bible blog 1994


From Paul, a slave of Jesus Messiah, called as an Emissary and set apart as a preacher of the Joyful News that God had announced earlier through his prophets in the holy writings: about his Son.  A flesh and blood descendant of King David, he was installed in power as Son of God by God’s spirit through his resurrection from the dead. He is Jesus Messiah, our Lord.

From him I have received kindness and the status of Emissary for his honour, to encourage trustful obedience amongst all peoples, amongst whom you are also called to belong to Jesus Messiah.

To all God’s loved ones in Rome, who are called to be holy, kindness to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Messiah!

First, I thank my God through Jesus Messiah for you all, because news of your trust has gone out to all the world; for God is my witness, to whom I give my spiritual service in the Joyful News of his Son, that at all times I remember you in my prayers, asking that by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, to give you some spiritual benefit that will strengthen you- I mean, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, yours and mine. I want you to know, my brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you -but have been prevented until now- so that I could work fruitfully amongst you, as I have done amongst other peoples. To Greeks and barbarians, wise and unwise, I am under equal obligation, so for my part I am eager to announce the Joyful News to you in Rome as well.

I am shameless about the Joyful News, since it is the rescuing power of God for everyone who trusts in him, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For the saving justice of God is unveiled in it, from his trust to ours, as the scripture says, “The just will live by trust.”

But God’s anger is displayed from heaven towards all the impiety and injustice of human beings who by injustice suppress the truth.  The facts about God are evident to them, because God has made them evident. For the unseen things of God, such as eternal power and divine nature, are made clear to the mind ever since the world’s creation, in the things that have been made. So they have no defence.  In spite of knowing God, they neither honoured him nor gave him thanks, but became idolatrous in their reasoning and overshadowed in their hearts.  Trying to be clever they became idiots, exchanging the glory of the undying God for the fabricated likenesses of mortal men and women, birds, animals and reptiles. For this reason God handed them over, in the desires of their hearts, to the impurity of dishonouring their bodies with each other.  They exchanged the truth of God for a falsehood, by serving in worship the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen!  Yes, for this reason, God handed them over to shameful affections: their females exchanged natural sexual behaviour for what is contrary to nature; and in the same way the males, neglecting natural sex with females, burned with lust for one another -males did shameful things with males, and so received in their own persons the due reward for their wrong belief. Because they did not think God worth their attention, God handed them over to a worthless compulsion to do worthless things.

They were filled with all kinds of injustice, depravity, greed and malice; full of envy, murder, violence, deception and craftiness. They became whisperers, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, proud and boastful.  Inventors of evil, they were disobedient to parents, irrational, faithless, heartless and ruthless. Although they know the just verdict of God, that people who do such things deserve to die, they do them and are pleased with those who also do them.

Whoever you are, you leave yourself with no defence as a judge, if you do the very same things for which you are condemning others. For we know that God’s judgement is shrewdly made on those who do such things. Do you imagine if you stand in judgement over people who do such and such while doing it yourself, that you’ll escape the judgement of God? Or are you presuming on the abundant goodness, forbearance and longsuffering of God, ignoring the fact that God’s goodness is meant to drive you to a change of mind? With your hard and unrepentant heart you are piling up anger for yourself on the day of anger when God’s just judgements will be openly displayed. For God will reward each one according to his actions.

Whoever seeks glory and honour by the discipline of good deeds will get eternal life; whoever serves injustice through strife and refusal of truth, will get fierce anger. There will be sharp pain and distress for every human soul that produces evil, Jews first and Greeks after; honour and peace for every one that labours for the good, Jews first and Greeks after, for God has no favourite faces.

People who sin outside the Jewish Law will be destroyed outside the Law; while people who sin within the Law will be condemned by the Law; for it is not those who hear the Law who are recognised as just before God, but those who do the Law who will be justified. When people who do not have the Law naturally do lawful actions, they are a Law for themselves, although they do not have the Law. They show that the actions of the Law are written on their hearts, as their conscience confirms; with their embattled thoughts either denouncing or defending them, on the day, when according to my Joyful News of Messiah Jesus, God will judge the secrets of men and women.

But if you call yourself a Jew, rely on the Law, take pride in God, know his will and discern what is best as you are instructed by the law; 19 and if you are confident that you are a guide to the blind, a light to people in darkness, 20 a corrector of fools, a teacher of babes, because you have in the law the perfect form of knowledge and truth, 21 yes, you, teacher of others, will you not teach yourself? Preaching the command against stealing, do you steal? 22 Quoting the command that forbids adultery, do you commit it? Detester of idols, do you rob their temples? 23 Boaster about the law, do you dishonour God by breaking it ? 24 As scripture says, “The name of God is reviled among the Gentiles because of you.”

25 Foreskin-snipping is indeed of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your snipping has become foreskin-possession. 26 So, if those who possess foreskins keep the requirements of the Jewish Law, won’t their possession be regarded as snipping? 27 Then those who are physically in possession of foreskins but keep the Law will condemn you that have the written code and the snipping but break the Law. 28 For no one is a Jew by outward appearance nor is true snipping something external  and physical. 29 Rather, a person is a Jew by inward reality and real snipping is a matter of the heart—in a spiritual rather than a written character. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.

So is the Jew better off? Is there any profit in snipping?

A great deal in all respects! For a start, the Jews were entrusted with the commandments of God. So what if some were unfaithful; does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? Certainly not. Let God be true even though all human beings are liars! As Scripture says, “That you may be proved right in your words and prevail when you are brought to judgement.”

But if our wrongdoing serves to prove the justice of God, shall we say it’s unfair of God to inflict his anger upon us (This is worldly language)? Certainly not. For how then could God “judge the world”? But if God’s truth gains extra credit through my lie, why am I condemned as a sinner? Indeed, “Why not do evil so that good may come of it?” as some people slanderously claim I’ve said. Well, they are fairly condemned! But does their wrongness exceed ours as Jews? Not at all, for I have already proved that Jews as well as Greeks are under the power of sin. As Scripture says,

There are no just people, no, not one; no one thinks wisely, no one looks to God; all have wandered from the road and become worthless, no one does good, no, not one. Their throat’s an open grave, their tongues are treacherous, the venom of vipers is under their lips, their mouths are full of curses and spite. Their feet are quick to bloodshed, they have taken the road to ruin and misery, but ignored the way of peace. There’s no fear of God in their eyes.”

We know that whatever the the Jewish Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh is justified in God’s court, since by the Law comes recognition of sin.

But now the justice of God is demonstrated apart from the Jewish Law – although the Law and Prophets bear witness to it – the justice of God through the faithfulness of Jesus, for all believers without distinction. All have sinned and come short of God’s glory but are made just by his kindness as a gift, since they are bought back from slavery through Messiah Jesus. God set him out publicly as the place of his merciful presence for those who trust in his blood, passing over in his pity the sins of times past, and now in this present time displaying his justice: that he might be just, and make just the one who trusts in Jesus’ faithfulness.

So what place is there for self-advertisement? It’s excluded. By what sort of Law? A Law of prescribed actions maybe? No, but by a Law of trust. For I consider that a person is made just apart from the prescribed actions of the Jewish Law.

Or maybe God is only a Jewish God? But isn’t he a Gentile God also? Yes, he is a Gentile God also. For God is One and makes the snipped and the foreskinned just by trust. So are we abolishing the Law by trust? No, on the contrary, by trust we are confirming the Jewish Law.
















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