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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, July 16, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 53)



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 53                     


We’ve covered a lot of Biblical territory in our study of the book of Romans but we’ve a long way to go.  I want to encourage each one of you to remain steadfast in this undertaking for it has many rewards. 

I’ve attempted to educate those who I’ve had the privilege to teach over the years, both young and old, that believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, according to the Scriptures, for the forgiveness of your sins is essential for your salvation; but this is only the beginning of your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

This is the most important step without a doubt but you need to know why you believe what you believe.  Not only will this assist you in regard to the sanctification process but it may benefit the person greatly who requests to know about your faith.
(2 Timothy 2:15)

I recall being called to the front of the classroom when I was in the 4th grade to solve a math problem.  The problem was on the blackboard.  The answer was not.  As we all know, mathematical problems only have one solution.  Scripture is like that.  In the Bible, the answer is Jesus but it’s a bit more complicated. 

With the knowledge I possessed at the time, I had to approach the blackboard, and solve the math problem, explaining to the class my analysis as I moved along.  I wasn’t hesitant because I knew the answer and I knew how to get there.  Do you see my point? 

Opportunities will occur for you to share the gospel with an individual or family member, or another faith-related issue may suddenly be “on the table” before you.  
Will you be hesitant?  Will you remain silent?  Far too many Christians do just that. 

They are either ignorant of the facts behind their faith, too concerned about drawing criticism upon themselves for their beliefs, or they are too embarrassed to speak when the spotlight is put on them - and Satan knows this.
Bottom line:  God didn’t save us to sit. 


Please open your Bible at the book of Romans, chapter 8. 
We didn’t spend much time on Romans 8:13 so let’s do that before we move on. 

The Apostle Paul has been contrasting the flesh and the Spirit for some time now.  Those who live according to the flesh, by contrast, are non-believers.  These folks are hostile towards God.  They do not believe God and they do not submit to His commandments.  When Paul says these people must die, he’s not speaking of the natural death, for everyone dies, as a result of sin.  The Lord God told the man (Adam), “If you choose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will surely die.”  And so it was.  The death Paul speaks of is the second death, this one’s eternal, and a result of unbelief. 

Believers are those who, with the Spirits help, “put to death” the deeds of the flesh.
In other words, through the working of God’s Holy Spirit, the Believer engages in the process of sanctification or maturing in holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:3).  They have their mind set on the Spirit, (attentive) and submissive to God’s commandments. 

The Believer is not completely free from sinful activity.  Putting to death the “deeds of the flesh” is a continual process that the individual must engage in on an hourly basis. 
The mark of a true Believer is one who is daily putting to death their sinful inclinations one by one.  Scripture says this person “will live.


Romans 8

13: for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Verse 13a is referencing non-believers.  We know they are not believers because they are controlled (living their life) by the flesh and not the Spirit of God. 

Verse 13b is referencing Believers.  These folks are Spirit-led.  They are engaged in the process of Sanctification and are putting to death the deeds of the flesh daily.  Scripture informs us that all of God’s (genuine) sons are Spirit-led (Romans 8:14). 

What does it mean to put to death the “sinful” deeds of the flesh?

Permit me to illustrate.  I have some flowers out in front of our home.  They look good as long as I tend them.  This means I have to irrigate them, fertilize them, and prune them regularly.  They need my continuous attention in order for them to remain alive.
If I ignore them, they will not survive.

Every one of us has sinful activities that we frequent on a regular basis. 
We are creatures of habit – some of these are very bad habits.  Maybe one of yours is on this short list:  anger, greed, adultery, gambling, internet pornography, cursing, malice, gossip, etc.  You keep it alive by tending to it on a regular basis. 

For instance, every time you tell a lie you are keeping that sinful activity alive. 
When you choose, by the Spirit’s leading and power, to cease telling lies, you have put to death that sinful activity.  But it’s a process.  Sanctification takes time. 
However, you and others should be aware of your spiritual growth.

Let’s review the next four verses.

Romans 8

14: For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the (genuine) sons of God.

15: For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba!  Father!”

16: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

17: and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

There’s a lot going on here my friends.  We’ll break these verses down singularly.

Romans 8

14: For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the (genuine) sons of God (the phrase “sons of God,” taken from the ancient Roman era, means adult-sons, or sons come of age).

We learn from this verse that it is not only the “leading of the Spirit” but the obedience to this leading that is the characteristic of the children of God. 

This is significant.  This is the one thing that distinguishes true Believers from all others. 
They’re actively producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). 

