I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL

elgreco_paul154x200

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

Dr. Robert R. Seyda

EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

CHAPTER SIXTEEN (Lesson XIV)

16:27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever and ever. Amen.

After explaining the revelation that Jesus of Nazareth was the awaited Messiah, who came from heaven to carry out God’s plan of salvation, conceived before the world began, what better way to end than with praise to our wise God for making it possible for His Son to come and be our Redeemer, Lord, and Savior. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul wishes the believers God’s loving favor and peace, and all because of this: “Christ gave Himself to die for our sins. He did this so we might be saved from this sinful world. This is what God wanted Him to do. May He have all the honor forever. Let it be so.1

A number of early church scholars share their thoughts on this closing verse. Ambrosiaster believes that without Christ nothing will be understood because all things are to be seen through Him. It is acknowledged that praise is given to God the Father through Him because Ambrosiaster understands the term, “through Christ” to mean “through His Gospel.” This is the only way sinners are saved. Therefore, glory to the Father through the Son is also glory to the Holy Spirit because all are three-in-one and share in their united glory.2

Chrysostom is of the opinion that Paul is not in any way being uncomplimentary to God’s Son. For if all the things whereby God’s wisdom are made apparent through Christ and nothing is done without Him, then He stands equal with the Father in power and authority.3 It is quite plain, for Chrysostom, that the Son is also equal to the Father in wisdom.4 Pelagius shares his thoughts: God required that all the Gentiles to be called should obey and acknowledge Him as the Father. He foreknew when this would one day happen, so to show our love and appreciation we ought to send back our praise to Him through the One He sent. So to Him be glory and honor through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.5

In his remarks at the end of this chapter Charles Hodge makes the point that the Gospel itself is a mystery, that is, a system of truth beyond the power of the human mind to discover on its own which God chose to reveal for our faith and obedience. It was initiated in the beginning in the divine mind of God to be revealed by the prophets and apostles and the preaching of Jesus Christ. In fact, it is by God’s command He made it known to all nations. God alone is omniscient. Therefore, the most profound reverence and the most implicit submission are due to Him. People should not presume to call into question what He revealed, or consider themselves competent to sit in judgment on the truth of His declarations, or the wisdom of His plans.6

Several modern Bible scholars arrive at the conclusion that in this last chapter of Romans Paul greets at least twenty-six individuals and two families. He gives high praise for many of them – men and women alike – for their faithful service to God through Christ. The thing that ties all of these people together is their partnership in the Gospel. They have all been faithful coworkers with Paul in his mission. Paul specifically mentions around eleven individual women as a key part of revealing his attitude toward women serving the church. Indeed, several of the women are praised for their hard work in sharing the Gospel. In fact, Paul placed enough confidence in Phœbe to entrust her with his letter and commend her to the Roman Church. Paul clearly recognized women like Phœbe, Junia, and others as valued and respected coworkers in spreading the Gospel. Regardless of differing opinions about the specific roles that women deserve to have in ministry, all believers – men and women – should seek opportunities to serve to the full extent of their abilities and convictions. 7

Douglas Moo shares some interesting things about how we apply what we’ve read and learned here in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans to our modern-day situation. Concerning the social dimensions of the church, the social composition of the ancient Roman church is of interest to the Bible historian and Scriptural experts but who is to say that knowing it will have any significance on the layperson in the pew. To argue, for instance, that our churches today should have the same social composition as the Roman church would be to indulge in the worst form of trying to make history repeat itself. It is simply not always the case that “as things were then, so must they be now.” That goes for everything to the songs we sing, what translations of the Scriptures we read, or the way we dress. But Moo does point out that there are some principles that must never go out of style in the church during any era. The supremacy of the Gospel; Christ as the most important person in God’s plan of salvation; concern for the lost around us, including the poor and homeless. In other words, the church was to become a mission, not a museum.

Then Moo speaks about the organizational dimensions of the church. The fact that the Roman community was divided into house churches does not mean that the contemporary church should adopt a similar structure. Moo points out that Paul does not teach that the community of believers should be divided into small Bible studies. Indeed, house churches were no doubt a physical necessity in a time before church buildings existed and when other public buildings of any size were not available for Christians. Moo mentions how many local churches compete with each other, often finding some fault so as to persuade their members to switch. Since we all believe the same thing, for the most part, we should recognize one another as part of the larger Body of Christ, and despite our differences present the picture that Christ wanted – that we love one another even as He loves us.

And finally, Moos discusses the gender dimensions of the church. He turns to the matter of the potential significance for the contemporary church seeing women the same way as they were seen back then. There are a couple of things that must be clarified: First, women were an important and public part of the Roman Christian community. The term “public” in this assertion is especially important. In many religions in the ancient world and even some today, women were not allowed to participate directly in church affairs that, up to that point, were assigned only to men. It is obvious that Paul released the bonds on women as they were constituted in Judaism and gave women more freedom in the Christian Church. Paul recognizes women along with men, implying their equality in the community and their participation together in worship was to be accepted.

Moo finishes by noting that he cringes when he hears the modern debate put in terms of “Women in Ministry” – as if there should be any doubt about whether women should be ministers. The Final Covenant is insistent that every believer is a minister, that is, a servant of Christ and the church with important contributions to make to the life of the body. Moo regrets that too much chauvinism still lurks in the corners and hallways of our churches. Women are too often relegated to menial duties in the church even when the Body of Christ is aching because of the absence of gifted, trained women to teach other women, to counsel, to evangelize, and to organize. I agree with Dr. Moo wholeheartedly.8

I found this in an older commentary and thought it would be a good poetic way to close this great Epistle as an addendum to Paul’s doxology. I redacted it for clarity and smoother flow of thought. I pray it touches your heart as it did mine. Read it slowly and let the message sink in deeply.

O King of ages! O Revealer of the mystery concealed during the ages of eternity! O God eternal, immortal, and invisible! O You who sits atop the lofty mountains of eternity; who, from Your elevated pinnacle surveys our narrow span of life, and of all the centuries gliding beneath Your throne, to You be all honor, and glory, forever and ever!

