“For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope” (Romans 15:4 NET).
As we live as Christians we sometimes become discouraged. When we are “down” it can seem difficult to continue going on. But there is something we can “take” for that! Often when we are physically sick we are told to take a pill, to take medication which will help to pick us up again. The solution for when we are spiritually discouraged is God’s word. Continue reading “The encouragement of the scriptures”
One of the images God used for his people, the nation of Israel, was that of an olive tree which he had planted.
“The LORD once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. The LORD of hosts, who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.” (Jeremiah 11:16-17 ESV)
This image is taken from Psalm 52:8, where David describes himself as a green olive tree in the house of God. In Hosea 14:6 the nation of Israel after being restored to God following captivity is described as a beautiful olive tree with its shoots spread out. Continue reading “We are the Israel of God”
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 NET).
No condemnation. Nothing against us. What more encouraging words could there be? As Paul was writing in Romans 7, things seemed hopeless. But that was a life without Jesus. For those who are in Christ, it is an entirely different picture. There is no condemnation. Our sins have been washed away (Paul wrote about this in Romans 6). We have been set free from serving sin and death.
This means we need to live differently. Continue reading “Set free to live”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, ‘The righteous by faith will live’” (Romans 1:16-17 NET).
God’s power for salvation is found in the gospel (literally “good news”) of Jesus and it is for everyone who will believe. That is, indeed, good news! God’s righteousness has been made known in this good news as people obey and are cleansed, made righteous, by being united with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (see Romans 6 for a detailed discussion of this). Continue reading “God gave them up”
There are some chapters in the Bible that we tend to avoid reading and that we definitely don’t want to have to read in public! The top of our list would undoubtedly be genealogies – someone begat someone who begat someone else…and on and on the list goes. Just down from that would be lists of names like we find in Romans 16.
Although we might initially find such lists “boring,” the more we study them the more I become fascinated with what I find. Rather than “just” being a list of names, what we have in Romans 16 are snapshots into Paul’s life. We really don’t know much about Paul. We have a general overview of his life from the time he became a Christian in the book of Acts, although great chunks are even missing from that account. We have a few odds and ends scattered throughout the letters he wrote. Then we find a long list of names like we have here. His life suddenly becomes quite interesting. Continue reading “People are important”
If you have ever suffered prejudice, you can really appreciate just how wonderful the truth is that God is fair. That’s right. When we come before God, nobody gets special treatment ahead of you (or behind you) because of their connections, social status or race. That’s right, being daddy’s little girl won’t help or hinder. Being a member of an ethnic minority will not make it any better or any worse. The manner in which God will judge the world is the same for us all. The Principles of God’s Judgment Without favoritism, God gives to each one according to … Continue reading God Is Fair … Good News! Bad News & Great News!