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Wednesday, February 26 2020
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
In our study last week, we had an in-depth study of Romans 1:28-32 where we considered the consequences of willful and deliberate sin. We looked at the results of not retaining and embracing the knowledge of God, the products of depraved minds and the very subtle way that people can be supporters of evil. We make further progress in our study of the Book of Romans today as we deliberate on God’s Righteous Judgement.
How often do we hear people say, “Don’t judge me!” or “You are judging me!”. Well, Paul in his letter to the Roman Christians addresses the topic of Judgement in Chapter 2. Why should we be careful about judging others? How’s God’s judgement different from Man’s? How does the nature of God influence His judgement? These and many more will be discussed in today’s study.
Verse 1: “Therefore you have no excuse or justification, everyone of you who [hypocritically] judges and condemns others; for in passing judgment on another person, you condemn yourself, because you who judge [from a position of arrogance or self-righteousness] are habitually practicing the very same things [which you denounce]”.
A good example of this mind set is Jesus’ illustration of the Pharisee and the Publican. If we take those figures from Jesus’ parable, Paul spoke to the Publican in Romans 1 and now he addresses the Pharisee (Luke 18:10-14).
Verse 2: According to truth: This has the idea of “according to the facts of the case.” God will judge (and condemn) the moralist on the basis of the facts.
Verse 3: The point is made clear: if the moralist is just as guilty as the obvious sinner how will they escape the judgment of God? You is emphatic in the question, “[do you think] you will escape the judgment of God?” Paul bears down here, letting his reader know that he is no exception to this principle. Paul knew how to get to the heart of his readers. “Our exhortations should be as forked arrows that stick in men’s hearts” Hebrews 4:12
I. Or do you despise the riches of His goodness (kindness), forbearance (tolerance), and longsuffering (patience): Paul points out what the moralist himself presumes upon the goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering of God, which all should bring the moralist into a humble repentance instead of an attitude of superiority.
i. Goodness may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our past sin. He has been good to us because He has not judged us yet though we deserve it.
ii. Forbearance may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our present sin. This very day – indeed, this very hour – we have fallen short of His glory, yet He holds back His judgment against us.
iii. Longsuffering may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our future sin. He knows that we will sin tomorrow and the next day, yet He holds back His judgment against us.
iv. Considering all these, it is no surprise that Paul describes these three aspects of God’s kindness to us as riches. The riches of God’s mercy may be measured by four considerations:
v. Knowing how great God’s kindness is, it is a great sin to presume upon the graciousness of God, and we easily come to believe that we deserve it.
II. Forbearance and longsuffering: Men think of this as weakness in God. They say things like “If there is a God in heaven, let Him strike me dead!” When it doesn’t happen, they will say, “See, I told you there was no God.” Men misinterpret God’s forbearance and longsuffering as His approval, and they refuse to repent.
“It seems to me that every morning when a man wakes up still impenitent, and finds himself out of hell, the sunlight seems to say, ‘I shine on thee yet another day, as that in this day thou mayest repent.’ When your bed receives you at night I think it seems to say, ‘I will give you another night’s rest, that you may live to turn from your sins and trust in Jesus.’ Every mouthful of bread that comes to the table says, ‘I have to support your body that still you may have space for repentance.’ Every time you open the Bible the pages say, ‘We speak with you that you may repent.’ Every time you hear a sermon, if it be such a sermon as God would have us preach, it pleads with you to turn unto the Lord and live.” (Spurgeon)
III. Not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance: Many people misunderstand the goodness of God towards the wicked. They don’t understand the entire reason for it is to lead them to repentance.
Men should see the goodness of God and understand: God has been better to them than they deserve; God has shown them kindness when they have ignored Him; God has shown them kindness when they have mocked Him; God is not a cruel master and they may safely surrender to Him; God is perfectly willing to forgive them; God should be served out of simple gratitude.
Verse 5: I. You are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God: Because of this presumption on God’s graciousness, Paul can rightly say that the moralist is treasuring up… wrath in the day of wrath.
