Bible Study – Do Over – A Problem You Can’t Solve
Yourself – December 1, 2013
This is lesson one in our series entitled “Do Over:
Experience New Life in Christ.”
Our scripture is Romans 1:16-17; 2:5-11; 3:9-12.
SPECIAL NOTE: My wife and I will be on travel and the availability of the Internet is uncertain so there may be a miss or two in publishing the lessons. I hope to get the December 8, 2013 lesson published. Anyway blessings and you may get several lessons at one time.
For the next seven weeks we will have three lessons
in Romans, one special lesson for Christmas, then three more lessons in Romans.
How do you define a “Do Over?” Some define it as a
complete remodel. For a house or business it is generally tearing out
everything inside and starting over with a new interior. It could include the
exterior of the building as well. Often a “Do Over” is required for business or
even a house to meet a standard building code – structure, foundation,
electrical, plumbing, fire walls, fire sprinklers, hand rails and the list goes
So why are we studying a “Do Over” for Christians?
Christians get into a rut. A rut has been described
as a grave with the ends knocked out. Christians work in their own strength
trying to measure up by their works and they burn out. They lose the joy of
their salvation. They have Christian friends, church staff or leaders who have
hurt them or disappointed them. It is easy to let these disappointments lead to
us throwing up our hands and saying, “What is the use!”
Non-Christians often look at Christians and comment
that they are no different from themselves. What is missing?
The Apostle Paul wrote the letter or treatise to the
Christians in Rome. When he wrote the letter he had not visited Rome but his
desire was to visit them. So his letter to the Roman Christians was Paul’s way
of giving them a heads up regarding Christian doctrine and principles that he
embraced as truth and Spiritual fact based upon his training and knowledge of
the scriptures. Keep in mind that Paul had been trained by the best teacher of
the Jewish faith. Paul was a Pharisee before his encounter with CHRIST changed
his life forever. Let’s explore!
Let’s read Romans 1:16-17:
16 For [Because] I am not ashamed of the gospel,
because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the
Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For [Because] in it (The Gospel) God’s
righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The
righteous will live by faith.
First, Paul made it clear that he was not ashamed of
the gospel. The Greek word used for “for” indicates purpose and can be
translated “Because.” As we read verses 16 and 17 where the word “for” is used
to begin the verse, we can insert the English word “because.”
The word for “gospel” derives its roots from the
Greek word that we translate into evangelism or “announce good news” which is the
Good News of CHRIST. The Good News of CHRIST is embodied in all the facts regarding
scripture prophesy and HIS birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension,
intercession and the return of the Holy Spirit to indwell all Christians.
As stated earlier, keep in mind that the Apostle
Paul was first a devout Jew. He was trained by the best Jewish teacher,
Gamaliel, regarding Jewish law, commandments, customs and rituals. Paul, as a
Pharisee, was a zealot for GOD and an obedient servant of GOD, even to point of
persecuting and killing Christians. He was keenly focused on annihilating this
new threatening religious group to the Jewish religion called “The Way” who
would later be called “Christian”.
CHRIST revealed Himself to Paul as Paul was on his
way to round up Christians in Damascus. That encounter with CHRIST gave Paul a
“Do Over.” Paul took his time to consider what had happened to him and checked
it out with Christian leaders in Jerusalem such as The Apostle Peter and the
half-brother of JESUS, James.
Paul, being a Jew, knew the scriptures. Based upon
the scriptures, he knew that JESUS came to give the Jews the first opportunity
to accept HIM as the promised Messiah. GOD gave the Jews that opportunity
because GOD had chosen the Jewish people to be HIS people long ago. We know
from New Testament scripture that some accepted CHRIST as the promised Messiah
and their Savior but most rejected HIM. The Jews were looking for a political
Messiah who would lead them to conquer Roman rule and establish Israel as a
mighty earthly kingdom.
CHRIST ministered to the Jews but once that had been
done the next step was to take the plan of salvation, through CHRIST, to the
Gentiles. GOD called Paul through CHRIST for this purpose. This personal
encounter with CHRIST on the road to Damascus gave Paul the status of Apostle.
