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