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Sunday, September 2 2012

The Epistles: Romans

Studies in this complete Epistles series:
What Is An Epistle? Luke Acts Romans First Corinthians
Second Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians
First Thessalonians Second Thessalonians First Timothy Second Timothy Titus
Philemon Hebrews James First Peter Second Peter
First John Second John Third John Jude Revelation


The epistle to the Romans is one of the longest of the Bible, however the basis from which all else was expounded may be found in the first few chapters. While the apostle Paul wrote the epistle primarily to Gentiles of Rome (keeping in mind that there was no antichrist "Church of Rome" yet in existence - it was created centuries later by the Roman Emperor Constantine; see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), both Jews and Gentiles are addressed - the Jews either figuratively, as a religion (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism) or those who became Christians in Rome and who were then being regarded as no different than Gentiles by the as-yet unconverted Jews in the city (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: The New Covenant).

Paul began the letter with a greeting to "all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints."

Italy

"1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle [see Straight Street], separated unto the gospel of God, 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord [see Who Is The LORD?], which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 1:6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 1:1-7 KJV)

Paul was obviously not in Rome when he wrote the letter to Rome, while saying "if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you." It is not recorded where he was, but it most likely was in Corinth, or one of the other cities of Greece that the LORD commanded Paul to go to, after he seemed to intend to remain within his native Turkey (see Paul's Second Missionary Journey). The Greek presence was obviously on his mind when he used the term "Jews and Greeks," even though he was writing primarily to Gentile ("you also, even as among other Gentiles") Romans in Rome. It shows how "Greeks" came also to be used as a generic term for Gentiles.

"1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world [i.e. the Roman Empire; see Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire]. 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; 1:10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 1:12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians [see also Barbarian Language]; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ [see The True Gospel Of Christ]: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:8-17 KJV)

Paul then addressed his fellow Jews - those who still rejected the Messiah, thereby making themselves those "who hold the truth in unrighteousness." The Gentiles weren't yet holding the Truth, "Israel" was - and it is to them that Paul made clear to the Gentiles that salvation wasn't about Judaism, it was about Christ. Paul wrote it as an object lesson warning to the Gentiles of how not to behave.

A Roman Tavern

"1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness [see Is Your Religion Your Religion?]; 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations [see Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall], and their foolish heart was darkened. 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet [see Sodomites].

1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." (Romans 1:18-32 KJV)

Paul then explained how salvation is equally open to everyone, just as condemnation ("damnation" is an abbreviation of condemnation) is equally open to everyone, "the Jew first, and also of the Gentile."

"2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. 2:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath [see What Is The Day Of The LORD?] and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 2:15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." (Romans 2:1-16 KJV)

Paul then used the example of righteous Abraham, who was a Gentile, but at the same time became the progenitor of Israel and Judah, "that he might be the father of all them that believe." The key to Paul's epistle to the Romans was the example of Abraham.

Romans

"4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works [see Works Means Obedience], he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

4:9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision [see Circumcision]. 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed [see Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates], through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches].

4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations [see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram], according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:1-25 KJV)

Fact Finder: Will there be any "Jews" or "Gentiles" when the Messiah's Work has been completed?
See The Church: Mission Accomplished


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This Day In History, September 2

490 BC: The Greek hero Pheidippides died (see Demigod to understand the origin of the term "hero").

31 BC: Octavian, later known as Caesar Augustus (as he is also recorded in the Bible i.e. Luke 2:1-7; see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?) conquered Antony and Cleopatra (see The Cleopatra Connection) at the Battle of Actium. Some historians consider this date to be the end of the Roman Republic (see The Politics Of Rome) and the beginning of the Roman empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

1547: Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes died at age 62. He battled equally-famous Aztec emperor Montezuma in Mexico.

1649: Castro, Italy was destroyed by military forces at the behest of Pope Innocent X.

1752: The last day that the Julian Calendar (named after Roman emperor Julius Caesar) was used in Britain and its colonies. The present Gregorian calendar (named after Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII) began in use the next day.

1807: The British began bombarding Copenhagen to stop Napoleon from using the Danish fleet against Britain.

1859: A solar storm caused outages in telegraph service.

1864: During the U.S. Civil War, Atlanta, Georgia fell to Federal troops.

1870: During the Franco-Prussian War, France suffered a devastating defeat at Sedan when the Germans captured an entire French army along with emperor Napoleon III. The new German Reich chose September 2 - in commemoration of the German victory and French humiliation - as a national holiday. The French response to the German victory was the deposition of Napoleon III and a proclamation of a republican Government of National Defense.

1901: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt stated his famous imperial policy that the then-emerging U.S. Empire (ironically, the U.S. has become what its founders rebelled against) should "speak softly and carry a big stick."

1935: The "Labor Day Hurricane of 1935" killed over 400 people in the Florida Keys.

1944: Anne Frank, at age 15, was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Dutch-Jewish girl, famous for her Diary of Anne Frank died at the Belsen concentration camp the next year, shortly before it was liberated by Allied troops near the end of the Second World War.

1945: "VJ Day" at the end of the Second World War. Japanese officials signed the terms of surrender with Allied leaders in Tokyo Bay.

1945: Vietnam declared its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The country was later divided into North and South by French imperial forces, triggering the later Vietnam civil war that the U.S. became involved in during the 1960s, before the Vietnamese people were again unified into a single country in the 1970s, free of foreign interference.

1969: At the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), computer researchers made the first working connection between two huge, primitive computers. Some regard that event as the birth of the computer network that became the Internet.

1980: Terry Fox (who lost a leg to cancer) was forced to stop his cross-Canada "Marathon of Hope" run at Thunder Bay, Ontario, after he learned that his cancer had returned.

1998: The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Jean Paul Akayesu guilty of genocide.

2001: South African heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard died at age 78. In 1967, he became the first to perform a heart transplant on a live human.

2006: Nelly Connally died at age 87. As the wife of former Texas governor George Connally (who was also hit by a bullet, from behind, that day), Mrs. Connally was riding in the limousine in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. Due to her being in the apparent diagonal line of fire, in the seat ahead of Kennedy (Kennedy in the right-rear seat, Mrs. Connally in the left-front passenger seat), Mrs. Connally was sprayed with blood and brain matter more than anyone else in the car - seeming proof that the fatal shot came from behind the vehicle, in the direction of the Texas School Book Depository, rather than from ahead or to the side, in the direction of the "grassy knoll."





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Copyright © Wayne Blank