Hear and Hold On

Hearing and Holding On – Proverbs 4:1-27

Verses 1-13 –  Hold on to wisdom; like a family heirloom.  Children are the fruit of marriage, and the responsibility of their teaching, their learning is that of the father and mother.  It is, however the responsibility of the child to learn the teachings which they are taught.  Hearing instruction; godly instruction; as lived by the parent is necessary for the child to see as well as hear.

When God is our Father, our Instructor/Teacher we know that His teaching is never in error.  If we err from His teaching it is the child who errs not the Father.  Remember Wisdom is personified in Proverbs, and is seen in the New Testament as Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.

Verses 14-19 –  There are two paths which each individual must choose from.  “The way of wisdom” is mentioned in verse 11.  We are shown that there are two  paths people can take.  “…The path of the wicked…” (v. 14), and “…The path of the just…” (v. 18).

The just and wise person is warned not to enter the path of wickedness.  It is the path of darkness and the way of evil men.  The path of the just is “…as the shining light…”.  The way of darkness is filled with dangerous, headlong, falls, that lead to death, destruction, deception, and eternal despair.  Most of all eternal darkness, separated from God, and His grace, mercy and love.

The path of the just is light filled with visibility.  There are falls, but the righteous can fall and rise again to continue in the way of light (Proverbs 24:16).  Decisions are made with clarity, and with a cause that will glorify the LORD.

Verses 20- 22 –  The child must give heed to the teaching of the parent’s wisdom received from God.

“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” John 12:35 KJV

There is life and light for all who choose wisdom, justness, and righteousness.

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8;  also see Psalm 16:11).

Verses 23-27 –  From the e-Sword edition of the Pulpit Commentary we find,

“WHAT IS TO BE KEPT. The heart. In the Bible the “heart” represents what we call the “head” as well as the affections and conscience to which we confine the word “heart;” i.e. it stands for the whole inner nature, the life of thought, feeling, and will. This is the “Town of Mansoul,” and it has the various constituents of a town.
1. Entrance gates. The soul is always receiving thoughts and impulses from without. It is important to see that no adulterated article, no poison, no subject of infectious disease comes in. Debased, false, and immoral impressions must be warded off.
2. Ways of exit. The broad river bears on her bosom argosies from the busy city to many a distant port. Let us see that the cargo is of good wares, in good measure, honestly realizing professions, containing no injurious things. Some hearts export only sham products, some deadly poisons. Deeds, words, even smiles and glances carrying thought and influences out of the soul must be carefully guarded.
3. Internal thoroughfares. The town is a network of streets and passages. Busy thoughts run to and fro in the heart. Let the traffic be orderly, the road well preserved, lest pure thoughts should be smirched with the mire of an unwholesome mental habit.
4. Storehouses. Memory has her treasuries, warehouses, granaries. Let us see that they are not crowded with rubbish, left in disorder, made fever nests by the corruption of any unhealthy contents. Nourishing truths and beautiful ideas should stock them.
5. Factories. In the heart we weave fine webs of fancy see that the pattern has the beauty of holiness; there, too, we forge great engines for future work see that they are constructed on safe and serviceable principles.
6. Halls of amusement. Let them be places of recreation, not of dissipation.
7. Shrines for worship. See that no idol takes the place of the true God, no hypocrisy does service for the incense of spiritual prayer and praise.
8. Graveyards of dead hopes and loves; keep them beautiful with flowers of tender memory. Are there also graves of dead sins? Plant weeping willows of penitence over them.” Pulpit Commentary; e-Sword edition

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”  Matthew 12:35

The point of verses 25 – 27 is for the just to keep their eyes open so as not to end up on the path of darkness and wickedness.   See Deuteronomy 5:32.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Road of Wisdom

The Road of Wisdom, and Her Blessings – Proverbs 3

Verses 1 – 12 –  In these verses we find that there are conditions for traveling the road of wisdom.

vv. 1-4; In these verses we find that we are expected to learn the “law of God”, keep His commandments; hang on to mercy and truth.  They are important enought to “write on the table of thine heart”.  The Psalmist says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”

vv. 5-6;  Trust is a complete surrender to His way.  It is like the defeated warrior submitting to the conquering king, or general, and putting your life into their hands.  Submission, Commitment, Obedience to God.
When we choose our own way, we are unruly, uncommitted, and disobedient.

vv. 7-10;  The following is excerpts from the Matthew Henry Commentary; Matthew Henry was born October 18, 1662 and died June 22, 1714.  He was born, raised, and lived and preached in England.

“We have here before us three exhortations, each of them enforced with a good reason:—I. We must live in a humble and dutiful subjection to God and his government (v. 7): “Fear the Lord, as your sovereign Lord and Master; be ruled in every thing by your religion and subject to the divine will.’’
II. We must make a good use of our estates, and that is the way to increase them, v. 9, 10. Here is,
1. A precept which makes it our duty to serve God with our estates: Honour the Lord with thy substance. It is the end of our creation and redemption to honour God, to be to him for a name and a praise; we are no other way capable of serving him than in his honour….
2. A promise, which makes it our interest to serve God with our estates. It is the way to make a little much, and much more; it is the surest and safest method of thriving: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty.
III. We must conduct ourselves aright under our afflictions, v. 11, 12. This the apostle quotes (Heb. 12:5), and calls it an exhortation which speaks unto us as unto children, with the authority and affection of a father. We are here in a world of troubles.”  MHC on Proverbs.

For the Christian, is there; or should there be a difference between spiritual and material?

vv. 11-12;  As Christians we must submit to God’s discipline; His chastening (Hebrews 12:6-8).

Verses 13 – 35 –  In these final 23 verses we will see the blessings of those who are willing to walk the “Road of Wisdom”.

vv. 13-18;  The wealth of wisdom.

“3. It is the happiness of paradise (v. 18): She is a tree of life. True grace is that to the soul which the tree of life would have been, from which our first parents were shut out for eating of the forbidden tree. It is a seed of immortality, a well of living waters, springing up to life eternal. It is an earnest of the New Jerusalem, in the midst of which is the tree of life, Rev. 22:2; 2:7. Those that feed and feast on this heavenly wisdom shall not only be cured by it of every fatal malady, but shall find an antidote against age and death; they shall eat and live for ever.”  MHC on Proverbs.

vv. 19-20;  In peace and harmony with God’s creation.

“This should make us in love with the wisdom and understanding which God gives, that the Lord by wisdom founded the earth, so that it cannot be removed, nor can ever fail of answering all the ends of its creation, to which it is admirably and unexceptionably fitted. By understanding he has likewise established the heavens and directed all the motions of them in the best manner. The heavenly bodies are vast, yet there is no flaw in them—numerous, yet no disorder in them—the motion rapid, yet no wear or tear; the depths of the sea are broken up, and thence come the waters beneath the firmament, and the clouds drop down the dews, the waters from above the firmament, and all this by the divine wisdom and knowledge; therefore happy is the man that finds wisdom, for he will thereby be thoroughly furnished for every good word and work.” MHC on Proverbs

vv. 21-26; God cares for His own.  Those who have the wisdom of God and rest in His provisions, faith, His word, His precepts, His laws; need not fear at all.  He will take care of you [us] who are in Him (1 Peter 5:7).

vv. 27–35; The Christian has positive and caring relationships with their neighbors.  The second commandment which Jesus gives, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40) could come into focus here.  Who is our neighbor?  Jesus answered that question with the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37).

Of verse 35 Matthew Henry has written,

“4. The end of sinners will be everlasting shame, the end of saints endless honour, v. 35.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Deliverance from the Evil, and from the Strange

The notes below are taken from the BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY.

Deliverance From the Evil and the Strange – Proverbs 2:10-22

Verses 10 – 11 –   “The reason this happens is that wisdom takes control of one’s mind or heart, and the knowledge of what is right becomes pleasant rather than distasteful. To the true believer, God’s commands are not irksome. Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.

2:11  Discretion, or the ability to make wise decisions, saves a person from many a “bad trip.” Sound judgment delivers us from involvement with wicked men. None of us realizes the extent to which we are daily preserved from spiritual, moral, and physical perils. The Christian enjoys a well-guarded life, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” From the Believer’s Bible Commentary – Libronix Digital Library System

Verses 20 – 22 –  “Link verse 20 with verse 11. Wisdom preserves not only from evil men and the strange woman, but, on the positive side, it encourages companionship with those who are worthwhile and upright.

2:21, 22  Under the Law of Moses, men of integrity—the upright and the blameless—were rewarded with a secure place in the land of Canaan. When we come over to the NT, these material blessings in earthly places give way to spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. But the fact remains that righteousness and decency are rewarded in this life as well as in the life to come.
It is equally true that the wicked will be cut off from the land of blessing. There is no lasting inheritance there for the treacherous.”  Ibid.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Wisdom’s Voice

Wisdom’s Voice – Proverbs 1:20 – 33

Verses 20 –  The Voice of Wisdom.  Matthew Henry in the commentary has written,

“I. By whom God calls to us—by wisdom. It is wisdom that crieth without. The word is plural—wisdoms, for, as there is infinite wisdom in God, so there is the manifold wisdom of God, Eph. 3:10. God speaks to the children of men by all the kinds of wisdom, and, as in every will, so in every word, of God there is a counsel. 1. Human understanding is wisdom, the light and law of nature, the powers and faculties of reason, and the office of conscience, Job 38:36. By these God speaks to the children of men, and reasons with them. The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord; and, wherever men go, they may hear a voice behind them, saying, This is the way; and the voice of conscience is the voice of God, and not always a still small voice, but sometimes it cries. 2. Civil government is wisdom; it is God’s ordinance; magistrates are his vicegerents [viceregents?]. God by David had said to the fools, Deal not foolishly, Ps. 75:4. In the opening of the gates, and in the places of concourse, where courts were kept, the judges, the wisdom of the nation, called to wicked people, in God’s name, to repent and reform. 3. Divine revelation is wisdom; all its dictates, all its laws, are wise as wisdom itself. God does, by the written word, by the law of Moses, which sets before us the blessing and the curse, by the priests’ lips which keep knowledge, by his servants the prophets, and all the ministers of this word, declare his mind to sinners, and give them warning as plainly as that which is proclaimed in the streets or courts of judicature by the criers. God, in his word, not only opens the case, but argues it with the children of men. Come, now, and let us reason together, Isa. 1:18. 4. Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms, for in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and he is the centre of all divine revelation, not only the essential Wisdom, but the eternal Word, by whom God speaks to us and to whom he has committed all judgment; he it is therefore who here both pleads with sinners and passes sentence on them. He calls himself Wisdom, Lu. 7:35.”  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY (From the Libronix Digital Library System)

Verses 21-23 –  The Places Wisdom speaks.  Alexander MacLaren wrote many years ago,

“The call of Wisdom in this passage begins with remonstrance and plain speech, giving their right names to men who neglect her voice. The first step in delivering men from evil-that is, from foolish-courses is to put very clearly before them the true character of their acts, and still more of their inclinations. Gracious offers and rich promises come after; but the initial message of Wisdom to such men as we are must be the accusation of folly. ‘When she is come, she will convict the world of sin.’

