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Thursday, May 21 2020

Contribution: Peter Folikwe

INTRODUCTION:
We have learnt from earlier studies that Paul’s letter to the Romans is themed upon Salvation. Epistle to Romans should therefore be used as the standard to constantly review our salvation as Christians. Paul in Romans chapter 1&2 warns of ‘The coming wrath of God’, that ‘The laws are given to show the sinful nature of man, that the ‘World is condemned as sinful, and that ‘Good works alone will not prevent man from God’s wrath or judgement’. Although the Jews received the revelation of God as a nation, yet they were also under the wrath of God. The privilege of being chosen by God & knowledge of the Law & Prophecies does not in itself qualify the Jews for heaven. The Unfaithfulness of the Jews (God’s people) over generations however does not stop God’s faithfulness to mankind. The lack of obedience on the part of humanity does not nullify the teachings, good deeds & promises of Jesus Christ. Paul emphasizes in Rom 3:10 AMP “As it is written and forever remains written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS [none that meets God’s standard], NOT EVEN ONE.”

1. ROMANS: 3:21-31 BREAKDOWN
Verse 21

"But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago." 

The picture of gloom & despair painted by Paul in Chapters 1-3:20 took a turn for hope & God’s grace in V21 NLT which says “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the Prophets long ago”. Paul states here that only God is righteous. This was revealed in the law, proclaimed and confirmed by prophets. Salvation does not come by keeping the law. The righteousness of God is apart from the law.

Verses 22 -24:

"22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins." 

Paul states that the righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for everyone, whether Jew or Gentile, provided you believe and trust in Jesus, and acknowledge Him as the son of God. The righteousness comes through faith in Christ for all believers. In verse 23 it says “all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God”, further confirming his submission in Rom 3:10.
Verse 24: says that we are declared free of the guilt of our sins (justified) and granted eternal life as a gift through the redemptive blood of Christ Jesus. Through the righteousness that God offers, we are justified by His grace. Justification could be inferred to mean: “Just as if I never sinned against God”. Just for the reason of our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, He adjudges us justified without sin.

Verse 25:

"25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,"  

This verse describes Jesus’ finished work on the cross. Jesus being our propitiation (atonement and reconciliation) meaning He turned away the wrath of God by His blood. His sacrifice on the cross was an atonement for our sins & reconciliation back to God. Jesus had to take the wrath of God that was coming on mankind, but now without some feeling of nostalgia in Matt 26:39 where fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
1Thess 5:9 tells us “For God has not destined us to [incur His] wrath [that is, He did not select us to condemn us], but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”. What a loving God! We are not destined to incur God’s wrath, but instead obtain salvation through Jesus.
In the latter part of V25 we read that “God passed over the sins previously committed before Jesus’ crucifixion”. Meaning God left all sins committed before Jesus died on the cross unpunished. We could be quick to refer to animal sacrifices in the Old Testament for the remission of sins. No animal blood can atone to for the sin of humans. They were simply used as reminders that the blood is required to atone for sin. It took the blood of Jesus to fully atone for our sins.

Verse 26:

"26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus."  

Emphasis here is that The only way God can prove to be just is that sin came into the world through man & it’s by the blood of a man that sin can be forgiven. God found a way to judge man’s sin and save man at the same time. God found a way to punish sin and save the sinner. By sending His only begotten son to die for the redemption of mankind.

Verses 27 & 28:

"27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law."

Paul here asked by what we boast of, by law or by faith. Certainly not by law, because by keeping the law we still remain sinners, however by faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross; we are justified. You can’t boast by having faith in what someone else did. V28 says Being declared free from the guilt of sin (justification) only comes by faith in Jesus, not on our religiosity of our understanding of the law.

Verses 29-31:

"29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. 30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. 31 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law."

Our takeout from these verses are that God is God both for Jews & Gentiles. He has chosen to justify the circumcised by faith (Jews) & uncircumcised through faith (Gentiles). V31: “Do we then nullify the Law by this faith, making the Law of no effect? Paul says Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law, since it convicts us all of sin, pointing us to salvation in Jesus Christ. Salvation is therefore achieved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

2. ROMANS 4:1-8 BREAKDOWN
Paul in these passages happed on “Faith which takes God at its Words”, asking how a mortal man/woman can be right with God and placing Abraham’s faith at the centre of his teaching. Paul moves orchestrate Abraham for some good reasons.

1. The Jews regarded Abraham as the great founder of the Jewish race and the life pattern that all man should follow. Paul asked to know what was the special thing that Abraham had when God picked him out to be the ancestor of his special people? Paul sets to answer this critical question in this chapter.
2. The sign of God’s covenant, the circumcision made Jews believe they are God’s covenant race.
3. Paul tried to prove that what makes a man right with God is not the performance of the works as laid down by the law, but instead our simple trust and complete obedience to take God at his word and believe that He still loves us, even when we have done nothing to deserve His love.

Verse 3 (AMP)

“For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED IN (trusted, relied on) GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIS ACCOUNT AS RIGHTEOUSNESS (right living, right standing with God).”

Paul was referring to Gen 15:6 here. This verse was further emphasised in Hebrews 11:8 By “ sayswhich AMPfaith Abraham, when he was called [by God], obeyed by going to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went, not knowing where he was going.” The disposition of Jews was that a right standing natural man must earn God's favour. However, Paul equivocally states that all men should take God at his word and stake everything on the faith promised trough the death of His son on the cross.

Verse 5 (NLT)

“But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners”.

Meaning God justifies the sinner. A good passage to hold on to each time we are accused by the devil.
Abraham depended on God resigning his entire faith on Him. Prov 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not onto thine own understanding”
From the ongoing, we have discovered that we do not need to torture ourselves with a losing battle to earn God's love by our righteous deed as Christians, but instead accept in perfect trust the love which God offers to us.

Verses 9-12:

"9 Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. 10 But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!11 Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. 12 And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised."

Our proper understanding of the importance that the Jew attached to circumcision will help our understanding of these verses of the bible. If a man who was not circumcised after the 8th day he was not a Jew, irrespective of his parental background. The Jewish belief is premised on “baptism, sacrifice and circumcision.”. The Jew always believed that just because he was a Jew he automatically enjoyed the privilege of God's blessings and immunity from his punishment. Paul questioned and nullified the Jewish parochial belief system by bringing to the fore how Abraham's circumcision happened in Genesis 17:10, fourteen years after Abraham's call, God blessings upon him and his entry into the unique relationship with God in Genesis 15:6. Paul proved that circumcision was not the pathway to Abraham’s right standing with God; it only represented a sign and seal that he had already entered into a relationship with God.
Paul reiterated that Citizenship of a nation does not in any way guarantee access to God, but faith that takes God for His word and makes everything dependent, not on man's achievement, but solely upon God's grace.

CONCLUSION
Verses 13-15:

"13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)"

Paul concludes that Abraham is not just the father of Jews, but all those who put their faith in God. Paul’s latter to Gal 3:5-6 states that those which have faith are the children of Abraham. To Abraham God made a very great and wonderful promise not through his observance of the law, but through the righteousness of faith in God.
The promise, as Paul saw it, was dependent on two things and two things only - the free grace of God and the perfect faith of Abraham.
Finally, in Verse 15, Paul concludes that the Law only brings wrath/kills transgressors. Where there in no law, there will be no violation. We are saved by His grace and mercy.

Ref: Pastor Paul LeBoutillier – Calvary Chapel Ontario, Canada (www.ccontario.com).

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:21 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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