(i) The moralist thinks he treasures up merit with God as he condemns the “sinners” around him. Actually, he only treasures up the wrath of God. “Just as men add to their treasure of wealth, so dost thou add to the treasures of punishment.”
(ii) As men treasure up the wrath of God against them, what holds back the flood of wrath? God Himself! He holds it back out of His forbearance and longsuffering! “The figure is that of a load that God bears, which men heap up more and more, making heavier and heavier. The wonder of it all is that God holds any of it up even for a day; yet he holds up all its weight and does not let it crash down on the sinner’s head.”
II. In the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God: In the first coming of Jesus the loving character of God was revealed with greatest emphasis. At the second coming of Jesus the righteous judgment of God will be revealed most clearly.
Verses 6-7: Will render to each one according to his deeds: This is an awesome and fearful thought, and it condemns the moralist as well as the obvious sinner. Eternal life to those: If someone genuinely did good at all times, he could merit eternal life of his own accord.
Salvation is not works based, but condemnation/judgment is. – Some Scriptures can be a bit confusing because they share bits and pieces of the story, but not the entire thing. Verse 7 is like this. Taken only by itself it appears to be teaching works-based salvation. However, when weighed against the scores of passages (including some later in Romans) teaching justification by grace through faith, it clearly cannot mean that. It is only showing one piece of the puzzle and that is the works. The person doing good works will receive eternal life. But why can they do good works? Why can they actually please God? We know that no one can please God by themselves. This person can only do these things because He has already trusted in Christ and been saved. These are evidences of his salvation, not the cause. Salvation doesn’t depend on works because if it did no one could be good enough. Our works can’t save us, but they can condemn us.
This study is culled from https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/romans-2/
Monday, February 24 2020
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
INTRODUCTION: Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is adjudged to be the “chief book” of the New Testament, the “purest Gospel”. It deserves not only to be known word for word by every Christian, but to be the subject of his meditation day by day, the daily bread of his soul.
Calvin said of it ‘when anyone understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scriptures.’ Coleridge pronounced Romans ‘the most profound work ever written!’ Meyer considered it ‘the greatest and richest of all the apostolic works.’ Godet referred to it as ‘the cathedral of the Christian faith.’ … Gordon H. Clark recently wrote of Romans that it is ‘the most profound of all the epistles, and perhaps the most important book in the Bible …’ Hamilton, in his recent commentary on Romans, calls it ‘the greatest book in the Bible.
Last week we studied Romans 1:24-27. We focused on the plight (or what would be) of those who refused to repent of their wrongdoings despite knowing the truth about God’s righteousness. We understood that Sin is any human conduct that displays Satan- in-nature (SIN) 1 John 3:9-10 NKJ. “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother”.
A sinful person who is unwilling to repent will be ABANDONED by God to continue in their ways, without any caution and will suffer the consequences of their sinful lifestyle. Rom.1:26-27 “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”
This week, we are focusing on Vs 28 to 32;
28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
As people did not see fit to acknowledge God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things that are not fitting. The expression to see fit to acknowledge God is literally “they did not approve to have God in their knowledge.” The word “approve” (ἐδοκίμασαν, edokimasan) means “to test,” “to examine,” “to come to a conclusion based on evidence.” And the idea of knowledge (ἐπιγνώσις, epignōsis) always means “moral or religious knowledge” in the NT. The point Paul is making, then, is this: Men and women tested the idea of God and having concluded that he would destroy their freedom made the conscious choice to dispel him from their thinking. But since we are instinctively religious we cannot go from God to nothing, for that would be impossible, but instead from God to idols. At least the latter makes no moral demands on one’s conscience and life. God gave them over to a depraved mind, literally, an “unapproved” mind, in order to do things that are not fitting, i.e., things not in accord with the will of God expressed in the created order. Such is the divine response to rejection. We disapprove of God in our thoughts, so he gives us over to disapproved thinking!
