Monday, February 28, 2011

Study of Romans

                Any quick look ay study material will let you, dear reader, know that Paul’s Epistles to the Romans is often cited as the Constitution of Christianity in that it is the definitive work covering the Christian doctrine.  He dictated this epistle while in Corinth. written like a legal document, compels us to make a verdict. What you and I decide will determine a person’s eternal destiny. And the person you are trying is YOU! That’s right! You are in the court and your eternal destiny lies in the balance. Romans is written in the form of a legal argument. You cannot understand Romans unless you understand this fact.

In the trial not of the century, not of the millennium, but the trial of all human history, Paul sets out to prove one single important point – “that the righteous will inherit eternal life by faith, not by works.”

And so you sit in the defendant’s chair. Your Heavenly Father has a suit against you. You know and agree with chapter 3, verse 23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The prosecuting attorney is arguing that you can pay off your debt by doing good works. He represents and advocates the law of Moses. The defendant’s attorney, the Apostle Paul, is arguing that only Christ can pay the debt you owe, and only by faith in his death and resurrection alone will make you declared not guilty.

What is your verdict? Do you work off your debt by works of the law, or do you trust in Christ’s Word that “the righteous man shall live by faith?”  We have sixteen chapters to explore. I cannot say that we won’t go verse by verse nor can I say we will go verse by verse. I intend to go where the Holy Spirit leads. Please join me with the first seven verses.
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
 2(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
 3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
 4And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
 5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
 6Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
 7To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
                The use of the word called stands out doesn’t it? If we are called on the phone, we answer. If someone calls our name, we answer.  When God calls us, some of us, run away. Paul states that he was called. Let me share just a random bit of information. The word church means the called out ones of God. So if you are a born again believer saved by the blood of Christ Christian, you too, in a sense like Paul, are called. Paul in verses three and four jumps right to it establishing what Christians know or are supposed to know; Jesus was fully man, but also fully God.
                Islam to name one “religion” teaches that the good man, Jesus was not crucified. That “religion” like so many others denies the resurrection of Christ. See, here, Paul writing under God’s inspiration at every turn as a logical apologetic states and restates who Christ was and is.
                After re-establishing to all of us the nature of Christ in verses five through seven Paul weaves us all together with the G word. Verse five tells us that we have received Grace for obedience to the faith for his name. Paul reiterates it in verses six and seven. It is by the Grace of God that we are saved.
                Verses eight through fifteen has Paul telling those believers in Rome that he prays for them and that he is thankful for them.  In verse fourteen he mentions that he is indebted to the Greeks and barbarians alike. Why would he say this? He did so to show his commitment to Christ by speaking the Gospel to all people.  

