Romans

The Christian and the Government

Romans 13:1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will...

Overcoming Evil with Good

Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Commentators on the book of Romans have pointed out the many conceptual similarities between Romans 12:14-21 and the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:38-48, for example,...

Leaving Vengeance to the Lord

Romans 12:19-20, “19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[a] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for...

Peaceable Living

Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Loving others...

Harmonious Living

Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Envy comes naturally to...

Rejoicing with Others

Romans 12:14-15, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with...

Hope and Hospitality

Hope and Hospitality

Romans 12:12-13, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” God's saving grace is effectual—it always accomplishes the salvation of those to whom it is given. The Lord...

Loving Affection and Honor

Loving Affection and Honor

Romans 12:10-11, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Love is the supreme Christian virtue (1 Cor. 13:13), but not everything that people call "love" is...

Genuine Goodness and Love

Genuine Goodness and Love

Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Scripture tells us that "God is love" (1 John 4:7-8). Of course, there is a great deal of confusion in our day as to what love means, so there are all manner of false understandings of...

Using Our Gifts

Using Our Gifts

Romans 12:6-8, “6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who...

The Sober Judgement of the Members

The Sober Judgement of the Members

Romans 12:3-5, “3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many...

A Living Sacrifice

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,...

The End of All Things

The End of All Things

One of the greatest theologians to ever step foot on American soil was Jonathan Edwards. He was a man who was trained well in the school of Christ and Him crucified. Edwards’ works were theologically robust and pastorally warm. In his dissertation, The End for Which...

The Grand Reversal

The Grand Reversal

Romans 11:30-32, “For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy show to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to...

God’s Irrevocable Gifts and Calling

God’s Irrevocable Gifts and Calling

Romans 11:28-29, “28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” You may recall that in our study of Romans 9, we saw that...

Israel’s Temporary Hardening

Israel’s Temporary Hardening

Romans 11:25-27, “And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive...

The Miracle of Restoration

The Miracle of Restoration

Romans 11:23-24, “And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive...

Broken Branches

Broken Branches

Romans 11:19-22, “19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the...

Wild Olive Branches

Wild Olive Branches

Romans 11:16-18, “If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the...

The Jews and the Resurrection

The Jews and the Resurrection

Romans 11:13-15, “13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the...

Riches for the World

Riches for the World

Romans 11:11-12, “11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means...

Who is Israel?

Who is Israel?

Romans 11:7-10, “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” 9 And David...

Keeping Grace Gracious

Keeping Grace Gracious

Romans 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Good works are an essential part of the Christian life. We see in Romans 1:5, for example, that Paul was called to preach so that the “obedience of...

God Never Ops-Out

God Never Ops-Out

Years ago, I bought my first laptop. Being gifted at dropping things, I made sure to buy the protection plan as well. The protection plan, however, did not cover everything. “We won’t cover the repair,” the sales associate told me, “If you do something foolish and...

Despising Our Heritage

Despising Our Heritage

Romans 10:18-21, “But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” 19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a...

How God Creates and Sustains Our Faith

How God Creates and Sustains Our Faith

Romans 10:14-17, “14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is...

Defining Evangelism

Defining Evangelism

Romans 10:13-15, “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching?...

God’s Kingdom and Power

God’s Kingdom and Power

Romans 10:10-13, “10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same...

The Lordship of Christ

The Lordship of Christ

Romans 10:9, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Over the past few days we have been examining various aspects of biblical faith. If it is faith alone that...

The Message Concerning Faith

The Message Concerning Faith

Romans 10:5-8, “5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to...

Christ, the Goal of the Law

Christ, the Goal of the Law

Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Why did so many first-century Jews not receive Jesus as their Messiah? From a divine perspective, it was because God has chosen only some Jews for salvation, just as He has...

Zeal Without Knowledge

Zeal Without Knowledge

Romans 10:1-3, “10 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish...

The Faith of the Gentiles

The Faith of the Gentiles

Romans 9:30-33, “ What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness[a] did not succeed in reaching that law....

The Salvation of Israel’s Remnant

The Salvation of Israel’s Remnant

Romans 9:27-29, “27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel[a] be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as...

The People of God

The People of God

Romans 9:25-26, “As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” 26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the...

The Potter and the Clay

The Potter and the Clay

Romans 9:20-24, “20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable...

Answering Back to God

Answering Back to God

Romans 9:19-20, “19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Further evidence that Paul affirms that...

God’s Will and His Mercy

God’s Will and His Mercy

Romans 9:17-18, “ For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he...

God’s Sovereign Mercy

God’s Sovereign Mercy

Romans 9:14-16, “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[a] but...