O You, who by Your victory over death, have thrown open wide to us the gates of a blissful eternity. Grant that we always live with that in mind – rightly, stately, and devoutly – so one day will be partakers of its glory. Grant us to pass through this fleeting moment of life in such a way that by standing strong and standing secure we will be called into Your presence and joy forevermore so we can praise You and celebrate You in the company of all Your saints and angels. O Love Divine! O Beloved Eternity! My God and my All-in-All. Amen! 910

The writing of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans was so opportune. It came at the right time when they needed instruction on a better understanding of God’s grace through being Called, Chosen, Redeemed, Justified, Sanctified, Empowered, and Glorified as God’s children in this unenlightened and wicked world. It was a lamp they carried in the darkness to keep them on the right path. And as long as there is an ample supply of supernatural oil the flame of the Gospel will never go out. This requires the need for much studying to ingest the meat of God’s Word given through the Apostle Paul as they mature. We need this just as much, if not more, in the Church today than ever before. May all who take the time to study this masterpiece be blessed and enriched by God’s wisdom to the point of being able, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to show others the way to become obedient to the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, to the glory and honor of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen!

THE END OF CHAPTER SIXTEEN

1 Galatians 1:4-5

2 Ambrosiaster: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

3 Philippians 2:6

4 Chrysostom: Homilies on Romans 27

5 Pelagius: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit

6 Charles Hodge: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 703

7 Lexham Bible Guide: Romans by Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, E. Tod Twist (2014). (D. Mangum, Ed.) (Romans 16:1–27). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

8 Douglas J. Moo: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

9 Cornelius À Lapide (1567-1637)

10 From John MacEvilly, An Exposition of the Epistles of St. Paul and of the Catholic Epistles (Vol. 1) Third Edition, Dublin: W. B. Kelly, 1875, pp. 139-140

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I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL

elgreco_paul154x200

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

Dr. Robert R. Seyda

EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

CHAPTER SIXTEEN (Lesson XIII)

Even though the mystery Paul speaks about was kept secret for many ages, Ambrosiaster sees Paul giving glory to God the Father, from whom are all truth and blessings flow, that he considered it an honor and privilege to deliver to the congregation in Roman a deeper understanding of Salvation by Grace. He planned to do this by confirming in their minds that the Gospel is a living document and that the mystery hidden for many ages is now being made manifest in Christ. Ambrosiaster concludes, therefore, that this deep mystery originally hidden in God was now revealed in the arrival of Christ. It proves that God is not alone, but out of eternity past He brought His Word and the Paraclete1 with Him. God decreed that every individual was to be saved by coming to a knowledge of this truth. For the truth of this mystery was indicated by the prophets in symbols known only to God. Now, however, all this is out in the open for the world to see, and it is in the person of Jesus Christ, who was with God, is from God, and will forever be with God.2

Then Chrysostom shares his thoughts that Paul’s hopes and prayers for the believers in Rome are based on the assumption that their minds are not yet firmly fixed but they are still wavering on certain points in their faith and understanding of the Gospel. In order to clarify what he is saying he bases it all on “the preaching of Jesus Christ,” by which he means the things that Jesus Himself preached. For if Christ preached it, the teaching is not Paul’s but Christ’s. Furthermore, to be let in on a secret, especially on one kept undercover for such a long time is a sign of great closeness and friendliness.

Chrysostom also notes that by writing all this Paul is hoping to release the weaker believers from unfounded fear. For this secret was already contained in the Torah and the Prophets but was hidden on purpose. Indeed, it is what the writings of Moses and the Prophets are all about. There was no reason for anyone in Rome to ask why did God wait so long to disclose these hidden truths now. That would be questioning God’s wisdom and foreknowledge. They ought not behave like busybodies but instead be content with what they were given up to this point. But certainly more was to come, and this is what Paul wanted to deliver to the Romans personally.3 How true is Chrysostom’s admonition for believers and the Church today.

For Pelagius, part of this mystery of salvation by grace is the calling of Gentiles into the family of God. This was uncovered in the Gospels by using the testimonies of the prophets and is now plainly seen in the person of Christ.4 Although the prophets said many things about the Gentiles, none recognized as clearly as Paul did on how Gentiles and Jews were to become one in Christ. Some progress is seen in that the Jews did admit Gentiles into their faith as proselytes.5

Martin Luther states that the “mystery” that the Apostle Paul speaks about here should be understood as: “The mystery of Christ’s incarnation.” For Luther, the Gospel is nothing else than the proclamation of Christ.6 As far as Luther is concerned, the “secret” hidden so long from the world, was purposely kept under wraps from eternity until the right time came to reveal it. In other words, sending His Son into the world as the Messiah to be mankind’s Savior and Redeemer was not a last minutes decision just because the Law wasn’t working. It was part of His plan all along.

Luther ends by noting that the question here might be asked how the Gospel was kept secret and yet was known to the prophets?7 Even though Luther does not give a definitive answer, let me take the opportunity and privilege here of offering one for him: Although the prophets knew a Messiah was coming and what He would accomplish in order to carry out God’s plan of salvation, none of them knew this Messiah would be Yeshua of Nazareth. They knew where He would be born, and that He would be born of a virgin, but they didn’t know His earthly name.

As to the secret and mystery Paul speaks of here, John Calvin points out that all of the theologians and serious Bible scholars of his day were in disagreement with each other as to what Paul calls the hidden mystery in the Gospel, something Paul also mentions in Ephesians 3:9 and Colossians 1:26. However, Calvin feels that what is mostly in their favor is that they point to the calling of the Gentiles, to which Paul himself expressly refers in his letter to the Colossians.8 However, Calvin confesses that although he allows this to be one reason, he cannot settle it in his mind as being the only reason. It seems to him more probable that Paul had additional thoughts concerning what was hidden in the First Covenant and revealed in the Final Covenant. Because even though the Prophets formerly taught all those things which explained by Christ and now by His Apostles, yet they taught them with so much obscurity that in comparison with the clear brightness of Gospel light it is no wonder that those things are said to have been hidden which are now made manifest.

