MY MUSLIM FAITH?
https://youtu.be/d35NL6t0uLk [My Muslim faith?]
https://youtu.be/juE0RoMcxx4 [It’s a trial]
.Price of oil
.Debt crisis- solved?
.Did Muslims celebrate 911?
. Aquinas, Anselm
.Is God Just?
PAST POSTS [verses below]-
. - ANSELM- Over the next few months I will do some brief overviews on important historical figures from church history. They will be under a separate section after the same name. Anselm was born in Italy in the year 1033, he eventually became a very influential church teacher and is famous for a few things; he came up with an argument for the existence of God called ‘the Ontological argument’ ontology is a word that means the nature of being. His idea went like this ‘Because there is no other greater conceivable being than God, that means God must exist’ in so many words he said because humans have this conscious belief in God as the greatest being, that therefore he must be that being. I’ll admit when I first read this argument I had some difficulties with it, I think you can find problems with it. But he nevertheless introduced it and it has become one of the classical apologetic arguments for God’s existence. The second major teaching that Anselm gave us was the teaching on the Atonement; Anselm taught that Jesus died to ransom man back to God, the penalty of death was a penalty paid to God. You say ‘what’s so new about that’? Many other church teachers taught that Jesus died to pay a ransom to the devil, that at the fall of man satan gained dominion over man and that Jesus death purchased us back from satan. Though there is some truth to man being under the dominion of satan after the fall, yet Anselm was ‘more right’ in the way he approached it. As a matter of fact His teaching eventually became the norm for the church. Anselm introduced Reason into the argument for the existence of God. Many teachers used scripture and appealed to the church fathers to prove the reality of God, Anselm was one of the first to lean heavily on logic when arguing for Gods existence. He is considered one of the greats of church history and we still benefit from the influence of Anselm to this day.
 AQUINAS, THOMAS- Thomas is considered to be one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time. Born in Naples around 1225, he studied in Cologne under the Dominican order. During Thomas lifetime there was a rediscovery of the ancient writings of the philosopher Aristotle. Thomas would write commentaries on the philosophy of Aristotle and he would attempt to introduce reason into the arguments to prove the existence of God. He was a follower of that form of Christian teaching called ‘scholasticism’ this method used reason and logical debate to arrive at truth. Other scholars would reject this method [Bonaventure] they felt that using these rationale methods was a contradiction to faith. Thomas would become famous for his ‘five ways’ also referred to as Natural Theology. Thomas taught that there were 5 basic ways man could examine the natural created order and come to a rational belief in the existence of God; Thomas taught that the first cause of all things had to be God, you logically needed a first ‘causer’ to start the ball rolling [prime mover]. John Duns Scotus was a contemporary of Aquinas and he disagreed with the scholastic method. Scotus would become famous among the Franciscans; Aquinas would be famous among the Dominicans. Today many Catholic scholars pride themselves in being ‘Thomistic’ in their thought. Thomas also spoke much about ‘just war’ theory, originally introduced by Augustine. He taught that the means of war had to be just in order for the war itself to be ‘justified’; in today’s wars [Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan] I believe the use of unmanned drone attacks that kill civilians can be considered an unjust method. Thomas’ great works are Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae, Thomas is called the ‘angelic doctor’ of the Catholic faith.
Okay- let’s start a brief overview of some church history. Over the next few weeks I want to hit on the 16th century Protestant reformation and try and cover some of the key figures of the movement.
Martin Luther- the German reformer who had the most influence in the movement was born and raised in Germany.
As a boy his parents were peasant farmers and eventually his dad became a miner and became a very successful businessman- he would go on and eventually own 6 foundries.
He sent his son to law school- and young Luther excelled. At the age of 21 he accomplished more than many of his peers. One day on his way home from the university a thunderstorm broke out and Luther was almost struck by a bolt of lightning.
In fear he cried out to Saint Ann [the mother of Mary] and said ‘Saint Ann- if you save me I will become a monk’ [Ann was the patron Saint for miners- thus Luther was familiar with her].
He was spared and off to the monastery he went. Luther eventually became an ordained priest and even though his dad initially was upset that his son became a priest- yet he was proud of his boy later on.
Luther would eventually make a Pilgrimage to Rome- on foot [a few month walk from Germany to Rome!] and what he saw devastated him. Rome- and the Vatican- were in bad shape. Many of the priests lived in open sin- and the city that he saw as his headquarters for the faith- well it was a mess.
Luther made the famous penitent walk/crawl up the stairs of the Lateran church [this church was the most famous church before the construction of St. Peters. The actual stairs of the church are the same stairs that Christ walked up during his trial under Pontius Pilate. Yes- you hear many ‘stories’ while studying church history- things like the relics or left over pieces of the Cross- well these stories are usually fake. But the stairs of the Lateran church are indeed the same stairs that Christ walked on- the early ‘church’ builders dismantled the stairs at Pilate’s court in Jerusalem and installed them at this church building in Rome].
When Luther got to the top of the stairs- it is reported that he questioned the faith- he had a crisis of faith and thought that maybe the whole thing was a sham.
Okay- as we do a few more posts over the coming weeks- I want you guys to see that the main players of the Reformation were sincere Catholic men who had many questions about what they saw as corrupt in their own church. These men did not want to start a breakaway church- they simply wanted to reform the church they loved.
Keep in mind that Luther excelled during his legal studies- he had a keen legal mind- this will be important later on when we see the debates he has with Rome over the doctrine of Justification by faith- the letters of the apostle Paul [Romans- Galatians] use lots of legal language- and his early education will help him in these debates.
Okay- that’s it for today. Maybe do a Google search on Luther and familiarize yourself a little with the history.
The ‘readings’ for this week are 2nd Samuel 6-7 and Psalms 89. See what they have in common.
 LUTHER- THE TOWER EXPERIENCE
Let’s start with some church history. In the last post I covered the early years of Martin Luther- probably the most significant figure of the Protestant Reformation.
Luther studied for the priesthood in Erfurt, Germany. He would eventually wind up in Wittenberg- one of the major university cities of the Reformation. Wittenberg was actually a small insignificant town- but the political leader over the region- Frederick the Wise- sought to put it on the map.
He wanted to turn Wittenberg into a German ‘Rome’. He wanted it to become a major Pilgrimage city where Christians would see Wittenberg as a destination- just like they saw Rome.
So Frederick embarked on this plan and he searched thru all the Catholic learning centers of the time and finally recruited 3 top scholars to teach out of the university at Wittenberg- Luther was one of the 3.
