Category Archives: Romans

Apostle Paul’s letter

Where Do You Belong?

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. (Rom.5:18-19)

In God’s account, there are only two places where people of the world would belong-In Adam or in Christ. The Bible calls Adam “the first man” and Jesus “the second man” (1Cor.15:45). Jesus is also referred to as the “last Adam” (1Cor.15:47). All those who are born into this world are born in Adam. But all those who have placed their trust in Jesus are born again in Jesus. This is the billion dollar choice each one has to make.

In First Adam

This doesn’t require anything from your part. This is the default position in which mankind is. More than that by our deeds we declare that we are in Adam. We disobey God and rebel against Him. We go after our own desires and refuse to repent. The Bible says “there is no one who seeks God” (Rom.3:11; Ps.14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20)

In Last Adam

This is by the grace of God. However, one needs to acknowledge his sinfulness and depravity and humbly come to God trusting in His provision through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will quicken that person the moment he/she thus responds to the call of God. This last Adam is God’s provision for man’s sin. He is the only way because no one else qualifies for this propitiatory role (Jn.1:29,36; 14:6; 1Cor.15:45-47). The Bible affirms that those who are in Adam will all die, but those who are in Christ will live eternally (1Cor.15:22). God has done everything in order to bring us to Himself and has left the choice to us. A ‘billion dollar’ choice indeed!

Where is your position today? The option is still open and its free!

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Peace-Maker

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life. (Rom.5:1-11)

People the world over are seeking peace. Rebels are fighting and Governments are negotiating for peace. Even the terrorists claim that they are in the struggle for global peace. Unfortunately, none of these people know peace. But in the midst of all these turmoil there is a group that enjoy the real peace because they have discovered the source of peace.

Peace with God

The Bible reveals that a sinner, whether he agrees or not, is an enemy of God. Jesus came as God’s initiative to reconcile the sinner with God. Through faith in Jesus one can make peace with God. He is the “Prince of peace”, the real peace-maker. There can be no real peace in the world unless this Prince of peace reigns in the hearts and lives of people. Without individually making peace with God and finding peace within one’s own self there can never be peace among people. Religions, philosophies and governments are at a loss here.

Peace With People

Jesus alone can reconcile a sinful man with God. By faith in Christ Jesus I can experience this peace. No one else can give this peace or take it away from me. All those who have experienced this peace are given the mission of promoting this real peace. We are called to be peace agents in a strife-torn world.

As we are drawing near to the return of the Lord for His church, we see more and more unrest. There are wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and natural disasters at never before frequency, and increasing hatred among people groups. Religion is against religion and nation against nation, as foretold by the Bible. Immediately after the rapture of the Church, the Antichrist will appear as the trouble shooter, offering a false peace and deceiving those left behind.

Uniqueness of the Christian Faith

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Rom.5:1-5)

Christian faith is unique in its offering of a specific means to get right with the Almighty God, who is absolutely holy and perfect. We cannot expect such an awesome God to be pleased with our worship unless He has made us acceptable to Himself. Our utmost stringent observance of rituals, prayers, fasts, pilgrimages and almsgiving cannot qualify us to be accepted in God’s presence.

It establishes Peace with God through Reconciliation

The Bible reveals that God initiated the act of reconciliation between Himself and mankind while we were still rebellious. We never initiated it, we never could. It has to originate from unconditional love which God alone possess. In fact the Bible reminds us that God is love. God initiated reconciliation and invites us to be in right relationship with Him, as Father and children. Since God has shown us the example we need to initiate reconciliation with one another. The Holy Spirit extends His help by filling our hearts with the unconditional love of God. Without having ‘peace with God’ it is impossible to have lasting peace ‘with one another’. Thus peace with God and with fellow beings does not just remain a theory in Christian faith.

It emanates unfailing Hope through Suffering

This is one of the so called ‘paradoxes’ of the Christian faith in the eyes of the world. The Bible states that it is by dying that you live, it is by giving that you receive, and it is by choosing to be humiliated that you will be exalted. There can be no crown without the cross and no glory without the groaning. Suffering develops endurance, endurance builds Godly character, and character brings unwavering hope! Suffering is the way God perfects His people and prepares them for sharing in His eternal glory.

God’s (unconditional) LOVE brings (indestructible) PEACE which in turn produces (unending) JOY. This is what we need, the world needs!

Crux of the Matter

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. (Rom.4:13-25)

What is the kernel of Christianity? How is anybody put right with God?

Religions advise you to follow traditions, rituals, a set of rules, or practice certain disciplines. However, it is clear as the day light that no one can earn acceptance in God’s presence by doing these.

