The resurrection of Christ and His ascension

The Resurrection of Jesus and His ascension.

Less than a week earlier Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fulfilled His purpose for coming here, which was to die for the sins of the world. He was hated and despised by the Jewish and Roman leadership who were in control over the area where Jesus traveled. For the most part, the Jews hated Him because He called them out for their sins.  John in his gospel lays this out very clearly in this interplay between Jesus and the leaders. “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you are seeking to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak of the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore, you also do the things which you heard from your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born as a result of sexual immorality; we have one Father: God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came forth from God and am here; for I have not even come on My own, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:37-44.

Now it is the first day of the week, which we call Sunday. Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James came to the tomb to look at the place Jesus was buried. However, when they arrived, they were shocked to find the stone that covered the entrance rolled away. Confused, they walked in, finding that the body of Jesus was no longer there. And then. “While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in gleaming clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, Why are you seeking the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise from the dead.” Luke 24:4-7. When they heard this, they then remembered what Jesus had said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and be raised on the third day.” Luke 9:22. Now, when the ladies returned from the tomb, they told all who were there, including the remaining eleven disciples (Judas having already hung himself) what they had seen at the tomb. However, they did not believe them. “But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe the women. Nevertheless, Peter got up and ran to the tomb; and when he leaned over and looked in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.” Luke 24:12.

On the same day, two of Christ’s disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was approximately seven miles from Jerusalem. And as they were walking, they were discussing all the things that had recently taken place. Now, as they were discussing these matters, Jesus joined them. However, they did not recognize who He was because “But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him.” Luke 24:16. Then Jesus asks them a question. “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are  walking?” Luke 24:17.  And looking sad, one of the disciples, Cleopas, asked Jesus, “Are You possibly the only one living near Jerusalem who does not know about the things that happened here in these days?” Luke 24:18. Then Jesus asked them what they meant, and they answered, “Those about Jesus the Nazarene, who proved to be a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. But also, some women among us left us bewildered. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. And so, some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” Luke 24:19b-24. Then Jesus rebukes them. “And then He said to them, You foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to come into His glory?” Luke 24:25-26. Remember, these were disciples of Christ, not just two random individuals walking down the road. Then He explained to them from the Word, our Old Testament, where the prophecies of the Messiah were written. “Then beginning with Moses and with all the Prophets, He explained to them the things written about Himself in all the Scriptures.” Luke 24:27.

As they approached the village where they were going, they strongly urged Him to stay with them for it was getting late. So, He did and went and stayed with them. “And it came about, when He had reclined at the table with them, that He took the bread and blessed it, and He broke it and began giving it to them. And then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.” Luke 24:30-31. This surprised the people there. “They said to one another, Were our hearts not burning within us when He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32. They finally realized what had happened, so they immediately got up and returned to Jerusalem and found the eleven disciples. And when they arrived, they told them, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon!

So, while they were telling these events, Jesus Himself suddenly appeared and stood in their midst, saying, “Peace be with you.” They were afraid, thinking this was some spirit that revealed itself to them. He then asked them, “Why are you frightened, and why are doubts arising in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you plainly see that I have.” Luke 24:38-39. He then showed them His hands and feet with the wounds that would have come because of crucifixion. Because they still could not believe it was Him, he asked, “Have you anything here to eat?” Luke 24:41. They gave Him some broiled fish and He ate it in front of them. After this He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all the things that are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Luke 24:44. After this, He opened their minds to understand and said to them, “So it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:46-49. This power noted in the previous verse refer to Jesus’ words as recorded in Acts chapter One. “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8. He then leads them to Bethany where He ascended up into Heaven. “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.” Luke 24:50-53.

Now, prior to His ascension into Heaven, Jesus gave the great commission to His disciples, and ultimately to us. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20. He came here to pay the penalty for our sins: living a life free from any sin and thus paying for our sins through His cruel death on the cross. Since He never sinned, not even once, His death could pay for ours instead. This is the reason He came here. And now our job is to spread the good news of what Christ did for us, to a world who has never heard it or accepted it. This is the commission He has given to us who are believers. To help others be believers. And how do we do that? Matthew put it like this. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. Let us live fully this Christian life so that our light will shine forth and help others accept Christ and shine their light as well. This is our calling from God.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

What is it? What Do You See?

