April 22


Romans 7-9

We are in the Church Stream today reading from the Good News Translation.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

7 – Why is there The Law? Whether nonChristian religions want to admit it or not, something is wrong.  It is not a perfect world and there is especially something wrong with us. The deficit created between what we are are and what we ought to be is not caused by diet, lack of inner essence-ness, poor wifi with our mobile device. And more/enough money isn’t going to take our sin away. The world descended into sin since Genesis 3 occurred and a Savior is needed. We violated God’s Law and only a solution from God will remedy the matter. Without Law humanity remains oblivious that a Savior is needed and that there is a vast gap between where we are spiritually and where we ought to be.   God doesn’t want our reaction to a Savior to be, “Savior? I don’t need a Savior. That merely proves human oblivion.  We are helpless to save ourselves and God’s Law proves this to us.

Paul uses an illustration of marriage for us to help start the realization process. The fact of Law and what it reveals about us proves that we as humans come up short regardless. Our nature is divided. What we know, what we wish we did, and what we do, fails to line up again and again. We embody the conflict. We live the conflict. The conflict lives in us. Except for Jesus, and haleluia, we have Jesus…provided we let Jesus have us.
8 – In Jesus, we have Life abundant, full and free, in the Holy Spirit. Condemnation is overwith.  This Holy Spirit lives in us.  The Holy Spirit enables us to do and be and become all that God designed us for in this life. Our obligation now is not to an exhausting Law but to the Holy Spirit – to remain in Him and yielded to Him; to be listening to His promptings and not selfishness anymore. And Jesus, through the Holy Spirit in us, allows this to happen in us. What we truly crave in our soul is for Christ to reign in our lives and all that is explained in this chapter allows this to happen. The suffering that creation is under is universal suffering, but this hope in Christ carries us through to attach to the ultimate freedom that is coming. The Spirit is praying for us. We need never be in dismay or defeated for God can be trusted.  We have Christ. We will always have Christ. Christ Himself will not allow something to come between us. We are never separated from Him. Romans 8 is magnificent and has given comfort to Believers in the most bleak of settings for 19+ centuries.
9 – Paul, not one to duck from issues, brings up the pain he has over the fact that many of the Jewish people, for whom the promises of God were first granted, are not in the Covenant – and it is their rejecting God [not the vice versa] that is the problem. God did not reject the Jews so to discard them. God used the occasion of their smugness to Him and the New Covenant in Christ’s blood to open the invitation to the nations of the whole world. This all hinges on God’s mercy and grace. Remember that every false religion errs in the realm of grace. They mess it up. They do not understand it. This chapter is an exposition of another factor of God’s grace. He has opened the Kingdom of Himself to more people who do not deserve it.  He is just good.  That is the issue here.  It was foretold that the Kingdom of heaven and access to it would be opened to all people’s and not just “a door held open” for one race of people for all time.

The motif that came forward day after day this week was, “God is Sovereign. Will we accept this and trust Him?”

Pharaoh’s heart was hard as stone in the first 5 plagues.  God made sure Pharaoh remained so plagues 6ff. – so that all 10 plagues could be executed to testify to the world for all time.  God’s sovereignty is the only explanation for this.   David is going through a cauldron of events and stresses that could have shook His faith and had him question his destiny. He knew God enough to trust Him through it all.  Psalms this week was an alpine journey through frantic cries, through turbulence, thanksgiving, trust, and forgiveness. Trust in His Sovereignty is what sustains David – AGAIN. Isaiah prophesies of astounding things that are going to happen in Israel in the future. It is talk like this that will sustain Israel as they are going to walk through some painful things brought on by their rebellion. Understanding sovereignty is what helps us rise to see the big picture.  We see sovereignty in Hosea’s words, “I will abandon my people until they have suffered enough for their sins, and come looking for me …” God isn’t mean. He is sovereign and only He knows what is going to work.  We see God’s sovereignty in Jesus showing Lordship over the Sabbath, and demons, and illness and nature.  Paul describes a part of God’s sovereignty in His opening Himself to the world and the world to Him when, by default, Israel (especially leadership) rejects God.  This is enough different ways God has shown His graciousness and sovereignty for us to realize that His sovereignty will prove true in our lives as well.  For nothing can separate us from the love of God. Amen.

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