The three designations of men in Pro_1:22 are probably arranged so as to make a climax. First come ‘the simple,’ or, as the word means, ‘open.’ There is a sancta simplicitas, a holy ignorance of evil, which is sister to the highest wisdom. It is well to be ignorant as well as ‘innocent of much transgression’; and there is no more mistaken and usually insincere excuse for going into foul places than the plea that it is best to know the evil and so choose the good. That knowledge comes surely and soon enough without our seeking it. But there is a fatal simplicity, open-eared, like Eve, to the Tempter’s whisper, which believes the false promises of sin, and as Bunyan has taught us, is companion of sloth and presumption.”  (e-Sword edition)

Verses 24-33 –  The cries to which Wisdom listens.  John Gill, an associate of Charles H. Spurgeon wrote,

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them,…. Or be the cause of their being slain; even their turning away from Christ, their aversion to him; their turning their backs on him, and a deaf ear to him; their turning away from his Gospel, and putting it from them, thereby judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life: in all which they showed themselves to be the “simple” and “foolish” persons they were; and for which wrath and ruin came upon them, and they were slain with the sword and famine, and by one another. Some render it, as Aben Ezra, “the rest” or “quietness of the simple” (k), &c. taking up their rest in themselves, and in their observance of ceremonies and traditions; and crying Peace, peace, when sudden destruction was at hand: or a stubborn hardened rest in sin, a seared conscience; having no sense of guilt, nor fear of punishment; living in carnal security till death should seize upon them;

and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them; that is, the abuse of it; leading them to commit sins, which bring destruction upon them; or, seeing sinners live with impunity, and prosper in the world, take encouragement from thence to indulge themselves in sin, which is their ruin; or, being in prosperity, think it will always be well with them, and therefore put away the evil day far from them, which comes upon them at an unawares; which was the case of the Jews.” (e-Sword edition)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Man of Understanding

THE MAN OF UNDERSTANDING

Hearing Wisdom From Human Sources – Proverbs 1:8-19

Verse 8 –  The first line of defense against evil for the child is the parents and their wisdom concerning good, right, wrong, godliness, evil, Righteousness and unrighteousness.

If the parents are not wise in the things of God, then their children are in danger of great peril.  The child is to listen to their parents teaching with interest in what they are teaching.
“Obey the correction, discipline, chastisement of your father.  Do not throw away, cast off the law of your mother.”

Verse 9 –  By hearing, obeying your father, and grasping hold of your mother’s teaching, and cherishing her teachings they will be like a golden chain around your neck (Genesis 41:42-43).

For they (shall be) an ornament of grace unto thy head. The sentiment here expressed is put forward as an inducement to youth to observe obedience towards the instruction of the father and the law of the mother, and the meaning is that, just as in popular opinion ornaments and jewels are supposed to set off the personal form, so obedience towards parents in the ways of virtue embellishes the moral character (Bayne, Cartwright, Holden).  From The Pulpit Commentary (e-Sword edition).

Could it be that a child who grows in wisdom will be seen as having a “Good head on his shoulders”?

Verses 10-19 –  The enticements, alluring and greed of the evil will lead to murder.

There is temptation which comes from outside the individual sinner.  Those who “lay wait for blood”  There is a certain greed, lust, thirst for power which cares not whose life it may harm.

This greed for blood comes from lustful desire for material gain to be seen as powerful, famous, and beautiful.

Within these verses are two warnings to “consent thou not”, and of what this evil does.  Verse 10, and verse 15 is a call to “walk not in the way with them”.
The Pulpit Commentary gives us a point to think about,

“HOW THE TEMPTATION IS TO BE MET. “Consent thou not.” Let no man deem himself the helpless victim of temptation. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able,” etc. (1Co_10:13) We have wills. We can say “Yes” and “No.” We are not responsible for meeting with temptation, since even Christ felt the cruel force of this trial, but we are responsible for the way we behave under it. one thing to be tempted, Another thing to fall.

Psalm 119 gives some words of wisdom and instruction as well, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.  With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”  Psalm 119:9-11 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Understanding and Wisdom

A study through Proverbs.

THE MAN OF UNDERSTANDING

Contents of Wisdom – Proverbs 1:1-19

FIVE QUESTIONS by Warren Wiersbe –

1. What is the major theme of the Book of Proverbs?
2. Who wrote the Book of Proverbs and how is it written?
3. What is the key verse that helps “unlock” the book? [1:7]
4. What does Proverbs say about Jesus Christ? [Colossians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30
5. What must we do to get the most out of the book?

From BE SKILLFUL BY Warren W. Wiersbe

“Proverbs are pithy statements that summarize in a few choice words practical truths relating to some aspect of everyday life.”  Wiersbe

“As you study, keep in mind that Hebrew proverbs are generalized statements of what is usually true in life, and they must not be treated like promises.”  Wiersbe

Verse 1 – This verse tells us that these are “Proverbs of Solomon”, however, as we proceed through these words of wisdom we will see that he is not the author of all the Proverbs, but he is probably responsible for compiling them into a book. There are also some of the proverbs which were copied by Hezekiah’s men (25:1), and then there are those called “the wise” (22:17; 24:23), a man named Agur (30:1-33), and Lemuel (31:1-9), and then who wrote 31:10-31 “The Virtuous Woman”?

It is quite clear that with the exception of those mentioned Solomon is responsible for these proverbs.

Verses 2 – 6 – The purpose of the Proverbs is explained by these verses. “To know wisdom”, and I would add here that he is speaking of godly wisdom, not earthly wisdom as James contrast the two (James 3:13-18).

One thing that comes out in Proverbs is that those who have wisdom will listen to others; especially those in authority; such as parents.
For understanding the Proverbs one needs the Spirit of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16; Romans 8:9).

Verses 7 -9 – Having a reverence for God is a theme of Proverbs. “The fear of the LORD…” is not being afraid of making a bad choice.

The MacArthur Study Bible notes verse 7 in part –

“The fear of the LORD is a state of mind in which one’s own attitudes, will, feelings, deeds, and goals are exchanged for God’s (cf. Ps. 42:1)”

Instruction is important for learning; there are some who refuse instruction in wisdom. You can be sure they are not wise.

Verses 10 – 19 – Advice is given by wise parents to a learning son. Shun evil. These not so wise people will make evil sound so pleasant, and even apear pleasant, and enjoyable it could be a lure to do the evil, rather than the right and good.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Christian Love and Liberty

Christian Love and Liberty

Romans 14:1-23

In question are things to which there are not clear Biblical answers. These are problems which Scripture gives little to no guidance, or to which the rituals or ceremonies no longer have meaning.

In the church of Rome there were people from diverse backgrounds, similar to our nation of the USA today. It was pluralistic, and divided by many cultures. Some of the Christians were Jewish and had been subjected to many ceremonial laws and rituals. Just how was a Jewish Christian to view these matters now? These laws included certain meats which were not lawful to eat. Another culture was pagan and they worshipped idols and could eat the meats.

Becoming Christian, and not realizing the new freedom they had in Christ; they might feel guilt for not participating in the Jewish ceremonies, holy days, and no longer rejecting certain meats. They were still weak, and of an immature faith. They would also judge others for their lack of participation as well.

The pagan/Gentiles becoming Christians would forsake their idols they had worshipped, refuse to eat any meat that had been offered to those idols. Because of their immaturity they would pass judgment upon the other Christians who had the liberty to purchase the meat and eat it.

Paul addresses these issues in this chapter. For the immature Christian to participate in something they believe to be sin it is sin. For the mature Christian to participate in something they know will offend the immature Christian; it is sin. The mature Christian is at liberty to live for Christ, and will not be offended by the acts of others.

1.  The Christian in Love Receives the Weak (vv. 1-3).

Not for the purpose of argument. To love, strengthen, encourage, and teaching the doctrines and truths of God’s Word. If the one who does not eat does not judge the one who does eat, but the one who does eat judges the one who does not; which of the two is the mature one? It is the one who has not judged.

2. The Christian in Love Refrains from Judging the One Who is Bound (4-14).

We are all accountable to God. He is our judge. If I judge a fellow Christian a sinner because they have no conviction against drinking beverage alcohol, and they drink it in my presence or not, then, am I judging rightly? Only if they are drunk. My conviction is that Christians should refrain from imbibing in beverage alcohol, but it does not offend me, or cause me to stumble if others do.

3. The Christian in Love Restrains the Freedom Which May Offend the Weak (vv. 15-23).

One of the greatest acts of love is freedom which will not offend or harm others. New Christians may not understand some of the freedoms we have in Christ. We never have the freedom to offend weaker brothers and sisters in Christ. There is no law that can empower us to live a righteous life (Gal. 5:22-23). “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christian Responsibilities

Christian Responsibilities

Romans 13:8-14

In the last study and in verses 1 – 7 we looked at “The Christian and Government” and could have called it the “Christian’s Responsibility to Government”. We also have responsibilities to others. Those we know and to those we do not know. To those we love, and to those we should love.

The words of verse eight, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” are not against owing money as in a debt for a legitimate financial transaction. It has to do with keeping our debts paid, and especially the debt of love. It is what we owe to all. In loving one another we fulfill the law, and it is a debt that is never paid in full.

God’s love paid in full the debt which we owed Him. That debt of sin was paid by Jesus’s death on the cross, and the evidence of that paid debt was the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and God’s declaring by Him, our justification.

In verse nine Paul gives us five of the Ten Commandments; all having to do with human relationships. Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”, and “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself “ (Mark 12:30-31).

Paul sums these five laws up in much the same way; “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

One motivation for not committing these sins would be to think about how we would feel if someone committed these sins against us. Asking ourselves the question before we sin against a neighbor: “How would I feel if this was done against me?”

Love does not seek to do harm to neighbors. It rather seeks to do good. To love one’s neighbor seeks better for them than for one’s self. This is the fulness of the law.

Not only do we as Christians have responsibilities with our neighbors, but

WE ALSO HAVE RESPONSIBILITY WITH THE TIMES IN WHICH WE LIVE.

The time which we live requires and urgency due to the nearness of the return of Jesus Christ. We are nearer to the completion of our salvation than we were at the beginning.

It is time to cast off the works and deeds of the flesh, and be clothed in the “armor of His light”

Walking honestly, that all things may be seen, as in the light;

With lives of purity, holiness, and not debauchery, rebellion and sin;

Loving one another as we have been given commandment; approving the good of brothers and sisters in Christ; and promoting them;

Putting on Christ Jesus requires and act of the heart and soul and mind; Walking in the Holy Spirit – “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Gifted Believer

Every Believer Gifted

Romans 12:3-8

God has placed each believer in the church to serve Him and other believers. He has not done so, and left us without desires and gifts which enable us to serve.

These gifts are not given for any to boast superiority over another, as has so often been the case with the mystical gifts; such as healing, tongues, miracles; which were reserved for the apostles, as an evidence of their call and appointment by God. These gifts of the Spirit to which we are speaking of in this study are given for the Church to have balanced ministry. No one spiritual gift is of any greater importance than the other.

Since God is the Giver of these “Grace gifts”, there is really no way any one believer has the right to think more “Highly [of himself], than he ought to thing” (v. 3). We are each responsible for the use of the gift(s) God has given us. They are, however, to be used in conjunction with other’s gifts; not separate from them. When believers use their gifts without the balance of the other gifts you have unbalanced churches.

Churches cannot operate properly if everyone is a “Lone Ranger”. Where there is unity of purpose, yet understanding of diversity; with the proper use of spiritual gifts God gives a balanced healthy, growing church.

The gifts Paul mentions in Romans and the ones which are practical for everyday Christian living for today –

1.  Prophecy – This is the “Speaking forth” of the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is its greatest meaning. In the Old Testament even, the prophet was a “Forth-teller” more than a forteller of the future. This gift is abused by taking on oneself more than God has spoken.

2.  Ministry or Serving – This is a ministry given most of the time for deacons, for the deacons of the early church were servants and serving the widows of the church; but it includes being a servant where ever the servant sees the need. One with the servants heart is usually always looking for an opportunity to serve others. Often can become selfish and not letting others help out.

3.  Teaching – This is teaching which goes beyond just a Sunday School teacher, but does include it. The one with this gift enjoys the study of God’s Word just as much or even more than presenting it to others, and is able to present it clearly and understandably to others. Can become full of his/her own knowledge, and become distant from others.

4.  Exhortation – This gift is the gift that is able to show others in a step by step approach ways of correcting wrongs done, or encouragement in right things done, and to do right things. If not cautious can become a “Know it all” even correcting when others don’t want to hear it, nor need to hear it.

5.  Giving – Most of the time people with this gift are usually gifted in making money too, and strongly desires to use their wealth for the glory of the Lord, and the growth of His kingdom. They are also concerned greatly with how God’s money is used or spent. If the heart is not right can become selfish with the wealth, begin to hoard it and not share it with others or give it to the Lord’s work.