What’s Hidden Amongst It All (Isaiah 43:19)

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ESV

Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. NKJV

Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. NASB


Chances are, we all have heard the following quip: “A crisis does not make your character; but, it certainly reveals it.” Sound familiar?  Probably, so.

This quote is typically shared when speaking on the subject of Our Character.  In most cases, it speaks about an unjust matter, of some kind, being carried out against another and how the victim will conduct himself under such intense lies and, perhaps, criminally false complaints being brought against him.  Will he react with hot distaste and go after, or lay into, the one who is trying to ruin him?  In addition, this scenario, more often than not, entails an instance where false accusations are being made and twisted claims have been brought forth, distorting the truth with the intent of framing the victim; attempting to persecute and prosecute one individual, or more.  Will he/they become unnerved and lose it?  Or, will his character remain firm and be unmoved by such vigilant evil?

While, this is at the crux of many messages that quote this statement; in today’s message I want to take one word, specifically, from this quote and expound on it.  The word is crisis.

As I write this, it is safe to say that our native lands – wherever, that may be for each of us – are in the midst of a crisis.  And, being, we still remain; we are enduring the setbacks that come with such a calamity.  You know; the effects of The COVID-19 Pandemic.

In my upbringing, whenever, I heard the word “crisis” it had negative implications that were outright drastic and, even, dire.  Never, once, when this word was spoken; did it insinuate anything positive.  Well, according to the Chinese it does involve a bad, bad situation.  Yet, with the dread and trepidation that is present; there, also, lies the potential to step forth and do good, to be a positive difference maker.  But do we see it that way?

Perhaps, you are aware of the Chinese symbol for the word Crisis and how it means, both, Danger and Opportunity

As we go forth and endure each day, during this global pandemic; what do we see set before us?  Is it more hum drum?  Is it another day where we are stripped of our freedom, feeling restricted and confined?  If so; might there be something more that’s hidden right before our eyes?  God told the nation of Israel, through the prophet Isaiah (43:19), that “Behold” (Get Ready), because, He was about to do (on the verge of doing) a new thing.  Then, He asked them: Do you not perceive it?  Or, will you see it?  Will you notice it, once, it springs forth?

Earlier, in this same book, in chapter 6 the scripture speaks of the Israelites, saying: They are always hearing; yet, never, understandingAlways seeing; yet, never perceiving (v.9, emphasis mine).

As you get up each morning to start your day, knowing restrictive orders are in place and life is anything, but, normal; have you stopped to consider a better outlook?  Have you given any thought to a better way to redeem your time; thinking: How will I be a difference maker and, positively, affect those around me?

Have you taken the time to ask yourself and, truly, ponder over the following?

What might I do to impact others and, even, infect them with The Love of God?  How can I (along with my family) impact our neighbors, providing them with a special touch that speaks to their hearts and communicates His desire to know them and help them?

Admittedly, most times, when there is a catastrophe, my mind is not looking for the ways in which I can be a difference maker.  And, while I might eventually reach this stage (in my thinking); I, first, had other thoughts that took my mind captive and weighted me down.  But, once, I do come to this point and, purposely, look for opportunities to do good and, actually, begin doing them; it is, at this point, that I feel so much, better.  But why?  Well, perhaps, it’s because I’m doing, so much, better.  Not, just, for myself; but, I am also impacting others and bringing forth positive changes in their lives.

What else is there, in this life, that is more rewarding than being His instrument, His vessel, in the resurrection of lives?

I mean; honestlyDo you know of anything else?

Personally, I do not.  For me; to be a vessel for Him and help another soul to be lifted out of despair or danger, and to bring this person into the light, is more rewarding and fulfilling than anything I know.  It’s true; and, friends, it doesn’t have to be anything huge.  Don’t look past an opportunity to bear His light and illuminate another soul, simply, because you believe it won’t make that much of a difference.

Remember This:

Many times, those who have the greatest impact have not done, all, that many huge favors.  Instead, they have been there – consistently, providing – for another in smaller chunks of service, leaving little dribbles of grace and miniature nuggets of love.

The frequency of your deposits of goodness carries greater weight than the size of each deposit.  Again, when it comes to these deposits that you make; the frequency of each deposit will, nearly always, outweigh the size.