Just as a side note- Frederick would succeed at making Wittenberg a major catholic center. He would eventually obtain over 19,000 Relics for the Cathedral church there [Relics were used in the ancient system of buying indulgences and making special pilgrimage trips to important Churches. If the church/city that your making the Pilgrimage to has a lot of Relics- bones or other famous material objects from church history- then the value of the Pilgrimage was high. In theory Frederick collected so many that if you added up all the ‘time off’ from Purgatory- you would get 1 million, 900 thousand years off! Some of the famous relics at Wittenberg were a hair from the beard of Jesus- straw from the manger Jesus was born in- and even a branch from the famous burning bush of Moses! As you can see- there was a lot of commercializing going on- even back then].
When Luther arrived in Wittenberg- he made a name for himself as a top scholar. Many protestants- who revere Luther- usually are not aware that he was a master Linguist [sort of like Rick Perry!]
Yes Luther mastered language- and he showed it in his teaching on the book of Psalms.
In 1515 he began his famous study on the book of Romans and as he went thru the very first chapter- something shook him. He came across the passage that says the Just shall live by faith. This verse first appears in the O.T. book of Habakkuk- and is quoted 3 more times in the N.T.
Luther was very aware of the concept of the righteousness of God- he struggled for many years trying to reconcile his own sinful nature with Gods holiness- but he never really ‘saw’ the biblical concept of righteousness as a free gift that God ‘imputes’ to the sinner.
Yes- for the 1st time in Luther’s life- after his years training for the priesthood- the pilgrimage he made to Rome- the thousands of hours he spent confessing his sins while a monk in Erfurt- he never really understood that the righteousness of God was a free gift given to those who have faith.
It was a giant weight lifted from his shoulders- Luther did not need to try any more to live up to the standards of God- in a way that would earn for him forgiveness- but he would simply believe- and the righteousness of God would be counted to him as a gift.
Luther would go on to call this an Alien Righteousness- that is it is not found within the person who tries to do all the church works he can- or buying all the indulgences- or any other of the many religious actions he was practicing- but this free gift of being right with God- it came to those who had faith- the Just shall live by Faith- this was indeed good news for the scholar.
As time went on- Germany would get embroiled in the political machinations of the day- Luther’s top political cover was Frederick the Wise- hardly a Protestant Reformer! He spent lots of time trying to make Wittenberg the major Catholic center in Germany.
But at the time there was a political fight raging between Rome and some of the other nation/states. There was a figure head office called the Holy Roman Emperor. This office was really in name only- but it rose up during the first Millennium of Christian history and sought to replace the influence that Rome was losing.
So you had France, Spain and England all vying for the title. Eventually it would go to King Charles of Spain- but the Pope- who played a major role in nominating the person- he did not want any of these top 3 to get the position. Henry the Eighth was the king of England at the time- and these ‘3 kings’ were sort of in competition with Rome- so the Pope tried to get Fredrick the Wise to throw his hat into the ring.
Frederick just happened to be one of the Electors of this position.
His actual title was The Elector of Saxony.
So Fredrick had lots of influence- and as Rome would eventually but heads with the stubborn bull of Wittenberg [Luther] Frederick would become the major protector of Luther.
Okay- I think we’ll stop here for today. The experience that Luther had- the enlightenment that came to him while teaching the book of Romans- this is often called The Tower experience of Luther- it took place in the year 1515.
 TREASURY OF MERIT
Let’s pick up where we left off 2 posts back. We were talking about Martin Luther and the events that led up to the Protestant Reformation.
In order to understand the key act that caused the protest- we will have to teach some Catholic history/doctrine.
In the 16th century Pope Julius began the effort to build St. Peters basilica in Rome. He got as far as laying the foundation and died. Pope Leo the 10th would pick up after him.
The church needed to raise money for the project- and the German prince- Albert- would play a major role.
It should be noted that both Catholic and Protestant scholars agree that the Popes of the day were pretty corrupt. They came from what we call the Medici line of Popes.
If you remember last month I wrote a post on the Renaissance- I talked about the Medici family and how they played a major role in supporting the Renaissance that took place in the 13th century in Florence Italy that would spread to the region.
Well this very influential family also played a big role in who would get top positions in the church.
At the time of Luther and prince Albert- if you had the right connections and the money- you could literally buy a position in the church.
Albert already held 2 Bishop seats- and there was an opening for an Archbishops seat in Mainz [Germany] and he wanted that one too.
It should be noted that official Canon law [church law] said you could only hold one seat at a time- Albert was bidding on his 3rd one! And he was too young for all of them.
So even the Pope and the officials held little respect for what the church actually taught at the time.
So Albert opens up negotiations with Leo- and the bidding starts AT 12,000 Duckets [money] Albert counters with 7,000- and they agree on 10,000. How did they justify the numbers? 12- The number of Apostles. 7- The 7 deadly sins. 10- The 10 commandments.
Yes- the church was pretty corrupt at the time.
So Albert works out a plan with Leo- he will borrow the money from the German banks- and pay the banks off by the Pope giving Albert the right to sell Indulgences.
What’s an Indulgence?
Okay- this is where it gets tricky.
The ancient church taught a system called The Treasury of Merit. This was a sort of spiritual bank account that ‘stored up’ the good deeds of others over the years.
You had the good deeds of Jesus at the top- but you also had Mary and Joseph- the 12 Apostles- and other various saints thru out time.
The way the ‘bank’ worked was you could tap into the account by getting a Papal indulgence- a sort of I.O.U. that had the Popes guarantee that it would get so much time out of Purgatory for a loved one.
The actual sacrament that accesses the account is called Penance [confession].
When a penitent does penance- he confesses his sin to the priest- and he is absolved by the authority of the church that the priest has. The priest usually tells the person ‘say so many Hail Mary’s- Our Father’s’ and that’s a form of penance.
One of the other things the church practiced was called Alms Deeds. This term is found in the bible and it means giving your money to the poor- it is a noble act that Jesus himself taught.
In theory- part of the sacrament of penance was tied into Alms Deeds- you can access the account thru the practice of giving to the poor- which also meant giving to the church that helps the poor- and in the hands of the Medici line of Popes- meant outright giving money to the Pope.
So now you see how the abuse worked its way into the pockets of the faithful.
Albert now had the permission from Leo to sell these indulgences in Germany- and he would pick a certain corrupt priest to sell them in a place called Saxony- the region where Luther operated out of.
