Romans 14-16

Paul ends his letters to the Romans.  I am amazed at how applicable this is to us today. (I know it is all applicable, but this chapter stood out)

In Rome, many struggled with the food restrictions Moses put before the Hebrews to keep them separate from the Canaanites.  Many were also still commemorating feasts and festivals, while others did not.  They were “adding to grace.”  They did not fully understand the full measure of our freedom in Christ. Remember Romans 11:

And if by grace, it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

As we now live in a world of denominations, we are quick to judge what other believers hold to as a practice.  This is not salvation doctrine, but the traditions, beliefs, and practices others do or not do (because they are Christian, not to be a Christian)

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Chapter 15

Paul wraps up how those strong in their faith in Christ should live in a relationship with weaker ones. From Romans 14, we know that Paul equates strong faith with a sense of freedom to participate in things formerly forbidden by the law of Moses or Jewish tradition.

Now, Paul insists that those strong in faith should trust God enough to please others above themselves.   Christ lived both as a servant to the Jews and fulfilling all of God’s promises to them. Those promises included God’s plan to include the Gentiles in His family one day.

Paul ends with ‘his plan’ to visit Rome as he passes through.

23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey thereafter. I have enjoyed your company for a while.

His plan and God’s plan are not the same.

Before he comes there, Paul will stop in Jerusalem (a dangerous task right now for him) and leave an offering to build up the church in Jerusalem.

Seeing Paul’s love for Rome and his desire to go there on good terms breaks my heart.

31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Sometimes our prays are not God’s plans.  

Romans 16 is the final passage in Paul’s long letter to the Christians in Rome.

It contains four sections:

  1. his greetings to specific people in Rome,
  2. a quick and urgent warning about the danger of false teachers,
  3. greetings from those who are with him in Corinth
  4. the final hymn of praise to God is called a doxology.Athens, Berea, Cenchrea - New Testament Churches

Phoebe is a servant of the church, a Cenchreae, a town not far from Corinth. She is described as a patron or benefactor to Paul and many others.  She will carry this letter to the Romans: a very dangerous task!

Priscilla and Aquila, a married couple Paul had spent much time within the ministry. Aquila was forced to leave Rome when Jews were banned from the city. Apparently, the couple returned after, perhaps accompanied by a man named Epaenetus, described as the first convert to Christ in the region where Priscilla and Aquila ministered.

Greet also the church that meets at their house.

Stop and think about that.  They are leading Bible studies.  Something you and I totally take this for granted.  Think about the post I wrote about Nero and the persecution of the Christians.  Perspective: if that were today, and you were caught on your phone seeing what “today’s reading is,” do you look over your shoulder to see if someone will capture you, tie you to a stake in his garden, and then during a party light you on fire (alive) so that the party guests can look around at all the pretty flowers?

I divert.

The rest of Paul’s greetings include people we know little or nothing about outside of this list, though some seem to have been slaves, members of royal households, close friends, and groups that met together in several different house churches in Rome.

Before putting his quill down, Paul offers a quick warning about false teachers who might show up among the Christians in Rome.

Last, he sends greetings from those with him in Corinth, including his longtime partner and student in ministry Timothy ❤️.

Something new for me this year is seeing the “teamwork makes the dream work” approach.  For some reason, I pictured Paul traveling alone. But, instead, Paul seems to have always worked with a team. Which NOW makes all the scriptures about “gifts” and “being one body of believers” so much more important.

The Body of Christ (Book: I Am a Church Member) | First Baptist Church | Body, Christ, Books


Take a moment to be thankful for all those who have paved the way for us.

Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.


Romans 11-13

So in 2021, where do the Jewish people fit into the equation?  I am asked all the time.  What happens to them if they are the “chosen” people (and they are)?

Paul confirms that Israel has rejected faith in Christ for the most part. So has God totally rejected them? We need to be careful not to boast and assume God has written them off.  Or, as Paul states it, “By no means”!  After all, Paul himself is an Israelite who has come to faith in Christ and has been saved, showing that it is possible for all Jewish people.  Paul refers to Jewish people who have turned to Christ as a “remnant,” comparing them to the “remnant” of those in Israel who had not bowed to Baal in Elijah’s day.

As I was reading today, I came across one of my all-time favorite scriptures in the whole Bible. Unfortunately, because of my legalistic upbringing (which was so theologically polluted), this is now  a scripture I cling to:

And if by Grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, Grace would no longer be Grace.

Grace is Grace.   We don’t get God’s Grace and mix in “a little” works.  Believe and….

If you add anything to those 3 dots…then Grace wasn’t enough??  Grace IS Enough.

So why did God:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that could not see
    and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”

For the same reason, He hardened Pharoah’s heart.  To open the door.  If the Jewish people had accepted Christ, He would be the Savior to the Jews.  Instead, making Jesus a stumbling block, it opened the door for both JEWS and GENTILES.

So we can confidently say, Gentiles were grafted into God’s plan of Salvation.  Here is a visual of “grafting.”

