My Journey through Romans 6

Rom. 6:4-Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  

Perennial : present at all seasons of the year : persisting for several years usually with new herbaceous growth from a perennating part: persistent, enduring (b: continuing without interruption :  constant, perpetual <the perennial quest for certainty> (c: regularly repeated or renewed :recurrent <death is a perennial literary theme>

hostasNow why did I choose this word for this chapter, you’re probably asking. Well, let’s see. In previous blogs, I shared my understanding of justification by faith and by the blood of Jesus Christ; a clearer understanding of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and how it directly pertains to us as sinners and Believers. Once I got through that understanding, I arrived at verse 23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is ETERNAL life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  This may sound confusing to some, but it is an understanding I received from the Holy Spirit.

Here we grow! Eternal, hostas, anyone? I’m not sure about other perennials, but I am absolutely positive that hostas grow in a newness of life every spring. The bulb appears to have an eternal life span. And, every spring, for twelve years I find myself digging them up to separate them and find another place to plant elsewhere in my yard. Perhaps, I should start potting them to sell. They are quite expensive plants at the nursery. Hostas spread every year and need very little care if any at all. Thank you Jesus! The only baptism (water) they got this past year was from rain. Here in Alabama, there has been a drought. Where is Elijah?

During my study, I discovered that there are two differences between the hosta plant and humans. (1) We only need one baptism. (2) Humans need lots of care daily in order for us to grow for us to walk in newness of life for any season. We have to plant ourselves into believing the word of God in order for us to fully grow in Him. Remember we are justified by faith and by the blood of Jesus Christ. It’s not just a spring thing. The one thing hostas and humans do have in common is that we both come in many varieties. Yes! Thank you Holy Spirit.

When we die, we die a physical death which is a certainty, only to be resurrected upon the Lord’s return which could be any season. We will not die a physical death and grow back during the spring like the hosta plant, even though it is still present throughout all seasons. I’m so amazed that every spring it blooms with new leafage and it is always more beautiful and fuller each year as the old leafage yellows and dies. The new leafage grows over the old. Exciting!  That is something we as Believers/ Christians need to experience when we plant ourselves in the Word of God. However, there is another death that the Believer must encounter first which is to be dead in Christ. This is something we all find hard to understand the fullness thereof-to be dead in Christ. Even I don’t fully understand Paul’s message in this chapter, but I am determined to understand in all its fullness.

I just wanted to share two commentaries in this blog instead of going on with more of my thoughts.  I think the ensample of the hosta plant will allow you to think a little deeper about walking in the newness of life. Thank you for reading and I pray that you were blessed by this message.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary (Romans 6:3-10)
Baptism teaches the necessity of dying to sin, and being as it were buried from all ungodly and unholy pursuits, and of rising to walk with God in newness of life. Unholy professors may have had the outward sign of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, but they never passed from the family of Satan to that of God. The corrupt nature, called the old man, because derived from our first father Adam, is crucified with Christ, in every true believer, by the grace derived from the cross. It is weakened and in a dying state, though it yet struggles for life, and even for victory. But the whole body of sin, whatever is not according to the holy law of God, must be done away, so that the believer may no more be the slave of sin, but live to God, and find happiness in his service.
Geneva Bible Study (Romans 6:3-6)
(3) There are three parts of this sanctification: that is, the death of the old man or sin, his burial, and the resurrection of the new man, descending into us from the virtue of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, of which benefit our baptism is a sign and pledge.
(c) To the end that growing up as one with him, we should receive his strength to extinguish sin in us, and to make us new men.
(d) So that Christ himself, being released of his infirmity and weakness, might live in glory with God forever.
(e) And we who are his members rise for this purpose, that being made partakers of the very same power, we should begin to lead a new life, as though we were already in heaven.
(4) The death of sin and the life of righteousness, or our ingrafting into Christ, and growing up into one with him, cannot be separated by any means, neither in death nor life: by which it follows that no man is sanctified who lives still to sin, and therefore is no man made partaker of Christ by faith, who does not repent and turn from his wickedness: for as he said before, the law is not overturned but established by faith.
(f) And by means of the strength which comes from him to us, so we die to sin, as he is dead.
(g) For every day we become more perfect: for we will never be perfectly sanctified, as long as we live here.
(h) Our entire nature, as we are conceived and born into this world with sin, is called “old”, partly by comparing that old Adam with Christ, and partly also in respect of the deformed state of our corrupt nature, which we change with a new.
(i) Our corrupt nature is regarded as belonging to Christ, not because of what he has done, but by imputation.
(k) That wickedness which remains in us.
(l) The end of sanctification which we aim at, and will at length come to, that is, when God will be all in all.