6.  Ruler or Leader – The ones with this gift is able to give direction for a group of people and set an example for others to follow. If not controlled by the Spirit of the Lord can become like a dictator rather than a leader pushing.

7.  Mercy – The people with this gift are very kind, non-judgmental, always willing to accept others on their word and testimony, and they can be very gullible, and weak in the discipline department concerning sin.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Living Sacrifice

The Committed Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2

In chapters 1-3 Paul writes his opening greeting, and from the greeting to verse 20 of chapter three he writes of the sinfulness of mankind, and our condemnation. From chapter 3 and verse 21 to chapter 8 verse 39 he has written of the righteousness of God, and that there is justification for all who will come through faith in Jesus Christ. In chapters 9 – 11 we have Paul’s theology and eschatology on the Nation of Israel, and their place in “God’s Plan of Salvation”. In the remainder of the book of Romans we will be looking at the practicality of the theology which Paul has written.

It would seem to me that Paul; using the background of the previous three chapters; is reminding us to be unlike Israel. Those chapters have an inherent warning of turning away from the Lord. It too, does have promise for the Nation of Israel, that God has not forsaken them. The warning and the promise should be especially meaningful to Christians.

There are a few words and phrases in these two verses that will be necessary for clearer understanding of what Paul is teaching us.

1.  “Beseech” – is a word which is from the same word family where the word “Comforter” is taken for the Holy Spirit = “Paraklete” “parakaleō par-ak-al-eh’-o From G3844 and G2564; to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): – beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.” See John 14:26. Paul strongly urges the believer.

2.  “Mercies of God” – We receive mercy from God every day. It is not something we often thank Him for. These mercies include His love, and all that Paul has reminded us of through chapter eleven, than again here. “His mercy is everlasting”; “His mercy endureth forever”.

3.  “Present your bodies a living sacrifice” – There are some who believe and teach that God is only interested in our soul or spirit. That is not true, however. Here we see Paul strongly urging the believer to “come along side” with God’s mercies, and give our “bodies” as “Living sacrifices”. Giving the body as a living sacrifice means sacrificing the fleshly appetites which would take us away from holiness, and away from being “holy and acceptable unto God”. The body, after all will be redeemed from the grave, a brand new body. This present body must be presented fully unto God, that He might do a work in us for cleansing, purging, and making it holy unto Him.

4.  “Reasonable service” – The MacArthur Study Bible note on this verse, “reasonable service. ‘Reasonable’ is from the Gr. For ‘logic.’ In light of all the spiritual riches believers enjoy solely as the fruit of God’s mercies (Rom. 11:33,36), it logically follows that they owe God their highest form of service. Understood here is the idea of priestly, spiritual service, which was such an integral part of OT worship.” p.1716. The LORD God, our Lord and Savior deserves the highest form of worship and service.

5.  “Be not conformed to this world” – Conforming is taking on an identity that is not the genuine reflection of the heart or the inner being. A sheep putting on a wolf’s clothing [skins] in order to dwell among the wolves for example. Why do we have Christians who may have the greatest motives wanting to put on the array of the harlot, the gambler, the drunk? It is not the array of God. The prince and princess should dress and act accordingly, so as not to bring shame to the King.

6.  “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – a metamorphosis refers to an outward change that has transpired which is a result of the inward change. It represents a change for the whole person. Not just for a short period of time, but day by day, and for every moment of each day. This kind of “transformation occurs only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of the believer, and the power of the Word of God working in our lives. The renewed mind is saturated with the Word of God. “Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word” (Psalm 119:9 KJV).

7.  “That you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God” – Basically the only way to be good, acceptable and in the perfect will of God is by being the living sacrifice to God that Paul has admonished us to be. The individual who does not know God’s will for their life is in disobedience in their life.

The practical message here is that our bodies are to be presented as living sacrifices. Yielded to the Lord for His service, His will and His glory. We are strongly urged to do so, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God. It is proved by living such lives before the eyes of a watching world whom we do not think is watching.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Taking Away Sin

Take Away Their Sins

Romans 11:25-36

In the last study vv. 15-24 we saw a warning from Paul to what could be called the apostate church. The apostate church would be those who deny the truths of the Word of God; who believe they are Israel, claiming for themselves things which are not theirs; who do not believe the prophecies of the Word of God; those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power of God.

It is the mere grace and a blessing of God that the Church has been grafted into the tree. Just as there was/is an apostate Israel, there is also an apostate church. This “church” rejects the Word of God, God’s messengers, and seeks to indulge in the world’s ways to “build the church”. God promised to restore Israel, but there are no promises of restoring an apostate church. The apostate church will be destroyed (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Rev. 3:14-22; 17:1-7; 18:1-8). The apostate church is any “church” or denomination which spiritualizes the Scriptures, denies the power of God to change lives, denies the authority of God’s Word, and denies the physical body and blood of Jesus and physical resurrection. Any one, or all of these are refused and/or denied by the apostate churches.

THE BLINDNESS OF ISRAEL IS ONLY TEMPORARY (v. 25).

1.  This blindness of Israel will begin ending when Gentile rule of the world is brought to the full.
2.  Their blindness will only last until the final soul is brought into the Church, and then, judgment will come on the earth; also known as the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).

GOD WILL NOT FORSAKE HIS PROMISES, NOR HIS PEOPLE (vv. 26-29).

1.  “All Israel shall be saved” does not mean that everyone ever born a Jew will be saved. It does mean that all those Jews who came through the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’, believing in Jesus as their Messiah, Lord and Savior will be saved.
2.  It is God’s covenant promise that He will send “The Deliverer’ and ‘turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Jeremiah 31:33-40).
3.  Are we to assume that Paul in writing, “Turn away ungodliness from Jacob” is only speaking spiritually? This includes the full promises of God.
4.  If we assume Paul is spiritualizing this promise then, we surely must assume the same thing concerning his own heritage in verse one of this chapter.
5.  The promises God made to Israel are for Israel and do not go to the Church. These promises are of their having and ongoing future kingdom on earth.
6.  When God makes promises, gives gifts, and calls; those things are irrevocable (v. 29).

THE CHURCH A SOURCE OF MERCY TO NATIONAL ISRAEL (vv. 30-32).

1.  We have received mercy because of Israel’s unbelief.
2.  Through the mercy of saved Gentiles, who make up the majority of the Church, Israel will receive mercy.
3.  Unbelief is and was perilous for Israel, and is perilous for all. It is especially perilous for those who profess Jesus Christ, yet, only give Him “Lip service”, but their “Hearts are far from Him.

THINGS TOO HARD TO UNDERSTAND CAN BE ACCEPTED BY FAITH (vv. 33-36).

1.  Following his writing of the irrevocable promises of God Paul breaks out into praise
2.  Paul, having called this a “Mystery” (v. 25), still sees this as being beyond understanding, We can know that the promises of God never fail. If they do; we could all be in a whole lot of trouble.
3.  “…His ways past finding out” (v. 33), but he believes God, and so should we. Faith is expressed in living a life of commitment and praise even when we do not understand.
4.  We have this assurance – “Believing God; He declares us righteous.”
5.  All this is about God, and for His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Broken Branches; Grafted In

Broken Branches – Grafted In

Romans 11:15-24

Paul begins using the allegory of an olive tree. The breaking off of some of the branches represents reprobate national Israel. Note verse 20; they were broken off, because of their unbelief and the Church –Gentile believers–were grafted in. Unnaturally grafted in– “A wild olive tree” (v. 17) into a domesticated tree.

THEIR CASTING AWAY THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD (v. 15).

Is there to be a receiving of them back?

When they return it will be “Life from the dead”.

THE FIRSTFRUIT, THE LUMP, THE ROOT, AND THE BRANCHES (v.16)

The “firstfruit” was the first part that was to be given to the Lord; is the holy kingdom of Israel. It is this “firstfruit” which has been declared “holy” by God. It is from this “Firstfruit” which came the Branch, and from this Branch is given life to all who will believe.

The “Lump” is counted as the whole of the “Firstfruits”. Because the firstfruits is holy the “Lump” is holy.

The “Root” is then, those who were the Patriarchs of Israel, ie., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was upon these that the hypocritical Pharisees, based their “righteousness”. The “Root” is grounded in the eternal promises, and covenants of the Person and Word of God.

The “branches” are the descendants of the root. Those who were born through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Of the greatest importance was to be born of the same faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All that have this faith have it through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had this relationship looking forward by grace through faith to the cross of Christ. Those born again today have it by looking back by grace through faith.

BROKEN BRANCHES, FROM THE ROOT AND FATNESS OF THE TREE (vv. 17-18).

Wild olive branches grafted in. Grafting is the art of joining one plant to another. The MERRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary defines “Graft”, “To insert a shoot from one plant into another so that they join and grow.” It is also done with skin for burn victims. The olive tree is Israel, and the wild olive tree.

There should be no boasting on the Gentile’s part concerning the faith we have through Jesus Christ. The root after all is our reason for believing.

BROKEN OFF TO ALLOW OTHERS TO BE GRAFTED IN (vv. 19-24).

Unbelief was the reason for them being broken off. This alone should cause us to realize that it is solely by grace that any is saved. If any forsake the Lord there is no redemption, no faith, and no hope.

Remember the goodness of God without forgetting the severity of the Lord as well. Goodness came to the Gentile due to the severity of God upon the Jew.

Should Israel come out of their unbelief they will be grafted back into the tree. The God of all creation is able to graft them in again.

Paul seems to leave no doubt as to the end result of the faith of Israel (v. 24). Will they be grafted in again? The Word of the Lord and their faith will tell. Look to the Word of the Lord.

1. The very things in which these trusted would become a snare unto them. The table usually thought to be a place of safety, because of their rejection of Messiah would become a snare, a trap, and a stumbling block. The very things they believed in were the source of their blinding.

2. In the source of Paul’s quotation even David says this of those who would give our Savior gall to drink.

3. Can we as Christians become so knowledgeable or stringent on ordinances or law that we miss our Lord and Savior?

 

Provoked Jealousy

Provoked To Jealousy

Romans 11:7-14

Many Israeli people who live in the land, most of them calling themselves Jewish, have no convictions concerning God, or promises of the land. More of those who profess to be orthodox Jews are growing toward that.

National Israel is in a state of unbelief. They adhere to the old forms of ritualism and laws, but are unable to practice them, and they do not know God, The ones who do know God have been chosen by Him, and through their faith in Jesus Christ; the true Messiah of Israel. The old forms were relying upon their rituals, Sabbaths, and holy days to achieve righteousness.

THEY HAD NOT OBTAINED THAT FOR WHICH THEY HAD SOUGHT (vv. 7-8)

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for:”

They, the orthodox Jew, was seeking the righteousness of God by their rituals. When their means of salvation presented Himself to them they crucified Him.

2. “…But the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” The one’s who were chosen and elected by God to faith in Jesus Christ were the one’s who truly obtained the righteousness of God. They met Jesus, believed Him, and followed Him; and through them established what we know as the Church.

3. “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” Romans 11:8 (KJV). The one’s who continued to reject did so because their eyes were blinded, but as we shall see later in this study of chapter 11 it was for the benefit of Gentiles blessing.

DAVID EVEN HAS SOMETHING TO SAY CONCERNING UNBELIEVING ISRAEL (v. 9- 10; Psalm 69:21-23).

“And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:  Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.” Romans 11:9-10 (KJV).

1. The very things in which these trusted would become a snare unto them. The table usually thought to be a place of safety, because of their rejection of Messiah would become a snare, a trap, and a stumbling block. The very things they believed in were the source of their blinding.

2. In the source of Paul’s quotation even David says this of those who would give our Savior gall to drink.

3. Can we as Christians become so knowledgeable or stringent on ordinances or law that we miss our Lord and Savior?

IF THROUGH THE FALL OF THE JEW WE HAVE BEEN SAVED, HOW MUCH MORE RICHNESS SHALL THERE BE WHEN THEY REACH FULFILLMENT IN CHRIST (vv. 11-12)?

