Authorized Distributor

church-history-graphic{In my studies in Romans, we came to a studies speaking of the Jewish people as the stewards of the oracles of God.  Sir Robert Anderson, in his work “The Silence of God”, explains this a bit as he speaks of an agent.  I always thought that this was a good way to illustrate at the place that the Nation of Israel had in time past in God’s redemptive purpose.  This helped in my understanding, so I am taking a moment to pass it on.  In my occupation, I often need to purchase items, and often, when going to the manufacturer, they say they do not sell except through their authorized distributor, so his example about the winegrower and his agent was an example that I understood perfectly}

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Stewards of the Oracles of God

Romans 3:1 – 4 — “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God 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.”

One might ask, that after all that we heard as Paul took those of his own nation to task about their failure to live up to their end of the covenant, what good is it then to be in a covenant with God?
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The Seal of the Covenant

Romans 2:25 – 29 — “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

When a man marries, he makes a covenant with his wife, and the sign, or the seal of the covenant is a ring on the third finger of his left hand.  The ring is not the covenant, it is the sign of the covenant. Continue reading “The Seal of the Covenant”

And the Religious

Romans 2:17 – 24 — “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the Name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.”

This next passage speaks directly to the recipients of the only religion that ever came from God.  That this is especially written to Jews for them to take to heart is true.  They will find that their place of privilege before God turns out to very much be a disadvantage. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be  much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48).

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No Respect of Persons

Romans 2:11 – 16 — “For there is no respect of persons with God.

“For 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; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For 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: Which 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;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

No one has any right standing with God in and of themselves.  There is NO RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH GOD.  We are moving to find that the Jew, the children Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by birth, has no better place of standing before God in his own righteousness than the Gentile.  Before moving on to that point, however, we will discuss more on God’s judgment in dealing with mankind in general.

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Judgment Without Bias

Romans 2:1 – 11 — “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. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.”

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The Judgment of God

Romans 1:24–32 — “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed for ever. Amen.

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

“And 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; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who 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.”

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The Wrath of God Revealed

Romans 1:18–23 — “For 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. For 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: 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. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

Now in our study of Romans, the Apostle Paul comes to the place why the gospel of Christ is needed, and what the salvation that it is the power of God unto, is salvation from.  We read previously that in the gospel of Christ the righteousness of God is revealed, and that the just shall live by faith;  but here we read that the wrath of God is revealed.  God is righteous, but mankind, both collectively and individually, is ungodly and unrighteous.

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From Faith to Faith

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

Continuing to look at these key verses in the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Romans, we see how the righteousness of God is revealed.  The gospel of Christ reveals the righteousness of God from faith, to faith.

What does it mean for this righteousness to be revealed from faith to faith?  Let us look to the Scriptures for the answer:

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The Just Shall Live By Faith

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

October 31, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the day when Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses” and effectually began what is known in history as the Protestant Reformation.  The statement that the Apostle Paul makes in Romans 1:17 is long remembered as the statement that opened Luther’s eyes to justification by faith:

“The just shall live by faith”  Continue reading “The Just Shall Live By Faith”