But Calvin was not finished. He doesn’t believe Malachi declared that the Sun of righteousness would rise without a good reason.9 Also, Isaiah earlier highly eulogized the government10 of the Messiah but offered no distinct function of that government.11 Furthermore, it was not without reason that the Gospel is called the “Message of the Kingdom of God.”12 Calvin concludes that all being said by the prophets came to fruition in Christ as a treasure trove of celestial wisdom opened for all to see. Finally, God appeared to His ancient people through His only-begotten Son, as it were, face to face, all shadows cast by His prophesied presence are now done away with. His being the Light of the World eliminated them. The real Person is now here for everyone to behold. Calvin sees Paul referring to the end he mentioned at the beginning of the first chapter, for which this Gospel is to be preached – God will bring all nations of the world into the circle of obedience of faith to His Son as the Savior of the world.13

John Locke makes note that Paul never referred to the Gospel as “his,” by virtue of being its author. He only meant that it was his because it contained something in it that distinguished it from what others were preaching. And the one thing he mentioned was the revelation of the mystery that God kept secret from the beginning of the world. Of course, he goes on to say that it was God’s plan to send the Gospel to the Gentiles so that they may also be saved and become part of His family. As we know from what Paul said about his visit to Jerusalem to meet with the Church Council, that there were some who insisted that all Gentiles observe a number of Jewish customs and manners concerning circumcision and a kosher diet. But Paul rejected that as competition for God’s grace and understanding brought by the Holy Spirit to enlightened all minds of the truth. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, the Law of Moses was done away with by the death of Christ.14 This also was part of the mystery Paul incorporated into his preaching.15

However, when it comes to the secret of the mystery of which Paul speaks, Adam Clarke interprets what Paul says here about the secret concerning Gentiles being admitted into the family of God, that when we look at all the prophesies scattered throughout all the books of the First Covenant, there is no clear revelation that the Gentiles would be admitted to the family of God without passing under the scrutiny of the Mosaic law. This was the point being kept secret. For Clarke, as to the calling of the Gentiles, this was declared in general terms by the prophets, and the Apostle quotes and makes important use of their essential predictions. But the other points on which the prophets gave no information God, through the Holy Spirit, particularly revealed it to Paul. This involved the revelation that the requirement of works under the Law of Moses was being replaced with the requirement of faith through grace under the Law of the Spirit.16

Robert Haldane explains what he understands to be the mystery Paul is speaking about in an interesting way. It involves that calling of the Gentiles out of the darkness of their ignorance concerning God and salvation into the marvelous light of the promise of a redeeming Savior. What Haldane marvels at is that their calling was supposed to be a mystery, yet the Scriptures Paul used to back this belief are plain enough for all to see. That’s why Haldane notes that it is the Gospel itself being called a mystery in Ephesians.17 The thing hidden by God from the beginning of the world was the plan of salvation through the death of His Son. It was now revealed by Christ and His Apostles, who were making it known to the rest of the world. Also, in Colossians,18 it is the Gospel as the Word of God that is the mystery. Then in the next verse,19 this mystery is said, by the preaching of the Gospel, to be made known among the Gentiles, just as in the verse before us here in Romans. So the calling of the Gentiles should not be called a mystery.

Haldane continues by pointing out that this mystery kept secret which pointed to the kingdom of God was camouflaged during the First Covenant dispensation. So we might say that all the truth as revealed in the First Covenant was similar to a parable that was then fully revealed in the Final Covenant. Even this method of instruction using parables by Jesus Himself as predicted in the Psalms,20 which our Lord Himself quoted.21. This is an illustration of how mysteries were going to be revealed by the Messiah. When His disciples asked Him what purpose these parables were to serve, He told them: “To you it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest, it is in parables, so that, ‘Seeing, they may not see; and hearing, they may not understand.’22 Thus the mystery, or concealed sense of what He said, was kept secret from those who were not yet chosen to understand. Haldane also points out that it is to the First Covenant, taken as a whole, that our Lord refers when He said to His disciples, If you don’t understand the parable I just told you, how will you understand any parable23?24

1 John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1. Paraclete is a Greek noun meaning, “someone called to one’s side to offer assistance.” A “comforter and advocate”

2 Ambrosiaster: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

3 Chrysostom: Homilies on Romans 27

4 See Ephesians 3:1-13

5 Pelagius: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

6 See Romans 1:1-4

7 Martin Luther: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 223

8 Colossians 1:27

9 Malachi 4:2

10 Even today some take the word “government’ (KJV) as meaning an earthly government. But the Hebrew noun misrah refers rule and dominion. In other words, Isaiah is speaking of Christ’s rule over the Kingdom of God. In Isaiah 9:7 there will be no end to his reign of peace.

11 Isaiah 9:6

12 Matthew 24:14

13 John Calvin: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

14 Ephesians 2:15

15 John Locke: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit., pp. 384-385

16 Adam Clarke: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 302

17 Ephesians 3:9

18 Colossians 1:26

19 Ibid. 1:27

20 Psalm 78;2

21 Matthew 13:35

22 Luke 8:10

23 Mark 4:13

24 Robert Haldane: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 649

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I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL

elgreco_paul154x200

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

Dr. Robert R. Seyda

EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

CHAPTER SIXTEEN (Lesson XII)

16:25-26 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as the Gospel I preach says He will. This message about Jesus Christ I’ve shared with you reveals His plan for you who are not Jews, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. But now as the prophets foretold and as our eternal God commanded, I’m making this message known to all non-Jews everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey Him.

Here the Apostle Paul sums up his whole reason for writing this letter and what he intended to accomplish when he wrote it. These words are a perfect benediction to a masterful book that became the central focus of Christian Doctrinal Theology. It gives us the definition of “Righteousness.” It includes the doctrines of Justification, Salvation, Sanctification, and Glorification. Paul emphasizes the need for Christian tolerance and unity. In my opinion, no Preacher or Bible Teacher should consider themselves minimally prepared to share the whole Gospel with others until they read and study this wonderful document written under the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Paul wished and prayed for nothing more than that he be allowed to leave this world knowing that all those to whom he brought the message of salvation through Yeshua the Messiah would be left in good hands when he departed to be with the Lord. We see this same sentiment when Paul said a tearful goodbye to the leaders of Ephesus church: “And now, my brothers, I give you over to God and to the word of His love. It is able to make you strong and to give you what you are to have, along with all those who are set apart for God.1 We are told that after he gave this emotional farewell, he got down on his knees and prayed with them all. They cried and put their arms around Paul and gave him a Holy Kiss. What made them sad most of all was when he said that they would never see his face again. It may be that Paul wasn’t sure if he would ever see the believers in Rome, and wanted them to know how he felt about them.

