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#185286 - 10/12/17 02:54 AM Fourth Quarter 2017 The Book of Romans
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The 500th Anniversary of Luther posting 95 thesis on the door of the Wittenberg Church has prompted the Adventist Church to initiate the study of two books of the Bible which were key sources enabling Luther's rise out of the darkness of spiritual fear and despair into becoming a champion promoting "salvation in Christ".


In 1515 (that's two years prior to posting his 95 thesis) Martin Luther, who was now a professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg, began a course of lectures on the book of Romans.
Like all teachers who painstakingly prepare their lessons, he benefited greatly from this preparation as he pondered and compared the scriptures, seeking to make them clear to his students.

Here is the first paragraph to the preface to his study of Romans:


"The Epistle is really the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel, and is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes."

You can read the rest of his preface
HERE

In it he defines the words: law, sin, grace, faith, righteousness, flesh, Spirit

and concludes with --
"Without this understanding of the terms noted you will never grasp this epistle of St. Paul, nor any book of the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, beware of all teachers who employ these words in a different sense, no matter who they are, even if they should happen to be Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose, Origen, and men like them or still higher than they."



Semantic confusion is the foundation of theological confusion.
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#185292 - 10/14/17 01:47 AM Re: Fourth Quarter 2017 The Book of Romans [Re: dedication]
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This week's lesson was called "The Controversy".

What controversy was it talking about?

The controversy was basically about "control".
Who controls the church?

When we really stop to think about, we realize the very identity of the Jewish people was being challenged. They considered themselves a special people -- the chosen nation of God, and they signified this with circumcision. What was more -- this was all confirmed by "scripture".

They lived in a society that combined religion and state -- their leaders being the priests who made all sorts of laws (working policies) to "help" them keep God's law better, and keep them a distinct nation.

Those priests had a lot of control, even under Roman rule, the priests still held considerable power over the people. Control through religion is obtained by placing a human or a group of humans between the sinner and God. In other words -- divine grace must flow though a human channel in order to reach the repentant sinner.

This is true of the papal church, as it is taught that grace is confirmed through the seven sacraments which the priest must administer. A person out of favor with the church is cut off from receiving the sacraments, and thinks he is thereby cut off from God.

The Jewish church also held similar control over the people and were using it to make a profit for themselves and to control the people. People were dependent upon the rituals, sacrifices and ceremonies connected to the temple, for their forgiveness, cleansing, and salvation.


The majority of the first converts to Christianity were Jews. They didn't think they were leaving Judaism, they were simply accepting the Messiah prophesied to come to them.

But then -- they faced a troubling question:
how does the church relate to a huge influx of Gentiles who considered themselves Christians yet disregarded the "working policies" of the church?
What was even more troubling, was that these policies had good scripture bases.

These "policies" gave the Jewish leadership considerable control over the people. They pursued the enforcement of those policies in every church that Paul established.

It was a constant, and often life threatening, controversy in the early church.


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#185293 - 10/14/17 08:45 PM Re: Fourth Quarter 2017 The Book of Romans [Re: dedication]
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Third lesson -- Oct. 14-21

The Human Condition

Memory Text: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Verses from Romans chapters one to three:

The Just Live by Faith

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

The Unrighteous:


21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 6undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, 7unforgiving, unmerciful;
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things rare deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

The Jews Guilty as the Gentiles

17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God,
18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law,
19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.
21You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?
24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.


God’s Righteous Judgment


2:1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.
3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

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#185294 - 10/14/17 09:35 PM Re: Fourth Quarter 2017 The Book of Romans [Re: dedication]
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Third lesson -- Oct. 14-21 Sunday
The Human Condition

What do these texts mean to you?

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Let's look at it phrase by phrase:

"What is the gospel of Jesus Christ?"

The word gospel means “good news." The good news of the gospel of Christ is the story of redemption! Christ died upon the cross that we might have forgiveness of sins. Christ ever lives to make intercession for us! Christ is working in us giving us a new heart and mind, reconciling us to Him.
Ever since sin manifested itself in this world, mankind has been under the condemnation of God (Romans 5:12). For all have transgressed God’s perfect law by committing sin (Romans 3:23), everyone is guilty (Romans 5:18).
By this gospel we are saved, if we hold firmly to the One Who is our Savior.

the power of God
In Romans 8:11, and Eph. 2:5, we read that the same power that raised Christ from the dead can raise us from being dead in sin, to being alive in Christ unto righteousness.

the righteousness of God
Paul is talking about God’s righteousness. The gospel reveals God’s righteousness, showing that God is just, fair and loving, good, and truly trustworthy, His ways are the right ways.

As Psalms 98 declares:
"98:2 The LORD has made known his salvation: his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the heathen.

faith unto faith
The righteousness which is by faith, is received by faith, is believed by faith, and is lived by faith.
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#185305 - 10/16/17 01:15 AM Re: Fourth Quarter 2017 The Book of Romans [Re: dedication]
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Memory Text: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

What is sin?

We have the text in 1 John 3:4 "Sin is transgressing God's law"

But here we have additional information as to what sin is.

Sin means we "come short of the glory of God".

Quote:
"The glory of God, the perfection of Christian character, is to be the aim, the purpose of our life. {DG 169.2}
Our heavenly Father cares for man, who is the image and glory of God. He longs to see His children reveal a character after His similitude. As the sunbeam imparts to the flowers their varied and delicate tints, so does God impart to the soul the beauty of His own character. {DA 313.2}


Paul then goes on to describe sin in more detail:

Sin is ---

1:18 "all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men".
--ungodliness means not having a character after God's similitude.
--unrighteousness means not doing that which is right.

, suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
sin is suppressing truth in order to do that which is not right.

19 because what may be known of God is manifest among them, for God has shown it to them.
God had endowed them with reason and conscience, He has given every man a measure of faith, they only need to reflect on the wisdom and power that went into the creation, to recognize many of the attributes of God.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,

The knowledge of the Creator God was available, and they see the things He had created.

so that they are without excuse
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.


Paul does not excuse the pagans but rather says they are "without excuse".
Sin is not only active breaking of God's law, it is also
ignoring the evidence so that they don't need to change.

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,


Sin is being wise in one's own eyes. It sets self up as being wiser and more knowledgeable than God.

23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things

Instead of acknowledging the Creator's hand and wisdom in His creation, they instead worship the creation.

Sin is a downward spiral.

God's ideal for mankind is to create in them the "image of God" -- characters reflecting His righteousness.

Sin --
Ingratitude and a love for unrighteousness and self exaltation pervert mankind so thoroughly that they repress truth in order to exalt evil. Instead of moving upward with the glorious God, into the similitude of His character, they now worship created objects, indeed he now worships his own figment of reason, which can never lift, and which is foolishness, leading to ever lower levels of sin.
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