It seems odd that a letter to Gentiles would contain so much emphasis on Old Testament law. Perhaps many of the Roman Christians were God-fearers, Christians who had converted partway to Judaism, and who were steeped in Jewish teaching. Also, the Judaizers, as the first heretics of the Church, were stirring up so much trouble everywhere that Paul felt he must refute their claims often. By the time Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, he had endured much hardship at the hands of the Judaizers, including bodily harm. In later centuries of the early church, the church fathers were just as aggressive in opposing heresy as Paul was.
Part of Paul's purpose in writing this book was to clarify what law is and how faith is the ingredient that was so often missing.
The best God could do before Christ was to offer his Law, the moral code that assures us we can please God. But God knew this was not sufficient, so he withheld final judgment until after Christ truly conquered sin and provided redemption. The first thing Christ did after his death, even before his bodily resurrection, was to preach the gospel to those who had previously died, offering them salvation. Note that in order for Christ's preaching to the captivesin Abraham's Bosom to mean anything, the souls of those listening needed to have the real opportunity to accept or reject the gospel message.
Many interpret Paul to be speaking of only two opposing choices, but there are three...
The letter to the Romans opposes only option #3.
In a few places, the word "law" is interpreted by some to mean "principle" or "power;" this to avoid the otherwise clear contradiction of the false Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith only.But law means law and it is always the same Greek word. The ingredients of law...
Jesus singled-out Paul to be an apostle; he appeared to him supernaturallyand later instructed him supernaturally.Perhaps in opposing Jesus so strongly, Paul's soul was calling out to God in some way, seeking truth. When Jesus appeared to him, Paul converted instantly.
Power is the capability of affecting change in events. Certainly, allowing a corpse in a tomb to again come to life and be animated by the same soul; that is power. Normally the soul, once separated from the body at death, never again inhabits the body as it decomposes, lifeless.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus proves his claim to be deity, the second person of the Trinity. Those who reject the historical fact of the resurrection are rejecting the heart of Christianity.
Paul and the other apostles received this, were called to this, by Jesus himself, through no deserving act or capability originating from them.
The purpose of the gospel is that we obey Jesus. The revealed faith, the gospel, the Christian message of salvation is to give us something to obey. Faith alone is not sufficient, we must obey the faith.
The focus of saving faith is Jesus, his name. The word "name" doesn't mean a mere spoken collection of syllables referring to someone or something, rather, it refers to the thing named in its essence. For example, in asking God for something in the name of Jesusyou are asking for something Jesus would approve of, agree to, and delight in; you are interacting with God through Jesus himself.
The apostles were called for a purpose, to share the truth of the gospel to others, to all nations and peoples. The audience of Paul's letter to the Romans is those who are among the nations, to Gentiles as well as Jews.
Not all who reject the Christian message are rejecting Christ. Sadly, the gospel is often distorted so badly or is associated with non-essential baggage so thoroughly that it should be rejected.
Just as Paul was called to be an apostle, so also, all Christians of faith are also called.
Everyone is called to salvation: some hear the gospel while alive, some at death. Those who hear it while alive are called by virtue of hearing it. Those who accept Jesus as Savior are members of "the called."
The audience of this letter is Christians living in Rome.
Christians all over the Roman world speak of the faith of the Christians at Rome. From history we learn that the Roman Church was the only one that remained free from heresy for the first 800 years of Church history.
Paul prays for the Christians in Rome often. Probably as he travels or works he mentally cycles through the various people and Churches he has encountered, praying for them all. He habitually does this constantly.
Paul wants to visit them but hasn't been able to — he's been requesting God to allow it, to work out the details. Paul recognizes he is not totally in control of events; that God must intervene. This is a good way to live our lives; to take the things we want to God in prayer. But notice that Paul's desire is completely selfless; he desires something that will bless others. He doesn't desire a large screen TV, or a new video game console. If we're having a hard time praying maybe it's because we aren't doing anything for anyone else.
(Romans 1:13) Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let [prevented] hitherto [until now,]) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
The audience of this letter is primarily Gentile Christians.
Paul wants to come to Rome to preach to unbelievers using the Christian community there as a base of operations. He has successfully done this in other cities.
Notice Paul's care to inform people of his plans and desires. A good leader effectively communicates with others.
When Paul wrote this Latin and Greek were the predominant languages of the Roman empire. The upper class (the wise) spoke Greek. A barbarian is one who doesn't speak Greek well, probably they mainly speak their local language. People from all kinds of backgrounds lived in Rome. The "wise" are probably the educated class and the "unwise" are others.
Paul is a debtor because he owes his knowledge to the whole world. Perhaps this is because he persecuted Christians before becoming one himself.
So far in the letter, Paul seems to be focusing on those who are not Jewish and who are not God-fearers (converts to Judaism but not circumcised.)
Paul seems to shift the tone from affection toward his audience to treating them as strangers needing to hear the gospel. Often, while sitting through a long boring sermon in which the preacher assumes we are all unsaved I felt insulted at being treated like a stranger. I wonder what Paul's readers felt during this transition in this letter?
Even though Paul has been speaking to these Roman Christians as if they are holy and devout, he knows some are phony, living lives of debauchery, enjoying the sinful lifestyle all too prevalent in Rome. He turns his focus to them.
The gospel message of salvation was first presented to the Jews, to God's covenant people, then to the Gentiles and Greeks. The purpose and focus of the gospel is salvation for all. But we must receive the gift in faith. Those who reject the free gift of God's grace are in big trouble.
God will impart his power to save, to redeem, only to those who accept it, who believe it, who receive it in faith. This verse does not teach the Calvinistic teaching that Christ only died for those who would receive, etc. That is utter nonsense!
Some cultures have a strong emphasis on conformity; non-conformists are to feel shame. Paul is above all this — his concern is for God's opinion of him, not man's. His concern is for truth, for God's truth, for the gospel. We should reject untruth just as Paul did.
The gospel message began with the Jews having the Old Testament which contained the accounts of the great men of faith such as Abraham. It then proceeded to the Gentiles with the advent of Jesus. The Gospel message is from faith (the Jews) to faith (the Gentiles).
The quotation is from Habakkuk.The proud person who thinks they are redeemed by their own efforts are not redeemed, but those who come to God humbly in faith and who live a righteous life pleasing to God.
Unrighteousness, unholiness, and wickedness result in judgment from God, in wrath. This judgment occurs at death for everyone. Everyone will have to give an account for all the harm they have caused others.
God has shown those aspects of his nature and character which may be known by people in observing reality around them. Everyone can see sin and its horrible effects; everyone intuitively knows that humans are to be treated with dignity; and everyone is painfully aware that a world without love of one for another is a dismal world indeed. Yet people have created various philosophical guiding principles which allow them to rape,pillage, plunder, enslave, beat, and exploit one another. Only by becoming hard of heart can one treat others like this.
(Romans 1:20) 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:
In seeing the dignity of our fellow humans we can see God's creative power and his love for those he created. But humans create various philosophical perspectives which nullify the obvious. You simply cannot explain such things as consciousness and love by mechanistic naturalistic explanations — yet this is what modern atheists do. Those at the time of the apostles believed in the existence and power of the gods; but everyone knew that these gods were flawed, fickle, and untrustworthy guides of righteousness.