 

Beloved, let us all look forward to becoming perennial (regularly repeated or renewed) as the foliage on the Branch of Christ. I encourage us all to walk in newness of life.

Let’s Grow!

 

 

My Journey through Romans 5

Justified by the blood of Jesus; not just by faith?

In Romans 5:1-2, Paul gives us three things to look forward to when justification comes by faith: (1) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, (3) and we will rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Skip to Lou! In Romans 5:6-11, Paul gives us a message from the cross. Not only is our justification through faith in Jesus, but we are also “justified by his blood” and that we “shall be saved from wrath through him.”  Shout out loud, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”  Not the blood of Abraham, Buddha, Mohammad, Wicca witch, Vishnu, or Mary, the mother of Jesus. Only one way!  Now, after reading that I thought it so amazing that we give blood to save lives, but others are not justified through the giving of our blood. That’s how we know Jesus is Lord. Is it possible that we can save others from wrath through the giving of our blood?  No, not at all, because the truth be told we are a weak people. And, I have been told “some men weaken at the site of blood”, per a few nurses. Admit it. Paul speaks of our weakness in verse six (6) “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

I found four truths mentioned in this chapter that verified that only Jesus was capable of following through on. We as sinners could never pay anyone enough money to: (1) die for the ungodly (2) commend our love toward all sinners (Ex. A lot of people hate the sinner and the sin committed by homosexuals, murderers, liars, racists, adulterers, false prophets, etc.) (3)  Reconcile others unto God by our death (4) be the one and only atonement for the sins of others. Jesus did. But God. Now peradventure there are some that will commend their love toward all sinners, because that IS something we are capable of doing when the heart is right with God. Right?

Speaking of blood..let’s go back to “In the beginning” for a moment. Do you know of the first time blood was shed in the bible? Nope, it wasn’t when Cain slew Abel. It was when God provided “garments of skin” for Adam and Eve to cover their known nakedness. Gen.  3:21 and Lev.7:8 lead us to believe that an animal sacrifice took place as the atonement for their sin of disobedience, therefore I believe that the blood of an innocent animal was shed.(TYHS!)  “And then there’s” us (not Maude)  you and I, who God in the form of an innocent man, Jesus Christ died for the ungodly by the giving of His blood. The first powerful lesson I learned in this chapter is how strong of a role disobedience to God played in the shedding of innocent blood. Now, let this soak in. God said “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.“(Lev.17:10)Ouch! (TYHS!)

 

jesus-bloodThe other powerful lesson I learned is to always share with others just how potent God’s love for us is; which was through the blood sacrifice of His “only begotten Son”.  Think deeply about it folks, God has always provided a substitute for sin or a way out for His people. He has always done things for us that we are not capable of doing for ourselves.  We are not capable of punishing ourselves for wrong doings. We can’t outsmart God. We are not capable of escaping God’s justice; therefore a penalty had to be paid according to His laws. Nothing but the powerful blood of Jesus could settle that debt for all mankind. Amen.

All throughout the Old Testament, pick a story, any story, you will find how often the disobedient people of God were covered by His grace that abounded much more than their sins. (vs. 20) And so I can agree with Paul when he stated that “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”(vs. 8-9)  Shout ((((Thank you Jesus))))

 

Do you remember this hymn?  http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Nothing_but_the_Blood/

What can wash away my sin?

 Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

 What can make me whole again?

 Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Challenge- Make a list of sinners you would die for by the giving of your blood. Now that’s going to be a challenge for sure. 🙂

bloodjesus

 

 

My Journey through Romans 4

Justification Through Faith

In the previous blog I learned about the law of faith and how important it is to be obedient to that law for it is of the Gospel of Christ. In chapter three verse twenty two, the light shined that even “the righteousness of God is by faith of Jesus Christ upon all those that believe”.  In this chapter I am learning more about justification through faith. This is a touchy subject for many Christians and unbelievers alike. I’ve always wrestled with understanding justification for /through anything. Let us swing back a step and review the meaning of justification.

  • Justification, in Christian theology, is God’s act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time declaring a sinner righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. In Protestantism, righteousness from God is viewed as being credited to the sinner’s account through faith alone, without works. ( Courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justification_(theology) )
  • an acceptable reason for doing something : something that justifies an action
  • Synonyms: reason, defense, excuse, validation-

 

You may or may not agree, but I found this verse to be the crux of understanding justification through faith (vs. 8- Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute (credit) sin.) Lord knows we are too familiar with sin and its many facets. We also know that sin has a fee attached to it and it is ALWAYS crouching at our door (Gen. 4:7) holding out its collection plate. Amen?

What many of us may miss in this chapter is the discussion of Abraham’s faith and how it was a spiritual matter between him and God. Even so with Rahab the prostitute. Think. Abraham went way out of his natural self to obey and please God. Which one of us would be that obedient to God as to sacrifice one of our children to Him? I’ll be honest and say that is something I could not bring myself to do, even with knowing of Abraham’s outcome.  My outcome could be something different if I were to make such a sacrifice. Lord, let me have that type of faith.  Abraham’s obedience clearly shows us that justification is through faith and not works. It reminds us of this scripture (Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him)  

just The bottom line concerning justification through faith for me was understanding that we are justified in the same way as Abraham- believing. But for us, it is belief in Jesus Christ, i.e. God’s sacrifice.   Not a one of us would be capable(unless you owned your own animal farm)  nor be obedient to the old law of killing animals to be a sacrifice for our daily sins. We’d just die because we could not meet that working quota. Do you know how many animal killings a day that would be?  Those animal rights groups would have a fit and we’d have to figure out another way to pay for our sins. But, God.

Instead of asking us to make a sacrifice as He did with Abraham, God knew we would not be that obedient. Therefore, God debited our account from the guilt and punishment of our sins by sacrificing His only begotten Son. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7-9) Knowing this I ponder why it is that we still waiver in our faith in Jesus?   Knowing this also, all Believers should thank God daily that we will not be asked to make any children and animal sacrifices for our sins ever again.  Just let that faith point soak in!  😛

Anywho, in this chapter I found out that we cannot “by any means necessary” work our way to God, doing so-called “church work” or any other works. Justification is God’s work because it is He who fulfills the promise through our faith in His Son. Do tell… how is it that we think we can “earn” our way into heaven when we are incapable of sacrificing one of our children as Abraham did?  I sure am learning more about the spiritual role faith plays on this journey. Obeying and pleasing God is a spiritual matter. (TYHS) It even caused me to pause and think long about God’s reasoning through the ages of loving generations of a disobedient people. Maybe he thinks of Barbara Streisand’s song, “The way we were” in the Garden of Eden before the serpent slid in.  I think of the moment too, walking with God up close and personal as Adam and Eve did. What a joyful day that will be.

In conclusion, I am assured that we receive justification through faith in Christ. Key words –Faith In Christ. Thank you for riding along with me on this journey.

***Recent find, please enjoy Brother Noel’s biblical stance: https://gospelmuse.com/2014/01/19/are-you-justified-by-faith-or-by-works/