We don’t know how many times Paul experienced this emotion, but we do know that he firmly believed that this was just the beginning of greater things for the glory of God and His Kingdom. He told the Ephesians: “God is able to do much more than we ask or think through His power working in us. May we see His shining-greatness in the church. May all people in all time honor Christ Jesus. Let it be so.2 And to the Thessalonians he wrote: “May our God and Father make your hearts strong and without blame. May your hearts be without sin in God’s sight when our Lord Jesus comes again with all those who belong to Him.3

So how does Paul get the believers in Rome and other places to know which Gospel they should pay attention to? He warns them that he is not talking about just any gospel, but only the Gospel he taught them. It is the same good news he brought to the Thessalonians.4 And to the Corinthians Paul said: “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.5 He told the Galatians: “As for me, may I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world was crucified to me, and I to the world.”6 Not only that, but earlier in this letter Paul told the Romans: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.7 And he reminded young Timothy: “Remember this! Jesus Christ, Who was born from the early family of David, was raised from the dead! This is the Gospel I preach.”8

As a matter of fact, shortly after Paul converted to Christianity he began preaching in synagogues in and around Damascus that Yeshua of Nazareth was the Son of God and the awaited Messiah.9 Also, he reminded the Corinthians: “When I came to you, I did not preach the secrets of God with big sounding words or make it sound as if I were so wise. I made up my mind that while I was with you I would speak of nothing except Jesus Christ and of His death on the cross.10 Later, he mentioned to them: “We do not play with the Word of God or use it in a false way. Because we are telling the truth, we want men’s hearts to listen to us.”11

It was important to Paul that what he preached would not be mistaken as some mystery like the various pagan religions and philosophies being spread around in his day. He told the Corinthians: “What we preach is God’s wisdom. It was a secret until now. God planned for us to have this honor before the world began.12 He also shared this with the Ephesians: “God told us the secret of what He wanted to do. It is this: In loving thought, He planned long ago to send Christ into the world.13 And to the Colossians he wrote: “This great secret was hidden to the people of times past, but it is now made known to those who belong to Christ. God wants these great riches of the hidden truth to be made known to the people who are not Jews. The secret is this: Christ in you brings hope of all the great things to come.14 So the Gospel that Paul preached was not something he thought up while sitting in a cave or meditating under a fig tree. It was a revelation of something God planned before the world began. What greater honor is there than to be chosen by God Himself to spread this good news?

But now the secret is out, and Paul can’t wait to spread the Good News far and wide. Paul told the Ephesians: “Let us honor and thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He already gave us a taste of what heaven is like… He was so willing to give all of this to us. He did this with wisdom and understanding.” And Paul encouraged Timothy not to be ashamed of spreading the good news that came with Christ. Although it was known by God from the beginning, Paul says: “We know about it now because of the coming of Jesus Christ, the One Who saves.16 And to Titus Paul wrote: “God promised this before the world began. He cannot lie. He made this known at the right time through His Word. God, the One Who saves.17

It’s not that God tried to hide all of this. Paul says if we examine what the prophets said it is crystal clear what God’s plan was. So the revelation was not what God planned to do in order to save mankind from the penalty of Adam’s sin, but the revelation that His Son was the One being sent from heaven to carry it out. We are reminded of the Ethiopian who read the Scriptures as he made his way back home after his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit told Philip to find this man and explain to him what he was reading. After Philip caught up with him and heard him reading from Isaiah 53, he asked him if he understood what the Prophet was saying. The man from Ethiopia asked Philip: “Is the prophet talking about, himself, or someone else?” So Philip started with this part of the Holy Writings and taught the Good News of Yeshua the Messiah to him.18 So the revelation of the secret now is, who Yeshua the Messiah really is. And that same revelation must be preached until He comes again.

The same situation occurred when a Roman soldier named Cornelius sought to know God better. So one afternoon an angel appeared to him and instructed him to send for a man named Peter who was staying in Joppa at the house of a man who worked with leather. That this Peter would reveal to him all he really needed to know. After Peter arrived and understood what was going on, he told Cornelius and his household all about Yeshua, and that all the early prophets spoke of this. Therefore, everyone who puts their trust in Christ will have their sins forgiven.19 So again, Jesus is the secret revelation of how salvation was brought to whosoever believes in Him.

Then, after Paul’s arrest following his arrival in Jerusalem and being brought before King Agrippa, in defense of his right to preach the Gospel he told Agrippa all about Jesus. When his opponents objected, Paul said to Agrippa: “I have told only what the early prophets and Moses said would happen. It was that Christ must suffer and be the first to rise from the dead. He would give light to the Jews and to the other nations.”20 Once again, God’s plan of sending a Messiah to be the Savior of all mankind who were bound and imprisoned by sin was already known to the prophets. The revelation of the secret was that Yeshua of Nazareth was this Messiah.

On the Revelation that was kept secret of which Paul speaks, Origen feels that Paul wants to explain the two ways in which those who believe in the Gospel are strengthened in their faith. One is by way of preaching, which is the preaching of Christ’s passion and resurrection. The other is by the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages and which is now revealed in Christ. That is the mystery of salvation by grace and not by works. All of this was done with plenty of suitable witnesses and the backing of the prophetic Scriptures.21

Origen goes on to point out that those who advance in their knowledge of the Gospel do not treat the things written in the Torah and the Prophets with disrespect. On the contrary, they bestow even greater honor upon them, showing what a depth of wise and incomprehensible truths are contained in these writings, which were not fully comprehended by the Jews who treated them superficially, even to the point that although everybody had their opinion of what it meant, the mystery of what it really meant would never be solved without help from God.22 That’s why the clarification came upon the arrival of the Son of God, the Messiah. Unfortunately, some modern preachers commit the same error. Instead of thinking of the First Covenant as mystical with new things coming to light every day, they treat it as being out-of-date and irrelevant to today’s Christian lifestyle.

