BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For Sunday September 11, 2011
GOOD NEWS TO HEAR
(We all need to hear the Gospel)
In the beginning, GOD uniquely placed into human creation, seven communicable attributes that would allow man to be able to share HIS nature, and also, worship HIM. Those attributes are Life, Personality, Truth, Wisdom, Love, Justice, and Holiness. This is what GOD meant when HE said that HE would make man “in HIS OWN image” (Gen. 1:27). GOD is spirit (John 4:24) and does not have a physical image, and so the statement by GOD in Gen. 1:27 does not mean that man’s physical appearance is like GOD, but rather his spiritual makeup is compatible with GOD’s. Because of these communicable attributes, man instinctively knows when he’s doing right or wrong (Rom. 1:19 & 2:14-15).
In Romans chapter 1, verses 18-20, the Apostle Paul talked about how GOD is angry and disappointed with all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, because of our sin, and because of the innate sense of truth that we constantly push away from ourselves. Paul says that the truth about GOD is known to every man instinctively, because GOD has placed this knowledge in our hearts from the beginning. Paul also says that, by those facts, man has always been able to see GOD’s invisible qualities, HIS eternal power, and, HIS divine nature, and we have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing and obeying GOD.
In Romans 2, sensing the arrogant, mega-saved attitudes of the Jewish Christians who may have over-indulged in his previous criticism of the Gentiles and unbelieving Jews, Paul warns against judging others. Paul says that, by condemning others, we also condemn ourselves, because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD. GOD, in HIS justice, will punish anyone who does evil, Jews and Gentiles, Believers and unbelievers. Every one of us will have to make an account for the deeds done in our lifetime, and whether or not we believe that HE exists is totally irrelevant, and, GOD does not play favorites. HE will not withhold HIS disciplinary actions against sin from anyone, regardless of who they are, in fact, Paul says, HE will even start with the Jews first, because the law was given to them first. For it is not merely knowing the law, that brings GOD’s approval, but rather, it is those who obey the law that will be declared right in the sight of GOD (Rom. 2:1-13).
In Romans 2:17-29, Paul takes a look at the basis for which Jews claimed spiritual superiority over Gentiles in those days. He shows how both, as human beings, break the law of GOD, and how the claim of superiority by the Jews amounts only to an expression of raw pride and unwitting ignorance on their part. To the Jews, an announcement such as this must have been quite hard to hear and take in those days. They were absolutely certain that GOD regarded them with special favor simply because of their national origin, or descent from Abraham. Remember, Abraham is the towering figure to which the Jews traced their origins as GOD’s chosen people. They saw it as a privilege to be born Jewish, but they never did grasp the responsibility of being “a light to the world” that their Jewish birthright also carried with it.
Here Paul shows how a relationship with GOD requires an “inner spiritual circumcision of the heart”, not just the “outward physical act of the circumcision of the male’s genital”, to be a member of GOD’s covenant community. Paul reminded them that circumcision only meant something if they obeyed GOD’s law. If they didn’t obey GOD’s law, they were no better off spiritually than the uncircumcised Gentiles. Paul insists that they were not true Jews, unless their hearts were right with GOD (v.29). In fact, an uncircumcised Gentile, who kept GOD’s law, was much better off than a circumcised Jew who didn’t (v.27).
In the Greek, the word Paul uses for “praise” in verse 29 is “epainos” (ep-ahee-nos), and it is “a laudable or commendable thing”. Here Paul is saying that, only GOD determines the righteousness of men, not, other men. GOD’s promises are not to people of a certain race, or to people who bear a certain mark on their bodies. GOD’s promises are to those who believe in HIM and exemplify it through their lifestyles and behavior. It is not a matter of pedigree, but rather, of character. We must be right with GOD in our living, regardless, of our race. In other words, Jews and Gentiles, in order to please GOD, must act like Christians, in both their private, and public life, at all times.
(1). Remember, the real mark of your relationship with GOD is on the inside. It is a
circumcision of the heart that is performed by the HOLY SPIRIT, that sets a
person apart from the world.
(2). Your moral nature is the only thing that will ever testify about you to GOD, and
your acts are the only real measure of your morality.
(3). When our personal history judges us, it will be looking to see if we were, in our
lifetimes, rightly related to CHRIST, rightly related to each other as Christians,
and, rightly related to the world (John 15:1 – 16:4).
Pray daily that you will, at all times, show proper reverence for GOD, proper love for your fellowman, and maintain the desire and strength, through CHRIST, to not lose your heart to people and things of this world.
KEY VERSE: Roman 2:29
DEVOTIONAL PASSAGES: John 15:1-16:4, Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 10:34-48
A Bible Study Lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander