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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #29 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 1

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.

I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s begin our multipart study with verses 1-2.

As we go through these 24 imperatives, you will notice that I’m including some of my notes & observations in the passage. I’m all for actively reading Scripture, marking up your Bible, bolding and highlighting and underlining what you notice.

The first critical imperative that I see is —

1. The believer is to OFFER HIS BODY AS A LIVING SACRIFICE! (v. 1).

Now, I know very little about the whole sacrificial system. I’m glad I don’t live in a culture where the blood of goats and lambs and pigeons was required to make atonement for the people.  But the Apostle Paul uses this imagery for a Gentile audience!

God cares about our bodies — and He wants them — as living sacrifices! Notice that this sacrifice is to God “holy and pleasing.” God cares so much about our offering our bodies to Him that He calls such an act “your true and proper worship”!

May I ask you, dear friend, have you done that? Are you doing that?  Are you and I daily offering our bodies to God as living sacrifices? Someone has said that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps jumping off the altar! Done any jumping lately?

Today’s challenge: Personally and privately give your physical being to the Lord, asking Him to use you today as a true and proper act of worship before a watching world.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #28 “What I DO Understand in Romans 11!” (A Study of Romans 11)

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 11 each day this week.

1. There are two categories of people: Israel and the Gentiles.
2. There are some clear advantages to being born a Jew (v. 1).
3. There is a remnant chosen by grace (that we may not be aware of) (v. 5).
4. Grace versus works is a fundamental conflict (vv. 5-6).
5. There were/are two categories of the people of Israel: the elect and the hardened (v. 7).
6. Somehow God is involved in the hardening of some (vv. 8-10), as predicted in the Old Testament.
7. But Israel’s “fall” was not “beyond recovery” (v. 11).
8. Israel’s transgression = salvation has come to the Gentiles (v. 11).
9. Somehow envy is important to the Lord (v. 11).
10. Israel’s transgression means riches for the world and their loss means riches for the Gentiles (v. 12).
11. But there is hope for their “inclusion” (v. 12).
12. Paul takes pride in his ministry to the Gentiles, as the apostle to the Gentiles (v. 13).
13. Somehow arousing envy in God’s people will save some of them (v. 14).
14. Their rejection brought reconciliation to the world (v. 15).
15. Their acceptance will bring life from the dead (v. 15).
16. We get the imagery of dough, firstfruits, and branches (vv. 16ff).
17. The Gentiles are a wild olive branch that has been grafted in (vv. 17ff).
18. The branches were broken off because of unbelief (v. 20).
19. We dare not forget the kindness and sternness of God (v. 22).
20. Israel’s “hardening” awaits the full number of Gentiles coming in (v. 25).
21. In some way all Israel will be saved (v. 26).
22. God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on all (v. 32).
23. God’s plan and purposes should drive us to praise (vv. 33-36).

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2021 in Romans 11

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #27 “Spiritual Botany 101” (A Study of Romans 11)

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 11 each day this week.

I will be the first to admit that I know virtually nothing when it comes to botany. I was cursed with a black thumb (except when we lived in Manitoba and everything grew like crazy!).

Here in Romans 11 Paul is discussing Israel and the Gentiles. And he resorts to a botanical metaphor. Following are a few of my observations on this passage:

1. If the root is holy, so are the branches (v. 16).
2. Some of the branches have been broken off (v. 17).
3. The Gentiles are called “a wild olive shoot” by Paul (v. 17).
4. They, this “wild olive shoot” have been grafted in among the others (v. 17).
5. This grafted in shoot now shares in the nourishing sap from the olive root (v. 17).
6. There is no reason for that grafted-in wild olive shoot to consider itself to be superior to those other branches (afterall, it did not graft itself in!) (v. 18).
7. If that wild olive shoot does think itself superior to those other branches, it should be reminded that it does not support the root. The root supports it (v. 18).
8. The wild olive branch might say, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” (v. 19).
9. Okay, but those branches were broken off because of unbelief. And the wild olive branch is challenged to “stand by faith” (v. 20).
10. That wild olive branch is also challenged to not be arrogant, but to tremble (v. 20).
11. Why should that wild olive branch tremble? Because “if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either” (v. 21).

My takeaway?
As a “wild olive shoot,” I’m grateful for God’s mercy in grafting me in to the nourishing sap of this olive tree! I want to beware of unbelief in my life and I long to “stand by faith”!

 

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2021 in Romans 11

 

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Getting to Know . . . Ephesians Chapter 2! (Part 6: What God Has Done for Us!)

In this final post on Ephesians 2, we want to conclude our study in preparation for Sunday School at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on February 3rd.  We’ve seen in this passage that we are to remember what we were as Gentiles.  Like the Ephesians believers, these truths were and are applicable to us (before our conversion):

But let’s move on in the text and notice what God has done about our LOST condition!

It helps me to see these actions of God in a kind of chart form.  Each of the following expressions merit discussion, but our purpose here is to simply list what God has done for us Gentiles in Christ!

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2019 in ephesians 2

 

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