Everyone can clearly see that there is a source of life, of truth, of goodness, and of human dignity. This perfect source is God. And everyone can sense the power of some unseen spiritual presence which guides human events and which ultimately results in our death — and hopefully redemption.
Everyone is without excuse when, at death, they meet Jesus Christwho will unmistakably identify himself as deity to all and ask them to accept his offer of redemption. Some (many?) will reject his offer. Those who deny God's moral law and disobey its commands while alive are at risk. Those who deny the obvious existence of a creator God are at risk; perhaps they will delude themselves into denying the real presence of Jesus Christ when they encounter him, preferring, instead, to think it is merely some sort of dream of death to be ignored, just as they ignored the obvious presence of God while they were alive in this world.
A life not focused on God is a wasted life.
(Romans 1:27) And 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 recompence of their error which was meet [suitable].
God releases them to enjoy the wages of their sin which is death. We must keep God in our mind, we must have knowledge of God. When we push God from our mind and life, we become depraved. Lucifer did this. Notice the emphasis on works. It is the works of those having a depraved mind which matters. Just so, it is the works of one who retains God in their mind that matters. That which is in our mind and heart leads to works which either please or displease God.
Christians should seriously consider the following list of mortal sins. Those who do these should realize that their salvation is at risk. Saving faith requires good works,this contrary to the "saved by faith only" teaching so common in Protestantism.
Why do Christians partake of entertainment and fiction involving people committing mortal sins? I simply do not understand it. In my view, the only time we should involve ourselves with such things is in studying history or current events. But even reading the news about seedy individuals seems unwholesome to me; it is hard to view the home page of most news websites without feeling morally violated in some way. It's like seeing the tabloid covers in the supermarket line — but now it's literally everywhere! on billboards and buses; in the art museums; on the sound systems in supermarkets; on TV's and video game consoles of even many Christians; you can't escape it.
Paul has been speaking about non-believers and how wicked they can become. Now he warns Christians not to be judgmental in their attitude toward them because they can be just as wicked. He seems to spend a lot of time warning Christians not to be so wicked; I wonder why they had such a low moral standard in that day? Perhaps many of them were soldiers?
Paul states that everyone, including Christians, are judged by their works, by whether they commit mortal sins.
Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies that he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time.It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.
The "day of wrath" is the day of judgment; it occurs at death for everyone.
Note that we are judged by our works. It is hard to understand how so many Christians can deny this fact when there are so many verses clearly stating it.In a sense we judge ourselves: when we come into God's presence we respond to his holiness based on our habits and behaviors and attitudes. Those who cling to their sin will be repulsed; those who love God more than their sin will run to him, will run into the brightness his glory, trusting in his mercy. Salvation is more than a mere intellectual exercise, than a mental believing in facts of history. Will we jump off into his arms like a trusting child when we encounter Christ in person on judgment day? Our habitual behavior while in this life will dictate that answer.
Notice that good works are necessary for salvation and that it is possible to do these good works.
Those who reject righteousness and holiness in their dealings with others are in big trouble.
Notice that truth is not a mere intellectual or philosophical construct, rather, it embodies God's divine will for all creatures. Thus, obeying truth requires living a life pleasing to God, a life of love and service to others. The quest for truth has a moral component.
Paul is not shy about mentioning the bad consequences for those who do evil works; he mentions it again and again.
Previously Paul had contrasted Jew and Greek;here it is Jew and Gentile. He is finally settling-in on his main topic for his main audience: proving that Christians don't need to first be Jewish, that Gentile (non-Jew) Christians do not have to become Jewish to be Christian. In presenting his argument, Paul must carefully explain the role in God's plan for the covenant with the people of Israel. Christianity builds on Judaism, it does not supplant it.
Even though Christians have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he still judges them the same way as non-Christians. Thus, the idea that our sins are merely coveredand that God looks at Jesus' righteousness and judges him in our place; this is simply incorrect. We are each individually judged for our faith in God expressing itself through works of devotion, love, righteousness, and holiness; this resulting in a changed life and heart.
Those without law are non-Jews, the Gentiles; those with law are the Jews. So much of the New Testament addresses the topic of salvation for Jews and for Gentiles, but this question means nothing for us today.
Judgment of sin is a reality for both groups.
Everyone is bound by God's law. It is incorrect to say that Christians do not have to obey the law. It is a common theme in the New Testament that Christians are to practice obedience to Christ, to his law.
Different groups of people at different times have a different law, but all these lead to the same goal — obedience, devotion, and loyalty to God. Some examples...
I reject dispensationalism in which God has completely different plans and purposes for different groups at different times. Even for those of the Old Testament nation of Israel, their salvation was based on performing works pleasing to God performed in faith. Everyone of all eras must act out their faith based on their knowledge, so the details of how and why they choose holiness over sin differ, but everyone must choose to repent of sin and to follow God.
Only Jews who followed the law were saved. Some claim that it was impossible to follow the Old Testament law and that, therefore, no Jews were ever redeemed. This is absurd! The next verse states that even Gentiles can do it.
The problem is that the Jewish leaders added to the law making it impossible even for them. In fact, often when they accused Jesus of breaking the law, it was this added law they were referring to.
People often interpret this verse as meaning that Christians are saved in a different manner than Old Testament Jews; that Old Testament Jews must obey the Mosaic Law for salvation but Christians need only have faith to be saved. This is not what this verse says.
Everyone has their own life experiences and their minds contain the information they received from their senses. Those who lived in Old Testament Israel were to conform to God's law revealed in the Old Testament; they were trained in this law from birth. However, non-Jewish Christians did not have any of this training or experience so their relationship with God is formed in the context of their non-Jewish life experiences. When the Judaizers attempted to demand all Christians must adopt Judaism as a prerequisite, the apostles disagreed in the council of Jerusalem.
The essence of the 10 commandments is even discernable by those not knowing of it.
As a fundamentalist evangelical Protestant I was taught that conscience is formed in each person with a complete set of moral laws built into it; in studying psychology I learned that this is not true, that some people's conscience is deficient. That being said, I do believe that each person's soul has a connection with the Holy Spirit who guides them in choosing what to do and not to do. Catholics call this prevenient grace.This is one (of many) examples in which I prefer Catholic teaching to Protestant; the Protestant teaching just doesn't make sense and it contradicts the Bible.
The day in which God will judge each one is the day of their death; this day comes soon for each person, within a short lifetime of a maximum of 125 years.
Judgment for sin is part of the gospel. Those who neglect to mention this are not preaching the true gospel but a false gospel. Notice that God judges the condition of our heart. He judges us for our works and our thoughts and attitudes.
Paul seems to be addressing Jews. Perhaps he knows that Jews interested in Christianity will be listening in during the church service when his letter is publicly read. They didn't have inexpensive printed Bibles available back then, and there was no New Testamant at all; it was still being written.
In the early days of Christianity many Christians were former Jews who still practiced Judaism. The Judaizers demanded that even Gentiles should first become Jewish in order to become Christian — the first heresy of the Church. Much of the New Testament addresses this heresy of the Judaizers.
It seems Paul holds the Jewish law to a high standard, thinking it to accurately convey the mind of God. Through the Mosaic Law we learn of God, his nature, his commands, the moral law, and how to treat one another with dignity.
It's hard to understand just who Paul is speaking to; is it to committed Christians who yet do the most horrible of things? Or perhaps to Roman soldiers who would likely be pressured into committing all kinds of grave offenses? But these would be Gentiles, not Jews.