It should be noted that the Catholic Church never taught the crass act of ‘buying your way out of Purgatory’. The practice of including giving money as a part of the sacrament of penance was tied into the biblical principle of giving to the poor- a good thing.
But Tetzel and others abused the official meaning of the indulgence- and did make it sound like you could by your way out of Purgatory [in theory- a loved one might be in Purgatory for so many years- and through the indulgence you are actually getting time off for them- because the good deeds of others are now applied to the account].
The money Albert would raise- half would go to Rome for the building of St. peters- and half would go to pay off the banks in Germany- it was a sad system- and a sad time for the church as a whole.
It would be wrong to judge the entire church at the time as being corrupt- you did have many sincere Priests and Catholic men and women who saw the abuses and did not take part in them.
But there was corruption at the top- and this would eventually lead to the breakup of the church- and the launching of what we now call the Protestant Movement.
As a side note- it should be said that many Catholics and Protestants are not aware of the whole treasury of merit system- and the church never officially changed her position on the doctrine.
There were 3 Church councils since the time [Trent- 1500’s, Vatican 1- 1800’s and Vatican 2- 1962-65]. The Treasury of Merit never came up for change.
Obviously Protestants don’t believe in Purgatory- and it’s not my purpose in these posts to change Catholics into Protestants or vice versa- but to give all sides a clear view of the issues that divided us- and to try and be honest- and respectful during the process.
Does the bible teach anything like a Treasury of Merit? Well actually it does. The bible teaches that the righteousness of Christ is the treasury that people can access- by faith- and become righteous in the sight if God.
The idea- applied to Christ- is good.
But in the hands of the Medici Popes- and the ambitious prince of Germany- it would lead to disaster.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John
 LUTHER CLASHES WITH ROME
Let’s do another post on the Protestant Reformation. I’ll probably only do a few more before I transition into another study.
By the way- all the studies I do thru out the year are posted in the February posts of the following year.
Okay- last we left off Luther was just beginning to butt heads with the church [Tetzel] over the abuse of the sale of indulgences that was going on in Germany.
In a previous post I mentioned how the priest- Tetzel- was selling these ‘get out of Purgatory’ type coupons in the area where Luther operated out- Saxony.
Actually- Tetzel never entered Saxony itself- but was selling these out of a bordering city- and many of Luther’s students/parishioners were being hoodwinked into spending their money to rescue a loved one out of Purgatory.
Tetzel is known for a jingle he started in connection with the sale of the indulgence- it goes ‘as soon as a coin in the coffer rings- a soul in Purgatory springs’- ouch!
Like I said before- the church never taught this- they did teach the Treasury of Merit [previous post] but the way Tetzel used it was a real abuse of the teaching of the church at the time.
Now- Luther responds to the abuse by writing the famous 95 thesis. This is the act that is often associated with the launching of the Reformation- the act that got the ball rolling.
The 95 thesis were simply 95 questions challenging the whole practice of the sale of indulgences- there was no mention of the doctrine of Justification by Faith- which will become the trumpet sound that springs out of the Protestant Reformation.
Luther takes these questions- written in Latin- and nails them to the university church door at Wittenberg. Sometimes while reading church history this ‘nailing to the door’ is seen as a sort of vandalism - you know- ‘he nailed them to the door!’
In actuality Luther was simply using the system of the day that one scholar would use in order to bring up an official point of contention with the church- Luther wrote the Thesis in Latin- which was the scholars language- not the language of the common man.
But Luther’s students quickly translated the Thesis into the vernacular [German] and it was said that in 2 weeks the paper made it into every village of Germany.
The challenge was a spark in the lives of many Christians who also believed the church was off track and that someone needed to rebuke her- and they picked Luther as the man for the job.
Now- the Catholic church wanted Luther to go to Rome and discuss the situation there- Luther’s friends warned him not to go- so they agreed to meet- a few times- in Germany.
The first meeting was in 1518 at Heidelberg- Luther actually gave a great defense of his argument and convinced some other top Catholic scholars that he was right [as a side note- the church had already scheduled this meeting because of a controversy that rose up between the Augustinian order of monks and the Dominicans. They were debating over which philosophy was more consistent with church teaching- Nominalism or Realism- for those of you who have read the posts this past year- I taught this when doing our posts on philosophy].
One man- Martin Bucer- wrote a stirring account of Luther- Bucer would later influence another young Swiss priest with Reformation teachings- his name is John Calvin.
As a side not Calvin will become one of the 3 big heavy hitters of the 16th century Reformation [Ulrich Zwingli is the 3rd].
Luther will meet again in Augsburg- and debate the leading Catholic scholar of the day- Cardinal Cajetan.
Then he goes to the city of Leipzig- and debates the leading German scholar- Johann Eck.
And his last meeting with the church will be at the famous Diet of Worms [pronounced- Vurmtz] and it will be here that Luther makes his last stand and officially will break with the church and launch the Protestant Reformation.
It should be noted that Luther held what we call a High Church position for most of this time- he still saw the church at Rome- and the Pope- as a legitimate expression of true Christianity- his beef was what he saw as an abuse of the system- by the priest Tetzel.
As time progressed- the other beliefs of Luther- founded upon the bible- did come into contention with Rome.
The main disagreement eventually became the teaching in the bible called Justification by faith. I have written a study on the topic on the blog- I have also written a bible study on the book of Romans and Galatians.
For those of you who can- try and read Romans chapters 2-4 and Galatians 2-3- these are the key chapters that cover the teaching.
Down the road I will cover the official teaching of both the Protestants and the Catholics on the doctrine of justification- the Catholic Council of Trent- referred to as the Counter Reformation- spells out the official teaching of Rome- and there are a few papers put out by the Reformers that explain their belief.
Since the 16th century Reformation there have been efforts made by Protestants and Catholics to bridge the gap as much as possible- to try to come to some common language since the historic split.
I like some of the efforts that have been made- and recently both groups put out a statement that jointly said we all believe that we are saved by Gods grace thru Christ- that’s good.
But as we get into some of the actual discussion- you will see the points at which the 2 sides disagreed- and the main one was on the act- the actual thing that happens- when a person is declared just- the Reformers said it takes place when a person has faith- believes- the Catholic church said it takes place at baptism- water baptism.
This- as well as a few other things- will be a defining distinction between the 2.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John
1775- WHAT DID HE SAY?
