Tag Archives: Romans

Through the Bible, January 19

Read: Romans 4; Galatians 3

Summary: When Christians need to know the foundational truth that our justification is by faith, not by works of the Law, the Bible appeals to Abraham as an example of that kind of faith.  Particularly Abraham’s experiences in regard to Isaac, the promised child.

Yes, even for Christians, Abraham is the one who shows us what living by faith looks like.

Devotional Thought:

Pros and Cons

Have you ever drawn a line down the middle of a page and on one side written all the “pro’s” and the “con’s” on the other side? That can be a useful exercise in trying to think through a choice or a decision.  Getting it on paper can clarify our thinking.

Or, it might be misleading.

I don’t know that Abraham ever did this kind of thing or not.  But if he had, his piece of paper would not have supported his conclusion. Regarding the notion that he and Sarah, his wife, would have a child, the paper did not look promising.

On the “con” side of the ledger, were several notable and weighty entries. Things like “physically unable”, that is, his own body “was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old)” (Rom. 4:19). Also, there was “Sarah’s barren womb.”  Ninety-year old, childless women just don’t have babies. Further, it had been so long since the promise had been made–25 years to be exact.  All of these appeared to add up to impossible.

No wonder the Bible says he “believed against hope” (Rom. 4:18).  The “against” list was quite formidable. Except for one thing–literally, one thing.  The “pro” list was short.  It shouldn’t be called a list at all as it contained a grand total of one entry: “God promised.” For Abraham, that trumped everything.

“No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:20-21).

It’s no wonder why Abraham’s faith stands as the kind of faith to which I should aspire.

My Delight is the Lord, December 30

Principled Lives

December 30, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Acts 25:13-26:32

The Romans were a principled people when it came to their judiciary. As Festus explained, “it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him” (Acts 25:16). Had such noble principles of justice governed Paul’s trial, it would have turned out quite differently. The problem is that those principles must be exercised by people and sometimes people are less than noble; Festus and Felix for instance. So it is also with God’s word, it is true and right. The trouble comes when people fail to embrace what is true or practice what is right. As serious as we should be about identifying timeless principles and eternal truths, we must be no less so about living them.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How did Festus summarize Paul’s charges to Agrippa? (25:19)
  • Why do you think Paul resisted a change of venue back to Jerusalem? (25:20-21)
  • Of whom was Paul’s audience comprised? (25:23)
  • Why did Paul believe Agrippa was aware of what he said? (v. 26)

My Delight is the Lord, September 12

At Peace

September 12, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1-11

I am at peace with my neighbor. Not that there has ever been an issue in that relationship; it’s always been very cordial. We smile, wave, and say hello. This is no model for understanding peace with God though. Romans says we have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 1). My neighbor and I practice a mutual co-existence–I mind my business, he minds his. It works. Not so with God. He’s my creator, giver and sustainer of life, authority of my (and everybody else’s) existence. I am answerable to Him, and so are you. We can’t say, “I have no gripes with God” and think we have peace. Man’s sin (in any and all of its forms) violates the relationship, making him the object of holy God’s judgment (v. 9). We need peace with God and Jesus is the means.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the means of peace with God through Jesus? (v. 1)
  • Into what does one gain access by faith? (v. 2)
  • For whom did Christ die? (v. 6)
  • What does God show us about Himself through Jesus? (v. 7)

My Delight is the Lord, February 1

February 1, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Romans 11:33-36

Counsel

I have been a counsellor and I have received counsel. Being in the position of a preacher, I have been approached often for counsel about all sorts of matters, some for which I was much more qualified to speak than others. I have sought out counsel from ones whom I believed to possess knowledge, experience, and/or wisdom from which I could benefit. The whole idea is giving or receiving either information, advise, or perspective which is currently missing and needed. The one who receives is placing self in a submissive role. They are the learner, the beneficiary of a benefactor who is providing value for them. This position has never, ever been occupied by God. Though we often talk like we think we know what God should do, no one has ever been His counselor. Who indeed, can say they know the mind of the Lord?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What “measures” are are used to speak of God’s wisdom and knowledge? (v. 33)
  • What does “inscrutable” mean? (v. 33; ESV)
  • What does God owe to anyone? (v. 35)
  • What is the relationship of “all things” to God? (v. 36)

My Delight is the Lord, January 26

January 26, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-21

The Real Trouble

It is a fact, that there is no book of the Bible with any greater theological depth than Romans. It is also “pure Paul.” That is, some so-called biblical scholars who cast doubt on the authorship of other of his epistles, still maintain that Romans is his. That would be classified as testimony from a hostile witness, but still. He has spoken at length and in great depth on a subject no less than our very justification. Here in chapter 12 the book turns practical. Scholars debate meaning and intent and interpretation in ad nauseam over the first 11+ chapters. But what is there to miss about “Let love be genuine”? Or “Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good”? Or “Love one another with brotherly affection”? You see it’s really not the theologically challenging that trips us up. It’s more often the plain and straightforward.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How do we love with brotherly affection? (v. 10)
  • What does it mean to “give thought to what is honorable in the sight of all”? (v. 17)
  • Why is it hard to leave hurts and wrongs suffered to the wrath of God? (v. 19)
  • How do we prevent being overcome by evil? (v. 21)