                Verse sixteen is well known even if it is not kept:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
                Gospel means good news. Paul wasn’t ashamed of the good news of Christ. Now we all know how we act if we are ashamed of something. We lower our head and refuse to talk about it. If we are ashamed of Jesus today, The Bible teaches that Christ said to all that He would deny us before the Father if we were to deny Him before man. It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.
                What does that mean I have to believe? It’s simple. We must believe that Jesus, the One born of a virgin, fully God and fully man, died on the cross as a substitute a sacrificial one at that, to save the world from eternity separated from the Father. We must believe that death couldn’t hold the Creator of All Things in that God the Father raised the Son from the dead. This is not the Gospel of Tinin. The Gospel is that Jesus Christ alone is our salvation. Doing good deeds don’t save us, water baptism doesn’t save us, perfect attendance don’t save, being the Deacon’s kid don’t save us. Only belief in Christ saves us. It is God’s Grace, Christ, alone that saves us from eternity away from the Father.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
            If a person claims to be Christian, their life will reflect their dedication and desire to be more like Jesus. Verse eighteen I believe speaks about how angry God is due to sin. God, the Word, teaches does not look upon sin because he is holy and true. This being said the rest of the verses are a very bold declaration. It is saying that God being who he is, pure, holy, and Almighty has revealed himself to all and those who reject him have no excuse. Before any scoffers and mockers say, “Well in deep, dark Uganda, there’s a six year-old that doesn’t know about Jesus and this salvation thing. Your little book contains an error.”
            My response to that is, “No. There’s no error.” How many people have I saved? How many people has Billy Graham saved? Police officers and response crews physically save lives, but with no disrespect to Mr. Graham, neither he nor I have ever saved anyone. The Bible teaches that people, the called if you will, who come to Christ in repentance and acceptance of His grace do so not because of what I or any other preacher has said, but from the direction of The Holy Spirit. No matter whom the person is or where they live, in each person is a knowledge a hunger perhaps that truly lets them know that God exists. Anyone even in that hypothetical Uganda situation can look at creation be it mountains or the night sky and realize that it just didn’t happen to form from an explosion.
            Bible detractors say that it is not relevant today in this modern era. Verses twenty-one through twenty-three should strike a chord or three.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
 23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
            People then as people today choose to ignore God. They do it by going to the river on Sunday with the excuse, “It’s my only day off.” They don’t go to church because, “It’s my only day off and to sleep in.” The people became vain in their imaginations. In our minds we think we are all that and a bag of chips. Open up that bag and its mostly hot air. Rowdy Roddy Piper, wrestling icon from the 80s, had a catchphrase that applies to us all at times. “Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions.” When we think we know it all, we prove we know nothing. We do that by breaking the second Commandment. Verse twenty-three references this. When we make a graven image of God in our mind we are taking the holy God that created us and changing him on account of what is convenient for ourselves. Sound familiar? “My God is a loving God and he won’t send anyone to hell if they live their life to the best of their ability.”
            You may be offended by this next section. Please don’t stop reading, but the truth of God’s Word will be proclaimed! Chapter one will conclude with a look at verses twenty-four through thirty-two:
24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
            Have you ever thrown your hands up in disgust? The Israelites were constantly being disciplined by God because of their consistent ability to stray from his teachings. God often times gave them up to their enemies only to save them after they repented. God did that then and I’m not convinced he doesn’t do that know. Salvation through Christ is secure. A believer cannot lose salvation once it is obtained if the person is sincere and only God knows a person’s true heart. But make no mistake about it, if we are not living right as a believer, we are convicted by the Holy Spirit and we will do right in the sight of God. Here we are looking at those people who know about God, Christ, and salvation, but they blatantly ignore it all. God, again being pure, does not look upon sin, turns from them.  
 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
 26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
 27And 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.
            “I was born this way,” “You can’t help who you love,” “The Bible supports my gay, civil union!” If we say some people are born gay and we know from reading in The Holy Bible that homosexuality is wrong then we are saying God is not the perfect creator. Jesus Christ is love. Until we know Him as SAVIOR, we do not know what real love is. If this offends you, tough. I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true based upon scripture.   
 28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
 31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
            Young adults are the worst in this regard. I’m sorry teens if I’ve offended you. So many young adults know the truth, have heard the story of Christ, but still hold onto their belief that they are having too much fun because they are young. They love sinning more than they do Jesus to live for Him. They actually have themselves convinced that before they die they will repent and ask Christ to save them. I say this not out of delusions, but because I have had numerous people tell me this is their plan. Everyone of them never consider that all they have is today because tomorrow as Garth Brooks sang, may never come.
Chapter 2
            Paul appears to switch gears briefly. After listing a number of people that he did in chapter one, he starts out chapter two with a blasting statement that so many take out of context.
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
 2But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
 3And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
            Jesus spoke about not judging your brother with a speck of sawdust in his eye when you yourself have a plank in your own. People love to throw bible verses at the Christian that in their own mind make them feel better about living the way they do. Here’s an example: “You can’t judge me only God can.” First, they aren’t totally wrong in that only God judges. However, the Christian is called by faith to live for Christ and be an example. The prophet Isaiah spoke clearly when he told the people to stand firm in the faith. Standing firm in the faith people is not condoning what we know through God’s holy Word is wrong. We are to as clich├ęd as it is love the sinner but hate the sin. Paul is speaking directly to the Jews of the time that thought they were superior as God’s chosen people by the Law of Moses never mind the fact that a lot of Jews then as a lot today deny Christ’s deity as savior.
            What is this judgment of God Paul writes about? In the New Testament judgment is placed in eight areas. I’ll mention them here, but due won’t go into detail just now.
1.      The cross judgment John 16:11
2.      The believer’s self judgment I Corinthians 11:31
3.      Chastisement by the Father Hebrews 12:6-11
4.      The Bema-Judgment Seat of Christ II Corinthians 5:10
5.      The Tribulation Ezekiel 20:37-38
6.      The judgment of the Gentiles Matthew 25:31-46
7.      The judgment of angels I Corinthians 6:3
8.      The Great White Throne of Judgment Revelation 20:11-15
Christ dying on the cross and rising from the grave is God’s mercy and grace given to us freely. If we ask for justice, it is our downfall in God’s judgment on us with being covered by the blood of Christ.
Paul had one simple, main purpose in writing those verses above and the ones that follow.
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
 5But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
 6Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
 8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
 9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
 10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
 11For there is no respect of persons with God.
 12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
 14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
 15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.         
There is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile when it comes to God’s judgment. Christ died for the world-not just the Jew or the Gentile. Jesus never said that the Law was no longer important. Many people completely disregard the Old Testament because they say we live under a new covenant with Christ under grace. While that is true about Christ, Christ came to fulfill the old laws not do away with them. The Old Testament is as important to the growing Christian as the New Testament. All of god’s truths should be learned and respected.  
Verse six is often used incorrectly to teach false doctrine.  6Who will render to every man according to his deeds. This does not mean that we as a people can work our way to Heaven. If it meant that then Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus is wrong when he explained that we are saved by Grace not by works lest anyone should boast/brag. In the minds of the Jews specifically the Pharisees, only those who knew and kept the Law would get to Heaven. How could anyone that didn’t know of the law get to Heaven if they had never heard?  The Bible clearly teaches that we are saved by Grace alone, but also there is a reward system, um bonus points if you will for the sealed by the blood of Christ saint. If we say we love Jesus, our lives, how we treat others, will reflect Him. The good deeds done will be to praise Him and not ourselves. The rest of chapter two repeats and goes into greater detail about the Jew and the law. The Israelites are in a unique position. God chose them to be his people. Yet, they through rituals and arrogance couldn’t follow God and his ultimate plan of salvation. Circumcision to the Jew was a part of the old covenant. It identified them as God’s. Circumcision today is like being baptized without belief; it is meaningless. Neither one can make one right in the sight of God.    