The list of moral vices suggest that the condition of these people is deplorable and worthy of the most severe judgment. We must remember that it is to these people that the offer of salvation in the gospel is extended: For all have sinned and are justified freely. (Rom.3:23-25). The list is;
1. All unrighteousness, 2. Sexual immorality, 3. Wickedness, 4. Covetousness, 5. Maliciousness, 6. Full of envy, 7. Murder, 8. Strife, 9. Deceit, 10. Evil-mindedness, 11. Whisperers, 12. Backbiters, 13. Haters of God, 14. Violent, 15. Proud, 16. Boasters, 17. Inventors of evil things, 18. Disobedient to parents, 19. Undiscerning, 20. Untrustworthy, 21. Unloving, 22. Unforgiving, 23. Unmerciful
3. Supporters and Promoters of Evil; Rom.1:32
“who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
In conclusion, Paul says one more word of condemnation. He says that even though people know such moral vices are wrong, they not only practice them, but congratulate others who do so also. Paul is not saying that encouraging others to sin is necessarily worse than committing the sins themselves. Instead, he seems to be arguing that we are as equally bent on damning ourselves as we are on delivering other people to damnation. The knowledge Paul is referring to here is undoubtedly that to which he has already forcefully made reference in Rom.1:19, 20, 21, and 28.
People know via their conscience, which itself is sparked through God’s creation, that such sinful behaviour will result in ultimate punishment. But, says Paul, even though they know this firm decision of God, i.e., his immutable decree to punish sin, they continue in it nonetheless. The knowledge of this decree is not through the Mosaic Law, but rather through God’s truth implanted in the conscience (Rom 2:14-15). We must remember that the Gentiles were without the revelation of the law. Therefore, Paul must have in mind here the universal revelation in the conscience. Such revelation is certainly enough to condemn, although it is not enough to save.
Culled from: https://bible.org/seriespage/4-study-and-exposition-romans-118-32
Thursday, February 13 2020
Contributor: Alex Kokobili
INTRODUCTION: Apostle Paul in the admonition in Romans 1:24-27 focused on the plight (or what would be) of those who refused to repent of their wrongdoings despite knowing the truth about God’s righteousness. The focus here reveals that the Romans were knowledgeable about the righteousness and true faith in God. Apostle Paul issued this warning to all men to depart from all unrighteousness or else face the judgment of God as seen in earlier verses (Romans 1: 18-23); in that, the same men who had known God, still dishonoured Him in their unrighteousness. They rejected God in their unrighteousness, thinking the availability of grace is an excuse to sin, but forgetting the consequences. (Romans 6: 1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound”). Thus, all unrighteous comes with its own consequences and without genuine repentance, God can also deliberately withdraw His presence from such people. This means a person(s) will face the consequences of their unrighteousness which eventually leads to eternal damnation. Sin is any unrighteousness towards God that separates us from His presence, (Isaiah 64:6-7) and even if it looks righteous or acceptable towards men. Sin separates us from God which leads to death. Sin is any human conduct that displays Satan- in-nature (SIN) 1 John 3:9-10 NKJV, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother”.
Apostle Paul’s Emphasis on Sin’s Consequences (Romans 1: 24-27)
The word “Therefore” in V24 used in the NKJV means, consequently, as a result, for that reason, or the consequences of actions. Explaining at this point, God’s GRACE was no longer available for repentance, they abandoned God, and He also left them to their carnality. The focus is on the unrighteousness actions which were summarised in V18-23 ( * those who suppress the truth by their wickedness, * those who knew God, they rejected Him and did not glorify Him as God; Professing to be wise, they became fools, * those who changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things). The CONSEQUENCES start in V24 because God withdrew His Grace. It is, therefore, a terrible thing when God withdraws His presence from us due to sin and we fail to realize it. Some people don’t feel convicted any more of their sins and they don’t even care if they have backslidden. If such a person keeps on sinning, they might never receive God’s grace for repentance, no matter the volume of spiritual revelation they claim to have in defending their unrighteous conduct. Thus, a sinful person who is unwilling to repent will be ABANDONED by God to continue in their ways, without any caution.
Here we realize that there are consequences for those who edit the truth of God’s word to suit themselves when God forbids it (see also, Deut 4:2, 12:32). A person who abandons the truth of God’s word would end up accepting the lies of the world and also substitute the place of God with earthly things. (This is against the commandment of God to worship any other thing apart from Jehovah God Himself in Exodus 20:3-5). For instance: Some people are obsessed with food, pride, fashion, wealth, ambition, fame, etc. all of which have all taken the position of God in their lives despite the warning in the bible.
