Monday, June 07, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Looking Back on Romans 8

The Pastor’s Perspective
“Looking Back on Romans 8”
First Published: August 9, 2001

I’ve been most encouraged by your comments on our studies of Romans 8. Many of you have been helped by God’s mighty message delivered through the pen of Paul. This Lord’s Day we will come to the final verses of that great chapter (35-39): “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The wonderful Scottish Paraphrase (which we learned last Sunday evening) renders this portion as follows: “Who then can e’er divide us more from Jesus and his love, Or break the sacred chain that binds the earth to heav’n above? Let troubles rise, and terrors frown and days of darkness fall; Through him all dangers we’ll defy, and more than conquer all. Nor death nor life, nor earth nor hell, nor time’s destroying sway, Can e’er efface us from his heart, or make his love decay. Each future period that will bless, as it has bless’d the past; He lov’d us from the first of time, he loves us to the last.” The words are beautiful, memorable and singable. We’ll sing them again on Sunday evening as a reinforcement of the truths we learn in the morning message.

Now, on August 19th, Lord willing, we will begin our series on Romans 9. This great chapter sets forth the Biblical doctrine of election in clear terms. This will be a challenging but interesting study for many of you. The next three chapters of the book deal with the Place of Israel in God’s Redemptive Purposes (9-11) and chapter 9 especially tackles the question – “But what about the Old Covenant Promises to Israel?” In other words, if God made saving promises to Abraham and his descendants, why weren’t more Jews in Paul’s day (and in ours) becoming Christians?

Paul tackles part of that question in Romans 9 by explaining to us the Bible’s teaching on election. Now, many people hate this doctrine and many are confused by it and many think that it’s impractical to even discuss (so many angels on a pin’s head). But Paul emphasizes it constantly and shows why it’s so important for healthy day-to-day Christian living. We’ll look at the following subjects in our study.
1. Paul’s heart for Israel (Is there a problem with God’s promises?) 9:1-5;
2. No, God’s promises have not failed (Because not all Israel is Israel!) 9:6-13;
3. But isn’t it unfair for God to choose some and not others? (No, because salvation isn’t about fairness, it’s about mercy!) 9:14-18;
4. But how can God condemn if we can’t resist his will? (Because he’s God and he has a plan to display his mercy) 9:19-23;
5. The Bible [Old Testament] taught both about the remnant of Israel and the salvation of the Gentiles (Both of which demonstrate God’s electing love) 9:24-29;
6. Why, then, did Israel fail to obtain the promise? (Because Israel, by and large, rejected her own Messiah) 9:30-33.
I trust you will be helped in your faith as we study this important passage.

I’ve had the opportunity to listen to a number of tapes recently that I’d like to commend to you. The Council on Biblical Man/Womanhood sponsored a conference in Dallas, Texas last year and Bob Lepine spoke in one of the sessions on “The Husband as a Prophet, Priest and King.” Now, that may sound like the male chauvinist pig title of the year, but ladies – I guarantee you that you want your husbands to listen to this one! It’s in the Tape Library available for check-out.

I also heard two Center for Church Reform taped interviews, one with Jim Elliff and Don Whitney, conducted by Mark Dever and Matt Schmucker, and one with your truly and Michael Lawrence, also conducted by Mark Dever and Matt Schmucker. Modesty precludes me from extolling the virtues of the latter! You can get them both in the Church Library. More next time.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

[editorial note, the sermons may be found here,]

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