Chapter 3
            This chapter starts out with Paul continuing is look at the Jew and if they have advantages over the Gentiles. In a manner of speaking while God shows no favoritism as scripture teaches, Paul here is in a sense saying yes Jews do have an advantage because they were chosen originally by God and have had the scriptures of old.
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
 2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
 3For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
 4God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
            God’s faithfulness does not, did not, and will not be determined by the people’s faithfulness or lack thereof. It’s like being a parent. You will never stop loving your child even though they do some of the dumbest things ever.
 5But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
 6God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
 7For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
 8And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
 9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
            From verse five to nine, we see Paul, a Jew himself well versed in the old scriptures imploring to his fellows that they too stand in judgment of God’s perfection. Now here comes the first verse of many that have popularly been called Roman’s Road. In verses ten through thirty-one Paul uses scripture to prove that sin/guilt is to all people not just those without the law and that Christ and more to the point FAITH in Christ is the key:
 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
 15Their feet are swift to shed blood:
 16Destruction and misery are in their ways:
 17And the way of peace have they not known:
 18There is no fear of God before their eyes.
 19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
            If we were to be solely judged by our ability to keep the Ten Commandments or any of the other Mosaic rules, we would not be able to keep the whole law because of two points. A. Jesus said that if we are angry unjustly at our brother we have committed murder. If we look upon a woman with lust, we have committed adultery with her in our hearts. B. Jesus when teaching stated that he who breaks one essentially has broken them all. The law acts as a lighthouse that shines upon us showing us our need for salvation in that we can never truly keep the law in the first pace.    
 29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
 30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
            This is the setup for Christ now.
 31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
            Jesus did not destroy or void the law. Oh no, He fulfilled it.
            There are few names that garner more respect than Abraham. Paul uses Abraham in chapter four to exhibit two words and their reality to us in our walk with Christ. Those words by the way are faith and believe.
1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
 3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
            Abraham was righteous before God not because of all he did on his own, but because he BELIEVED GOD.
 4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
            To those who are trying to work your way to God, you can never pay off the debt whereas the debt is paid already if you believe, step out in faith in Christ Jesus as your savior.
 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
            As Christians, we work at doing good deeds to please God not for our own image, write ups in the paper, or any other selfish reason. Our life will represent Christ by our actions while we are saved, sealed in Christ by the Grace at the cross.
 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
 9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
 13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
            The righteousness of faith is achieved one way through Jesus. ABRAHAM, REMEMBER WAS PROMISED BY God that his heirs would be as numerous as the grains of sand. It is through this distinct line that Christ was born through the lineage of King David.
For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
 15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
 17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
 18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
            It is all about Jesus, plain and simple.
                                         Chapter 5
            This chapter begins to expound on how chapter four ended. It tells about justification through Jesus and the benefits we as believers have.
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
            We have access to peace and grace by faith.  
 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
            The Christian life is not all praise in the sunshine, oh no! We go through trials because the master, Christ, Jesus Lord of All said we would! It is through the trials and bad times of life that draw us closer to God. We are saved by grace but it is our growth in that grace that brings us ever closer to Christ daily DESPITE how sometimes we have oh I’ll say it, CRAP days. Even those CRAP days were made by God and we should rejoice in them because we are sinners turned saints saved by the Grace of a loving, perfect Redeemer known as Jesus Christ!
 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
            The ungodly is you, me, your granny, your cousin, that kid you absolutely hate and aggravate in class, and the guy you aim road rage at when you are cut off in traffic.           
            Now the chapter continues detailing how sin entered through one man, Adam, but how the other One, Jesus brought forth salvation. There are a two verses that stick out and we will look upon them.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  
 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
            Do you see the consistent pattern? Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the only way to avoid eternity in hell. It is Jesus and that G word; Grace!
                                                                                        Chapter 6
               We have spent a whole lot of time dealing with justification, so in chapter six we find a turn to sanctification. This word means holiness. Sadly, Christian denominations that for whatever delusional reasons mock other Christians that say as the word teaches security of salvation. Verse one in chapter six does not in any measure advocate sinning for the believer. Verse two answers affirmatively NO! When we as sinners repent and accept Christ as the Lord, WHAT and WHO WE WERE IS NO LONGER AN ISSUE. The Holy Spirit fills us and we are sanctified as saints. We are new creations, the old as is taught has passed away.
               There was then like there is now a hang up over the idea of baptism. Before Christ, John the Baptist baptized in the Jordan. The act of being submerged, dunked if you will in the water was a ceremonial ritual, an act of repentance.
3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
            When people are baptized, the last few words are, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The above mentioned baptism into Jesus does not refer to water baptism. It alludes to salvation through the Holy Spirit.  
 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
            When we accept Christ as savior, we receive the Holy Spirit. That is the baptism mentioned above. Now here in verse four we see Paul painting a vivid and easy to understand picture of the act of baptism that John had performed, i.e. water baptism. It is a symbolic gesture that we as obedient Christians do to show all present that we have acknowledged and accepted Christ as Lord.
 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
            The old man mentioned is the sin nature, the desire to sin. New creations in Christ are not like the fool that returns to his folly or the dog that likes to lick up its own puke.  
 7For he that is dead is freed from sin.
 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
            As Christians we are freed from sin by Jesus. Jesus died one time never to die again. death doesn’t own him like it does not own the Christian. We as believers should not fear death, but welcome it as we will be with Christ. This is however no reason for anyone to be an “emo” glorifying death and pain as if it is Christ.
 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
            Satan cannot steal a person’s salvation, but he can if we let him steal our joy and tear away at our fellowship with God. As a Christian people we need to be busy with things of Heaven and God’s will. There are always people to visit, the Bible to read, prayers to be prayed. The more time we spend with Christ the stronger we will be to fend off the hateful devil.
 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
              People that defend salvation through water baptism I think hate the word grace. We are under the law of grace. What is grace? Grace simply is God giving us something we do not deserve. It is God loving us so much that he gave Jesus to the cross. Grace is our receiving that which we do not deserve. How insulting is it to the Lamb of God that we as a people say to someone asking about salvation, “You must repent, believe that Jesus died for your sins, and before you leave today, be baptized in the creek/river/city water.”
            Did the thief on the cross have a second to be baptized after acknowledging his need and desire for Christ? Paul stated that he was glad that he did not baptize that many people because God had called him to preach Christ. The eunuch in the book of Acts upon hearing the Gospel had such zeal and a love for his newfound savior that he did not want to waste any time. When he and Philip came upon water, he wanted to be baptized right then. Philip asked him a question. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (ACTS 8:37).  
      This is Matthew Henry’s take: The avowal of the Ethiopian must be understood as expressing simple reliance on Christ for salvation, and unreserved devotion to Him. Let us not be satisfied till we get faith, as the Ethiopian did, by diligent study of the Holy Scriptures, and the teaching of the Spirit of God; let us not be satisfied till we get it fixed as a principle in our hearts. As soon as he was baptized, the Spirit of God took Philip from him, so that he saw him no more; but this tended to confirm his faith. When the inquirer after salvation becomes acquainted with Jesus and his gospel, he will go on his way rejoicing, and will fill up his station in society, and discharge his duties, from other motives, and in another manner than heretofore. Though baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, with water, it is not enough without the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
      That was the elegantly written commentary from Mr. Henry. My own take is not as elegantly written, but here goes: First, the Ethiopian read, heard, then understood by Philip who Christ is. He heard the Gospel message. Upon seeing water, he wanted to know basically why wait. There are some in the Christian world that teach salvation is acquired through Jesus and baptism. That is not the case. Our faith in Christ alone is the saving ingredient. But the new believer was so fired up for Christ because he believed in Him as Lord, he wanted to be baptized. Understand this; there is no reason for a believer to not be baptized. To be an obedient Christian, one should be baptized. We are saved by Grace not the act of water baptism.
      The remaining verses in chapter six continue to attest that we are saved by Grace and that we are to live for Christ not our old ways of life. The final verse, verse twenty-three, is one that so many know. If someone is employed they usually get paid wages. Thanks to Adam and Eve’s Sin Factory, we as a people before knowing Christ as savior are paid wages of death.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
     Eternal life is not something we earn, but we are given by God’s Grace through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection.     

