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"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.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 45)



Home Bible Study
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 45

Hello and welcome to Home Bible study.  I thank you for taking the time to be here and I want to encourage you to continue the good work you’ve started.

If you’ve been with us for even a short time, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been studying the book of Romans verse-by-verse.  I’ve elected to do this because of the book’s importance and I believe God wants you to be in tune with all of Scripture and not just bits and pieces of it.    

Novelty stores sell picture puzzles that contain hundreds if not thousands of individual pieces.  Usually only a single picture puzzle is in the box.  When you put all the pieces together they form a beautiful picture.  You can’t add, delete, or omit pieces of the puzzle though.  If you do so, the picture will be imperfect. 

The Bible is like this.  The Bible contains hundreds of stories, and thousands of individual Bible verses from Genesis to Revelation.  But when you put them all together properly they form one complete picture.  That picture is our risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Bible only has one unifying theme and that is the promotion of God’s eternal purpose in Jesus Christ to redeem sinners (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

There aren’t that many people teaching the Bible verse-by-verse now-a-days.
I only know of a few.  I thank God for each one of them and for their commitment.
It would seem this style of teaching has gone the way of the rotary phone, the cassette tape deck, boom boxes, floppy discs, and the AMC Gremlin.  It’s no longer in vogue. 

It’s a shame.  The Body of Christ needs this mode of teaching now more than ever.
Believers are starved for the “meat” of God’s Word.  They are receiving a steady intake of “cotton candy” sermons instead.  The youth in our church call this “fluff.” 

They are discouraged and leaving the church in droves.  Can a Believer grow to spiritual maturity, thrive spiritually, and be grounded in their faith solely on this type of diet?   
Can a child thrive on a cotton candy and sugar diet? 
The answer is no to both questions!

Please open your Bible to Romans chapter 8.

Overview:
Romans 8
8:1-11              Life in the Spirit
                        8:1-4                Freedom from condemnation
                        8:5-8                Spiritual vs. fleshly thinking
                        8:9-11              Indwelling Spirit gives life


Romans 8

1: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If you spend any time in the Apostle Paul’s epistles, you’ll soon discover he uses the word “therefore” often.  Usually, he uses it to sum up his previous statement or a series of statements. 

I rarely use commentaries for my Bible research and I would suggest that you “follow suit” or do the same.  Many years ago a Bible teacher I respect instructed me to be wary of Bible commentators.  I’ve never forgotten that advice. 

However, there are a couple of Godly men that I trust and I access their materials from time to time.  One of these men wrote that Paul’s “therefore” in verse one sums up chapter 7.  I get that. 

The other gentlemen said Paul’s “therefore” takes us back to Romans chapter 5:1. 
Let’s review that Bible verse.

Romans 5

1: Therefore, having been (what) justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

This is interesting which is why I shared it with you. 
I see this gentlemen’s viewpoint and I pray you do too.
Neither of these comments is in error from my perspective.  They both work.
But I have another idea altogether.  I think this “therefore” in verse one takes in (or sums up) the entire letter of Romans starting at chapter one.  Let’s look backward.

What has the Holy Spirit revealed to us through the Apostle Paul?

Chapter one:  the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

Paul proved in chapters 1-3 that the entire human race (that is to say pagans, gentiles, and Jews) is sinful; morally bankrupt, and in full rebellion against God, coming to these conclusions:

Romans 3

10: THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

11: THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
      THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;

12b: THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
         THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”

And:

Romans 3

23: for all (all means all) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Paul used the first three chapters to build God’s case against the gross immoral person, the moral person (I’m better than they are), and then the legalistic or religious person.  He proved there’s no difference – all are guilty before the Holy God.

Then in Romans chapter 4 Paul begins to lay out the doctrine of “justification by faith” (alone), which originated when the LORD God spoke His promise to Abram.  Abram took the LORD at His word; we call this faith: “Then he (Abram) believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.  (Genesis 15:6)

At Chapter 5, Paul opens by presenting the glorious results of justification by faith:

Romans 5

1: Therefore, having been justified by faith (alone), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

…our present standing in God’s grace:

2: through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith (alone) into this grace in which we (what) stand;

…and the sure hope of the coming glory!

