Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Christian and the Law

Romans so far:  all have sinned and are separated  (Bad News)
                        Forgiveness and reconciliation is available in Christ  (Good News)

Primary focus of Chap. 1 - 7 has been THE problem ...... ie:  SIN 
It has skirted a parallel subject -  ie:  THE  LAW

Rom. 8:1-4 - IF Sin = violation of God's law.... then .... there must be  LAW(S)!!!

So we find "law/s" in Romans more than in any other book!!!  - (74 times)  - most in 1st. 8 chapters.
Why??  Because Paul is focusing on Sin and Sin = violation of the Law

"LAW" used of (1) man's laws (Chapter 13)
                        (2)  physical (natural) laws - Jeremiah - "fixed laws of heaven and earth"
                        (3)  The Mosaic Law - Law of Moses - (God gave to His people through Moses)
                        (4)  The Moral Law

Mosaic Law = the 10 words (commandments) plus - was developed over the years
Moral Law = universal, fixed laws of Right and Wrong - exist eternally and do not change.
(also called God's law, Christ's law, law of the Spirit)

NOTE:  can distinguish between the 2.  BUT cannot completely separate the 2..  Know they will overlap!!

Is a vast subject - so - today = Mosaic Law
                               next week = Moral Law

Definition of "LAW":

(1)  Rules - limits, boundaries, regulations, do's and don't's - (any law)

(2)  Established by an authority - (individual, governing body, majority, etc.)  And that authority has the right to enforce.

(3)  which are obligatory - mandatory, binding, not suggestions!!

(4)  carry a penalty for violation  - (punishment +/or consequences)
(5)  (supposedly) authored for the benefit of society  (household, community, nation)

Now:  Apply definitions to the Mosaic Law 
(1) Rules ?  613 laws
(2)  Authority?  God/YHWH
(3)  Obligatory?  10 Suggestions???
(4)  Penalty?  +/or consequence
(5)  Benefit?  to help God's People .... ISRAEL!!!  - not to harm but to help!
The Jews considered this the Law of God - given to them to obey!!

The Question:  Does the Mosaic law = Rules for Us?  today?
Are we Obliged to them?  or Freed from them?
If freed ... how free?  Example:  the 10 Commandments
If obliged ... how much?  ie:  food laws, etc

The Problem:  Scripture Sometimes indicates are obliged to, and sometimes points to freedom from?

A Helpful division of the Mosaic Law:

CIVIL - (laws)  - to govern society  - examples:  theft, property boundaries, etc.
CEREMONIAL (laws) - priesthood, sacrifice, holy days  (ritualistic laws)
MORAL (laws) - Right and Wrong!

I)  The Civil Laws (of Israel) - we're not obligated to these, but should
    (1)  examine the Moral laws the underlie the Civil laws
    (2)  seek to pattern our civil laws according to those moral laws!!

II.  The Ceremonial Laws - "fulfilled" (completed) in Christ - example:  passover lamb, scapegoat
Matt. 5:17 - He 'filled in' what was lacking!

So.... we are not obligated to the ceremony  However, are obligated to what the ceremony depicts - example:  Passover Lamb - "apply the blood"
The rituals they were obliged to keep were empty pictures.  Christ came and fulfilled these.

III.  The Moral Laws -  stand, unchanged, universal, eternal.  Nowhere have they passed away or changed in any form.
On the one hand, we are NOT obligated to the Mosaic Law
However, are Not free from the Moral Law contained therein!!
Rom. 6:14-15 = contract under law/under grace
(still UNDER .... rule, authority, obligation of grace!!)

Matt. 11:28-30 - change yokes!!!
1 Cor. 9:19-21 = free to practice, not practice Mosaic Law BUT never free from God's Law!!

Note:  what No LAW(s) can do!!!
Rom. 8:3 - Not man's law, Mosaic law, moral law - can never save you eternally.
Salvation is found in Christ Alone!!!

