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Romans 3

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23

SCRIPTURE: Romans 3

I want to break this chapter into three parts: one, the faithfulness of God; two, the truthfulness of God; and, three, the righteousness of God.

At the end of chapter 2, Paul is speaking about circumcision which was a token of the covenant that God made with Israel.  He basically said an obedient (one who obeys God) Gentile without circumcision is more acceptable to God than a disobedient Jew who had been circumcised.  That would have been a most difficult thing for Jewish people to accept,  After all, circumcision was the one physical proof that a particular person was a Jew and therefore a part of the chosen people of God, Israel.

When chapter 3 opens the question is are there any advantages of being a Jew or any value in being circumcised?  Paul’s answer was there is a lot of value.  The example He gives is that God has entrusted them with the Holy Scriptures.   The next question is if circumcised Jews failed to do what the Scripture says, does their unfaithfulness make God decide to be unfaithful as well.

The magnificent answer is that God is always faithful.  God is faithful.  Regardless of what we say or do, God is faithful.  He will never lie.  He cannot lie.  He will always do exactly what He said He would do.  We need to grab this great truth and hang on to it.

The second thing we see in this chapter is God’s truthfulness.  I don’t know if you have thought about this or not, but God is not one to beat around the bush.  He stands His ground and speaks the truth.  We can trust His Word because it is true, even when we might not want to trust His Word.

Paul’s example of this is found in verses 13-18.  Paul pulls together pieces of several different Psalms to make the point that none of us, Jew or Gentile, are righteous people.  In fact, this collection of verses paints a pretty horrible picture of humanity.  Left to our own devices we are not nice people.

It would have been easier and nicer not to include these verses.  But God is a truth teller.  He has always been.  He is.  He always will be.  And since, as Jesus said, the truth will set you free, God constantly and consistently speaks truth.  Besides that we will never admit our need for a Savior unless we admit we are sinners.

The third section (righteousness) begins in verse 21.  It is at this point that God holds up His righteousness as a comparison to the self-righteousness or sinfulness of humanity.  He goes on to say that His righteousness is shown by Christ and Christ alone.  

In verse 23 we are reminded that we are all sinners.  But verse 24 points to the fact that we are justified (given legal standing before God) by God’s grace gift.  That same grace is what makes redemption available in Jesus.  As 2 Corinthians 5:21 teaches us, Christ took on our sin and died for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.  When God looks at Christ followers, He sees us through the righteousness of Jesus.

This is an amazing chapter that is just overflowing with incredible truth.  I would encourage you to reread the chapter.  I suspect if you do, God will show you something in addition to what you learned the first time you read it.

Romans 2

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, MAY 23

SCRIPTURE: Romans 2

As you work through this chapter, remember it is directed primarily at a Jewish audience.  Paul kind of jumped on the Gentiles at the end of chapter one.  Now, he is speaking to Jewish people.  That doesn’t mean this chapter doesn’t apply to us who are not Jews.  It just means we need to be aware of the original audience as we read.

I want to call your attention to verse 4.  Paul is cautioning Jewish people not to presume on the grace, kindness, and patience of God.  The Old Testament is just full of examples of God’s grace, kindness, and patience directed at His chosen people.  But have you ever thought about how evident that is in the New Testament?

Remember that Jesus came as the Messiah of the Jewish nation.  As a nation, however, they rejected Him.  As a result, the door was opened for the Gospel to be brought to the Gentiles.  But even as that was happening God was still giving grace and showing kindness to the Jewish people.  In fact, He gave them almost 40 years after the ascension of Jesus to turn to Jesus.  As a nation, however, they continued to reject Jesus.  And then in 70 AD, the Romans marched into Jerusalem destroying everything in sight including the Temple.  

Notice that the end of verse 4 says that it is God’s kindness that is meant to lead people to repentance.  God continues to wait, to be kind, to show grace, so that more and more people can be saved.  I am grateful that God’s patience is in place even now for more to be saved.

In verse 6, we read where God will render to everyone according to his works.  It is important that we know what this says and what it doesn’t say.  First, it doesn’t say a man can be saved by his works or deeds.  That is impossible.  In Ephesians 2, the Bible is clear that we are not saved by our works, “lest any man should boast”.  If we could work our way into heaven, we wouldn’t have needed a Savior.  A good job foreman to keep us on task would have sufficed.  We are saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone.

But God will still render to everyone according to his works.  For the Christ follower that means there will be a day when we will answer for what we did with our lives after we got saved.  This is not to determine if we get to go to heaven or not.  All true Christ followers get to go to heaven.  He will render to the saved according to their works in a way that produces rewards for some..  

On the other hand, the lost person’s final judgment will be all about his works or deed.  In Revelation 20, we read about the Great White Throne where all the lost people from all time will stand before God.  The first thing that will happen is they will look in the Lamb’s Book of Life for their names.  Since they are lost, their names won’t be there.  Second, the books will be opened which will contain every thought, word, and deed of every lost person.  Obviously some of those will be good and some will be bad.  The problem is the Bible says if we have broken one of God’s Laws then we have, in effect, broken them all.  So, everyone that stands at this Great White Throne will be found guilty and will spend forever in hell.

Before I leave this, let me say this again.  If you are saved, you will not be at the Great White Throne Judgment.  If you are saved, you will get to go to heaven.  Thank you Jesus!

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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