05.5 Romans – Forbearance

Forbearance is an interesting word and one we seldom use.  It means to “patiently endure” but it is far deeper (and far more cool) than what those words explain.

The question Paul poses is, on a timeline, there have been a whole lot of people who have been born, lived, sinned and died, prior to Jesus;  What about them?  If God is fair and just, shouldn’t they have received the wrath that was due them?  Did they get a “free pass”?  If so, how is that considered right?  Shouldn’t we all get a free pass, then?  And, if there are “free passes”, why do we need Jesus?

Fortunately, Paul also answers the questions he poses for us in the book of Romans!

God did not give a “free pass”.  God did not excuse their sin.  That would be unjust and God is Just.

Instead, God “forbore” it.  “For” (as in before) God “bore” (as in carried, like carrying the debt of another or carrying the burden of another) the just outcome of sin “for” (as in on behalf of) us.  He patiently endured (forbearance) the weight of our injustice, until it, along with all the other sins and injustices of all people and all times (past, present and future) were laid on Jesus who “bore” them on the cross, “for” us so that we might be “forgiven” and thus “given” a new choice, as Adam and Eve were given choice, to accept or reject the gift of His payment “for” our sin.  (I always joked that Paul was the master of run-on sentences and now he has me doing them, too!)

My Answers:

He had left things “un-right” i.e., He had not delivered the just punishment to mankind but had held it back so that Jesus could make the all-redeeming sacrifice that would resolve the earned punishment

By whole-heartedly putting my trust and faith in Jesus Christ and offering the life He has given to me as a tool for Him to use to spread the good news and help and support His bride, the church.


05.4 Romans – The “WHY” – Atonement

Yesterday we studied Justification and Redemption – the what’s of God’s plan for us.  Today we study Atonement, the why.

While the bible is full of insights so that we can learn about our great God, there are few places where God plainly explains why He does what He does.  On one hand, this is because He is the King, we are not, and He does not have to constantly explain Himself to us.  On the other hand, we sometimes fail to see that all of the reasons tie back to the “whys” that He does provide.

Let me explain what I mean.  John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Why was Jesus given to us?  Because “God so loved the world.”  Did He love the world because of something we did or said?  No, He just “so love the world.”  Was this a loan, something we are expected to pay back?  What is in it for God?  “He so loved the world.”  It is all about and all stems from His love of us.  Period.  End.  But, why does He love us?  Because He does.  He gets to make that choice and decision and He chose to love us deeply.

We were made in God’s image and Adam and Eve lived in complete harmony and community with God.  As the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One, we were part of that.  We were part of the “one-ness” of God.  When we chose (and choose each day) sin, we chose/choose to pull away from that “one-ness” with God even while every fiber of our soul yearns for it.

As sinners, we could not and cannot rejoin the one-ness of a purely holy being.  But, In His love for us, God has always yearned for us to be rejoined to Himself.  So, since we could not ascend to Him, He descended to us.  He became fully man and paid the price of our sin, so that through Him, would could again become holy and live with Him forever.  There is no path other than through Him, because no one else has the ability to remove the sin.

Christ’s “sacrifice of atonement” is the sacrifice made by the priests on Yom Kippur (Kippur means Atonement).  But unlike that day which was the only day of the year that the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, Christ’s sacrifice was complete and never needs repeating.  He is our High Priest and stands in the tabernacle every day.  His “atonement” allows us to once again be “at-one-with” our God.

We also get one more glimpse of a “why” of God in the verses today.  “He did this to demonstrate His Righteousness.”   What we could not do in our unrighteousness, Jesus accomplished – as fully man, like us – demonstrating that it was not impossible (which would not have been fair or just) but that it was only impossible for us on our own.

My Answers:

We originally were made in God’s image and walked with Him, but sin separated us from holiness. The sacrifice Christ has made provides the avenue to again be “at-one-with” our creator through acceptance of the gift, repentance, faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was His plan from the beginning – because there is not greater love. By giving my life into His hands.

05.3 Romans – The “WHAT” – Justification through Redemption

Illustration: You are a guest at an amazing place built by a family member.  While there, you steal something that does not belong to you and sell it to a thief, a common criminal.  However, you don’t realize the true value of what it was and sell it for a percent of a percent of a percent of its true value and worth.

Your crime is discovered, you are arrested and await trial.  Although your family member has no desire to do you harm, Justice demands that things be made right.  You have no means of doing this.

You appear before the judge and receive your sentence.  “Not Guilty”.

What?  Did the judge make an error?  How did this happen?

Through investigation you find that your family member went out, and at great personal cost, bought back what you stole to satisfy justice.

You have been found not guilty, not because of error, not because of something you did, not because of a technicality, but because someone else – the actual person that you stole from – paid the price of your injustice.


My Answers:

Not graded on a curve – It is not how we compare to others but the choices we have made through our own volition (whatever we think, say, or do, not only those acts that we have done but also those left undone and even the entertainment of the thoughts of doing/not doing them)

To be declared not guilty not by inaccuracy but by substitution of Jesus and His act and representation

Redemption: To be bought back (as in out of slavery). God is willing to pay the ultimate price to buy us back to the glory He has ordained

I am not earning this and this is nothing I have that gives value to God that He has not. But by love He wants me home. My response needs to be to get down and kneel and thank Him and seek to shine the light to others


05.2 Romans – Have – Not Do

Over and over again, as I study the bible I see God pointing out how much our thinking is upside down and inside out from His.  We expect a mighty conqueror, He shows up as a humble baby.  We expect a king to serve, He spends His ministry on earth serving others.