To be considered an Apostle, the person had to have a special calling by
The Apostle Paul made it clear that CHRIST was for
both the Jew and the Greek, non-Greek or Gentile. The message of CHRIST is the
power that GOD uses in the lives of all people to bring them face to face with
their need of salvation from sin and its consequence, eternal death. GOD works
in the hearts of every person to bring them to a point of decision. They either
accept or reject CHRIST as their Savior.
Paul made it clear in verse 17, that salvation,
through faith in CHRIST, allows the righteousness of GOD to be manifested
through Christians. Paul stated that the righteousness of GOD is revealed from
faith to faith. Salvation is just step one in the process of being saved or
sanctified which will be completed the instant Christians exit their earthly
bodies and see CHRIST face to face. The shed blood of CHRIST makes all who
place their faith in CHRIST righteous before GOD. This is GOD’S plan and HIS
gift of grace. GOD is sovereign and HE chose to impute righteousness to all who
place their faith in CHRIST. As they exercise their faith and grow in their
experiential knowledge of CHRIST, they build a personal relationship with HIM.
Christians begin to comprehend and understand the righteousness of GOD which
has been imputed to them, as they obediently take steps of faith.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21:
21 He (GOD) made the One (JESUS) who did not know
sin to be sin for us, so that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him.
Even though Christians are secure in CHRIST, they
must live each day exercising their faith, thus they live from faith to faith. Christians
have the light of HIS presence in their lives and GOD’S desire is for them to
share that light according to HIS plan and purpose. Righteousness is activated when
Christians take steps of faith in their daily walk. JESUS said it best in Luke
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to
come with Me, he must deny himself, take
up his cross daily, and follow Me.
First of all, a Christian does not take
up his or her cross daily to be saved but to serve. Christians cannot lose
their salvation. Once saved always saved! Just as you cannot ever become unborn
physically, you cannot be unborn Spiritually. As Christians journey through
life, circumstances they encounter can result in them either growing in their
faith or compromising. But there is something Christians need to consider. Are
the circumstances being encountered the result of their own doing?
CHRIST makes it clear that being a
Christian is not easy. Obedience to GOD, as led by the Holy Spirit, yields
rewards. As Christians take steps of faith, they see the hand and power of GOD
at work which builds their confidence and trust in GOD. As they grow Spiritually,
GOD gives them other steps of faith, which will likely be larger.
Satan is ready to defeat Christians at any split
second as he spots a chink in the Christian’s amour. Christians must stay
focused upon CHRIST and HIS strength, leadership and power in their lives. They
are secure in CHRIST but if Satan can quench the flame of the presence of the
Holy Spirit in their lives, doubt can quickly begin to take over.
Salvation from sin and its consequence is a problem
no person can solve by themselves.
read Romans 2:5-11: Because
we are sinful, all people are subject to GOD’S judgment:
5 But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart
you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous
judgment is revealed. 6 He will repay each one according to his works : 7
eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and
immortality; 8 but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and
disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness; 9 affliction and distress
for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek;
10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the
Jew, and also to the Greek. 11 There is no favoritism with God.
In Chapter 2, Paul gave some of the principles that
guide GOD’S judgment. He apparently was directing his remarks to his fellow
Jews. The Jews were quick to judge the Gentiles or non-Jews but it was hard for
them to see their own short comings. Paul’s desire was for the Jews to see
their need for CHRIST. Just because they were GOD’S chosen did not mean that
they were exempt from HIS judgment. The shed blood of animals was only a place
holder until the ultimate price was paid in full by GOD’S only Son, JESUS. The
Jews had the law but keeping the law did not exempt them from judgment. There
was also the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. GOD’S requirement was
for all people to keep both the letter and the spirit of the law.
The Jews refused to face the reality of GOD’S
judgment. Those who are not in right relationship with HIM are disobedient and
do works of unrighteousness thus they will reap the wrath of GOD.
