Romans 9 -Pt. 2

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 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 but because of him who calls—

VS 6: Paul had just expressed a compassion for the Jewish race that was so strong that he was willing to be damned in their place if that would have produced their salvation. As he said in Romans 9:2, this produced “great heaviness and continual sorrow.”

According to Romans 9:4-5, one of the reasons he longed for the salvation of the Jews so intensely was because he himself was a Jew and he was acutely aware that Christ was the Jewish Messiah. How ironic it was that Jesus came unto His own and His own received Him not (John 1:11). Here Paul began to relate the reasoning that had enabled him to cope with the Jews’ tragic rejection of Jesus.

The promises made to Abraham and his descendants were not made to his physical descendants but to his spiritual seed (Romans 9:6-8). Therefore, the true people of God have not rejected their Messiah. There is a body of believers comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles, and they are the true Israel of God. To back this up, Paul cited the two Old Testament examples of Isaac (Romans 9:9) and Jacob (Romans 9:10-13) to illustrate how the blessing of God was not passed on through the normal method of inheritance but through election.

VS 8: Paul cited six Old Testament references to make his point that God’s promises to Abraham and his “seed” were made to the spiritual offspring of Abraham, not the physical.

First, Isaac was not the firstborn son of Abraham, entitled to the birthright and blessing, yet he obtained both because he was chosen by God. Next, Jacob was not the firstborn either, yet he was chosen by God. These two examples confirm that God’s promise was not inherited by birth.

Paul also pointed out that before Jacob and his twin brother, Esau, were born, God told Rebekah that the elder would serve the younger. They weren’t even born yet, so they had not done any good or evil that caused God to make this choice. This means that the blessing of Abraham was not obtained by individual performance either but was based solely on God’s choosing by grace.

VS 11: Paul was citing these Old Testament examples to show that those who were considered the children of Abraham were not his physical descendants, but they were chosen by God, in this case, before they were born. This proves God’s election is not based on birth or performance.

However, some people have interpreted this verse and the quotation from Malachi 1:2-3 in Romans 9:13 as an example of extreme predestination. They reason that Esau was hated by God before he was born. Therefore, some people are predestined by God for damnation, while some are elected to salvation before they are ever born. This means people have no choice in the matter. That is not what these verses are saying.

As explained, God’s predestination is based on His foreknowledge. Only those whom God foreknew would accept Him have been elected and predestinated. God did not force Jacob and Esau to make the choices they made. But through His foreknowledge, He was able to foresee who would respond to Him, and that is the one He chose.

Commentary: awmi.net

Romans 9 -Pt. 1

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

VS 1: Paul was going to great lengths to verify that what he was saying was the truth. This needed to be stated because Paul’s statement in Romans 9:3 would certainly have been interpreted as a hyperbole (exaggeration) if there had not been some clarification.

VS 2: This is not a contradiction to other statements by Paul (2 Corinthians 7:13; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:4, 18, 2:2, 18, 4:4; Colossians 1:24; 1 Thessalonians 3:9, 5:16; and Philemon 7). Paul did operate in the joy of the Holy Ghost, just as he told others to do. However, there was this continual heaviness and sorrow in his heart when it came to the unbelieving Jews.

This is comparable to those who have lost loved ones who were very dear to them. In the process of time, they “get over it” to the point that they may be considered very joyful people, but there is always that vacancy in their hearts. Similarly, Paul was rejoicing in the Lord, but he always had this great longing in his heart for the salvation of the Jews.

VS 3: What a statement! Paul was saying that he would go to hell in the place of the Jews if that would accomplish their salvation. This is nothing less than the perfect “AGAPE” love that Jesus demonstrated when He died for our sins.

Although this desire on Paul’s part is commendable, there is nothing that he could have accomplished that Jesus hadn’t already accomplished completely. Paul was specifically commissioned by the Lord to go to the Gentiles, yet we see him repeatedly going to the Jews, even after he said he wouldn’t do that anymore (Acts 13:14). Paul even went to Jerusalem, apparently against the instruction of the Holy Ghost, and was more than willing to lay down his life for the sake of the Jews (Acts 21:13). This illustrated his great love for the Jewish people as he was describing here.