Have you ever given much thought as to how Jesus could keep going, day after day, into the villages and their synagogues or upon the hilltops doing good to, and for, the people?  [This being, in spite of, the constant attacks from the vigilantes – the Jewish Leaders – who were out to wipe Him off the face of the earth.]

Seriously, How did He continue to teach, heal, cure, forgive sin and, even, give the people a new life, literally, raising them from the dead? All, the while, being constantly opposed by those who tried to trip Him up and trap Him in His words, always, plotting to undercut Him and destroy His ministry?  Being, He was fully human; just, how did He keep going forth and not stop, nor, turn away? 

Brothers and sisters, Jesus never gave up, before, it was His time to do, so.  Then, He gave Himself up, going to the cross and dying on our behalf; bearing our sins, He took our place.

As we contemplate the how of our Savior’s stamina and endurance, in spite of, the trials, the temptations and persecutions; we know that He came directly from The Father (Jesus, His only begotten Son).  Moreover, The Father and The Son are one with The Spirit (The Trinity).  Thus, we can see that Jesus is, indeed, supernatural and Divine, even, while being fully human.  But what about the joy and fulfillment He must have experienced, in being, The One who could bring forth such triumphant victories that, personally, impacted people and changed their very lives, both in the present and for eternity.


Jesus was fully human, as well as, being God.  Jesus walked this very earth and is, therefore, referenced as God in the flesh (SEE: John 1:1-14).  Immanuel, God with us, here, on planet Earth (SEE: Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).

Thus, because of His humanness, these experiences must have moved Him in one form or another.  Well, I’m inclined to believe that He felt great joy in being The Healer in the hands of His Father who worked signs and wonders through Him, changing the world as they knew it.

Friend, you and I need to ask ourselves: Am I willing?  Will I be an instrument in the hands of The Father and stand in the gap for Him?

If our answer is: “Yes.”  Then, we need to further inquire as to whenWhen will I be His vessel?

If I may ask:  Why Not, Today?  Why Not, Now?

SO, Will I?  Will You?


I Exhort You

Let’s BE Intentional


Let’s BE: HEALers

Help People and Instill Hope In Them

Empower Them and Raise Their Belief

Attention Is Key; Thus, Grant Them Your Complete Attention

Love Them Through, Both, Quiet and Simple Mannerisms, as well as, In Practical Ways

I Conclude This Message By Saying:

Whenever God calls us and to whatever He calls us; let us always answer with a resounding, YES! YES! YES!!!

To: ALL of You,

BE Blessed and, Always, BE A BLESSer.  In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Brandon Lawson, Writer/Speaker and Contributor (TDMI)

Study of Romans 4:13-25

The Promise Realized Through Faith

Rom 4:13  For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 
Rom 4:14  For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 
Rom 4:15  For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 
Rom 4:16  That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 
Rom 4:17  as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 
Rom 4:18  In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 
Rom 4:19  He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 
Rom 4:20  No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 
Rom 4:21  fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 
Rom 4:22  That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 
Rom 4:23  But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 
Rom 4:24  but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 
Rom 4:25  who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. 

v13 – There are two ways to look at this verse, and both are helpful in understanding what Paul is saying to the church. First, that one is not saved by any aspect of works, but completely by faith. This is, of course, what is written throughout the writings of Paul, and the Abrahamic story laid out in Rom 4:1-3. However, what he may also be saying is the promise did not come through the Mosaic Law, since it was not given till around 500 years after Abraham. This shows that Abraham’s justification did not come because of the Law, which had not yet been given to man, but through the faith Abraham had for what God promised him.

v14-15 – If becoming children of God comes through works, then the promise to Abraham is void because faith has no meaning. He goes on to say that the law brings wrath. The idea here is not simply anger, but in the sense of punishment. The meaning here is that the law demands perfection; perfect purity. Any sin that is done condemns the sinner. Moreover, Paul stated in the 2nd chapter, “but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Rom 2:8. I feel comfortable we have all, in some points in our lives, did not obey the truth, but unrighteousness. Also, remember, “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.” Rom 2:12. You are either under the law or not. But either way, we will be judged, found guilty and perish if we commit any sin. And wrapping up this thought, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Rom 3:23.

