‘Spiritual worship’ in Romans 12.1

Romans 12.1-2 introduces the practical part of Paul’s letter and offers a framework to understand what follows. The last phrase of verse 1 has been variously translated. In 1993, David Peterson published “WORSHIP AND ETHICS IN ROMANS 12” in the Tyndale Bulletin. What follows is a quote from it.

If Paul’s expression is translated ‘spiritual worship’, there is a danger of accenting the inwardness of Christian worship and not taking sufficient account of the fact that we are to yield our bodies to God’s service. There is no doubt from passages such as 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 2:17-22; Philippians 3:3 that the Holy Spirit facilitates the worship of the new covenant era, but that does not mean that we are compelled to translate λογικὴ λατρεία as ‘spiritual worship’. On the other hand, ‘rational worship’ may only suggest a contrast between the offering of rational beings and the sacrifice of irrational animals. The mind is certainly central to Paul’s perspective here, but the focus is not simply on rationality. The service he calls for is the obedience of faith expressed by those whose minds are being transformed and renewed by God, so that they may no longer be conformed in lifestyle to the values, attitudes and behaviour of ‘this age’ (Rom. 12:2; cf. Col. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:22-4). Consequently, it may be best to read ‘understanding worship’, and to recognise from the context that this means ‘the worship which is consonant with the truth of the gospel’,13 [Cranfield] or the service rendered by those who truly understand the gospel and its implications.

#Romans #quotes #worship #truth

Notes: Inseparable love, Romans 8

Elsewhere it was observed that the first notes in my new Bible were on Romans 8.28-39. They were mere memory ticklers, since I often preach without notes or with just key words. But they might set off some good thoughts for you, so here they are:

  1. Action of God, 28.
  2. Gift of God, 32.
  3. Justification of God, 32-34.
  4. Conquering love of God, 35-39.

In the first part of the chapter, the Holy Spirit appears. In the second half, however, God the Father comes to the fore. The little outline above reflects that.

#god, #romans, #sermon-notes

Joined to another

“So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God.”

Romans 7.4

Paul disallowed any attempt to use the principle of law for justification before God. Using the death of a spouse as an illustration, he maintained exclusive union with Christ as the way to true spiritual results.

Obedience is a necessity, Rom 6.17, but proving one’s worth to God by law-keeping is of a whole different order. Which are you doing?

#votd #Romans

Father of us all: Romans 4.16-17 VOTD

“For this reason it is by faith so that it may be by grace, with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants—not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”). He is our father in the presence of God whom he believed—the God who makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do.”

Romans 4.16-17

Under the new covenant, God now looks for spiritual descendants of Abraham, who have the same faith he had. He believed in God’s promise, contrary to all evidence.

What yet inexistent realities must Christians believe in as if they already existed?

#faith #promise #Romans #VOTD

The Righteous Requirement of the Law

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4, ESV)

1. What could the Law of Moses not do? It could not save; it was not designed by God to save (Acts 13:39). The Law of Moses was not designed by God to bridge the gap between man and God. The Law of Moses was designed by God to show the nature of sin (Rom. 3:20) and those guilty of sin will be punished (4:15).

2. However, it is not God’s desire that any perish (2 Peter 3:9)

3. God bridged the gap with His gift to man, His Son (John 3:16); His Son (Jesus) condemned sin in the flesh (Hebrews 2:17-18; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

4. It is my view the righteous requirement of the law is best understood in relation to John 6:44-45 and Galatians 3:24-25, tied in with Paul’s earlier words in Romans 1:17, justification by faith.

5. Justification by faith means one walks in accordance with faith (Romans 10:17; 2 Cor. 5:7) because there is a clear realization of man’s nature, a nature that cannot bridge the gap between himself and God (cf. Romans 7:24-8:1).

#justification, #law, #romans

FULLY CONVINCED

What does it mean to be justified by faith? We know the Bible teaches it, and it might be that we are quick to give a correct answer, but what does it mean? In Romans 4, the apostle Paul gives an illustration to help us understand what it means to be justified by faith. In the previous chapter, Paul made clear that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (3:23), and but a little further ahead he states that sin leads to one’s spiritual death (6:23). Sandwiched between these two thoughts is an illustration from the life of Abraham to help us understand what the Holy Spirit wants us to know.

A great many people will tell you that to be justified by faith means to pray what is known as the “sinner’s prayer,” but that is not what Paul said. In fact, what is commonly known as the “sinner’s prayer” is not even found in the Bible, much less did Abraham know anything about it. In Romans 4 we learn that to be justified by faith means do what Abraham did. Let me explain.

