Friday 20 September, 2013

Romans 6:15-23

15 What should we say then? Should we sin because we are not ruled by law but by God’s grace? Not at all! 16 Don’t you know that when you give yourselves to obey someone you become that person’s slave? You can be slaves of sin. Then you will die. Or you can be slaves who obey God. Then you will live a godly life. 17 You used to be slaves of sin. But thank God that with your whole heart you obeyed the teachings you were given! 18 You have been set free from sin. You have become slaves to right living. 19 Because you are human, you find this hard to understand. So I have said it in a way that will help you understand it. You used to give the parts of your body to be slaves to unclean living. You were becoming more and more evil. Now give your bodies to be slaves to right living. Then you will become holy. 20 Once you were slaves of sin. At that time right living did not control you. 21 What benefit did you gain from doing the things you are now ashamed of? Those things lead to death! 22 You have been set free from sin. God has made you his slaves. The benefit you gain leads to holy living. And the end result is eternal life. 23 When you sin, the pay you get is death. But God gives you the gift of eternal life because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.

What is true freedom?  A lot has been written about Freedom – people have lived & died for it – we all have our own definition of what freedom is & what it looks like to us – Paul sets it out here.

There’s a choice in the way we live – ignore God live our own way, choose sin – leading to things we are ashamed of & ultimately death OR choose God – His ways, leading to holiness & eternal life – & get a “whole, healed, put together life right now” (Msg).

When it’s that simple I know my choice is a no-brainer … V23 (Msg) Work hard for sin your whole life & your pension is death.  But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

Thank you Father, I choose your gift.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    To add to what you have said it is important to understand what ‘sin’ actually is.
    ———
    The original new testament meaning of the word ‘sin’ is simply ‘to miss the mark’ as in ‘an archer who shoots an arrow and completely misses the target’.
    I believe this also implies using an object for a purpose that it was never intended for, as in using a hammer instead of a key to unlock a door. Now this sounds arbitrary until you realise that most of the biblical warnings ‘not to sin’ are framed in the context that Man was designed by God for a purpose. For example people were not designed to have many sexual partners (1 Tim3:2) because it damages the bonding process amongst other things. In the same way people where not designed to get ‘drunk’ (Eph 5:18) because it lead to a loss of sound judgement amongst other things.
    ———
    That being said, ‘sin’ definitely has a reward, if it didn’t people wouldn’t choose that path. (Heb 11:24) says that Moses chose to be with his people rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

    Finally if you were to study the bible to identify the gravest of sins you will discover they all have one common element and that is a very powerful ability to deceive you (warp your perception) into thinking that you will not ‘reap what you sow’.

    Thanks Suzie, that’s a tough topic.

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Thursday 19 September, 2013

Romans 6:1-14

6 What should we say then? Should we keep on sinning so that God’s grace can increase? 2 Not at all! As far as sin is concerned, we are dead. So how can we keep on sinning? 3 All of us were baptized into Christ Jesus. Don’t you know that we were baptized into his death? 4 By being baptized, we were buried with Christ into his death. Christ has been raised from the dead by the Father’s glory. And like Christ we also can live a new life. 5 By being baptized, we have been joined with him in his death. We will certainly also be joined with him in his resurrection. 6 We know that what we used to be was nailed to the cross with him. That happened so our sinful bodies would lose their power. We are no longer slaves of sin. 7 Those who have died have been set free from sin. 8 We died with Christ. So we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ was raised from the dead and will never die again. Death doesn’t control him anymore. 10 When he died, he died once and for all time as far as sin is concerned. Now that he lives, he lives as far as God is concerned. 11 In the same way, consider yourselves to be dead as far as sin is concerned. Now that you believe in Christ Jesus, consider yourselves to be alive as far as God is concerned. 12 So don’t let sin rule your body, which is going to die. Don’t obey its evil longings. 13 Don’t give the parts of your body to serve sin. Don’t let them be used to do evil. Instead, give yourselves to God. You have been brought from death to life. Give the parts of your body to him to do what is right. 14 Sin will not be your master. Law does not rule you. God’s grace has set you free.

I was baptised when I was 14 in a backyard swimming pool. The Pastor of my church asked me to read this passage through and understand it before the service. Back then v13 really hit me…

“give yourselves completely to God…

use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”

25 years later I can say with all my heart I still want nothing more.