…and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

Paul informs us in chapter 6 that God’s grace does not give us the freedom to sin.

We just studied chapter 7 where Paul defines the inner conflict within him and us. 
Paul desires to obey God.  But there are times when his Adamic nature overrules his mind and heart and his sinful flesh wins out.  After wrestling with this dilemma, he comes to the end of “self” effort and groans, “Wretched man that I am!” 

If you recall, Paul did not close the chapter in hopelessness but in thanksgiving –
Paul names His deliverer:  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

This brings us back to Romans 8:1.

Romans 8

1: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

It’s obvious to me but it might not be obvious to others.  There’s a flip-side to this verse. 

We know there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 
Paul is referring to saved individuals of course.  Well then, the flip-side is also true. 
There is condemnation for those who are not in Christ Jesus.

Charles Spurgeon wrote:  “To understand the magnitude of the salvation, one must understand the enormity of the thing to be saved from.  To fully grasp the need for salvation, we must examine:

1:  the offensiveness of sin
2:  the punishment sin deserves
3:  and the imputation of sin onto Christ.

One sin can ruin a soul forever.  To disfigure and distort a human soul, which is fashioned in God’s own image, and of infinite worth, is infinitely offensive to God.
So when we sin, we not only ruin our own souls, we also spit at God, going directly against His will.  Such an offense cannot be ignored.”

God cannot overlook sin.  He would not be God if He did not punish sin.

Understand this friend, the people who die without confessing their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, (those who are not in Christ Jesus) will not spend an eternity in the Lake of Fire for their sins.  They will spend an eternity separated from the love of God and in unspeakable anguish because of their “unbelief.” 

My classes have heard me teach this tenet over and over again:  there are several absolutes in Scripture but I call these the Top Two:  Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin and without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 9:22b, 11:6).

Now we live in an age where people reject the notion of absolutes.  God, Jesus, and the entire Bible are examples of absolutes but the majority of people reject them. 

Regarding absolutes:  whatever is true at one time and at one place is true at all time's and at all places.  What is true for one person is true for all.  Truth is true whether we believe it or not.  Truth is discovered or it is revealed, it is not invented by a culture or by religious men.

Scripture says when Jesus Christ paid the sin debt for all of mankind, all sin was erased.  Please turn to Colossians, chapter 2.

Colossians 2

13b: He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us (how many) all our transgressions,

14: having (read carefully) cancelled out (actually in the Greek this word is much stronger than erased it means obliterated) the certificate of debt against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, (how) by nailing it to the cross.  (NASB)

Once again, I prefer to use multiple translations in my Bible studies and here’s why.
    
The KJV translations reads like this:  "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;"

The word ordinances (or decrees) in Colossian 2:14 is translated from the Greek word dogmasin, a form of the Greek word dogma. 

God's laws, ordinances, instructions, and commandments are mentioned many times in the Greek Old Testament that was used by Greek-speaking people of Paul's day.

But the Septuagint doesn’t use the word dogma (or any of its forms) when referring to God's laws or instructions?  Every occurrence of dogma in the Old Testament refers to man-made decrees or rulings.  

If Paul was referring to God's Law, he could have easily used one of the Greek words frequently used in the Greek Old Testament to refer to God's law such as: nomos, entole, krima, dikaioma, or rhema.  But Paul didn't use any of those words.  Instead, Paul chose dogma, a word that was never used in the Greek Old Testament to refer to any of God's laws or instructions.

If we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture as we should, Colossians 2:14 would be interpreted to say that it was some man-made (handwritten document) that was nailed to the cross.   Paul isn’t abolishing any of God’s Laws such as the Sabbath.

We can confirm this in the account of Christ's death as recorded in the New Testament Gospels.  There we find that a man-made (handwritten document) actually was nailed to His cross.  It was the placard written in three languages that stated the "crime" of which Jesus was accused of and this was then placed on the cross by Pilate's order.

That kind of placard is what Paul was evidently referring to in Colossians 2:14 -- the personal placard listing my sins that belongs above my head, on my cross, and at my own execution.  Likewise, Jesus took that placard listing the sins of all mankind past, present, and future and nailed it to his cross.  

