Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 8, Rom 8-10

Today's readings are Rom 8-10. Tomorrow's are Romans 11-13.

Paul details his seemingly hopeless struggle between the desires of his flesh and the desire of his spirit in Rom 7. In reality, what we see in Paul applies to each of us as well. Left to our own devices, we are in a losing battle against sin, Rom 8 opens with hope for us and a guarantee that accompanies the grace of God, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Our union with Christ, being "in Christ Jesus," is our assurance that we will not suffer the consequences of sin, death. This is the work of Christ! If He is in us, we have life. We may struggle with sin, but God has given us eternal life. If we are truly saved, if we have surrendered our lives to Christ, we have received eternal life. No matter how great our struggles may be, we are guaranteed eternal life.

Rom 8 goes on to say this all occurs by the hand of God. Believers are foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified. What an incredible chain of events, already put in place by our Father, assuring our eternal destiny in spite of our weaknesses and failings.

We see God's sovereign choice in salvation in Rom 9, a chapter many struggle with. People are saved not because of ethnicity or birth (Rom 9:1-12), but by "God's purpose of election" (Rom 9:11). Does this make God unjust? "By no means!", Says Paul (Rom 9:14). God chooses who will receive His mercy. Indeed, salvation is not by will or work (Rom 9:16), but by God, who has mercy. Rom 9:19-24 is a strong indictment against those who would call this unfair or claim that it doesn't make sense.

Rom 10 demonstrates this principle quite well. All in Israel were not saved just because they were Jewish. Only a remnant truly believed (Rom 9:27-29). Many had great zeal but were misguided (Rom 10:1-4). The only way to be reconciled to God is through Jesus Christ (Rom 10:9-10). Those who were truly saved in Israel had faith in the promise of a redeemer. That faith was counted to them as righteousness. They did not know of Christ, but they knew of God's promise to send a Redeemer to His people. In this manner, Christ's work reaches back in time to save those who were faithful. He works in the present to save those who are faithful. And He reaches forward to save those that will be faithful. This faith comes by believing in the heart and confessing with the mouth that "Jesus is Lord." Eph 2:8 tells us this faith is a gift from God.

We see human responsibility in Rom 10 as well as divine sovereignty. People do not believe unless they hear and will not hear unless the gospel is preached. The gospel demands a response. All who hear it will either accept it or reject it. Even so, simply listening is not enough to save. Salvation comes through faith. Only those who have been given faith can accept salvation. What a remarkable grace those who believe have received! God has done all that needs to be done for us to be saved. For this, we should be eternally grateful. To show our gratitude, we should strive to be obedient. Our obedience will be the evidence of that faith (Rom 10:18-21).

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