v16 – Therefore, since we have no hope of reconciliation with God based on our works only, since we would need to be perfect, there must be a way aside from our works. And that is why it is faith in Jesus Christ that provides the means of reconciliation. This is not limited to the Jews only, but is open to all who believe God. I like the wording here, ‘the one who shares the faith of Abraham’. He believed wholeheartedly what God told him. And He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude’. Not just of the Israelites, but of all who believe.

v17-18 – Here, Paul clarifies the point that it was not just the Jews. He quotes the following, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.  No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” Gen 17:4-5. Looking at v18, we see that Abraham knew that God could do anything, even those things that are seen as impossible, such as his ability to father a son through Sarah. He believed if God said it, then it was possible. Therefore, since God told him he would have a child through Sarah, then it would happen. “They said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ And he said, ‘She is in the tent.’ The LORD said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The LORD said to Abraham, ‘why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.‘” Gen 18:8-15. Sarah may have doubted, but Abraham absolutely did not.

v19-22 – Paul goes on to describe the power of his faith. Against all probability, he believed and placed his faith in that promise. He did not doubt any point of God’s promise. He knew that if God said it, it would come to pass. This is the type of faith we need. There is an old saying ‘if God said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me.’ This should be the way we live our life. He closes this thought be declaring that this strength of faith was counted/credited to him as righteousness. This is why Abraham was justified. Because he believed God.

v23-25 – In closing this argument, he declares these words are not just for Abraham, but for our sakes as well. Our faith and belief in Jesus Christ, who died, was buried and raised from the dead for our sins, will be counted to us as righteousness. It has nothing to do with our works, but has everything to do with our faith; the same way Abrahams faith and belief was credited as righteousness to him. What saves us is our faith in Jesus who was delivered up for our transgressions and raised from the dead for our justification. This is a beautiful thing, for we have no hope aside from the work of Christ.

Go Back to Chapter 4 Part 1

Study of Romans 4:1-12

Abraham Justified by Faith

Rom 4:1  What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 
Rom 4:2  For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 
Rom 4:3  For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 
Rom 4:4  Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 
Rom 4:5  And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 
Rom 4:6  just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 
Rom 4:7  “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 
Rom 4:8  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” 
Rom 4:9  Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 
Rom 4:10  How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 
Rom 4:11  He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 
Rom 4:12  and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 

v1 – This is the primary objection a Jew would have regarding what Paul is saying. This objection does not necessarily come from anyone, he is simply asking the question so as to address the issue before it is asked. In essence, the question is basically how does this doctrine of justification by faith you are telling us line up with their scriptures telling of the story of Abraham? He was circumcised, did Abraham derive any advantage from it in regards to justification from the covenant which God made with him? The object of the apostle now is to answer this inquiry. This is basically a similar issue he dealt with in chapter 3 as well. ” Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?” Rom 3:1

v2 – Paul gives this answer to the question. If Abraham was justified on the grounds of what he did, then he would have a reason to boast about his good works. He may even consider himself the prime cause of his justification. There was absolutely no cause for self confidence or boasting.

v3 – Lets look at Gen 15:1-6, where he quotes verse 6. ” After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ But Abram said, ‘O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.’ And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: ‘This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.’ And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’  And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”

v4-5 – Paul is saying that if you do any works to attain your salvation based on the Law and the covenant of circumcision, then this salvation is basically a payment due us. it is not grace and the work of Christ would have nothing to do with it. In fact, Christ would not have had to die if it is due us on account of what we do.

v6-8 – The two verses is basically a quote from Psalm 32. (See Psa 32:1-11) Look at these verses and you will find David speaking about sin he had committed, which he acknowledged to God not trying to cover it up, he confessed it to God and the Lord forgave him.

v9-10 – Paul then asks the question, is this blessing only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? He answers this by declaring it was before He was circumcised. In fact, it was somewhere between 17 and 25 years prior to the day he was circumcised. This will be important in his discussion throughout this chapter.

v11 – He was circumcised as a seal of his justification by God through faith while he was still uncircumcised. To “seal” an instrument is to make it sure and truly binding. This similar to sealing a deed or a will. when we are sealed, we are vouching for the truth of God and assume the propitiation (the covering of our sins) as true and secure.

v12 – And this was done to show that both the circumcised and the uncircumcised are justified (righteousness imputed to them or declared) to them not through works but through faith. Abraham was declared righteous due to his faith, not by anything he did, and the same is true of us. And because of this, circumcision based on the law, and all other parts of the law could not have been the reason for his justification.