God’s Purpose of Election

God’s Purpose of Election

Romans 9:10-13, “10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works...

What is Spiritual Israel?

What is Spiritual Israel?

Romans 9 begins with great sorrow for the Apostle Paul and a potentially damaging theological dilemma, “How can God be faithful and many Israelites be lost?” We read of the significance of this special chosen people in verses 4-5. So the subsequent verses are written...

The Privileges of Israel

The Privileges of Israel

Romans 9:4-5, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all,...

Paul’s Love for His Kinsmen

Paul’s Love for His Kinsmen

Romans 9:1-3, “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my...

No Separation from God’s Love

No Separation from God’s Love

Romans 8:38-39, “38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our...

More than Conquerors

More than Conquerors

Romans 8:35-37, “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be...

None Can Condemn

None Can Condemn

Romans 8:33-34, “33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Paul's emphasis...

Sparing Not His Son

Sparing Not His Son

Romans 8:31-32, “31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[a] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Given that all people have suppressed...

The Golden Chain of Salvation

The Golden Chain of Salvation

Romans 8:29-30, “29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and...

God’s Work for Our good

God’s Work for Our good

Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.” The privileges of being justified and reconciled to God have been a central theme in Romans 8, as Paul has moved from the...

The Spirit’s Intercession

The Spirit’s Intercession

Romans 8:26-27, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[a]...

Our Longing for Bodily Redemption

Our Longing for Bodily Redemption

Romans 8:23-25, “23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who...

Cosmic Redemption

Cosmic Redemption

Romans 8:19-22, “19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage...

The Glory To Be Revealed

The Glory To Be Revealed

Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” We return to Romans 8 today and pick up our expositional study in verse 18. To set up today’s devotional, let us recall verse...

The Spirit’s Internal Witness

The Spirit’s Internal Witness

Romans 8:16-17, “16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” We become God’s...

Debtors to the Spirit

Debtors to the Spirit

Romans 8:12-15, “12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the...

The Life-Giving Spirit

The Life-Giving Spirit

Romans 8:10-11, “10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to...

The Indwelling Spirit of God

The Indwelling Spirit of God

Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Paul is a complex thinker, and his arguments often hold together several complementary...

The Mind Set on the Flesh

The Mind Set on the Flesh

Romans 8:7-8, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Paul’s focus in Romans 8 can be summed up as “life in the Spirit,” as the chapter...

Setting One’s Mind on the Spirit

Setting One’s Mind on the Spirit

Romans 8:4-6, “4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live...

Justice Satisfied in Another

Justice Satisfied in Another

Romans 8:3-4, “3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who...

No Condemnation In Christ

No Condemnation In Christ

Romans 8:1-2, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1 marks another significant turning point in Paul’s magisterial...

Trusting the Christ Captain of Our Souls

Trusting the Christ Captain of Our Souls

Throughout Romans 7, Paul has dealt with an important problem relevant to all Christians: why do I keep sinning if I am saved? Why, even though I love God’s Word and God’s law, do I keep on sinning even when I know I must not? Our passage summarizes Paul’s...

Evil Lurking Close at Hand

Evil Lurking Close at Hand

Romans 7:21, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” “The devil made me do it” may be a popular way of using humor to excuse sin, but we should never use this rationalization. Indeed, sin is not funny in the least, but remains...

Our True Identity

Our True Identity

Romans 7:18-20, “18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do...

The Believer’s Struggle

The Believer’s Struggle

Romans 7:14-17, “ For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is...

Sinful Beyond Measure

Sinful Beyond Measure

Romans 7:13, “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.” Moving forward in our study...

The Law in the Life of an Unbeliever

The Law in the Life of an Unbeliever

Romans 7:12, “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Interpreters have long struggled to square Paul’s teaching on the law of God—particularly its revelation in the Mosaic law—with Old Testament texts that praise this law (for...

Sin’s Perversion of the Law

Sin’s Perversion of the Law

Romans 7:8-11, “8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very...

An Attitude of Contentment

An Attitude of Contentment

Romans 7:7-8, “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity...

Belonging and Bearing Fruit

Belonging and Bearing Fruit

Across the table from me, a young man, maybe fifteen years old, was pouring out his heart. While we ate our burgers and fries, he shared how he loved the Lord but struggled to apply the gospel daily. His friends were regularly doing things that he, as a Christian,...

Freed from the Law

Freed from the Law

Romans 7:1-3, “Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the...

The Wages of Sin vs. the Gift of Life

The Wages of Sin vs. the Gift of Life

Romans 6:22-23, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We...

