Good Morning Siblings!
Today’s readings are Romans 8-10
Kim Warren posted a wonderful comment in the discussion group on yesterday’s readings and gave me permission to share that with you:
Is your head spinning or is your heart and spirit comforted by Paul’s wordy explanations?!! I see him as wanting to be thoroughly understood because he knew the uproar his words would cause among certain ones in his Jewish audience. Isn’t that true for all of us when we come into the knowledge of truth that tears down what we took comfort in and were confident in? Our fruits are now to holiness out of love, not to fit into some checklist from the law that could never save us. A new person makes a new kind of fruit grow: righteousness leading to holiness! Through living in faith and obedience, we can fully experience YHWH’s free gift of eternal life now and for eternity. Amen and Hallelujah!!
I hope that encouraged you as it did me! Let’s dive on into today’s notes now!
We need to remind ourselves, when reading any book in the Bible, that the books were continuous scrolls in most cases. Anytime we see chapter numbers and verse numbers we need to know that those were added later in order to help us reference specific verses and such. The original authors did not include chapter and verse numbers. In the case of the entire book of Romans, it is one continuous letter. Therefore, make sure to keep in mind that each chapter is not the opening of a new thought pattern or discussion, but rather a continuation of what we’ve been reading since Romans 1:1.
I think we also need to keep in mind who Paul was and what he was trying to do. We tend to think of the early body of Believers in Messiah as looking similar to us, predominantly (or even entirely) Gentile, setting up churches and meeting on Sundays, the whole nine yards.
In reality, this preconceived notion bears no resemblance whatsoever to the body of believers we are reading about in the Bible. Here we are at this amazing time in the faith in which the gospel, what was once reserved exclusively for the Jews with the exception of the random sojourner, is being brought to the Gentiles. However, at this time, we still have a group predominantly made up of Jews by and large, they are all meeting in the synagogues and learning from the Torah (what modern Christianity calls the “Old Testament”). Further, they were being taught in these synagogues by Jewish Rabbis.
If that doesn’t rock your preconceived notions, you might need to read it again and give it time to sink in. We should never hesitate to set aside inherited knowledge when we find it contradicts the truth of YHWH. And if this doesn’t surprise you then kudos to you! It sure surprised me when I realized this fact just a handful of years ago.
As we begin Romans 8, I’d like to clarify that condemnation under the law is brought about by the imperfection in us when we walk in the flesh and rather than the spirit, which renders us unwilling to submit to YHWH’s law. BUT through Messiah, we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which writes the law on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) and leads us to submit to the Father, walking in the spirit rather than the flesh, thereby walking in obedience.
Paul says this perfectly and, surprisingly, concisely in this statement:
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Romans 8:7
Note that those with a mind set on flesh are not just living according to their own wisdom, but they are actively hostile to YHWH, refusing to submit to Him. Now keep in mind that “hostile to God” may not look like an outright struggle. The Greek word here is echthra and it means to be in opposition to, at odds with. When we feel that pride rising up and our neck stiffening at the thought of bringing anything in ourselves under the authority and control of YHWH, that is us standing in opposition to Him. I lived in opposition to Him most of my life, but if you saw from the outside looking in you’d think I was a wonderful Christian at the time. I’m grateful that the Father saw right through to my heart and targeted my will for a Holy makeover. We are going to circle back to this verse in a minute.
Key things to remember:
We die to the flesh and find life in the spirit.
Having our mind controlled by our old nature is death. Having our mind controlled/ guided by the Holy Spirit leads to life.
Romans 8:13 reminds me of Deut 30:19 (one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible, in case you wanted to know).
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live Deut 30:19
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13
I think with so many examples like this, you can clearly see how a knowledge of the foundational Scriptures helps Paul’s words to make more sense.
One Bible I have had the excellent footnote that stated:
Because of his naturally sinful state, man has an innate rebellion against being told to live the way of righteousness.
This is further evidence of living in the Spirit rather than living in the flesh: The flesh fights against submission to the Father but the spirit welcomes it.
Y’all, I was a Christian living in flesh for most of my walk. We are still learning and will be all of our lives, but Ricky and I often talk about how we’ve never felt the Holy Spirit as we do now in our lives. The difference is absolutely remarkable.
Our brother Paul explains this in Romans 8:7-9 so we’re gonna circle back and focus more on this verse:
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to YHWH, for it does not submit to YHWH’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in flesh cannot please YHWH. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of YHWH dwells In you.
Pay attention to the “if”. IF the spirit of YHWH dwells within us, we will behave the opposite of the statement in Romans 8:7. We will not be hostile towards YHWH and we will submit to His law.
There is often a power struggle that takes place between Believers and YHWH at some point in their walk. Just as Jacob struggled all night with YHWH, sometimes we have to struggle before we bend our will and submit to Him. That struggle can take on many forms: haughtiness, pride, judgment of others as a means of deflecting from examining ourselves, refusal to read certain parts of the Bible because we might have to change, etc.
Sometimes, people spend years or even a lifetime running from YHWH. So much energy goes into struggling against Him. But if we would only step out in faith, trusting Him enough to submit our lives to Him, the mighty struggle would cease and in its place a peace that surpasses all understanding and blessings in the place of the world’s curses.
We go on to read how the Spirit aids us, helping us to walk in His ways, to follow His laws which have been written on the hearts of anyone in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. (Romans 8:26-28)
All things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
This verse is a favorite to take out of context and apply it to any situation or person liberally. But in context we can see it is intended for those who have submitted to YHWH and are in active covenant with Him.
•What is the evidence of that covenant? They are walking in Spirit.
•What is the evidence of walking in Spirit? They have submitted to YHWH.
•What is the evidence of having submitted to Him? They obey the Father.
Romans 9:15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Romans 9:15
This is quoting Exodus 33:19. Never let it be said that Paul did not know his scripture! In fact, he excelled in his knowledge of this, having trained for years. This passage reminds us that we should never presume to disqualify someone from the gift of salvation or the grace of YHWH just because, in our opinion, they may not be deserving. The fact is, neither are we. Further, these are not our gifts to give. Rather, they belong to YHWH, to give to whomever He pleases, according to His will and for His good purpose.
Depending on the translation you read, Romans 10:4 will either make sense or send up alarm bells. ESV is the latter in my mind. It reads:
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Other translations say culmination or fulfillment of the law. I tend to go with fulfillment as in to fill it up to its fullest, to walk it out with the full love and grace that YHWH intended it to be.
Romans 10:6-9 is strongly reminiscent of YHWH’s words in Deuteronomy 30:11-14.
“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. Deut 30:11-14
Take your time reading today’s passages, keeping in mind that YHWH has told us He does not change and Paul is a loyal servant and therefore would not contradict YHWH. Tomorrow’s reading is one that is often overlooked today and yet brings so very much of the current fulfillment of prophecy into focus – and it is but a continuation of the letter we are currently reading.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!