The Glorious Gospel

(2 Corinthians 3:7-11)

Sometimes it is easy to become complacent about the wondrous opportunity we have been given by God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we take it all for granted, not realising how truly blessed we are to live in this age where we can receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant is only a shadow of the New Covenant
The Old Covenant is only a shadow of the New Covenant

This piece of scripture looks at the gospel of the new covenant and does a comparison with the offer under the old covenant and we recognise just how blessed we are.

While there were many blessings under the old covenant of law, what we have today in Christ Jesus is far, far better. We have an opportunity that was not even remotely possible under the law. So we must take time and effort to understand the gospel and the teachings of the new covenant to take full advantage of ALL that God is offering and make full use of the blessings we have been given freely in Jesus Christ.

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Mystery Revealed

(Romans 16:25-27)

The gospel that was to come through Jesus Christ and the teachings of the new covenant were a mystery to all those who lived before His first coming. But no longer. The mystery has been revealed.

The mystery now revealed
to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. - Romans 16:27

These are the final words Paul wrote to the Roman church as he finished this most informative and significant letter, which God saw fit to provide in His bible for us down to this day.

Nowhere else in the bible is this mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ so clearly and concisely revealed. The book of Romans lays out step by step how we are to progress in the new covenant as we walk the path to life in Jesus Christ.

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Love: The Great Commandment

(Romans 13:8-10)

What is the ultimate expression of the faith and beliefs of a Christian? Is it good works? Is it giving a helping hand when needed? Is it showing our faith is real through the things we do, our behaviours and where we stand when the going gets tough?

Well, all of these things do have a bearing on our Christian life and the walk that we are on with Jesus Christ. All of them are certainly important. But there is a foundation upon which all of these plus many other aspects of the Christian life stand.

That foundation is love. Not love as it is expressed in this world, but the love of God and living a life that reflects His love for us in all we do and say.

God Is Love

Needless to say it is impossible to live a life in Christ unless we express it through the love of God.

The scriptures tell us that God is love and that being true means that He cannot do anything but give His love and show His love to us who are His children.

The opportunity we have to be set free from sin, death and all of the wickedness in this earthly life exists only because God loves us. His grace is nothing more than an expression of His love for anyone who will seek Him out and come to Him to receive His salvation offered through Jesus Christ.

His love also is not like the depictions of love in this world. It is not the soppy mush portrayed in movies and books. It is unique for His love is unlike anything on this earth.

The love of God did not require us to love Him first. He shows that while man was still His enemy He gave man a chance. While man is still a sinner, torn apart by the wretchedness of human passions, emotions and lusts, God offered His grace, and through it His love so that we may be saved.

Furthermore, there is nothing that we can offer in return except ourselves. The Lord Jesus made the point that when He gives us anything it is not as people of the world give. People give to others expecting something in return. But the love of God gives expecting nothing in return for who has anything or can offer anything that would repay God for what He has given to us.

Debt of Love

To that end then we are being trained to love as Christ loved us. We see these sentiments expressed in these verses in Romans 13 saying,

8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

Do not be indebted to anyone except to love them as God and Jesus Christ first loved us. That is the sum of all we are called to. We are called to love.

We know that when Jesus died He took away our sins. And at the same time He also set us free from the law and ordinances of the old covenant as He issued in the New Covenant age.

But we see in the law the expressions of God's love. The commandments we see above are just a few of the Ten Commandments and as each of these ones as well as most of the rest relate to how we treat the people around us, they are by nature expressions of love.

The great commandment in the law was to love one another just as God loves us.

But now that we are free from law, we are freed from this law also. However, we do not reject what the law tells us. Rather we are at greater pains to uphold the truth of the law and the love of the law because it is the nature of God. We may not be bound under law to love, but we are convinced and convicted by the Holy Spirit to live a life of love for it is the Holy Spirit's role to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

So when we are living in the love of God as this scripture informs us, we do not seek to upset, offend or wrong anyone. Instead we seek to help, conciliate, overcome conflicts and seek the peace of God to work in all situations.

This is our call. We are called to be children of God. And to be a child of God is to be a child of love, exhibiting the love of God in us through all that we do and say.

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Mystery of the New Covenant

(Romans 11:25-27)

Unraveling the mystery of the new covenant
Unraveling the mystery of the new covenant

The new covenant was a mystery to the Jews prior to the coming of Jesus Christ. There was much written about it in the law and prophets but it was not understood and revealed in its fullness until Christ came to fulfill the prophecies and to explain the new covenant.

One of the great mysteries of the new covenant is revealed in this section of scripture. But to this day it is still not well understood. And it is because of this particular mystery that many both in the days of Jesus and the disciples right down to today have stumbled over the stumbling stone.