Slavery to Sin and Its Fruit

Slavery to Sin and Its Fruit

Romans 6:20-21, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” As we look at all religions besides...

Slaves to Righteousness

Slaves to Righteousness

Romans 6:15-19, “15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of...

Living Under Grace

Living Under Grace

Romans 6:14, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Legal righteousness—a standing before God that says we have kept His covenant—is granted to us when we believe the gospel, when we trust in Jesus alone for salvation...

Instruments of Righteousness

Instruments of Righteousness

Romans 6:12-13, “12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your...

Considering Ourselves Properly

Considering Ourselves Properly

Romans 6:11, “11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Growth in holiness—our sanctification—does not constitute an optional addendum to the gospel; rather, it is a necessary fruit of the gospel. Indeed, properly...

Living to God

Living to God

Romans 6:8–10, “8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but...

United to Christ

United to Christ

Romans 6:5-7, “5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we...

Baptized into Christ

Baptized into Christ

Romans 6:3-4, “3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too...

Dead to Sin

Dead to Sin

Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Without a doubt, Paul is used to fielding objections to the Gospel, especially those having to do with the law of God....

The Obedience Of One

The Obedience Of One

Romans 5:18-21, “18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be...

More Sin, More Grace

More Sin, More Grace

Romans 5:20, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” Already in Romans on more than one occasion we have seen Paul anticipating objections having to do with the law of God. Here, it seems, he foresees...

Constituting Us Righteous

Constituting Us Righteous

Romans 5:18-19, “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through...

The Justice of God’s Choice

The Justice of God’s Choice

Romans 5:15-17, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that...

Saved By the Life of God’s Son

Saved By the Life of God’s Son

Romans 5:10–11, “10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now...

Love Finds a Way

Love Finds a Way

Romans 5:9, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Reformed theology rightly stresses the forensic aspects of salvation. It affirms that in order for God to be just in the redemption of...

God’s Display of His Love

God’s Display of His Love

Romans 5:6-8, “6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still...

A New View of Suffering

A New View of Suffering

Romans 5:3-5, “3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts...

The Peace that Brings Access

The Peace that Brings Access

Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” In justification,...

For Abraham’s Sake and Ours

For Abraham’s Sake and Ours

Romans 4:22-25, “22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,...

Spiritual DNA

Spiritual DNA

Not long ago, DNA self-testing kits were all the rage. Our daughter received one as a gift and delighted in reporting to us what she’d learned about our family heritage. Other fads may have since surpassed the popularity of the kits, but the questions that motivated...

The Assurance of Faith

The Assurance of Faith

Romans 4:16-17, “16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is...

Becoming Heirs of the Kingdom

Becoming Heirs of the Kingdom

Romans 4:13–15, “13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is...

Not by Any of Our Works

Not by Any of Our Works

Romans 4:9-12, “9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but...

The Non-Imputation of Sin

The Non-Imputation of Sin

Romans 4:6–8, “just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his...

Counting Faith as Righteousness

Counting Faith as Righteousness

Romans 4:4–5, “4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in[a] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,” Continuing our study of Romans 4, which is a...

Is Abraham’s Boast Works or Faith?

Is Abraham’s Boast Works or Faith?

Illustrations are living examples of abstract truths. They plant the truth in the soil of real life. Even the strongest argument needs a living example to be persuasive. Jesus constantly uses illustrations. He helps listeners see by clothing spiritual truth in their...

Upholding the Law by Faith

Upholding the Law by Faith

Romans 3:29–31, “29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no...

No Room for Boasting

No Room for Boasting

Romans 3:27-28, “27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” In a human manner of speaking, God must overcome a...

Just and Justifier

Just and Justifier

Romans 3:25–26, “25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that...

God’s Legal Declaration

God’s Legal Declaration

Romans 3:23–24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Last week we observed that when James speaks of justification, he uses the term to mean...

The Righteousness of God Manifested

The Righteousness of God Manifested

Romans 3:21-22, “21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction.” Romans...

The Law and Accountability

The Law and Accountability

Romans 3:19–20, “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being[a] will be justified in his sight, since...

No Fear of God

No Fear of God

Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” In the opening chapters of Romans, Paul has been methodically building his case that all mankind in Adam is without the righteousness that allows us to stand unafraid before God Almighty. The Gentiles who do...

Ruin, Misery, and Bloodshed

Ruin, Misery, and Bloodshed

Romans 3:15–17, “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16     in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” Head to toe, there is no part of us that is not affected by sin. Outside of Christ, we are under the dominion of sin, and it...