Chapter 7
           Verse one starts out like so:
Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over
man as long as he liveth?
           If a man is convicted of a crime and is killed, he can’t be sued in civil court. Dead is dead to any law, okay. Paul weaves together a clever example using marriage as a teaching point in the law and how we are now not bound to the law in that we are dead to it but married to another, you know that whole concept of Grace in Christ.
 5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
         Verse five can be restated like this: When I was a sinner, I sinned. Jesus’ death and our death with Him have released us from the nature to which we were slaves. The newness of spirit is our new walk with Christ.
        See what Paul is doing? He was I think the first apologetic. He is setting up questions and answers that he knows the hardest critics would ask. Verse seven is another one directly connected to verses five and six.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 
        It is impossible for us as a people to actually think we are good enough to keep the law. The sole purpose of the law is to point us toward Jesus Christ and that grace concept.
8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
 9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
 10And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
 12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

      You may be thinking what? If we are told not to look down, touch that or as Lot’s wife disobeyed, look back, we find that we are all the same in that we want to do the things we are told not to do. One line of thought is like this: if I only do wrong when I know it’s wrong, and then do away with the law and I won’t do wrong any more. It is a logical fallacy. If we legalized cocaine it would not be right to use it just because there was no law against it.
13Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
     The law did not bring forth death, but rather the sin did as you recall earlier. The law points out to us that we cannot keep it and are slaves to the old man, sin nature. Verses fourteen through twenty are so excellent in the summation of our struggle against that sin nature even though we are saints saved by grace.
14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
       We do the things we know we shouldn’t, and don’t do the things we know we should because of sin that needs to be confessed, forgiven, and cleansed by the blood of Christ through the work of His Spirit.  
 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
     Ever get tired and sleepy when you try to read the Bible? Ever notice all those distractions that occur when you try to witness to a lost soul? Like I said earlier, ole Satan will do what he can to run interference. If he can keep you from fellowshipping with Christ as a believer and keep others from hearing the good news, then you’d best believe, he’ll do it to it so to speak.