Commentary: awmi.net

It is Finished!

Joseph Prince- Daily Grace Inspirations

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30

Imagine looking at Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre museum. Would you think of adding more brush strokes to it? Of course not! It was done by a master, so what could you possibly add to the painting to improve it?

In the same way, that is how we are to look at Jesus’ work on the cross. He cried out, “It is finished!” You cannot complete a completed work. You cannot finish a finished work. Our salvation is won. Our sins are all forgiven. We are made forever righteous by His blood. Christ paid completely and perfectly for our total forgiveness, righteousness and every blessing!

In fact, these three words, “It is finished”, come from one Greek word teleo. In the days of Jesus, a servant would use it when reporting to his master: “I have completed the work assigned to me.” (John 17:4) The word means, “It is finished, it stands finished and it will always be finished!” Perhaps the most significant meaning of teleo is how it is used by merchants: “The debt is paid in full!” When Jesus gave Himself on the cross, He met fully the righteous demands of the law. He paid our debts in full!

Today, it is not our works that will bring us the blessings. It is Christ’s finished work. Christian living is not about doing, but believing in His finished work. Under the law, we must do. Under grace, it is done!

Maybe you are faced with overwhelming odds today. Jesus promises, “It is finished!” You are not going to be delivered because you have already been delivered. You are not going to be healed because you are already the healed! God healed you 2,000 years ago! Isaiah 53:5 declares, “By His stripes you are healed!” You are already pregnant with healing. Keep resting in His finished work and it will manifest!

My friend, the work is finished. The victory is won. Our enemies have been made His footstool. Our blessings have been bought by His blood! Live life knowing that there is nothing for you to do—only believe! It is finished!

Thought For The Day

It is believing in Christ’s finished work that will bring us the blessings.

”We Believe”

We Believe – Newsboys

In this time of desperation

When all we know is doubt and fear

There is only One Foundation

We believe, We believe

In this broken generation

When all is dark, You help us see

There is only One Salvation

We believe, We believe

We believe in God the Father

We believe in Jesus Christ

We believe in The Holy Spirit

And He’s given us new life

We believe in the crucifixion

We believe that He conquered death

We believe in the resurrection

And He’s coming back again, we believe

So let our faith be more than anthems

Greater than the songs we sing

And in our weakness and temptations, we believe…

Hide The Word in Your Heart

“And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:75

There are several Greek words used for “word.” The Greek word used here is RHEMA and it literally means, “a spoken word; an utterance, a saying, but specifically a spoken word appropriate for the situation.” It’s not the Bible lying on your coffee table that makes the enemy flee, but the Word of God hidden in your heart, activated by the power of the Holy Spirit, and spoken in the appropriate situation. It’s similar to what Jesus says in John 6:63, that “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”

The words that we speak from the written Word of God are empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Word by itself doesn’t make us free. It is the Word we know and speak that will deliver us (Jn. 8:32).

Why is the Word so effective? Because it is the WORD of God. It has authority, because it is indeed the WORD of God. God’s Word supersedes all authority of the church, of reason, of intellect, and even of Satan. That’s why it is so effective.

In Luke, chapter four, when Jesus was tempted of the devil for forty days, it was the Word of God that Jesus used to defeat the enemy at His temptation.

Jesus constantly met His temptation by quoting from God’s Word as He repeatedly stated the phrase, “It is written.” Likewise, the Christian soldier must avail himself of God’s Word by placing it in his heart so that the Holy Spirit may bring it forth at the appropriate time to accomplish a complete and total victory.

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You Have It All — In The Spirit

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

The Bible presents salvation as a life transforming experience. Change is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a true believer. Yet, failure to understand that this change takes place in the spirit first, and then is reflected in our outward appearance through our thoughts and actions in direct proportion to the way we renew our minds, causes much confusion.

This change has to take place in our born-again spirit first. Why is that? If you were fat before you got saved, you will be fat after you get saved, unless you go on a weight loss program. Your body doesn’t instantly change and neither does your soul or mind.