1 Acts of the Apostles 20:32

2 Ephesians 3:20-21

3 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

4 2 Thessalonians 2:14

5 1 Corinthians 1:23

6 Galatians 6:14

7 Romans 1:16

8 2 Timothy 2:8

9 Acts of the Apostles 9:20

10 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

11 2 Corinthians 4:2

12 1 Corinthians 2:7

13 Ephesians 1:9

14 Colossians 1:26-27

15 Ephesians 1:3, 8-9

16 2 Timothy 1:10

17 Titus 1:2-3

18 Acts of the Apostles 8:34

19 Ibid. 10:43

20 Ibid. 26:22-23

21 Origen: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

22 Origen: Against Celsus 2.4

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I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL

elgreco_paul154x200

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

Dr. Robert R. Seyda

EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

CHAPTER SIXTEEN (Lesson XI)

16:21 Timothy, a worker together with me, sends you his greetings. Also Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater (these are my spiritual family) send their greetings.

Now Paul adds a few more greetings, but this time it is from his missionary team to the believers in Rome. He begins with Timothy. His name means, “Honored or Valued of God.” He is from Derbe in Galatia, located in the south-central Province of Karaman in modern Turkey. His mother’s name was Eunice, a Jewish lady. His father, a Greek, was already dead by the time Paul visited Derbe the first time.1 He was a child with a godly heritage;2 a youthful reader of Scripture;3 Paul’s child in the faith;4 who became an ordained minister at an early age;5 and blessed with the Gift of Evangelism;6 and became indispensable to Paul;7 receiving constant instructions from the Apostle.8

This certainly qualified Timothy to become an ambassador for Paul, and he was given the responsibility of restoring a backslidden church which required both gifts and grace;9 as well as offering comfort to believers during times of tribulation;10 What he learned helped him when he became a co-sufferer with Paul.11 Paul planned to send Timothy to Philippi during their first Roman imprisonment.12 Tradition says he died a martyr in 97 AD for his faithfulness as a Bishop during the reign of Cæsar Augustus (96-98 AD), while attempting to stop an indecent heathen procession during the Festival of Diana. By doing so, this God-honoring minister sealed his testimony with his blood. The two epistles Paul addressed to Timothy are rich in their pastoral counsel.13 It almost goes without saying that the brethren in Rome already heard about Timothy and gladly received his warm greetings.

Next comes Lucius, which means, “of the light or luminous.” There are several theories on who this dear brother was. There was Lucius from Cyrene, a teacher at the church in Antioch;14 and the one mentioned here without any introduction. However, some also identify him with Luke the physician who traveled with Paul and compiled one of the Synoptic Gospels as well as the Acts of the Apostles. Many believe it was this Lucius who stood constantly by Paul’s side, and according to the “we” portions of the Book of Acts experienced many of Paul’s travels and hardships. However, since Paul made no further mention of who this Lucius was, it seems only logical that the brethren in Rome knew full-well who he was.

This is followed by Jason, which means “healer” or “he that cures.” There are two Jasons in the Scriptures. One of them was a believer in Thessalonica who showed great hospitality to Paul and Silas;15 and is the one mentioned here by Paul. Some say that “Jason” is the Greek form of the Hebrew “Joshua.” Then comes Sosipater, meaning, “defends his father.” In addition to the greeting here, he is also mentioned as a fellow traveler with Paul, having met in Berea, he went along on Paul’s journey from Philippi into Asia.16 Paul does not refer to this last group simply as his team or coworkers, but his spiritual family.

On Timothy’s and other’s greetings to the saints, Origen gives the information on these kinsmen of Paul according to the documentation in his day ((185-254 AD). He says that Timothy is well known from the Acts of the Apostles, where it is recorded that he was from Derbe, the son of a believing widow and of a Gentile father. Paul asked him to remain at Ephesus in order to warn the people there not to teach anything different from what they were taught nor listen to myths and endless genealogies.17 Lucius may have been the same person as Luke the Evangelist because names are sometimes given in the native form and sometimes in the Greek or Roman form. Jason is the same person as the one who, when there were riots against Paul and Silas at Thessalonica, posted a bond for them so that they might have the freedom to preach.18 Sosipater was the son of Pyrrhus, from Berrhoea.19 Paul calls them all his kinsmen because, although they were Gentiles, they were his brothers in Christ.”20

16:22-23 I am Tertius, the one writing this letter for Paul. I send you my own greetings as one who belongs to the Lord. Gaius is letting me and the whole church here use his home. He sends his greetings to you. Erastus and our brother Quartus also send their greetings. Erastus is the city treasurer here.

There is an obvious break between the dictations of Paul and some closing remarks by his scribe and secretary. Tertius is nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament. His name is Latin and means, “the third.” Some scholars feel that Tertius is another name for one of Paul’s closest friends, Silas. According to Greek Orthodox Church history, Tertius was named Bishop of Iconium after Sosipater and was in the list of the seventy that Jesus sent out. He died a martyr in the service of Christ. Iconium is known today in Turkey as the city of Konya and is about 100 miles south of the capital city Ankara.

We also find out that Tertius and Paul have a mutual friend named Gaius who is mentioned five times: twice by Luke,21 once by Paul,22 once here by Tertius, and once by the Apostle John.23 His name means, “I am glad.” According to Luke, Gaius was from Derbe and was seized in the riot at Ephesus along with Paul.24 He also hosted Paul while he was in Corinth,25 and Paul especially commends Gaius for letting the local congregation use his home as their church. And then in John’s third letter, it is evident that the Apostle who spoke so much about Love had a deep affection for this saint he called “the well-beloved.” It seems that the Apostle John was the one who earlier led Gaius to Christ.26 John prayed for God to send showers of blessings to fall on Gaius.27 The Apostle also commended him for his faithful care of his fellow brethren who were ministers.28

There are interesting Jewish writings related to someone using Gaius’ house, or part of their house, as a synagogue. In one place we read where Rabbis were discussing the Passover meal. By allowing the Passover meal to be held in one’s home, they were said to have “sanctified the day.” In other words, they helped make the day holy by offering their house as a synagogue.29 Every new city Paul went into, he first visited the local synagogues, so it is not out of common logic that early Christians would think of the place where they meet in the same way they thought of the synagogue. We also know that the early Christians instituted what they called the Agape Meal, or Love Feast to go along with their worship service.30 This would become better known as the Eucharist. So following some of their old Jewish customs when it came to meeting for fellowship was not ideological, but sociological.

