Read thru New Testament Devotional – August 4, 2017

August 4

 

Romans 5

Romans 5:1-11 The Results of Salvation

Paul now speaks of the result of faith...we have peace with God.  Formerly, because of our sin, we were “enemies” of God (:10).  And now, having this peace (since we are no longer separated from God), we come to the recognition of what it means to live in the presence of God...and we “exult” (rejoice).  But Paul keeps our feet solidly planted on the reality of what life is really like.  While we do celebrate the fact that we now live in the presence of God…that life is lived on planet earth…and at times it can be very difficult.  So, he explains how God’s presence makes the difference.  Notice a progression of thought…tribulation…perseverance…proven character…hope…love of God.  When we experience “tribulations” (plural here…isn’t it true that troubles seldom seem to come alone)…

 

Tribulation

Afflict (-ed), Affliction:

primarily means "a pressing, pressure" (see A, No. 4), anything which burdens the spirit. In two passages in Paul's Epistles it is used of future retribution, in the way of "affliction," Rom 2:9; 2Th 1:6. In Mat 24:9, the AV renders it as a verb, "to be afflicted," (RV, "unto tribulation"). It is coupled with stenochoria, "anguish," in Rom 2:9; 8:35; with ananke, "distress," 1Th 3:7; with diogmos, "persecution," Mat 13:21; Mar 4:17; 2Th 1:4. It is used of the calamities of war, Mat 24:21, 29; Mar 13:19, 24; of want, 2Cr 8:13, lit., "distress for you;" Phl 4:14 (cp. Phl 1:16); Jam 1:27; of the distress of woman in child-birth, Jhn 16:21; of persecution, Act 11:19; 14:22; 20:23; 1Th 3:3, 7; Hbr 10:33; Rev 2:10; 7:14; of the "afflictions" of Christ, from which (His vicarious sufferings apart) his followers must not shrink, whether sufferings of body or mind, Col 1:24; of sufferings in general, 1Cr 7:28; 1Th 1:6, etc.

(Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2347&t=KJV)

 

…we “know” (to understand something and as a result to have absolute confidence about the outcome) that because of God’s presence with us and His purpose for us…that it will result in “perseverance”.

 

patience, endurance, constancy

in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5281&t=KJV

 

But that is not the end…because “perseverance” will lead to an opportunity for “proven character”.  Trials and tribulations will reveal the true content of a person’s heart.  When you go through difficult times…the contents of your heart will be spilled out onto the pages of your life for all to read.  It will be evident for all to see your true nature, your true character.  Whether you really have peace with God, or not.

 

Proven character

proving, trial, approved, tried character, a proof, a specimen of tried worth

 

"In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft, and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens to stop the practice of whittling down the coins then in circulation. But some money-changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money; they were men of honour who put only genuine, full-weight money into circulation. Such men were called dokimos, and this word is used here for the Christian as he is to be seen by the world." (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans: God's Glory, p. 18.)

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1382&t=NASB

 

When tribulations prove that our character is true…then our hearts are filled with “hope”…

 

Hope (Noun and Verb), Hope (For):

in the NT, "favorable and confident expectation" (contrast the Sept. in Isa 28:19, "an evil hope"). It has to do with the unseen and the future, Rom 8:24, 25. "Hope" describes

(a) the happy anticipation of good (the most frequent significance), e.g., Tts 1:2; 1Pe 1:21;

(b) the ground upon which "hope" is based, Act 16:19; Col 1:27, "Christ in you the hope of glory;"

(c) the object upon which the "hope" is fixed, e.g., 1Ti 1:1.

Various phrases are used with the word "hope," in Paul's Epistles and speeches:

(1) Act 23:6, "the hope and resurrection of the dead;" this has been regarded as a hendiadys (one by means of two), i.e., the "hope" of the resurrection; but the kai, "and," is epexegetic, defining the "hope," namely, the resurrection;

(2) Act 26:6, 7, "the hope of the promise (i.e., the fulfillment of the promise) made unto the fathers;"

(3) Gal 5:5, "the hope of righteousness;" i.e., the believer's complete conformity to God's will, at the coming of Christ;

(4) Col 1:23, "the hope of the Gospel," i.e., the "hope" of the fulfillment of all the promises presented in the Gospel; cp. Col 1:5;

(5) Rom 5:2, "(the) hope of the glory of God," i.e., as in Tts 2:13, "the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ;" cp. Col 1:27;

(6) 1Th 5:8, "the hope of salvation," i.e., of the rapture of believers, to take place at the opening of the Parousia of Christ;

(7) Eph 1:18, "the hope of His (God's) calling," i.e., the prospect before those who respond to His call in the Gospel;

(8) Eph 4:4, "the hope of your calling," the same as (7), but regarded from the point of view of the called;

(9) Tts 1:2; 3:7, "the hope of eternal life," i.e., the full manifestation and realization of that life which is already the believer's possession;

(10) Act 28:20, "the hope of Israel," i.e., the expectation of the coming of the Messiah. See Notes on Galatians by Hogg and Vine, pp. 248, 249.

In Eph 1:18; 2:12; 4:4, the "hope" is objective. The objective and subjective use of the word need to be distinguished; in Rom 15:4, e.g., the use is subjective.

In the NT three adjectives are descriptive of "hope:" "good," 2Th 2:16; "blessed," Tts 2:13; "living," 1Pe 1:3. To these may be added Hbr 7:19, "a better hope," i.e., additional to the commandment, which became disannulled (ver. 18), a hope centered in a new priesthood.