Abraham trusted in God. This trust in God was Abraham’s total reliance on God to accept what he offered. What did Abraham offer? His heart. But this was not all that he offered. In Genesis 15, the Lord attributes to Abraham justification because Abraham not only believed (trusted) God, but obeyed Him as well. Twice we learn that Abraham obeyed when he was told by the Lord to do particular things. First, he was told to pick up his family and depart for a land he knew nothing about (Genesis 12). Second, he was told to keep covenant with God by having all the males in his family circumcised (Genesis 17). In both cases, there was nothing easy about that which was required of him. To complicate matters more for Abraham, the Lord promised Abraham that from his wife would come a son. Some had doubts. For Abraham, however, though he may not have understood how such a thing could occur with a woman past the normal time of child-bearing—Abraham was fully convinced and did not waver in unbelief (Romans 4:19-21).

What does it mean to be justified by faith? It means that one fully trusts God and obeys Him in everything He said. Why would anyone want to call Jesus Lord, but then not obey Him (Luke 6:46).

#defiance-disobedience-health-care, #justification, #romans, #salvation

How do you answer the question, ‘Who are you?’

I have been getting a lot of friend requests lately on Facebook from people whose names do not ring a bell. When this happens, one of the first things I do is click on the “About Me” portion of their profile. It is interesting to see what people will say about themselves when given the chance.

Most teenagers, when asked, “Who are you?” will answer with some sport they play or hobby they do. Common answers are, “I am a football player,” “I am a cheerleader” or “I like to draw.” The truth is, we are more than the sum of what we do or are involved in.

Adults do not do any better answering that question. Most identify themselves with their job. They would answer the question with something like “I am lawyer,” “I am a teacher” or “I work at a bank.”

Trying to answer the question is very difficult. Think about it. How would you answer the question, “Who are you?”

Most of us try to identify ourselves with a job or something we’re involved in, but that really does not say all that much about who we are. If that is the only place you look for identity, you will end up disappointed; because, in the long run, our jobs and our hobbies do not matter or last.

In the Bible, God has a lot to say about who we are. In Romans 8 we are told we are God’s children, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, given the Spirit, and loved so much that nothing can separate us from His love. When we find our identity in those truths, our true identity matters and will last forever.

Luke Bower, Baker Heights church bulletin, Abilene TX

#identity, #romans

Faith Toward God is not Faith Alone

Many teach that sola fide is the ‘end all, be all’ with God and faith, but Hebrews 5:12-6:3 teaches that the important faith to God is the faith that’s only the beginning of people coming to Him. Read 2 Peter 1:3-10 and you’ll find that faith is not the whole flight of stairs to Heaven – it’s only one of the steps that make up the stairs! A vital step for sure, but only one of the vital steps.

Faith toward God is not faith alone. Faith is meant to be a lifestyle – not a one moment decision! Romans 1:16-17 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” God’s word plainly says the just shall live by faith, but it never says they will live by just faith!

Because of erroneous teaching many people do not understand what it means to believe/have faith toward God. They read verses like Romans 13:11 and say, ‘See, salvation was brought to Paul and the Romans when they believed and so it can to me too.” But to pretend that ‘believed’ only means a mental/heart acknowledgement (faith alone) is to ignore what Paul and the Roman Christians did to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). They all heard the word of God (Romans 10:17), they all repented of their sins (Romans 2:4), they all confessed the faith in their hearts (Romans 10:6-11) and they all were baptized for the remission of their sins (Romans 6:1-4). Did you notice all the scripture references came from the same source – the Romans (along with Paul) who ‘believed‘ back in Romans 13:11 did more than “just believe.”

Faith toward God is powerful and wonderful, but faith alone falls short of both!

#faith, #faith-alone, #justification-by-faith, #milk-of-the-word, #romans, #salvation

Posts on Grace

I appreciate all the good thoughts on grace! Thanks for taking up my question and making application.

I have always liked the following: We cannot live in such a way to put God in our debt. Therefore, we will always be lost without His generous gift of grace. We are completely at His mercy until given an opportunity to serve. Even then, we will still require grace to enter heaven. Once again, God will never be in our debt.

There are so many nuances that exist in the doctrine and emotion NEVER understands nuance. That is why we must remain sober-minded and focused so we can grasp the real meaning of Scripture.

We have to tune out Satan’s doctrines found in those who teach error and not spend all of our time chasing them. That is part of Satan’s plan. We cannot always be teaching against something. We need to be proactive in showing the world and the brethren what Scripture DOES teach on grace and salvation.

 

#ephesians, #grace, #romans, #salvation, #study

Not a prophet, less of an economist, but this seems certain

Test of faithWonderful day with the saints in SJCampos and Taubaté! I missed hearing the Word taught in Portuguese and singing praises and encouragements in this expressive language. In the morning, I read the selected Bible passage, closed with a short reading and prayer, and proffered the announcements. In the afternoon, I led singing. Our groups are small, but strong.