The day I got baptised I stood up and said that I believed Jesus died for me and that this marked the day I would live for Him. The amazing thing was that a visitor to our Church came to watch the service and on hearing my testimony (and the others who were getting baptised that day) decided he wanted to become a Christian as well.

Jesus calls us to be baptised and follow Him. And amazing things happen when we do. Maybe today God is calling you to the deeper commitment of getting baptised.

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    After reading your post, I feel like getting baptised again!

    quote of the day

    ‘Jesus calls us to be baptised and follow Him and amazing things happen when we do.’

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Wednesday 18 September, 2013

Romans 5:12-21

12 Sin entered the world because one man sinned. And death came because of sin. Everyone sinned, so death came to all people. 13 Before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not judged when there is no law. 14 Death ruled from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. Death ruled even over those who did not sin as Adam did. He broke God’s command. But he also became a pattern of the One who was going to come. 15 God’s gift is different from Adam’s sin. Many people died because of the sin of that one man. But it was even more sure that God’s grace would also come through one man. That man is Jesus Christ. God’s gift of grace was more than enough for the whole world. 16 The result of God’s gift is different from the result of Adam’s sin. God judged one sin. That brought guilt. But after many sins, God’s gift made people right with him. 17 One man sinned, and death ruled because of his sin. But we are even more sure of what will happen because of what the one man, Jesus Christ, has done. Those who receive the rich supply of God’s grace will rule with Christ in his kingdom. They have received God’s gift and have been made right with him. 18 One man’s sin brought guilt to all people. So also one right act made all people right with God. And all who are right with God will live. 19 Many people were made sinners because one man did not obey. But one man did obey. That is why many people will be made right with God. 20 The law was given so that sin would increase. But where sin increased, God’s grace increased even more. 21 Sin ruled because of death. So also grace rules in the lives of those who are right with God. The grace of God brings eternal life because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done.

The words ‘sin,’ ‘sinned’ and ‘sinners’ are mentioned in this passage eleven times, and the similar words, ‘trespass’ and ‘trespasses’ are mentioned a further six times. So much sin, so much going against God’s way, every person tainted with the failure to live up to God’s perfect standards. I find it easy to focus on the issue of sin, of how many times I mess up, and of all the times I fall short of God’s call.

And yet, in verse fifteen there is this rather short but all-important word that I can’t afford to miss.

BUT.

It’s used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been stated.

Yes, there’s an issue of sin. Yes, the consequence is death. BUT, in contrast to this dark picture, I have hope, and it’s not dependent on me. God’s abundant provision of grace, a free gift, available to me through faith in Jesus, transforms me such that I am no longer a sinner, but righteous and justified. Yes, the beginning of the story is dark, BUT it is eclipsed by the incredible rescue carried out by my God.

Am I living in the light of God’s rescue, or do I keep looking back to where I used to be? Lord, help me to live in the reality of your rescue, help me to focus on what you have done and are doing in my life, and not on my shortcomings. Thank you for the BUT, which changes everything. Today Lord I walk knowing I am righteous and justified because of Jesus. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

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3 replies
  1. Dimity Milne says:

    Your words are beautifully crafted Beth. You state the gospel in three lines! Yes; we take the road less travelled by, BUT that has made all the difference. Grace upon grace, we walk in victory when we walk in your Presence Lord, restored to us in the Holy Spirit.

  2. Kim Fleming says:

    Love it! What a world it would’ve been without the law & no grace compared with now when grace abounds. Thankyou Jesus

  3. David Newton says:

    I really appreciate the immediacy of your prayer.
    The ‘rescue’ happened a long time ago but you are conscious of it’s influence now. You are aware of it’s effect on you here now today. — That is the basis for genuine worship.

    Thanks

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Tuesday 17 September, 2013

Romans 5:1-11

5 We have been made right with God because of our faith. Now we have peace with him because of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through faith in Jesus we have received God’s grace. In that grace we stand. We are full of joy because we expect to share in God’s glory. 3 And that’s not all. We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. 4 The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. 5 And hope will never let us down. God has poured his love into our hearts. He did it through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us. 6 At just the right time Christ died for ungodly people. He died for us when we had no power of our own. 7 It is unusual for anyone to die for a godly person. Maybe someone would be willing to die for a good person. 8 But here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 The blood of Christ has made us right with God. So we are even more sure that Jesus will save us from God’s anger. 10 Once we were God’s enemies. But we have been brought back to him because his Son has died for us. Now that God has brought us back, we are even more secure. We know that we will be saved because Christ lives. 11 And that is not all. We are full of joy in God because of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of him, God has brought us back to himself.