Closing Scripture:  Rom. 3:19-24

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Sin - The Ongoing Struggle

Romans so far:  Bad News = all sinned and are separated from God
                        Good News = forgiveness and reconciliation is available in Christ

in Chapter 7 - And STILL talking about SIN!!
Why so much about Sin??   Answer:  SIN is THE Problem!!
The problems in our life is ultimately the result of SIN.

so... Sin:
I)  Definition = (1)  any violation of God's law(s) - (missing the mark)
                      (2)  any lack of conformity to God's law(s)
Actions AND attitudes!

PLUS:  II)  (last week) Sin is more than rules, pushing boundaries, violations
SIN = a presence/energy/sinister force  (Chapter 6)
NOT alive, NOT a personality, BUT with personal traits!! - persistent, persuasive, demanding, coercive
Are not talking about Satan and demons

Last week  "Battling Sin" - (Chapter 6)
(1)  you are dead to sin - (not obligated to respond to it)
(2)  you are a new creature - example:  Born Again - are different, new heart
(3)  you have a new master - "Lord Jesus Christ"

BUT Sin is not dead to you!!!  will continue to harass and seek to dominate!!

Therefore:  you must "Reckon" yourself  dead to sin, alive to Christ
(example:  mathematical term - "count", tally, calculate)

On one hand, the Victory (over sin) IS Certain (but not yet).   (secured by Christ on the cross)
On the other hand, the Struggle Continues  (ongoing)

Rom. 7:15-25 - (read and see if you recognize yourself!!)   Sound familiar?  Recognize 'self? - Recognize your adversary??

Some things to recognize , anticipate, understand, and to Utilize in this struggle:

(1)  A knowledge of right and wrong (that there IS a right and wrong)
Doesn't mean we know all, always
Rather = we usually know - by means of....
    (A) inherent knowledge - conscience  everybody has one but it has been marred by sin.
    (B)  revealed knowledge - the Word and the Holy Spirit
    (C)  acquired knowledge - experience   Example:  Adam and Eve - got a new understanding when they sinned)

With that knowledge comes  (particularly for the Christian) -
(2)  A desire to do good (right)
on one hand, this is not exclusive to believers!  all = "in His image"
However, with the new birth comes renewed mind, heart, affections

AND... (3)  The presence of Evil  (Rom. 7:21)
On one hand this = a real and powerful presence  Compare  Gen. 4:6-7
However, it is NOT dualism!  Example:  Star Wars "FORCE" vs Dark Side

(4)  Feelings of guilt
On one hand is GOOD (IF) you are guilty!!
                                    (IF) it leads to "Contrition" - Isa. 57:15-19
(Contrition = being sorry for your sin itself, not that you got caught.)
IF Guilt leads to Contrition and that leads to confession which leads to repentance leading to correction = GOOD!!!

However, IF guilt leads to feelings of despair, worthlessness, etc.??  Sin will use this to beat you down and make you useless in the kingdom.
Christ did not come to crush and destroy you!!!
Example:  contrast Peter and Judas Iscariot.  Peter repented and turned.  Judas went out and hanged himself.

Note, Observation:
The Closer to Christ you are, the more AWARE of and Sensitive to sin you become!!
Which will lead to:
(5) Mental (and spiritual) Distress - Rom. 7:24
OBJECTION:  I thought "Fruit of the Spirit" - PEACE!!!
There should be a healthy balance and healthy concern.
"healthy tension" leads to Matt. 5:3,4,6 - on one hand, "blessed", however distressed.
It's not all about "happy".

For the Christian this Distress should not lead to Despair!!!  (example:  never gonna get it right so why bother)
But to.....
(6)  HOPE - Rom. 7:25 with Rom. 8:1
In Greek this word = confidence in His Love, My standing, His Presence, the Ultimate, final Victory

1 Cor. 15:55 - "where O death is your victory?  Where O death is your sting?"
We need to know that He's right here with us, to deliver us

When we sin, fail, fall.. you should (as a Christian)
(1)  confess - to yourself, to God, (to others if appropriate)
(2)  accept forgiveness (wallowing in grief will not help!!)
(3)  get up
(4) "Reckon" - add it us, not responding to that anymore
(5)  re-adjust
(6)  Press on...