• We think of Abraham’s great faith in offering Isaac (Gen. 22). Hebrews 11 says God tested the patriarch, and Paul in Romans 4 says, “He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God” (v. 20). When tested, do we waver or are we strengthened by trusting in the Lord and thereby giving him glory? What a powerful verse and marvelous reminder!

• I’m no prophet and even less of an economist, but this seems certain, just from seeing some scary numbers and irreversible trends: The U.S. is headed for hard times. The bottom is going to fall out. Brethren, pay your debts, save up, buckle down, for high inflation and unemployment as well as low dollar and housing values are going to test the country in the worst way since the Great Depression.

• In the coming crisis, the church will be greatly tested, if it will prioritize the mission of God in the world, or draw in upon itself and serve its own needs. Those congregations who are now busy in the Lord’s work will be well placed and practiced to continue putting the mission first. Those groups who have been serving self will likely close out any remaining impulse to do the will of God.

• A sister in Christ remarked in this morning’s Bible class, on Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac in Gen. 22, that a great faith is a series of small decisions, such as those the patriarch made to get from his camp to the land of Moriah. Obedience is not as often a great single leap as continuous small steps in the will of God.

#church-family, #faith, #romans, #test-of-god

What is my favorite book in the Bible to…

What is my favorite book in the Bible to teach?

The book of Romans, because it emphasizes obedience, from the beginning of the book to the end of the book (Romans 1:1-5; Romans 6:16-17; Romans 16:25-26).

#beginning, #book, #emphasize, #end, #obedience, #romans

Small town atmosphere

Preacher Alan Smith writes Thought for the Day, often starting with a humorous story or joke to make a point. You might enjoy it. Here’s the latest:

=====  Thursday’s Thought For The Day (September 23, 2010)  =====

SMALL TOWN ATMOSPHERE

You know you live in a small town when…..

  • Third Street is on the edge of town.
  • You don’t use your turn signals because everyone knows where you’re going.
  • A baby born on June 14 receives gifts from local merchants as the first baby of the year.
  • You speak to each dog you pass by name and he wags his tail at you.
  • You dial a wrong number and talk for 15 minutes anyway.
  • You can’t walk for exercise because every car that passes you offers you a ride.
  • In order to paint traffic lines, the road has to be widened
  • The Mayor is also the Sheriff, Town Council and street sweeper.
  • There is no town idiot — everybody has to take turns.
  • You can name everyone you graduated with.
  • You have to drive an hour to buy a pair of socks.
  • You get a whiff of manure and think of home.
  • You fix yourself up to go buy groceries lest anyone starts the rumor that you have gained weight or quit taking care of yourself.
  • Friday nights fun consisted of standing in line for the one-screen theater and when it is sold out, watching truckers and drinking coffee at the truck stop (the only place open after 10).
  • Someone asks you how you feel and listens to what you say.

There are certainly some disadvantages to growing up in a small town, but some advantages as well.  Especially when it comes to having people around you who truly care.  In a large city, it’s easy to find yourself surrounded by a sea of nameless faces.  That is something that we dare not allow to happen in the church.

The 16th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans is important, though you may have previously overlooked its significance.  The chapter consists of a series of greetings, most of them to people whose names we can’t even pronounce.  No less than 28 members of the church in Rome are mentioned by name.  Why?  Perhaps Paul wanted to remind this group of Christians in a large city that they were not nameless faces — they were part of God’s family.  We not only mean something to God, we mean something to one another.  It’s a “small town atmosphere” even in a “large city church.”

“Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them.  Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.   Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.” (Rom. 16:14-16)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

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#fellowship, #romans, #thought-for-the-day

Wednesday Night Classes

We’ve been busy. In four years of Wednesday nights I have been here, [ we have singing night the last Wednesday night of the month] we have studied the qualifications of Elder & Deacons, Romans and Hebrews. Some people spend that long in each of those books. We are now in the Sermon on the Mount. It is always fun. 🙂

#bible-study, #hebrews, #romans, #teaching

Lemons or Lemonade

Christianity is like the axiom, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This proverb means that when life gives you something sour, turn it sweet. Life’s lemons are abundant, but what counts is what you do with them. (Continue reading at The Proclaimer…)

#christian-life, #romans, #the-proclaimer

Here, where I attend, we do not operate …

Here, where I attend, we do not operate our teaching schedule according to the quarter system. We teach the material we have and when finished, go to the next bit of material we have.

I am currently teaching Romans. We just finished Romans 11, and now we are set to deal with the questions prepared for the class. I have produced handouts for the class – all are on our web page (www.highwaycofc.com). Randal, Weylan, and Stephen Bradd have been kind enough to make modest contributions to this material. When I need a critical review on a topic, I “hollered” at them and they replied. It was very helpful.

#romans