Verse 3 is such a bold verse – declaring that we can rejoice when we run into troubles! I should never be surprised when trouble comes because God has clearly told me ” In this world you will have trouble” (John16:33) and yet somehow I still am. I think perhaps I have an unspoken sense of what “trouble” means and how much “trouble” I need to develop my endurance and strength of character. Any yet – despite this – more trouble still comes – catching me off guard.

Paul writes we can rejoice… because we know that trouble helps us.

I have to get my mind around the truth of this. God is using the “trouble” in my life – for my good. God is taking the difficult, the painful and the seemingly unbearable events in my life and shaping me. When I pray “Lord make me like you” – He is answering my prayer.

Oh God – help me to lift my eyes off my “trouble” so I can see you walking with me through everything. I want to be able to celebrate your goodness in the midst of what is going on.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    We all have trouble from time to time in varying lengths and intensities.
    ——
    To say we can be full of joy is not natural, but that is the point it isn’t natural it is supernatural. In this instance Paul points out the basis for his joy is his right-standing with God (verse 1).

    For me, 1 Cor 10:13, 2 Cor 4:7-10, Heb 12:1-12 help in times of extreme personal difficulty.
    ——-
    Ultimately the question is not ‘How are we going to handle the ‘storms of life’ but who is our focus on amidst the storm.

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Monday 16 September, 2013

Romans 4:13-25

13 Abraham and his family received a promise. God promised that Abraham would receive the world. It would not come to him because he obeyed the law. It would come because of his faith, which made him right with God. 14 Do those who obey the law receive the promise? If they do, faith would have no value. God’s promise would be worthless. 15 The law brings God’s anger. Where there is no law, the law can’t be broken. 16 The promise is based on God’s grace. The promise comes by faith. All of Abraham’s children will certainly receive the promise. And it is not only for those who are ruled by the law. Those who have the same faith that Abraham had are also included. He is the father of us all. 17 It is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” (Genesis 17:5) God considers Abraham to be our father. The God that Abraham believed in gives life to the dead. Abraham’s God also speaks of things that do not exist as if they do exist. 18 When there was no reason for hope, Abraham believed because he had hope. He became the father of many nations, exactly as God had promised. God said, “That is how many children you will have.” (Genesis 15:5) 19 Without becoming weak in his faith, Abraham accepted the fact that he was past the time when he could have children. At that time he was about 100 years old. He also realized that Sarah was too old to have children. 20 But he kept believing in God’s promise. He became strong in his faith. He gave glory to God. 21 He was absolutely sure that God had the power to do what he had promised. 22 That’s why “God accepted Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God.” 23 The words “God accepted Abraham’s faith” were written not only for Abraham. 24 They were written also for us. We believe in the God who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. So God will accept our faith and make us right with himself. 25 Jesus was handed over to die for our sins. He was raised to life in order to make us right with God.

The circumstances around us can sometimes be a guide to what God’s plans are, but often not.

Based on what Abraham saw, God’s promises were clearly not going to happen. He was old and Sarah was well past the age for having children. How could he be the father of anyone, let alone many nations?

And yet, he believed God.

“Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.” God’s promises are not constrained by the world we are in. He made that world, and He can change it too. If God promised it, it will happen.

God describes his promise in the past tense: “I have made you the father of many nations.” If God promises it, it is already so … though, perhaps in a bit of time we haven’t come to yet.

It can be easy to embellish God’s promises with our expectations of how he will do it, as Abraham did when he slept with Hagar. Or to reshape God’s promises to be what we want them to be. It’s so important to go back to the promise, and to believe just what He said.

And God did fulfil his promise in a son, but even more importantly in the righteousness God credited to Abraham because of his faith.

The best bit of this is that it was not written down as interesting bits of history. It was recorded because that is for me too. If I believe God who raised Jesus from the dead, I am counted as righteous too. God gives me a right relationship with Him, even if the world around me tells me otherwise.

