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Romans 9

Chapters 9-11 explain why most Jews didn’t believe the gospel Paul preached and addresses the Gentile tendency to look down on Jews. Romans 9:1-29 focuses on God’s sovereign election of some Israelites to salvation. Romans 9:30-10:21 focuses on Israel’s rejection of the gospel because of their unbelief. Romans 11 focuses on Israel’s present and future.

Paul begins by expressing his longing for all Israel to be saved (9:1-5) yet teaching that all Israel hasn’t been saved because God didn’t choose to save all of them (vv. 6-29). God saves those whom he chooses to save (vv. 6-13). God the Creator has the right to show mercy to whom he pleases (vv. 14-29). This is consistent with Scripture (vv. 15-18) and God’s character (vv. 19-29).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Salvation is entirely of the Lord, from beginning to end. Sinners deserve only one thing, judgment. The fact that any are saved is due entirely to God’s mercy. God is not obligated to show mercy. The fact that he does is astounding. Meditate and think on, submit to, and give thanks for God’s sovereign grace and mercy!
  2. God chooses to save some sinners based solely on his sovereign will, compassion, and mercy. The rest of sinners continue willingly in their sin, and God lets them go that way (v. 18). God endures rebels (v. 22) yet shows mercy to his elect (v. 23). No one can find fault with God (vv. 19-21) for no one deserves salvation.
  3. A right consideration of the doctrine of election should cause believers great joy, faith in the Lord, humility, faithfulness, zealous labor, personal holiness, and confidence in evangelism.

Romans 8

Here Paul finishes teaching how Christians must live in light of the righteous standing they have through Jesus Christ. Chapter seven worked out a statement in 7:5, that because Christians still have sin indwelling them, they cannot successfully obey God in their own strength. Chapter eight works out 7:6, that Christians live by the Holy Spirit (note 8:1-4). Unbelievers (“carnally minded,” vv. 5-8) are unable and unwilling to obey the Lord, whereas Christians live because of and through the Holy Spirit (vv. 5-6, 9-11).

How can Christians live Christ-like lives? By depending on the Spirit to continually be “killing” sin in their lives (vv. 12-14). The Spirit’s convincing work in the believer’s heart (vv. 15-17) must compel this “living like Christ” that necessarily involves “killing sin.”

The Spirit continually works in believers as they experience suffering (vv. 18-25) and express their sorrows in praying (vv. 26-27). The “groanings” (v. 26) does not refer to praying in tongues but is a figure of speech expressing the Spirit’s prayers according to God’s will for Christians’ definite needs (v. 27). Though Christians may go through suffering they must remember [1] God’s sovereign, gracious love for them through their suffering (vv. 28-30) and [2] that nothing in creation can separate them from God’s love in Christ (vv. 35-39).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Those who are justified by God through Christ are those who are being sanctified by God through the Spirit. If there is no fruit of growing Christ-likeness, then most likely there is no justification.
  2. True Christians kill sin. This is an obligation, Christian, not an option! You cannot be casual or unconcerned about sin: you live in a world that is God’s enemy where there is a devil roaming about and sin within you that wars, tempts, and lures. The Spirit works to make you like Christ, and you must participate in his work!
  3. When you experience great suffering that is exactly the time you need to seek the Lord more, not less! Christian, God ordains every one of your experiences to make you more like Christ and glorify him.

Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead

You can download an outline to fill out while you listen to this message here.

Romans 7

In the previous chapter Paul taught that because Christians are dead to sin and alive to Christ, they must stop giving themselves to sin and instead give themselves to live righteous lives. Here Paul continues teaching how Christians should live. He starts by pointing out that Christians have died to the Mosaic Law (they are not under its jurisdiction) and have been joined to Christ (they are under Christ’s jurisdiction, the Law of Christ). Because of this new relationship Christians can bear fruit for God (vv. 1-6).

Verses 5-6 are important for this and the next chapter. Verse five is developed in the rest of this chapter and verse six in the next.

Verse five teaches that unbelievers are dominated by their sin nature (“flesh”); the Law stimulated more sin, resulting in death. Before one becomes a Christian one’s sinful passions react to the Law not with glad submission but obstinate rebellion (vv. 7-8). The problem wasn’t the Law but the sinful passions (vv. 9-11). The Law is holy, stating and enforcing righteousness, but it provides no power to keep it.

Verses 13-25 are from the standpoint of a Christian trying to obey the Law in his own strength. While there is a love for and desire to obey God, depending on self is guaranteed to fail. Instead, the Christian’s only hope is depending on Christ (vv. 24-25).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The Mosaic Law is Scripture and thus is inspired and profitable for Christian life and growth (2 Tim 3:16-17). This is true of all Scripture. But that does not mean that Christians are responsible for obeying the Mosaic Law like Israel was in the OT. You can—and must!—learn about God and his will from all Scripture by accurately understanding and applying it to your life.
  2. If you are a Christian you have been joined with Christ (“married,” v. 4). Are you wholly devoted to him as a faithful “spouse”? With all that you are and have (cf. James 4:4)?
  3. Christian, you must obey God, but you cannot depend on yourself to do that! Your only hope is in Jesus Christ, not yourself. Just as you could not save yourself you cannot grow more like Christ by yourself. You must depend on Christ for salvation and Christ-like living!