The beginning of Romans 1:26NKJV, used “For this reason”, which refers to as a result of or punishment of denying the truth that God revealed Himself to mankind. This is important because God is concerned about how we receive His word and the way we conduct ourselves in spiritual things (worship) and usage of our body which all have consequences. The consequences we see in V26-27 tells us that such persons have become addicted to doing terrible things which are un-shameful to them without any remorse.
What a tragedy when people become dead to the presence of God. (For instance, in Psalm 106:14-15 NKJV, “But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tested God in the desert. 15 And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul)”
We are in an era whereby people choose to walk in their own ways and decide to serve God the way they feel, without accepting the truth of what the bible says. We must always bear in mind that there is a difference between a mistake and sinning perpetually. The latter could easily find grace if there is genuine repentance, while the former should be prepared for the severe consequences from God the great rewarder.
There is no such thing as good sin even if the sinner thinks it doesn’t affect others, because our actions matter to God at all times. Also, let’s us be aware that nobody is excusable or exempted when it comes to righteousness in God and we cannot be wiser or claim to know more than the word of God (1 Corinthians 1: 25 NKJV, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.). Hence in the future study of Romans 1:28-30 NKJV, we will realize that those who think they know God but didn’t retain His righteousness; only deceived themselves. This is so unfortunate because they eventually stand to lose eternity Mathew 7:23 NKJV “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”.
Friday, February 07 2020
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
One of the most difficult topics for people to understand; believers and unbelievers alike, is that of the wrath of God. It is hard to reconcile for most people, that God who is a loving God is also a wrathful God; and the divide is usually the cross. Yet it is at the cross where these two ideas meet, where love and wrath, justice and mercy are displayed. Anyone who truly wants to come to terms with this, need to come to an understanding of Unbelief – which is, the Rejection of God. In last week’s study, we looked at what the Gospel was – the power of God onto salvation. However, we will never come to grips with the importance of the gospel or be motivated to share it, until we come to the realization of this sad truth of God’s wrath! It is interesting to note that there are more references to God’s wrath and anger in the Bible than to His love and mercy, yet too many Christians will focus on love and mercy at the expense of the biblical idea of God’s wrath and anger. You cannot have a complete, prefect, holy and just God without any of these.
“But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse.” (MSG)
To put a shroud over a thing is to cover it up or make it unclear. Other versions use the word “suppress” to suppress is to hold something down. It implies that men know the truth, but they want to hold it down so that they can pursue their sins.
Whether it is evolution - denying God as the Sovereign Creator, or philosophy - speculating that we cannot really know God at all, or psychology - telling us that we are not responsible for our problems (psychologists do not like the word “sin”!), these are all ways of pushing God away from us so that we can be our own lord.
Verses 21-23: “What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.” (MSG)
Paul tells us in detail what the reason was why the wrath of God was being revealed to the world then as it is these days.
The direction the world is heading today is one that fails to acknowledge God for who He is! So, let us be careful not to follow the crowd because the consequences can be dire. In Romans 1 verse 28, the Bible tells us of what happens to those who fail to acknowledge Him:
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate (depraved) mind, to do those things which are not convenient (things which are improper and repulsive);” (KJV)
You see, it is not that they were completely ignorant about God; but they just did not like the idea of retaining God in their knowledge! They had some knowledge of God by the light of nature, and yet did not care. That is exactly what we are seeing these days. Because they do not want to retain God in their knowledge, they are trying every method to erase this knowledge of God out of their minds, and from others! God is a loving God; but He is also a wrathful God! The death of Jesus on the cross was to appease this wrath but God did not stop Jesus from dying. He even turned His back against Him! We are reminded that no one has any excuse; because creation clearly points to the divine Creator! The wrath of God should motivate us to share God’s message of salvation. We should determine to live godly lives, realizing that we still function in the flesh and can live in ungodliness and unrighteousness if we don’t make the conscious effort.