EDIT: I am sorry for the lateness of this post. Louis and I are doing Romans and so I had to wait until we could do the chapter together in addition to my normal study. I backdated it, so it looks like I posted it on time, and so it is in order when people are scrolling through. Sorry, and thanks again for following!
Romans 4 began the weightiness of words for me, and this chapter has continued that. In reading it three times some of the longer sentences began to make sense, but don’t feel silly if you have to look up some of the words. It is important to know what we believe, and some of these words are meaningless even to us. Remember our discussion on Christianese?
This chapter continues from the justification through faith discussed in Chapter 4. Now that we have been justified through faith in Jesus Christ, we have peace. Before that justification we had only death. Now we rejoice, even in our sufferings because of the hope we have in God.
What makes you joyful? For Louis & me, Davy’s love of family and God makes us very joyful. This Study fills me with joy as well. Our marriage also fills us with joy: Daily coffee dates, planning for our new responsibilities here in Lebanon, etc. Louis goes to the center which fills him with joy and the stories he brings home, in turn, fill me with joy. Even in our sufferings we can b joyful. Louis was sharing the story of Davy’s near death experience with a group of high school students at the center this week. It is a joy to share the gospel with them, and this opportunity came out of intense suffering for Louis.
Verses 3-5 are excellent promise box verses. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, an character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
The chapter also make the comparison between Adam and Jesus. Adam, with one act, brought death to all of us. Christ Jesus, with one act, brought life and grace and righteousness to all of us. That which is impossible for us to gain on our own, Jesus earned for us with His death on the cross. Thank You, Jesus!
Finally, Moses receiving the law, and its place in the story of Christ’s coming to earth to die for us is discussed.
My last initial observation is that Paul is reminding the readers of this letter of stories that are the foundation of their beliefs (Abraham and Sarah, David, and now Adam and Moses), and showing how those stories point the way to Jesus. This fits so well with our purpose of studying the Psalms, to find Jesus in them. The Bible is not just a New Testament about Jesus, everything is about Jesus!
Paul, those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his saints, God, our Lord Jesus Christ, us-Christians, the Holy Spirit, the ungodly, a righteous person, a good person, sinners, Adam, Moses, and all men.
Verses 18-19 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
These two verses say the same thing in two different ways, and I think it is the main point of this comparison, so I included them both. Repetition in the Bible, and here in Lebanon, is a way of emphasizing a point, so this two ways of stating the same thing seems like bolding and italicizing and underlining and then adding a bunch of exclamation points. That, to me, is a key verse.
John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.””
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
This verse I talked about last week in Romans 4 for our application challenge, here is where “take every thought captive” come from (verse 5).
Hebrews 5:8-9 “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”
Philippians 2:8 “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Obedience to God was shown to us by Jesus, in dying on the cross. Now we are obedient as we follow Jesus and all He tells us to do. Did you follow through with last week’s challenge? I referenced it again above. Did you pray and see what God was calling you to do?
Just like the people Paul was writing to probably didn’t think about the old stories all the time, they knew them. Sometimes we have learned lessons, but have stopped following through or have almost forgotten. This can happen with our prayers. We can forget what we prayed, so like the 10 lepers we forget to go back and thank God for what He has done for us when He answers our prayers. When He tells us to do something we may choose not to do it, and then wonder why He isn’t talking to us, while He is waiting for our response to what He asked us! Take time to search your own heart for faith, trust, and obedience to Christ in Your Life.
Verses 2-11 are all reasons we should rejoice, even in our sufferings. Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). One of the main reasons we rejoice is that God loves us. While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us, and now we have reconciliation with Him. God’s Love is based on grace.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always.”
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
I normally don’t use the study notes for Romans, but here they provide some very well worded definitions for some of those Christianese words, so I will give you those.
“Justification—God’s reckoning or accounting of Christ’s righteousness to sinners—is through faith alone (3:27-31). The only thing we contribute is our need.”*
“[Paul] takes up sanctification, the work of God’s grace to set us free from sin and make us joyful servants of God’s righteousness (see 6:17-18). Believers in Christ have peace with God (5:1), a state of grace and rejoicing (v. 2), and a way of living that is both sobering and satisfying. It is sobering that trusting in Christ brings sufferings (v.3; see also 8:17).”*
In what area of your life are you experiencing suffering? Louis is struggling with the visa difficulties we have experienced so far, and this compounds the difficulties of living in Lebanon. We feel overwhelmed with having to handle all of the details on our own. Many of the sufferings have become livable and taken care of, but it has been a difficult two months of growth. It is a paradox of suffering and rejoicing, yuck duck vs. yay duck, having to leave the country and also looking forward to a break we didn’t get yet this year (since our Rome trip became less than relaxing). While we feel frustrated with figuring all of this out on our own, we rejoice in the reality that we can now help other Americans coming to visit and stay to not have the same overwhelming stress in renewing their visas. CHALLENGE: Can you rejoice in your own area of suffering?
Tomorrow: Psalm 24
*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Study Notes section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.
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