Written by David Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    This is a very important passage in the Bible because it describes the most fundamental elements of what we believe as Christians.

    I think you have done justice to these verses.

    Your comment on not embellishing or reshaping God’s promises to us is so important because God is not bound to for-fill what he didn’t promise and our misinformed expectation can lead to serious disappointment in God. — Genesis 3:1 actually points to the existence of adversarial forces that work hard at changing our understanding of what God has said.

    Interestingly the heart of God’s promise to us is salvation and this is presented to us in all three tenses in the Bible. That is:

    Past tense – We have been saved from the penalty of sin.
    Present tense – We are being saved from the power of sin.
    Future tense – We will be freed from the presence of sin.
    ———

    Very thought provoking David, thanks.

    Quote of the Day
    ‘If God promised it, it will happen.’

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Sunday 15 September, 2013

Romans 4:1-12

4 What should we say about those things? What did our father Abraham discover about being right with God? 2 Did he become right with God because of something he did? If so, he could brag about it. But he couldn’t brag to God. 3 What do we find in Scripture? It says, “Abraham believed God. God accepted Abraham’s faith, and so his faith made him right with God.” (Genesis 15:6) 4 When a man works, his pay is not considered a gift. It is owed to him. 5 But things are different with God. He makes evil people right with himself. If people trust in him, their faith is accepted even though they do not work. Their faith makes them right with God. 6 King David says the same thing. He tells us how blessed some people are. God makes those people right with himself. But they don’t have to do anything in return. David says, 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless acts are forgiven. Blessed are those whose sins are taken away. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord never counts against him.” (Psalm 32:1,2) 9 Is that blessing only for those who are circumcised? Or is it also for those who are not circumcised? We have been saying that God accepted Abraham’s faith, and so his faith made him right with God. 10 When did it happen? Was it after Abraham was circumcised, or before? It was before he was circumcised, not after! 11 He was circumcised as a sign of the covenant God had made with him. It showed that his faith had made him right with God before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the father of all believers who have not been circumcised. God accepts their faith. So their faith makes them right with him. 12 Abraham is also the father of the circumcised who believe. So just being circumcised is not enough. Those who are circumcised must also follow the steps of our father Abraham. He had faith before he was circumcised.

“Blessed are those whose sin the Lord will never count against them” That means all of us! There are 3 important points in this passage.

  1. It is only by faith that we are saved. Our good works can add nothing at all to our salvation – it is God who saves us, not our deeds.
  2. Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness BEFORE he received the sign of circumcision. It is not obeying the law which saves us, and never was! God’s plan all along was salvation by faith. He gave the law to show us the need for that salvation and the need for that faith.
  3. That means that anyone who believes God is a child of Abraham. Boundaries are broken down by this realisation. We need to remember it today too. It doesn’t matter what people’s backgrounds are – if they have faith in Jesus as their Lord and saviour they will be saved.

It is so easy to fall into trying to do things to ‘help God’ with our salvation. We need to remember that absolutely nothing can add to God’s love and grace for us. Remember to thank him for the free gift of salvation today!

Written by Megan Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Quote of the Day

    ‘We need to remember that absolutely nothing can add to God’s love and grace for us.’

    Awesome!

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Saturday 14 September, 2013

Romans 3:21-31

21 But now God has shown us how to become right with him. The Law and the Prophets give witness to this. It has nothing to do with obeying the law. 22 We are made right with God by putting our faith in Jesus Christ. That happens to all who believe. It is no different for the Jews than for anyone else. 23 Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory. 24 The free gift of God’s grace makes all of us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. 25 God gave him as a sacrifice to pay for sins. So he forgives the sins of those who have faith in his blood. God did all of that to prove that he is fair. Because of his mercy he did not punish people for the sins they had committed before Jesus died for them. 26 God did that to prove in our own time that he is fair. He proved that he is right. He also made right with himself those who believe in Jesus. 27 So who can brag? No one! Are people saved by obeying the law? Not at all! They are saved because of their faith. 28 We firmly believe that people are made right with God because of their faith. They are not saved by obeying the law. 29 Is God the God of Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of those who aren’t Jews? Yes, he is their God too. 30 There is only one God. When those who are circumcised believe in him, he makes them right with himself. When those who are not circumcised believe in him, he also makes them right with himself. 31 Does faith make the law useless? Not at all! We agree with the law.

What a powerful passage – All have fallen short of God’s glory and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption of Jesus Christ.

All is such a powerful and inclusive word.  I am like everyone else; God doesn’t treat me any differently based on race, parenting, education or even sin.  He treats me the same and gives me, like everyone the same opportunity to follow His Son through faith.

It doesn’t matter my upbringing, it doesn’t matter my skills, effort or lack thereof, it is faith that matters it is through faith in Jesus that I am justified – Just – If – I – had never sinned!

To be honest there have been times I have thought this sin or another, or the continuance of a besetting sin that I did not have mastery over would disqualify me.   Yet here I am reminded that I need to recognise everyone is in the same boat and that it is through faith that sin is overcome – first by Christ on the cross and now by me through faith in Him.

Father thank you that I am like everyone else and given the same opportunity of relationship with You through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Friday 13 September, 2013

Romans 3:1-20

3 Is there any advantage in being a Jew? Is there any value in being circumcised? 2 There is great value in every way! First of all, the Jews have been given the very words of God. 3 What if some Jews did not believe? Will the fact that they don’t have faith keep God from being faithful? 4 Not at all! God is true, even though every human being is a liar. It is written, “You are right when you sentence me. You are fair when you judge me.” (Psalm 51:4) 5 Doesn’t the fact that we are wrong prove more clearly that God is right? Then what can we say? Can we say that God is not fair when he brings his anger down on us? As you can tell, I am just using human ways of thinking. 6 God is certainly fair! If he weren’t, how could he judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “When I lie, it becomes clearer that God is truthful. It makes his glory shine more brightly. Why then does he find me guilty of sin?” 8 Why not say, “Let’s do evil things so that good things will happen”? Some people actually lie by reporting that this is what we say. They are the ones who should be found guilty. No One Is Right With God 9 What should we say then? Are we Jews any better? Not at all! We have already claimed that Jews are sinners. The same is true of those who aren’t Jews. 10 It is written, “No one is right with God, no one at all. 11 No one understands. No one trusts in God. 12 All of them have turned away. They have all become worthless. No one does anything good, no one at all.” (Psalms 14:1–3; 53:1–3; Ecclesiastes 7:20) 13 “Their throats are like open graves. With their tongues they tell lies.” (Psalm 5:9) “The words from their lips are like the poison of a snake.” (Psalm 140:3) 14 “Their mouths are full of curses and bitterness.” (Psalm 10:7) 15 “They run quickly to commit murder. 16 They leave a trail of failure and pain. 17 They do not know the way of peace.” (Isaiah 59:7,8) 18 “They don’t have any respect for God.” (Psalm 36:1) 19 What the law says, it says to those who are ruled by the law. Its purpose is to shut every mouth and make the whole world accountable to God. 20 So it can’t be said that anyone will be made right with God by obeying the law. Not at all! The law makes us more aware of our sin.

Paul addresses the notion that some people are tempted to feel they are better than others -that their good behaviour justifies them or makes them a better person. But it's clearly stated here that there is no one who is righteous – not one.

As someone who has been a Christian for quite some time now, it's good to be reminded that all of us have the same sinful nature. By grace of God I've been cleaned up and made to look pretty good, but without His grace every one of us (including me) would be out rolling in the pigpen of sin.

I am filled today with gratitude for the life I have because of the grace of God. May I remain ever humbled by what I would have been without Jesus.

Written by Shelley Witt

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2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    I always love reading that God’s faithfulness is not impacted by our unfaithfulness. Not that it is a loophole to do whatever we want but a safety-net if we do!

    I am always interested to hear what you have to say Shelley.

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Thursday 12 September, 2013

Romans 2:17-29

17 Suppose you call yourself a Jew. You trust in the law. You brag that you are close to God. 18 You know what God wants. You agree with what is best because the law teaches you. 19 You are sure you can lead people who are blind. You are sure you are a light for those who are in the dark. 20 You claim to be able to teach foolish people. You can even teach babies. You think that in the law you have all knowledge and truth. 21 You teach others. But you don’t teach yourself! You preach against stealing. But you steal! 22 You say that people should not commit adultery. But you commit adultery! You hate statues of gods. But you rob temples! 23 You brag about the law. But when you break it, you rob God of his honor! 24 It is written, “Those who aren’t Jews say evil things against God’s name because of you.” (Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:22) 25 Circumcision has value if you obey the law. But if you break the law, it is just as if you hadn’t been circumcised. 26 Sometimes those who aren’t circumcised do what the law requires. Won’t God accept them as if they had been circumcised? 27 Many are not circumcised physically, but they obey the law. They will prove that you are guilty. You are breaking the law, even though you have the written law and are circumcised. 28 A man is not a Jew if he is a Jew only on the outside. And circumcision is more than just something done to the outside of a man’s body. 29 No, a man is a Jew only if he is a Jew on the inside. And true circumcision means that the heart has been circumcised. It is done by the Holy Spirit. It is more than just obeying the written Law. Then a man’s praise will not come from others. It will come from God.

­Paul is really challenging the Jewish people in this passage of Scripture.  He takes a swipe at their long held beliefs of privilege associated with being born a Jew and their knowledge of God's law. The Jews pride themselves on their knowledge of God's law but do they really know God?  Do they put God's laws into practise?  Paul goes as far as saying if you are not obeying God's laws then you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile.  This must have truly incensed the Jewish people!

The final couple of verses are even more challenging as Paul goes onto explain that merely obeying God's law is not enough.  Paul goes onto talk about a change in one's heart produced by God's spirit.  A person touched by God's spirit aims to please God and not man.

I found myself asking many a question as a result of this passage:

1.         Is my heart right with God?

2.         Am I looking to please God first and foremost or look good in the eyes of those around me?

3.         Am I obeying God's word?

The things Paul put to the Jews thousands of years ago still challenge us as Christians today.  It is a clear reminder about the dangers of religion and hypocrisy.  If we diligently allow God's spirit to touch us and change us we will avoid these pitfalls.

Dear God, by the power of your Spirit help me to lead a life that is right before you.  Please enable me to seek your praise above the praise of man.  Amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

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1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    For me personally Q2. stands out as significant but we should probably ask ourselves all 3 questions everyday.

    Samuel 16:7 – Says that ‘people look at outward appearance but God looks at the heart’

    This statement was actually made by God directly to Samuel regarding the difference between God and people and is the reason why your questions are so important.

    Awesome questions Ainslie, thanks!

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Wednesday 11 September, 2013

Romans 2:12-16

12 Some people do not know God’s law when they sin. They will not be judged by the law when they die. Others do know God’s law when they sin. They will be judged by the law. 13 Hearing the law does not make a person right with God. People are considered to be right with God only when they obey the law. 14 Those who aren’t Jews do not have the law. Sometimes they just naturally do what the law requires. They are a law for themselves. This is true even though they don’t have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts. The way their minds judge them gives witness to that fact. Sometimes their thoughts find them guilty. At other times their thoughts find them not guilty. 16 People will be judged on the day God appoints Jesus Christ to judge their secret thoughts. That’s part of my good news.

This is a very complex passage. Read in isolation, it seemed to say that those who, not just hear the law, but obey it will be declared righteous in Gods sight (v. 13). But is Paul saying that righteousness is by works? No, Rom 1:17 states that righteousness from God is by faith from first to last. I think Paul is saying that the Jews who are aware of the law of Moses are not to judge the Gentiles according to that law, as they themselves are just as guilty of breaking it.  God is the judge over everyone in the end.  The gentiles who act rightly despite not knowing the law, prove that they have the law in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.

We also have the Holy Spirit in us and He informs our consciences about right and wrong.  We are no longer bound by the letter of the law, we are to hear the word of the gospel and obey it. This is what pleases God.

Lord God may I never take Jesus' sacrifice for me for granted by thinking I can ignore your will. Please reveal your path of righteousness to me through your Holy Spirit and help me to walk in it. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

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1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    I whole hardheartedly agree Dimity, these passages are not easy to comment on because they are both technical & contextually sensitive. I also agree people should not be pre-occupied with references to the Law. In almost all cases this is a reference to the Law of Moses as you have correctly indicated and we are quite far removed from when it existed. However matter of conscience are with us today, right now.

    To me, the prayer you prayed is very important. Thanks!

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