Let’s do a little review today. I know the history posts go a little long sometimes- and many Christians do not see the value in studying church history.
But I have found over the years that a lot of independent type churches- good men- good people- but cut off from the broader church- well these churches have a tendency to get off in a rut- a particular doctrine or style of teaching- and after a while it becomes impossible to get these good church folk back on the balanced course.
A few examples. Many years ago- as a young Pastor- I had lots of good Pastor friends who too were doing their best to do what they felt God wanted.
At the time- I began having difficulty with many of the most popular interpretations of the bible that these good men were using.
After a while I realized that some of the stuff was so off course- that if they didn’t make some major course corrections at the time- that they were going to end up spending their entire Pastorate teaching stuff that is out right false.
I have talked a lot about this over the years- and the examples are too numerous to cover them all- but a good example is the ‘Camel going thru the eye of a Needle’ verse.
One time Jesus and his men were going thru town and a young rich guy asks Jesus what he must do to be saved.
A pretty straight forward question- right to the point.
Jesus tells the guy to keep the law- the guy asks which ones.
Ah- now you’re digging yourself in brother.
So Jesus says to love God and his neighbor- these are the top ones.
He asks ‘and who is my neighbor’?
Jesus goes on and gives an explanation- and he also tells the guy to go and sell all he has and give it to the poor- and follow him.
The guy goes away sad because he was rich.
Then Jesus says ‘it’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a Camel to go thru the Eye of a Needle’.
The disciples [I think Peter?] say ‘then who can be saved’?
Jesus says with men it is impossible- but not with God- with God all things are possible.
[just a quick side note- I haven’t read all these stories in a while- trust me- they are all in the bible- but I might have mixed a few together- but the main point stays the same]
Okay- in context- what could Jesus be saying about the camel and the needle?
It sure seems like he’s using a figure of speech that would mean ‘look- the guy is too attached to his money to fully give himself over to being a follower of me- maybe down the road he will change- but he’s not ready yet’.
Seems reasonable to me- don’t you think?
But wait- in the group of pastors/teachers that were popular at the time- one of the main teachings was how to get rich- and they saw financial increase as the main thing- I mean that’s what they focused on all the time.
(1427) THE LORD GAVE THE WORD; GREAT WAS THE COMPANY OF THOSE THAT PUBLISHED IT- Psalms 68:11 In the 14th century you had the Oxford scholar, John Wycliffe, challenge the church and publish an English bible that would be understood by the common man. His view of the true church was that all those who believed in Christ comprised the mystical Body of Christ thru out the ages; he held to the same view that many believers would later embrace. His works would eventually influence John Huss, the great Bohemian priest, and Huss too would preach a doctrine of the universal church which transcended institutional boundaries. In the 16th century William Tyndale would take up the charge to get the bible into the hands of the common man; he longed for the day that the simple plowman would know the scriptures as well as the trained clergy; Tyndale would die for the faith [as Huss] but would pray/prophesy that God would touch the heart of the king of England and make his word known. Henry the 8th would eventually place an English bible into every church building thru out his realm. The history of God getting his word into the hands of the common man is great, many divine interventions [or inventions!] came along just at the right time to aid in the efforts. Guttenberg would invent the printing press in the 15th century and Luther’s reformation would take off as his books and tracts would get published by the boat loads [as well as many other great teachers’ stuff- like Erasmus Greek New Testament bible]. The institutional church would resist the free flow of these writings, they feared that the people might teach wrong doctrine, or that the masses might interpret the bible in a wrong way. Were these fears groundless? Not really. Many did mess up in their reading of the bible, and others would start their own sects based on faulty interpretations. But for the most part God was in the business of getting his word out to as many people as possible. I have found over the years that believers have a sort of blind spot when it comes to the ‘sacred’ modes of transmitting the bible. For instance many well meaning men believe that the process of meeting in a building on Sunday, and the bible being preached to as many as you can get to come to the meeting; many feel that this expression [being only one of many] is the actual God ordained way of getting the bible taught to the people. Many who hold to this singular idea, to the point where they feel the doing of this is actually called ‘the local church’ will look down upon other means of getting the word out. The explosion of the internet has truly been the printing press of modern times. Many average believers now have the ability to reach the world from their computers; are their dangers with this process? Sure. Will some teach wrong stuff? As Sarah Palin would say ‘you betcha’. But all in all people should embrace the reality that we live in a day where once again the average saint has the ability to get the word out to the masses with little, or no cost. I don’t want people to get me wrong, going to ‘church’ to hear the sermon is fine [most of the times!] but the bible does not teach the concept that the meeting of believers in buildings on Sunday is actually called ‘the local church’. For sure this is an expression of ‘local church’ it is a way that many believers have come to practice their faith; but it would be wrong to exalt this view of church to the point where we hinder others who are getting the word out in many different ways. In the New Testament, the ‘local churches’ referred to communities of believers who lived in your city/region- the term does not refer exclusively to meeting in a lecture hall environment to hear a lecture! Psalms says God gave the word and great was the company of those that published it; lets rejoice in the fact that we live in a time where a great company of people can ‘publish it’.