(Words from Paul at the End of his ministry!) - Phil. 3:12-16 - already know, already have received

Closing Scripture:  1 John 1:9-10, 2:1-2

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Battling Sin

So far in Romans..... why we need Salvation, How we obtain Salvation, and (some of) what we acquire at Salvation.  Example:  bridge illustration

Now.... How are we to live AFTER Salvation??
(last week "Sin" - again this week with additional perspective)

Sin = any transgression (violation) of God's law(s)
Also = any lack of conformity TO God's law(s).
ie:  sins of commission and omission.
Anything outside God's will = sin
Anything that should be inside God's will  = sin

In Addition:  Sin is often portrayed as a Presence!!
On one hand, is NOT (exactly) alive, NOT (exactly) a personality.
However, clearly a FORCE, Power, Energy which leads to persuasive, coercive, oppressing, demanding, relentless, strong
This is NOT Satan - no mention of Satan or demons in this text, although he makes use of this "force".

So.... "Sin" is NOT Satan or a demon, but is far MORE than breaking rules, regulations, boundaries, limits
Rom. 7:21
Is something NOT alive but Almost Alive?!  And YOU must fight against it!!!

IN this battle (and in this text) Paul emphasizes:
For the Christian --
(1)  You are (now) dead to Sin - sin is not dead to you.
Therefore, you don't have to respond to it.

(2)  You (now) have a new Master - the Lord Jesus Christ (have accepted Jesus and Savior and Lord)
are no long in bondage to/obligated to sin.

(3)  You are (now) a new man (person) = Born Again (new beginning, new start)
There has been a MAJOR INTERNAL change which should manifest itself in External behavior.  ie:  "fruit".
This "fruit" should match the change.

BUT!!!  The old man still persists!  demanding attention, seeking to dominate
AND you must (now) battle against that!!  (against him!!)
Col. 3:9-10 - off with the old, on with the new.    Eph. 4:22-24 - have to actively do this.

Important distinction:  on one hand you are dead to Sin!!   However, Sin is not dead to you!!  He'll pursue!!

In Rom. 6 we find a number of considerations in dealing with sin --- one of the most important =

"Reckon" - Rom. 6:11  *consider/calculate*
This = a mathematical term!  to calculate, tally, add up, compute, ... use your head.
Point??  "Add up all I've told you.  The Sum is You don't have to RESPOND to Sin!!"

Rom. 6:1-23 - You are never your own master.  We will serve someone.  Biblical choices = Christ or Sin/Satan

You need to combat this "sin" (presence, power) with:

(1)  A new beginning  "Born Again" - change of who you are
2 Cor. 5:17 - why are you acting like what you were?
1 Cor. 6:11

(2)  A Spiritual awakening - Holy Spirit enters heart and something happens.  1 Cor. 2:9-12

(3)  right thinking - new knowledge and insight leads to changed mind leads to changed heart and changed hands!!.

(4)  a reckoning - add it up!!  tally!  calculate.
From Christian (Biblical) viewpoint - ALL SIN IS IRRATIONAL!!!

(5)  an offering ... ie:  of self ... TO God.  Rom. 12:1

(6)  an active, intentional pursuit of righteousness
Example:  Jesus - "why call me Lord, Lord and Not DO...."
               Paul = "Put off / Put on " - (lay down, take up) = action!

Christianity is more than head and heart ... it = HANDS!!

(7)  repetition - This is not a 1 time decision!!  (over and over again)
On one hand, you are NOT alone when you battle sin...
(have Scripture, knowledge - Divine Presence - Holy Spirit - church body)

However, you must decide what you are going to do with sin.
You must act ... Repeatedly!!!