Faith

God’s justice does not allow any filtering to see what percentage of holiness you have achieved. The Bible makes it clear that no one can earn salvation by his/her merit. It is not a reward one can earn or a salary one can work for. The only wage we can earn is death. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom.6:23). Being made right with God is purely a gift from God. Anyone can receive it by faith. And no one can have it without faith.

What is this “faith” according to the Christian Scriptures?

Human beings in general operate on faith. We believe in the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the food we eat and the vehicles we travel by. We trust our banks and other institutions. We have faith in the doctors and the medicines they prescribe. It would be impossible to live without this basic element in human relationships. Faith is always revealed in our action. I would not go to somebody who offers me a gift unless I have faith in that person. This is at the human level. But when it comes to the God of the Bible, the Bible says:

Gift

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. (Rom.3:23-28)

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Eph.2:8-9)

Faith or Rules?

The Scriptures say, “God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith in him.” Money paid to workers isn’t a gift. It is something they earn by working. 5But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him. (Rom.4:1-12)

Religions of the world teach that you need to follow a set of rules to be acceptable to God. This is a sinful man’s futile attempt to reach the Holy God. No religion can assure you of the forgiveness of your sins. Neither can any one of them guarantee you eternal life. But Jesus offers you these and a host of other blessings. Knowing this, will you still go for religion or want to trust Jesus?

Rules Insufficient

Those who claim the legacy of Abraham argue that Abraham was accepted by God because He observed the rules like circumcision. They try on their own merit to earn God’s favor and get to heaven. They also try to look for others who can recommend their case before God. However, these rules and recommendations are of no avail.

Faith Sufficient

God accepts people only because of their faith in Him and His Word. Abraham acted in obedience because he believed God. Obedience should result from faith. Obedience can not bring faith, neither can it make anyone acceptable to God. The Bible says, faith is the key. From beginning to end it is faith and nothing else. Once you have believed, then God begins His work of transformation in you. Then you will want to obey and follow God’s instructions. This obedience of faith will be pleasing to God.

Who Can Stand Up?

“No one is righteous – not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. (Rom.3:9-20) (Psalms 14:1-3)

There are people who do not accept they are sinners. Also there are those who feel they are doing what is right. There are philosophies that tell us that if our good deeds outweigh our bad, then we stand a chance to be earn merits from God. However, deep in our hearts we know we can never attain that standard God expects-100% holiness. So, when God call for the sinless one to stand up will there be anyone?

Nobody Can Claim Sinlessness

God observes from His throne that there is no one righteous in His estimation, not even one that meets His standards. To those of us who claim righteousness in ourselves God says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind”
(Isa.64:6).

Nobody Can Save themselves

No one can obtain salvation by the observance of the Law. Neither can anyone satisfy God’s justice by good deeds. God’s justice demands that a sinner be condemned to eternal death – permanent separation from God’s presence. Religions and philosophies may suggest ways to overcome this. But none of it is capable of satisfying the righteous demand of God’s Law. This leaves mankind in a dilemma.

Only God has the Solution

God alone can provide a solution when all human attempts fail. That is what God did on the cross of Calvary, when He allowed His Son to be the ransom for us all.

Is God Just?

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality…. (Rm.2:1-16)

God’s anger toward those who ignore His commands burnt on the cross of Calvary. Those who hide behind that cross will be spared from the heat of that wrath when it will burn for the last time.

God is the Creator and owner

God is just and fair in judging the wicked because He is the Creator and owner of the whole creation. He has absolute right and authority over all that he has made. He loved mankind, the crown of His creation, for whom everything else were made. He gave them freedom but wanted them to willingly keep His instructions. But man decided to chose otherwise and landed in the resultant disarray of wickedness and sin. He had laid down the rules of the game right in the beginning itself and only the mankind is to blame.

God the Son is the Judge and the Penalized

As the Law giver, God is the judge. He will judge everyone according to what they have done while alive. The one question around which the judgment will revolve is “What did you do with my Son Jesus?” The answer to this simple question will determine the destiny of mankind. Bible says, “If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished” (Rom.8:1). The Bible also says that Jesus Christ is coming back as the Judge. In order to save the criminal, the righteous judge Himself paid the penalty. Now all who wish to avail the benefit can do so by believing on Jesus. Judgment is for not accepting the provision God has made through the death of His dear Son, and attempting to reach heaven through their own ways.

No Excuse

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Rom.1:18-32)

God is just in whatever He does. Look at what’s going on in the world? Much of the world is walking on four legs in the name of post modern culture. God knew it well ahead of the ‘intelligent’ man.

