“ What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” – Romans 9:14-16 (ESV)
There might be many different reasons that we find ourselves not understanding the ways of God. Today, is one of those times. Our temptation is to question the why of something that happened because we didn’t want it to or thought it shouldn’t be. As true faith believers, we know that God has not made any mistake today because He never makes mistakes. We have prayed fervently for a close friend who today was called home to be with Jesus. Now, we continue to pray for his family. His wife and daughter and father-in-law in need of God’s mercy and compassion. This family lost both grandmothers in the last year and a half. But our promise today is a good one. God promises no injustice (that’s the no mistake promise). So if in weakness we may argue God is not just, Paul the Apostle says BY NO MEANS! “May it Never Be!” The Authorized Version says, “God Forbid!” NO MISTAKES, even in the toughest circumstances. It is God who gives and who desires to give Mercy and Compassion in abundance as He wills. It is God who has unbounded supply of mercy and it is He who will give it as we need it.
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” – Romans 8:24-25 (ESV)
We continue talking about hope, and by that we mean hope that has faith as its foundation. It is not a ‘wistful’ hope but a hope out of conviction that God’s promises are ours to keep and trust. “Seeing is believing” but that isn’t believing by faith and it isn’t “seeing is hoping.” Even our faith is a gift from God. Because of our faith, we have hope that what we do not see now is yet truly ours. It is not really hope at all if we say we hope in what we can see and confirm. We do not really have hope for what we see when assurance and proof is right in front of them. We hope for heaven and that hope will not disappoint; we know it is ours although we do not see it now. We have our hope in God’s promises, in His word. God has said, “Take My word on it.” So, we can and do that with faith and hope from God. It is because of that hope and our conviction in the promises that we are able to patiently wait for it to be.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13 (ESV)
In the letter the Apostle Paul wrote and sent to the believers in Rome, he takes time to proclaim how our God seeks to fulfill a promise He made to the patriarchs of the people of Israel. God has intended from the beginning to include in His plan of salvation, all nations, all people, all races without distinction. To the Jews at the time, all non-Jewish people were called Gentiles. This is the term Paul uses to identify all the people in the world, Jews and non-Jews. God is the source of eternal hope, life, and salvation for every person. He is the object of hope for every believer. Unlike our English. word “hope,” the New Testament word contains no uncertainty or ambiguity. This hope expresses something that is certain, but not yet realized. The believer’s eventual providence is to share in the glory of God and that hope will be realized because Christ Himself secures it (1 Timothy 1:1). It is only because of the clear and positive promises we have in the Word of God, that we believers have a sure foundation for hope. It is a hope that will not disappoint.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6:6-7 (ESV)
Looking back over the past six years, we notice that when July 4 is the date on our calendar, each year we have considered the truth found in John 8:31. This year we focus on Romans 6:7. Freedom is a word dear to most of us. Nobody wants slavery? We want freedom and some have more than others. But here we learn a way to be free and it’s equally available to all people. Our circumstances can block our freedom. The country, or the political powers that rule us, can’t take this freedom from us. You see, we are slaves to sin because we are born that way. No matter how hard we try to be good, we fall short of being good enough. But when we in faith believe the promise of eternal life from God, our body of sin that has us in bondage is put to death and we are born into God’s family. We gain freedom from sin. We are no longer guilty but Christ has paid the wages for our sin. This freedom matters and makes an eternal difference. We can have it wherever we are whatever circumstances of our life.