There are many in the church today that are not God’s children.  They have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit which only comes by faith in the gospel.   Because they lack faith these people do not have the indwelt Holy Spirit; they are still in the flesh. 

The first half of verse 13 stands as a terrible warning for all these (Matthew 13:1-9).   
Romans 8

13a: for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die;

Please turn to the little book of Jude, near the book of Revelation, where this truth is repeated.

Jude

12: These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts (common fellowship meal of the 1st century church preceding the Lord's Supper) when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;

13: wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.

To be sure, there are only two encampments in the world.  You’re either in God’s family as a Believer or you’re in the enemy’s (Satan’s) camp.  There is no middle ground to conceal one’s self in.  Thus all who are Spirit-led are thus appointed as being the (genuine) sons of God.  No one else can claim this designation (Romans 8:9). 

Let’s go to verse 15.

Romans 8

15: For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Paul states, you (insert your name here) have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, meaning: a Spirit of bondage (slavery), of legality, filling us with fear and a dread of God. 

The word, “again” in verse 15 takes you back to that time when the nation of Israel received a spirit of bondage, when they were placed under the Mosaic Law. 

This system of “do’s” and “don’ts,” “thou shall’s” and “thou shall not’s” resulted in a fear of God.  When Israel walked in the wilderness with Jehovah, who dwelt in the holy of holies in the tabernacle, they were taught to fear God.  During this time, Jehovah was instructing His chosen (but sinful) people about His holiness and His separateness from them, and how they were to draw near to Him which was only by blood sacrifices. 

But when Christ came, things changed.  Jesus sought sinners out and ate with them.
Proud religion (the Pharisees) condemned Him for this activity calling Him, “A friend of publicans and sinners,” and He was.  Jesus turned their religious world upside down.

Now consider our position, as Believers, in Christ Jesus in this age. 
Both sin and death were conquered at His resurrection; Jesus Christ was the end of the Law.  We’ve been released from Federal Adam’s old life and associated responsibilities through faith, and now the Spirit of God dwells within us, an earnest, for what’s to come. 

A spirit of fear and slavery is out of place now in this dispensation of God’s Grace. 
For one day, when the church is raptured, we will all meet our Savior face to face, and know we are home and who’s afraid to go home…

…but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

To understand this portion of verse 14 you have to have a handle on the Roman adoption laws during Paul’s day.  We’re not going to immerse ourselves in Roman law. Basically Paul is saying we are someone’s children by birth, but their sons by adoption.  

When a father, the head of the household, publicly acknowledged his child as his son and heir, in the forum, this ceremony was called, “The Adoption.”  All born in his family were his children, only those “adopted,” were recognized as, “his sons.” 
Augustus Caesar is probably the most recognizable name of this era who was adopted.   Born as Gaius Octavius, he was adopted (by testament) by his great-uncle Julius Caesar and acquired the name of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.  The rest is history.


In the complete sense of this Bible verse, we have not yet received the adoption. 
This will be consummated, as Romans 8:23 shows, when the Lord comes for His church. 

But, as we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are adopted sons and this will be manifested in the most public way when we are transformed into our Savior’s image at the rapture.

but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!

There are many names used to “describe” God in Scripture and all of these names are important in many ways.  However, the name “Abba Father” is significant in that it helps us to understand how God relates to His children. 

The word Abba is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as “Daddy” in our language.  It was a common term that young children used to address their fathers.  It signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child, as well as the child-like trust that a young person has in his “father.” 

Jesus used this very term in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-36).

Next verse in Romans please.

Romans 8

16: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

We have the Witness in us, the Word of God, hidden in our hearts (1 John 5:10), that we are children of God.

Let’s compare Scripture with Scripture.

Hebrews 10

15: And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us;

The Lord Jesus Christ wants us to know that we are in “fellowship” with the Spirit within us.  This means the Spirit of God communes with our spirit, enlightens us, instructs us, and guides us through the Word of God.

The Lord also wants us to know that there is only one Spirit of God.

Ephesians 4

4: There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

5: one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

6: one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

Here again, we have another example of the importance of rightly dividing the Word of truth.  Today the ministry of the Spirit of God has changed from the role of the Spirit under the Kingdom gospel.  Some are promoting a “return to Pentecost” with its miraculous manifestations of the Spirit.  Although they are scripturally correct to some degree, they have missed the mark in this age of grace. 

With the unveiling of the mystery to the Apostle Paul, when Paul states “There is…one Spirit” we are to recognize that the Person of the Spirit is not under consideration as much as His “administration.”


(To be continued)


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