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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 40
Greetings and welcome to HBS.
If you’re a new visitor to our Bible study program, we’ve been studying the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Believers in Rome for the last few months. We are currently reviewing Chapter 6. FYI: the previous lessons are stored for your convenience here in the archives and in the order of their posting.
Why study the book of Romans?
The letter of Paul to the youthful church in Rome is without a doubt one of the most powerful documents that has ever been written. This is the book that lit the fire in Martin Luther’s heart and brought about the Protestant Reformation, changing the history of Europe, as well as the world. This is the book that warmed John Wesley’s heart as he sat in a little chapel in London listening to Luther’s prelude to Romans. There followed, through him, the great evangelical awakening that saved England from the fate of France and arrested the decay of English life, completely altering the history of the world again.
The book of Romans has been called “The Master Key” to all of the Scriptures.
If you truly grasp Paul’s teachings in the book of Romans in its total argument, you will find yourself at ease in any other part of the Scriptures, in other words.
Paul’s primary theme in Romans is the gospel, God’s plan of salvation and righteousness for all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike (see Romans 1:16-17).
Paul’s letter to the Romans addresses many doctrinal themes including the righteousness of God and justification by faith (alone), a sinner’s guilt, sanctification, and a Believer’s eternal security to name just a few.
Some scholars believe that one of the main reasons Paul wrote Romans may have been because of the various backgrounds, Jews and Gentiles, which may have been represented at the church in Rome. These same academics like to compare Paul's letter to the Romans to his other letters to the Corinthians and Thessalonians.
Paul wrote those former letters in part to address difficulties that had arisen in the church communities at Corinth and Thessalonica and to correct these problems.
In Romans chapter 14 Paul addresses food and festivals and the disagreements that arose concerning these two subjects. It seems that both of these issues may have caused conflict between the Jews and Gentiles. Obviously, Paul felt the need to write the young church there in order to help them solve these problems.
We have another example of conflict at Romans chapter 15:7. Here Paul is urging the Gentiles and Jews to get along when he says, "Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
Please open your Bible at Romans chapter 6 and we’ll start with verse 12.
The Outline for verses 12-14 - Presenting ourselves to God as risen ones, not under Law but under Grace, Sin loses its dominion (or reign) over us.
Let’s review these verses together.
12: Therefore (this word sums up Paul’s statements starting at verse 1-11) do not let (what) sin reign (have dominion) in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.
13: and do not go on presenting the members of your body (your mind, your heart, your hands, your eyes, etc.) to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to (who) God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14: For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
“Therefore,” since God has reconciled you to Himself through Jesus Christ, you have received the baptism of Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, and you are indeed saved, how can you spend any of your time living as you once did in your old life?
To be succinct shall the spiritual live as the carnal live?
How can you who were once slaves to sin but now having been made free by the precious blood of Jesus Christ return to the world of slavery?
In chapter 6 of Romans, Paul wants us to understand this message.
When you really, truly, become a Believer, (when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior) you are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God. This is the third member of the Holy Trinity – co-equal with God the Father and God the Son in all respects.
He doesn’t sit at the kiddies table in the outer room, in other words.
7: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (note the capitalization – this is deity) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
In this verse, our Lord is referring to God the Spirit or the Helper as He is named here.
And this is the 3rd member of the Holy Trinity that Jesus is promising to send after He is gone or ascended.
Why does Jesus say it is to our “advantage” to have the assistance of the Helper after He is gone? (It’s okay to ask questions. This is a Bible study).
Consider the great opportunity and life experience the 12 apostles had getting the chance to walk, talk, and eat with the living God. These 12 disciples participated in almost every relationship activity (save one) that the first Adam enjoyed. They could communicate directly with Jesus, who is the image of the living God (see Colossians 1:15), look into His eyes, touch His hands, and in the case of John, the Apostle even recline his head upon Jesus’ chest (see John 13:23).
We can only imagine…
Although we can’t experience these same relational events (in this life) as the 12 Apostles, Jesus said, it is to our advantage… (To have the assistance of) the Helper – and this only after you receive the gospel of your salvation thru faith (alone).
Consider this: how did Peter, James, John, and the rest act and react prior to receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost? They were afraid, timid, and weak of faith according to this book. John 21 at verse 3 gives us a word picture of Peter’s viewpoint and outlook after Jesus’ death. What does he say, “I am going fishing.” Peter is returning to the life he knew (and loved) prior to being selected by Jesus to be an apostle. He has given up.
But once they received the Holy Spirit note the change as recorded in Acts 2.
They are not afraid, timid, or weak in their faith any longer!
In fact, all but John are martyred for their faith.
You may be thinking the apostles are still “one up” on us.
