The Righteous One Will Live by Faith [Romans 1]
14I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."
When you hear the word salvation, what comes to mind? For years I thought that salvation was referring only to that moment in time when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. What I didn't know is that salvation is a general word that can refer to three different specific times in the life of a believer.
What are the three parts of salvation? The first part of salvation is referred to as "justification" (also referred to as "saved"). It is an act of God in response to my receiving the truth (by faith) that when Christ died He died in my place, taking the penalty for my sin and wrong choices on Himself. At that moment I received total forgiveness for all my sin, past, present and future and declared me "not guilty, but righteous instead." God is the one who justifies and it indeed is a miraculous and wonderful gift. But salvation does not end there.
The second part of salvation is what scripture refers to as "sanctification." Once again it is God who does a work that begins when I am justified but continues throughout my lifetime. It is "the process of being set apart, made holy." This process is the work of God through His Spirit who begins dwelling in me when I was justified. It also is the "righteousness of God (being) revealed from faith to faith." By faith as I continue to acknowledge that I cannot make the right choices or do what He wants on my own and I learn to access God's power in an on-going way to reflect His character, He works sanctification or grows His righteousness in my everyday life. This is Him growing of the fruit of the Spirit in me over my lifetime.
The final part of salvation is glorification. This refers to the time when Jesus returns a second time and gives out rewards to the saints including a new glorified body. As with the other two aspects, this is God's work and I will then reveal His righteousness completely in my life. I will be the complete image of God. Oh, to be like Him.
As we look at Romans 1:16-17 in light of salvation having three parts, we begin to understand why the gospel is the power of God for salvation. We need the gospel for salvation, from the beginning of our faith to the fullness of faith (when we are glorified). And we, the righteous (He has declared us righteous), will live by faith.
Thank You, God for giving me Your salvation. I praise You for Your power that makes me righteous. Thank You that You are at work making my life reflect the righteousness that You declared me to be because of Jesus. Thank You, Jesus, for paying the huge penalty for my sin and setting me free to walk in Your righteousness.
Riches of His Kindness [Romans 2]
4Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Paul began Romans with the gospel message at the beginning of chapter one followed by a greeting to the Roman church. Then, in the rest of chapter one through most of three, he made the case that we are all sinners and every one of us deserves God's judgment. Therefore, today in chapter two we are in the middle of Paul's discussion on why we are all condemned, whether we are Jews or Gentiles. However, in the middle of seeing how two-faced we are in saying one thing and doing another, Paul cracked open a door that enables us to begin to see the light that shows a way out of the condemnation we deserve. "God's kindness leads you (us) to repentance" because God is rich in kindness, tolerance and patience. Clearly, we have a problem called sin, but God has a solution called Jesus because He is rich in kindness. Keep that is mind as you continue reading through the first part of chapter three and then look forward to Paul's fuller explanation of God's solution to our sin problem from the end of three through chapter 5.
God we praise You for Your kindness that leads us to repentance. You are rich in kindness, tolerance and patience. Cause us to keep our eyes on You and Your solution to our sin problem, our precious Jesus.
But Now... [Romans 3]
19Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;20because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for 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.
Romans 3:21 marks a radical turning point in Paul's letter to the Romans. Starting in chapter one and up to this point, Paul leveled the playing field for all of mankind, whether Jew or Gentile. He showed that all of us are sinners and are hopeless before God according to the Law of God. And then, in 3:21 you see the words But now.... Those two little words introduce hope for all of us who have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Paul explained that God provided His righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. God, who had every right to destroy us in our sin, chose instead to justify us as a gift of His grace. In the next chapters of Romans, Paul continued writing about the hope we have in Jesus who is God's solution to our sin problem.
We praise You God that You are not only a just God, but You are the God who justifies us who had no hope. Cause us to better appreciate the gospel message that gave us a radical new life in the two little words, but now....
The Faith of Abraham [Romans 4]
17(as it is written, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE." 19Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.23Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.
In Romans 4, Paul brought in two witnesses to prove his point that we are justified by faith alone and not by works. His main witness was Abraham. He demonstrated that God credited Abraham as righteous because he believed that God could do the impossible or make him a father of many nations. Abraham was really old and so was his wife, Sarah. There was no human way possible that they could produce a child. Abraham looked past the humanly possible and at the God of the impossible and trusted God to do what He said. It was at that point that Abraham was declared righteous.
