Archive for December, 2010

Why Israel? (13)

December 31st, 2010
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Scripture of the Day: Romans 9:5

Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (NIV)

Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.

But what does it mean to say that grace became much greater at the very place where sin became great?

From the whole context of the chapter, Paul has been thinking here of one thing:

The people of Israel are convicted by the Law of rebellion against God’s grace. The people have offered its covenant-Lord and Law- giver nothing but unfaithfulness and disobedience.

And yet in the midst of this spiritual desert –where sin is increased — they are promised a new shoot of life.

Out of Israel comes the Christ who shows how serious their guilt is in the sight of God, but he also comes to be in himself the forgiveness of all the sins of the past and of the present.

Jesus Christ was the Jew.

Christ substituted himself for Israel. He accepted their mission. He was the only one who completely and genuinely stood in that place.

Message for the Day

Why Israel? (12)

December 30th, 2010
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Scripture of the Day: Romans 3: 19 -20

19Now we know that whatever the law says, (NIV)

Paul expresses his great confidence in God’s revealed word in the OT for he says that whatever the law says…. In other words, whatever the entire Old Testament says, it is right!

it says to those who are under the law,

“whatsoever the law says, it speaks [this] to those under the law.” Paul implies that there are many Jews who know what the law says), but not many who hear it speaking directly to them Literally, 3:19 says, “those in (ejn, en) the law,” though this English translation is a bit difficult to understand. The point Paul seems to be making is that “those who possess or live in relationship to the OT revelation of God,” are those in the law. In other words, the apostle is referring to Jews as they view themselves in relationship to the Mosaic Law or God’s covenant in general (cf. 3:20).

so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

But, if Paul is referring primarily to the Jews in 3:19 (even though the citations in 3:10-18 indict all humanity), how can the whole world be said to be held accountable? If the best of humanity (i.e., the Jew) is indicted by God’s words and unable to be saved by works of the law (cf. 3:20), then certainly the rest of humanity doesn’t stand a chance. Thus, it is a foregone conclusion that if the Jew fails, so does everyone else. After all, they had the most opportunity.

Again we se the paradox of God working in this world. Instead of being the example of people living in shalom , the covenant Israel actually becomes the representatives of all Adam’s descendants living in sin and death.

And their situation can only be relieved by the superabundance of God’s grace apart from the Torah.

Message for the Day

Why Israel? (11)

December 29th, 2010
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Scripture of the Day: Romans 3:15 -18

15″Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16ruin and misery mark their ways,

17and the way of peace they do not know.” (NIV)

He leaves the sins involving the mouth and moves forward to enumerate sins involving the imagery of feet. People are swift to shed blood, to commit acts of violence against others. Indeed, ruin and misery are in their paths ; the landscape behind them is littered with the remains of their violence. Everywhere they go people suffer. They have not known the way of peace, that is, the way of salvation in which God would lead them if they were willing.

In the Isaianic 59 context, the prophet mourns the covenant unfaithfulness of Israel whose sin was so great that justice was said to stand at a distance and to be driven back. Paul’s use of this passage probably implies that the Jews of his day were in the same position as those to whom Isaiah originally spoke; they were also in desperate need of the salvation only YHWH’s arm could work.

18″There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Paul concludes his practical discussion of the sins of humanity with a citation from Psalm 36:1. A lack of the fear of God is at once the root problem for sin and a great sin itself leading to much folly and corruption. Men commit sins because they hold God in contempt and simply have no fear of his awesomeness. But as Nahum declared to Ninevah and the Assyrians, God is not to be trifled with.

Message for the Day