Closing Scripture:  Rom. 8:12-14

Monday, October 7, 2019


Book of Romans - so far - Bad News = all sinned and are separated from God.  (relationship is shattered)
                                      - Good News = in Christ there is forgiveness and reconciliation

Rom. 5:1-2 - we have peace - many people claim to have this but is from their perspective, not God's

Paul already pointed out the extent of Sin - Rom. 3:23
No he expands on the subject.
Sin involves ALL people.  The entire bible deals with sin - from Eden to Revelation.

DEFINITION:  SIN = any transgression (violation) of God's law(s)
                                = any lack of conformity to God's law(s).
(Sins of commission and sins of omission)

God's Will therefore =
(1) action
(2)  in-action
(3)  Attitude  (example:  covet, adultery in heart)
(note:  boundaries are for protection NOT suppression) - example:  Adam and Eve and the serpent
God is NOT trying to keep us from enjoying life, but to enjoy it to the fullest according to His design and plan)

Paul points out (here) 2 problems we have with sin:

#1.  We all commit sins - compare  1 John 1:8, 10

#2.  We all inherit a sin nature / a tendency toward sin
ie:  Adam and Eve sinned - and it affected them in such a way as to pass that on to their offspring!!
(The Bible doesn't address 'HOW' - simply states as fact!)

More Bad News!!!  ie:  born with sin nature!!

But .... Good News = what God accomplished in Christ (grace of God, gift of God) FAR EXCEEDS the sins of Adam and Eve and all mankind!
ie:  God's GIFT is greater than man's TRESPASS!! 

Rom. 5:12, 15-19 - no matter how big the sin and damage of that sin, the gift far exceeds it.

What's wrong with this world?
Biblical Answer = SIN
ie:  Sin is the problem with government, neighbor, marriage, YOU!!

I)  Sin disrupts all peace and harmony - example:  Adam and Eve and their relationship with God ... one another ... themselves

II)  Sin has disrupted the creation - Gen. 3:17-18  (Rom. 8:20-21)
(again - no explanation as to 'how' .... only stated as fact.

THE REMEDY?    According to:

1)  the naturalist - "no God, no law, no problem"--- BUT there clearly IS a problem!!! - sin, evil, suffering

2)  the deist/universalist - "win exists BUT WE CAN FIX IT!!
ie:  through education and progress will eventually fix social ills and physical defects!

3)  Biblical View - the remedy is found in Christ - who defeated sin and died to eliminate sin and all the effects of sin!

I.)  He has already delivered us from the Penalty of Sin - we have redemption.
   (past tense - Justification)

II.)  He IS delivering us from the Power of Sin - (present tense - Sanctification - Romans chapters 6,7,8)

III.)   He will deliver us from the Presence of Sin in the end.  (future tense - Glorification)
   (the Restoration will be Beyond Eden)

According to the Bible:  "the process has begun, is ongoing, and will certainly find completion."

So .......... My part??   Your part??   Application?  Response?

#1.  Examine the Biblical Worldview
On one hand, it won't answer all your questions.
However, it answers more than alternative views.

#2.  Recognize and Admit your part in all this - ie:  Your Sin is part of the problem!!

#3.  Recognize and Admit your need  Example:  Step #1 in A.A. = "I'm an alcoholic".  Step #1 in salvation = "I am a sinner and I can't fix it."

#4.  Accept Christ  (as Savior)  John 1:10-13
Receive forgiveness, start anew, be 'born again'

#5.  Follow Christ  (as Lord)  which = "live for Him according to His law/rules ... preview ... Rom. 6:12-13

#6.  Promote Christ = evangelism, discipleship.  shape the world, build the Kingdom
(is ongoing task - because Every generation must be evangelized anew!!

#7.  Wait for Christ in faith - final redemption will be at His return.
Rev. 6:9-11 - The Kingdom is NOW .. but NOT YET!!    It's not over.  God is in control.  Be assured the it will come to pass.

Closing Scripture:  1 Tim. 1:15-17