“ I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” Romans 11:11-12 (KJV)

1. It seems implied that the question is “Have they fallen to never rise again?” And, Paul’s answer to that is “God forbid!” or “NO!”. Salvation came to the Gentiles through their fall, and to make them jealous. We have received what they have long sought for, the righteousness of God.

2. The kingdom of Christ will be full with the household of Israel coming into the kingdom fold. This will be a blessing to the whole Church.

PAUL’S CONTINUED DESIRE TO SEE HIS BRETHREN IN THE FLESH COME TO CHRIST (vv. 13-14)

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” Romans 11:13-14 (KJV)

1. Though Paul, as a Jew, is an apostle to the Gentiles; he has not given up on the Hebrew people. When we have been called to faith in Jesus there are people that we will no longer have close associations with. That should not mean that we forget them, and never share the faith of Jesus Christ with them.

2. To have desire that others would be saved, and do what we can to see them saved, is more than admirable it is our commission.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Not Forsaken; Not Forgotten

Set Aside; But Not Forgotten

Romans 11:1-6

Paul has now pointed out clearly Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah. Israel is a very religious people, but lost as a nation. Is this not enough evidence to prove to us that the rejection of Jesus is also rejecting God and His righteousness. It should be enough.

In this portion of this study of chapter eleven we learn that God has not forsaken, or cast away Israel. Paul, an Israelite, is evidence of that, along with Peter, James, John, Matthew… They are part of the remnant to which Paul is referring.

CAN GOD BE TRUSTED TO FULFILL HIS WORD TO HIS PEOPLE (v. 1)?

“I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.“ Romans 11:1 (KJV).

‘Cast away’ – the meaning is to be cast out to never be blessed with God’s presence again. The idea is presented by some that God is finished with Israel for all time. That the only hope for Israel is to come into the Church, and of course that would be ideal. That is the purpose of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection; however, the house of Israel rejected Jesus, but they will, one day look on Him whom they pierced.

‘I also am an Israelite’ – The fact of Paul’s presence in salvation through faith in Christ is promise to the Jewish people, that a remnant of them will be saved. Paul’s conversion is evidence that Israel is not forsaken. God still desires the whole Nation of Israel to trust His Son Jesus.

WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY OF ELIJAH (v. 2).

“ God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,…” Romans 11:2 (KJV).

Elijah was praying against the nation of Israel. He was grieved by their rejection of God and how they had turned to Baal (Read 1 Kings 19:10-18). Elijah following the victory on Mount Carmel ran for his life from the queen [Jezebel], and believed himself to be the only true follower of Jehovah. Even prophets can allow the flesh to intervene and ruin their lives, but God will set them straight; just as He did Elijah.

‘God has not cast away His people’ – There is not much clearer statement in all Scripture that God will fulfill His Word and save His people.

THERE ARE MANY WHOM GOD HAS RESERVED, AND KEPT AS WORSHIPPERS OF MESSIAH (vv. 3-4).

“Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Romans 11:3-4 (KJV).

‘Killed Thy prophets…’ – It had been the order of queen Jezebel to kill the prophets of Jehovah, God of Israel, thus many of the men of God had died. There were also many who were hiding out in some of the caves. Obadiah a servant to king Ahab was a God-fearing man, knew the treachery of Jezebel – that she had killed many prophets – thus, he hid a hundred in two different caves and fed them (See 1 Kings 18:1-4).

‘Digged down Thine Altars’ – It was Jezebel’s intent to destroy the worship of Jehovah. She loved her pleasure, power and pomp. She was the one who ruled the throne of Israel – the Northern Kingdom. Everywhere there was an altar to Jehovah it was torn down, but she could not control the hearts of Elijah, nor the other prophets being hid, nor the 7,000 who had bowed their knee to Baal – Jezebel.

ACCORDING TO THE ELECTION OF GRACE (vv. 5-6).

“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:5-6 (KJV).

‘At this present time’ – During the days of Paul. Paul and the other Jews who had been saved are evidences of the grace of God.

‘There is a remnant’ – Just as God had a remnant who believed Him in Elijah’s day He had one for the days following the resurrection of Jesus, and He has a remnant for the return of Jesus. The remnant are “Children of the seed” or of ‘the Promise’(9:6-7). God’s children became God’s children by God’s promise. It was not by their own efforts. Is a baby born by his/her own choosing? NO! Is it born by God’s choice? YES! No one, who is physically born had a choice in the matter. It was determined by an act of the mother, the father and the sovereignty of God. The Scofield Study Bible defines “Remnant” as ‘A spiritual Israel within the national Israel” (p. 1205).

‘No more of works’ – We often say that we are saved by grace alone. Sometimes we say, or at least I do, that “We are saved by grace alone, plus nothing, minus nothing”. Since we are saved by “Grace alone” there can be no works which redeem us. If we are saved by grace, we are kept by grace, grow by grace, and appear before Jesus by grace.

‘No more grace’ – If we attribute any part of the saving work of Christ to our works, then, there is no more grace. Grace cancels out works, and/or works cancels out grace. The two are exclusive. You can be saved only by works alone, or by Grace alone. We are saved by grace alone. There is no other way of being right with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Salvation Preaching, Hearing, and Unbelief

Salvation, Preaching, and Unbelief

Romans 10:9-21

The leaders of Israel had been so blinded by their religion that they missed the very one for whom their Scriptures had foretold. It seems they had been searching, searching, looking in the stars, over the seas, over lands, and in their own righteousness, but to no avail. Paul tell them and us that it is near, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;“ v. 8 ; Deut. 30:12-13 (KJV). Jesus even told them, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:39-40 (KJV). They had the truth of Jesus before their faces and missed it.

SO WHAT IS NEEDED FOR SALVATION?

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-11 (KJV).

Confession – this includes an admission of one’s sins; it also includes confession of God,

“…a deep personal conviction, without reservation, that Jesus is that person’s own master or sovereign. This phrase includes the repenting from sin, trusting in Jesus for salvation, and submitting to Him as Lord.” The MACARTHUR Study Bible pg. 1712 study notes.

Believe the resurrection as the validation of the ministry of Jesus Christ; it proves beyond doubt that Jesus is all and everything He claimed to be.

For those who will confess and believe there is no shame.

All who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

THE NEED FOR PREACHING.

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:14-17 (KJV)

If we are going to preach we must be sure of the message we proclaim.

Those who know the truth of the Gospel have a responsibility to proclaim it.

God has called every saved individual to live as a witness, and proclaim the Gospel to the people they know and come in contact with.

Those who hear the Word and believe have received faith by grace through hearing the Word of God.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” v. 17.

THE PERIL OF UNBELIEF

“But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.  But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.  But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.  But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” Romans 10:18-21 (KJV)

Israel was a Nation who had been born under the message of their Messiah, yet when He came they would not believe Him. They had Moses telling them (Deut.32:21), and the prophets; Isaiah which is mentioned by Paul here (Isaiah 65:1).

God’s patience with Israel is not without notice.

Because of their blindness their hearts have been hardened

Unbelief is a peril that leads to darkness.

Page after page of the Old Testament is filled with His patient call to return. His promise of sustenance for them. His promises of returning them to their land. Yet, they harden their hearts. God has always had a remnant.

No Christian can or will abide in unbelief.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Righteousness of God

God’s Righteousness

Romans 10:1-8

Paul is still in his parenthetical statement, and now addresses the unbelief of the nation of Israel. Many of these things in reference to Israel are a means of warning, and also encouragement for Christians of all ages.

In chapter nine we see that this statement exposes the nation’s rejection of Jesus as their true Messiah. Jesus, as a matter of fact, became a stumbling stone to them, and opened the way for the whole world to be saved.

Israel rejected Jesus and the Gospel, but God is not through with His nation. He has a remnant being prepared to return to Him.

Much of the problem with Israel was and is their unbelief. It is a peril to anyone. Unbelief kept Israel from entering the Promised Land the first time they had the chance to enter (Numbers 14; Hebrews 3). Unbelief keeps people from trusting God’s Word. Unbelief keeps people from faith in Jesus. Unbelief will mean failure to enter into the promises of God through His Son.

Things we need to see in this study of chapter 10 –

Though Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles he is still burdened for the people of Israel, even though he knows of their hard, obstinate, and unbelieving hearts (vv. 1-3).

What everyone needs to know is that when one is trusting the Lord Jesus Christ; there is no longer any need to search any further for righteousness: He is “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (v. 4).

The Jews in their zeal set out to obey the commandments, and have the righteousness of God, but failed to see the intent of the law – if one wants to live by the law then, he./she must obey it completely – righteousness is unobtainable through our own righteousness, because we have none (v. 5).

The righteousness of ‘Faith’ trust completely in the work of Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross – there is no need of looking in heaven above, or the earth below, because this message is very near us, even at the door (vv. 6-8);

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV).

No one needs to look any further for righteousness, ie., being made right with God, than to the cross of Jesus. He has fulfilled all righteousness. Any other righteousness is self- righteousness, and that is a stench in the nostrils of holy God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

No People Group Left Out

NO PEOPLE LEFT OUT
Romans 9:25-33

There may have been accusations against Paul’s teaching, claiming that He was preaching an unjust and unrighteous God. That is not what Paul preached, nor is it the teaching of Scripture.

Because God is holy, righteous, and just He has every right to be “Merciful to whom He will be merciful” and to “Have compassion on whom He will have compassion”. He has did everything that His glory, holiness, righteousness, and justness allowed Him to do in order that the lost might be saved.
Hosea’s wife Gomer is brought into this picture of God’s salvation. She had become a harlot, yet God commanded Hosea to love her, and redeem her from her slavery (Hosea 2:1-22; 3:1-5). Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah saying, “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth”. (vv. 27-28; Isaiah 10:22-23). These quotations make it quite plain that God’s intentions has always been to save people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. He has blessed the nation of Israel with the blessing of giving the world His Word and the Living Word [His Son Jesus], and is blessing them again, by bringing them back to Himself, though they have strayed, and not believed Him. (See Isaiah 1:9 and 13:9).

Hosea 2:23 Paul has given as the Word of God for calling people for Himself from the Gentile nations.

Vv. 25-26 — The quotation from Hosea concerning those not “My people” and called “Children of the living God”;

Vv. 27-29 — The numerous number of Israel shows God’s fulfillment to make of them a “Great Nation”, however, due to their unfaithfulness, there will only be a small number (a remnant) from that number who will be delivered; thus, He will finish the things which He has said concerning Israel, and He will fulfill His word in short order. Except the Lord saved a remnant the Nation would have been like Sodom and Gomorrha, in destruction;

Vv. 30-32 — You can almost begin to see that there have been questions concerning the Jews about what Paul is teaching, and he is answering them; “What about these Gentiles who never pursued righteousness, and now are righteous?” It is theirs because of faith, ie., trusting God implicitly, and no other – no works – just a simple faith that realizes that it is solely by grace through faith we are saved. Israel, on the other hand, had the law, pursuing it by their works, and deeds and failed to attain righteousness by the law. The reason Israel failed is they were seeking to obtain it by the keeping of the law, rather than trusting the Lord and His grace; they had not the faith; and when it came to Jesus, their Messiah/Christ, He was a “Stumbling stone”;

v. 33 — In Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16 the prophet tells us basically what Paul is quoting; Jesus, the One who died on the cross to may a way for “His own”, and the nations, was rejected, because the cross was and still is an “Offense”. It is not only an offense to the Jew it is an offense to many who are Gentiles.

In 1993 the Barna Research Group conducted a poll on beliefs among those who professed being born again, as compared to the total population. The statement, “All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not, will live in Heaven after they die on earth” was read to those who participated. Of those who professed to be “Born again” thirty two percent [32%] agreed with the statement. Forty eight [48%] of those churched agreed, along with forty four percent [44%] of the total population.
“All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not will live in Heaven after they die on earth.”

Professing Born again …. 32 percent agreed;

Those who attend church …. 48 percent agreed;

Total population …. 44 percent agreed.

