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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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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 60)


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 60


Welcome back my friends.  Per our custom, we’re going to pick up right where we left off in the previous lesson and then continue the strategy we commenced with of “digging deeper” into this awe-inspiring book verse by verse.   

If you’ll recall, we were looking at the curse the LORD God placed on the ground.
In the book of Romans, chapter 8, Paul referred to this as, “the creation,” meaning everything on the earth including the creatures and the plant life.  We learned that this was done, “in hope.”  In other words, God did not intend for this curse to be permanent (Romans 8:19-21) no more than He intended the enmity to be unending between “your
seed and her seed (Genesis 3:15).  

Scripture reveals “her seed” to be the seed of the woman or the Lord Jesus Christ.  Your seed” is in reference to Satan whose offspring will be the anti-christ.  The enmity between God and the forces of evil on earth will reach its climax at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).  For now, this hostility continues to be a reality as does the curse on God’s creation but neither is permanent.

Until Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross the promise of salvation and eternal life remained an unfulfilled prophecy (Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3, 15).  There was only the blood of bulls, and goats which could not remove sin; it only “covered it.”  These blood sacrifices, once offered, merely atoned for the Israelite’s sins one year at a time (Leviticus 23: 27-28; Hebrews 10:4; 9:12).  Contrastingly, Jesus died once for all who believe or exercise faith on Him (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:10).

Therefore, God cursed “creation” – in hope, that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption…  Now ask a question.  What does the word “also” entail?  Us, right!  Paul is talking about Believers and the creation (together) being set free from their corrupted state.

With this act God intended to improve man's opportunity to re-enter into a personal relationship with Him through faith.  Otherwise, this life on earth would be sheer “vanity,” or a meaningless existence; one of endless toil, suffering, and hardship; without hope.

Jesus said,

John 6

27: “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

And:

John 6

35: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

And this:

Mark 8

36: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

In other words, you could be the wealthiest person on the planet, capable of purchasing whatever your heart desired, however, without faith all your wealth, all your good deeds combined, is incapable of purchasing 1 minute in heaven with Jesus Christ. 


Please open your Bible to Romans, chapter 8.

Romans 8

20: For the creation was subjected to futility (vanity), not willingly, but because of Him (the LORD God) who subjected it, in hope

21: that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

In verse 21, our apostle Paul explains that the creation was placed in the bondage of corruption when the man sinned, but it is to be delivered from this “slavery” into the glorious freedom (liberty) of the children of God.  Isaiah 11:6-10 describes this change.

For now, our bodies exist in a state of bondage.  What does Scripture mean by this?
Believers come down with the same illnesses as unbelievers.  Believers get sick and die.  
We’re not exempt from the catastrophes and tragedies that befall mankind!  But God has promised to deliver our bodies from this slavery of corruption.  After this happens, creation will also be delivered.  Meanwhile, the whole creation suffers the pains of childbirth (travail) eagerly waiting its deliverance.

I’ve underlined the word deliverance above to draw your attention to it due to the fact that Paul in Verse 22 competently compares the curse from which the whole creation is anticipating its deliverance to that of a woman in the throes of childbirth.

Romans 8

22:  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

Childbirth is a progressive process; meaning it’s not over in a matter of minutes but hours and during this time the mother experiences painful spasms.

Let’s compare Scripture with Scripture.  Please turn back to the book of Matthew at chapter 24.  Here we have Jesus Christ, on the Mt. of Olives, just prior to His death, answering the apostle’s question concerning the signs of the end times before His return.  I’m not going to review the entire discourse just what we came here to see, starting at verse 7.

Matthew 24

7: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famine and earthquakes.

8:  (Read carefully) “But all these things are merely the beginning of (what) birth pangs (travail).

The phrase, “birth pangs” Jesus’ uses here to describe the increasingly destructive process of this planets environmental and political turmoil until His return is the same word (same meaning) as Paul uses in Romans 8:22.

Now you mothers out there know what birth pangs feel like. 
When the LORD God told the woman, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth your children.”  This is what He meant.  Birth pangs (plural) are regular, recurrent spasms of pain.  As the moment of childbirth nears, the birth pangs are sudden, sharp, and extremely painful. 


But no matter how painful this experience may be the parents wait expectantly, in hope, toward the culmination of the pregnancy!
 
At the manifestation (appearance) of the newborn child, once the infant is placed in its mother’s arms; nestled there with its mother’s love, the birth pangs and the groaning are but a brief if not forgotten memory because the mother’s hope has become a reality! 

Our apostle Paul uses this analogy to demonstrate how the creation and the sons (and daughters) of God are experiencing a similar occurrence while waiting expectantly to be delivered from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 

We can fact-check this last statement with Scripture by moving on to the next verse.

Romans 8

23: And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons (and daughters of God), the redemption of the body (Philippians 3:20-21; Romans 8:29; 
1 Corinthians 15: 20-23).

Once again, our apostle Paul informs us that not only does creation groan, in hope, but this experience is shared by Believers as well.  You see, our future hope has been stored up for us in heaven.  We own the promise of our eternal portion as Believers right now but we receive “ownership” on the Day of Redemption. 

Let’s go to the book.  Please turn to Colossians, chapter 1.

Colossians 1

4: since we heard of your faith (plus nothing else) in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;

5: because of the (what’s the next word) hope laid up for you (where exactly) in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel…

Clarification is required concerning this word groaning which our apostle Paul speaks of in these verses.  This isn’t a painful sound, emitted from deep within a person; from one who is unable to find comfort or rest.  Paul intends the reader of Scripture to understand this groaning, coming from both the creation and the Believers, is an inward expression of “deep longing” and not of pain. 

I believe an explanation by illustration is required before we proceed.

I liken this to a child who on the night before Christmas is commanded to go to bed early by they’re parents.  After hearing these words, and not being sleepy (at all), but instead being filled with child-like excitement at the hope of Christmas morning and the wonderful aromas, sights, and sounds this brings to their mind, lies fully awake in bed, uttering an occasional groan while waiting expectantly for the light of dawn, and the joy that Christmas brings.

I also tend to think of a man on death row who is scheduled to die at midnight.
The preacher waits with him in his cell.  Now only the governor can spare his life. 
The man has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as His Savior this very day.  He is free at last.  But a realization has struck him hard; his family needs to know about God’s love.  Who will tell them?  He isn’t ready to die!  He too waits expectantly, in hope, for the phone call; a silent groan escapes his lips.

I consider too a weary traveler in uniform who has seen too much suffering and death. He longs to be home; so much in fact that he can already smell the home cooking, recall the glow of the log fire in the hearth, and the warmth of his wife’s embrace.  But just two days into his journey a strong storm rose up forcing him to take shelter.  The gale shows no sign of giving way so he sits inside waiting expectantly, in hope, that the morning will bring an end to the tempest raging outdoors.   He is thankful to be safe and warm, but he must continue his journey for he’s been too long gone.  He groans and utters a silent prayer for fair weather and safe passage back to his loved ones.  

So, Paul wants us to know that this groan originates from a sensation of “deep longing” to be with our heavenly Father, to receive the redemption of our bodies, our adoption as sons (and daughters) of God, and our inheritance.  

I didn’t intend to do this, but I want you to see that this is what the book says and not my interpretation of Scripture.  Please flip back to Isaiah, chapter 26.

Isaiah 26

9a: At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks you diligently;

I don’t think you need my help in deciphering this passage for you.  It’s right in line with the apostle Paul’s message.

Please turn to the book of Proverbs at chapter 13.

Proverbs 13

12: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desired fulfilled is a tree of life.

Our “hope” has been deferred.  Per Scripture, our hope has been laid up for us in heaven.  We’ve covered this aspect of Paul’s teaching already but we’re going to look at this in greater detail in the next lesson.

The unbelievers of this world consider hope to be “wishful thinking,” as in “I hope she calls me,” “I hope I get the job,” or “I hope I don’t have to have a root canal.”  When Scripture uses the word hope, the meaning is different.  The Biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation. (2 Corinthians 1:7)

One of the songs we sang often in the children’s ministry I participated in some years back was, “I’ll Fly Away.”  This song represents the Biblical hope of every true Believer, in Christ Jesus.  It is the perfect example of confident expectation.

I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away
When I die, hallelujah by and by, I’ll fly away

Some bright morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away
To a land on God’s celestial shore, I’ll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone, I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly, I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away
When I die, hallelujah by and by, I’ll fly away

Oh how glad and happy when we meet, I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet, I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away
When I die, hallelujah by and by, I’ll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away
To a land where joy will never end, I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away
When I die, hallellujah by and by, I’ll fly away

Hope is firm assurance regarding things that are unclear or unknown (Romans 8:24-25; Hebrews 11:1, 7).  Hope is a basic component of the life of the Believer in Christ Jesus (Proverbs 23:18).  Without hope, life loses its meaning (Lamentations 3:18; Job 7:6).  The Believer’s hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation in Christ Jesus (Galatians 5:5).

It’s this “waiting,” in hope, while in our corrupted state, knowing the Day of Redemption is nearer than it was before, but desiring that it should be this very day.  I’ve uttered the words, “Come Lord Jesus, come,” and so have many other Believers.  A true Believer longs for the return of His Savior, freedom from their corrupted state, the redemption of their bodies, the realization of their adoption, and their eternal home; this is normal. But we understand that each new day is a gift from God and we’ve been given another opportunity to share the good news with those who need to hear it.  Always remember to keep the Main thing the Main thing.


The next time we meet we’ll pick it up from here and I’ll leave you with this thought:   we Believers have only received “the first fruits of the Spirit…”


(To be continued)


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