22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
      If an alcoholic says he is recovered, he is lying. I have been told by more than one that they all see themselves as recovering (present tense) alcoholics. Keep that in mind with the passages above. Apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit none of us would be able to stop sinning be it alcohol, food, porn, internet, whatever. Even though we are new creations, we still in this life dwell in the flesh wish is corruptible and no good. It is the power of God as his saints that we should rely on in all times of temptations.
 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
     The body of death Paul refers to is the above mentioned nasty flesh. Praise God that we have Jesus to save us from our own sins!
                                                                        Chapter 8
      To fully grasp the pure beauty of chapter eight, we need to be sure we understand what the words really mean. If we are condemned, we are thought to be guilty of something. If we receive a condemnation from someone it is because they think we are wrong, unfit, evil, and dare I say reprehensible. So with that now in mind, let’s look at what the first verse says:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.   
       We who call out to Jesus in faith trusting Him as the Lord are the new creations. Yes, we can and do mess up and sin again, but the moment we do if that profession of faith to Christ was real and we truly are washed in His blood, the Holy Spirit convicts us of said mess ups and we as obedient children confess and repent. We walk and truly are driven by the Spirit of God. There is not a way or manner that children of the Most High God can be condemned. This is something so many even in the Christian church argue about. How insane is that? Many today are saying and God forbid this, teaching and preaching from the pulpit that salvation can be lost. It is taught by many that “one must look at the whole of scripture and see” that salvation can be lost. Briefly, hog and wash, okay. The central message of The Bible points to eternal life with and through Jesus Christ! There are those who say look at the words of Jesus instead of the epistles written by the apostles. That train of thought is a logical fallacy in itself because bottom line: The Bible is either all true or it’s a lie. We as a flesh and blood people do not have the intelligence to detect which and what from The Bible is authentic. We are taught by the scripture that it is all useful and more importantly, case closed; God breathed. It is a slap in the face of an all powerful God to limit his power and degrade the cross of Christ by saying that a sinner turned saint, a new creation, can return to the sin state that once he lived. It can happen if a person goes forward to accept Christ, but truly never really accepts Christ as Lord. GOD KNOWS WHO ARE HIS. We’ll see more on that later.
        There are those that say a person’s salvation is dependent upon good deeds. They always quote “faith without works is dead.” So in response to those people erroneously teaching doctrine with only one verse, here we continue in chapter eight with verse five and following.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
     The Christian will not want to go out and pull a drunk all weekend and will be mindful of the Spirit that lives within.
 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
     The only way to please God is to not be in the flesh. It is through Jesus Christ not Islam’s prophets, not Confucius, not Buddha, not a new age moon beam, but through Christ. If we cannot say that we know Christ as our savior then we have already started our trip to Hell with a one way ticket.   
9But 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.
 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
          This refers directly to the no condemnation reference. In The Acts of The Apostles, we find ole Simon Peter meditating on the rooftop. He has a vision about food/animals. Christ tells him to “Kill and eat.” Now Peter being Peter said basically, “No, man, no.” This resulted in Christ rebuking Peter again.  And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.  The applied concept to the food works for us as well. Before Christ we were unrighteous, filthy rags that were void of hope. Remember hope for later. Anyone remember the duck thought?  If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.  Christians will act like the master i.e. Christ. Look back at verse five and Galatians 5:22-23.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.   
        This statement is another reassurance that God’s Holy Spirit lives inside all that believe on and know Christ as Savior. Let us look at verse fifteen as yet another affirming verse that speaks about the sanctification that walks with salvation, a salvation that cannot be lost.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
          The spirit of bondage is that old sinful life that trapped all of us before Christ. God created all things. This means even the bad guys of history were crafted by the Almighty that made you and your loved ones. Just because we were made by God for God, all as Christ taught won’t be God’s. Christ, the sinless man, told it like is, was, and will be. He called the Pharisees a brood of vipers and sons of Satan. Only those of us that reach to Him and call Him Savior will be known as children of God. The adopted children that we are through Christ’s sacrifice are the only ones that can use the beloved term Abba.  Think about like this in relation to the flawed concept losing one’s salvation. A sinner accepts the Grace of God, Christ’s sacrificial death to pay our sin debt and becomes a saint, a child of God by repenting from the sin and believing Christ not only died but rose again. We are sealed by the blood of Christ. For the sake of making a point, let’s pretend you are a parent.  Can you ever tell your child no matter how mad you are at their shortcomings that they are no longer your child? Some smart-mouth will say divorce ‘em in court, but you see my point, right? As a parent you surly cannot imagine ever taking away your child’s inheritance whether its money or just your last name. There’s no going back.
 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
        Life is like a Hoover at times, but compared to what God has for his children is indescribable. In other words, “Hang on. It’s rough now, but wait.” When I was a kid I didn’t understand what people meant when they said Jesus is the blessed hope. I always though hope was wishful thinking. This proves once again The Bible holds all the answers. Verse twenty-four says:
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
        Hope is The Holy Spirit. Even as we are saved from hell, we have no idea of what glory God has for us in Heaven. Paul remembered that our roots of faith reach an inexhaustible reservoir of Christ’s grace, love and hope. When a person is consistently feeding from Christ’s living waters they are not overcome by dry spells. Hope in God drives out despair and gives great patience. A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope! Those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them. If hope holds such power for unthinking rodents, how much greater should is effect be on our lives.
  26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
 27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
      Sometimes we don’t even know what to pray because we get so tired and wore down. When we get to the point that we don’t know what to pray, as children of God, the Spirit like Christ as our mediator before God, intercedes on our behalf and prays for us to God for that which we need.  The next part is so comforting even though we at times think life is awful and too much. Verse twenty-eight says:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.   
      This verse is used by so many sadly at the worst times despite the intent being honorable. This verse is quoted by many well-meaning people to families that have lost ones too soon. We know what it means. God will use all things to accomplish is goal for his people. We see this in the life of Joseph, a boy left for dead sold into slavery by his brothers. We see this is a man after God’s heart, King David, whose sin resulted in a lifetime of sorrow, but ultimate repentance and redemption, and in the very Son, God gave so that all of us would be free from sin and hell. So with that being said, some critics will and have asked, “If God is merciful and all thinks work for good for his kids, then what good is a child’s death? What about teenagers cut down in their prime? What about murderers that kill innocent people?”  Do I have the answer? I’d be a liar if I said yes. However, I will say I can only answer what The Bible tells me. After David’s sinful ordeal, the child he fathered died. During the illness the father, David wept and stayed with the child. After the baby’s death, David shocked his servants by bathing and eating. He stated by faith in God that he would go to his child. More times than not, parents of murdered children forgive their children’s killers. They do this because they give their grief to God. From great loss comes a greater peace if God is the one who is given the pain. God has and will continue to use even tragedies to draw people closer to him.
 30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
       Many Christian and other groups think that God has chosen only a certain number of people to go to Heaven. These people are teaching lies from hell! The Bible tells that God does not want any to perish. Now at that same token, the Israelites were/are God’s people, but as we will see in later chapters not all of Israel will be saved. Christ came to save the world. Now in that world as we have covered are those who will accept Him as Savior. They are the children of God. Now don’t think God is taken by surprise by anyone that comes to him. Before any of us was made, God knew who would come to him. God told Jeremiah, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb.” There is no favoritism with God. If he says he knew Jeremiah, then the same applies to us. Look at Psalm 139. In the Gospel of John, Jesus prayed not just for his current disciples, but for you and for me and all those who would come to call Him savior through the work of The Holy Spirit. It is through the Spirit that we are justified and sanctified before the righteous true Abba Father. No one comes to God on his/her own as we have already talked about.          
 31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