It is evident even today [2007] that this has not improved. It has most likely worsened. How terrible it would be to stand before Jesus one day and have our only answer being, “I thought I could make it on my own. I was a good man/woman.” Then, to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you worker of iniquity”.

There will be no shame for those who take God at His Word and believe in Jesus. We will be able to stand before Him with confidence in His finished work and all the glory will belong solely to Him, and that will be our glorification.

Word of Promise

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The Word Of Promise

Romans 9:6-13

Remembering that we are looking at a parenthetical statement, which gives a clearer understanding of what Paul is writing about in chapter 8 and assuring the Roman Christians that the promises of God are good, and that He will not break or void any of them; we come to a passage which causes some difficulty among Christians.

Part of the problem Jesus had when He walked the city of Jerusalem, and along the shores of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee were the scribes, Pharisees, a Sadducees not recognizing Him for who He is. They were supposed to be men of the Word of God, yet they denied Him and even worse, tried to kill Him, and eventually had Him crucified; and that only because He gave Himself for that purpose. These religious rulers claimed to be ‘Children of Abraham’, but did not know the One whom Abraham knew (See John 8:37–41a).

Paul’s heart yearns for his brethren ‘according to the flesh’ to be saved. In verse six he then proceeds to write that just because one is born into a Hebrew family does not necessarily make one Hebrew – “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel“. It is not because they are the ‘seed of Abraham’ but it is in that they are born according to the promise – “Children of the promise are counted for the seed”. If you were born in a garage, that would not mean you are a car. Just because you were born into a Christian family – meaning with a saved Mom and Dad – does not mean you are a Christian. You must be born according to the promise.

Three of the worlds main religions can espouse that they are descendents of Abraham, either by physical birth or by faith. Islam claims to be descendants through Hagar; the Egyptian maiden whom Abraham took to himself to have a son, and named him Ishmael. The Jews/Hebrews claim Abraham as their “father” through Sarah, but at the present time only see a physical relationship more than a spiritual, and put more value in their being born of Abraham than in the faith of Abraham. Christianity sees faith as the link to Abraham, Isaac as the son of promise, and Jesus Christ being the actual Son of Promise fulfilling the type which Isaac was.

*v. 6 – It would almost seem that because Israel had not trusted Jesus as their Messiah that the Word of God had failed – it had not; it was only that many of those who had been into Israel were not of the heart and faith of Abraham;
*v. 7 – Isaac was the promised son – in shadow or type he was the coming Son of Promise through whom all the world could be saved;
*v. 8 – The children of the promise are the true seed of Abraham and the promise is the regenerating power of the Spirit of God;
*v. 9 – Sarah was barren and without any child, yet God’s promise would not be void; she would bear a son, and at the set time that the Lord prescribed;
*v. 10 – The commentary of Paul turns to Rebecca and her conception of Jacob and Esau;
*v. 11 – A parenthesis within a parenthesis concerning God’s promise to Rebecca, and God’s ordained plan for Jacob – before Jacob or Esau either one had ‘done any good or evil’, that God might show that His salvation is all by grace, not of works, “But of Him that calleth”;
*v. 12 – The promise of God was that the ‘Elder shall serve the younger’, and this was against the way things were supposed to be;
*v. 13 – Probably one of the most controversial verses in all of scripture – “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”.

We should not let the above passage trouble us, but rather rejoice in it. Remember, we are all born into this world in sin, condemned and on a path set for Hell. We should marvel and rejoice that God would be so gracious as to redeem any of us who are condemned. God is perfectly just to “hate” any of us, but He chooses to love us instead, and offered us all the Way to Himself, and His presence and glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Burden

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A Great Heaviness

Romans 9:1-5

In chapters 9 – 11 Paul adds a parenthetical statement concerning the Nation of Israel – the chosen Nation of God. Chapter nine shows us God’s past work with Israel, chapter ten, shows us God’s work with Israel during what is called the Church Age – our day included; and chapter eleven deals with God restoring Israel – His future work in fulfilling all those yet to be fulfilled promises.

In this “Parenthesis” there is promise for all who are trusting Jesus now. It assures us that since God is going to fulfill His promises to Israel, even though, they were a rebellious, and stubborn people; so too God will carry out those promises He has made concerning our salvation.

In chapter nine we will see that Jesus is an offense to the Jew, and that this is not outside the will of God. It is for the purpose that many more could be saved – particularly the Gentiles. In chapter nine we will also see God’s will concerning matters concerning Israel:

*God’s will for a rebellious people who have received many blessings (vv. 1-5);
*God’s will in His compassion and mercy toward this people (vv. 6-13);
*God will have mercy on those whom He chooses (vv. 14-24);
*God’s will in redemption becomes a stumbling block to the self-righteous (vv. 25-33a);
*Jesus is that Rock of Offense – But those who believe will not be ashamed (v. 33b).

It is not God’s will that any should perish. He has provided a way for all mankind to be saved, if they would only hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus, believe and be saved. It is not God’s fault that any are lost. It is not His fault that all were condemned. Even if God had chosen to do nothing for our salvation He would have been perfectly just, holy, and righteous in doing nothing. However, God had done something really big in sending His Son Jesus to die in our place.

Paul has A HEAVINESS OF HEART for his people; 1) he mentions this heaviness in vv. 1-2; 2) he even goes so far as to say that if it would redeem them, he himself would be willing to be accursed for them in v. 3. Let’s see some things which Paul mentions of how they [Israel] have been blessed:

1.  They are adopted (v. 4);
2.  They have received glory (v. 4);
3.  They received the covenants (v. 4);
4.  They received the law (v. 4);
5.  They received the service of God (v. 4);
6.  They were recipients of the promises (v. 4);
7.  They are the Nation from which Christ came (v. 5);
8.  They are blessed of God forever (v. 5).

SEE also Deut.7:6-10; 10:12-15;

-Tim A. Blankenship

Since God Be For Us

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Since God Is For Us

Romans 8:31-39

When you get to thinking about the goodness, grace and mercy of God, and you see things taught us in Scripture as, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8); and, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (5:10); would it not be perfectly fitting of God to do even more wondrous things for those who are no longer His enemies.

Things we can see which God has done for us, and gives us, and continues to do in and through us:

1.  Christ was given as our Substitute for sin; to freely give us all things; that is basically forgiveness. That is the most wondrous thing, along with the fellowship which we can have with the Father. We no longer have guilt, excusing us to flee from God’s presence, and we now have the presence of God within us who calls us to the throne of grace to receive forgiveness (vv. 31-32);
2.  There is no charge that can be brought against us. The only Ones who can bring any legitimate charge against us will not, because we have been cleansed and forgiven by them. When you forgive someone a debt owed to you by them; you are the one who paid the debt. That is actually what forgiveness is. Until a debt is paid; it is owed. God could charge us with sin, but instead He has justified us; Jesus could also, but He died for us, rising again, is seated at the right hand of God and intercedes for us (vv. 33-34);
3.  There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. Sin has been the source of all our separation from God; now sin has been dealt with in a death blow that is for all eternity; It is the love of Jesus Christ which is being spoke of in verse thirty five – in all these things mentioned they are rather sources of strength building rather than sources of separation and they are building blocks of our faith. We are at our Lord’s mercy, and for His glory (vv. 35-36);
4.  The term, “More than conquerors” is one that is sometimes heard in other places other than church and Christian atmosphere. It is heard on school campuses. It is heard in youth discussions; Come what may, let the devil beware we will stand. We must understand that we cannot overcome, we cannot be “Conquerors” in our strength – it is in the power, Spirit and glory of Jesus Christ that we conquer (v. 37);
5.  There are many things which Paul uses here to show us that there is nothing that can separate us from the “love of God…in Christ Jesus”; Notice if you will the first two – “Death nor life”; now death is separation of life from the body; but what is this doing here – especially ‘Life’? There are times we can let life get between us and God; however, if we are God’s that is not the end; “…angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing (even yourself), shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

O, what a wonder and glory it is; this thing called grace, this privilege called grace; this merciful eternal act of God. None deserve it. Few receive it. All who receive it will glorify Jesus. “Since God be for us, who can be against us”? No not one.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Glory

GLORY: Our Destination
Romans 8:26-30

So many times as we have our struggles with life and living; facing the sicknesses, diseases we wonder, “Is it worth all this to believe? Is it worth the suffering to continue to trust the Lord? Is it worth the doing without, just to remain honest and/or moral?” There are many questions asked in this life. Some we cannot answer. Some we must answer; at least for the peace of our own hearts.

My prayer is that all who will ever read this message, or hear it, will know their eternal destination. It is by knowing the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, that we know our eternal destiny.

There are some things we must know and realize about this destiny we have in Jesus:

1.  We do not always know how to pray concerning our path in life, but the Holy Spirit – the person of Christ in you – knows our hearts, sorrows, and infirmities, and intercedes for us; and with “Groanings which cannot be uttered” (v. 26);
2.  It is God who searches the heart and knows the mind of the Spirit, and because of this He prays according to God’s will (v. 27);
3.  If we believe that the Spirit of God is praying through us, then we should realize that then “All things work together for good…”, and God is glorified (v. 28);
4.  We can know that God is sovereign over all things, even His people – in God’s foreknowledge He predestinated those who follow Christ to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and because of this He is placed as ‘firstborn among many brethren’ (v. 29) placing Him as the Heir apparent (this is one who cannot be legally kept from the throne), fulfilling the will and the glory of God;
5.  Those who have been predestined ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son’, “them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (v. 30).

Those who have been called to Jesus’s salvation – the saved, are justified, and the justified, have the promise of God of being glorified. We can rest assured that God will get us to that destination, because His own glory is at stake; and it would not be possible for the glory of God to dim, die, or be disposed of.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Promise and Expectations

Joyful Promise and Expectations

Romans 8:10-17

In the last study we looked at the truth of NO CONDEMNATION, and now we look at the glorious promise and expectation of our inheritance in Christ Jesus.

A JOYFUL EXPECTATION IN THE FATHER (vv. 10-17).

Remembering as we looked at verses 1-9 the last time and we find that there is “No condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”, and that there is change in those who have trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. One of those changes being the dwelling of the Spirit of God in those whom He possesses.

In verse 10 then, we find that “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin…”. This body has no life of its own any longer. It is the last place where sin can cause us grief. The body is also a place for life through the Holy Spirit. The life the Holy Spirit gives will make the body live holy, and not apart from God.

The Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead [bodily], and He is the same Spirit which dwelt in Him while He did His ministry on earth. It was by the Holy Spirit that Jesus was strengthened when He was tempted by the devil. It was by the Holy Spirit that He healed people. It was by the Holy Spirit that He was able to go to the cross. It was by the Spirit that He was raised from death. It was by the Spirit that He ever lives. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in all those who know Jesus. He dwells within us, and gives life to our mortal bodies, enabling us to do things that are holy, just, and right. (Read verse 11).

An important thing concerning verses 12 – 15 is we must realize that, only the sons of God can be led by the Holy Spirit. Let me explain the idea of “Sons of God”. In the Gospel of John we are told, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” John 1:12. Something we need to remember in looking as this is that sons, especially firstborn sons were given the best of the inheritance. Because of Jesus, and His work on the cross all who believe in Jesus receive the Spirit of God, and all the inheritance that goes with it. Female and male both put into the position of the elder son. Because of this we are not debtors to the flesh to live after the flesh – by it and living so would be death. We are in the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit we put the works of the flesh to death; we “Mortify the deeds of the body”. Being led by the Spirit of God is evidence that you are a ‘Son of God’

The ‘Son of God’ has freedom and immediate access into the presence of God the Father. In fact the child is never without the Father’s presence. The relationship is an intimate relationship that is as personal as a child referring to his/her physical father as “Dad”. My earthly father is my father and the father of my siblings. We all call him “Dad”. There is no disrespect in that. It is actually an endearing term of personal relationship. My wife also calls him “Dad”. No one calls him “Dad”, except those in the family; nor do they have the rights or privileges to do so. It is an intimate term for those in the family. How did we get into the family? My brother, three sisters and I were born into it. My wife married me and became a part of the family, receiving the rights and privileges of a child through me.