Then we come to Erastus, the city treasurer in Corinth. Luke tells us that Paul sent two of his helpers to Macedonia – Timothy and Erastus,31 and Paul tells Timothy: “Erastus stayed in the city of Corinth. I left Trophimus behind in the city of Miletus, he was sick.32 And finally, Paul mentions Quartus, meaning, “the fourth.” It is believed that Quartus was also among the seventy who were sent out by our Lord into the harvest, and was known as Quartus of Berytus. He became the Bishop of Berytus (now Beirut) and also suffered greatly for his faith.

Some Greek manuscripts contain a verse twenty-four here that reads: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. But since it is not universally so in all manuscripts, many Bible scholars take it as something a later scribe added to his manuscript. Others believe that it is a benediction to this portion of Paul’s Epistle. Either way, it would not be out of Paul’s character to add such a blessing after sharing love and compassion from his heart.

1 Acts of the Apostles 16:1

2 2 Timothy 1:5

3 Ibid. 3:15

4 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2

5 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6-7

6 See Ephesians 4:11; cf. Romans 16:21; 2 Timothy 4:5

7 Acts of the Apostles 17:14, 15; 18:5; 20:4

8 2 Timothy 2:3; 3:14

9 1 Corinthians 14:17

10 1 Thessalonians 3:2

11 2 Timothy 1:8

12 Philippians 2:19

13 Lockyer, Herbert; All the Men of the Bible Compilation, Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

14 Acts of the Apostles 13:1

15 Acts of the Apostles 17:5-9

16 Ibid. 20:4

17 1 Timothy 1:3-4

18 Acts of the Apostles 17:5-9

19 Ibid. 20:4

20 Origen: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

21 Acts of the Apostles 19:29; 20:4

22 1 Corinthians 1:14

23 3 John 1:1

24 Acts of the Apostles 19:29

25 1 Corinthians 1:14

26 3 John 1:4

27 Ibid. 1:2, 3

28 Ibid. 1:5-8

29 The Passover Haggadah, Sanctifying the Day – Kadesh, begins the Passover Service during the Seder Meal with the first cup of wine.

30 See 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

31 Ibid. 19:22

32 2 Timothy 4:20

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POINTS TO PONDER

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Mahatma Gandhi, born in India and became a philosopher, lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of his homeland. As such, he came to be considered the father of his country. Gandhi is internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest to achieve political and social progress. Although such a great personality, he once said: “My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet.”

Gandhi goes on to ask, Why should He have chosen me, an imperfect instrument, for such a mighty experiment? I think He deliberately did so. He had to serve the poor, dumb, ignorant millions. A perfect man might have been their despair. When they found that one with their failings was marching on towards harmlessness, they too had confidence in their own capacity. We should not have recognized a perfect man if he had come as our leader, and we might have driven him to a cave. Maybe he who follows me will be more perfect and you will be able to receive his message.1

Karen McGinley, from the Chopra Center, suggests that we first Embrace Imperfection in Others, then Embrace Imperfection in Yourself, followed by Embrace Imperfection in Your Circumstances, which will help to Embrace Imperfection as a Way of Living and make it able for you to Enjoy the Process. To me, this is another way of saying, accept reality and deal with it in a real way.

Another writer, Kate-Toholka gives us a different view. As she sees it we must see our perceived flaws in a whole new light since nothing is completely good or bad. Then, practice gratitude daily by being grateful for what we already have. This is a positive-thinking way of approaching life. That will allow us to recognize that we are not our thoughts, otherwise we will react to things that are the product of fear or wishful thinking. We need to be vulnerable with others since we are not alone in this world. Finally, look after ourselves because it’s hard to find anyone who will do that for us.

But I like what Tony Fahkry from Mission.org has to say, and this is to accept ourselves completely for who we are. That then will become the starting line for making improvements. Perfection should be our goal even though few ever achieve it. Still, it’s something to aim for instead of being aimless. After all, we are born to be real, not perfect. Think of yourself as a painting. From a distance, it looks so perfect, but when you get up close you can see the brushstrokes which become distracting and lowers your appreciation for the whole portrait.

The Bible is not silent on this subject. Jesus made it clear when he said that we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. In other words, live each day growing and maturing so that we get better each day by using our heavenly Father as a role model.2 After all, as the Apostle Paul said, we have no excuse for not dealing with our imperfections just because others have them too. And we should never become the judge of others until we judge ourselves. That way, as we improve, others will see that improvement and might try to copy our example.3 Let us never forget that as a Christian, we did not get to be that way on our own, we need God’s help each and every day. Remember, the help our Lord has given us is a gift.4

That’s why the Apostle John tells us that when we see our imperfections and how they affect our relationship with God and others, if we admit that we are not perfect and ask God for help in making the needed changes, He will not hold the mistakes we’ve already made against us so that we cannot do better, He’ll let bygones be bygones and help us to make the proper adjustment and continue on our road to being what He wants us to be.5

So if God will do that for us, can we do any less for those around us at home, at work, on the highway, at church, in our families? Keep in mind, God’s intention is for all of us one day to live together in perfect peace and harmony in His wonderful presence. So there’s no need to wait until then when we can start making that our aim and goal right here and right now. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

1 The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi: Encyclopedia of Gandhi’s Thoughts, Compiled and edited by R. K. Prabhu & U. R. Rao, Printed & Published by Jitendra T. Desai, Ahmedabad, India, 1966, My Mission, p. 42

2 Matthew 5:8

3 Romans 2:2

4 Ephesians 2:8

5 1 John 1:9

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SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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DO WE REALLY WANT IT TO BE LIKE IT USED TO BE?

We’ve often hear our parents and grandparents tell us what it was like in the good old days, which for them were their golden years. How they walked to school through four-feet of snow, run to visit the outdoor toilet in freezing temperatures, all stand around the furnace-vent from the basement or the wood-burning stove in the kitchen or fireplace in the living room. How little food they had to eat and the little money they had to spend. But they turned out alright! Sounds like I’m talking about myself!