(1424) AVOIDING THE ECHO CHAMBER- A week or so ago the president was asked his opinion about the cable news shows and the talk radio community; he wisely answered that he felt there was a sort of dynamic like an echo chamber with these shows, that people need to be careful that they are not simply spending all their time and effort bouncing their own ideas off of the walls of others who only think in the same framework. In Christianity this is a problem that we all regularly deal with. I remember listening to a tape by an ‘organic church’ brother one time, he was trying to explain where the idea of elders arose in the writings of the apostle Paul. Now he was speaking from/to a community of people that at the time were writing and teaching against the New Testament idea of leadership, many felt like leaders in the New Testament were forbidden based on verses like ‘the gentiles exercise lordship over each other, it will not be like this with you’ and other verses that speak of servant leadership. The well meaning brother went on to espouse his theory that when the Jewish Diaspora took place in the first century, many were sent to the Christian churches and they told the leaders of the
(766) ACTS CONCLUSION- As we finish our study in Acts, I want to review a few things. The ‘church’ [ecclesia] as seen in Acts are without a doubt ‘organic’ this term describes the community of people in the various locations who believed the message of the Messiah. These people were not establishing ‘church meetings at the church on Sunday’ to compete with the Jewish meetings at the synagogues on Saturday. The transition from the old law into the new covenant was not only one of a change in message [law versus grace] but also a transition from shadows to reality. All the ways of worship and ‘liturgical’ form were part of the old law. The temple and priest and altar were important types and symbols of what was to come. But in the New Testament communities these ideas of physical worship changed. The actual praise of Gods people and doing good deeds will become the sacrifices that God is well pleased with [New Testament]. The Lords meal was actually a meal! The gathering on the first day of the week became a good tradition in memory of Christ’s resurrection. But as time went on many well meaning believers would return to the symbols and incorporate them into their worship. The church would be seen as the ‘church house’ the altar would be seen as a real place upon which the ‘bloodless sacrifice’ [Eucharist] would be re offered again for the sins of the world. The priest would be seen as having special powers given to him by Jesus, that during the mass the host becomes Jesus flesh and blood and as the people ‘eat’ him they are partaking, literally, of Jesus flesh and blood. Now, are all these believers wrong? Should we see the development of sacramental theology as pagan? I personally don’t think so. I prefer to view the changes that took place in the church as part of a process of Gods people grappling with doctrines and beliefs while at the same time struggling to maintain unity as the centuries progressed [I am not making excuses for wrong doctrine, I think well meaning church fathers grasped wrong ideas out of a fear of loosing their identity. The idea of a strong magesterium [teaching authority] gave room for wrong doctrines to become firmly entrenched in the collective mind of the early church]. For the first 1000 years of Christianity the people of God were primarily seen as Catholic. In 1054 the official split between eastern and western Christianity will take place. Another 500 years until the Catholic Church split again . The host of churches that came out of the Protestant Reformation are too innumerable to mention. Should we view all of these groups as deceived religionists? Of course not. Do we find a pattern in Acts that would allow us to trace ‘the true group’ and lay claim to being the most authentic? I don’t believe so. But as all the people of God strive for the unity that we actually posses in Christ, we have the great resource of the church fathers, the wisdom and insights of the reformers. The heritage of the outgrowth of the restorationist movements. The excitement of the Puritans as they launched out to found a new world free from religious persecution. If it weren’t for the strong institutional church we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have even had a Luther [
Wittenberg] Calvin [first Paris then Geneva] or Zwingli [ Zurich]! Or the ‘pre reformers’ Wycliffe,
Huss and Knox. These men were products of Catholic higher learning! It was the
reality of Catholic institutional Christianity that allowed for these men to be
trumpets of truth in their day! The university cities that they taught in as
Catholic priests allowed for their influence to spread far and wide. In each
generation of believers you have had Gods people progress so far and leave us
with great treasures that were intended to be passed on to future generations
If we severe ourselves from historic Christianity, then we lose the great gains
that have been made in the centuries gone by! The book of Acts shows us the
freedom of the people of God. ‘Where 2 or more are together in my name, I am in
the midst’ isn’t some description of ‘local church’. As in if we copy the
formulas of what happened in Acts [break bread, prayer, etc.] then you ‘have a
church’. Jesus promise to be with us when we are together is the act of
brotherhood. Surely we saw Jesus going along with the people of God all thru
out Acts. The Spirit of God that indwelt them in chapter 2 was the promise that
he would be with them. He legitimized them! Not some institution [‘local
church’] that they were to start! So today all the people of God are striving
to find a closer identity with each other as fellow believers in the Lord. I
believe the book of Acts gives us a beautiful picture of the church in her
infancy stage. I also believe the growth seen as we read Paul’s letters to
these churches indicates the heart of God for his people to remain in grace.
Paul warns the churches to not fall into the
legalism of observing days and regulations and legalistic requirements.
He wants them to live simply, free from sin and to be the people of God in
society. Some branches of Christianity took hold of the strong ‘we are pilgrims’
view [which is true to a degree] and would separate from society. Not realizing
we are pilgrims and strangers to the worlds system, but our Father is God of
heaven and earth! We are here to impact this planet! So let’s run with the
exciting message and revolutionary mindset that the early church possessed.
They weren’t in this thing for what they could get out of it, they were really
laying their lives down for the gospel. They were sharing their stuff with each
other. They were loving God and their fellow man in ways that were uncommon for
their time. It wasn’t only what they said that allowed them to ‘turn their
world upside down’ it was who they were, the People of God.
I want to make a note here- since last week’s video I saw the movie AMERICAN SNIPER- I also read more comments on this subject.
In the video I mentioned how Chris said in his book he ‘hates all Iraqi’s’- now- I read excerpts- as well as what others said.
I want to clarify- some are disputing these claims- so- the purpose of these posts [on everything] is to GET STUFF RIGHT.
So I want to re-cant that statement [too hard to edit the video] - being I never read the book- I don’t want to defame Chris.
I also was surprised when I saw the movie- it did a better job at showing the effects of war- and even showed how Chris had a fellow soldier who had doubts about what they were doing- from a Christian view.
I thought the movie did indeed do a better job at showing the questions of war- then some of the commentaries I read.
I should note that earlier today I read Jesse Ventura calling Chris ‘a liar’.
In the book Chris says he knocked out some seal at a bar once- who was critical of our wars.
Supposedly he was talking about Ventura.
Ventura said this was a lie- it never happened.
Ventura sued- and won- the book publishers eventually took that part out of the book.
So- all in all- there is still lots of controversy around Chris and the movie.
The views I expressed in the video I still hold to- but I don’t want to attribute statements to Chris if I don’t know for sure that he made them.
For the next 3-4 weeks I plan on covering the letter to the Romans- written by the Apostle Paul- Below are excerpts from a commentary I wrote years ago- try and read the book of Romans the next week or so.
Actually reading thru the bible- in context- is one of the best habits you can develop.
Rome was the city of influence at the time of Paul- located just east of the bend of the Tiber river- about 18 miles from the Mediterranean Sea.
The letter to the Romans- would be read orally to both Christians and Jews in the city- in the days of the writing of these letters [which now make up our bible] they were living in an ‘oral’ culture- and the letters were intended to be read aloud to those in the early Christian communities [remember- you didn’t have books back then- like we have today- and the mass production of writing/publishing did not yet exist].
So- Paul was a strategic thinker- and he penned this letter hoping it would be a ‘shot in the dark’- that is the darkness of sinful man-
The letter to the Romans is the closest thing to a systematic theology found in the New Testament.
Its impact in church history is great- John Chrysostom- the great 5ht century preacher- had it read aloud to him- once a week.
Saint Augustine attributes it to his radical conversion- the story goes he heard some kids singing ‘take up and read’.