In Rom 15:13 God is spoken of as "the God of hope," i.e., He is the author, not the subject; of it. "Hope" is a factor in salvation, Rom 8:24; it finds its expression in endurance under trial, which is the effect of waiting for the coming of Christ, 1Th 1:3; it is "an anchor of the soul," staying it amidst the storms of this life, Hbr 6:18, 19; it is a purifying power, "every one that hath this hope set on Him (Christ) purifieth himself, even as He is pure," 1Jo 3:3, RV (the Apostle John's one mention of "hope").

The phrase "fullness of hope," Hbr 6:11, RV, expresses the completeness of its activity in the soul; cp. "fullness of faith," Hbr 10:22, and "of understanding," Col 2:2 (RV, marg.).

(Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1680&t=NASB)

 

This hope is not just some emotional feeling, optimism, or desire.  It is a settled state of mind and being that finds its confidence not in what it anticipates happening in the future…but in what it knows has already been accomplished in the past.  Our hope is established on the “love of God” (:5).  And the extent of that love has already been demonstrated when God sent His Son to die for us (:10).  God revealed the inexhaustible nature of that love by giving it to us before we were reconciled to Him…while we were still “enemies” (:10).  Paul says that if God was willing to love us that much…even while we were His enemies…how great must His love be for us now that we have been reconciled to Him!

As Paul considers this thought…he begins to extend its results further.  As he does so, you can almost feel his heart begin to beat faster and faster, his excitement grow.  Notice the use of the words, “much more” (:9,10,15,17) and the words “all the more” (:20).  It is as if Paul is saying, “Since this is true about the love of God…then that’s not all of the story…there’s still more, much more!”  He just keeps piling it on.  The significance and outcome of God’s love permeates everything about us.

 

Romans 5:12-21 The Extent of Salvation

In these verses, Paul is clarifying three things:

(1) the origin and consequences of sin

Sin entered into the human race through the disobedience of Adam (:12-14)…and was continued throughout the human race because every man who has ever lived has sinned (:12).  The result of sin is death.  While the Law was not given until the days of Moses, men were still held accountable for their breaking of the Law (sin) even before it was given.  The reason is that the Law did not create the existence of sin…but the Law clarified the existence of sin.  Sin was present before the Law.  But the Law was like turning on a light in a dark room.  Previously, there may have been items present in the room that people were totally unaware of.  But when the light was turned on…they could clearly see them and recognize them for what they were.  So it is with the Law.  Sin had always been present…but the Law revealed sin for what it truly is.

(2) the means and result of justification

Paul shows that in a similar manner that sin entered the world as the result of the act of one man (Adam), so salvation enters into the world through the act of One man (Jesus).  But Paul is careful to distinguish between how the acts of Adam and Jesus are operative.  When Adam sinned, it had an inevitable affect upon every person who would ever be born…because with Adam as their father, they inherited a sinful nature from him.  The sinful nature is the predisposition to sin.  That means that we do not have a choice to sin, or to not sin.  Every person ever born will sin.  Why?  Because when Adam sinned, it separated him from God…and that separation from God is inherited by his offspring.  That is our sinful nature.  Therefore, by virtue of the condition of our birth, we make choices that are independent of God…and by definition, that is sin.  We are not held accountable for the sin of Adam.  But, the sin of Adam results in our sinful nature, which results in sinful actions, which results in sinful consequences.  Now, Paul compares that to Jesus.  The actions of Jesus (His divine birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, resurrection) do not automatically apply to all men.  His actions are comparable in that they are applicable to all men…but dissimilar because they are not automatically applicable to all men.  While with Adam, the sinful nature was inherited universally at birth…with Jesus, salvation is received individually as a gift.  Paul distinguishes between the acts of Adam and Jesus in several ways.  He says, “But the free gift is not like the transgression” (:15)…

  1. Transgression of Sin (Adam) Many died (:15)

Free Gift of Salvation (Jesus)       Grace abounds to many (:15)

  1. Transgression of Sin (Adam) Condemnation (:16,18)

Free Gift of Salvation (Jesus)       Justification (:16,18)

  1. Transgression of Sin (Adam) Death reigned (:17)

Free Gift of Salvation (Jesus)       Life reigned (:17)

  1. Transgression of Sin (Adam) Many made sinners (:19)

Free Gift of Salvation (Jesus)       Many made righteous (:19)

  1. Transgression of Sin (Adam) Sin increased because of Law (:20)

Free Gift of Salvation (Jesus)       Grace increased because of sin (:20)

  1. Transgression of Sin (Adam) Sin reigned in death (:21)

Free Gift of Salvation (Jesus)       Grace reigned in life (:21)

(3) the purpose and outcome of the Law

While sin had consequences prior to the giving of the Law, when the Law was given, sin became more distinct and obvious (:13,20).  The Law was given to make the need for salvation even clearer...because sin then became more evident.  In verse 20, Paul says “the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased…”.  The word “increase” means “to exist in abundance, to abound”.  The Law makes my sin, and me, appear to be more and more sinful.  Whereas before, I only appeared to be a little sinful…now, because of what the Law has revealed about me, it has become apparent that I am terribly sinful.  It could (and perhaps should) become a discouraging situation.  But Paul has a word of encouragement…”grace abounded all the more…even so grace might reign” (:20-21).  The word “abounded” means “to abound beyond measure, to overflow exceedingly, to enjoy abundantly”.  His point: God’s grace superabundantly exceeds any increase of sin revealed by the Law.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Jesus...for His life and for His death.  Everything depends on Him.  There is nothing that I can do to earn Your grace...it is solely dependent on Him.  Help me to live in Your grace and to "exult" (:11) in You.

 

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