Jesus paid the penalty for these sins.  If you believe in His death, burial, and resurrection, you have been redeemed, justice has been served, and the law satisfied (but not abolished), and He has taken it out of the way…

One of the things Jesus accomplished in His death was the “removal” of all our sin.
Our sin and guilt was taken from us and placed on Jesus Christ, who discharged it by His death (Isaiah 53:6; John 1:29; Hebrews 9:26).  (See scapegoat Leviticus 16:5-22).

Now there are some who preach a “limited atonement,” but this contradicts Scripture.
God’s Word says that when Jesus Christ died on that Roman cross, He paid the sin debt for “all;” that is every person past, present, and future.  All means all, my friends.   
Let’s review Scripture.

2 Corinthians 5

14: For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for (how many) all, therefore all died;

15: and He (Jesus Christ) died for all (all means all), so that they who live (for those who opt to believe the gospel and have become Spiritually alive) might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Let’s turn to the book of Hebrews where this truth is repeated.

Hebrews 2

9: But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus (why) because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might (now read carefully) taste death (for some?  No!  What does the Scriptures say) for everyone.
 
Jesus Christ died for everyone – both Jew and Gentile for all sin.  These Bible verses affirm that the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ was not limited in any way. 

When Adam sinned, who inherited his sin nature some people or “everyone?”
The answer is everyone but I want you to see this for yourselves. 
Please turn to Romans, chapter 5.

Romans 5

12:  Therefore, just as through one man (Adam and not Eve) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, (now read carefully) so death spread to (Some people?  That’s not what your book says and neither does mine.  What does the Scriptures say) all men, because all sinned.

Because of Adam’s single transgression the sin penalty passed to all men and women.
Therefore, Jesus’ substitionary death paid the sin debt for all (everyone). 

When you consider all of Scripture the meaning Jesus Christ died for all is quite clear.
Jesus didn’t die for some people – Jesus died for all!  Of course this does not mean salvation is automatic.  God’s gift of grace is free but to appropriate it one must believe the gospel.  Unless you openly confess belief in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), you remain an enemy of God.

People don’t like to hear it nowadays, they shy away from the sound of it, they find it offensive, and brutish, but the power of salvation is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7).  Some churches have gone so far as to remove every reference to “the blood” from their hymnals.  But this changes nothing. 

For by the blood of Christ Jesus are the sins of the world atoned for, mankind is redeemed from under the Law of Moses, and they are reconciled to God; those who were once God’s enemy are now God’s children and co-heirs with Jesus Christ.  Amazing Grace!

If Jesus did not die once, for all, then what you’re telling me is He has to come back and finish the job.  I see no Scriptural support for this. 

Here’s what I do see:

Romans 6

10: For the death that He died, He died to sin (read carefully) once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

And:

Hebrews 9
11: But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered  through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;

12: and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place (read carefully) once for all, having obtained eternal redemption (= once and done).

The Lord Jesus Christ died once for all.  Jesus became our sin.  He paid the price that we should have paid.  Martin Luther calls this, “The Great Exchange.”

2 Corinthians 5

21: He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God (where) in Him.

Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection made the “way” between where we are (when we arrive at the end of “self effort”) and where the righteous judge is. 

Jesus bridged the gap between God and lost humanity.  Anybody who chooses to can now appreciate an intimate relationship with God through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and not just a few people or “some.”   God’s invitation is open to all.

1 Timothy 2

3: This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

4: who desires (how many) all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (rightly divided).

Scripture says what it means and means what it says.  God desires that all men and women be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (about Jesus Christ).

Romans 8

1: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

The flip-side remains true as well.  Those individuals who are not in Christ Jesus are enemies of God.  God has acted to redeem human beings and reveal his will to them.  All those who refuse to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ are guilty of unbelief in this Age of Grace. 

In truth, their punishment has already begun.  But their ultimate condemnation will occur at the final judgment should they remain steadfast in their unbelief. 

The clock is ticking.  Only God knows when that day or hour will come… 
(Revelation 22:20)



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