It is your spirit that is instantly changed at salvation. It is perfect (Heb. 12:23). It cannot sin (1 Jn. 3:9). Everything that is true of Jesus is true of our born-again spirit. Your spiritual salvation is complete. At salvation, you receive the same spirit that you will have throughout all eternity. It will not have to be changed or cleansed again. It is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) and therefore, is sanctified and perfected forever (Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:23).

For the remainder of our Christian life, we must not try to obtain faith, joy or love from God, but rather release what we already have in our spirits (Gal. 5:22-23) into our soul and body. Failure to understand this has caused some people to despair when they don’t see sufficient change in their life after coming to the Lord for salvation. It must be understood that the change is internal in our spirit and the outward change will take place as we renew our minds through God’s Word.

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Fill up with God

“I in them, and you in me, that they may become perfectly one; so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them even as You loved Me.” – John 17:23

God loves us the same as He loves Jesus. A true revelation of this will quicken our faith and allow us to walk in the fullness of God. God’s love is the key that opens the door to everything that God is. “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).

God’s love is not one dimensional. There is width, length, depth and height to it, which can only be comprehended through the revelation and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Those who only have a superficial knowledge of God’s love are like a person who looks at a one dimensional picture of the real thing.

In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for us to know the love of God which passes knowledge. How can we know the love of God if it passes knowledge? This sounds like a contradiction. The Greek word that is translated “know” in this verse is GINOSKO, which is a verb expressing experiential knowledge. The Greek word that is translated “knowledge” is GNOSIS, which is a noun denoting the act of knowledge. Simply, Paul is praying that we will experience the love of God which passes mere knowledge of it.

Since a true revelation of God’s love makes us full with the fullness of God, then a lack of being full of God must mean that we lack understanding and experience of God’s love. The end result of having understanding and experiential knowledge of God’s love is that we will be filled with all the fullness of God.

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The Parable of the Trees

This parable told in the book of Judges 9:7-16 is a personal favorite, and one I had to share in observation of current events and the demonstrated attitudes of some Christians.

Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I give up my fatness by which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us!’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I give up my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ And the vine replied, ‘Should I give up my new wine, which makes God and men happy, and go to wave over the trees?’

Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’  So the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’

How interesting! All the qualified/worthy trees declined the offer to rule, citing their duty to God and man! but the unworthy bramble agreed to reign as king over the trees.

Not only does it agree to reign, it states it’s caveat for reigning.

First, it promises what it cannot possibly deliver: “refuge in it’s shade”. For those who do not know: a bramble is a rough (usually wild) thorny shrub, that grows low and is incapable of offering shade to anyone.

The worst revelation came next. The bramble warns against dissent. It promises to be a ruthless, authoritative and oppressive ruler who will destroy those who disagree with it.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

Faith Is Like a Muscle

"But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet." Matthew 21:23-27

Proverbs 29:25 says, "The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe." These men were seeking to snare Jesus in His words, but they couldn’t because He was safely trusting in the Lord. It was easy for Jesus to "turn the tables on them" and catch them because they feared man (Jn. 5:44).

Jesus had already shown that all of their works were done so that they could be seen of men (Mt. 6:5). They were not really seeking to please God, but were doing all their religious works for the praise of men. It is totally vain for a man who is bound by the fear of man to try to intimidate a man whose trust is totally in the Lord.

When David fought Goliath (1 Sam. 17), everyone mocked him because of his belief that he could win. Goliath was a giant and he was only a small boy. But David said something very important in his defense. In 1 Samuel 17:34-37, David revealed that this was not the first time he had depended on God for a victory against something bigger than himself. He had already killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands. He KNEW he could defeat Goliath with God’s help. Faith must be developed much like a muscle. Those who wait until the day of the contest to start training are going to lose. That’s not the way it works in the natural or the spiritual.

What is life all about? What is the purpose of one’s existence? What is to be gained in life? What do people live for? When we say "so and so" is my life, we mean that all of our attention, our focus, and our purpose for living, is directed towards and revolves around that person. In a similar way, we need to be totally consumed with Christ and His life. True life is only to be found in Christ. It is not to be found in prestige, fortune, fame, or things, but only in the one who is life – Jesus Christ.

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