How To Grafting Fruit Trees | Graft Meaning (Urdu/Hindi) | Grafting fruit trees, Fruit trees, Grafting

The Difference Between Seedling, Grafted and Cutting Grown Fruit Trees | Deep Green Permaculture

The main branch may be cut off, but the roots remain alive.  The new branch is attached to it, and it grows and produces fruit.

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.


So what is the plan for the Jews if they were cut off and we were grafted in??

23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

God has a plan to bring back the nation, the natural branches. 😁. The door is open right now for the Gentiles.  BUT there is a number of people that will be saved, and when we hit that number (it could be today), He will reveal Himself to the nation again.

Is that crystal clear or clear as mud?

Your Bible might say “Doxology” this means it was either chanted or sang 🎶🎵🎶


33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 1—11 focused on the doctrine of Salvation by God’s Grace and through our faith in Jesus. Knowing this, HOW then should those saved by God’s Grace live today? Many people live life because they assume “We are not under the law, God forgives us,”….as if that is a hall pass to live any way we want.  Ummm, no.  Romans 12 begins to answer that question of how we are to live.

  • offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—(die to self)
  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  (Rachel’s favorite scripture, I think…she said it to me all the time trying to break me free)
  • Humble yourself and serve in the body of believers according to the gifts he has given you. (Yes, serve!)
  • Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 
  • Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another ABOVE yourselves.
  • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 
  • Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. (Look around)
  • Practice hospitality. (But I don’t like people in my house?)
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Ummm, that’s hard!)
  • Live in harmony with one another. 
  • Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. (we need to teach this to teens)
  • Do not be conceited. 
  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil. (what?  I called it sibling rivalry growing up 😂)
  • Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. (Christians live in glass houses) 
  • Do not take revenge
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Doesn’t look like a “hall pass” to me.

Chapter 13…a topic we have had great discussions about this year.

I literally just deleted my whole paragraph on purpose.  I will just let chapter 13 fall on you without a word from me.  It is that good!

Romans 4-7

(I am going to make this a brief post to let people catch up)

In Genesis 11:27, we are introduced to Abram (Abraham).  He was from Ur of the Chaldeans.  There was no such thing as a Hebrew.  Based on his faith, he was “credited righteous” by God.  Think about that phrase.  He was given “credit.”  He didn’t give himself credit, pay for it, or earn it.  It was a gift: like a gift card.

Now, to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 

Is forgiveness like a debit card? – Escape to Reality

Was he given this gift because he was circumcised?? No!

10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!

Here is something new to me this year: I have always thought of Abraham as being important to the Jews (not me, a Gentile), The Patriarch to the Hebrews. BUT I have faith in Abraham’s righteousness, so he is also a Patriarch to the Gentiles.

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

Chapter 5

PEACE: what is Peace?  How can we have peace in this evil world?

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

Peace is not a current feeling; it is that we now have Hope that wrath has been removed from His anger by Grace (an undeserved gift). So then Paul says if our human nature is to boast: boast on these:

  1. Boast about God’s glory
  2. Boast about your suffering. Our suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, Hope.
  3. Boast that we have been reconciled.  He paid the debt.  The books are wiped clean of anything owed.  Free.

Did God watch and wait to see if you are a “good person” and then decide if you were worthy of his death?  Does he have a scale in his hand, and when you do enough “good” things, does he then say, “Ok, now I will give you the gift of Salvation? Nope.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The wages of sin is death, right?  Have you ever stopped to think that people could be measured as “sinners” before the law?  Paul proves that people were considered sinners even before the law was given.

Through Adam man began to sin.  As sin increased, so did God’s Grace. 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. : Private Property NO TRESPASSING Sign - 10"X 7"-Heavy Duty 040 Gauge Aluminum. Bright White and Red Lettering. Keep Intruders Out- Warns Persons not to Enter! Violators Will be Prosecuted :

Chapter 6

If someone just reads chapter 5, they would read: 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“We can live how we want, God says He forgives us.  He knows we live in a sinful world”.  BUT we know there is a Chapter 6

  • 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! 
  • 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!

(Am I the only one that laughed at verse 19?  What does your version say??  Mine says:19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. 😂)

Chapter 7

  • Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means!

Is the law bad for us?  NO.  It allows us to recognize our sins.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!


Romans 1-3

The first 7 verses are an overview and summary of the entire book of Romans.  (You could literally stop here).  But I say we read it anyway!

Paul tells them that they have heard about their Faith: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because your faith is being reported worldwide.

Then he assures them that he wants to visit them:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned to come to you many times.

He has a desire to preach the Gospel!

16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (the verse that began the Protestant Reformation through Martin Luther)

In the book of Matthew (22), Jesus was asked:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The 10 commandments fall into 2 categories: the first 4 are about loving God, the last 6 are about loving others.

So Paul opens the Letter to the Romans about “wrath.” (What a way to start a letter!).

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

“Godlessness” means a lack of reverence for God. Man’s neglect of God and rebellion against God are evidence of ungodliness. “Unrighteousness” or “wickedness” means injustice toward other human beings. Together these two words show human’s failure to love God and other people as we should, which are the two greatest commandments. (the 10 commandments)

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Four things characterize this passage.

