Archive for March, 2012

The Book of Romans teaches that we are to live holy lives even though this book is one of the most upheld as teaching GRACE alone (see my Misunderstand the Mercy of God HERE).

And so I wanted to take a look at some of the Scriptures from the Book of Romans which shows us that Holiness is actually required by God:

Romans 3:5, ESV

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Paul shows us in verse 8 that he is thought to be teaching, “Go ahead and keep sinning!  For God is so merciful that He forgives.  And our continual sinning without receiving judgment and punishment from God, shows just how great God’s mercy is” (verse 8).  But by using the word “slanderously” he is obviously stating that this is NOT what he teaches at all … even as he goes on to state more clearly in his writing:

Romans 3:28, ESV

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.  


Romans 4:22, ESV

That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Yes, Paul sets the case that we are INDEED FREED FROM THE LAW and from our works as counting us worthy or not, but he goes on to show that this does not mean we can LIVE IN SIN or that we can SIN FREELY without fear or without consequence:

Romans 6:15, ESV

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,c you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?


Romans 6:19, ESV

… so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But
now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Just because you now call yourself a Christian, do you think that “the wages of sin” is no longer death for you?  Did that scripture change for the one who calls themselves a Christian yet continues to live in sin willfully?   “But the Christian is NOT UNDER LAW”, many say, and therefore not under the same punishment as un-believers even as Romans 7 state:
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ
BUT I see Romans 7 as teaching that we are FREE from the POWER of the Law which kept us in condemnation and bondage … free from its power to keep us as slaves to sin, and now we are freed to live in God’s Power for holiness:
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.  
But, Lee, there is Romans 8 which says:  “Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  This is a statement that I hear repeatedly quoted as I go along in my attempts to show that holiness is a requirement … and sadly, this verse is quoted by those who do not care to even think of holiness, for NO CONDEMNATION means they are “off the hook” of the consequences of living contrary to New Testament teaching.  But is that what this verse is truly meaning?  That there is no condemnation for those who continue to sin willfully, because they are “under the blood of Jesus” and therefore they are forgiven and free from condemnation and wrath?
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.a 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set youb free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,c he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 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. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Wow.  Verse 8 is strong and clear! Can you see, my dear brothers and sisters, that “there is therefore now no condemnation” for only those who walk “according to the Spirit“?  And the warnings of death are not for unbelievers but for those who, although they call themselves Christian,  still set their minds on the flesh and the evil desires of the flesh.  Such people, who willfully continue sinning, bring death upon themselves and “cannot please God“.
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. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sonse of God.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Yeah, but doesn’t the book of Romans even say in “Romans 8:38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord“, so that meaning even our sin can’t separate us from God’s love … once we are saved and accept Jesus as our Savior, we are saved! Period.  And nothing will separate us from Him.  And so surely, no Christian will ever be sentenced to hell?We must remember to hold ALL Scripture together and not pick and choose which versus will be our truth, for Romans 11 goes on to teach us that:

That is true. They (Jews/Israel) were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 
How could one “continue in (God’s) kindness“?Answer:
By obeying His commands:

John 15:10
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  
By thumbing your nose at His Word which instructs us to walk in holiness, and by thumbing your nose at His will for your life which is that you “be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29), we are probably not abiding in His love (John 15:10, shown directly above and 1 John 3:8).
And because God showed this Truth to Paul, Paul did not want this Truth to be left aside as un-important, but wanted to make it his “appeal” (ESV) or “urging” (NIV, NASB) as he continues his writing to the Roman believers:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers,a by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.b 2 Do not be conformed to this world,c but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.d
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. 
But are writings, posts, and viewpoints such as this Article, judgmental and contrary to what Romans teaches about passing “judgment on (my) brother“(Romans 14:10)? …
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions…
4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own mastera that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. 
Actually Romans 14 is continually talking about the eating of foods, which was very important to the Jews at that time with all their rules and regulations, and such laws and opinions were probably passed on to the Gentile believers even as we see happening Galatians 2:11-14, for Romans 14 goes on to state:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. 
Can you see that Paul states, “Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God” or in other words, whoever serves Christ in this manner is acceptable to God.  But in what manner?  In the manner of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” !  And righteousness is mentioned here … and at first mention, I might add.   So to speak of and preach that righteousness or holiness are mandatory in our lives as Christians, I believe such preachers (myself included) are not being judgmental or legalistic as many like to accuse.  Rather, I believe we are upholding the fulness of the Gospel of Christ and God … for again, the “kingdom of God (is) of (or “consists of” – YNT, GWT ) righteousness” along with “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
Oh, my brothers and sisters, let us all strive to learn what ALL the Words of this glorious Gospel teaches, so that we may show ourselves to God as servants who correctly handle, walk in, and interpret the Word of the Living God.  It is His will that we be holy and sanctified, set apart unto Him for good works and to show the world that He is alive and powerful IN His people.  Powerful enough to free us from the power of sin and sinning.  We should crave Heaven, looking forward to pleasing our God and King now, so that when He appears we will not be ashamed.  Heaven is our home and our goal.  This world and all the sinful, fleshy lusts are passing.  And we do not want to be burned up with the world by God’s Wrath … do we (2 Peter 3:10-15)?
and a Prayer to be what the Word says we should be

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,g serve the Lord.  12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  13Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.h Never be wise in your own sight.  17Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave iti to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To
the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

And so we could pray something like this:

Father, I thank You that Your Word shows me how You want me to live, to think and to act.  I thank You that Your Word is sanctifying me and changing my attitude and thoughts even now.  Bring Your Word to my remembrance as I live my daily life, so that I can adjust my thoughts and remarks and attitudes accordingly so that I can walk and love others as You want me to.  I choose to keep my eyes and attention on Your Word, for my sanctification and to Your glory, and I choose to keep the ways of the world, the thoughts and the attitudes of the world and the lusts of the world from getting into my thoughts and attitudes, as much as I can, by choosing to be careful of what I meditate on and entertain myself with.  I love You Father and thank You that You are faithful to see my sanctification to completion.  I love You and choose to offer my life to you, to live a life worthy of Your calling and Your name.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your
whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

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