He picked up a copy of the letter to the Romans- and history was changed.
Luther- the great 16th century reformer- was teaching this letter- as a Catholic priest/scholar- out of Germany- when he read ‘The just shall live by faith- therein is the righteousness of God revealed’-
It lead to what we call today ‘The Protestant Reformation’.
A few hundred years later- the Great Methodist founder- John Wesley- would say his heart was ‘strangely warmed’ while hearing a message at Aldersgate- and it lead to his conversion- sure enough- the message was from the letter to the church at Rome.
So- when the great Apostle sat down and penned this ‘arrow’- hoping it to go forth and have great impact for the Kingdom of God- his hopes were indeed realized.
(820) ROMANS 1: 1-16 many believe this letter to be Paul's best, I wouldn’t disagree. The letters of the New Testament do not appear in chronological order, some feel this to be a huge obstacle in understanding scripture. I think it helps to know the times when Paul wrote the letters, but this in itself doesn’t prevent us from learning scripture. Romans is addressed to the church at Rome and is significant in that Paul did not ‘plant this church’. Unlike the other letters of Paul, he is writing to the believers with whom he had no strong prior relationship. He roots his gospel in the historical facts of history and scripture. ‘The gospel of God that the prophets foretold- Jesus of the seed of David who was proved to be the Son of God by the resurrection’. Make no bones about it, Paul is coming down strong on the gospel of Jesus Christ and he positions himself well right at the start. There were ‘other gospels’ [Galatians] that were circulating and at times might have even outnumbered Paul's message! The Jewish sect from Jerusalem who embraced both Jesus and the law were very influential in Paul’s day. When Paul combats a legalistic gospel, at times he is running ‘neck and neck’ with the Judaizers. Paul will make a foundational statement that will run true thru out the rest of the New Testament. ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the power of God unto Salvation to everyone who believes. For in it is the righteousness of God revealed’. Now, I have hit on this theme before, but it is so fundamental to the rest of this study that we need to spend some time with it. I always wondered why so many Evangelicals, and scholars, could not ‘rightly divide’ this biblical doctrine. I am speaking of ‘Righteousness by faith’ as being the root of all other ‘Salvation’. What I mean is many have confused the doctrine of ‘the salvation of the righteous’ with the salvation of the sinner. The reason why the gospel is one of salvation, is because this is the tool that God has ordained to administer ‘righteousness- justification’ to the believer. When God ‘saves- delivers’ a sinner from an ‘unjust state of being’ this act can be called ‘being saved’ [Ephesians 2]. Also thru out the scriptures you have people who are ‘just- righteous’ who experience ‘continual salvation’ because of the fact that they are righteous. This doctrine can be called ‘the salvation of the righteous’. David in Psalms says ‘the righteous cry and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles’ ‘The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord’. Peter speaks of God delivering the ‘just- righteous’ from wrath. Both Lot and Noah are said to have been ‘saved’ because they were righteous. The whole point here is as we progress thru Romans Paul will use the term ‘salvation’ and ‘righteousness’. Whenever [chapter 10] you have a combining of the righteous [believers] calling, crying out to God for ‘salvation’ it needs to be understood that this does not mean ‘salvation’ in the sense of the initial act of justification. While the two are closely related, the testimony from scripture does make a distinction. So Paul shows us that the reason the gospel is Gods power ‘unto salvation’ is because this is the way God chose to ‘make people just’. Paul will spend a few chapters [3 and 4] laying the foundation of righteousness by faith. But first he will argue his case for why all men need to have this righteousness. [ see entry # 704 for more comments on ‘the salvation of the righteous’]
(821) ROMANS 1:17-21 ‘for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness’. Now, we have already established the ‘mode’ by which the gospel ‘saves’ us. Once we believe in the gospel, it immediately, and progressively ‘saves’ us. The immediate act of justification can be described as ‘getting saved’. But there is also a large amount of scripture that speaks of ‘continual and future salvation’. Now Paul begins showing us how this salvation works. He says ‘the wrath of God is revealed against unrighteousness’ the previous verses showed how the believer is made righteous. So we are ‘delivered from the wrath to come’ [Thessalonians] ‘saved by wrath thru his life’ [Romans 5:9] ‘he will appear from heaven the second time to bring salvation to those who look for him’ [Hebrews] and many other verses testify of this theme. Paul is showing us one aspect of this ‘ongoing, future’ salvation by saying ‘see, since Gods wrath is promised to come upon the unrighteous, once you believe with the heart unto righteousness, you then become someone who is off the radar screen from wrath’ [John 3- the wrath of God abides on the unbeliever, but the believer is in a state of ‘no condemnation’]. This understanding will be important as we get to the later chapters in Romans. Now I also want to share a somewhat ‘unique’ interpretation of the following verses ‘that which may be known of God is manifest IN THEM [some say ‘to them]; for God hath showed it unto them [not necessarily meaning ‘showed it to them from created things’!] For the invisible things of him [his attributes! Invisible stuff] from the creation of the world [since the beginning of time, that is since God created all things he has imbedded a witness of himself into all creation; ‘all creation groans and travails’ Paul will attribute ‘human like’ characteristics to all creation. In essence all creation has this testimony and yearning for God in it] are clearly seen [not with the natural eye, but thru this ‘imbedded testimony of Gods attributes that he has placed in all creation’] being understood by the things that are made [not understood by ‘looking at the things that are made’; creation. But actually being understood ‘by them’] so that they are without excuse’. The normal way of seeing these verses says ‘God has left a witness of himself thru his creation. All people are without excuse because they can see his creation and know he is’. Now, is this concept true? Of course! David says ‘the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament SHOWETH his handiwork’. The only problem is ‘all men can’t see!’ I don’t mean to be trivial here; I want to show you that if you read this passage like I just taught it, that it basically is saying ‘since the beginning of Gods creation he has left man without excuse. He has always revealed his inner attributes to man. The witness of moral law and conscience is imbedded in the creation. All men ‘hold’ [possess] the ‘truth’ [this inner moral witness] in unrighteousness, therefore they are without excuse’. I don’t want to be a contrarian simply for the sake of being one. But if you see what I just told you, this fits in with Paul’s understanding of salvation. God’s wrath is revealed against all unrighteousness, yet those who say ‘that’s not fair, God made us this way!’ have no excuse, because God gave all men [and creation] an inner witness that they could have acted on- ‘when they knew God, they glorified him not as God but became vain in their imaginations’. All men have at one time ‘known God’ even those who have never seen Gods testimony from creation! Therefore they are without excuse.