Go Forward to Chapter 4 Part 2

The Book of Romans 4

Chapter three speaks of God’s righteousness being upheld. Man’s condition is on man himself and not in any way the fault of God. It also addresses the Mosaic Law and it’s role in salvation, and that there is no difference for anyone. It shows that the Law is powerless to save, and then shows the true salvation.

Part 1 – Abraham Justified by Faith
Part 2 – The Promise Realized Through Faith

Study of Romans 2:12-29

God’s Judgement and the Law

Rom 2:12  For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 
Rom 2:13  for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 
Rom 2:14  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 
Rom 2:15  in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 
Rom 2:16  on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. 
Rom 2:17  But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 
Rom 2:18  and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 
Rom 2:19  and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 
Rom 2:20  a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 
Rom 2:21  you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 
Rom 2:22  You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 
Rom 2:23  You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 
Rom 2:25  For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 
Rom 2:26  So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 
Rom 2:27  And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? 
Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 
Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. 

v12-13 – Back in the first century, the leadership believed that to hear the law was adequate to meet the requirements of God. The apostle is no doubt meeting a known objection the leadership would bring up. That objection being that they had the law, manifested extreme deference to it, when it was read, they listened intently and professed a willingness to yield to it. Paul is saying that hearing the law is not enough, but it is those who actually do what the law states. Paul is saying that a true believer will follow the law, not just know it, profess it, or give attention to it. To be justified (declared righteous by God) via the law demanded perfect obedience.

v14-16 – He is speaking of those Gentiles, who are without the law, by their very nature do what the law says. Why is this so? Look at Rom 1:18-20, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” And Psa 19:1, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Every man has a conscience. Even those without the law. And when the Gentiles who are not Christians do the things of the law, it is because of their conscience and this is the law they follow. They will be judged by this law, just as the Jews who are not Christians will be judged by their law.

v17-23 – Paul now lays out a strong case. He says, if you are a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God. If you know His will, plus do and teach the essential things of the law regarding the rites of worship and other important traditions, and consider yourself a teacher to those who do not understand, someone who teaches the immature the truth of the law, do you practice what you preach? If you teach against stealing? In whatever you teach is wrong, do you do those things? He uses, along with stealing, committing adultery, robbing the temple and idol worship. Then he wraps up this argument with “If you boast in breaking the law, do you seriously honor God? This is a very hard question, but one that was needed to open their eyes, if they were capable of being opened.

v24 – And the Gentiles see these things and doubt the reality of the true God. They no doubt looked at the Jewish leadership and probably think if they are not following the law and the commands of their God, why should I. This is why it is important for us to live what we believe, and live what we preach. It is the only to be a true light in the darkness. And because they, through their actions, showed the Gentiles that God was not real, this was a serious blasphemous activity.

v25 – Circumcision does have value, but only if you keep the law. It is a good thing to be circumcised because it is an outward sign of the Abrahamic covenant, but only if the terms of the covenant are kept. If they are not, then it is of no value. Besides, we know that our salvation is not dependent on circumcision or keeping the law. It is based on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. There is no issue in the law and being circumcised, however, it has no bearing on our acceptance by God. I believe that because of their years and years of living it, they considered it a good thing and Paul was not going to counter it.

v26-27 – If a man is uncircumcised and keeps the law, he will be considered circumcised, and therefore, if a circumcised man does not keep the law, he will be considered uncircumcised. And one step further, if someone who is physically uncircumcised and he keeps the law, then he, by is obedience, will judge by his actions the circumcised who do not keep it.

v28-29 – Now, Paul closes his argument by stating the obvious based on what he has written previously in the chapter. A Jew is not a Jew is he is only one outwardly. And a man who has been outwardly circumcised is truly not circumcised if he does not keep the terms of the covenant. Being a Jew is not based on who your family is or in keeping the Jewish law. He is truly a Jew if he is one inwardly. One who desires to keep the covenant which circumcision shows he accepted. Later in Romans, he will show that Christianity is seen the same way.

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