The thought crossed my mind, I wonder what it was like in the USA 100 years ago. Here’s a taste of what was going on in March of 1919.

World War I was over and most Americans were eager for peace and security; but, 1919 would prove to be anything but. Revolution and unrest ran rampant across Europe and North America, the Flu Pandemic continued from the prior year with a third brutal wave in the Spring; terrorist bombings rocked seven U.S. cities in June; the first of a series of “Red Scares”1 began when the government passed an act that blacklisted anyone thought to be involved with communism; race riots rocked the nation, and hundreds of workers went on strike across the country. The adoption of constitutional amendments giving women the right to vote and establishing Prohibition denoted the high-water mark of the moral impulse of the Progressive era.

Voters grew disillusioned during President Woodrow Wilson’s years, with many feeling the President and the Progressive Democrats went too far with their liberal ideas. The terrorist bombings further alienated people from the government because war seemed to do more to feed these liberal ideas as citizens questioned the reasons and results of the conflict.

In 1920, America elected Warren Harding with over 60% of the vote and Progressive Democrat candidates suffered for Wilson’s sins and the events from 1919. Many historians today summarize 1919 as rivaling 1968 as the worst year in twentieth-century American history. But even more sinister, the Great Depression would begin with the Wall Street Stock Market crash in October 1929 and last until October 29, 1939

Here’s our look at some US statistics for 1919:

President: Woodrow Wilson
Vice President: Thomas R. Marshall
Population: 104,514,000 (Today it’s 325,700,000)

Federal spending: $18.49 billion (Today it’s $4.5 trillion)
Consumer Price Index: 17.3 (Today it’s 251.7)
Unemployment: 1.4% (Today it’s 4.0%)

Year in General:

After moving from its southern rural roots, jazz establishes Chicago as its capital. The city will become home to such jazz greats as trumpeter Louis Armstrong and pianist Jelly Roll Morton.

185,440 people die in the third wave of the Flu Pandemic.

Dial telephones are introduced by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. The first rotary dial telephones in the Bell System are installed in Norfolk, Virginia.

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is confirmed when the Royal Astronomical Society sees the predicted effect during a solar eclipse.

Eighty-three African-Americans are lynched by southern Democrats – many of them soldiers returning home from World War I. At the same time, the Ku Klux Klan became the military wing of the Democrat Party and began operating out of 27 states.

The pamphlet, Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States: 1898-1918 is published by the NAACP. The report is used to appeal to lawmakers to end the social, political, and economic terrorism associated with lynching.

The pop-up toaster, short wave radios, and arc welders were invented in the US in 1919.

The most popular baby names for boys were John, William, James, Robert, and Charles. For girls, Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, and Ruth.

What did it cost?

1 lb of Bacon, $0.52

1 lb Beef Rib Roast $0.39

1 lb Loaf of Bread $0.12

1 lb of Butter $0.55

1 Head of Cabbage $0.02

1 lb of Cheese $0.35

2 lb Chicken $0.72

1 lb of Coffee $0.42

1 Dozen Eggs $0.47

5 lbs Flour $0.41

1 Gallon of Milk $0.66

5 lbs Sugar $0.97

5 lb Watermelon $0.10

1 Gallon of Gas $0.25

(Today’s costs adjusted for inflation)

Two bedroom room cottage $1,213.00 ($16,124 today)

Brand New Chevrolet Touring Car $1,110.00 ($14,755 today)

First Frigidaire self-contained refrigerator $775.00 (over $10,300 today)

Vacuum cleaner with all attachments $64.00 ($864.00 today)

Basic Radio $75.00 ($997 today), Custom built radio $495.00 ($6,580 today)

Temporary Federal Income Tax initiated just two years earlier.

Homeowners Insurance did not exist

$0.25 in 1919 at the grocery store would buy what you pay $3.32 for today.

But here’s the reality: average weekly earnings were $13.55 ($180.00 today)

We can thank God for bringing our grandparents and parents through those early days, but we need to ask Him for help because some of them are still the same and growing worse. There’s no sense in wishing for things to return to the way they used to be. Today’s circumstances are what we’ve been given to deal with, but God has all the tools available to help us navigate around life’s pitfalls and barriers. Take what is and make it what God wants it to be. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

Red Scares began when Vladimir Lenin starts a revolution in Russia that changes the Russian government from monarchy to communism. As a result, the U.S. passed an act that would blacklist anyone that had been thought to be involved with communism.

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I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL

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NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

Dr. Robert R. Seyda

EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

CHAPTER SIXTEEN (Lesson X)

Early church scholar Origen notes that according to his understanding, the term Satan here refers to any spirit opposed to God. For in the Hebrew language Satan means “a powerful adversary.”1 But just as the Apostle Paul teaches, if they behave and demonstrate that they are the kind of people he says they are then he promises that Satan’s aggressiveness will soon be crushed under their feet by the God of Peace. However, the same God of Peace will stir up Satan in the hearts of those who do not keep His peace with a pure heart and a clean conscience.

But there’s a reason for this. Those who neglect the blessing of peace will suffer the bitter pangs of the adversary’s assault until they remember the sweetness of the peace they once enjoyed. So, says Origen, it makes sense to respect both of these things. After all, didn’t God allow Satan to go into the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve, and didn’t He allow Satan to provoke Job to prove whether or not he served God out of love or obligation? In doing so, the adversary is defeated every time His people resist the devil’s temptation. 2

Then Ambrosiaster believes that God will use Paul to bring peace to the situation in Rome so that, more or less, the devil’s head will be crushed, and they will then be able to exercise more power over him. It was by using his head that Satan misled and fooled Eve in the Garden of Eden, so by crushing Satan’s head it means stomping out his ability to speak lies so such misinformation is stopped in its tracks. No doubt Satan gets angry at that idea because he wants people to remain in sin and under his influence.