Paul listed two things that Abraham had to believe about God. First, that He was a God who gives life to the dead as he and Sarah were way beyond childbearing years. Second, he believed that God calls into being that which does not exist. He trusted that God could make something exist that simply wasn't there before. Both of these things were supernatural events and required faith in God alone. Abraham believed and IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Paul closed this argument concerning the faith of Abraham as he explained that we are saved in the same way as this ancient father of many nations. Just as Abraham was declared righteous, not by anything he did, but by what he believed about God, so are we justified as we trust that God delivered Jesus to die and be raised Jesus from the dead for our sins.
We praise You because You are the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. Cause us to continue to trust You to guide and empower our lives today.
Peace With God [Romans 5]
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
A few times in my life I have been at the top of a snowy mountain in the cool crisp air overlooking the many the craggy mountains sloping down into valleys. The sky was always bluest blue and it was exhilarating. That's how I felt this morning when I read Romans 5 over and over asking God to enable me to soak in the beauty of His plan to save me. God's solution for my sin put my soul on a spiritual mountain top and the view from there is greater than any I have actually seen with my physical eyes. We have an amazing God who loved us right where we were in the cesspool of our sin. And in His love, He got into the cesspool Himself to bring us out. Now we rejoice whether things seem to be going well or whether we are undergoing tribulation. Either way, our great salvation provides us with Jesus' grace, hope and love through it all.
We praise you God for your grace, for Jesus who gave His life for us, for the rejoicing we can do because of You no matter what is going on in our lives. Cause us to soak in the beauty of Your solution to our sin problem as we continue to read through Romans and teach us how to live in the light of what You have done for us.
Freed From Sin! [Romans 6]
1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.
Romans 6 began with a question that Paul not only asked, but immediately answered. Asking and answering questions was a common and effective form of teaching used by Rabbis and was part of Paul's Rabbinic training. Paul surmised that some people could and would come to the wrong conclusions concerning the gospel message. He knew that some would reason that if Jesus forgave all sins and that the more sin there is, the more grace and forgiveness there is, then why not just do what you want and keep on sinning? And so Paul addressed that faulty thinking and explained that those who are truly baptized into (identified with) Jesus' death are freed from having to continue in sin.
The remarkable truth is that trusting Jesus results in a new life and a new future. We are no longer slaves to sin and freed from having to continue in sin! In the next chapters of Romans, Paul explained how we can walk in this newness of life and that God has provided the grace not only for justification, but for sanctification or the process of walking in the newness of life with Jesus.
We praise You that you provided a solution to the sin problem and a way for us to have brand new lives freed from sin. Thank you for being able to anticipate being raised with Christ one day. Cause us to grow in our faith in the gospel of Jesus and to be able to increasingly walk in the light of it.
Thanks Be To God! [Romans 7]
22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Paul described the every day struggle we face, the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit in us. The battle is in the mind where the choice is made as to who we will follow. However, without Jesus and His grace, we still can't choose to walk in the Spirit and find inner peace. This daily battle can only be won as we bow before God and surrender our struggles to Him and ask Him to empower us to do His will. Thanks be to God through Jesus our Lord...who sets me free from the body of this death.
We praise you God that in our daily struggles between our inner man and our flesh that Your grace is abundantly available to strengthen our inner man and win the battles. Cause us to keep going to you each day for every struggle exchanging our wretchedness for your ability. Amazing Grace!
The Love of God [Romans 8]
37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If I had to pick a favorite chapter in the Bible, I think Romans 8 would be it. Both Verna and I talked about some of the things that we could write about God from this chapter. There was the Spirit of God that enables us to choose to live for God in a world of flesh. We learn that God is behind the scenes working things out so that we will be will conformed us to Christ through our situations. Once again, the gospel is repeated and God's love for us is beautifully portrayed. If the book of Romans was a movie, chapter 8 would be the most moving and powerful moment in the story.
Today, I chose to highlight the last three verses because they perfectly cap this spectacular chapter. The bottom line is that we win through God because He loved us. And not only that, but that love surrounds and permeates our lives in such a way that we cannot be separated from it ever by anything. This is the truth. And no matter what is going on in your life at any given moment, no matter what your feelings tell you, you can always run to God and fill up on the love that He has for you. He loves you unconditionally and sacrificially and that makes all of the difference as you walk in the truth of that love.
