Sunday, October 23, 2011

Romans 1:16-17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Am I ashamed of the gospel? It is hard to talk about spiritual things to non-believers. They think we are crazy, or worse, foolish. I don’t want to be thought foolish. Paul talked about the gospel to everybody. Some thought him foolish, some hated him and tried to kill him. No doubt some laughed at him as well.

I cannot live a righteous life apart from faith in Christ.
The gospel is the power of God.
The gospel is salvation.
The gospel reveals the righteousness of God.
The righteousness of God is by faith.

The gospel came first to the Jews, they were the vehicle for it, but then to everyone else too.

More and more I like the ESV. It translates vs 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith… NAS says …from faith to faith…
So the righteousness of God is revealed by faith, and leads to faith, for the purpose of faith. That’s cool.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Romans 1:14-15

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

I suspect the foolish mentioned here refers to those society considers foolish. Jews looked down on non-Jews (even though they had been conquered by them). Philosophers and thinkers of this age spoke Greek and promoted Greek culture. The Romans in Rome quite likely thought they were superior to all others, because they lived at the seat of power for the Roman empire. All people would have found a reason to think poorly of Paul because of his connection with a group they themselves looked down on. Paul didn’t discriminate between Greek, Roman or Jew. He was eager to preach to all. Am I? All too often I don’t want to minister to anybody, I want to get my next task done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Romans 1:8-13

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

I long to hear of my own children’s faith. And my students’.

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[d] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

Paul would have been encouraged by them just as much as they would have been encouraged by him. Do I encourage my pastor and my mentors?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Romans 1:7

7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

This book of Romans was written to me as well…
I am loved by God
I am called to be part of His holy people – a saint
Grace and peace come from God our Father
and from the Lord Jesus Christ
and I can pronounce it to others, just as Paul pronounced it to me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Romans 1:1-6

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

The doctrine in this introduction is amazing:
Believers are slaves to Christ
He calls us
He sets us apart for our work
The gospel and Christ were in the Old Testament
His power is shown in His resurrection
Two natures of Christ: a human nature and a divine nature
Trinity: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Lordship of Christ
Grace comes thru Christ
Faith comes before obedience
I am called to belong to Christ
It is the power of God that brings salvation, not anything I do.
The gospel is the power of God.
Righteousness of God is revealed and fulfilled in the gospel
Righteousness is by faith no matter who you are.

I (and Paul) am a servant of Christ Jesus
I (and Paul) am called and set apart for the gospel of God
The gospel goes all the way back to the beginning of the OT
Jesus fulfilled the OT prophecy
His power is shown in His resurrection
It is thru this fulfillment and power that I (and Paul) received grace and calling
I am called to obedience
That obedience comes from faith
Faith is for the sake of Christ, not me
I am called to belong to Christ

The NAS and the ESV both translate 1:5 as “the obedience of faith”.
This makes me think a bit differently. Faith is obedience. Is faith a command? Does faith result in obedience? Is there actually a difference? Can you have one without the other? Ah, that is the right question. Can you have faith without obedience? Read the book of James. Can you have obedience without faith? I don’t think so. Romans itself is pretty clear on this point.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Romans resources

I thought it might be appropriate to begin with some good Romans resources that I used:

  • Of course, various translations: NIV, NAS, ESV, and the classic KJ

  • Go Bible audio. When mine wears out, or when I get a decent ipod, I am going to get Max McLean.

  • RC Sproul's sermons on Romans which are wonderful, and free!

  • I started reading Barnhouse on Romans. This is 4 volumes and a very long term project. It contains fabulous illustrations, and I think if I was teaching a long series on Romans I would use it a lot. Time being what it is, I felt the need to move on to something else.

  • I would also love to listen to John Piper's sermons on Romans, but I am simply running out of time. Sometime soon I will have to spend another year in Romans.

  • I am currently reading John Calvin's Commentary on Romans. Don't believe what you hear about Calvin being hard. This is very straightforward, passage by passage thoughts. I love the way he puts words together. And since it is public domain, it is free also.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I can't believe how long it has been since I have posted. This is absurd. Everything I have written recently has been personal and not something to be shared... and in view of my schedule that doesn't seem likely to change any time soon. However, as part of my own personal devotions I have been living in Romans all year. Listening to it over and over, reading it over and over, in different versions, meditating on it, praying thru it, listening to sermons on it, reading commentaries... you get the idea. Today I started writing my way through it. I got to thinking, that this might be very appropriate material to post! So here we go...