Serving With Humility

God not only transforms our minds but He also gives us spiritual gifts with which to serve Him and one another. A key word is that “God” gives the spiritual gifts.  We don’t earn the gifts nor are certain gifts matched with different levels of obedience. We are given the gifts to use for His glory and our good.  Here is what Paul writes in chapter 12, verses 3-8:  “3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one […]

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Transformation

Romans 12:1-2 is one of my favorite pair of sentences in the Bible.  The truth that is contained here is amazing.  Yesterday we discussed that we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God; which is our reasonable service.  Today’s verse follows that quite nicely:  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”.   I prefer to focus on the second phrase over the first.  I think that if we allow God to transform […]

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Reasonable Service

I never really gave much thought to the connection between Romans chapter 11 and chapter 12.  I’ve always seen chapter 12 as turning a new page and talking about something different.  That’s true but I want to take a minute to think about the connection between the end of chapter 11 and this beginning verse of chapter 12:  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service”.  The end of chapter 11 focuses on how the wisdom, knowledge and judgment of God […]

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When In Doubt, Praise God!

I doubt if, when Paul wrote what we know as Romans chapter 11, he had any idea of how what he wrote would be interpreted two thousand years later.  I wonder if he had a sense of the “weight” of what he wrote?  I wonder if he wrote through verse 32 and then re-read it before he wrote the last section of this chapter.  I find Paul’s words very comforting as I struggle with understanding, interpreting and applying this section of Romans.  Here is what Paul writes:  “33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of […]

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Israel’s Redemption

Paul writes to the Romans that God is not yet finished with His people, Israel.  Here is what he writes in verses 25-32:  “25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:  “The Deliverer will come out of Zion,  And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them,  When I take away their sins.”  28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but […]

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Broken Branches

Continuing with his use of plant metaphors Paul continues talking about the relationship between Jews and Gentiles and the kingdom.  Here is what he writes in verses 19-24:  “19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they […]

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Holy Fruit, Holy Root

The next section of Romans 11 is a very interesting one.  Here is what Paul writes in verses 11-18:  “11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their all, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!  13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, […]

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God Gives a “Stupor”?

In continuing to comment on Israel’s rejection of God through Jesus Christ Paul writes about how God actually “blinded” some of Israel.  Let’s read verses 7-1O of Romans 11:  “7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written:  “God has given them a spirit of stupor,  Eyes that they should not see  And ears that they should not hear,  To this very day.”  9 And David says:  “Let their table become a snare and a trap,  A stumbling block and a recompense to them.  10 Let their eyes be […]

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Grace not Works

I find Romans 11 to be a very challenging chapter to interpret and apply.  I don’t think that I am alone in this.  The immediate context is God’s work among His people, Israel, yet Paul is writing to Gentiles about God’s work in Israel and then later in the chapter, among the Gentiles.  In the last chapter Paul has written about how, for the most part, Israel rejected Jesus. But in the first paragraph of chapter 11 we read that this rejection isn’t total.  Here are verses 1-6:  “ I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an […]

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