From verse 17 abovewe see that Paul is speaking to Jewish Christians, those claiming you must be Jewish to be a Christian. Are these really that poorly behaved? I doubt these Jewish Christians would recognize themselves in Paul's description; they would think he is talking about somebody else.
There is no temple to rob in Rome. Paul is probably referring to the Jewish leaders who covet the offerings of the worshippers and who steal or materially benefit, living an extravagant lifestyle.
The Gentile God-fearers were not circumcised so this passage is not directed toward them. Paul's audience...
Notice that Paul states the Mosaic Law is beneficial; but only for those who keep it. Merely being a cultural Jew is useless; they are no better than Gentiles.
Paul emphasizes that keeping the law is necessary, even for Gentiles. Later in the letter Paul turns to the subject of faith and it seems everyone forgets all these passage emphasizing the need for works.
Paul appears to redefine the word "Jew" but actually invents a new meaning for the word. He is not invalidating any of what the word "Jew" refers to nor is he demeaning it in any way. He takes the spiritual essence of what it means to be a Jew (having a mind, heart, and life focused on God) and applies the concept to Christianity. Thus, Christians and Jews are, in essence, the same. People usually interpret this verse to mean the opposite, that Christianity superceded Judaism and Judaism is, therefore, invalid. All that is missing from the life of Jews is their failure to recognize their awaited Messiah. In my view, Jesus will reveal himself to them at the time of their death and those who are truly lovers of God will receive him at that time.
Paul doesn't want people to interpret his "spiritualizing" of being a Jew as denigrating and criticizing God's work in choosing the Old Testament nation of Israel and giving it the law.
The Jews were given the Old Testament, the word of God.
Some interpret this verse as if Paul is saying that the only reason God gave the Old Testament to the Jews is so they could pass it along to the Christians; that they received no benefit to themselves from their special role as a covenant people. This is, of course, absurd.
Many interpret Paul to be speaking of only two opposing choices, but there are three...
The letter to the Romans opposes only option #3.
God is supremely righteous and so he is qualified to judge. This implies there is something unjust for God to judge against. But critics accuse God of being no better than a human when he judges sin because he is acting unrighteously (so they say) in punishing someone. I think they are thinking of someone screaming at their child to not scream, something like that. The idea is that in judging, God becomes unrighteous because punishment is inherently unrighteous.
I think there is an element of truth in this objection and that God does not actively and willfully throw people into eternal fire.In my view, people are judged when their wicked souls flee from the holy presence of God. The further they flee, the less of God's blessings they receive. Paul hints of this earlier.Some are stupid enough to even reject eternity in the presence of God and instead choose the lake of fire, as far from God's presence as you can get. Now that is pure hatred!
God is righteous. For how is someone who is unrighteous qualified to judge at all? Since God is the judge, he is, therefore, supremely righteous. The error of these critics is to think bad of God; to demean and minimize God. The essence of proper praise and worship of God is to proclaim of the best of God in every aspect possible.
Another thoughtless objection. Since my unrighteousness makes God righteous as a judge, therefore, I am not really unrighteous after all since my unrighteousness causes God to do a righteous act (righteous judgment.) Whoever thought of this objection can't think clearly. Our unrighteousness makes us righteous? Really? Are they serious?
Eastern philosophy makes a similar mistake. In claiming that good and evil are really just two aspects of the One reality, this implies that reality is not morally good since it contains evil and that evil is eternal alongside the eternal goodness of God. Thus, God or deity is stripped of moral purity and goodness; deity can be evil after all. They inadvertently end up having to worship evil as an aspect of God. This is what prompted me to abandon forever eastern philosophy. I was offended by evil and did not wish to accept it as part of the God I worshipped.
Don't you just hate it when people blatantly misrepresent the views of others? I found this to be the case when I converted to Catholicism; fundamentalist evangelical Protestants misrepresented everything (I'm not exaggerating; I mean everything)about Catholic teaching, doctrine, and history.
I think Paul is returning to his comparison of Jews and Gentiles from verse 3.Jews are not better than Gentiles just because they were the caretakers of God's law. Only in obeying God is someone righteous. It was not enough that the Jews were citizens of the nation of Israel, they needed to live a holy life of faith and good works in order to please God. Old Testament history shows that, in general, they did not do this leading to God's judgment on multiple occasions.
Thus begins an extended quotation from Old Testament passages, loosely quoted.
This is one of those verses that mindless robotic Protestantsuse to prove their doctrine of total depravity.But in looking at the Old Testament verses we see that this is not what was intended at all.
From Psalms 5:9contrasting the righteous with the wicked. From Psalms 140:3asking for protection from the wicked whose characteristics are described in detail. From Psalms 10:7asking God to protect the Godly and judge the wicked.
Referring to the Jews who were under the law. By observing God's interactions with his chosen people the Jews we can learn of God's moral standards. But technically, only the Jews were under the law.
The Jews under the law did not turn out to live out the law; rather, as we learned from the prophets, many, especially the leaders, lived wicked lives and corrupted the people.
This verse applies only to Jews, not to Gentiles, since Gentiles were not under the law.
Only in having a clear standard for comparing our actions to, do we clearly recognize the goodness or sinfulness of our actions. This is why the Old Testament law still applies to Christians even today, so we will know what pleases and what displeases God. If we know God's heart we can change our ways to please him.
We might ask how the knowing of sin neutralizes a person's ability to please God through performing good works? The unspoken assumption seems to be that once we know what God demands of us our abilities of performing actions pleasing to him are neutralized. It's as if knowledge of the law destroys our willpower like a powerful magnet attracting us uncontrollably toward sinful deeds. Certainly we see this in the history of Old Testament Israel; a general degradation of moral standards in the culture resulting in God's judgment of the nation. Perhaps this is what Paul is referring to; to historical Israel in general, not to each Jew in particular.
Some teach we are totally depraved and cannot hope to perform actions pleasing to God, therefore, our only hope of salvation is through faith disconnected from works. Unfortunately, the New Testament as a whole does not corroborate this teaching.
Even God's standards for those not under the law are revealed by God's prophets in the Old Testament. Thus, any religious system accurately representing God's mind and heart comes from the Bible. The further away any philosophical or religious system is from having a biblical basis the more errors there will be. Thus, even Christianity is "Jewish" at heart.
Through Jesus Christ, God has established a new covenant apart from the Old Testament covenants, especially with the nation of Israel. The Old Testament laws and the Old Testament prophets speak of redemption through Jesus Christ, via the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity. Merely imposing law was not adequate to reform the soul of humankind; human nature required "deification"by Christ as deity taking on human nature himself and redeeming it for all humans.
Redemption requires appropriating God's grace of salvation offered to all humans through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. Salvation by works only is not sufficient.
Sadly, people often misinterpret the idea that we are not saved by only faith (works also having a role) as meaning we are saved by only works. I think of it this way: just as a coin has heads and tails, so salvation has two aspects: faith and works. Both are part of the same coin, of saving, redemptive faith. True repentance leading to good works is inseparable from saving faith. Mere faith of the mind only is not saving faith; true saving faith requires the body. Even the thief on the cross exhibited works: with his spoken words he defended Jesus and proclaimed his trust and loyalty to him.
