March - Reading 9

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    I was really hoping I could find a map that showed the military actions of the Israelites in tonight's reading but I was unsuccessful. The Jews are defeating many foes in the plains of Moab with bold attacks and strong withdraws back into their encampments.
    Perhaps the most entertaining passage in Numbers, however is the story of Balaam and his donkey. The poor little beast can see the angel of the Lord while Balaam can not and receives three beatings for disobedience. What I find humorous is that Balaam doesn't seem surprised by the animal talking!
    Balaam was a pagan diviner that we find mentioned again in scripture in Numbers 31:7-8: 15-16; Dueteronomy 23:3-6; Joshua 13:22: 24:9-10; Nehemiah 13:1-3; Micah6:5; 2Peter 2:15-16; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14. He is never mentioned in a good light.

    My comment on the reading in Matthew of the signs of the Second Coming is that it is set on the Mount of Olives. This would be a very dramatic setting for this type of prophecy. It is a ridge east of Jerusalem 200 feet above the city. Very powerful imagery!

    The reading in Romans is Paul's further explanation of his analogy of death in sin and life in Christ. Paul is reiterating the obligations of conduct and explains that our new lives make us slaves to righteousness. He seems quite concerned that the concept of grace through faith would cause moral abandon. He hammers this quite thoroughly in his letter to the Romans, a well known decadent society.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture – 10/30/05

    Romans 6:15-23

    Paul continues his discussion of sanctification in chapter 6 with the characteristic diatribe style he has used through most of the Letter so far. The question raised in 6:1 is, “Why should I cease sinning if God’s grace abounds over it and shows His great love to the rest of mankind?” The question in verses 15 is, “If Christians are not under the law, which forbids all sin, but are under grace, which pardons sin, will it not follow that they will feel themselves released from obligation to be holy? (Barnes)”

    The argument Paul had made concerning the doctrine of justification apart from the Law would lead the unseen antagonist to a conclusion that for the Christian all is permissible. While many of Paul’s arguments were directed against the legalists that permeated the early (and modern) churches, the other extreme of libertinism was (and is) also a constant threat. Salvation in the present tense carries with it a mark of moral conduct that demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit. Though the Law of Moses has no dominion over those saved by grace, there is a Law of Christ to which we are subjects (Galatians 6:2). Observing and following this new Law is the essence of sanctification.

    Romans 6:15-19 The Works of Slavery

    In verse 13 Paul had used the military terminology of “instruments” in his discussion of conduct. He now switches to the terminology of slavery. Both the military and the slave industry were well known institutions in the Roman world with much in common. However, it is likely that a higher percentage of Paul’s audience in Rome were slaves than soldiers. Once again, the question being asked in the diatribe is, ““If Christians are not under the law, which forbids all sin, but are under grace, which pardons sin, will it not follow that they will feel themselves released from obligation to be holy? (Barnes)”

    It is set forth in this Passage that it is man’s lot in life to be a slave. As such, man always has an obligation of obedience. Paul’s familiar formula of “Do you not know (KJV – Know ye not)” in verse 16 suggests once again that this concept of becoming slaves to sin or righteousness was a commonly taught doctrine in the early churches. Obedience to sin leads to spiritual death while obedience to righteousness leads to eternal life. There is no middle ground.

    Verse 17 begins a two-verse thanksgiving. This praise arises from the fact that the members of the Roman audience had once been slaves to the tyrant of sin but were now wholly and sincerely obedient to the teachings they had received. That standard of teaching came first from the teachings of Christ and sets one free from the bondage of sin. In being released from sin’s bondage, the believer commits himself to voluntary servitude to righteousness.

    This concept of servitude to a standard of teaching (KJV – form of doctrine) is important in the Christian life. While personal commitment is the heart of the faith and salvation experience, the moral code of conduct preserved in the Scriptures is a well-established element throughout church history. It is this standard on which the decisions of our daily lives should be based. This underscores the necessity of Bible study for the Christian. Paul states emphatically that the observance of Christian doctrine makes us voluntary slaves of righteousness. The idea of being committed, literally “handed over,” to unchanging, sound doctrine becomes quite elevated in the many of the Pauline Letters (2Thessalonians 2:15; 2Timothy 1:13-14).

    The freedom we receive in Christ is by no means libertinism. It is not “situational ethics.” It is freedom from sin’s dominion but it is a commitment to servitude towards Christ. Paul calls himself a slave (servant) of Christ no less than a dozen times throughout his Epistles. Without a code of conduct we would be subject to our own sinful nature once again. As Paul says in Galatians 5:13, we are called to liberty, but that liberty is to be used to serve one another. In Christ’s teachings, serving our neighbor is serving God (Mark 12:33).

    Paul inserts a parenthetical apology in verse 19. He was speaking in “human terms” because the analogy of slave and master best demonstrated to the Romans the point he was attempting to make. Perhaps the idea of slavery may have been upsetting to some if not many of his audience who were in human bondage (1Corinthians 7:22). For the Galatians, Paul had used the analogy of “heirs,” a much more loving relationship. Even for the foolish Galatians, however, Paul’s lecture on liberty is followed by a list of vices of the flesh and characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. It could also be that Paul was apologizing for using such a worldly analogy for such a spiritual matter. He may have felt that the slavery analogy fell short in explanation but the lack of knowledge of the Roman audience called for a “dumbing down” of the subject.

    The “impurity (KJV-uncleanness)” spoken of by Paul in verse 19 speaks of the believers pre-justified state in relation to man and the “iniquity” with his attitude towards God. The yielding of themselves to God had caused repentance in the Romans and they no longer held to these unchristlike practices. Now they yielded themselves to sanctification.

    The word “sanctification” in verse 19 implies a progressive process. It begins with regeneration and justification but it continues throughout the entire life of the Christian. It is a striving towards perfection. (Philipians 3:12)

    Romans 6:20-23 The Wages of Slavery

    It is at the moment of dedication of one’s life to Christ that sanctification begins. Without faith in Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit, one can not become holy. The two destinies afforded man were described in terms of slavery in verses 15-20 but now the discussion turns to freedom.

    The first form of freedom mentioned is freedom from righteousness. Before believers experience the power of God’s righteous act of the Gospel men are slaves of sin and as such they toil to produce impurity and iniquity. At that time there was no recognition of the righteousness offered in Christ. Reflecting back to those times the believer feels ashamed of his behavior towards man and God. The regeneration of the man through his faith in Christ, however, offers the second freedom, freedom from sin.

    While the slave of sin brings forth the fruit of impurity and iniquity, the one who experiences God’s righteous act now brings forth the fruit of righteousness. The old life would have ended in spiritual death. It would have been an earning from his master of sin. The sanctification the believer produces, however, results in eternal life. Man has the power to choose an eternal destiny of death or life. Eternal death is a wage earned by the slave of sin but eternal life is a gift from God that can not be earned. Sin is a paymaster while God is a giver of gifts.

    The false freedom of libertinism is an illusion. Sin as a personified power holds all those who are not released by God through Christ. He purchased us with the blood of His Son.
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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