God has revealed His glory

God had revealed His glory through His creation. The nature and all that has life reveal the wisdom of God. The more we discover about the mysteries of this universe the more we should admire its Creator. But, people instead are trying to prove He doesn’t exist. The human brain is still a mysterious super computer no scientist can replicate. They can imagine how the world came into being on its own through a big bang but they cannot explain why nothing falls into order by itself today. They can see deterioration happening and things going out of control, but are not willing to accept the proposition of an intelligent Creator who put everything in order. God’s Word says that no one can excuse himself by saying he was not aware of a Creator.

God is Right in condemning the wicked

Can anyone blame God for what is happening in the world? For the global warming, for the wars and killings, for the epidemics, for the upcoming holocaust? God is giving up on man because of the extreme wickedness in which they indulge. They are crushing the truth with wickedness. What was considered evil is acceptable today. They keep God away from their lives because they feel sufficient in themselves. They trust their genius and their ability to create. They feel they have discovered the secret of life and they can do without the Creator. They swept the Bible and prayer out of their schools and colleges and brought more rational curriculum. God ordained relationships are out of fashion and disapproving homosexuality has become human rights violation. They discourage Christian activities and glamorize pagan cultures in the name of meditation and New Age Movement. They violate every principle in the Word of God and accommodate all forms of vulgarity. They do all these and blame God when their children involve in wicked practices and murder other children. No one can plead ignorance before God’s judgment seat. He is justified in giving people up for their wickedness because it is after enough of warning.

The Product Power

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times;…. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Rom.1:8-12; 14-17)

Paul sets and example for all servants of God to follow, concerning their occupation and attitude.

Occupation of a Servant of God

The primary occupation of a servant of God is praying and preaching – praying for God’s people and God’s work. Whether they are directly involved in the action or not they should be offering thanks for what God is doing in the lives of people. As we browse through various posts, read mission news, or hear encouraging reports, praise and thanks to God should emerge from our hearts and lips. We should also be proclaiming the Gospel to people irrespective of their background or response.

Attitude of a Servant of God

Preachers and pastors who are involved in teaching the Bible may feel it humiliating to admit that they too need fellowship and encouragement. Still worse is the thought that young believers and lay people can teach them a lesson or two and encourage them in faith. We need to be humble enough to accept encouragement and support from ordinary people. We should also feel proud of the message that we preach, because it is the message from Almighty God. It is packed with the power from God to convict the sinner and lead him to salvation through Christ Jesus.

The Product Power

Marketing staff of a company are most effective when they are motivated by the quality and effectiveness of the product they promote. This is when they feel proud to be associated with a product that has a perfect and proven track record. Apostle Paul was aware of this truth that we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the unfailing product of the God of heaven, that is the ‘dynamite’ of God. We don’t need to worry about convincing the listener or satisfying him. Whether listeners agree with you or not your product is still the unfailing dynamite of God. No wonder, Paul was proud (not ashamed) about it.

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God’s Sovereign Choices

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. (Rom.1:1-6)

God in His wisdom chooses ways and means to accomplish His purposes. He has planned eternity, and time in between. He planned time in detail, such minute detail that man took  several millennia to unravel some of the simplest of things He has designed.

The Choice of God’s Son

The Triune God chose God the Son from among themselves to be the Savior of the world. God promised this Good News from the very beginning of creation, right in the garden of Eden itself, when He announced the destiny of Satan (Gen.3:15). The “seed of the woman” would crush Satan’s head, which Jesus did on the cross. There was a graphical display of this in the garden when God killed an animal to clothe the sinners (Gen.3:21), a foreshadow of the perfect sacrifice that would take away the sins of the entire mankind.

Then, the promise of the coming Son of David was repeated through prophets and recorded in the Scriptures so people can refer back to it and see the plan of God. Paul reminds us that this was a mystery until it was revealed through the life, death and resurrection of the son of Mary, descendant of David (Rom.16:25; Eph.1:9; 3:3-9; 6:19; Col.1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3). He was full human as he was a descendant of David and proved his deity by being raised from death as the Son of God.

The Choice of God’s Servants

God has chosen people to be His servants and messengers from time to time. Paul talks about his being chosen and sent to be a messenger of this good news about God’s Son Jesus Christ. He was drafted by God as an apostle to carry this message when he was an enemy of this message. Paul takes credit in the fact that he is a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Choice of God’s People

Other believers in the churches that he planted were called by God through the obedience of Paul to his call. All those who were willing to listen to the Gospel, believe in God’s Son and obey the call of God were chosen to be God’s own people. Peter describes them as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God”. This choice is absolutely God’s initiative and we can have no claims whatsoever.

God is calling people unto himself through His beloved Son Jesus Christ wherever the good news of the Gospel is proclaimed.