It showed up again today in this whole “apart from the law” thing.  The Jews, who were the recipients of the law, had attached themselves firmly to the law.  Think about what the word “adhere” means – stuck to like glue or tape.  Their everyday was focused on adhering to the law.  It was something out there, something you reached and strived for, but never quite achieved fully.

But, God’s word says it isn’t what is “out there” but what is “in here”.  Faith is not a striving or reaching, it is an acceptance of a gift.  Jesus isn’t some “out there” being that we try to appease, He is in us in the presence of the Holy Spirit for all who believe.

Even back in the time of Jeremiah, God was relaying this covenant.  He will remember their sins no more because He places the law in them, in their minds and on their hearts, not because they reach for it with their fingertips.  It is not just the law itself, but the fulfillment of the law that Jesus paid through His life, death and resurrection, that God places in us who believe.

Being made right – righteousness – is something that God places in us.  Faith doesn’t go out and grab the righteousness or purchase it.  Faith simply unlocks the door from the inside so that God is welcomed to come in and make us right.


My Answers:

Righteousness is being made right, restored to the side of God. It comes from God and given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, Jew and Gentile alike.

It was not by supreme adherence to the law alone that righteousness came into the world, but by a an act of grace and love that was outside of the law but completed the law

G: Abram, who preceded Moses, was counted as righteous by faith
J: God covenants that all will know Him and he will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more because they carry the law in them not by adherence
Ez: Through a new heart and the indwelling of the H/S

All who believe – Read hear heed

4.5 Romans – Direction not Destination

Picture this, there is a huge sign with an arrow on it by the side of a road pointing north.  I’m driving on the road and see the sign from miles away.  I keep going and finally reach the sign.  As soon as I’m to the north of the sign I pull over and park.

This is what Paul is trying to convey that the Jews were doing.  The law was a sign, given to them to point the way to righteousness.  It was direction not destination.  But as soon as they, in their own self-judgment, could justify that they were on the north side of the sign, they acted like they had arrived.  They may have reached the first hilltop, but the mountain range ahead was something they could not climb on their own.

We shouldn’t bow down and worship the sign.  We shouldn’t stop and take selfies showing we’ve arrived at the sign.  We should pay attention to the direction the sign points.

The signs did not point to how to achieve righteousness and holiness through our own works.  The signs all point to Jesus, the fulfiller of the law.  You have not arrived, unless you are with Him.

My Answers:

The law is not a mountain to climb, it is an example/measure to show how far we are from holiness and to point the way.

No one who knows the law and is truthful can claim they have followed every command in every thought, word and deed both in what they have done and what they have left undone.

It screams for me to lay down any thoughts that I’m earning salvation in any way shape or form.

4.4 Romans – Fear of God

Should we go running in fear from God?  Should we shake in our boots at the thought of Him?  Should His presence make us tremble?

God is not some character from a horror movie.  He is not a bad guy, jumping out of the darkness to get us.

The opposite is true.  God is love.  God is light, in Him there is no darkness.  He is a good God who saves us.

So why should we then fear God?  I think the answer is in two ways that we can relate to.

One is to think about electricity.  We use electricity every day in many different ways.  Without it, our lives would be extremely different.  But we also recognize the power of electricity and have a rational fear to not go out of bounds with it.  We don’t take metal rods and try to touch overhead power lines.  We don’t stick our fingers in fuse boxes.

God is far more powerful than electricity and the same things apply to our need to obey the laws of God.

Second is to think about our parents.  For many of us growing up, most of the adults who knew us also knew our parents.  While we were tempted to act out, we recognized that we were not only representing ourselves, but we also were reflecting on our parents.  When we lied or cheated or stole, it affected how others in the community thought about our family, not just us.  We lived with a fear of dishonoring our families by giving in to temptations.

Hypocrisy is one of the leading arguments that people give for not attending church.  When we say one thing and do something else, we reflect poorly on what it is to be a Christ follower and dishonor God.

My Answers:

lack righteousness, lack understanding, do not seek God, turn away from God, become worthless, do not do good, to have a throat that is an open grave to a dead heart, a deceitful tongue, poison on lips, mouth full of cursing and bitterness, in a hurry to shed blood, path of background is marked with ruin and misery, do not know the way of peace and do not fear God.

The poison of vipers is on their lips. throats are open graves. We are filled with death and our lips are an means to spread pain and death to others.
What comes out of the mouth shows the character of the heart.

There is no fear of God before their eyes. This is a quote from Psalm 36:1, so true in Old and New

To recognize how my sins and misdeeds dishonor my Father, Brother and Spirit and how they also cause others to turn away from Him and think wrongly of Him

4.3 Romans – My Mom was right!

I tried using the argument with my mom on many occasions that I should be allowed to do something or have something because “everyone else is doing it.”  She would point out to me that just because everyone is doing something doesn’t make it right.

Well, Mom was right.  Just because I sin, you sin and everyone else who has ever lived (except Jesus) has sinned, doesn’t make it right.  It just makes us all sinners.

Our attitude should be to see it through the eyes of our loving Father.  He doesn’t want what is popular for us, He wants what is best.  In this case, everyone’s lives (left to their own desires) leads to jumping off a cliff.  He points to Jesus and the bridge He provided over the chasm of death to eternal life.

You may not have paid attention to your mother when she said it, but please pay attention to your Heavenly Father!

My Answers:

Our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness. e.g., Comparing God to me show just how wonderful he is so by sinning I’m actually helping God and showing His righteousness and mercy. I’m a contrast to God.

Sin is wrong and brings dishonor to us and to God. We should despise sin and study, fast and pray with the power of the Holy Spirit to avoid sin, not to excuse it. The fact that everyone does it does not make it good or right, it just means everyone is a sinner.