Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


Search HBS Bible Lessons

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Romans by the Book (Lesson 29)



Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Established November 2008

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)


This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book
Lesson 29

Before we begin chapter 4 of Romans, let’s set the stage for Romans, chapter four.

You may notice the Apostle Paul begins right where he left off in chapter 3. 
He’s obviously parked on the subject of Justification by faith (apart) from works or the Law of Moses.  Why is that? 

He’s emphasizing the Truth about salvation in this dispensational era (#6).
After Jesus’ death on the cross, until He returns for His church, an individual is “justified by faith” (alone); that is faith in the Gospel of Grace – plus nothing else.

But his Jewish brethren were hard-headed and stubborn.
I’m not Jewish but I used to be just as stubborn.  I was raised in a works based religion.
I was told that my religion was the “only true religion” on the planet.
I was told that my baptism in this religion ensured me a place in heaven.
This religion had many religious ceremonies, feast days, etc.
But it ran short on many things including the gospel message and Biblical Truth.

I wasn’t aware of this until a friend (a Believer) approached me and cared enough to tell me about these things which were left out; in short she told me the Truth.
For months I resisted.  I had been indoctrinated into my own religious system of beliefs and I was not tolerant of anyone else’s beliefs (is this beginning to sound familiar?  Paul was facing a similar opposition from contentious Jews).   But eventually Truth won out and from that point on I have devoted my life to bringing the Truth to others.

Roger Daltrey and the Who sang a song called, “Won’t get Fooled Again.”
We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again (Townsend)[1]

I’ve adopted this song as my hymn, so to speak.  The reason is quite obvious.
False Bible teaching is not only on the rise it’s out of control…
Furthermore, the people we label Christians want it.


Therefore, my teaching will be focused on the Jews hardened hearts because in my opinion this was their main problem.
 
In the Old Testament the Lord God described the Israelites as “stiff necked.” 
This means:  obstinately proud; extremely obstinate and arrogant. 

Then Jesus came, as promised in the Abrahamic Covenant (see Genesis 12; 15) and even after all the miracles and “signs” which He performed in their midst they refused to believe that He was the promised Messiah (see John 20:30-31).

So, what were the Jews “proud” of?  One of the things they took great pride in was their religious heritage and the traditions which came out of it.

FYI:  The Jews were led by their religious leaders; the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

The Mosaic Law had been in effect for approximately 1500 years.
During that time, the Jewish religious leaders had grown comfortable in their positions of authority and honor (see Matthew 23:5-7). 

They viewed Moses and the Law as God’s worship, and they added their own traditions as they saw fit.  But what does the book say?

Mark 7
5: The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the (what’s the next word) tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?”

6: And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:  ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

7: BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING (read carefully – just don’t blow through these verses) AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’

8: Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the (what) tradition (or man-made rules, regulations, and “ways of doing things;” not necessarily God’s ways but) of men.

Is there anyone who does not understand what Jesus is saying?
Jewish traditions became more important than the “commandments” of God.

As we’ve learned here a short while ago, Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law.
When Jesus died, He ended the Law Covenant, and that Dispensational Era (#5) came to a close as well; the one which the religious leaders were so attached to (see Colossians 2:13-14) by “nailing it to the cross.”

So what we have is a continuation of Paul’s argument at the close of chapter 3. 

As Paul begins with his opening remarks in chapter 4, he opts to use an illustration that he knows will capture these Jews attention. 

He introduces a name from their past. 
But this isn’t just anyone from a long-gone era.  Oh no. 

If you were asked who was the most honored or respected person in history, who’s name would pop into your head? 

If you’re thinking about selecting Jesus Christ, that’s true for some but there are billions of people who do not honor Jesus Christ on this planet today.  I would keep looking.

Whoever you select must be a person who is “honored” by people in every country on this planet today.  Does that make it tougher to choose?

Is there one person who is honored and revered even more than Jesus Christ today? 
The answer is YES. 

There is one man who is revered by fully one-half of the world’s population. 
He is honored as the man from whose loins sprang forth three of the world’s great religions.  From this one man came Christianity with 2.18 billion followers, Islam with 1.3 billion followers, and Judaism with 15 million followers.

Do you know his name?  He is forever immortalized in the book of Genesis.
His name is Abraham.

