Showing posts from April, 2018


Romans 2:17-29 Paul was a Pharisee.   The word "Pharisee" comes from an Aramaic term that means "separated."   It was not the name they called themselves.   They called themselves " Häberim," which comes from an Aramaic term that means "associate." The idea was that they were associated with the law. The Pharisees taught a strict adherence to the law.   In order to define what the law meant, the Pharisees multiplied rules that tried to regulate life down to the finest details. In their concern for keeping the rules, the Pharisees lost sight of the purpose of the law.   Therefore, Jesus chastised them, saying: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. ( Matthew 23:23 ) According to Jesus, the Pharisees were hypocrites because they neg

Just and Justifier

Romans 3:21-31 “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known...” (NIV, 1984) How can a person be right or righteous without obeying the rules? People who do not obey the rules go to jail. Of course, since you and I are not in jail, we are obviously rule keepers. We are okay. As a matter of fact, we are good people. We pay our taxes, are faithful to our spouses, go to work every day and even go to church on Sundays. Surely, we are better than those paying for their crimes by spending time in jail. It would be unjust to lock you or me up since we have not committed any crimes. In addition, it would be unjust to let a murderer or a rapist off without consequences. Neither of these would be right. So, how is it that God, who is supposed to be just, can let people off without penalty who have sinned and admit they have sinned? First, to answer this question, we must consider the nature of sin.   Romans 1:18 through Romans 3:20 discusses the

What Makes One a Sinner?

Romans 3:10-20 The law shows us how sinful we are. This week the world is talking about war.   The Assad regime in Syria used gas on its citizens.   Of course, these citizens are of a different ethnic group so the regime does not consider them “their” people.   The regime is fighting to put down a rebellion, and gas was the quickest way to get the rebels to give up.   However, the Assad regime denies using poison gas, and Russia and Iran support Assad.   Israel bombed the base from which the gas attack was launched.   Britain and France joined with the United States and launched attacks in response to the gassings.   The world is focused on this one conflict involving multiple countries.   However, let’s consider a few other conflicts.   The United States has treaty and military commitments in conflicts involving North Korea, China, Afghanistan and ISIS.   In 2017, just less than 150,000 people died as a direct result of war. [1] These conflicts involve the leaders

Is God Fair?

Romans 3:1-9 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. ( Romans 3:1-2 ESV ) The question, “What advantage has the Jew?” comes from the preceding discussion in Romans chapter two.   The author has made the case that being a Jew, having the Law and being circumcised does not make a person right with God. "What advantage has the Jew?" The answer is straightforward. The advantage of the Jew is that they have been entrusted with the very words of God, the oracles of God. They were given something that no one else in the world had. They were given a great gift. However, the ancient people of Israel serve to illustrate the problem Romans is addressing, namely “How can a person be right with God?”   We have come to a point in Romans where the question is asked, “Is God fair?”   The exact words of the text are: But if our unrighteousness serves to s

Death Could Not Keep Him

Matthew 27:62-66 Jesus died on the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath (Mark 15:43) Let’s start with this dark reality.  We all die.  With very few exceptions in recorded history, everyone has died.  All preceding generations are in the grave.  However, the promise of Easter is that it will not stay that way.  We will all be raised.  1 Corinthians 15:25-26 says: For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ( 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 ESV ) Today, we are going to consider the defeat of this last enemy, death.  We are going to consider the defeat of death by looking at the means death uses to keep its victims. First, we will consider the lies death uses to keep its victims.  Second, we will consider the guard death uses to hold its victims.  Finally, we will consider the authority death uses to keep its victims. First, we will consider the lies death uses to keep its victims. We see t