bad as sin. No, the law is not bad. It is the very “Will and Character” of God. It is Holy and Just, and therefore Good, not bad; Hence the illustration from the law about marriage. But we have no connection to the Law now, we have died to the law and remarried to Christ and now we will spiritually raise holy children together, as the fruits of righteousness, which is ours in Christ. That is how God sees it and expects us to believe it with all our hearts. We don’t need the Law. It could not make us holy before, and it cannot do so now. We have no need of it now, for being married to Christ makes us holy and his life in us will produce holy fruit. So we need to recognise the difference between living in the flesh and living in the spirit, while we are alive on earth and while we always carry a sinful body. One day it will die and perish. But in the meantime we have to cope with it, and the only way to cope with it, is to think right. Continual repentance, means continual re-thinking. But not necessarily remorsefully, but to think now as God thinks. Otherwise in our sinful bodies we will always feel condemned. Just living in this world of sin, contaminates us every day we live. It is impossible for our bodies not to get dirty.
Here we must consider the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit with the work of Jesus. The work of Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has set us free from condemnation, that work is finished and complete; but the Holy Spirit’s work is to change us to be more like Christ in our behaviour, while in this body. So He will continue to convict us. In fact it is as though he is using our sinfulness to contrast the purity of Christ which is now ours by faith. As Jesus washed the feet of the disciples after a long hot wearying day, so He will do this, and show us the dirty water for good measure! Note that feet express the will, and each day will naturally collect the dust and grime of our own will. Don’t resist the Holy Spirit, like Peter tried to resist Jesus. Let him apply the blood of Christ to continue to wash away your sins. We can even go so far as to say that at the end of each day we could get so depressed that the things we know we should have done, we did not do, and the things we should not have done, we have to admit, we have done. That should really knock us down when you think about it. It seems like a law of sin operating in our bodies even though in our minds we wish it was not so. We might cry “If only we could be free from this sinful body!” Well Praise God, there is a way to be free from it, and that is by thinking differently. Stop thinking with your old natural mind and “how you could never come up to the standard of your “old husband” the Law. Think in your new spiritual mind which is the mind of Christ, your new husband. He thinks of you vastly differently. This will set us to think always that we are no longer in the flesh, but in the spirit (in Christ). This is the only way to live the christian life. Don’t try to live it in the flesh- it does not work.
So that hopefully explains why our sin no longer separates us from God. Each day we have a choice to either live in the flesh which will be life wasted, for everything done in the flesh is temporal, or to live in the Spirit. That means to live by faith in the same realm that God lives in, and all things are everlasting.
“Every day’s a Chooseday”- to live in the flesh with our natural mind or live in the Spirit, and obey His will.
So because of what we now know about Sin and the Law, we can rejoice to our hearts content that there is no longer any condemnation possible to those who are IN Jesus Christ. We can even now say that our righteousness, is the righteousness of Christ and is indeed the righteousness of the Law- God’s high and perfect standard. Who would have thought that such was possible. But here we now stand at the mountain top of God’s 4000 year revelation of himself to man. To say that his wisdom and grace are amazing is an understatement.
Yes, there may be times when we feel guilty of sin, and indeed the Holy Spirit in us will make us more conscious of sin than ever before, but though he may convict us as we walk in the light of God’s word, yet he does not condemn us to be separated from God. For Christ is never separated from God, and we abide in Him. This is what it means to “Live in the Spirit”. We move from the natural into the spiritual. In the spiritual we are perfect and complete, and Sin and the Law have no hold over us anymore.
We will follow our remaining thoughts in three steps.
The first 17 verses will be about Living in the Spirit- which is really another way of saying “Living by Faith”
The second section from verse 18-27 is about Hope.
The third section from v 28 to the end is about Love- the Love of God.
Faith, Hope and Love are a familiar trio in scripture, and easy to remember.
In the first section we see another threesome namely Mind, Heart and Will, which make up our Soul and wherein we live our new life.
There is a vast contrast between the natural Mind and the spiritual Mind. Nothing done which has its roots in the natural mind can please God, for it cannot be subject in obedience to God.
v 13This brings the Will into force when we take active steps to put to death(mortify) the old desires of our flesh. No longer to let our bodies be used to channel sin out into the world but to set our bodies to be servants in our Father’s business. It is easy to think of oneself identified with Christ in the areas of Mind and Heart, but when it comes to actually crucifying our own flesh, we enter another realm- the most difficult of them all. If we really believe (true faith) something in our mind and heart then it will almost automatically express itself through our bodies, especially when we see certain commands in the New Testament which call for obedience. For faith without obedience is like a man with no legs.
We might in this context, consider the committed vegetarian and recognise that they have no problem nor embarrassment in refusing to eat meat, simply because of what they know in their mind and believe in their heart. Perhaps we should take on the same mantle and make it known that we are “righteousness-arians”.
This act of self-denial is part of the essential suffering that a child of God must endure as a path to glorification. We are called to follow in the steps of Jesus. His path to glory was one of hardship, trial, temptation and pain of death. We are never promised skies ever blue.
For Satan has much power in this world, to make it a place of pain and suffering. But God in his wisdom allows it all, and yet he uses all the work of Satan to fulfil his own purposes.
v 15 The Heart relationship is one in which we come to know God as our Father. We cry “Abba father”. We live as Sons of God and are led by His Spirit within us; Sons usually wish to please their father and receive his commendations.
v 18. However there is a power that enables us to endure all suffering. That is Hope- the promise of a certain future. The person who hates his or her job, endures by the strength of their hope in looking forward to knocking off time or the receiving of their monthly wages.
In this section (v 18-26) we see another threesome, - Three Hopeful groaners; Creation, the Sons of God and the Holy Spirit. All creation has been marred by sin. There are many anomalies and “wrongs” in nature. So nature groans for the same day as the Sons of God- the day of redemption, when nature, which includes our natural sinful body is finally changed. The hidden “sons” of God, within the believer’s sinful bodies now, will come into the open. Till then through these trials we maintain our hope by groaning through the Holy Spirit in prayer. Jesus is recorded as having “groaned in his spirit”. The same spirit groans in the Sons of heaven, while on this earth. One of the great questions that some might ask is “Why didn’t God, destroy the sinful world at the beginning, “nip sin in the bud, and begin again? Here in Romans we read that rather than begin again, in His sovereign power and Wisdom, he subjected the created world and life in it, to “vanity”. This is exactly the same word used by Solomon and Job when they summed up human life spent on earth. If you study the Book of Ecclesiastes, you will see how Solomon, with all the wisdom one could ever hope for, and an income of £4 million, investigated the meaning of Life without God. He acquired to himself all the best material things that Life could offer. Houses, Lands, Pools, Pop groups, women, and etc. But his verdict on it all was that it was all “Vanity” and “Vexation of Spirit”. Put those two together and you could translate it as “clutching at the wind”.
This is how the wisest of men summed up life. Confirming the truth that God subjected the world to “frustration”; nothing being perfect, but allowing men to ever strive for the unreachable. While this kept the devil’s world and mankind continuing, He continued to fulfil his eternal purposes through Jesus Christ. In the last chapter of Solomon’s thesis about life we note it to be all about funerals and death.
Now is that not true? Constantly people all over the world, are thrilled to be alive but as they contemplate their demise, and departure, they fumble around for a purpose, or reason for it all. Looking back, the vast majority have lived on a treadmill of work- Holidays, Work - Christmas, with a few minor sensual passing pleasure in between. and that is excluding all the pain and suffering that life throws at us.
(The story goes that as Shackleton ventured to the south pole, at one time they threw snow balls ahead to give them a target to reach, rather than look at the vast emptiness which seemed to be leading to nowhere. Most people on earth keep going by throwing similar snowballs. Even the people who have acquired all the fine fashions of the age, to the envy of most others, often fall from their sham ivory palace, to reveal by their suicide or abuse, exactly what the bible says about life. “What’s it all about Alfie” they sing. But why ask Alfie when Solomon has told us, and Paul explains it here in Romans.)
For God, rather than destroy and start again has subjected the creation to futility, vanity, and frustration. Material things don’t satisfy the human soul for the soul is spiritual. (Adding a conservatory or buying a new car, never stopped divorce and heartache.) The body is merely a glove of the soul. The soul only finds satisfaction in spiritual things. God seeks to bring man to understand and enjoy such delights, by experiencing the meaningless material world. The Devil of course supplies a substitute for Faith, Hope and Love. The real trio are only found in God, through faith in Jesus Christ.
Amazingly, the wisdom of God has found a way of fulfilling his purposes for his creation, despite man’s free-will-rebellion and rejection, and the best efforts of his arch enemy the Devil.
So this passage tells us that all of creation would be included in his great plan of redemption. Essentially that redemption is for Mankind, made in his own image, but here we read that creation groans, for its hope of being perfected is timed to coincide with that of Mankind. When Adam fell, death came to all creation.
Hence the reason God came where we were, as a Son, and experienced fully what it is like to live in this meaningless world, and yet still fulfil the purposes of God. Which brings us to the conclusion, that nothing has any meaning in life apart from God’s eternal purposes. We each are given one life, which soon passes like a vapour, and most lives are lived and centred around things which are temporal. But the believer in Jesus, who is a child of the Everlasting Kingdom has an alternative lifestyle that is based upon doing those things which will last forever.
That is the only true and living HOPE or certain future for mankind.
Finally, as we mentioned in ch 5, our Hope is anchored in the Love of God. So we see that the third section is to convince us that despite much affliction and persecution, in “God- forsaken” situations at times, we should never believe that we have been separated from the love of God. The enemy of our soul seeks to convince us in three ways that God does not love us,
1. Firstly, he will accuse us of Sin. Naturally we cannot deny the fact. His accusation would be that we are not really sons of a Holy God, otherwise we would not sin. This is the time to remind ourselves that God does not condemn us and Christ certainly does not, for he died for us, so the only one condemning us, is the devil and it certainly has nothing to do with him; - “If God be for us, who can be against us?” v 31.
2. When our prayers are not answered the enemy of our soul will suggest that this could be proof that God has left us or does not recognise us as his children, under his care, as otherwise he would answer our desperate cries for help. But again this Satanic suggestion is rebuffed by considering that if God spared not his only Son, then there must be a very good reason why he would withhold any temporal earthly blessing. v 32
3. Then finally we have a list of devilish earthly circumstances. How can God be looking after us if we are allowed to go through hunger, suffering, tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? While at the same time his word contains many promises that God would deliver us from each of these.
That is a big problem and seems like almost nailed down proof of the devil’s accusations, that because you have sinned, your prayers are not answered and you have got yourself in this mess of afflictions.
But Lo and Behold! there seems to be an amazing answer, in the next verse (36). Sometimes, (thankfully not always) what is happening is that God is handing us over like sheep for the slaughter to allow Satan to do his utmost to break our faith in his love. Read Psalm 44 where David had lost a battle and he could not think how God could be with them on the losing side. Nor could he think of any sin they had committed in mind, heart or will. (check it out) David’s “spirit-inspired” summing of such a situation was to recognise that it was all for “your sake we are killed all the day long.” Here’s the quote;
Ps 44:17-22; “ All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten you (mind), neither have we dealt falsely in your covenant. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from your way; (will). Though you have sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death……
v.22.Yea, for your sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. “
This is indeed a strange phenomenon in the battle for glory between the Lord of Hosts and his would-be usurper. Those who were once in the grip of Satan, whom God has won over by his love, are sometimes offered to the Enemy as trophies of grace, and challenges Satan to do his worst in trying to break their faith in His love towards them. Throughout the centuries many such sheep offered have brought glory to God’s name, waving his banner high in victory. We have a similar scenario in the book of Job, who as someone who was perfect, is a clear type of Christ, who in the days of his flesh, took all that Hell could throw at him, culminating in that anguished cry, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”
I myself can testify to being continually delivered unto death.(2 Cor, 4:11) Echoing David’s words above “for your sake are we killed all the day long”.
Yet Satan is foiled. The more he tests the stronger faith grows. He scatters his stinking accusations over God’s people, but it simply fertilizers the field. He puts them in his sieve, and shakes all hell power over them, but he only gets the chaff. He puts great weights of promises before God’s people to believe in adversity but their spiritual muscles only get stronger.
What a plan! what a masterstroke! well might we glory in God’s great wisdom, love and power.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counsellor? Or who has first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Hopefully this very skeleton-like summary of this chapter will encourage you to devote much time and study to the first eight chapters of Romans. No other study will bring greater rewards.
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