So Paul’s hope is to encourage the Romans while they wait for his arrival, knowing that what he will bring with him help to calm the disagreements there between the Jewish and Gentiles members as Jesus calmed the winds and the waves. Paul believes that they wanted such peace and he couldn’t wait until God gave him the opportunity to be with them and teach them a better way of handling their difficulties.3 And Pelagius turns it into positive thinking by noting that the Lord gave His people power to tread upon all scorpions, snakes, and allies of the enemy so that they may not prevail over them so that they can walk over him free and unchained4.5

At this juncture, John Bengel adds that in the course of this whole epistle Paul names the enemy using various terms, but here he calls him Satan for the first time. In fact, throughout all of his epistles Paul calls him Satan nine times, and the devil six times (including Hebrews]. Bengel also noted that the Scriptures treat God and Christ directly, but Satan and the Antichrist are treated indirectly. Every victory achieved by faith is designed to elevate a new sense the ultimate eternal destruction for Satan, his demons, and his fallen angels.6

As far as the God of Peace keeping Satan from making progress and the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ helping believers to make progress, Charles Hodge reflects on Paul’s message to the church in Rome that just as a spirit of divisiveness produces false teachers that cause divisions and disgrace in the Church, the Apostle Paul is giving them the assurance that God has a remedy for that by calling Him the God of Peace. In other words, God is the author of peace in the comprehensive scriptural sense of that term.

Then Bengel states that by Paul saying that the God of Peace will crush Satan’s head, is not something way out in the future but that He will give His people the power to put Satan under their feet now. Since Satan is seen as constantly “working in the children of disobedience7 the evil done by them is sometimes ascribed to him as the instigator, and sometimes to the immediate agents who are his willing instruments. It is Paul’s prayer for God to use him as an instrument to bring more peace and cooperation among the blessed believers in Rome.8

Jewish writer David Stern writes from his perspective on the God of Peace crushing the head of the god of war – Satan. For him, the imagery used here by Paul draws on Genesis 3:15.9 Also, in a Jewish work written around 108 B.C., we read: “And Beliar10 will be bound by Him. And He will give power to His children to tread upon the evil spirits.11 According to Genesis, it is the seed of the woman, understood to be the Messiah,12 who will “bruise” or “crush” the serpent’s “head.” But here it is God who crushes the Adversary under our feet. Therefore, by implication, Yeshua is identified both with God and with those who trust in Him.13

Another Jewish writer not only ties this to Eve but also to the Garden of Eden. He notes that Paul mentions a group within the congregation in Rome who were teaching against a lot of what is taught so far in this Epistle. Specifically, he addresses the problem of “gentilizing14 with regard to the issue of doing away with kosher foods. In verse eighteen above Paul states, “For they that are such serve not our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, but their own belly,” And those who keep telling the Gentile believers in Rome to keep on eating anything they want no matter who does or doesn’t like it, is compared to Satan here in verse twenty.

Paul’s reference to the phrase “will bruise Satan’s head,” from the Garden of Eden story is interesting. That’s because the problem that started the whole thing in the garden was also food related. Paul tells them that what they already learned should be enough to help them deal with the problem between them and the Gentiles from a Jewish point of view. This is also another way of seeing that Paul was not teaching a “Torah-less” gospel by using this phrase to remind the Gentiles of their obligation to all that God said. But it was also an attempt by Paul to win the trust of the Jewish contingent in the congregation there.15

16:20b May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.

This was a standard benediction for the Apostle Paul. In fact, he uses it involving the Trinity when he closes his second letter to the Corinthians: “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.16 For the Bishop of Cyr, this was Paul’s way of transitioning from focusing on Satan to focusing on the Savior. The only thing standing between a believer’s victory or defeat is the grace of God. A person can choose which path to follow. To put this another way, if we do go out the door of God’s throne room of Grace and Mercy with things still unsettled, He doesn’t lock the door so we can’t get back in.17

Apparently, there were some even in the late 1700s in Europe who doubted the divinity of Jesus. For them, says Robert Haldane, Paul’s blessing at the end of this chapter shatters their deception. This form of expression involving grace coming from the Lord Jesus was always understood to import the deity of Christ, and it is still so understood to be right. It is essentially and necessarily a prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ; if He is not God what grace did He bestow on His people? “My grace,” He answered Paul who prayed to Him for the removal of the thorn in his flesh, “is sufficient for you; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.18

Haldane believes that this implies there is a constant supply of grace flowing from Christ to His people. If Christ so communicates His holy influences to His people in all ages, in all countries, to every individual, at every instant of time, what can He be but the Almighty God? This implies that those bought by the blood of Christ are to be supplied with grace by Him continually, in order to secure their standing in the truth. All their perseverance is dependent on this. Of His Church it is said, “I, the Lord, do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.1920

In this day and age of “free superabounding grace,” it becomes necessary to understand that such grace is not to be used in the sense of the medieval practice of “indulgences.” That means, no one can earn God’s grace and forgiveness in advance so that when sin is committed it is already forgiven. Just because you are a child of God, that does not mean you can sin with impunity, thereby never fearing any punishment or discipline because of your actions, especially when they go against the Word and Will of God. The Apostle John made it crystal clear that if we do sin, God is willing and able to forgive us of the sin as long as we repent and ask forgiveness,21 with the solemn pledge never to do it again.22

1 1 Samuel 29:4; 2 Samuel 19:22; 1 Kings 11:14, 23, 25

2 Origen: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

3 Ambrosiaster: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

4 See Luke 10:19

5 Pelagius: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

6 John Bengel: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 368

7 Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 3:6

8 Charles Hodge: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 698

9 Cf. Luke 10:19; Hebrews 2:7-9

10 Beliar is another term used for Satan. It is spelled bĕliya`al, see Deuteronomy 13:13; Judges 19:22; 20:13; 1 Samuel 1:16; 2:12; 10:27; 25:17, 25; 30:22; 2 Samuel 16:7; 20:1;23:6; 1 Kings 21:10, 13; 2 Chronicles 13:7; 2 Corinthians 6:15 (NIV)

11 The Testament of Levi 18:12

12 Galatians 4:4

13 David H. Stern: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

14 Gentilizing means asking the Jews to adopt the Gentile’s rules for selecting the food and drink to consume.

15 Messianic Bible: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

16 2 Corinthians 13:14; See 1 Corinthians 16:23; Galatians 6:18; Philippians 4:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; Philemon 1:25; Revelation 22:21

17 Theodoret of Cyr: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit.

18 2 Corinthians 12:9

19 Isaiah 27:3

20 Robert Haldane: On Romans, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 646

21 1 John 1:9

22 John 5:14; 8:11

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