Romans – Scruples

We are to welcome those weak in faith, and by the same token, we are not to allow those less afflicted with scrupulosity to set the standards. God has welcomed them both, and it is not our place to pass judgment. We will all stand in judgment before God, and we should leave Him that task. This does not mean that we cannot in charity diplomatically object to errors in the essential things of religion.

Even though we are to provide allowances for opinions, we are not to give those who hold stricter rules for themselves reason to stumble. Doing so can cause not only the man to stumble, but has in some cases gone as far as causing schism. It is not right do do anything that would cause your brother to stumble.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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Romans – Meeting Obligations

We are to be subject to governing authorities, because they get their authority from God. Even while Rome treated the Jews and the Christians harshly, Rome’s infrastructure is what allowed Christianity to flourish. Paul knows that there is no need of insurrection, since God will provide for His people what they need. These governing authorities have ben allowed to exist by God, therefore, he who resists them resists what God has appointed.

This does not mean that these rulers are good, or that there can be no moral resistance. What this does mean that we cannot be advocates of general anarchy or impulsive rebellion. Both in Rome and in countries today, taxes got to purposes that Christians should find repellent, but we are still obliged to pay our taxes.

Neither does this injunction apply only to civil authority, but to all of the Christian’s obligations. As Christians, we are not to live our lives in any sort of sin or vice, either.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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Romans – Humility

It may be tempting to be proud of the gifts that God has given us, especially if they are striking gifts, like the gift of prophecy, but we have all been given gifts and these gifts do not make us great, but rather reflect back on God who has given them to us. These gifts must be administered with virtue.

Paul gives a list of things that Christians must do, among them to hate evil, love good, and to repay evil with good. If you do that, those who do evil against you will either bring distress upon themselves or take the first steps to becoming converted to a Christian viewpoint.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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Romans – The Body

Paul asks us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Some religions claim that the body is evil and thus that we should be ascetics. Others claim that since our bodies are not of any consequence, we should be free to do whatever we want with them.

Christianity tells us that this is wrong, and that since God has created our bodies good, they are good, and we must not defile those bodies by committing evil acts with them.Our bodies will rise again, as perfected bodies, on the last day. Thus, we should present our bodies as a sacrifice, not dead, like the sacrifices at the temple, but alive.

The bodies we have are to perform specific functions, as well. We cannot be jealous of the other members, but be humble and accept the gifts that we have been given for the common good.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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Romans – Will Israel be Saved?

God foreknew some of us who would be saved. These are people who are granted salvation through God’s grace, not through any other means. Paul declares that he is an apostle to the Gentiles and that he magnifies his ministry in order to stir his fellow Jews jealous and thus to save some of them. Some of the chosen people were broken off because of their unbelief, but Gentiles should also be concerned, since they are an artificial graft onto the branch of Israel, while Israel naturally belong that branch. All Israel will be saved, and those who do not persist in their unbelief will be grafted in.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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Romans – The Elect

So has God rejected His people? No, God has used a people (or rather, a group who are no people) to provoke them to jealousy. The Psalms declare that God will not abandon His people. Paul notes that God had preserved a remnant in Elijah’s time, and God is doing that at the time of Paul’s writing. These people are not chosen by their achievements, but rather by the grace of God. There are some who refuse to knowingly reject Christ, and are satisfied that He was put to death. Those have hardened their hearts, and they are not part of the elect. It is so for every age, where some are tempted to falsely believe that they are not prone to the same sorts of errors in judgment as their ancestors.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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Romans – Mission

People cannot know Christ unless men are sent to preach His gospel to them. This must convict us to proclaim the Gospel to the world. Mission cannot exist without striving to convert the people. God says in Torah that He will stir Israel, a foolish nation up to jealousy to those who are not a nation, and in Isaiah, God says that He will be found by those who did not seek Him. They have heard His Gospel, and for those who have not accepted Him, God has forged a new nation out of the Gentiles. We must take care to not fail to take up His mission. The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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Romans – All who Call upon the Name

Paul’s desire is for all to be saved, both Jew and Gentile. This would not seem to have been accomplished, since there were many who tried to kill him when he returned to Jerusalem. Paul tells us that the Jews were not reckoned the promised land for their own righteousness, but that this righteousness comes from God. Paul also reminds us that Moses has petitioned for the Hebrews, asking God to have mercy despite their sinful ways. When you combine this with the fact that the prophets tell us that everyone who calls upon the name of God will be saved, it is clear that salvation is being offered to all people, Jew and Gentile alike.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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Romans – Vessels of Wrath

God has allowed some people throughout history to become vessels of wrath so as to make examples out of them, as He did with Pharaoh. Even in such cases, however, God does not make such a person commit evil: it is still his own choice. It is for this reason that God still finds fault in such people, and why we cannot blame our behavior on our being unable to resist His will. The reason for this is beyond our understanding, but it is something that we can see evidence for from the time of Isaiah.

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Romans – Sonship of the Jews

Paul is troubled by the fact that the Jews have not come to Christ, and he says that if it were possible, he would cut himself off from Christ to save all of them. To the Jews belong sonship of God, still to this date. The covenants and the law belong to them as well. The lineage of Christ by the flesh comes from the Jews.

Paul looks a little more closely at the lineage, and notes that there is more to it than simply birthright, and that some descendants of Abraham are not part of the Jewish people, and thus to parse the promise that way could lead to some troubling implications for the Jews.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com

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