(822) ROMANS 1:21-32 the scripture says that all creation ‘knew God’. The indictment is ‘there is no excuse’. The previous verses proved that God not only made man, but that because man was made in Gods image, he therefore had an ‘inner imprint’ of his maker inside him. Now man chose to ‘change the image of God into that of animals’. Man could not escape this inert desire to worship, this thing in him that said ‘there’s more to life than simple flesh’. So he didn’t just become an atheist [though that’s what they would have you believe] but they became ‘changers of Gods image’. They came up with an alternative ‘religion’. Scripture says they changed God's image into that of an animal [idolatry] and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator. Evolution was Darwin’s feeble attempt at ‘changing the image of God into that of animals’. How so? Modern man was too enlightened [after all we had the enlightenment!] to actually go out and make an image of an animal and bow to it. Instead he bought into the idea that he evolved from animals. Scripture says we are made in Gods image, evolution says ‘we are made in the image of an animal’. Men did not ‘like to retain God in their knowledge’. They had to have some controlling worldview, they came up with one. Now Romans says God gave them up to become like that which they chose to worship. Man was designed to worship God, in seeking and going after God they would become more like him. When man chooses to empty his mind from the creator, God allows him to fill it with what he wants. He receives a ‘reprobate mind’. He fixates on the animal instincts that are a natural result of ‘worshipping four footed beasts’. Now man has no choice but to be formed into the thing that he worships. Paul is here telling us that man became immoral as a result of his own choice to eradicate God from his thoughts. Man received the just recompense of his choice. At the end of the chapter Paul closes with ‘they know that those who do these things are worthy of death’. Once again the idea of judgment ‘the wrath of God is revealed from heaven’. Paul’s summary; Man is unrighteous. God is righteous in punishing man. Man chose to become like this. The only way to escape an inevitable meeting with wrath is to ‘become righteous’. This is accomplished thru believing the gospel. When you believe you become righteous and are no longer on Gods radar screen for judgment.
[One note on Evolution- In the future I hope to cover various views on Evolution- and explain some of the objections that Christian’s have- are actually not good arguments. For instance- in the creation account- Genesis 1- we read that the ‘waters brought forth life’- we see that in the creation account itself- there are progressive acts- God ‘made man’ from the dust- do Christians object to ‘the dirt’? No. We don’t argue ‘no- we weren’t made from dirt! - God made us’! True- but God can use progressive acts- and materials- that are ‘base’ in his creative acts- see?]
(823) ROMANS 2:1-13 ‘Therefore thou art inexcusable, o man, whosoever thou art that judgest’. Now, this chapter will run with the theme ‘who do you think you are to judge, you do the things that you say are wrong’. Yikes, this type of preaching convicts us all. But we need to understand that Paul is saying a little more [well, a lot more!] than this. Here’s where we need to do some history. This letter is addressed to believers in Rome, those ‘called to be saints’. Paul is also giving one of his strongest defenses of his theology, he realizes that a large Jewish population are also at Rome [Acts 28]. By the time of this letter the lines are being drawn between ‘Paul’s gospel’ [the true gospel] and the ‘Jewish law gospel’ coming from the Judaizers out of Jerusalem. The main fight is over whether or not Gentile believers need to be circumcised and come under the law in order to ‘be saved’ [Acts 15]. Now the mentality of the Jewish mind was ‘we have been given Gods precepts [true] and because we are the inheritors of the law and moral standards of God, this puts us in a better class than the Gentiles’ [false]. In essence the law was supposed to reveal mans sin to himself, it was to show us our need for a Savior. But in the legalistic mind it created enmity between Jew and Gentile. This is what it means when Paul writes the Ephesian letter and says ‘the middle wall of partition has been removed in Christ’ this ‘middle wall’ is referring to the law and how it divided Jew and Gentile. So here Paul is saying ‘you Jews who are trusting in the fact that you were the recipients of the law, who use the law as a measuring rod to justify yourselves. This measuring rod was actually given to show you your sin. Did it never occur to you that the very fact that the ‘rod’ says “don’t commit adultery, don’t steal” that these things are actually sins that you yourselves do [the legalistic Jews]. And yet the very rule [law] of God that you are using to justify yourselves, this law you actually break!’ Now you are beginning to see the context. And not only were they breaking the law, but at the same time they were saying to Paul's Gentile churches ‘unless you get circumcised, you are not accepted with God’. The Gentile believers were actually born of God and stopped doing the things that the law commanded them not to do. They were ‘fulfilling the law by nature’. So Paul is really rebuking this hypocritical mindset that said to the Gentile believers that they weren’t saved. And at the same time the ‘judgers of the law’ were actually breaking the law, while the Gentle converts were keeping it by nature! In this context verse one means a lot. Now to an important verse ‘for not the hearers of the law are just before God, BUT THE DOERS OF THE LAW SHALL BE JUSTIFIED’. Just the fact that this statement is made by Paul in this letter is amazing. Paul will spend lots of time in this letter saying ‘those who try and become justified by keeping the law are missing it’. He will go over and over again stating that trying to become righteous by works and law keeping are futile. Yet here he says ‘the doers of the law SHALL BE JUSTIFIED, not the hearers’. Keep in context what I just showed in the beginning of the chapter. The New Testament has a theme that I have hit on before [read the Hebrews 11 commentary on this site]. The theme is ‘men are justified’ [declared legally righteous] by faith. This faith also ‘sanctifies’ [which can also be called ‘justified’ a sort of progressive justification. James uses this in his letter. Paul says in Galatians ‘having begun in the Spirit [legal justification] are you now made perfect by the flesh’ [law keeping]. Now the New Testament teaches that God wants people to actually ‘be righteous’. Johns 1st epistle uses this as the marker of whether or not you are a child of God ‘by this we know… those that do what is righteous are born of God, those that do evil are not’. In Jesus judgment scenarios ‘those that have DONE good are raised to life, those that have done evil to damnation’. So Paul in essence is saying ‘God ‘justifies’ [using the term in a ongoing- futuristic sense] the righteous, not the ones who only hear the law [the Jewish legalists] but those who by nature do it’ [Paul’s gentile converts]. Got it? This distinction is very important. One of the historic reasons why the Protestant and Catholic churches are divided is over this issue. The Catholic Pope [Leo] who initially condemned Luther did so on grounds like this. The Pope who succeeded Leo re-read all of Luther’s documents, in an honest effort to bridge the schism, and came to the same conclusion. Now I like Luther and side with him more so than the Pope, but one of the problems was some of Luther’s writings seemed to say ‘Justification is solely by faith [true] therefore sin hardily’ [false]. Now Luther didn’t intend to come off this way, but that’s the way it sounded. So the Catholic doctrine fell more on the side of ‘Gods grace makes you righteous, God cant declare people actually righteous until they actually are righteous’ this is called the ‘Legal fiction’ argument. They said Luther’s idea was a ‘legal fiction’. In essence some of what the Catholic scholars were saying was correct. Now God does declare us righteous at the moment of belief, before we actually ‘become totally righteous in practice’. But the error of the Catholic argument saying ‘God cant declare you righteous until you are’ was missing the point. When God says ‘you are righteous’ then you are! God doesn’t lie. But I understand the Catholic point. I think Paul understood it too. In this chapter Paul says ‘not the hearers of the law, but the doers shall be justified’.