My Delight is the Lord, January 19

January 19, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1-8

Spiritual Worship

Who says sacrifices are not a part of Christian worship? They certainly aren’t in the Old Testament Law of Moses sense. Who says that worship is confined to specified times and locations? You know, the idea that worship only happens at 10:30 on Sunday mornings at the church building (and we may not think that, but is that how we live it?). Our own bodies, and by extension the lives we live in the body, are given as a sacrifice to God. This is “spiritual worship” (v. 1). This is not an argument for the “everything you do in life is worship” position. Not at all. But it is a recognition that my entire being–physical, mental, emotional–is devoted to God. Not just select parts at select times. Even outside of the assembly the question has to be asked, “Am I worshipping God as I should?”

Questions to Ponder:

  • Paul’s appeal is based upon what? (v. 1)
  • In what ways might we be conformed to the world? (v. 2)
  • How can we renew our minds? (v. 7)
  • To what does the “measure of faith that God has assigned” refer to? (v. 3)

The Joy of God’s Presence, October 29

October 29, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading—Romans 6:1-14

The primary theme under consideration in the first half of Romans 6 is not baptism. It’s not. Not that it isn’t mentioned, because it is and in a very instructive way. The primary idea addressed is death. The term, or its variations, appears 12 times in 14 verses with another strong implication of it as well. It speaks of Jesus’ death and our dying to sin. It is in baptism that we connect with Jesus’ own death (v. 3). This is so that as Jesus raised to life from his death, we also are able to arise to the life He gives from our death both “to” and “in” sin (v. 2; see also Eph. 2:5).  Life is the important corresponding theme here. Though we are no longer dead “in” sin, we remain dead “to” it. “So you must also consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (v. 11).

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why might one think it was good to continue in sin? (v. 1)
  • To what act of life is baptism likened? (v. 4)
  • Who will be united with Christ in a resurrection like His? (v. 5)
  • What must sin no longer do in us? (v. 12)

The Joy of God’s Presence, October 22

October 22, Thursday: Great Truths

Scripture Reading—Romans 12:3-8

Our thoughts can get away from us. Even easier than can our tongues, and that is challenging enough. In the New Testament we’re charged to focus our thoughts on things true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable (Php. 4:8). In the Old Testament the plea is that both the words we speak and the thoughts we think would find please God (Psa. 19:14). Here specifically, it is that we guard against thinking too much of ourselves (v. 3). Given the context, the idea is that our differences do not make us better or worse, more important or less, than anyone else. In the body of Christ there are differences–not in the way many people would like to think, but differences in gifts. That mine is different than yours–and it most certainly is–doesn’t make it (or me) more important. They are all important and are what make us “members of one another” (v. 5). For the sake of the church, be so careful about how you think about yourself.

Questions to Ponder:

  • With what ought we to think? (v. 3)
  • Do all parts of the body have the same function? (v. 4)
  • According to what do our gifts differ? (v. 6)
  • In proportion to what should we use our gifts? (v. 6)

The Joy of God’s Presence, September 26

September 26, Saturday: Inspiration, Motivation, Encouragement

Scripture Reading—Romans 12:1-2

Let’s get this straight. We are not to be conformed to the world but rather be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Either way we’re being shaped and formed. Something is having an effect on us. One we should not allow to happen, the other we should promote and encourage. The one—the wrong one—we really don’t have to do anything. It’s the world that is all around us all day, every day. Just do nothing, make no effort and the conformation process is at work. The other demands deliberate attention and purpose. It is by the renewing of one’s mind. This mind is consciously fed spiritual food and exposed to righteous influence. So, seriously, which one is actually true of you today?

Questions to Ponder:

  • By what does Paul make his appeal? (v. 1)
  • What are we to present to God as worship? (v. 1)
  • By what are we able to discern the will of God? (v. 2)
  • What are three characteristics of God’s will? (v. 2)

The Joy of God’s Presence, September 12

September 12, Saturday: Inspiration, Motivation, Encouragement

Scripture Reading—Romans 11:33-36

Some people know much, others know little. Some people think they know more than they really do. Paul was actually excited about what he didn’t know. This exclamation of praise to God is prompted by Paul’s ignorance. The riches, wisdom, and knowledge of God surpass human capacity to grasp. “Unsearchable” and “unfathomable” are the words he uses to describe His thoughts and actions. That’s worthy of praise and adulation, because a god I can comprehend does not surpass my own limited and flawed human mind. Praise God that I do not and cannot fully know.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Does v. 33 excuse us from seeking to know God?
  • Do we ever think we know what God should do in a given circumstance?
  • What is outside the realm of God’s concern and interest? (v. 36)
  • What is due to God without limit? (v. 36)