We praise you God for Your perfect and always available love. Cause us to trust Your love and in the completed work of the cross of Christ so that we will be more than conquerors in our daily lives.
Is God Just? [Romans 9]
14What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." 16So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.
18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
19You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
In this chapter God, through Paul, explains His own character. Verse 6 begins this discussion with, "But it is not as though the word of God has failed." God is addressing the questions about His rightness in choosing to send His Son through Israel. Is there injustice in His choice to promise Abraham that Sarah would have the son through whom God would bless the whole world? Absolutely not! His mercy and compassion come from His character and "it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."
As the potter who created man, God has absolute right to display His wrath, to display His mercy and to display the riches of His glory. He chooses to offer people who were not His people to become His people, "sons of the living God" (v. 25) He is right to love those who are not lovable. He is offering both to the Jews and Gentiles redemption through His Son. "The one who believes on Him (Jesus) will not be put to shame" (Holman CSB) or be disappointed. (NASB)
We praise You God for Your faithfulness, Your mercy and compassion, Your rightness in choosing, Your love and Your offer of Your Son so that we can be "sons of the living God." Cause me to receive by faith the truth of who You are instead of questioning why You do what You do.
The Message of Faith Extended to All [Romans 10]
1Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.8But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
In the two paragraphs above we see the gospel spelled out so clearly. The first paragraph presents our need, the second one presents the message of faith. Paul's prayer was for the Jews' salvation but as we read this chapter we see his prayer extends to all. As you read this chapter, remember the three aspects of salvation - justified, sanctified and glorified.The need:
We have disregarded the righteousness that comes from God by attempting to establish our own righteousness.Result:
We have not submitted to God's righteousness (righteousness that comes by faith, Romans 9:30). "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."
The message of faith:
If we confess (acknowledge, agree with) with our mouth "Jesus is Lord," amd believe in our heart that God raised Jesus form the dead, we will be saved.
Believing in the heart results in righteousness,
Confessing with the mouth results in salvation.
Let us confess together our faith as we praise God for this great salvation He has extended to all who believe and call upon Him. "The same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him." He has provided the way for us to be right with Him through His Son. Jesus is Lord!
All Things Are from Him, through Him and to Him [Romans 11]
30For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.
33Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
As you read all of chapter 11 of Romans it is important to keep the context in mind. Starting in chapter 9 the discussion has been about Israel and where they are as a nation with the gospel message. He answers the question, "God has not rejected His people, has He?" with a resounding, "May it never be!" (v. 1) Just as He saved 7,000 men for Himself in Elijah's time, "In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." (vs.5-6)
He closes out this discussion by putting it all in perspective. Both the Jews and the Gentiles have once disobeyed God and have received mercy through that disobedience. And then the resounding truth - "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"
I needed to remember today about God's riches. As I am planning my youngest daughter's wedding I have found myself very concerned about riches, wondering how we would pay for it. And then I see that the important riches, the deep riches are in His wisdom and in knowing God. How He knew I needed to be reminded that "from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."
His Reflection in My Life [Romans 12]
1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
In this fantastic book God has been carefully unfolding His plan. In chapters 1-3 we saw our need - all have missed the mark of God's righteousness. Both Jews and Gentiles need salvation by faith in God's Son, Jesus. Chapters 4-5 clearly show how to receive that faith. 6-8 describes how that faith is lived out daily. In chapters 9-11 we see God's plan for the nation of Israel in relation to all the nations. And now chapter 12 begins with "therefore." In other words, in light of all that you have learned about God's desire for a relationship with you, now let me describe what that relationship looks like. This description is an important piece because it looks so foreign to what we have been used to in the world, the way we have been conformed or molded.
I heard recently heard it described as similar to a marriage covenant. When two people get married they start a new relationship, one of oneness, the combining of two persons. Sometimes we forget what that new relationship is all about and have to be reminded that because of the commitment we made we can't just please ourselves. When it is said not to commit adultery, it is less about rules and more about describing what that covenant means.