 34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
      This refers back to verse one. No one can condemn us because the Lamb of God, the King of kings has sanctified us by His love and the Grace of Almighty God. This in itself again leads into one final look back at the end of chapter eight and the permanency of salvation.
 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
    So who again is stronger than the Word of  Truth, the Alpha and Omega? Oh, wait. No one!
 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.   
     Direct reference from the famed prophet Isaiah that prophesized the coming sacrifice of the Bread of Life. 
 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      Chapter nine for those of the Jewish descent is detailed concerning the gospel and how only through Christ, the cornerstone, can they like us be saved. Old Testament writings from Hosea are used to logically show that Christ’s sacrifice was foretold. Nine, ten and half of eleven deal with Israel and their rejection of Christ. The key to remember is that righteousness is obtained by faith in Christ. The key part from chapter ten is the most ignored part by those wishing to add to God’s simple plan of salvation for all people.
9That 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.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
     I want to share the next verse because it speaks to me in that I think most of us Christians need a shift kick in the tail.
 14How 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?
     Now I have said rather I have repeated what God has said in his word concerning people and the revelation of the truth. God reveals himself to all people. Hebrews, chapter one:
 1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
 3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
    Christians are charged with a serious task; we are to spread the Gospel. If we don’t, what does that say about our true commitment our zeal for Christ if we cannot say, “I’d like to tell you about Jesus.”
     In chapter eleven, the focus turns away from Israel momentarily and focuses on the rest of us, the Gentiles. It is stated that the disbelief of Israel turned out to be the greatest blessing for us. Furthermore, the restoration of Israel is spelled out. The last verse in thirty-six tells us that the only real response we should have to God is respect by worshipping him.
As we begin this chapter, keep the following question in mind: Ever been told you are just like your mom or dad? In this case, we should hope and work toward being told that sentiment as far as our holy Father is concerned. If you have ever been told by someone that they didn’t know you were Christian, you need to take heed of yourself. Verses one through two follow.       
 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
            If one is conformed, they are molded in a manner of speaking to be like the norm, the control group, society. Christians are reformed by the cross of Christ, so we should not be like the rest of the world that is lost and headed straight to Hell. Does that sound harsh? Have I offended anyone? I’m sure I have because being in line with God’s Word, scripture, The Bible, means we are set apart, not better than anyone, but set apart sealed by Christ whereas the  unsaved of the world are too busy living themselves to Hell because they don’t know Christ and He doesn’t know them. Let’s continue verse by verse.
 3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
            Christians are not better as I said or above anyone. There are some denominations within the Christian church that may give the appearance or vibe that they are the one true church and that their confessions don’t stink, but I assure you, the true Christian is covered with the blood of Christ and we are clothed with humility.    
 4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
 6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
 8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
            Every member of the church has a talent given by God for his glorification.
 9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
            Stay away from that which is bad! If you know you are going to be tempted by something, stay away from it! As a fat man, I need to avoid the buffets, okay. That’s a joke, kind of, but you get the idea. There is not a gray area in God’s Word about what is right and wrong no matter how politicians want to spin it.  
 10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
 11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
            Don’t be lazy, be on fire for God by serving Him!
 12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
            We know what the hope is from earlier. The tribulation is how bad life can be at times. Prayer is our greatest blessing following salvation because God the Father, Son, and Spirit hear the prayers of the saints of God.
 13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
 14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
            How many of us does this touch? Speaking for myself only, after I mess this up, the Spirit convicts me and I feel so bad that I beg not just ask, but beg God Almighty to forgive me because I’m an idiot.
 15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
 16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
            Look to those less fortunate and remember, you ain’t all that and a bag of chips, okay!
 17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
            Be nice to those that are rude to you. If you let Christ’s light shine in and through you, their darkness of ignorance will be evaporated. If you are nice to those who are rude to you, you are simply making them out to be the jerks that they simply are.
 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
            It is easy to strike back and lash out once we have been hurt verbally or physically. If we are to live as Christ, we will not let evil, fear, the dark side if you will consume us. As new creations in Christ, we ought to shine for the Light of The World and not let the conformity of sin dim us. One thing though that bothers me personally about verses like this. Many times those opposed to the necessity at times of war say that Christ was a pacifist that would not ever go to war. Christ when teaching the beatitudes taught individual not national responses. Just for the record to those who think Christ would be against war, now, here me, I don’t pretend to know the mind of Christ, that would be presumptuous beyond arrogance; however, one might want to look at Revelation 19:11-16. Now back to Romans and chapter thirteen.
            “You can’t talk about the church and government” screams the liberal. “It’s unconstitutional!” Um, no, it isn’t. Separation of church and state does not appear in The Constitution, but it does occur in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. What you will find are the words like government shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion OR prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
 1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
            In Paul’s time, Christians were almost public enemy number one, were rounded up, beaten and killed. Nero tried to destroy all copies of scripture and erase it from the world. And here Paul is saying that the established powers, i.e. those in charge are so because their power is established by the very God that in most cases is mocked by said ruling bodies. Therein lies the rub so to say. If a Democrat is the president, the Republicans will complain and vice versa. Think about like this by remembering what Jesus said to the man, Pilate, that “allowed” the crucifixion  to occur. Jesus told him, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” I am not going to be so boastful as to question why God let Nero reign, why Hitler was allowed to kill the chosen Israelites, why Islamic jihadist losers flew planes into the towers, but I will say in my honest opinion, perhaps out of these horrible atrocities, we as people, and as a nation will in sincerity turn to Him and not continually run away until we need to feel secure again.
 2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
            The word damnation in this regard means judgment. Christian people sealed by the blood of Christ cannot lose their salvation, but don’t think for a moment that we cannot and will not be disciplined by the Father upon our the Day of Judgment.
 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
 4For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
            Sorry to disrespect Thoreau, but civil disobedience isn’t always the best course. Now there are those that will say America would never have been made if we did not break away from England thus doing what is contrary to what is said here. That is not exactly true. Look back at American History. Speaking of which, let’s have a look just for those who hold to the belief that American is not now or ever was a Christian nation with the words of Republicans and Democrats past on the issue of God’s sovereignty in government:
 In 1776, 11 of the 13 colonies required that one had to be a Christian to be eligible to run for political office.
In 1777, the Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase Bibles for distribution in the nation.
The GETTYSBURG ADDRESS states "...this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom..."
On that First "Thanksgiving", who do you think the people were giving thanks to? To God!
The famous "Liberty Bell" has part of Leviticus 25:10 inscribed on it: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
Part of the Scripture Proverbs 14:34 is inscribed above the L.A. city hall door: "RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTETH A NATION: BUT SIN IS A REPROACH TO ANY PEOPLE."
An image of Moses carrying the tablets of God’s Law faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The entering President takes his courtroom OATH OF OFFICE with his right hand on the Holy Bible, and concludes his vow "So help me God."
The Supreme Court itself begins each of its sessions with the phrase ’God save the United States and this honorable court,’
First Vice President and Second President, John Adams wrote in 1798:
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
 President Thomas Jefferson:
"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." - 1781
Our sixth President, John Quincy Adams said:
"No book in the world deserves to be so unceasingly studied, and so profoundly meditated upon as the Bible." -
At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin said,
"God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"

The Christian writings and pronouncements of our 16th President Abraham Lincoln would fill an entire book. He said this when he assumed leadership over a nation on the brink of civil war:
"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven… But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." - 1863
*Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th President, wrote:
"In this actual world, a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at, or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down-grade." - 1917
*Woodrow Wilson, our 28th President and Governor of New Jersey, said this:
"America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scripture." - 1911
*Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, said this about our founding fathers:
"They were intent upon establishing a Christian commonwealth in accordance with the principle of self- government. They were an inspired body of men. It has been said that God sifted the nations that He might send choice grain into the wilderness... Who can fail to see it in the hand of destiny? Who can doubt that it has been guided by a Divine Providence." - 1923
*Franklin Roosevelt prayed this prayer on a national radio hookup on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as our troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France:
"Almighty God... with Thy blessing we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogance. Lead us to the saving of our country. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen."

*Harry Truman, our 33rd President, not known to be a committed believer, understood the spiritual heritage of this nation:
"If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear”

*Gerald Ford, our 38th President, quoted a 1955 speech by Dwight D. Eisenhower on December 5, 1974:
"Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first - the most basic - expression of Americanism. Thus the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be."
*President Ronald Reagan:
"If we ever forget that we are ’One nation, under God’, then we will be one nation gone under."