It may be tempting at times to pray for a physical Jesus to be here at your side.
You may be thinking, “Then I could really find relief. I have so many problems; so many questions about my life and the lives of my children. I have faith-based questions that I need answers to. What is God’s will in this pressing matter? I have a list!”
I take you back, on purpose, to what Jesus said.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
Does Jesus lead us astray? I think not.
If He says it’s better/to our advantage to have the Helper, than we take this on faith.
Each Believer has God the Spirit living within them.
Think on this – don’t just read over it.
The Apostles could walk, and talk with Jesus, true.
But we have the 3rd person of the Holy Trinity living within us!
We have Jesus, 24/7, as close as you can possibly get with all the accompanying spiritual power and authority to complete His will.
What does all this mean in English? What does this book say?
- God the Spirit empowers us with the ability to have joy, peace, and hope (Romans 15:13).
- The Spirit of God teaches us true spiritual wisdom according to the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:13).
- The Spirit leads us, giving us wisdom and direction as to how we should live and what we should do (Romans 8:14).
- The Spirit of God helps us communicate our prayers to God the Father, interceding for us despite our weaknesses, testifying in our hearts to the truth (Romans 8:16).
As a true Believer, duly baptized by the Holy Spirit, a heart-change occurs within you. This isn’t something that you feel like a hypodermic needle injection but it is something that you can “know” through your God-given senses when it happens. Therefore, it is impossible to continue living a lifestyle of sin and debauchery after this life-changing event.
The Apostle Paul says we are “expected” to know about this change of heart and mind.
3: Or do you not (what) know that all of us who have been (what) baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
Paul never met these new Believers in Rome and yet he expected them to KNOW this truth. It also something new Believers ought to know as well without ever attending a Sunday school class. God the Spirit communicates with our spirit this message of truth.
If you choose to continue in your old lifestyle of sin, it is proof that you never really participated in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
Anyone who continues in an unchanged life, after having professed that they have come to Christ Jesus, is simply giving testimony to everyone that he or she never really had a change of heart – point of truth.
These folks belong to the crowd Jesus spoke of when He said,
22: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23: “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
In verses 12-13 of Romans, Paul instructs us that since a Believer has “died to sin,” therefore, (what follows is a command) do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness;
The Believer has died to sin, with Christ; His life is in us now.
The Helper has arrived. His power is available to us now!
When we decide not to sin, we have the power (through Christ) to carry it out.
1 Corinthians 10
13: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
Here comes the big letdown. Believers are not perfect…
We are not holier-than-thou, nor do we “walk on water.”
Despite what some people may think saved people still make mistakes.
A Believer is “dead to sin” but Paul did not say sin is dead once you are saved.
After you become a true Believer, you’ll enter into spiritual warfare and this struggle continues for the rest of your life.
When you “feel” tempted, whether in your body or your mind, remember you don’t have to give in to sin. You can refuse it. You are free to say, “I am a child of the living God and I’ll have nothing to do with that.”
When you opt to do this, this will cause a struggle because the strength of sin/darkness is very strong. In addition, old habits are often very hard to break, but remember the Helper is within you. You have the power to say no – and mean it!
Paul also wants you to know this isn’t going to be easy but we have the Helper, the strength, and the desire within to carry it through.
This is what Paul is saying in Romans 6:14.
14: For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Why bring up the Law?
Allow me to answer a question with a question.
What is one of the basic problems of the Believer’s struggle in their life?
This item depresses them, harasses them, discourages them, and hinders their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ probably more than any other single item?
Condemnation/guilt is the answer.
The Law can only produce condemnation. The Law says – unless you live up to this standard, God will not have anything to do with you.
Whether you are aware of this truth or not, this opinion has been so engrained in our upbringing that when we do sin, even as Believers, we think God is angry with us and His love for us decreases with each wrongdoing. We consider ourselves in the same way. We sin. Afterwards we become discouraged, defeated, and then depressed.
We want to give up. We say, “What’s the use in trying to live the Believer’s life.”
We do a fair job of beating ourselves up psychologically every day.
Paul says none of this is true. Mentally, you’re in Satan’s playground is all…
You are not under Law but under grace.
God understands your struggle. Therefore, He is not upset by it or your reaction to it.
God is not angry. God understands there will be failures in your lifetime and mine.
He also knows there will be victories! So there’s no need to be discouraged.
Run the race to win it, says Paul.
If you get knocked down while running the course, get up and continue the race and remember this verse…sing it if you prefer…whatever lifts your spirit. It’s here for you – insert your name at the beginning.
1: Therefore (insert your name here) there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ.
2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
No need to attend college to decipher that verse.
The Word of Truth says what it means and means what it says.
(To be continued)
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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