How does an infant sin? Or a fetus in the womb? Perhaps Paul is limiting his discussion to those after the age of accountability who have certainly by then willfully sinned. Or perhaps he is referring to the human soul which is damaged by original sin and is incapable of demonstrating the clarity of moral influence on the body to avoid sin. This trend may not actually in sins committed until after the age of accountability.
If it wasn't for our sinning we would be in the image of God, we would be "deified".In my view the new heavens and new earthis merely this world, this universe, but with sin removed. Our soul is no longer tempted to sin; our soul is truly cleansed of sin, made perfect in purgatory; and God longer has the covenant obligation to Lucifer which has been the cause of all pain and suffering since the creation of life in the universe maybe 1 to 3+ billion years ago.
We humans are to be the glory of God. He desires nothing but the best for us. In creating us, God planned that we would some day manifest his glory (once redemption is fulfilled in the new heavens and new earth.)This speaks of "deification" as I mention above.
We are redeemed as a grace from God, this, through the intercessory work of Jesus Christ in the incarnation, in his sacrificial death, and his resurrection. Everyone who ends up in the new heavens and new earth,the redeemed, are there as a direct result of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, there is no other way. Notice that this verse doesn't mention faith nor works, but rather, God's role in salvation, in his work that makes it possible.
(Romans 3:25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [appease] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance [holding back] of God;
The word "propitiate" means to appease; in this case God's wrath against sinful humans is appeased by the blood sacrifice of Jesus.
Why is sacrifice needed? God hears us when, in sorrow and suffering, we call out to him to save us. Jesus called out to God the Father to redeem the human race and all life in the universe when he endured the same kind of suffering experienced by everyone. Out of love for us, Jesus allowed himself to experience the worst of human misery so his heart's cry to the Lord would be genuine. How could God the Father resist answering this?
We appropriate God's grace of redemption through our faith in God's redemptive plan through Jesus Christ. But how can we have this kind of saving faith without also admitting of our need for redemption from our sins and without truly repenting of these sinful deeds, in other words, by doing good works. Repentance is a work, it requires doing and not doing things, it requires changing behavior and attitudes.
The word "forbearance" merely means not to do it, in other words, God doesn't kill the sinner if there is a suitable blood sacrifice offered in his place and if the sinner has true redeeming faith in the efficacy [effectiveness] of this blood sacrifice, faith in the God who honors the blood sacrifice. As we saw in Genesis,this death of the sinner is both spiritual and physical. Spiritual death means eternal separation from God; physical death doesn't occur immediately but eventually we all die.
God the Father sent Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, to be the blood sacrifice for all time. Once God himself provided the sacrifice for sin, there was no need for any more blood sacrifices. In the Eucharist, Jesus is not offered again as a sacrifice, rather, his once-for-all sacrifice is entered into again mystically. This is similar to when we remember an event; the event doesn't actually occur again but we relive it in our mind.
The mere dying in our place of Jesus is not sufficient for our redemption; we must appropriate it via faith. This implies there is a point in time in which we each accept or reject it. And this point in time must of necessity occur as the last event in our life, or even just after death.Here's why: if it happens too soon, any subsequent sins will not be covered. We can't ask God to forgive our yet-future sins; this is a violation of the covenant of redemption with God. In order to receive salvation we must seriously repent from the sins of the past; we must seriously intend to never do them again. (This is why works are required for faith.) Thus, God can only forgive past sins, not potential future sins. At the end of our life we will each one of us be given the opportunity to review all our sins causing eternal death (mortal sins) and to receive Christ's atoning sacrifice in our place for each of these. Even those who have never heard the gospel will be given this opportunity.
To atone for our sins via blood sacrifice, the victim must be without sin. In the Old Testament this was acted-out by an unblemished animal, by not offering up an animal known to be defective in some noticable way. In the true scheme of things it requires that only God himself can be our blood sacrifice. This of course requires the incarnation, that God himself would take on human nature as his nature, that God would "deify" human nature. Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, did just this.
The blood sacrifices of animals in the Old Testament were necessary because of the horrific enormity of sin. In like manner, to truly appease God, to gain favor again with God; this also required a blood sacrifice. Just as the first sin of Adam resulted in death,so also God would require a substitutionary death to atone for sin. I think this is because God proclaimed that sin leads to death. As a consequence, to avoid the death requires the death of an innocent victim. In a sense the sacrificed animals of the Old Testament are unwitting and unwilling martyrs to provide redemption for the sinners. This doesn't seem fair somehow but neither does the operation of the universe in which animals must eat each other to survive. This pain and suffering, this death and dying inherent in the very fabric of the universe was created by Lucifer (and allowed by God.)God honors his covenants, including his covenant with Lucifer, and must work out his redemptive plan in the context of this covenant of death he made with Lucifer before the creation of the universe. God allowed Lucifer to create this kind of universe, but God will finally redeem it all at the new heavens and new earth.
God is just and righteous because he has provided a way for everyone to become redeemed, if only we would each accept this gift. Once Lucifer's dastardly influence on this world system is removed, the redeemed will enjoy the universe as God intended it to be.God is just in these ways...
Critics of God might object that God is not righteous because he allowed sin to enter and to mess things up in the first place. But consider: the only way God could create creatures and guarantee they don't sin is to create them without free will. Thus, in creating creatures capable of freely loving God he also created the potential space outside of his holy nature in which sin could occur. Of course, Lucifer all-too-happily filled this space in his quest to be like God.I for one am unwilling to object of God's choice to do things the way he did. But I must endure the scourges of sin and am all-too-happy to accept redemption via faith in Jesus Christ the savior of the world. I longfor eternity with God in the utopian paradise of the new heavens and new earth.
Paul refers to faith as a law of the same order as the law of Moses. Just as the Old Testament law provided a framework for living and worship and community, so also the law of Christian faith provides the same.
Redemption comes from God, not from us. We shouldn't be too puffed-up if we are smart enough to receive in faith the gift of eternal salvation offered by the grace of God, through Christ's sacrificial death. We should, rather, be thankful and grateful that God enlivened our soul via the Holy Spirit to clearly see our predicament and to choose life over death. And we should be thankful and grateful that we did this while yet alive so we can enjoy the benefits of living a life pleasing to God. Some who have never heard the gospel accurately presented will have to wait until death to learn of this.
Paul now contrasts what he has been calling the law with the new law, with the gospel message of salvation. Even the Mosaic law required faithto be useful and effective. Later, God told the people their sacrifices and offerings were not acceptable because they did not walk in the ways of God and did not listen to God's anointed prophets,in other words, they did not have faith. The Old Testament law was always intended to be performed in the context of faith — the faith of the individual and the faith of the community as a whole.
People who wish to support their notion of saved by faith onlyabruptly change the meaning of the word "law"in this verse to mean "principle" or "power". But it's the same Greek word as used many times previously. The next verse uses the same word again but it clearly doesn't mean principle.
For some reason, Protestants seem to think this verse nullifies all the preceding verses, that all the truths proclaimed in the first chapters of the letter to the Romans can be safely ignored. I write about this elsewhere,about Martin Luther's folly (still popular among evangelical fundamentalist Christians even today.)
Many Jewish converts to Christianity mistakenly believed only Jews could be saved; that Gentiles must become Jewish to become true Christians. But just because Christianity is based on Judaism doesn't mean we are required to practice Judaism.
Some Jewish Christians even thought Gentiles were irredeemable, forever rejected by God. In the New Testament we find much discussion of such topics. These mean nothing to us today; these questions have been long settled.
