Tag Archives: romans

The Word of Christ

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

(Romans‬ ‭10‬:‭17‬ (NASB)

He gives faith. He gives the word that creates faith. Faith comes from truly hearing (heeding) the Gospel, and the hearing itself comes from Christ.

God is ultimately in control of our hearing and heeding the Gospel. Therefore, He is the source of our faith and salvation.

We owe everything to God. I really don’t control anything.

If we truly hear the Gospel, God will give us faith.

We need God to give me even the most fundamental of spiritual things, even the ability to hear Him.

When we truly accept this truth, we become dependent on God for everything. We have real faith.

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Overcome

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭17-21‬ (NASB)

When someone does evil to you, don’t repay them in kind. Respect what is right, and make peace with others where you can. Let God have His vengeance – because He will.

When someone does evil to you, do good to them instead, and they may feel the pain of remorse and guilt. In this way, you overcome evil.

If you repay evil with evil, you will be overcome by evil.

We are called to do good, to do right. God will repay men’s evil. Vengeance belongs only to Him.

Don’t take revenge. Have respect for what’s right. Make peace.

Only His grace gives us the capability to overcome evil with good.

The Deepest Change

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
‭Romans‬ ‭13‬:‭8-10‬ NASB

The thing God wants most for us to do is love. Love fulfills every aspect of the Law. So, If we will love our neighbors as we love ourselves, thereby doing no wrong to anyone but doing good to them, we will fulfill the law.

The law is impossible to keep because we’re self-centered. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We must become other-centered.

He loves us so much He wants us to love each other.  This is what we have to do to be who God wants us to be.

Since we’re incapable of keeping the law, we must therefore be incapable of loving others on our own. Only by His grace can we be supplied with the love we need to love others.

We need to be transformed by God, and this is one of the deepest changes that must take place in us.

Hope That Will Not Disappoint

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭1-5‬

 

Because faith in Christ is credited to us as righteousness, we are at peace with God, and we stand in grace. We can rejoice in the hope of God’s glory and in tribulation because, by building character, trials lead to that same hope, a hope that will not disappoint.
 
Because faith is credited to us as righteousness, we can exult in true hope. Because trials, through building character and and perseverance, lead to hope, we can exult in tribulation. We have hope no matter what through the gift of Christ’s death and resurrection.
 
Let’s praise God because He loves us and has shown it by placing His Holy Spirit in us. Let’s praise Him because He does the work of faith, grace, justification, and hope in us.
 
Let’s rejoice in this hope that we have, even when we don’t feel we have hope.
 
What powerful change would be evident in us if we lived in continual hope born out of godly character.

Bless the Persecutor

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. – Romans 12:14

In the middle of Romans 12 – a very specific list of ways in which these Roman Christians can strive to live as true disciples and true worshipers – Paul writes this one very simple command. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

We consider it an evil that people are persecuted for their ethnicity or politics or religious beliefs, and it is. But it’s one that we should expect. Paul tells us here how to respond when it comes. For me, this begs two questions:

What is persecution?

Growing up, I was taught in Sunday School that when people made fun of you because you went to church, that was persecution. Sure people in other parts of the world faced more extreme versions, but for us, in our culture, getting picked on was persecution.

This is not persecution.

On September 22, a church in Peshawar, Pakistan, was attacked by suicide bombers. Scores were killed or injured. Why? Because they were Christians.

That’s persecution.

I believe that we are moving inexorably toward a day when American Christians will face real persecution.  Laws are being changed that reflect our nation’s march away from tradition Judeo-Christian morals.  It seems all are “tolerated” except Christians.  One day, we’ll be persecuted, but it’s not today.

Are we responding as we should?

In America, we Christians fight for our rights.  We refuse to be persecuted.  We will not be looked down on.  Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek.  Paul tells us to bless the persecutor.

When the persecutors took Him, Jesus walked willingly to His death.

Does this mean we should simply give in?  I don’t think so.  But it does mean we need to do a much better job of keeping our egos (our pride!) in check.  It’s not about our rights.  It’s about blessing those who persecute you.  It’s about being Jesus to all those around us – even (and maybe especially) those who hate us.

What can we do differently?

We can be blessings, even when others hurt us.

We can attempt to share in (to what extent we can) and relieve the suffering of those in the world who are persecuted.  How do we do this?  Take the time to learn what is happening to Christians around the world, and help them.

Watch this video, created by a pastor in Pakistan with a direct link to the church in Peshawar that was bombed.  (Warning: it is graphic.)  Learn about what the folks at Voice of the Martyrs do, and then join them in their work however you can.  Pray for those who are persecuted.  Visit or write the prisoners.

Let’s stop fighting for our rights and start fighting for the souls of those who need Christ.