Tolerant Or Rigid?


Is God the God of Jews only?  Is God not the God of Gentiles also?  Yes – since God is one who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.  Romans 3:29-30

            The Jews believed that God was only their God.  That made them moral elitists, believing themselves to be better than anyone outside their race. 

            The Gentiles believed that there were many gods.  That made them tolerant, encouraging indulgences in all kinds of depravity.   Their many gods permitted wickedness and Greece was a cesspool.   Continue reading “Tolerant Or Rigid?”



Then what becomes of our boasting?  It is excluded.  Romans 3:27

            If Jesus took all the wrath that I deserved upon Himself, then what is there for me to boast about?  Only that “I am a sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”  (John Newton)  I have nothing in myself to make God happy enough with me to earn a place in heaven.  Lest I’m inclined to wallow in worthlessness, God turns around and offers love and redemption in the form of Jesus.  My horrible condition is eclipsed by undeserved favor.  I’m invited to live in joy rather than self-loathing.  The One who has every reason to despise me doesn’t.  This is the good news of the Gospel.

            Yet in spite of this, pride still nips at my heels.  It is the most dangerous of all vices.  C.S. Lewis described it this way.  Continue reading “Boasting”

Permissive Misperception


‘Propitiation’ was to show God’s righteousness, because in his forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time.  Romans 3:25-26

            I’ve been pretty worked up emotionally since writing yesterday.  I realized that I didn’t really grasp, nor convey, the weight of this verse.  So, I’m writing again on the same thing. 

            I think I’ve treated my sin, and God’s holiness, casually.  It’s as if I was adopted into a family with an overly permissive father.  As a new member of the family, I was told that, while he’d rather his children obey, when we sin, he’ll always forgive us.  Forgiveness was cheap.  Sinning was easy.  The holiness of the father was immaterial and not to be taken too seriously.  He was really a pushover and his longsuffering nature gave the illusion that forgiveness didn’t cost him all that much.  With a wave of his hand he cleared sin’s debt.    Continue reading “Permissive Misperception”

God ~ Soft On Sin?


‘Propitiation’ was to show God’s righteousness, because in his forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time.  Romans 3:25-26

            When Nathan confronted David over his relationship with Bathsheba, and David acknowledged the gravity of his sin, Nathan said something that is related to these words from Paul.  He said, “The Lord has put away your sin.”  Or, passed over.  The world is outraged when any judge just passes over sin.  Doesn’t that diminish His glory and put His righteous standing at stake?  Is God forever regarded as someone soft on sin, not to be taken seriously?  If He passes over sin, doesn’t that encourage us to pass over it too? Continue reading “God ~ Soft On Sin?”

Moved By A Word


..Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.  Romans 3:25

            “Propitiation” is a word we usually pass over quickly when reading through Romans.  Someone once said that it means “substitute”.  Knowing that, I pass over it quickly, thinking that I understand and don’t need to linger on it.  What a mistake.

            Worshippers in the ancient world knew the word well.  They would bring their sacrifices; animals, even new-born babies, and kill them at the altar, all for the purpose of appeasing angry gods.  While they faith was misplaced, their conscience was right in knowing that a ‘god’ who bore wrath needed to be appeased.  The one, true God sent Jesus to be the sacrifice.  He bore our wrath so we could appear guiltless before Him. Continue reading “Moved By A Word”

Measuring The Atonement


For there is no distinction: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift.  Romans 3:22b-24a

            People who consider themselves ‘good’ believe on some level that they don’t need as much grace to be saved.  Do they need the cross?  Yes, but not as much of it as the most degenerate of society.  It’s as if they measure out the blood of the atonement and believe that they only need five percent or twenty percent to be forgiven. 

            As Christians, it’s easy to still practice a horizontal kind of comparison with others.  We can look at someone else’s sin and say to God, “But I didn’t do that!”  The pride of not seeing ourselves as sinners continues.  Continue reading “Measuring The Atonement”

But Now


But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.  Romans 3:21-22

            What wonderful words and implication ~ “But now!”  They separate one part of life from another.  They provide a defining moment and one that is life changing.  I think of the life stories that have used this expression.

  • I was sick all my life but now I’m healthy.
  • I was an orphan but now I’m part of a loving family.
  • I was unemployed but now am doing what I’ve always dreamed I would. Continue reading “But Now”