Lesson `1 went well seven attended and got something out of it, thanks to Mike Beachy for his help and all the guys for their input... grace was discussed and understood on a deeper level and that is always good!!
The Letter to the Romans Bible Study #2
Phrase: will of God
Romans 1:8-17 Personal Matters and the Theme of the Epistle
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. “Faith” is in Rome. Believers are in Rome, the gospel is there. Paul is thankful for that.
9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, 10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. In entering in we are part of the Body. A gathering of grace that draws us to people we have never known and knits our hearts with them.
“The will of God” is a phrase we will spend time with. It is the paramount consideration in Jesus’ life, and Paul’s life and it should be in ours. I may desire the come and meet with you but is it “the will of God?” I may have and open door, (2 Cor. 2:12-14) all men may seek me, (Mark 1:7,8) but is it the will of God? “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30
There are many aspects to the will of God, but this angle on it is handled well by Andrew Murray in his book “God’s Will: our dwelling place”
“When the blessed Son became man to lead us to God, He told us that the whole secret of His life was not doing His own will, but yielding Himself to do the will of the Father. In this way, His will would receive and work out that which the will of the Father worked in him. He had been sent, and was delighted to come, for the sole purpose of doing the will of the Father, with His human will and His human body. He was to be our model of a man, a true man, finding His blessedness and His way to God’s glory in the absolute surrender to God’s will. He thus showed us the destiny which man was created for, and the new life He was to bring His people.
These words reveal the innermost meaning of Christ’s redemption. They teach us about the life which we were created for, and out of which we fell in Paradise. They show us what the sinfulness of that fallen state consists of, and that Christ came to deliver us . He seeks to free us from our self-will. They reveal the true human-life and the true son-life -- perfect oneness of will with God’s will. They open the secret power of Christ’s redeeming work -- atoning for our self-will by His loyalty at all costs to God’s will. They divulge the true nature of the salvation and the life He gives us -- the will and the power to say; I delight to do you will, O God.
And how can we enter into this experience of the Father’s nearness, and thus be able to do everything as His will? There is only one way. Jesus Christ must work it in us. And that not as from without, strengthening our faculties or assisting our efforts. No, this blessed doing of the Father’s will is the mark of His life as Son. He can work it in us, as we yield ourselves wholly and receive Him truly to dwell in us. It is right and necessary that we set ourselves with all earnestness and make the attempt. It is only by failure that we really learn how entirely He must and will do all. So inseparably is this “seeking not mine own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me” connected with Jesus Christ, that it is only when He comes in and manifests Himself in the heart and dwells there that He can work this full salvation in us. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matt. 5:6”
11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. The apostle’s ministry is such that a void, becomes visible. He sees the spiritual gift the local body of believers is missing and is drawn to impart it to them. He himself possesses nothing but in His poverty, the Spirit is free to give grace through him.
13 I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. “I” have planned, but it was not the will of God yet - there was still work to be done in the ‘regions beyond’ the reach of the gospel, with those who had never heard.
14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. His life’s purpose is to proclaim the gospel, he is to be poured out for that, he is not ‘his own.’ He is a debtor to them and to all, to preach the gospel.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” The theme of the epistle.
Not ashamed of the gospel. “The gospel is the hinge that allows the door to open.” A quote from Barth that speaks of the importance of the gospel, in relation to the work that Christ did. It is over and above all truth, not in competition. The ‘power of God’ - The gospel of the resurrection - a resurrection done by God, with no help, no propaganda from man, it is its own power. The power of God is pure, pre-eminent and beyond all power. This power is a spiritual truth that has to be apprehended in the Spirit. The characteristic marks of Christianity are deprivation and hope.
‘Unto salvation’ God’s saving revelation to us is, that we are imprisoned, we are far from God, we have deserted Him and the consequences for that desertion are more vast and terrible than we can comprehend. Death is our destiny. Into this reality this ‘terrible revelation’ this ‘holy destruction’ comes the revelation (outward from God - not something we work toward or figure out or earn which is religion) that the Creator shall be our Redeemer. The gospel proclaims the restoration of all that has been lost. ‘Who believes’ - we are still in this world - the burden of sin the curse of death is still where we live but in the midst of that we can believe and live and move and have our being in Jesus. The ‘No” of God in this world has a ‘yes’ from God behind it - at the end of it. A resurrection ‘yes’. The prisoner becomes a watchman. 1 I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.
2 Then the LORD answered me and said,
“Record the vision
And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.
3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:1-3
Faith - belief require a denial of direct immediacy which would be an idol.
Only when that which is believed on is hidden, can it provide an opportunity for faith. The believer puts his trust in God, in God Himself, and in God alone. The gospel can only be believed in; it is a matter of faith only. It demands a choice. The world is bounded by a truth that contradicts it. We are bounded by a will that contradicts us. “Nevertheless” and “in spite of this” become words that get us thru this world. Faith words.
We are given a free choice between trusting only in the material world or faith. A choice that is before us always and everywhere at every moment. The evil voices are easy to recognize, “God doesn’t care” “can’t help” “won’t help” “doesn’t care” “has left us alone.”
The Jew had news of this God first, they were at the frontier of faith but now the “and also” makes it clear the gospel is a universal truth that includes all. All can/must believe in order to see the “righteousness of God” - the gospel is God “affirming Himself by denying us as we are and the world as it is,” a direct quote from the book. In other words, to truly see/believe His righteousness, we must deny any righteousness of our own or any way of attaining righteousness thru the use of or the denial of the things of this world. God displays His mercy by showing us His righteous judgment. “From faith to faith” God’s faithfulness to us is what reveals the righteousness of God to us by faith - and so the words “from faith (His faithfulness) to faith” (our God given belief in what God has revealed.) God has not forgotten men. The Creator has not abandoned creation. We live here but we “look for a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” Faith, belief- faith perceives this - “To those who have abandoned direct communication, the communication is made. Those who take upon them the divine “no” of separation, sin, and death shall themselves be carried by the greater divine “yes” redemption salvation., life. Faith says we ought, we must, we can await the faithfulness of God. In faith-filled believers the word of the O.T. are fulfilled , “The righteous man shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4 There is no other righteousness other than the man who sets himself under judgment, the man who is terrified and hopes. He shall live. He recognizes this life is naught but there is true life in this life - this life of going toward corruption, has within it the seed of incorruption.
Where the faithfulness of God encounters the faith of men there is manifested God’s righteousness. When we acknowledge as truth the “no” of God and grab hold of His love displayed in Jesus Christ - by faith: it is by that faith (in contradiction to all the eye can see and the ear can hear) that we live!!