These Jews are still raising objections to the doctrine of justification by faith apart from works of the Law.  So, Paul introduces Abraham at this point to gain credibility.  He (being a Jew) knew every Jew could easily relate to him.  Abraham was a godly man, and an example for every Jew to follow.  No Jew could disagree with the fact that Abraham was truly “justified” before the LORD God.  Therefore, these Jews would have to agree that whatever was true of Abraham must also be true of them. 

***************************************************************************************************

Let’s review Scripture.  This is always a good idea.
Read the verses you plan to study at least twice before you commence your study.

Justification by Faith Evidenced in Old Testament

Romans 4

1: What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

2: For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

3: For what does the Scripture say?  (There’s one of my favorite sentences) “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

4: Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 

5: But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

6: just as (King) David also speaks of the blessings on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7: “BLESSED (HAPPY) ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8: “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”

9: Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also?  For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

10: How then was it credited?  While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;

11: and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them,

12: and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

We’re going to examine these verses closely to get the most out of them.

Verse 1-2
“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?”

Or, “What did Abraham discover about himself (that is, when he looked at himself honestly and took inventory) was there any human goodness that could save him?
The answer was no.

So if you phrase Paul’s question like this, “If in fact, Abraham was justified by works, (here you can insert the phrase, “And he was not.” Paul is discussing a hypothetical possibility) he has something to boast about. – but not before God.”

Even if Abraham thought himself “good” enough to boast in the presence of God of his goodness, it wouldn’t do him any good.  Why?  God’s not impressed.
That’s what this verse means.

We live in a world where “works” are instantly rewarded.
But the flip-side to that is usually, “What have you done for me lately.”
The pressure is always on for more, greater production, more profit, and more performance.  And quicker!  Some people turn into performance junkies…

I’m saying stop and consider this.  God isn’t interested in your performance.
God is interested in your heart.  When He looks at your heart, what does He see?
He sees your anger, your greed, the manipulation, the fear, the ruthlessness, the unkindness, the shady deals; the lying, the cheating, and He see the secret things.
Nothing is hidden from God.  Remember that.

If you’re working, or scheming to become righteous before God forget that.
If you’re trusting in some religion to take you there, forget that too.

The only righteousness that can save you must come from outside yourself.
What you need is God’s righteousness.  That’s what Abraham discovered.
He discovered that all his human resources could never save him.
So, how was Abraham saved?

Verse 3:
For what does the Scripture say?  (There’s one of my favorite sentences) “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

That verse says what it means and means what it says.
No need to spend a great deal of time on it.

The Apostle Paul is quoting Scripture Genesis 15:6 to be exact.
Paul is allowing God’s Word to do the “teaching.”  But every good Jew is aware of this story.  This one verse brings together the topics of faith, justification, and righteousness.

The LORD God is saying to Abraham, “Trust Me, I’m going to give you everything I’ve promised…”  Abraham has nothing in his hands.  He has nothing in his sights. 
All Abraham has is the Word of God.  And what does he do with it? 
He accepts it on faith.  Abraham doesn’t ask the LORD God for time to consider His proposal.  Abraham doesn’t question the LORD God proposals wondering how these things can possibly be.  In other words, Abraham does not allow or permit his human nature to take control of the moment.  Even though these things the LORD God is promising appear to be impossible by human standard (nothing is impossible with God), Abraham sets all that aside and accepts God’s offer on faith ALONE!

And with that God “credits” his account with “righteousness.”

The Greek word for credited is logizomai, which is related to our English word – logic.
Logizomai is a bookkeeping term.  It literally means “to credit to one’s account.”
It’s what happens when you deposit money into your bank.  The money is placed into your account or credited.  It’s an asset. 

Abraham believed God – He took God at His word.  That faith was “credited” to his account in heaven.  In addition to that, Abraham became justified by his faith and he was declared righteous - apart from his works.

Salvation has always been based on faith apart from works no matter the dispensational era mankind finds themselves in.


(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved














[1] “Won’t Get Fooled Again”  Song written by Peter Townsend, compilation album titled, “Who’s Better, Who’s Best” released in 1988 by The Who.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Romans by the Book (Lesson 28)



Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Established November 2008

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)


This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book
Lesson 28


Welcome back to our study of the book of Romans.

For those of you who are new visitors to this website I want to take the time to welcome you to our Home Bible study.  Secondly, please know all the previous Bible lessons dating back to 2008 are posted here in sequence.  The newest lessons appear first and the older lessons show up in the rear, but they’re all here for you to review and to study at your leisure. 