As we read Romans 12 we will understand it better as we think about it in these terms - because I have entered into a covenant relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus and His Spirit here is a description of that new relationship. "I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." It is going to involve a daily mind renewal because everything around us is committed to the world's system. But we are not alone. God is providing all that we need and He has given us others, with their gifts to be a part of the process. We are members of a community that is in covenant relationship with God, described as the body of Christ.
Because it looks so different from what we have lived in the past and what others around us are living, here is a description of what God did when He made us righteous:
9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.
17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
As we read a description of this covenant relationship He has made with us, don't forget all that was before the "therefore." God has provided all the power for this huge transformation. As we submit it Him and receive His power (grace) by acknowledging our weakness, our inability to "love without hypocrisy," and ask Him to do the work, He will make that transformation in us!
We praise You, Father, for the transforming work You are doing in us. Thank You for giving us a detailed description of Your divine reflection in our life so that we won't be deceived by the world's system. May You be glorified as we reflect Your righteousness.
Honor the Ones God Has Put in Authority [Romans 13]
1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. 8Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
This passage is part of a section that is describing what it looks like to live in covenant with the God of all righteousness. It involves our response to those God has put in authority over us. It is a reminder that God appoints our leaders and that they are actually His servants.
It is a good reminder for me this morning. I must admit that it is hard for me to watch the news and still honor my leaders. I acknowledge my lack of honor to those where honor is due because of their position. The bottom line is I don't have God's love for those who look like they are making foolish mistakes.
Lord, I see now that You are calling me to honor and love. You alone are able to cause me to believe that You are at work and You know what You are doing when You appointed my governing leaders. I need Your transforming grace (power) to change my mind and to love my rulers today. I praise You that "there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." I praise You that they are"servants of God" and that You honor them as such.
Walk in Love and Faith [Romans 14]
15For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.
16Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
20Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. 21It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. 22The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
How timely this passage is for me today. This weekend Dick (my husband) and I spent some time discussing whether or not he should eat more cookies and through that discussion God showed me that my focus is on food. It is so easy to get distracted and forget that "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." What am I pursuing when I forget this truth? I am certainly not pursuing "the things which make for peace and the building up of one another." What a description of "no longer walking according to love." I am actually destroying one "for whom Christ died."
Thankfully the God who is rich in mercy has already forgiven me and as I receive His mercy I can also receive the grace He is offering. I need His power, His enabling to have this "conviction before God," to seek to hear Him about what I should eat or not eat. Romans 10:17 reminds me from where faith comes, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
I praise You, Father, that Your kingdom is about "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Thank You for inviting me to live in Your kingdom and for providing the power to walk in love and faith.
The God of All Peace [Romans 15]
1Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME."4For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
33Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
As Paul brings this letter to a close, he finishes the thoughts about building each other up (edification). He wraps up the thoughts from the previous chapter with a reminder that "even Christ did not please Himself" but cared about us by taking our reproaches of God on Himself, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME." (Webster defines reproach as "to express disappointment or disapproval in someone," so Christ took all of our disappointment in God and let it fall on Him.) He did this so that we might have hope. This is how God's righteousness looks - He is the God of peace.
God is the one "who gives perseverance and encouragement" when we ask Him to grant that we "be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus." He is the God of peace and He is with us. Praise and glory belong to Him.
To Him Be Glory Forever [Romans 16]
25Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
As I read the greetings to different people in this chapter I wish I knew each one. Paul exudes love and appreciation for the part each one played in sharing the gospel. The sweet thing is, I will get to meet and know these people as I spend eternity with them. I will have a chance to hear their whole stories of how God used them in the church's early, formative years. And now that we are at the end of the letter to the Romans I find myself wishing it wouldn't end. What a wonderfully rich mixture of doctrine and personal encouragement we have had the privilege of reading together. I hope you have been as blessed as I have been as the Holy Spirit has ministered the truths to my heart.
Appropriately, Paul signs off with praise to God. Join me in praising Him through these wonderful reminders:
God is able to establish me according to the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ
He has revealed the mystery of the gospel that had been kept a secret for a long time
now He has opened it up to all nations
eternal God commanded it and revealed it "through the Scriptures of the prophets" and confirmed it through Jesus Christ
He is the only wise God and to Him be glory forever
What an awesome God we serve! How great a salvation He has provided for those who believe! Thank You, Lord, for the book of Romans!