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” – Romans 5:10-11 (ESV)
Before most of us came to believe by faith that Jesus Christ is our savior, we lived thinking that we’re pretty good people. We even believed a God exists. All we had to do was live a good life. However, we remained enemies because by not believing, we were rejecting God. We were at odds and in conflict with God. Our promise today is: God provided a way for all who would believe to be reconciled to Him while still enemies. He made a way for us to have peace. This was accomplished by the death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Since reconciliation was provided by Him for all who believed, all can trust absolutely in the truth that they will be saved by Christ. The promises don’t end with that. Our reconciliation comes with our rejoicing in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine being in a serious conflict with someone who spent all his time doing what you need to cross over and join their side. Imagine all he does is to make a way for you to be able to be his friends and brother/sister with him. Forgive and forget – that’s His way.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” – Romans 5:8-9 (NASB)
Truth has always been absolute – even when mixed in with untruthful statements, the part that is true is absolutely true. Today we hear that there is “my truth” and “your truth” even when they contradict one another. This leaves “truth” that cannot really be trusted, doesn’t it? It’s relative truth which isn’t truth. A politician’s promises are spoken and we understand that there is little if anything to trust in those false promises. We learn to distrust because of the pattern of untruthfulness. God has a different way His truth is absolute and based on His character. We can trust Him because of His pattern of truthfulness. When God says He loves us, we can know it is the truth. He demonstrated and proved His love before we were redeemed by Him, when we were still separated from Him by our sin. Doing nothing for it, God demonstrated His love toward us. We have been justified by Christ’s shedding His blood His death and resurrection. The promise He gave us is that we will be saved from the wrath of God’s judgment through believing in Christ Jesus. We’re secure in His Absolute Truthful Word.
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:16-17 (ESV)
Every person who by faith believes in Jesus Christ is fully justified and formally adopted by God, our Father in heaven. That is a promise given to all true Christians. At first we knew nothing of these promises and now they are ours forever. We once did not believe this but now we do believe and God’s Spirit is our witness that we are children in the Family of God. Our new birth in Christ came at a tremendous cost; but we did not have to pay it. Jesus Christ paid the cost for us by sacrificing Himself to die on the cross. Our sin caused the death of God’s only begotten Son. Now, we are adopted sons and adopted daughters and heirs with full rights in the Family. In fact we’re fellow heirs with God’s only begotten Son, Christ Jesus. It’s good news for us because by the faith given to us, we are not on the outs; we are in God’s will in more ways than we know. He included us so, we have an inheritance as heirs – that’s a forever promise. Let’s live our lives today with respect to what God has given to us.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2 (NASB)
Day to day we may not, very often, think about the grace in which we stand. Considering that grace in our lives is pretty much limited to the word “gracious” which, means kind, polite, civil, tactful, and courteous. Grace, however, is much more than politeness or civil behavior. Our promise in today’s verse is powerful because it explains what grace brings to us. Because of the grace God has for us we, who in faith believe in Jesus and His words, have been justified. Notice the “have been” there? It is past, it is a done deal. Being justified provides for us peace with God which is also by grace, our possession. We have such a possession of peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and it is through Christ we were introduced by faith into this marvelous grace. We really need to think about this deeply and frequently. It is a gift which continues to develop into more gifts from God. The last promise is hope, and hope is ours because of what God has fully done for us by grace. It a hope for which we can triumph in the glory of God.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1 (ESV)
It’s a common struggle for Christian faith believers. We are still staggering under the weight of temptations and continue give in to them even when we don’t want to. The Apostle Paul explains in the previous chapter of Romans, how we all face the ongoing problem of overcoming the pull of our old nature. It is our sinful flesh, often with enticements of our body’s desires, that we seek to satisfy. We learn from the larger context that while we are no longer slaves to the flesh we must continue to wage a war against the desires of the flesh. We want to serve God and obey his commandments but we still have the flesh drawing us away from that good work. Today’s verse gives us a promise that should lift our spirits when we are in this battle. Because of Christ Jesus, we are forgiven and we are not under any guilt or condemnation. This may be a difficult truth to understand – it seems to not make reasonable sense but that is the greatness of this promise. No matter how we reason, God says there is no condemnation for us who dwell in Christ Jesus.
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” – Romans 10:12-13 (ESV)
We can hardly choose among all the promises of God, and name one or even some as the best promises of all. Everything that comes to us from God is a blessing that cannot be measured; gifts, abilities; strength; endurance; faith; grace; and we could go on and on. However, our promise of salvation, given to the human race in Genesis 3, after the sin of Eve and Adam, is the most vital because without receiving promised salvation from God, no other blessings will be ours. Important to notice is that God’s promises are given to everyone who calls on His name to be saved. Absolutely no distinctions exist between any races or cultures. In the first century during the early development of the Church, there was a distinction made by some people between Jews and Greeks, and between men and women. It is no different today. Perhaps you’ve heard about Critical Race Theory? It is a theory that claims the supposed appearance of race and racism across and in cultures exists everywhere. With God, He promises that there are no such distinctions between races or classes or genders. Let’s live according to that promise in our lives.