I’d also like to say, and remind my classes as well, what I say doesn’t matter all that much.  I’m not promoting my words.  This Bible study is all about what the Word of God says.  So please get in the habit of opening up your Bible at home, so that you can see these things for yourself in Scripture.  Don’t be a lazy Believer. 
These are trying times.  False teaching is everywhere.

***************************************************************************************************
I plan to finish chapter 3 today.  I say that’s the plan.  I have a tendency to get side-tracked, as my classes know.  Once I get a rhythm going the Spirit leads so we’ll see how it goes.

As you spend time in the Apostle Paul’s writings, you’ll certainly notice the difference in the language and terminology he uses compared to that of his counterparts Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were operating under the Dispensation of Law which was based upon the Abrahamic Covenant and God’s Prophetic Program.

Starting with the book of Matthew, his theme is about the King and the Kingdom. 

Matthew 4
2: “Repent, for the (what’s the next word) kingdom of heaven is at hand (it goes without saying that you can’t have a kingdom without a King, so the King was nearing as well).

And:

Matthew 6

33:  “But seek first His (what) kingdom and His righteousness (all of Israel), and all these things will be added to you.

And this one:

Matthew 10:

5: These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them:  Do not go in the way of the Gentiles (Jesus was sent to fulfill the promises made to the fathers see Romans 15:8), and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;

6: but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (this is strictly Jew only – not my words.  This is what the book says.  Jesus and the twelve did not minister to gentiles during His earthly ministry…there were a few exceptions recorded in the gospels but that’s what they were exceptions and not a ministry).

7: (read carefully – this is why we’re here) And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

There are many other references to the king and the kingdom, I just chose three.

But what’s missing?  There is no language here about Jesus’ shed blood, Jesus dying on the cross, being saved by faith (alone), being justified by faith, or righteousness based on one’s faith.

Look over the four gospels and see if you can even one remark about any one of these by Matthew, Mark, Luke, or even John.  I’ll save you the time.  It’s not in there.

It’s not in there because it hasn’t happened yet?  God will not ask you to believe on something that hasn’t happened yet (See Deuteronomy 29:29); but once God brings it to our attention, you’d better believe He expects us to believe it.

The gospel (or good news) at that time of Jesus’ ministry was believe that Jesus is the Son of God (see Luke 9:18-21; John 11:21-27; Acts 8:30-37).

The entire nation of Israel had to believe this gospel in order to achieve salvation.  Where do I get this information?  It comes from Scripture?  Follow me.

Exodus 19

6: ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;

7: (read carefully) and you shall be to Me a (what) kingdom of priests and a holy nation…”

That’s the LORD God speaking, to the newly formed nation of Israel at the base of Mt. Sinai, after He rescued them from their bondage in Egypt. 

Let me ask a question.  What’s a priest?  He’s a go-between, right.
In this case, the nation of Israel would be a “go-between” between God and the gentiles.

But what does the book say?

Zechariah 8

23: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all nations (these are gentile nations in the future) will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

This was God’s plan; this would have been the role of the Jew, if they’d believed Jesus was the Messiah.  They did not.  God knew that they would not – but it was a viable offer all the same, you can’t take that off the table. 

After the stoning of Stephen (Acts chapter 7), which in my opinion was God’s last attempt to reach His chosen people (through their religious leaders) with the Truth about Jesus Christ, God altered the way He managed the affairs of the world by temporarily “blinding” the nation of Israel.  God then turned His attention to the Gentiles, using Saul as His “chosen instrument” (See Acts chapter 9). 

At this God commenced a parenthetical period of time known as the Age of Grace, or the Church Age.  This is the sixth dispensational period.  No one knows how long it will last.  It began with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  It will end with the rapture of the church or when the last individual is saved and brought into the Body of Christ.
This triggers the rapture event, in my opinion.

 ***************************************************************************************************
Let’s review Scripture.
Justification by Faith

Romans 3

26: for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27: Where then is boasting?  It is excluded.  By what kind of law?  Of works?  No, but by a law of faith.

28:  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

29: Or is God the God of Jews only?  Is He not the God of Gentiles also?  Yes, of Gentiles also,

30: since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.

31: Do we then nullify the Law through faith?  May it never be!  On the contrary, we establish the Law.

Starting with verse 26, let’s take a closer look at what we have here.

Verse 26:
for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

God is just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus!
I’m sure you’ve heard somewhere that God is the God of love.  It’s true.
Therefore, God wants to forgive sinners.  But God does not wink at sin. 
Follow the equation:  God is Holy.  He is sinless.  Therefore, He cannot overlook sin.  
Sound like a problem?  God had an answer.

He sent His One and only Son to die for every sinner. 
In this way, the just punishment for sin was met in the death of Jesus Christ and now any sinner who trusts in Him is freely forgiven.  Thus, Paul says, God is both just (in punishing sin) and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.


Verse 27:
Where then is boasting?  It is excluded (disqualified).”

The Jews were proud of their Religion and its traditions. 
But Paul, having explained the doctrine of justification, now explores three implications of this teaching. 

Where then is boasting?  It is excluded.”

If you say men are justified by faith alone, who receives the credit for your salvation? 
This is a crucial question for the Jews because it focuses attention on God in the salvation process and not their works based religion.

Does salvation begin with man, or does it begin with God?  The answer is clear.
It begins with God alone.  Salvation is a work of God’s Grace and therefore begins with Him.  Man has nothing to boast about.

Verse 27b
By what kind of law?  Of works?  No, but by a law of faith.”

Law and works can be summed up in two words - Human Achievement.
God has said, “Not on your best day.”  Why? 
When we got the ball we fumbled; every time.
God has a better plan.  The focus is on believing and not “achieving.”  Get it?

Verse 28: 
“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

When Martin Luther translated Romans 3:28 he was bluntly criticized for adding the word “alone” to the Bible text:  “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith (alone) apart from works of the Law.” 

Martin Luther was right!  That’s exactly what Paul is saying.  Salvation is by faith alone; you can’t add one thing to it.  What were Jesus’ final words?  It is finished.”  Correct?
Now what do you suppose finished means?  It means Jesus accomplished all that God the Father demanded.  Jesus Christ paid humanity’s sin debt in full.
Why is this important?

It eliminates human pride. 
It is human pride that got us into this mess and keeps the majority in it! 

Those who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ are saved immediately and forever (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Verse 29:
  Or is God the God of Jews only?  Is He not the God of Gentiles also?  Yes, of Gentiles also,”

This is the answer to the question, “Who can qualify for this salvation?”

Since there is only one God, says Paul,  (this was the moral heart of Judaism even his most relentless opponents would have to agree with this assertion), there can only be one way of salvation. 

Salvation has always been by grace through faith.  It’s the same in every dispensation.
Old Testament, New Testament, under the Law, before the Law, after the Law.  Salvation is always by grace through faith.  It is never through works. 

Verse 30:
“…since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one

God isn’t a Jewish God or a Gentile God.  Christianity is a universal faith.
 
No culture or country is excluded.  Since salvation is by faith (alone), anyone, anywhere, can believe and be saved.  This is not an exclusive club. 
There are no restrictions of any kind.  All that is required is that you come in faith.

  Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

 Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

 Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

  Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind;
Yes, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

 Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come! (Elliott, 1835)

Verse 31:
Do we then nullify the Law through faith?  May it never be!  On the contrary, we establish the Law”

Let’s put this Bible verse in English.
If salvation is by faith and not by keeping the Law, does that make the Law null and void?  Or in other words can we ignore the Ten Commandments?

Paul’s response:  May it never be!

Nowhere in Paul’s writings does he say the Law has no value.
We’ve talked about this before in previous lessons.
The Law is from God – it has tremendous value but not as a means of salvation.

You can’t be saved by trying to keep the Ten Commandments, but that doesn’t mean you throw them in the trash bin and live your life any way you please.

God’s Grace is not license to live your life fast, free, and easy.
Put another way, God’s Grace is not license to sin it’s God’s only solution for sin.

Justification by faith upholds the Law in four ways:

The Law shows us our sins. 
The Law shows us our need for Jesus Christ (see Galatians 3:24). 
The Law was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (see Galatians 3:23-25). 
The Law is fulfilled in Believers by the power of the Spirit.
When an individual trusts Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within them.
The Sanctification Process begins… (There’s another teaching series.)

Warren Wiersbe sums up the basic message of this passage in his own words:

“If salvation is through the Law, then men can boast; but the principle of faith makes it impossible for men to boast.  The swimmer, when he is saved from drowning, does not brag because he trusted the lifeguard.  What else could he do?  When a believing sinner is justified by faith, he cannot boast of his faith, but he can boast in a wonder Savior.
(Romans pp. 40)

And that closes chapter 3, my friends.


(To be continued)


© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved