Romans 10:14-11:24 in the Context and Flow.
Romans 9:19-10:15 in the Context and Flow.
Romans 9:4-18 in the “Context and Flow.”
Romans 8:31-9:3 in the Context and Flow.
Romans 8:31-9:5 God’s Love In Christ; Paul’s Heaviness of Heart
1. Can anyone be against us?
2. Sparing not His Son.
3. God stands behind the acts of his positioned ones.
4. God’s love can’t be separated from Christ Jesus.
5. Paul’s heaviness of heart.
6. What did Paul mean when he said he wished to be “severed from the Christ”?
7. The Eight privileges of Israelites.
I became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1981. There wasn’t an Apostle telling me what to believe and there were no signs following the message I heard. A friend of mine showed me words on the pages of a book and I believed them.
From that day forward I wanted to learn more about my Savior. I studied the Bible. I was confused in many areas; so was my friend who told me about Christ. When I consulted those who knew more than we did I realized that they were confused in many areas as well. Even the “scholars” disagreed with each other.
Now imagine if I was able to travel back in time to the A.D. 60s and interview a Thessalonian or a Philippian. I would ask him, “How did you come to believe and how do you solve doctrinal problems?” They would say,
“A divinely appointed man told us the truth directly from God and confirmed the word with signs following. He spoke direct truth from God Himself – it was the verbally inspired word of God. We saw incredible signs performed right before our eyes. Those signs confirmed the truth to us. We knew without a doubt that this was in truth the word of God which works in us who believe. Whenever we have questions we either get answers through the agency of the gifts of power God gave to us or we talk to the Apostle directly.”
Wow! How come I can’t have it this easy? I have been short-changed! Or have I?
Question 1: What’s the difference between that day and my day?
Back then they believed through a man who was commissioned by God and confirmed the word with signs following. They had no doubt it was God’s exact message.
In my day I read a text and confirm it by further study. I have been spending 26 years researching the originals, comparing translations, reading what others have said, coming to tentative conclusions, revising them as further light is given, and doing everything in my power using available resources to discover the original intent of the author. I refuse to settle for “Church” interpretations, creeds, or any other lazy way out. I made up my mind to be a life-long progressive Bible student.
Think about how different it would be if I could go directly to a God appointed Apostle to solve my questions.
Question 2: When did the change take place and why?
Apostles are AUTHORIZED teachers. To be an apostle you had to have SEEN the Lord. Anyone who makes that claim today is either a liar or self-deceived. AUTHORIZED Apostles confirmed their message with signs following.
The Lord Jesus didn’t pray for the world; He prayed for His AUTHORIZED agents (John 17). Why? Because the world will be reached through them (John 17).
During the time of the Apostles people became believers by means not used today – an authorized proclamation accompanied by verifying signs. Just read Romans 10:15; 15:18-19; 1 Th. 2:13; 2 Cor. 12:12. People at this time came to know Christ as the Son of God through what they heard and saw. Romans 10:15 is not truth for today.
This state of things is now on hold. Something changed with the close of the Acts. Today there are no AUTHORIZED agents with a message directly from God who can confirm the word with signs following.
The believer today is described in John 20:29 – Blessed are they who believe and have not seen.
But there is one thing that IS AUTHORIZED today – it’s not a person, a group of people, a religious organization, or a Bible study magazine. What is it?
“Be it known therefore unto you, that God’s message which brings salvation has been authorized to the nations, and they will hear it for themselves.” Acts 28:28.
The KJV translates this as follows: “the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.”
The word “salvation” is an adjectival noun. That’s why I translate it “message which brings salvation.”
The word “sent” is the word for Apostle. It means Authorized Agent. In this case a MESSAGE is the authorized agent.
The word “hear” is the future middle. They will hear it for themselves, no “Apostles” needed.
God’s message has been going out to the world on its own authority since Paul uttered these words. This is true of the whole of God’s revelation. Those who are interested in the message hear it for themselves. That means they hunger for it, study it, and pass it on to others. Today we go by what’s WRITTEN.
We have the Bible, God’s spirit, and each other. We study, we learn, we develop working theories, we revise our theories as we learn more and our brethren pitch in. We are Biblical Scientists! We test and adjust our theories as we go. We delight to change with further knowledge.
Never let those who claim that “God speaks to them” or “the Spirit speaks to them” rob you of your inheritance by seducing you into taking the lazy way out. God’s method to knowledge is study. Never glorify laziness under the guise of some “spiritual” experience. There are no short-cuts to the knowledge of God.
God’s message is our AUTHORIZED agent. Never let a man, an organization, or a publication, a “spiritual experience,” and “out of body experience,” or anything else get between you and God’s Apostle for today!
This is how God is working with man today. This won’t change until God breaks the silence and pours out His Spirit upon all flesh and establishes His government. Then, in that day, one will hear a voice behind them saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”
Have I been short-changed? Not at all. John wrote this about me and you:
“Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.” John 20:29.
That’s a blessing that no Apostle or those who heard them ever had.
Search and See!