In this verse we see that Paul uses the term "circumcision" to refer to Jews. Thus, using the word this way it is not a figure of speech but, rather, an idiom defined by Paul himself.
There is only one path to salvation: faith.
Paul is careful to mention that the precepts of the law are included in faith, in other words, you have to have good works to please God. What good is it to live a life unpleasing to God while proclaiming to the world we have saving faith? Faith requires having both good behavior and a proper attitude. Someone who hates God doesn't have faith. Someone who hates others doesn't have faith. Someone who habitually commits mortal sin doesn't have faith.
Paul is careful not to negate the law. Thus, Christians are still bound by the precepts of the 10 commandments, of the moral law of God.
In the early days of the Church, the Old Testament was utilized often to support the teaching of the apostles and the early church fathers. Once the New Testament writings became readily available, these were also used.
(Romans 4:11) And 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:
(Romans 4:16) Therefore 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,
(Romans 4:17) (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth [gives life to] the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
The phrase from the NASB translation I listen to all the time caught my attention: "calls into being that which does not exist." In most translations this phrase seems to not refer to the previous phrase, that of giving life to the dead, of the resurrection. What caught my attention was the present tense word "calls;" that God is continually calling into being that which doesn't exist. This perfectly matches my creative frame theoryof the cosmos in which God creates the universe out of nothing a trillion trillion trillion times per second in the same manner as he created it all the first time.
In redemption we become united again with God. Formerly we were separated from God due to original sin such that, at final judgment, we would have chosen to reject God's mercy; the guilt of our soul blinded us from feeling worthy of redemption; we would flee in shame from God's presence as Adam and Eve did after they ate the forbidden fruit. Really this is the essence of redemption: do we run to God assured of forgiveness for our obvious shortcomings, or do we flee ultimately into the Lake of Fire?
People seem to assume this verse means there was no sin in the world until the Mosaic law but, of course, this is absurd. Because of original sin everyone sins, even without law (as verse 14 states).
The sin of Adam caused death to all of humanity even though only Adam (and Eve) ate the forbidden fruit.
(Romans 5:15) But 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, hath abounded unto many.
"Into his death" — we can receive the benefits his death procured for us.
"Buried with him" — an add on phrase to "into his death".
"Raised from the dead" — we enter into the blessings of eternal life; this includes benefits while yet alive before we die.
Apparently we have control over whether or not we sin. This implies we can be free from sin, that we can be perfect. The tendency to sin may attempt to influence us, to "reign in us", but we can disobey these promptings and remain free from sin.
This does not mean we can conquer sin without God's help; we need God's help. But by relying on God and asking God in times of difficulty, we can overcome.
(Romans 6:13) Neither yield ye 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.
(Romans 6:19) I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
(Romans 7:3) So then if, while her husband liveth, 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.
(Romans 7:4) Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
(Romans 7:13) Was 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.
People often interpret this use of the word "law"as "principle" but it is the same Greek word used just a few verses beforeas clearly meaning law. This law Paul refers to is a law that originates from with our self under the influence of the wicked spirits. God's law is to have the same kind of influence over us; it is to overwhelm our will with an irresistible urge to obey. When we jettison our faith, our will becomes weak as the Holy Spirit departs our soul and we listen to other voices, to other commands.
The various translations of this verse are quite different indicating they don't understand the meaning. Paul has just spent many verses describing the all-too-common phenomenon of knowing an action is not pleasing to God and of wanting to please God, but doing it anyway, from an inner compulsion that drives us forward almost against our will. This weakening of our will is original sin, concupiscence.
There are two laws: (1) the law of God, the law from God, and (2) the law from within us influenced by the wicked spirits, a law that rejects God's will for us.
There are two laws: (1) the law of God, the law from God, the law of the mind, and (2) the law from within us, from our members. It is unfortunate Paul describes this unhappy kind of law a being within our physical body. I think he was influenced by the philosophy of the daywhich thought of the soul as good and the body as bad. But we know this is not true. In the new heavens and new earththe resurrected body is quite good and we were in fact created very good.The badness is spiritual, from our soul inhabiting the spiritual realm and is influenced by the wicked spirits. The bodily appetites originate from the soul, not the body.The body only does what the soul commands; it does not have a mind of its own.
People often interpret this use of the word "law"as "principle" or "power" but it is the same Greek word used elsewhere clearly meaning law. But Paul is referring to two kinds of law: (1) the law from God, and (2) the law from our carnal self. Just as God makes laws, so do we. But we should always follow God's law rather than our own law, especially when our law is at odds with God's law. God's law comes to us from the Holy Spirit into the depths of our soul. Our self-made law comes from our soul, perhaps influenced by the wicked spirits inhabiting the spiritual realm in which our soul lives.
Paul seems to have adopted the idea of Aristotle and Plato that the highest good is the intellect, the mind, the reason.(I should note that the Catholic Church bases its doctrine on Aristotle, but I reject Aristotle and the other philosophers.)Ditto for the idea that the body is the source of trouble and badness. This has plagued the Church for 2,000 years and has resulted in the notion that sex is bad. My view explains it all much better.
Both words, fleshand Spirit, refer to aspects of the human spirit, of the soul, which lives in the spiritual realm.The word "Spirit" (with a capital S) refers to the Holy Spirit which is tangled-up with the soul of the Christian. Note that each person has the choice whether or not to activate the influence of the Spirit in their lives — whether to walk in the flesh or in the Spirit.
This verse doesn't state that there is no condemnation for those Christians who walk after the flesh. It is a common false teaching that our works have no role in our salvation;and so they misinterpret this verse to mean that every Christian walks after the Spirit, which of course they don't. Then they have to go to great lengths to try to explain how people who walk after the Spirit can be so wicked.
There are two kingdoms: the kingdom of God (the Spirit of life) and Satan's kingdom (causing sin and death). In becoming born again, we switch loyalties from one to the other. Of course, our souls still reside in the same spiritual realmwith the wicked spirits so we are influenced and tempted by them, but our true destination is heaven.
People often interpret this use of the word "law"as "principle" or "power" but it is the same Greek word used elsewhere clearly meaning law. In fact, the very next verse uses the same word, this time clearly referring to the Mosaic Law.
By the word "law" Paul is not referring to the Mosaic law as such, but to the system of salvation based on following rules. In interpreting the word "law" as meaning the Mosaic law you must also conclude that no one in the Old Testament was saved since all they had was the law. This, of course, is nonsense! Those in the Old Testament were saved in the same manner as Christians today — by faith in God's mercy.In the Old Testament they worked out this faith in the context of the rules, rites, and rituals (but also having teaching about God's attributes, his grace, etc.) Christians still do this as well; we must obey the 10 commandments; we must form communities of believers; we must be baptized and partake of communion.
The key aspect of the law Paul refers to in this verse is that we do it: we obey it, we perform sacrifices to atone for our sin, we celebrate holy days, etc. But salvation is from God and of God; his grace is imparted supernaturally to us who will receive it in faith. This does not mean there is no works component in true faith.People usually make the false dichotomy between saved by faith only and saved by works only, but Paul is not saying this.
Notice the key ingredient in God's grace of redemption for the human race: God took on human nature and incorporated it into his divine nature. In other words, God "deified" human nature.As God's light and truth spreads eventuality into the whole of each person who is redeemed, sin will be finally and forever judged and cast away from God's presence into the lake of fire. This process of "deifying" human nature by Christ is only partially complete at this time. He will finish the work at the Great White Throne judgment.
The final goal of the Mosaic law and of Christian faith is righteousness.
We must actually walk after the Spirit to gain the benefits of righteousness. The phrase "walk after the Spirit" does not merely mean that we believed the gospel at some point in the past; we must walk with the Spirit day by day, moment by moment. Those who don't are walking after the flesh.
The law is still in full force; Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it.The Spirit of Christ works in us who are redeemed to cleanse us of sin. This happens while we are living on the earth and also after death in purgatory.Our souls are finally purified before entering the eternal state. Notice that those of the Old Testament were not redeemed until finally Christ came to themand preached the gospel.
A key ingredient in living a life pleasing to God, a life of the Spirit, is what we do with our mind. Presumably this refers to our affections, emotions, intellect, thoughts, will, attitudes, and every other aspect of our soul life. We are to keep out of our minds the garbage that comes from sin. This is why I boycott TV, movies, many novels, bad company, and the many depraved and polluting aspects of our culture. We are continuously bombarded with spiritual garbage.
Those who walk after the flesh will spiritually die, while those who walk after the Spirit will have eternal life and peace.
Those who will not end up in the new heavens and new earth(unless they repent and become born-again) are not only eternally dead, but they are spiritually dead now — their souls are not enjoying the benefits of being enlivened by the Holy Spirit.
Those who are born-again enjoy the gifts of the Spirit, such things as peace, joy, unity.
Those whose soul walks after the flesh, who have a carnal mind, are enemies of God. In choosing Satan's kingdom they must reject God's kingdom. We can only be loyal to one; we must choose. Becoming saved is a matter of choosing sides.
In having a carnal mind, in walking after the flesh, they are being disloyal to God and his kingdom and are choosing Satan's kingdom. Mortal sin is when they have gone too far and are ejected from God's kingdom and again live in Satan's kingdom.
Notice that being born-again means that we are still following the law; we do not become free from the need to obey the law just because we become a Christian. The question is, which law are we following? Also, I should note: the Mosaic law was also God's law; it was not Satan's law. In obeying the Mosaic law in faith and love of God, they were following God's law. In treating the Mosaic law like a rule-based system as the Pharisees did, they are actually rejecting God's true Mosaic law and substituting a man-made law.
Those with a carnal mind reject God's law and refuse to be constrained by it. This implies that a necessary ingredient to being saved is conforming to God's law and obeying it. Thus, we are not saved by faith onlybut, rather, works have a role.
Notice the duality between body and soul.We have two components: one physical, the other spiritual. The soul lives forever; the body dies but lives again after the general resurrection.The body dies because of original sin
Christians are not immune to physical death. Having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit does not affect the condition of the body and the human condition in general. What is unsaid here is what becomes of those not having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, of those unredeemed.
(Romans 8:11) 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 [enliven] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
A Trinitarian verse — two times over. Just as God the Father raised up Jesus from the dead, so also he will raise us up at the last judgment.
In other words, don't do things unpleasing to God. Notice that works is a key ingredient of salvation.This verse directly connects salvation with works. I don't see how anyone can deny that works have a role in salvation. People usually claim this means we are saved by works only; that you are either saved by faith only or by works only. But there is a third option: true faith has works. If it doesn't have works it is not faith.
Salvation and redemption is a question of loyalty, of whether we will follow God and his commands, his law, or whether we will instead follow Satan and our own appetites. In choosing loyalty to God we allow God to lead us. This leading consists in obeying God's law, of living a morally pure and holy life pleasing to God, and of worshiping God. Some Christians having a charismaticleaning seem to think we should ask God what to do from moment to moment and he will clearly answer us. This is a risky proposition as these same people readily admit that it is hard to know for sure if you have heard the voice of God or of some other spirit being.
Paul compares the condition in the present world with conditions in the new heavens and new earth.But he is not referring to the general suffering of the human condition but, rather, to the sufferings experienced by Christians as they are persecuted to various degrees.
God will one day reveal his glory in us who are the redeemed; we will be deified. Just as Jesus took on human nature into his nature as deityso also he will allow us to enjoy the benefits of living in this deified human nature. Of course, we will always remain created creatures.
All the souls of all creatures of the universe are awaiting the revealing of the sons of God. I think the phrase "sons of God" refers to humans once they receive their eternal resurrection body in the new heavens and new earth.
I think people have a hard time with this verse because they interpret the word creation or creature to refer to the physical material universe instead of the souls of all created creatures residing within the spiritual realm.We must make a proper distinction between unliving inert matter and living vibrant life, of souls. In my view the physical realm is not living; all life occurs in the spiritual realm.All creatures are awaiting the new heavens and new earth. This implies that all creatures will be resurrected just as humans are and will inhabit it as well. Humans will have a unique role in the new heavens and new earth and are therefore called "sons of God."
All life before the final eternal new heavens and new earthis not operating in God's perfect will and God allowed this to occur for his plan and purpose. (I discuss this elsewhere.)These several verses clearly refer to more than just humans, in fact, they seem to refer to all life living within this universe. The souls of all living creatures are hoping for redemption.Only humans have to make a choice whether or not to follow Christ;all other creatures are innocent of wrongdoing and have no original sin so they are, by God's grace, granted entry into the new heavens and new earth.
This verse is usually interpreted figuratively; I prefer a strictly literal approach.In order for the physical universe to groan and suffer, it must be living; it must have a living soul.In my view, for each aspect of the physical world there is a corresponding aspect in the spiritual world. Thus, we each have a physical body, a spiritual body and a soul. Based on this verse we must conclude that even the universe operates this way; there is a physical universe, a corresponding spiritual universe, and a soul. This soul of the universe must have some aspect of consciousness, enough so that it can groan and suffer. Lucifer has corrupted even the universe, not just lifeforms.
The word "they" is not in the Greek text. Some translations substitute "this", some leave it out altogether.
Christians possess the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.But notice that our present indwelling is incomplete, there is more to come later in the new heavens and new earth.
What is the point of salvation if not to be bodily redeemed? The hope itself does not actually save us as the King James suggests.
We only hope for something that does not yet exist. We hope for our resurrected body but once we have it we will no longer hope for it. An important question: how much of our time do we spend hoping for this and how fervently do we hope for it?
(Romans 8:26) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
This is good news for those that love God. But those that do not love God are in big trouble. The ultimate end is eternity in the new heavens and new earthin which sin is no longer present and we can live our lives as God originally intended, according to his plan and purpose. It doesn't get any better than that.
God does not see evil and wickedness. He knows of their existence in some way, but he cannot experience the horror of the effects of sin and wickedness. What God does sense is that there is some kind of disorder needing repair. He considers all aspects of every situation and does what he can best do to bring things back into order, into right relation with his plan and purpose, and with his holy nature. He made some sort of covenant with Lucifer which he cannot break until certain yet-future conditions allow it. I think God could end the world at any time by decreeing that Christ come again at his second coming at any time, but he holds back so that more people, some as yet unborn, can finally enter into the new heavens and new earth. Thus, in a sense, we who are alive today are suffering so that others, yet-unborn, might also enjoy eternity with God.
On judgment day at each person's death, and certainly at the Great White Throne judgment, others will bring accusations to God before us. These others will be both people and wicked spiritual beings. But one of the roles of God is to justly judge. He does this by judging in individual cases, not in some generic and glorious act of judgment. In taking on our sin and rising from the dead, Jesus took on the role of judge on our behalf. Those who call out to him for mercy in faith will be judged as innocent of mortal sin that results in eternal separation from God.
It is hard to understand how height or depth can have power over us to harm us.
God's love for us and his grace is more powerful than forces seeking to destroy us.
Why would Paul sacrifice his eternal salvation for others? this is absurd. He's being melodramatic to illustrate his sincere wish for their redemption.
Paul is Jewish. So why is he writing to the Romans?
Perhaps Paul was so entangled in his Jewishness he sometimes didn't notice that those reading his letters would not be able to relate to his emphasis on topics of interest to Jewish converts to Christianity. Perhaps as in the letter to the Galatians the Judaizers were descending upon Rome en masse demanding Christians become Jewish.
The word "end" does not mean termination but, rather, goal. The Old Testament Mosaic Law was leading up to the coming of the Messiah who would usher in the true law, the law of salvation by grace.
This seems to be based on a verse in Proverbsexpressing the impossibility of going into heaven, the source of true knowledge, to learn something. A person without faith will reject the gospel with the flimsy excuse of, you can't bring Christ down from heaven to preach the gospel, nor can you bring him back from the dead — therefore, you can't really know the gospel. They pretend Christ has the truth, but this is useless because once he died, the knowledge was lost forever; in other words: that Christ failed to pass on the gospel to the apostles, or that the teachings of the apostles are untrustworthy.
Apparently Paul heard this dumb argument against Christianity but he showed great restraint — I would have just called them idiots and been done with the matter.
A person of faith trusts Jesus to have delegated trustworthy messengers, the apostles, to accurately transmit the message of salvation, the gospel.
Once you have heard the gospel and learned it, you can preach it and it is just as trustworthy as if an apostle preached it. This is the role of the Churchand infalliblechurch teaching,to transmit the true gospel from generation to generation. This verse does not specify what the qualifications are for a person to be allowed to preach the gospel; it merely remarks that the person who, having heard it and believed it, can confess it accurately. Presumably, someone else, hearing their confession, could also come to faith.
Certainly there needed to be a way in early Christianity to guarantee that the dogmas were formulated correctly; the bishops were granted this role. Sadly, these bishops were wrong more often than right. Over time the Holy Spirit guided circumstances so that, finally, the true gospel was permanently discerned. Paul is not addressing any of this; he limits his focus to what is needed for a person to get saved and be saved. This is a problem with Sola Scriptura;this very important question of how to discern the true gospel from a counterfeit is simply not addressed in the New Testament.
Notice the two ingredients of salvation:
Of course, these two go together; you can't confess what you don't first believe. But if you don't confess it, perhaps you don't really believe it. The act of confessing solidifies belief: you believe because you confessed.
The confession spoken of is probably confessing the creed during baptism. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so also are we spiritually raised from the dead when we come up out of the waters of baptism.
In the early days of the Church, people joined the Church via baptism. After this they could partake in the Eucharist. Therefore, note that being saved means we have joined the Church and are subject to its rules, teachings, leaders, and traditions.
Notice the object of all this confessing and believing: Jesus and his work to provide for our redemption. Some Churches seem to only consider him as an afterthought.
Notice this verse says you will be saved; in the future. A common interpretation by fundamentalist evangelical Protestants is that Paul is speaking to unbelievers, hoping they will receive salvation and in an instant confess Jesus as Lord. The idea is that you first confess these facts about Jesus in a flash of faith and then, in the future, the immediate future, you are saved. This doesn't make any sense to me. The future being referred to seems to be more than a mere flash in time.
Salvation is a yet-future event for each of us living and occurs at our deathwhen come face-to-face with Jesus and confess him as Lord and Redeemer. While yet-alive we are to practice continual confession, as a lifestyle. We are also to call on the Lordand obey the gospelas a continual lifestyle.
The verses just before Isaiah 28:16 refer to the leaders of Israel having made a covenant with death and hell but that God will reveal his truth via foreigners, non-Jews, via a foundation stone. Those who believe the true teachings about God, who accept this foundation stone as their salvation, these will not rush into hell but will be redeemed. Of course we now know that this foundation stone was Christ and that Christianity embraced all nations and peoples, not just Israel. The Jews should be listening to non-Jews teach them about Christ.
Hearing the gospel doesn't cause faith, rather, it merely provides the opportunity for faith in those who believe it and act upon it. The only way someone can hear the true gospel is when God divinely reveals it. This is the mission of the Church,to proclaim God's divinely revealed word.
Faith comes by hearing the gospel, not by hearing waves breaking on the shore or songbirds singing. Paul doesn't say this but it is clear he means this. You can't have the gospel without first having the word of God. God first proclaims it, then someone preaches it, then someone hears it and believes it and receives it in faith.
The Jews were not seeking a Messiah such as Jesus was but, rather, a merely human political leader to free them from Roman rule. I suppose everyone is seeking for redemption and union with God; this is found through Jesus who most of the Jews rejected as Messiah.
I prefer to interpret the Bible strictly literallybut this verse clearly states that the image of the olive tree following is figurative. Israel is the firstfruit of dough and the root of the olive tree. The Gentiles are the lump of dough from which the firstfruit was taken and the branches of the olive tree which grew from the root. The salvation of Gentiles is based on the plan of redemption involving Israel.
Some might use this verse to support the notion that the Church is to be a political institution as Israel was but this verse doesn't support that. Yes, the nation of Israel was still considered God's covenant people even when they fell into apostasy but God established them to be a nation. Nowhere in scripture or the writings of the early church fathersdo we find evidence that God intended the Church to be a political institution recognizable as such even when the leaders were corrupt, as occurred throughout much of church history.Nor do we find evidence that God intended the mantle of political, religious rulership of God's covenant to pass from Israel to the Church.
(Romans 11:24) For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
(Romans 11:25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentilesbe come in.
The covenant people of the Old Testament nation of Israel failed to recognize Jesus as Messiah. One by one into the future some will realize their error, recognize Jesus as Messiah, and convert to Christianity. The blindness of many Jews will continue until the 2nd coming of Christ: the fullness of the Gentiles will only occur then — there will never be a day in which no more Gentiles become Christians so the Jews can have their turn.
The word "mystery" is used to indicate something not known or revealed. For example, the gospel was a mystery because its complete message was not expected based on the Old Testament (even though hinted at.) The mystery in this verse is the future enactment of God's ongoing covenant with his chosen nation of Israel. Paul wants this to not be a mystery so he informs them — before then it had been a mystery why Israel would reject Jesus as Messiah and whether they would ever someday see the light and acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. The answer is: yes, the remnant will someday. This occurs with each new generation.
When it is God's time, the world will end and there will be no more conversions. Based on this verse, this implies there will be non-Jewish Christians until then. This verse also states that not all Jews will recognize Jesus as Messiah.
People usually interpret this verse to mean something it doesn't actually say. The flawed interpretation...
How is it even possible for all Israel to be saved since many had already died before Paul wrote this and even before Jesus appeared on the scene? This is an example of the word "all" meaning "some"or "all of a category". The phrase "all Israel" means "true Israel", the remnant.