To understand this mystery, indeed all of the mysteries of the new covenant requires faith. And even among some who claim to see this matter, it is evident that they still do not understand it. Their words deny their stated beliefs and as such they do not receive all the promises of the Lord available under the new covenant which rest upon faith. Why is it so?

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Chosen by Grace

(Romans 11:1-6)

The foundations upon which the new covenant rests are twofold.

A covenant of grace
A covenant of grace

First there is the principle of faith. To receive the gifts of God and to enter the kingdom of God requires faith. You cannot receive or achieve anything from God on the basis of works alone, but only through faith for that is the way God has set it up. And faith is the foundation that we must apply. Faith is the bit we have to do. But even faith would not be helpful if it were not for the primary principle that God established.

The principle of grace. If God did not show us His grace that allows all of His good gifts and promises to flow to mankind, especially the Gentile races of the world, then we would all be lost. God opened the door for us through His grace and then everything else followed. It is only by grace that Jesus came and died for our sins and established the pathway to righteousness.

Well can we sing Amazing Grace for it is amazing that God chose us to be found when we were lost and that He chose to show such grace to a people who did not seek Him or know Him.

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Children Of Faith

(Romans 9:6-13)

When Abraham walked the earth he lived a righteous life. He chose to follow the ways of God and he believed that God could do anything. He understood that when God was testing him by asking that he offer his son Isaac, through whom he had been told by God that his descendants would be named, Abraham knew that God could raise Isaac from the dead if needs be.

Children of Faith
Children of Faith

Abraham was defined by his faith. We are reminded in scripture in many places that Abraham was a man of great faith. Indeed his faith was so strong and his belief in God’s word that his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness and he was called the friend of God.

And God established Abraham in his faith for God had a plan. His plan was to enable all of mankind to come to Him through faith like Abraham so that everyone would be able to become children of God by faith, and so be children of faith.

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Choose Christ

(Romans 9:1-5)

This section of scripture looks at the issue of choices. It considers the choices God made and the choices that people made in biblical times, which carry through to today.

Seeking the path to life? Choose Christ.
Seeking the path to life? Choose Christ.

God chose Israel to be His chosen people and in other places He calls Israel the “Apple of my eye”. It was God's love for Abraham Isaac and Jacob that led to his selection of Israel as His chosen people.

But…

The people rebelled. Constantly. They grew proud and arrogant in their selection as God's people and believed they were invincible, better than all others and so they lost the favor of God for a time. Not for all time, but long enough that a new way could be established and the promise of salvation become available to all people, not just the physical descendants of Abraham.

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Serving the Law or Serving in the Spirit

Who do you serve? The law or the living God?
Who do you serve? The law or the living God?

(Romans 7:5-6)

In my recent posts I have discussed the purposes and processes for freedom from law and freedom from sin that we receive by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

These two scriptures continue and expand this issue of law or freedom from law as they drive to the heart of the two covenants. To paraphrase the question contained in these two verses, they ask whom do you serve? Specifically it talks to the service of a Christian and who or what they serve.

And this is important. It is important because we must understand who we serve and how we worship if we are to serve God according to His will.

There are many who seek to serve and worship God but not according to the way God seeks. They want to serve and worship according to how they choose or how they feel rather than the way The Lord seeks them to serve. So let us look at this aspect of service in these words and see what they tell us.

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Why You Are Freed From Law

(Romans 5:12-14)

A few posts ago I wrote about the nature of sin in a post titled “What Is Sin.” In that post I looked at sin and identified that it is a very broad concept but at the root sin is the state of disobedience to and rejection of the will of God.

You must be freed from the law and sin
You must be freed from the law and sin

In these verses we see a further insight into the nature of sin and also the basis of how The Lord has overcome sin for us. Here we see one of the keys for overcoming sin and also a glimpse of what we must must believe and hold onto by faith to be able to stand freed from sin in Jesus Christ.

This matter of overcoming sin is covered in many parts of the bible by different writers and from that we can see how important it is to overcome it. Man cannot do this by himself but it is only by the grace of God that we are able to stand freed from sin and to complete that process of freedom we must be set free from the law.

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Essence of the New Covenant

(Romans 4:22-25)

If ever there were just a few verses that summed up the essence of the new covenant and how both it works and what we are to believe and accept in Jesus Christ, these are those few verses.

Essence of the new covenant
Essence of the new covenant

The new covenant is deliberately simple to grasp and take hold of. It had to be that way so that all of mankind could have access to it and receive the gifts of God. It does not require great wisdom or great knowledge to receive the truth of the new covenant, or at least the essence of the truth that begins a walk with Christ Jesus.

All it needs is faith. But not blind faith. This faith is quite specific and quite a deliberate belief in a set of things that The Lord has established in the new covenant, and we see the essence of what we must believe in these few lines of scripture.

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