If we are in God’s family it is because of the New Birth. Positionally we have been “adopted” to receive the rights and privileges of Jesus Himself. Because of Jesus we are “Joint-heirs” with Him. That means when we suffer with Him we will also be glorified with Him. In verses 16-17 we see that the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit when we are ‘sons of God’. This joint ‘Heirship’ we have with Jesus is not without responsibility. We will suffer with Him and for His glory when we are His joint heirs.

We have great joy in God’s presence. We love God’s presence. We expectantly await and long for the day when we will be able to be in His bodily presence. That will be sharing in His glory. That will be glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

No Condemnation

NO CONDEMNATION
Romans 8:1-9

In this study of Romans we have had Paul take us from the total depravity of sinners, to justification, and then, to sanctification. He took a moment to let us know that the work of sanctification was not easy (chapter 7), and now he tells us how we can be victors through the battles of being set apart for Him. Paul wants the believer to know that in Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit there is victory.

The “Spirit” has only been mentioned one time up until this present text. In this chapter alone ‘Spirit’ is mentioned at least 19 times. Without the Holy Spirit we are weak, miserable, and failures. We cannot know Christ personally without the Spirit. We can have no eternal victory whatever without the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence. Jesus promised He would send Him (John 16:7). Jesus also told us about His ministry and work (John 16:8-15). His presence abides with us forever (John 14:16). Paul writes elsewhere, “…Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14).

In this study we will see the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit there can be no salvation, there could be no sanctifying work, and there would be no glorifying work. We would be without God (v. 9).

If we will study these next few lessons carefully we will see at least six things which reveal to us that we are walking in the Spirit. Remember the absence of these reveal the opposite. First of all we see…

NO CONDEMNATION – THE EVIDENCE OF A RESURRECTED LIFE AND LIVING (vv. 1-9).

The first verse tells us that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus and walking in the Spirit of God. When you are walking in the Spirit you do not hear those voices telling you that you are no good. Walking in the Spirit means you are rejoicing in the fact that you are walking in the good grace and mercy of the Living Lord who died for your sins.

In these nine verses we see a contrasts between “Walking in the flesh” and “Walking in the Spirit“. If you walk in the flesh there is condemnation. Even when you are saved and you have experienced walking in the Spirit, and you backslide into self and just get sidetracked; you will experience condemnation. There will be guilt, shame, embarrassment, and just an all out feeling of disgrace. It is God’s way of letting you know where you should be.

When we were “Dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph. 2:1) we were “Walking dead”; we were outside of God. In fact this part of this chapter tells us clearly that “to be carnally minded is death” (v. 6), and “the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (v. 7). Those who are carnal are walking in the flesh, and are opposed to God. How sad it is for a redeemed individual to be walking in opposition to the One who redeemed them from their life of darkness. Oh, how the Christian must need to remain watchful, diligent, and earnest in daily Bible reading and prayer.

Before we were redeemed by the blood of Jesus we did not know God; and could not know Him without Him reaching out to us. We did not even care about the things of God, nor for God Himself. We were condemned to die, and deserving of death. The works that we worked were the works of death. Our condemnation was certain, sure, and sealed without God’s intervention.

The power and strength of the law’s condemnation was sin. This condemnation was taken away by the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Take note. It is true only for those “Who walk in the Spirit”. It is not God’s desire to condemn; as a matter of fact He does not; sin condemns us, and God offers us His salvation. Jesus Himself said, “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). If God sent His Son to save the world, then, it would stand to reason that the world – people – were/are condemned.

When Jesus came He became sin – when He was hanged on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). That is, He took on Himself the sins of the whole world, and received the judgment of God on behalf of the condemned. In His work on the cross; “…In the likeness of sinful flesh…’ ‘…He condemned sin in the flesh”. In the death of an innocent, sinless, blameless, spotless, Lamb sin was defeated. It can no longer condemn anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ.

The person who has trusted Jesus is indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit is the same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus, as a man, to walk with God. The Holy Spirit causes the inhabited person to desire to know God in a greater way. The person desires to love God, to walk with Him, and to please Him – not to obtain His favor, but because of His favor already given.

The attitude of the person who does not know Jesus, and does not have the Spirit of God; is one of the flesh. Doing only what pleases themselves; doing good only to achieve recognition from others, and maybe even trying to obtain the favor of God. These have a “carnal mind” or are worldly oriented and cannot please God. They are, in fact, hostile toward God (v. 7). They will fight, kick, and bite against the will of God all the way to Hell, and then some of those will cry out for His mercy, but too late.

The Spirit of God in you empowers you to put the flesh to death: “ Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6:11). The believer is no longer subject to sin because of the Spirit’s power. It is not the power of the individual believer, but of the Spirit. The very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, “Shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal [earthly] bodies, by His Spirit that dwells in you” (v. 11). Death truly awaits all who are in the flesh – following its passions and lusts. If, by the Holy Spirit’s power we put to death our selfish passions, desires, and deeds, then, we shall live eternally. That is the work of the Spirit of God and every believer walking in the Spirit.

NO CONDEMNATION is experienced and evidenced by the faith of the child of God. In the darkest, bleakest, most severe tests and trials of life faith is strengthened. It is evidenced by following the Spirit’s direction – in accordance with Scripture – to faithfulness to Him, His ministry, and His Church.

In verse nine we are told clearly, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”. One thing is for certain, and that is that we are to be perfect, and perfection is a work of God’s Spirit. In the flesh there is no perfection. In the Spirit, if the Spirit dwells in us. If any does not have the Spirit we are not His. Without Him we stand condemned.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Law, the Warfare, and the Victory

THE LAW, THE WARFARE, AND THE VICTORY

Romans 7:1-25

OUTLINE –

I. THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAW (vv. 1-6).
II. THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW (vv. 7-13).
III. THE INABILITY OF THE LAW (vv. 14-25).

In the book of Romans Paul speaks much about the law. The same continues to be true in chapter seven.

Those who believe that by keeping the law one can attain God’s favor are “Legalists”. A “Legalist” has a set of do’s and don’ts that he/she tries to maintain, and more often expects others to maintain. Instead of obtaining God’s favor, however, she/he obtains her/his own and becomes condemning to others who do not meet their standards. The “Legalist” also soon discovers some things about himself which they may or may not confess.

The Christian is not under the ‘dominion’ or rule of the law; he/she is under grace. The ‘Old law’ was written in stone. The new becomes new, now, and only because it is written in our hearts. It is no longer an obligation, duty, nor means of gaining God’s pleasure, but longing desire, and pleasure of the Christian.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAW (vv. 1 – 6).

“To be under the law means that I must do something for God; to be under grace means that God does something for me.”

The laws authority is over us only so long as we are unredeemed, and it is condemning us. The unredeemed man is still totally self-ruled, and the law does hold him/her in its dominion.

Paul uses an illustration of this in marriage. According to the law, when a woman is married; and this applies to men too; to a husband – or a man to wife – she/he is bound to their spouse as long as the spouse lives. If they marry someone else while the spouse is still living the man or woman commits adultery. If the spouse dies they are no longer married, and are free to marry another. Paul is not addressing the issue of divorce and/or remarriage; he is using a known and familiar law to illustrate the authority of the law.

Notice, that, nowhere does Paul say that the law is dead. Instead, he writes, “Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ.” No longer are we under the dominion – the rule, and condemnation – of the law, but under the majestic love and grace of Almighty God; Jesus Christ having lived in complete obedience to the demands of the law, and met the requirements of the law in His death on the cross. On the cross all the demands of holy God to redeem fallen mankind was finished.

Believing Jesus Christ, trusting Him we are born again. We have received a ‘New Spirit’. It is not the spirit of man, but the Spirit of God, and He revives or resurrects our spirit and empowers and enables us to walk in the Spirit, rather than trying to please God through obedience to the law.

THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW (vv. 7 – 13).

Some might think that if God never gave any laws we all would be better off. However, we would not know sin, unless there is law. The law was given for the benefit of mankind, not to harm us. Without law we would still be condemned, separated from God, and miserable.

Is the law sin? Paul writes, “God forbid”, “By no means”. Before Paul trusted Jesus he believed he was blameless before the law. He knew the words of the law forwards and backwards, and believed himself right with God, because he ‘Kept the law’ – outwardly.

The law causes sin to come into the open. It opens eyes to see how far we are from God’s expectations. Sin even increases with the law. As human beings we do not like rules and regulations; so when we know of a law instead of obeying it we see if we can get away with disobedience. Doing so increases the condemnation of the law.

The ministry of the law, then, is to show us that we are sinners; we are condemned, and fall far short of God’s expectations. When sin becomes sinful to us, then, the law has done its work.

THE INABILITY OF THE LAW (vv. 14 – 25).

Sin is enjoyed by the unredeemed. They enjoy their ‘freedom’ of living without realizing their actual blindness and bondage. They can enjoy sin until the law of God awakens them to their plight.

Even Paul enjoyed the life of a Pharisee. As a Pharisee he enjoyed the honor and respect given him by people. His ego was really sailing, because he knew the law. He prided himself in his ability to be ‘Pleasing to God’ by keeping the law.

Remember the law is good and holy. It does not cause sin, but neither can it deliver the sinner from sin.

When a person becomes a believer something amazing takes place. This redeemed individual receives a desire to walk with God – in agreement with Him. He no longer desires his own selfish way, but God’s way. He realizes that he cannot please God by doing, but only by believing.

With this reborn person a war, a struggle, if you will begins also. Although no longer under the dominion of the law the body of flesh desires sin while the mind – the will – desires God. The things my mind wants to do for God, I do not do. The things I do not want to do that are displeasing to God, I do. This struggle was not there before a person is redeemed. This is clearly a reference to a redeemed individual. She/he has a desire for what is godly, holy, and good. She/he has the desire to shun all that is evil. These are not in the life of the unredeemed.

This brings us to realize that the law is unable to redeem us; it only condemns us.

Who can deliver us from this struggle? Like Paul, “Thank God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unique Saving Faith

This began our study of Romans chapter four.  We covered the first four verses.

Unique – Saving Faith

The Outline is for Romans 4:1-25

OUTLINE –

I. AN EXAMPLE OF A UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).
II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).
III. THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO WHAT WE HAVE INVESTED OR PUT TO THE ACCOUNT (vv. 9-12).
IV. THIS RECKONING OF JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).
V. IT IS THE RECKONING OF GOD HIMSELF; NO HUMAN WORKS ARE CALLED FOR (vv. 18-25).

It was, and probably still is, a popular belief among Jews of Paul’s day and Jews and non-Jews of our day to believe that Abraham was declared righteous by God due to his obedience. Paul puts the record straight.

How were people of the Old Testament saved? Was it by complete obedience to God’s law? Was it by the sacrifice of bulls, goats, lambs, etc.? What do the Scriptures say?

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:20).

“Abraham believed God…” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6-9).

No one has ever been saved by keeping the law, no one will ever be saved by keeping the law. To see that it is by faith in God alone that saves, God gives us ample Scriptures to prove it. For example Psalm 32:1-2; and Hebrews 11.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, David, Solomon, etc. are all evidences of justification by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They believing what would be; we believing what has been and shall be.

There are three words in this study which stand out as a theme. The first word is ‘Reckoned’ found in verses 4, 9, and 10. The second word is ‘Impute’, is used six times, in verses 6, 8, 11, 22, 23, and 24. The third word is ‘counted’, it is used only twice. They all come from the same Greek word logizomai – log-id’-zom-ahee – of these words are terms for accounting. God’s declaring us righteous, and justified.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).

Salvation by grace through faith is unique – one of a kind. There is nothing like it in religion. Grace is not possible by work. If it is not by faith it is not grace.

Since many of the Jews believed that Abraham was justified by works Paul realized that this fallacy needed correction. If Abraham was justified (declared righteous by God) by his works he would then have a reason to boast. His boasting, of course, would have to be before men. He would not glory before God. God’s glory is a glory of its own. Man’s glory cannot match the glory of God.

