Monday, April 20, 2015

Romans: Patient Continuance in Well Doing

In addition to preaching faith and grace, Paul in his epistle to the Romans does plenty of admonishing the saints to repentance and righteousness.  So does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Paul warns us to beware "good words and fair speeches". Paul likes to make long lists to the Saints of what he means by righteousness and wickedness but these are not vain lists.  The only vanity would be those who would tell you to ignore them.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. (New Testament, Romans 1:8)

What does paul mean by faith? Is faith just an attitude of belief or righteous behavior or both attitude and behavior?  Were the Roman Saints renown for their words for Jesus alone or for both their good words and their works?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (New Testament, Romans 1:16)

God is no respecter of persons despite the gospel going to one group before another. What about the barbarian and heathen nations?  Why the order of preaching?  How do we believe?

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (New Testament, Romans, Romans 2:4)

Power of Christ's Atonement leads us to repentance and empowers repentance. If we continue in sin, are we "despising" the goodness of God?

Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (New Testament, Romans 2:7-8)

We will be rewarded for our deeds. The reward of Eternal life requires patient continuance in well doing.  But the disobedient will be rewarded wrath.

For there is no respect of persons with God. (New Testament, Romans 2:11)

Charity, honesty, integrity, chastity blesses anyone under any circumstances.  But without Christ and revelation, man would have no knowledge of charity but would only know selfishness.

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (New Testament, Romans, Romans 2:12)

Atonement of Christ covers sins of the ignorant.  But you cannot be saved in ignorance but cant be condemned either. Therefore preaching in the world of spirits and baptism for the dead required. 

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 2:13)

We must be doers not just hearers

For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? (New Testament, Romans 2:25-26)

What good does it do us if we call ourselves Jews or Christians but continue to lie, cheat, steal?  Are not unbelievers also blessed by obedience?  Circumcision like baptism is a mitzvot but does no good without righteousness.

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (New Testament, Romans 2:29)

Our need for the Savior and Inward purity (sacrificing our animal natures) was the the point: Honesty, integrity, charity, humility, chastity, patience.

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? (New Testament, Romans, Romans 3:1)

Do not confuse Jewish mitzvot or ritual requirements of the Law of Moses with inward requirements to be charitable, honest and chaste.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 3:10-12)

Without the Atonement of Christ none of us would have the knowledge or power of righteous restraint. We would all just act like unrestrained animals.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (New Testament, Romans, 3:20)

Do not confuse the Jewish mitzvot (outward performances of the Law of Moses) with honesty, integrity, patience, charity, chastity.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (New Testament, Romans 3:28)

Similarly we are not justified by mitzvot of baptism or sacrament or temple endowment but through faith: charity, honesty, chastity

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 4:3)

Abraham didnt have the all the Mitzvot of the Law of Moses.  But it was the charity, obedience to God, honesty that was important.

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (New Testament, Romans 5:19)

Adam's transgression brought sin and the natural fallen man into the world.  Christ's atonement forgives past sins and empowers repentance and obedience.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (New Testament, Romans, Romans 6:1-2)

Should offense or grace abound? Paul differentiates mitzvot vs inward purity.

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (New Testament, Romans 6:4)

Those baptized are new creatures and should walk in a newness of life: charity, honesty, chastity.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. (New Testament, Romans 6:12)

Paul admonishes that sin not reign or have dominion over us.

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. .... wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (New Testament, Romans, Romans 7:19;24)

Accepting Christ's atonement doesn't make us perfect over night.  But Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. The process of improvement begins.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (New Testament, Romans 8:2)

Does Christ free us from responsibility and worry about obedience at all?  Or does Christ's forgiveness empower repentance and improved obedience.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 8:28-29)

Many are called but few are chosen.  But those who will be with Christ at His coming will be called, chosen, and faithful.  Those whom God calls he qualifies if we receive the calling.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (New Testament, Romans 8:38-39)

Love of Christ conquers all even the natural man within us.

So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (New Testament, Romans 9:16)

Calling of the Gentiles like Jacob over Esau was by mercy.  God fore-knew who would be faithful.

Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; (New Testament, Romans 9:32)

Basis of choosing is faithfulness.  Israel like Esau strayed and the Gentiles like Jacob were faithful.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (New Testament,  Romans 10:9-10)

Not just confess but also believe unto righteousness: honesty, chastity, charity.

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (New Testament, Romans 11:6)

Paul doesn't confuse mitzvot with honesty and chastity. The 7000 remnant had refused to bow to Baal.  

For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. (New Testament, Romans 11:21)

Cutting off and grafting in dependent upon goodness.  

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 11:32)

God makes the first move to rescue us even in our unbelief and fallen state.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 12:2)

Sacrifice worldly self to the will of God

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 12:21)

Paul admonishes the Saints to righteousness

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (New Testament, Romans 13:3)

Righteousness is a protection from government.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 13:12)

Cast off works of darkness

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 13:14)

Make not provision for the flesh

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. (New Testament,  Romans 14)

Doubtful disputers not welcome

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. (New Testament, Romans 14)

Some will decide to partake of the Lords Supper and others not.  Same with the Temple. We judge ourselves.

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (New Testament,  Romans 14:17)

Not about the Lord's Supper but righteousness.  So, be careful not to offend and discourage and be a stumbling-block to the weak.

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (New Testament, Romans 15:1)

The strong attend church not to please themselves but to serve the weak.

For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, (New Testament, Romans 15:18)

Paul's commission to help the Gentiles obedient in word and deed.

For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. (New Testament,  Romans 15:26)

Saints to minister to the poor spiritually and temporally.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (New Testament, Romans, Romans 16:17-18)

False doctrine creates division.  Beware good words and fair speeches.  Those that serve their own belly.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all... that is of power... for the obedience of faith: (New Testament, Romans,16:24-26)

Grace of Christ is power enabling the obedience of faith.

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