This is the 6th message in the series, “Gospel Truths,” taught by Pastor Dan Greenfield at Orwell Bible Church’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday service on April 10, 2022.

This is the 5th message in the series, “Gospel Truths,” taught by Pastor Dan Greenfield at Orwell Bible Church’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday service on April 3, 2022.

Romans 6

Romans 3:21-5:21 taught justification—Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer and sin is pardoned. The next three chapters teach sanctification—the Spirit infuses grace, enabling the believer to grow in holiness so that sin is subdued. Paul details the Christian’s responsibility regarding sin (chap. 6), the Christian’s relationship to the Law (chap. 7), and the Christian’s rest in Jesus Christ (chap. 8).

First, Paul teaches that because Christians are dead to sin and alive to Christ they must live that way (6:1-14). He begins by stating a possible charge: “Since the gospel teaches believers’ every sin is covered by grace, this promotes the idea that they will sin with gusto so there’s more grace” (v. 1). He answers by pointing to this fact, that believers are united with Christ so that sin’s power is broken and they will live for righteousness (vv. 1-10). This fact involves a command: believers must zealously serve the Lord, their new master (vv. 11-23). The Christian’s responsibility regarding sin is to stop sinning and serve the Lord.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Baptism in verses 3-4 is seen as either Spirit baptism which happens at conversionor water baptism of a new believer. Water baptism symbolizes the believer’s identification with Christ, death to sin, and resurrection to new life. Spirit baptism accomplishes those facts. Water baptism cannot wash away sin or unite one with Christ. With that said, the NT knows nothing of one baptized with water but not the Spirit, nor of one baptized with the Spirit but not water. Thus, verses 3-4 think back to conversion and all it involved—Spirit and water baptism.
  2. The “old man” (v. 6) refers to the believer’s entire life as an unbeliever. It is “old” in the sense of past, destroyed, non-existent. Because this is so Christian, you must live like it (vv. 11-14)!

Though Christians are freed from sin’s dominating tyranny, they are not free from sin’s presence in their life

Romans 5

Having taught that everyone is sinful, guilty, and condemned before God (1:18-3:20) and that sinners’ only hope of forgiveness and justification is through faith in Jesus Christ (3:21-4:25), Paul shows how justification brings the blessings of peace with God and hope for eternity in 5:1-11. The believer is no longer in a state of “war” with God but peace, having been reconciled through Jesus (vv. 1-2), despite being helpless and ungodly (vv. 6-11). Even life’s troubles are used by God to strengthen, establish, and encourage the believer (vv. 3-5).

In verses 12-21 Paul then taught the basics of justification—that God imputes Jesus’ righteousness to the believer—by drawing five comparisons. First there are two men: Adam and Christ (v. 14). Second, there are two acts: Adam’s one trespass (vv. 12, 15, 17-19) and Christ’s one death (v. 18). Third, there are two results: through Adam comes condemnation, guilt, and death (vv. 15, 16, 18-19) and through Christ comes justification and life (vv. 17-19). Fourth, there are two “kings”: sin, reigning in death (v. 17) and grace, reigning in righteousness (v. 21). Fifth, there are two states: condemned men who are slaves of death by virtue of their connection with Adam (v. 17a) and justified men who reign in life by virtue of their connection with Christ (v. 17b). The Law shows sin, but grace shows righteousness (vv. 20-21).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Christian, during good and hard times God’s love and Spirit are always with you. During good times stay faithful to the Lord so that your heart isn’t taken away by the addictive sweetness of carnal prosperity. During difficult times stay faithful to the Lord so that your heart isn’t taken away by unbelieving bitterness.
  2. Many deny that Adam’s sin, guilt, and condemnation is imputed to all men because that is “unfair,” believing that people are not so connected with Adam but are only guilty and condemned by their own works. If this is so the same must be said of the Christian: the comparison makes the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and life parallel with the imputation of Adam’s sin and condemnation. Rejecting one demands rejecting the other. If condemnation depends entirely on individual acts, so must justification. And no one can be justified by works! How great is God’s grace!
  3. Salvation is never because of anything good in us! It is only by Christ’s obedience, death, and resurrection. Salvation is entirely the grace of God, not the work of man.

Romans 4

Justification is God’s declaration that through Christ a believer is free from all of sin’s guilt and punishment and stands before Him as perfectly righteous. Paul now teaches some basics about justification by using the example of Abraham.

Justification is by faith apart from works (vv. 2-8). It does not depend on religious rites (vv. 9-12). It is by faith in God’s promise, not the works of the Law (vv. 13-22). It belongs to those who trust in Christ (vv. 23-25).

Justification deals with the believer’s standing before God. This is demonstrated by words such as “accounted” (vv. 3, 5, 9-10), “debt” (v. 4), and “imputes” (vv. 6, 23-24). When a sinner receives and relies on Jesus for salvation, the sinner’s sin is “paid in full” by Jesus’ death on the cross (forgiveness) and God “credits” Jesus’ righteousness to the believing sinner’s account.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Justification deals with the believer’s standing before God, not his experience. That is, the believer doesn’t instantly live a sinless life or is enabled to do righteous works that help finish what Jesus started (the latter is essentially taught by Roman Catholicism).
  2. Justification is not tied to any religious rite (vv. 10-12). Any who teach that religious rites such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper are essential for salvation teach a false gospel that God condemns (Gal 1:8-9). Only Jesus can forgive sin and provided the needed righteousness to be accepted by God. Jesus’ salvation can only be received by faith, not earned by works.
  3. Faith is not a leap in the dark but believes (receives and rests on) truth from God. True faith does not waver, glorifies God, and expresses that one is fully convinced God will do what he said he would do (v. 20-21).

Romans 3

Having shown that Gentiles and Jews are guilty before and condemned by God (1:18-29), Paul then answers four potential objections Jews may have about what he just taught (vv. 1-8). Verses 9-20 conclude this section, demonstrating that all—Jews and Gentiles—are sinners before God and thus deserve his wrath. No one is as righteous as God expects, so all are guilty and condemned.

The only way guilty, unrighteous sinners can be declared right in God’s sight and be freed from sin’s guilt (this is what justification means), is through faith alone in Jesus Christ (vv. 21-26). God’s righteousness cannot be earned (vv. 21-22), is for all and any who believe (vv. 22-23), and is entirely of grace (vv. 24-25). Jesus bore the wrath of God in sinners’ place (“propitiation,” v. 25) so that the penalties of God’s broken Law would be fully paid.

The result of justification by faith and not works is that all are humbled (vv. 27-28), every believer will be saved (vv. 29-30), and the Law is upheld (v. 31).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Objections to the gospel have answers from and must be answered by the truths of the gospel. The better you know God’s truth, the better servant of the Lord you will be.
  2. Verses 10-20 are very helpful in teaching sinners their standing before a holy and righteous God. All are sinful in their character (vv. 10-12), communication (vv. 13-14), and conduct (vv. 15-18). No one can give a successful defense against this (v. 19). A guilty verdict is unavoidable and indisputable (vv. 19-20). The lost see that they are truly lost for them to seek salvation through Jesus.
  3. Guilty sinners have no hope in any human being or religion, only in God’s grace through Jesus Christ. sinners must receive and rest in Jesus’ for salvation (“faith”).

Romans 2

In 2:1-3:8 Paul shows how Jews dishonor God breaking the Law and trusting in the religious rite of circumcision. He first details that the principles of God’s judgment are the same regardless of the individual, including Jews (2:1-16). Paul then proves how Jews are guilty before God in that they have not kept all the Law (2:17-29).

Paul is not teaching in verses 5-10 that God saves based on one’s works; that contradicts the clear message of the Bible (Eph 2:8-10). Here Paul is giving the basis of judgment, which is works, not the basis of salvation from judgment, which is grace.

The “law” that everyone has (v. 14) refers to the conscience, a God-given aspect of humanity that evaluates one’s life according to its provided authority.

Last, Paul’s point in verses 28-29 focuses on “what is a true Jew.” The essential evidences and marks of a true Jew were not only having Abraham as one’s physical ancestor and receiving the rite of circumcision, but particularly genuine faith in the Lord, being born again, and the Spirit indwelling and controlling one’s life.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Sometimes the most difficult person to share the gospel with is a religious person because they think they’re right with God. Use this Scripture to bring them face to face with what their real position before God is; to understand that God judges by works, and none have perfect works; to grasp that God won’t turn a blind eye or grade on the curve; to recognize that the only thing they deserve from God is his wrath (v. 5).
  2. Everyone has a conscience. Your conscience functions according to its authority. If you are not born-again sin controls your conscience. You will still have some sense of right and wrong because you’re made in God’s image, but your sin will suppress that (1:18). If you are a Christian it is so important to be grounded in and obey Scripture, for that will help you live a life that pleases Christ by having a good conscience!

Romans 1

Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome so that they would know and apply the key points of the gospel for their maturity, unity, and ministry. The theme of Romans is “God’s righteousness in the gospel” (1:16-17).

The Roman church was neither started nor visited by Paul before he wrote this letter. At the end of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:3-5) and before his journey to Jerusalem (Rom 15:25, 28) he expressed his hope of visiting the Romans and gain their help to bring the gospel to Spain (15:24). Following his greeting (1:1-7) and prayer for them (1:8-12) he expressed his desire to visit them as part of his ministry of the gospel (1:13-17).

Paul then began teaching the gospel, showing first that all Gentiles are lost and condemned (vv. 18-32). As sinners go farther from God, God judges them by letting them go further into sin (“gave them up,” vv. 24, 26, 28).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The church at Rome had quite a testimony (v. 8); what kind of testimony does your church have?
  2. God’s salvation through Jesus Christ is only available through the gospel. That gospel must be proclaimed to everyone!
  3. God’s wrath is his righteous indignation, affected and controlled by his total person. It is the response of a sovereign, righteous, all-powerful, all-knowing, holy God to sin. Note the different kinds of sins listed in verses 21-32; God’s wrath is against all sinners. How everyone needs the gospel!
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