  1. It is a clear testimony; everyone is aware of it
  2. everyone can understand it
  3. this revelation has gone out “since the creation of the world” in every generation.
  4. it is a limited revelation in that it does not reveal everything about God, but only some things (but speaks to everyone)

As you finish Chapter 1, it is essential to keep the scriptures together and in context.  The last 4 paragraphs go together.  Look at the transition words: For, Therefore, Because, and  Furthermore.

(Cause) God’s reaction to the suppression of Truth and their choice worship idols of the world and not the Lord-(effect) God handed them over to their own desires.  We suffer the consequences of being “on our own.”

Therefore, collectively as a world:

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Yup, that about summarizes Earth.

Chapter 2

11 For God does not show favoritism.

Many have become “soil inspectors” and “fruit inspectors,” looking at others rather than ourselves.    We mistake God’s “forbearance” (delaying judgment) and patience as a means of being Self Righteous.

Paul directly speaks to the Jewish people.  They believe their status as Jews places them above Gentiles. (Security)

17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

We know how important circumcision is for the Jews.  And it is.  BUT Paul said it best:

28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people but from God.

Chapter 3- In short, Paul is telling us that no one has an advantage.  The Jews do not have an advantage because they were given the law, Gentiles do not have an advantage because they can’t say they weren’t given the law.

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:

As it was written…well, let me tell you how well Paul knows his scriptures: notice that the scriptures are many individuals’ “quotes.” So, for example, he connects Psalm 14, Psalm 9, Psalm 140, Psalm 10, Isaiah 59, Proverbs 1, Isaiah 59, and Psalm 36.  WOW!

You can skip this part, but it was just too beautiful not to post:
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. ❤️


Romans Overview

We know very little about the founding of the church in Rome.  It is believed that a group of Jewish Christians were the founders.  It is possible that these Jews became believers in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10) or at some other time relatively early in the church’s history.  By the time Paul wrote Romans, the church in Rome was famous throughout the Roman Empire for its faith.

Twenty-one of the 27 New Testament books are letters, making up about 35 percent of the New Testament. Paul wrote 13 of these letters.   Paul’s letters make up about one-quarter of the New Testament. He wrote more of the New Testament than anyone except Luke.  (Luke and Acts is longer believe it or not). Romans is the longest of Paul’s letters with 7,114 words. It may have been placed first in the collection of Epistles in the New Testament because of its length or importance.  (The letters seemed to appear in size order).   But notice we did not read it first since it was not written first.

Paul quoted more often from the Old Testament in this epistle than in all the other epistles combined.

  • Romans has 61 direct quotations.
  • Paul draws from at least 14 different books of the Old Testament.
  • Isaiah and Psalms are the most frequently quoted.

Who should read Romans?  Well, this is not a book I would read to an unbeliever.  The mere fact that they are “veiled” would make this book read like a Japanese manuscript.  This book is for believers who want to understand and appreciate their salvation.  It is also a book of DOCTRINE.  “What we believe.”

Paul is in Corinth on his third mission trip there, and he is taking the collection, not to his pocket, but to Jerusalem. So he writes this letter to the Romans before he ever gets there.  He intends to go there but is afraid he may never make it there.  So he feels compelled to write this letter so that the churches in Rome would have a record on his account.  While he was in Corinth, a woman named Phoebe (not from Friends 😂) was headed to Rome, so he took that opportunity to have her carry that letter.Story of cities #2: Rome wasn't planned in a day … in fact it wasn't planned at all | Cities | The Guardian

Rome was a HUGE city, the capital of the entire Roman empire.  There were, however, many churches there since there were  “visiting” Romans at the time of Pentecost that were able to go back to Rome and start churches after Peter’s Sermon (Acts 2). So Paul does make it to Rome about 3 years after the letter was written, under not-so-good circumstances.

The purpose of the letter to Rome was to convey that faith in the death and resurrection of Christ is the only ground of acceptance by God A God who shows no favoritism between Jew or Gentile.  We will read that we cannot do for ourselves what God has done for us.  Paul has a sense of sadness and struggles with the fact that Gentiles freely accept and receive the Gospel yet many Jews reject it.

The impact this letter will have on the world is incredible.    This book has changed the course of history for the churches today.  The Book of Romans has influenced such men as Augustine (Catholic Church), Martin Luther (Protestant Reformation), John Bunyan (not Paul the logger but the writer/ preacher of Pilgrim’s Progress), John Wesley (Methodist foundation), and many others.

What to expect to walk away with:

  • A person’s justification before the Lord SOLELY rests on the mercy and grace of Christ and NOT on the Law of Moses (10 commandments).
  • It is not a matter of law at all because no person can EVER live up to God’s standards but God himself.
  • Out of God’s LOVE for every single one of us, he forgives our sins.
  • There is nothing we can do that could give us salvation (and this is coming from a man, Paul, who has given GREATLY) but only God can we receive salvation.
  • WITH THAT SAID, since we have been given that gift despite ourselves, God deserves our wholehearted attention, love, service, loyalty, boldness, obedience, and devotion, not for him to love us, but BECAUSE HE LOVES US.

Words to look for:

  • Righteousness (66 times)
    • Law (78 times)
    • Faith (62 times)