The usual interpretation of this verse bears upon a yet future era when the Jews living at that time will en masse recognize Jesus as Messiah. The context does not bear this out.
The discussion in chapter 11 highlights the history of Christianity founded on the Old Testament nation of Israel and their covenant with God. In rejecting Jesus as Messiah this covenant was put on hold forever; only by individually converting to Christianity can Jews become members of the kingdom of God. Merely being a faithful adherent to the Old Testament religious system is not sufficient for salvation (this does not mean these won't be saved; many will.) The emphasis is on God's plan for salvation; the focus has shifted from Old Testament Israel to the coming of Jesus as Messiah and inaugurating of the kingdom of God.
So who are the Jews today? I suppose anybody claiming to be Jewish and having some sort of ethnic heritage with the Old Testament nation of Israel — the modern nation of Israel and all the Jews scattered among the other nations. Are converts to Judaism included? Probably. But only the remant, those accepting Christ as Messiah, will be saved.
We can't completely know of God, but we know enough to give him true worship. We know he is supremely wise and all-knowing. God is the source of all wealth; of true wealth. God's essence and presence is the only true wealth.
Of necessity God is always judging; whatever occurs, he judges; whatever choices we make, he judges. Ultimately we will each one of us be judged to one of two eternal fates: (1) those deemed worthy will spend eternity in his presence in the new heavens and new earth,(2) those who tenaciously cling to their wickedness and sin will be pushed into outer darkness by his holiness.
(Romans 12:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service [spiritual worship].
We are each to be a living sacrifice. This does not mean we are to be slaughtered in sacrifice as were the animals in the Old Testament sacrificial system. Rather, it means we are to present to God our good works and life of devotion and holiness. Just as God was pleased with the animals brought before God by penitents, and just as God was pleased with Christ's offering of himself as a sacrifice, so also God is pleased with us when we offer our pure and holy lives to him.
The reason anyone has the ability to atone for their sin via sacrifice is that God is merciful; he provided a way for us to have our sins forgiven. For those of the Old Testament Mosaic law, they had animal sacrifices. Christ was the once-for-all sacrifice so that now, no other sacrifice is required. We enter in through Christ's sacrifice through our lives lived pleasing to God. Sacrifice for sins is a form of religious and spiritual worship. We worship this way by our holy living and in re-enacting Christ's sacrifice during the Eucharist.
Godless and wicked people behave poorly and sin with impunity. Us Christians are not to be like them. We are to practice the virtuesand live in charity. We must think differently; we must desire different things; we must be spiritually strong to resist sin; we must have the habits to worship God regularly. Only by living godly and holy lives can we do the will of God. In doing this, we will be perfect. God's will for us is that we be perfect; why would he want us to fall into grievous sin all the time out of weakness and indulgence? The various translations seem to imply that we demonstrate (prove) God's will by our doing such-and-such. I think what is really meant is that we conform our behavior to God's good, acceptable, and perfect will by renewing our minds and habitually living holy lives — and in doing these we also become good, and acceptable, and perfect in God's eyes.
(Romans 12:3) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
There are two aspects to our gifts: (1) the grace from God of which gifts we possess, and (2) how much grace we have been given by God in the use of these gifts. Perhaps we can increase both of these through prayer, fasting, a devotional life of service, and using the gifts for the benefit of others. Thus, God grants us grace based, in part, on our desire and willingness to use the grace.
Notice that there is no mention of tongues or of miracles.
Paul spends several verses discussing obedience to political rulers. There is no corresponding discussion of obedience to church leaders but based on claims of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches we should expect the apostles to emphasize this point.
Nevertheless we are to obey our laws to preserve peace and order; we should feel no obligation to refuse to pay taxes because some of the money is used to fund abortions or smut in public art museums.
It is hard to know where and how to protest injustices and immorality in the political and social systems. One way, not often enough used by Christians, is the power of boycott. Don't consume offending entertainment (in other words, throw out your TV, stop going to moves and listening to secular music, and don't read most fiction); don't give money to any charitable organization funding abortion; vote against people promoting immorality and anti-Christian values; support and promote organizations protesting such things. But sadly, Christian dollars are helping fund the evils of our society.
Should we allow gay marriage? I say live and let live; Christendom failed miserably. And I'm not sure non-gays are qualified either to raise children, especially when subjecting them to all of the above. Nor should abusive non-gays be allowed to be married to mistreat their spouses.
I suppose, in like manner, we should change all aspects of pain and suffering inflicted on others, human and animal. We should stop eating meat (unless you are willing to humanely poke, stab, or chop the soon-to-be-dead animal yourself); don't have pets unless you truly give them only the finest quality of life (pets in small apartments alone all day, or abandoned in small smelly cages); refrain from working jobs whose purpose is to exploit money from the unsuspecting. But this is all off topic.
(Romans 13:4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
fundamentalist evangelical Protestants often interpret this backwards: they say it means that Christians are not bound by the law, even the 10 commandments; all that is needed is love. But the New Testament doesn't teach this.
(Romans 13:9) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
This verse is commonly used to support the notion that Christians are no longer bound to follow the Old Testament law, but the verse doesn't say this.
In verse 9 Paul is referring to the ten commandments so verse 10 is about the topic of the ten commandments. The way in which love fulfills the law is that someone who truly loves God and neighbor will follow the ten commandments; this one law, the law of love, subsumes all other divine laws.
In like manner, Jesus, in coming to fulfill the law, does not do away with the law.The Old Testament law is subsumed within the person and will of Jesus Christ — he created the law and he judges based on the law.
The weak person is not weak because they are vegetarian, but rather, because they won't eat meat offered to idols, thinking it will make them unclean.Presumably they look down upon those who do eat meat offered to idols.
The Catholic Church demands Catholics treat some days differently but this is not what Paul says. There is no reason to suppose Paul was speaking culturally (as he likely was regarding head coverings for women).
(Romans 14:6) He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
This verse addresses what Christians are to do in interacting with other Christians who have very different, strongly held opinions about things. Religious wars are caused by insisting that fringe aspects of Christianity are the core, and in demanding that others conform. You can tell whether something is fringe or core by observing church history. For example, the Catholic Church considered Martin Luther to be a heretic but now Lutherans are considered as "separated brethren." Therefore, the differences in the two views that led to the Protestant Reformation are fringe, not core. The reverse is also true: many Protestants consider the pope to be the Antichrist and the Catholic Church to be idolatry and pagan.
We must first determine whether someone is, in fact, a true Christian, that is to say, will they end up in the new heavens and the new earth?Then, we are to be at peace with fellow Christians and to edify one another. This means overlooking our differences and accepting them as Christ accepts them. Rather than fight with one another about our differences we must build relationships of trust enabling us to edify one another.
In my opinion, a key reason Christianity has been rejected in this modern world is because Christians ridicule one another. This reminds me of the way the presidential candidates berate one another then wonder why the voters don't think very highly of any of them. As proof of this connection, consider when secularism first took strong root: it was after the 150 year-long religious war between Catholics and Protestants. Clear thinkers made the connection between religion and war.
(Romans 15:16) That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
(Romans 15:24) Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.
(Romans 15:27) It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
Notice that Paul refers to the gathering of people at this particular location as a church. Paul cares about the Churchand so should we. Presumably there were many such churches in Rome, each serving a small group.
(Romans 16:25) Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
King James Version