The Mouths of Sinners

The Mouths of Sinners

Romans 3:12–14. “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14     “Their mouth is full of curses and...

No One Is Righteous

No One Is Righteous

Romans 3:10–11, “None is righteous, no, not one; 11     no one understands; no one seeks for God.” For the first-century Jew who prided himself on being a part of God’s chosen people unlike the unclean, pagan Gentiles, the notion that even the Jews were not inherently...

Objective and Subjective Guilt

Objective and Subjective Guilt

Romans 3:9, “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,” In washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus made it clear that those who follow Him need both the definitive cleansing from...

That Good May Come

That Good May Come

Romans 3:8, “And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” Because of his charge that first-century Jews had not kept God’s law with the perfection necessary to be declared righteous before Him...

Is God Unrighteous?

Is God Unrighteous?

Romans 3:5-7, “5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God's truth...

The Faithfulness of God

The Faithfulness of God

Romans 3:3-4, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” At the...

The True Advantage of the Jew

The True Advantage of the Jew

Romans 3:1–2, “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Paul will not countenance the idea that merely being a Jew and having some external obedience to...

The Place of Circumcision

The Place of Circumcision

Romans 2:26-27, “26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but...

The Value of Circumcision

The Value of Circumcision

Romans 2:25, “For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.” Lest anyone think that Paul pulls any punches in his argument that his Jewish contemporaries had no advantage before God because...

Blaspheming God’s Name

Blaspheming God’s Name

Romans 2:24, “For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Judaism in the first century was a complex religion wherein each different subgroup had its own perspective on what the true expression of God’s covenant with Moses...

The Jews’ Failure to Keep the Law

The Jews’ Failure to Keep the Law

Romans 2:21b–23, “21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law...

Teaching Oneself

Teaching Oneself

Romans 2:17-21, “17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who...

The Work of the Law on the Heart

The Work of the Law on the Heart

Romans 2:14–16, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears...

Is Possessing the Law Enough?

Is Possessing the Law Enough?

Romans 2:12–13, “12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be...

God’s Impartiality

God’s Impartiality

Romans 2:11, “For God shows no partiality.” Among other things, the Protestant Reformation was sparked by the desire to get the order of salvation correct. Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin were reacting against the confusion of justification and...

The Sequence of Salvation

The Sequence of Salvation

Romans 2:9–10, “9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.” Christians have pored over Scripture for two...

Weighing Our Works

Weighing Our Works

Romans 2:6–8, “6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,...

Presuming upon God’s Kindness

Presuming upon God’s Kindness

Romans 2:3–5, “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is...

Without Excuse

Without Excuse

Romans 2:1–2, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such...

Approving Evil

Approving Evil

Romans 1:32, “Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Can human beings do anything more evil than what we read in Romans 1:18–31? Is there...

Rejecting God and Ruining Ourselves

Rejecting God and Ruining Ourselves

Many good, church-going Christians probably know someone who needs to hear Romans 1:29-31 but think it has no bearing on them. Who wants to find themselves in the greatest hits of a debased mind? (Romans 1:28) These verses are not the type of normal morning quiet time...

Humanity’s Debased Mind

Humanity’s Debased Mind

Romans 1:28, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Homosexual behavior, in particular, demonstrates the exchange of what is good and natural according to God’s created order for that...

Giving up What Is Natural

Giving up What Is Natural

Romans 1:26–27, “26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one...

Worshiping the Creature

Worshiping the Creature

Romans 1:22–25, “22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the...

Radical Corruption

Radical Corruption

Romans 1:21–23, “21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal...

The Primal Sin of Humanity

The Primal Sin of Humanity

Romans 1:19–21, “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that...

The Suppression of Truth

The Suppression of Truth

Romans 1:19-21, “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things...

The Righteousness of God in Christ

The Righteousness of God in Christ

Romans 1:16–17, “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous...

Paul, The Soul Winner

Paul, The Soul Winner

Each local church plays a vital role in the great commission. If we desire to see the expanse of the gospel in our nation and the world, there must be evangelists in local churches who keep the fires burning. The Church today needs ministers of the gospel who emulate...

Paul’s Intent to Visit Rome

Paul’s Intent to Visit Rome

Romans 1:8–12, “8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers,...

The Church in Rome

The Church in Rome

Romans 1:5–7, “ through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called...

The Gospel of God in History

The Gospel of God in History

Romans 1:2-4, “2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David[a] according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his...

Paul’s Magnum Opus

Paul’s Magnum Opus

Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,” For centuries, the faithful descendants of Abraham according to the flesh—the Jews— looked forward to God’s decisive intervention to restore the nation of Israel...