(824) ROMANS 2:14- 3:18- Paul says ‘you are called a Jew and are confident that you are a teacher and an instructor of the law’. Read my Hebrews commentary, chapters 5 and 6. It is interesting that Paul understood the teaching role that the Jewish nation was to play among the Gentile nations. In Jesus parables he also hits on these themes. Hebrews says ‘when the time has come [the appointed time of Messiah- Galatians 4] that you ought to be teachers, you have need to be taught the first principles again’. Here Paul tells them they are proud to be the ‘possessors’ of the Old Testament, yet thru their disobedience to it the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles [ouch!] Paul fully acknowledges the privileged role that Israel had, he himself was brought up with this ‘elitist/intellectual’ mindset. But here Paul rebukes them for not fully living up to the law. ‘Well brother, how could they live up to it? Paul himself says that this is impossible.’ If they carried thru with the receiving of Messiah, which their law spoke and testified of, then truly they would have been fulfilling the law as new creatures in Christ. In essence their indictment is ‘you never fully followed thru with your own law’! Now Paul will flatly say that circumcision and being the guardians of the law profit nothing. That the ‘circumcision of the heart’ is what matters. He says if the gentiles, who have no historical attachment to the law, if they do by nature the things in the law then they are ‘spiritually circumcised’ [set apart unto God]. But if the circumcised do not obey the law and character of God [thru the new birth] then it profits nothing. I want to note the strong disconnect between the way Paul speaks about natural Israel and her heritage, and how some in the American church present her. Paul, who himself is a Jew, makes it very clear that Israel is in a state of ‘danger’ by not receiving Messiah. Though he will admit their special place and role in history, yet he refuses to exalt her in her natural ‘state’ [of being]. Now Israel’s response to Paul [which by the way Paul interjects himself. I want to make a note here. Paul will give ‘both sides’ of the argument in his letters. He will say things like ‘and you will say to me such and such’. He actually try’s to add both sides of the conversation in his letters. Recently there has been some discussion on whether or not we can really understand the New Testament without fully knowing all the background and history of the letters. Some have said just knowing the letters are like hearing only one side of a phone conversation. To be honest this isn’t really true. The writers of the letters and the gospels lived in an ‘oral culture’. This is why Paul himself gives instructions on his letters being read- as opposed to saying ‘pass the letters around for everyone to personally read’. The point is we can understand a whole bunch of scripture just by reading it!] Now Israel asks ‘what good is the whole thing, why even have Jews or circumcision or any history with God at all’? Paul realizes that his whole argument for law and circumcision meaning nothing without a changed heart, that some would respond back like this. He in turn says ‘the law and all the history of Israel with God were very important! It was Gods way of getting his prophetic word [oracles] to man’. In essence God chose to ‘start a conversation’ with Abraham and extend it forward to his children. Over a long history of God interacting with Israel, God would speak thru prophets and ‘wise men’ and these prophetic words were being recorded [meticulously by the way!]. God would reveal himself and his purpose of Messiah thru these writings that came from this relationship [though rocky!] that he had with Israel. Now Paul will say ‘does their unbelief negate Gods promise’? No! Let God be true and every man be a liar. The fact that Israel as a nation were ‘not believing’ in their Messiah, didn’t effect the actual power of the Messiah to be believed on among the Gentile nations. A couple of things here; dispensational theology teaches that the Kingdom of God has been postponed until Christ’s return. I think this contradicts Paul's argument. Paul said Israel’s unbelief could not negate the full purpose of God. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and is presently seated at God’s right hand proves this. Also Paul will teach later in this letter that the actual reason why salvation has gone out to the gentiles is because Israel rejected Messiah. In essence Israel’s unbelief could not negate what God purposed to do all along.
(825) ROMANS 3:19-31 ‘Now we know that what things the law says, it says to those who are under the law… that every mouth may be stopped and all the world becomes guilty before God’. One of the questions that arise as a response to Paul’s gospel is ‘if the law cannot make us righteous, then why even have it’? Paul will consistently teach the concept that Gods intention for the law was simply to reveal mans sin to him. Man would have this ‘form’ of the law written on stone tablets and as he tried to live up to God’s standards he would come to the proper diagnosis that all men are sinners. This diagnosis would then lead him to a place of faith in Jesus. After he believes in Jesus he then fulfills the law naturally, out of having a new nature ‘yea, we establish the law’ [3:31]. I have found it interesting over the years to teach people this. To explain to sincere people, church goers. To say ‘did you know the bible says that no man can be saved by trying to obey Gods Ten Commandments’? I will always explain that this doesn't mean that God wants us to break them! But when we come to the Cross we by nature keep them. These verses lay down the foundation of ‘justification by faith’. He that believes is righteous. To declare Jesus righteousness for the remission of sins that are past. Having faith ‘in His Blood’. Both Jews and Gentiles need to be made righteous thru faith/belief in Jesus. I want to establish this fact in your mind. Paul without a doubt describes this experience as being ‘justified by faith’. This is the same as saying ‘believing with the heart unto righteousness’. Later on [chapter 10] this needs to be understood when parsing the verses that say ‘with the heart a man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation’ many are confused about this, to get it right you need to see that Paul spends much time early on establishing the fact that ‘those who believe unto righteousness’ are justified by faith already!
Below are just a few clips from Romans 1-3- I hope to hit on these in the video.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Galatians 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that hemight be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Rom 3:26
John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John.*