God delights in those who believe in Him. Those who realize they are weak and helpless to save themselves. Those who have no one else in which to turn, but Him. Those whose hearts are broken and shattered because they realize there is no other hope by Him. Those who have reached the bottom of the bottom, the lowest low. These realize then, God is my hope, my strength, song, salvation, my very source of peace, life and joy.

“A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).

When God called Abraham to leave his native land he obeyed, and left. Now understand, Abraham was at that time what the Jews would call a Gentile – there were no Jews. In his culture they worshiped idols, and were despicable in their behavior. Somehow in the midst of all this darkness God shined brightly His light into the life of Abraham, he saw, he heard, and he left this land of despicable sin and shame – the Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:31). He even came out with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and his wife Sarah as well as others who are unnamed.

If you heard God speak for the first time would you get up and leave your home, friends, ownership of your land, business, etc. to obey God? Many will not do that whose lives they say belong to Him. Abraham did. How did he do it? He believed God, then he put one foot in front of the other; over and over again. Faith is the end of any attempt to gain God’s favor on any personal merit. If you could gain God’s favor by personal merit it would be by works not grace, therefore, if the works ceased, so too would the favor of God.

When a man or woman takes on a job (work) he/she expects to be paid. The employer is indebted to the employee until the employee receives his/her wages. In like fashion if we worked for our salvation God would be indebted to us until the debt was paid. God is indebted to no one. He did not, nor does not even owe us the possibility of salvation. In His grace He paid our sin debt, and then, when we believe He declares us righteous. What wonderful grace.

“Wonderful grace of Jesus; greater than all my sin. How can my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin?”

-Tim A. Blankenship

No Excuses

Every Mouth Stopped

Romans 3:9-20

Nature loudly proclaims that there is a Maker of all this creation. The very fact of the order of our universe declares an intelligence must have designed it all. It could not work with such precision otherwise. I write this to say that because of this no one who is has an excuse before God. If man has only the law of nature, and a conscience that teaches him right from wrong – a law in his heart – and that we, as human beings are to worship God we are responsible, and unless we believe God we shall perish.

There is, however, a greater responsibility upon those who have the written revelation of God. The Law, the Scriptures, the Word of God tells us what nature and conscience do, but also much more. We have previously seen that those without law (the written revelation) shall perish without law, and those with the law shall be judged [or perish] in the law (2:12). There are none who are guiltless. The only hope for any in repentance from sin to God for His righteousness.

IN READING THE SCRIPTURES; GOD LEAVES US NO DOUBT THAT SIN IS UNIVERSAL. (v. 9). “…Both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin…”

Is the Jew better than the pagan Gentile? Is the religious better than the Non-religious? Is the moral individual better than the immoral individual? NO! Not as far as sin and its condemnation is concerned.

In the previous chapters we have seen every level of humanity, and that we are all without excuse before God. Contrary to what any legalist may say, the Law offers no hope; it only shows us death.

WITHOUT THE REDEMPTION OF JESUS CHRIST THE WHOLE INNER BEING OF MAN IS CONTROLLED BY SIN (vv. 10-12). The mind, the heart and the will of unredeemed mankind are all under the control of sin. It is the inner being that affects the way we live our lives.

With the unredeemed mind we have no “Understanding” of God”, “…There is none that understandeth.” With the unredeemed heart, “There is none that seeketh after God”. With the unredeemed will of man, there is “None that doeth good”.

Are we to understand by the phrase “None that doeth good” that no lost, unredeemed person ever does anything good? No! It means that he/she does no good that glorifies the Lord. Nothing good that is done by an unredeemed person will affect God’s judgment of them for their good.

No one seeks God, except God seeks them first. No one has “understanding” of God until God gives them that understanding. It is all by grace, and none of you or I. God Himself, receives the glory.

The word “Righteous” means God’s standard. That is the standard we must meet if we are to gain God’s approval. That righteousness is not obtainable in ourselves. It is only obtained through faith in Jesus Christ.

The words “No, not one” is mentioned twice in three verses – ten and twelve. God says, that there is absolutely “No one” who meets His standard for righteousness. In order for us to please God we must see as He sees. We must see that sin is a stench in His nostrils. It offends His sense of holiness and purity. We most certainly must see that it separates us from Him. If we have trouble seeing the devastation sin causes in human relations and in the creation, then, there is no fellowship with God.

THESE VERSES SHOW THAT WE ARE ALL CONDEMNED FROM THE TOP OF OUR HEAD TO OUR TIPS OF OUR TOES (vv. 13-18). The mouth as all know is part of the head. The throat is the area that provides air for the ability to make sounds, and swallow food (I could not forget that part on food). Paul says that the throat of depraved man “Is an open sepulchre”, “an open tomb”. The sepulchre or tomb was a place for the buried dead. Unredeemed man is incapable of speaking words of life.

There is deceit from their tongues. Lying is a common practice of people who do not know God. Sad to say it is of some professing Christians too. If your heart is indulged in your own way, then, your words will show your own way. These will be the main mode of communication. No words will glorify the Lord. Your mouth will speaks words of life or words of death.

Christians must maintain a close fellowship with the Lord, and on a daily basis. We are to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh. No Christian can walk in the Spirit if they do not maintain a daily fellowship with God in prayer, Bible reading and study, walking with God His way.

Speaking of the feet Paul says, “Their feet are swift to shed blood”. This is because of an unredeemed heart, mind and will. Paul has a positive thing to say of the feet of those who preach the gospel (Rom. 10:25).

The real reason “…feet are swift to shed blood” is because, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” When nations, kings, rulers, citizens, and believers in Christ no longer fear God there will be no more respect for life, and Human life in particular. The love of God has been abused, misused, and misunderstood. “God is love”, but He also hates sin and will judge it. Because, God is love, He judges sin. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).

ALL “WHO ARE UNDER THE LAW”, EVERY MOUTH STOPPED, AND “ALL THE WORLD… GUILTY” (vv. 19-20). Every man, woman, boy and girl is responsible to God for their sin. The Gentile people of the world (all who are not Hebrew” are responsible and worthy of death because they have the law of conscience and of nature. Both of these are a law declaring a holy, righteous, and all powerful God who is worthy of worship and praise. The conscience and nature condemns us.

The written law given to the Jews, was and is a clear revelation of God to man; to show man’s need for God. This written law also condemns us. It has no life of its own to save or deliver us from sin.

Let’s say your family physician tell you one day, and some of you have experienced this, “You have cancer”, and then, he tells you, “I am only your family physician, I am not a specialist, nor a surgeon”. This doctor is performing the work of the law. He cannot help you, but he will point you toward the one who can – the surgeon or specialist.

Doctor Law says, “You have sin in your life. I can’t help you, but Doctor Grace can.”

This law; written, nature, or conscience declares the righteousness of God. Because of sin we are cut off from God. Because of law we are made knowledgeable of this eternal separation.

No one has an excuse for sin. There is no amount of good deeds, religious ritual, or moral behavior that can gain God’s favor. We have God’s favor by His grace through faith. No work, but God’s work is sufficient to deliver us.

The law stops every mouth from saying, ‘I am good enough. Look at what I have done. I have been faithful in church attendance, and Sunday School. I never beat my wife or cheated my neighbor. My good deeds will out weigh my bad ones.” Jesus, Himself will say to you in that day, “I never knew you; depart from me ye worker of iniquity”.

You and I have absolutely nothing which God wants, except faith in Him. He gives us that too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Nation of Promise

What Of The Jew?

Romans 3:1-8

I. THE COMMITTED WORDS OF GOD (vv. 1-2).

A. Christianity owes much to the Jew.

1. Abraham – father of nations.
2. Abraham – friend of God (James 2:23).

B. The law, which came through the Jew reveals all to be sinners.
C. The precepts of God tell us what we are to do.
D. God’s Word is enduring, “Forever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).

1. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words shall not pass away.”

E. The Word being committed to the Jew is also their condemnation if not obeyed.
F. Do they (the Jew) have any advantage?

1. Paul says, “Yes!” “Much every way…” It is basically the promises of God to Abraham and the nation.
2. God’s promises will not fail.

II. THE CONSISTENCY OF GOD’S TRUTH (vv. 3-4).

A. The Jewish teachers/leaders had a problem with the gospel of Jesus because it seemed to them, to negate God’s promises to Israel.

1. Will some people’s unbelief make God’s promises null and void?
2. Paul’s answer is “No!”

B. Man often breaks promises, whether it is intentional or unintentional
C. God is Truthful, He never lies; man on the other hand, is a noted liar.

1. God always keeps His promises.
2. We, as humankind are known for not keeping our word faithfully.

D. Since God’s Word is true, we can have confidence that He is who He says He is; we are who He says we are, and we are in need of what He says we are in need of.

III. THE COMMENDATION OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.

A. The questions presented thus far, which Paul has asked, prove the righteousness of God.
B. By what Paul previously has written, he has shown that the unrighteousness of mankind shows the very righteousness of God.
C. The unrighteousness of man commends God’s righteousness.

1. If God judges unrighteousness does this make Him unrighteous when he is commended by unrighteousness?
2. Of course, the answer to this question is an unequivocal NO!
3. His judgment of unrighteousness proves Him to be righteous, and holy.
4. If God does not judge the sins of mankind, how would it be possible for Him to Judge the wicked at the last day.

D. Paul was probably being accused of teaching people to sin in order that God would be glorified.

1. There is nothing here to give us that idea.
2. Those who would teach or believe such and declare God unrighteous, because He is commended by unrighteousness, and yet judges unrighteousness is boiling in condemnation.

E. Man’s condemnation is sure, if he rejects God’s call to repentance, to Jesus Christ, and to righteousness.

IV. WHAT OF THE JEW?

A. They have disobeyed God’s Word time and time again, but yet, they too can be made right with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. One day the whole living nation will repent and follow Jesus (Romans 9 – 11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Judge Not

Romans 2:1-16

In thinking back about chapter one we see that the heathen, pagan, ungodly are condemned by sin. Those who are moralist will say, “Yes! They deserve the judgment they get, and they will get it.”

Then we come to chapter two. The first verse says, “Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”

In these first three chapters Paul the apostle is laying out the thought of the guilty. Who are the guilty when it comes to sin? The pagan, heathen, and godless deffinitely. So many today think that because of their morality they will be okay with God.

Let me give an outline for this study.

I. THOSE WHO JUDGE OTHERS ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE (vv. 1-4).

These are without excuse because they are able to make judgments of others. Why does the religious, moralist think they shall escape the judgment of God? (v.3). They will not. There are three things mentioned in these verses about our gracious God.

1. His goodness;
2. His forbearance; which is His tolerance of us;
3. His longsuffering.

His longsuffering is patience. Patience = the duration which God demonstrates His goodness and forbearance for long periods of time. He deliberately shows us patience even when we think we are so moral that He has nothing to judge us for.

II. JUDGMENT WILL BE MADE ACCORDING TO MAN’S WORKS – DEEDS (vv. 5-6).

One thing we need to remember is that God does not have a set of scales to weigh our good versus bad moral deeds. If we beg to be judged for the deeds we have done, then God will certainly honor that request.

Those who are trusting in their own good works and nothing more; that is what they will be judged by. You will come up short. The dependence by you of your works throws what Jesus did on the cross out the window, and declares to God my deeds are good enough. God will say to you in the day of judgment, “I never knew you; depart me ye workers of iniquity”.

III. JUDGE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL (vv. 7-11).

If you want to be saved or judged on the merits of keeping the law, then, there is one thing required. You must obey every tenet of the law. There must be no slacking in it. It must be obeyed to the letter. You cannot, nor are you able to do so. If you attempt it you will perish.

One thing about it. There is no one that will be special by the keeping of it. According to verse 11, “For there is no respect of persons with God”. All who choose to live by the law will be judged by it.

IV. THE JUDGMENT OF THE LAW FOR JEW AND GENTILE (vv. 12-15).

Those who have the law (the Jew) will be judged by the law on which they so depend. They will give an account to God, and will fail miserably. Any religious person who depends on the keeping of the law for their salvation will also fail miserably. Those who do not have the law, “Having not the law, are a law unto themselves…” will be without excuse also.

V. THE JUDGE WHO KNOWS THE MOTIVES OF OUR HEARTS (v. 16).

I personally believe that when Jesus said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, that He was speaking of judging others motives. No one knows the motives of another. We are all guilty of making judgments on others motives.

Many, like me, when Bill Gates made mention of leaving Microsoft to work in benevolent work thought, “He is only doing that to show how good of person he is”, or “Is he trying to be the President of our nation, or the world”. That is judging another’s motives.

One day the Judge of our motives will make a righteous judgment concerning our motives. They will be just and righteous. He knows the intents of our hearts.

Let me end with this. Judging others shows we have the right and ability to judge ourselves. Let’s begin at home – in our own heart.

The only hope we have for salvation and reconciliation with God is by the cross of Jesus Christ. No amount of moral living will get us into Heaven, only Jesus Christ.

When God Gives Up #3

We have been studying the first chapter of Romans, and have made it all the way through verse 27 as of the 16th of August.

In looking at these previous verses we have seen What Happens When God Gives Up?

Truth is repressed by unrighteousness (vv.18-23);

God releases them to their own decay and filth of immorality (vv. 24-25);

God releases them to shameful passions (vv. 26-27).

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26-27 (KJV).

These ‘vile affections’, ’shameful passions’ are the shameful acts of homosexuality. Women with women going against the God created order. Women are usually the last to fall morally.

“Men with men” against the nature created in them.

This debauchery certainly reaps what it sows. (v. 27b).

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galations 6:7).

Physical and bodily problems. Sexually transmitted diseases one of which is AIDS, and it has no cure. Before this disease took on political overtones it was known as GRIDS “Gay Related Imunno Dificiency Syndrome”. There is certainly spiritual blindness.

God “gives them up” when they refuse Him. This abhorrent behavior does not cause God’s judgment, but is the result of God’s already judging. His judgment is already on us, when His hand or restraint is gone from such wicked behavior. This decadence will be judged in and by the hand of God. It actually shows us the levels of wickedness humankind will sink when left without God’s restraints.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Gives Up #2

We have been looking at the question WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GOD ‘GIVES UP’?

In the last study we saw that TRUTH IS REPRESSED BY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS in verses Romans 1:18-23.

The second thing we see is that GOD RELEASES THEM TO THEIR OWN DECAY AND FILTH OF IMMORALITY (Romans 1:24-25).

Why did God “give them up” to this ungodly – unrighteous behavior? They had a knowledge of God, but chose to suppress it. They turned away from God to worship idols made in the image of created thing – birds, beasts, and even themselves. Because they rejected God; sexual immorality most always follows wrong beliefs, and in particular the worship of idols. It is an act of dishonoring the human body and God.

When they turned from the truth they believed the Lie. The Lie is, “Did God really say that?” It is just a question, but one that places the seeds of unbelief in the heart. It was the first question the Bible speaks of that the serpent/devil asked in order to deceive. It is still being asked today. Not one of many lies but “the Lie” (Genesis 3:1-5).

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” [the Lie] (NKJV 2 Thessalonians 2:11).

The Lie, that we can be like God – we become our own god. We have chaos when there is more than one God. There is war, strife of all sorts, contentions, and immoral living.

Satan is the father of lies. Jesus said, speaking to the religious leaders who rejected Him,

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the begining, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

Following this lid requires no accountability to a deity, except self. No one, can tell someone of this mindset, what is right or wrong. To them everything is ‘relative’ – they already have their preconceived ideas; they call good ‘evil’ and evil ‘good’.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

Moral decay, such as we see in our land, and the world is due to denying the truth, and believing the Lie, the father of lies, the devil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When GOD Gives Up

What Happens When God Gives Up?

This is the first part of this section of Romans 1:18-32. This part will deal with verses 18-23.

It is my belief that abhorrent behavior, such as this passage of Scripture speaks of, is not the cause of God’s wrath, but rather, the result of His wrath, and the followers of Christ are to see this wrath as a warning to return to God. There is a sure judgment coming.

Let me give a point of clarity for these first three chapters of Romans: in verses 18-32 Paul is writing of pagan Gentiles; Chapter 2:1 – chapter 3:8 he is writing of the Jewish/Hebrew – religious/moral people; In chapter 3:9 – verse 20 Paul referrs to us all.

When God “Gives Up” it means He is letting sin have its way until it reaches a pinnacle (Gen. 15:16), then, He will involve Himself in the judgment to follow. The phrase, “God gave them up’ or ‘God gave them over” is used three times in the remainder of chapter one (vv. 24, 26, 28).

It is a sad day when God pulls back and says, “Okay, it is yours; do it your way”.

Man’s science says man evolved from a glob and is getting better and better – God says man is depraved and devolved and is getting worse and worse as he rejects God and His way.

To answer the question of the title; in verses 18-23 we see THE TRUTH IS REPRESSED BY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.

The truth is revealed in nature. The unrighteous cannot see God. All creation shouts that it has a Creator; “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Ps. 19:1). The order of the universe – the revolution of the planets around the sun in order. Each created being does what it was designed to do – except humankind, and the rest of creation has been corrupted by man.

The truth of God is revealed in the conscience of man. Everyone is born with an inborn consciousness of a supreme being. The need to worship something. The need to be fulfilled – even if that means worshipping self.

Because of natural revelation every one is without excuse (v. 20).

The truth is suppressed by idolatry. Anything that may seem to fill the void of one’s life. Changing their glory (representation) into what they worship. Men become like what they worship (PS. 115:4-8; 135:15-18). The beast of the field, birds of the air only act by their instincts. Man, created in God’s image, is to reason, think, and act accordingly; not according to unholy desire and lust.

As long as people continue to try and make God in their image there will be sin and chaos in the world. There will be wars, sickness, disease, killing, robbing, maiming, etc.. When men and women realize they are made by God, in His image through faith in Christ Jesus, there will be a change of character, integrity, and all of life for good, to the glory of the Lord.

God involved Himself in the judgment of sin at the cross, as He laid on His Son Jesus all our sin. God Judged our sin on Jesus, took His life, as the payment for our sin debt, and because of this grace you and I now have access to the very throne of God. Call on His name. He will save you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Empowering Confidence

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).

One thing every Christian needs is confidence in God’s gospel. Believe it is the only means by which you are saved for all eternity from sin, its darkness, damnation, and death; and saved to Christ Jesus. Being completely unashamed to share it with others. Being ashamed is like saying we are not exactly sure of its power. When you are confident in the gospel you are willing to risk everything for the Christ of the gospel.

The gospel is the only power which transforms people from unrighteousness to righteousness – the unjust to just.

An adulterer becomes pure and his/her life becomes pure and becomes a loving adoring husband/wife – he/she seeks purity because they have a heart for Christ.

A gossip becomes a person who seeks to control her/his tongue and to speak good rather than evil of others.

A murderer is no longer a killer, but rather, a caring, concerned human being.

All sinners – which is all people – gain control over those old sinful passions and lust which control us.

This empowering helps us see it is for all who will believe. God does not play favorites – nor should we. If God does favor one over another it is in favor of those who are weak and humble themselves. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are , extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14).

From beginning to end righteousness is by faith. Righeousness comes only from God – for He alone is righteousness. “Just” is another term for righteousness. Believing God is faith and comes to the individual by an act of God’s grace, through the Holy Spirit. Not only are we saved by faith, but “The just shall live by faith”. Not by any works of moral goodness. Not by any liturgy and/or religion. By faith in the works of Jesus Christ alone. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5). True faith produces works that glorify God.

In conclusion, we must be confident in the power of the gospel; that it is the only means by which a wicked, sinful, fallen race, called the human race, can be delivered from the bondage of sin, its condemnation, and death. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the power which can change the heart and life of any man, woman, boy or girl into the image of Jesus Christ.

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE GREATEST POWER KNOWN ON EARTH.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ready to Preach the Gospel

Romans 1:8 – 15

Praying for others is an expression of concern for them, and of trusting them to His care. It is first of all, for God’s guidance, providence, and personal spiritual growth. Secondly, that their witness [ good witness] may be seen and spoken of by all.

Prayer lets others know you are praying for them. We encourage others in the faith for the believer, and lets the lost know you are concerned for their eternal well being. It bonds the people with one another and to the one praying for them. In the Latter (above): it give strength for greater service.

In prayer we accept God’s grace toward all (v. 12). Our faith is mutual – no one is greater than the other. The faith that saves me is the faith that saves you – the faith from God.

In prayer we acquire a desire for spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit characterize the Spirit-led believer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23. Righteous actions. ” For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. ” Philippians 4:16-17. ” By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15. We desire to see people come to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. These fruits will be seen, known and recognized by others.

We have a glorious message to proclaim (vv. 14-15). To the Greeks – these were considered the civilized and wise. To the barbarians – considered unwise because they could not speak the Greek language nor were they assimilated to Greek culture. The message of the gospel is for the “Wise” and for the “Unwise” – the culturally correct and incorrect – the rich and the poor. We ought always: by prayer, supplication, and the study of God’s Word, be ready to preach the gospel wherever God may call us.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Salvation Through Works

Romans 1:1 – 7

Romans – God’s Gospel of Grace

OUTLINE OF ROMANS –
I. Introduction (vv. 1:1 – 17).
II. The sinfulness of man (vv. 1:18 – 3:20).
III. Salvation – Justification throught the righteousness of Christ (3:21 – 5:11).
IV. Death and Life with Christ and walking in the Spirit (5:12 – 8:13).
V. The fulness of the Blessing of the Gospel (8:14-39).
VI. Covenant promises of Israel are secure (Chapters 9 – 11).
VII. The life of Christian living and service (12:1 – 15:33).
VIII. Christian love in overflow (16:1-27). In verses 1 – 7 we see several things concerning the apostle Paul and our own calling.

Verse 1 – Paul was a willful slave/servant. He was appointed by God as an apostle of Jesus Christ to proclaim the gospel. He could do no other thing
To proclaim the goodness of Christ he was “Separated” unto Him for a lifetime of faithfulness and blessing.

Verse 2 – The promise of the gospel was given by all the prophets. They all foretold of a Deliverer who would come, and deliver them from their captors, but ultimately from the sin which called them into captivity.
The law would be “written in their hearts” and put in the “inward parts”. See Jeremiah 31:33-34. The gospel is also a call to all people of the earth to repent and turn to Christ (Joel 2:32).

Verse 3 – God’s Son was made flesh. Made in the likeness of men, yet without any sin. He always did those things which pleased His Father, even to the death on the cross.

Verse 4 – Jesus’s life was lived in wisdom and grace. His words were spoken from the heart of God. His miracles were done by the power of God. There was no life which came into contact with Him who was not touched in some way or other.
He spoke of His death; His disciples did not want to hear that. He said, “Destroy this temple [speaking of His body] and in three days I will rise again.” He promised He would come again. Just as He came the first time He will come again. How can we know this to be true?
By His resurrection from the dead. This confirmed every word He had spoken. The resurrection confirmed the works which He did. The power of the resurrection proved beyond any doubt for those who have eyes to see, that this is the Son of God, and glory belongs to Him alone.

Verse 5 – It is by Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection that we have received grace and calling. You are called to Him. You are called “saint” – not by some religious heirarchy, but by the God of creation Himself. It is solely by His grace we have this calling. It is by this grace alone we are called to service.

Verse 6 – You and I may not be an apostle like Paul, but we are still called by Christ Jesus to faith and eternal life, and all the blessings and spiritual gifts that go with it. Think of all that we have in Jesus. Peace with God, joy, love, patience, self control, daily filling of the Spirit of God is available for all of us; another thing is that we have the power to say “NO!” to sin, and “YES” to Christ.

Verse 7 – Remember you are called “Saint” by God Himself. Not for any good you have done, but because of the righteousness of Jesus.

Grow in this wonderful grace of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

May God bless you richly.

-Tim A. Blankenship