Thursday, December 06, 2012

December 6, 2012 … Faith or Flesh: Our Choice

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 341

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Romans, Chapters 1-3 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: Romans, Chapter 1-3 … Please take the time to use the link above and read these chapters of Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians (and to us!). : [NLT] … {The Book of Romans, a letter written by Paul from Corinth, after he wrote 2nd Corinthians, to believers in Rome, mostly Jewish but some Gentiles, is sometimes referred to as “The Christian Manifesto of Faith.” And there is probably no one book in the Bible which explains the basics and the foundation of the Christian faith any more clearly. The Roman Christians really had no writings, i.e., new covenant doctrine, upon which to hang their faith; and so, Paul took it upon himself to write to believers why following Christ was living in the truth and how they (we) should live as Christians. So, when we read this Epistle, as I will be (hopefully with you) in the next few days, we need to be doing what Paul wrote in 2nd Cor. 13: 5 (see below), … examining our faith to see if we are truly living in our relationship with Christ. In other words, fellow believer, are we walking-the-walk of our faith as well as talking-the-talk of Christianity?}

Highlight Passages: Romans 1: 15-16; 18-32 [linked below] : [NLT] … {Paul clearly relates a summary of his faith in, and total surrender to, THE GOSPEL and to Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah, and The Christ.} 1 This letter is from Paul, Jesus Christ’s slave, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. … 
15 So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach God’s Good News. 16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—Jews first and also Gentiles. …  
{Then after a greeting in identification with the Roman Christians via the Gospel, Paul sends a clear red-flag warning to his Christian audience about choosing to live in the flesh as opposed to living in faith, as slaves to The Christ; … and for you to read this passage I will link you to it online. …  . Please take the time to study and meditate on this passage, because digesting this truth will bring conviction to any believer who is habitually and consciously living in the flesh rather than living in fellowship with Christ.}

Highlight Passages: Romans 2: 5-11 : [NLT] … {If you’re reading along, you have to be impressed that Paul is holding up a mirror of truth in front of the Christians in Rome (and for us). The Gospel is that for anyone who confronts what Christ did on the cross and what God Spirit did in raising Him from the grave, defeating sin and death forever. If one truly believes in the Gospel, it holds up a reality that one MUST see himself as a sinner and surrender to the grace of God for salvation and sanctification. EXAM: Have we done so? }  
5 But no, you won’t listen. So you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself because of your stubbornness in refusing to turn from your sin. For there is going to come a day of judgment when God, the just judge of all the world, 6 will judge all people according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who persist in doing what is good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and practice evil deeds. 9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on sinning—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.  

Highlight Passages: Romans 3: 19-26 : [NLT] … {And here Paul lays out, for Jews and Gentiles alike, the reality that God’s law was given to man to show him that he, in the flesh, could not live up to God’s standard for salvation … that he (mankind) needed a Savior; and that Redeemer had come in the Person of Jesus; … and further that we must believe in The Christ as our Redeemer and put no stock for salvation into what we do or can do. The truth of the Gospel is our test unto salvation; and living in that truth becomes God’s way of judging whether we have received and surrendered to His saving grace.} 19 Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses and to bring the entire world into judgment before God. 20 For no one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying it. 21 But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight—not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. 22 We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. 23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. 25 For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. 26 And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.  

Reference Passage: 2nd Corinthians 13: 5 : [NLT] … {Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans FROM CORINTH and from his concern about the faith of Roman Christians being persecuted and dealing with the spiritual oppression and fleshly culture in Rome … not so different from what we face today.} 5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test. 

My Journal for Today: Paul’s letter to the Romans, into which we wade today in my chronological read through the Bible, is a tough study. It is like Paul taking on the role of a Spirit-led attorney, writing out, as clearly he could, for the Roman Christians (and for us as well) the basics of the Christian faith. And reading through this NT magnum opus is like standing naked in front of a crystal-clear mirror of truth, which reveals whom we REALLY are when tested before the truth of the Gospel.

If you read through my comments, in bold above, concerning Romans, Chapters 1-3, you really have all I need to journal here today about this portion of the letter Paul wrote, introducing himself to believers in Rome and beginning his treatise about the truth of the Gospel. So I won’t belabor any readers who were generous enough with your time to read along with me.

My only parting comment today is a question: “As we read through Romans 1-3 as a test of our faith (again see 2nd Cor. 13: 5 above), are we living by faith in the Gospel or living in our flesh, trying to cope with the world and our spiritual enemies?”

That’s the mirror I walked in front of this morning; and I don’t know about you; but it was a pretty convicting exposé on my life.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for Your mirror of truth in Paul’s letter. It reveals me as needing to go deeper – by faith – to know You more intimately today than yesterday … and even more tomorrow than today. Amen. Amen

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