6For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
            Pay taxes!
 7Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
            Be law abiding!
 8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
            Pay your bills and debts except be indebted to others in Christian service!
             Let’s move on now to finish up this chapter.
11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
             12The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
            Night here refers to how night was used whenever Jesus referred to it. The night is the time right now that we are in. The dawning day is the day that He, Christ, will return.
 13Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
            Don’t be jealous, drunken partying idiots, okay.
 14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
            Like I said earlier, Christian people, do not put yourself in the path of temptation. The old man, sin nature that the Holy Spirit put away can, will, and does slip up on us at times if we let it.
            The next chapter may be a bit too um uncomfortable for some. One of Aesop’s fables tells of an old man and his son bringing a donkey to the market. Passing some people on the way, they hear one remark, “Look at that silly pair—walking when they could be riding comfortably.”
The idea seemed sensible to the old man, so he and the boy mounted the donkey and continued on their way. Soon they passed another group. “Look at that lazy pair,” said a voice, “breaking the back of that poor donkey, tiring him so that no one will buy him.”
The old man slid off, but soon they heard another criticism from a passerby: “What a terrible thing, this old man walking while the boy gets to ride.”
They changed places, but soon heard people whispering, “What a terrible thing, the big strong man riding and making the little boy walk.”
The old man and the boy pondered the situation and finally continued their journey in yet another manner, carrying the donkey on a pole between them.
As they crossed the bridge, the donkey broke loose, fell into the river, and drowned.
Aesop’s moral: You can’t please everyone.
1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
 4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
 5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
 6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
 7For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
 8For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
 9For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
 10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
            The issue about food deals with the Jew and the gentile’s diets. The believers in Rome were divided over special diets and special days. Some of the members thought it was a sin to eat meat, so they ate only vegetables. Other members thought it a sin not to observe the Jewish holy days. Just re-read the scriptures and you can see how goofy we can be by letting things divide us, good people. On the broader scope, it is lame and useless for God’s children, the one church to argue amongst themselves denominationally, okay. This is purely me. I’m sick of the churches arguing about legalism and useless stuff. We should be about the Gospel, but so many times we are too busy worrying about futile carpet colors, how this budget is over the limit, the style of worship and when a baptism is going to take place. Then we start complaining about the other churches. Christians, focus on your relationship with God and not passing judgment on your fellow Christian that God loves as much as you.
 12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
 13Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
            It’s almost in the wise words of Hank Jr., “Mind your own bidness and you won’t be mindin’ mine.” A stumbling block people is anything that gets in the way. That can be anything that isn’t Jesus Christ is Lord. Think about that, playa.
 14I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
            Think of Paul’s statement like this, “I know that Jesus know and said its clean, but if you got it in your head that’s it is unclean then, it’ll be unclean.”
 15But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
            This is not attack of the killer BBQ, but rather what you do as a Christian. If what you do is hampering with the growth of a weaker Christian, you need to stop it. Don’t take your buddy out to drink a six pack of beer to celebrate his accepting Christ as Lord. It sends the wrong message to his growing faith.
 16Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
            We react and say “I’m free to do whatever I am fully convinced of in Christ no matter what anyone else thinks.” But those whose faith is weak can actually think what you have done is evil – and it’s all because the focus is wrong – it’s on the exterior behavior, instead of the Lord and the inner workings of His Spirit.
 17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  
 18For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
            Salvation rests in Christ alone. It’s not the rules or the absence of rules that matters – but the effect of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s children. When we have an active relationship with God and His Spirit is working out His rightness in our lives, it will result in peace with our brothers which results in a shared joy. We need to focus on the kingdom, not its subjects – that’s the way to please God and man.
 19Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
            Just get along!
 20For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
 21It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
            Again, just get along. Do not let trivial stuff like whether or not a stringed instrument or piano is used in service cause you to look down upon any of our brother and sisters in Christ. Don’t do anything that can cause a weaker in faith Christian to mature in the faith.
 22Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
 23And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
           You will know the good from the bad if you focus on Christ. Well, we have two final chapters.
        The first five verses discuss unity among believers with verse six making it as a clear as crystal.
6That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      The simple message continues in verse seven and following:
 7Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
 8Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
 9And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
 10And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
 11And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
 12And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
        Paul uses Psalms 18:49, 117:1, Deuteronomy 32:43, and Isaiah 11:1 and 10 to further illustrate the main point; Jesus is salvation to all not just one branch of people.
14And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
       Look I know you can handle situations,
 15Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
        but I am just writing in more detail so you don’t forget what is right.
 16That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
 17I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
       Paul is not speaking of glory for himself, but rather through his actions that Christ is glorified.
 18For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
      Paul was the one that spoke about letting your yes be yes and your no be no. He only brought the message of Christ as per the inspiration of God and nothing more.
 19Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
      By God’s power and Grace I have been able to go from point A to point B and preached the Gospel.  
 20Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
 21But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
      If two Wal-marts reside in the same town of a small/medium population, then some would have no trouble going to one whereas the other might suffer profit loss. The same applies here. Paul wanted to go to places where Christ’s name was not known and the Gospel not heard rather than staying and preaching to those who already knew Him as Messiah.

      Chapter sixteen the final chapter not to make light sounds a lot like an acceptance speech. Paul thanks a number of people ranging from Phoebe, a servant in the church to Tetius, who physically wrote the epistle as Paul no doubt dictated. Let us look at a few final verses from this chapter starting with verse seventeen through twenty.
17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
       Watch out for those people that want to cause trouble and say something other about The Bible that isn’t there.
 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
        These people are just out for themselves and will deceive the simple. We are warned about the wolves in sheep clothing. I don’t think Paul is calling anyone stupid exactly, but rather those who are not mature Christians in that they know the scriptures and hold a true, high reverence for Jesus.  
 19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
          Christian people, be the light for God’s Kingdom. Shine on, brothers, radiate sisters the love and lessons of the cross. Know what is right and what is wrong.  
            As Romans come to a close:
25Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
 26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
     Jesus was the mystery. He is now revealed. The Gospel reveals Him and that amazing Grace concept.  
 27To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

      The trial is over. As far as God is concerned, apart from Christ—if you have not place your faith and trust in Him, you are declared “guilty” by the judge of the universe. But the good news—the gospel—which was prophesied hundreds of years before Christ, tells us we can be saved through faith in Christ. If you are “in Christ” the verdict has been handed down: you are declared “Not Guilty.” Where do you stand today good people.