The only way a person can escape the wrath of GOD is
to accept, by faith, CHRIST as his or her Savior. HIS shed blood washes away
all sin – past, present and future thus Christians are always righteous before
GOD. Christians must keep in mind that they do earn rewards as they obediently
serve GOD as led by the Holy Spirit. Some of the rewards Christians experience
upon earth such as growing from faith to faith as they obediently serve. Keep
in mind that it is not being busy doing that earns rewards but doing as led by
the Holy Spirit.
The Jews, their heritage and traditions made it hard
for them to see their need for salvation through CHRIST. When a person believes
he or she is working or earning their salvation it is hard for him or her to
trust any other way. They considered themselves good enough because they were
chosen by GOD, had the law and lived by the dictates of the law. But they
failed to realize how woefully short they fell regarding the spirit of the law.
Let’s consider the person who has been born into a
Christian family and has grown up in the Christian church. That person could
consider that he or she is a Christian, after all he or she has always been in
church, likely worked or served in the church. That person is no different from
the Jew who thought being born a Jew meant that he or she was in right-standing,
justified or righteous before GOD. This is a most dangerous position to be in.
Because a person has been born into a Christian family and raised in a
Christian home and church has to realize that does not make him or her
righteous before GOD.
As I heard someone use the analogy many years ago,
that kittens in an oven don’t make them biscuits.
Paul was addressing the need for people to consider
their true relationship with GOD – Was it real or imaginary? That is what all
Christians must do today. We are to be honest before GOD – are we in
right-standing with HIM through our relationship with CHRIST or are we playing
like we are? GOD knows our hearts and HIS desire is for us to be genuine before
Verse 6 makes it clear that there will be payday
some day. CHRIST gives eternal life to those who seek to obediently serve HIM
and GOD’S wrath will come to those who do not seek a real relationship with HIM
through faith in CHRIST.
What reveals our relationship with GOD through
CHRIST? Our relationship is revealed through the works or deeds of
righteousness. It is allowing GOD to reveal where HE wants Christians to serve.
Dr. Henry Blackaby stated in “Experiencing God” written by him and Claude V.
King and published by LifeWay, One LifeWay Place, Nashville, TN 37234-0175, When you are in right relationship with GOD
through CHRIST and GOD reveals or opens your Spiritual eyes to what HE is doing
around you, that is your invitation to join HIM in that work. GOD works in many
ways to call Christians to join HIM in meeting the various needs around them.
When prompted by the Holy Spirit, respond and trust that GOD has prepared the
opportunity. Oh, Satan will do all he can to discourage you but trust in the
leadership of the Holy Spirit.
GOD does not play favorites regarding the judgment
of those who reject HIS provision for salvation, which is placing your faith in
CHRIST. Rich man, poor man, beggar man or thief, as the old saying goes; all
people will be accountable before GOD. Those who have received CHRIST, as their
Savior, will not be judged but they will receive rewards based upon their
obedience to GOD. Others will be judged by GOD.
GOD makes it clear. The question is where are you in
relationship with GOD through CHRIST? We must keep in mind verse 11:
11 There is no favoritism with God.
GOD cannot be anyone but Himself. HE is Who HE is,
HE does not change like the wind or on a whelm. HE is consistent. HE told Moses
in Exodus 3:14:
14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is
what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”
read Romans 3:9-12: Even if we think we are righteous, we are not.
9 What then? Are we any better? Not at all! For we
have previously charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, 10 as it is written: There is no
one righteous, not even one. 11 There is no one who understands; there is no
one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away; all alike have become useless.
There is no one who does what is good, not even one.
The Apostle Paul is still focused on Jews versus
Gentiles. “What then?” was a transitional question to lead his readers to the
real question, are we (Jews) better than the Gentiles or non-Jews? Because Jews
have the law and structured worship are they better than the Gentiles who do
not? Absolutely NOT! The bottom line is that all people, regardless of their
religious orientation, are all sinners and need Salvation. Paul made it clear
that he was not giving his opinion in this matter but “As it is written in the
No one in their own right or through their own
effort can earn their way to heaven. Left to our own devices, it is not in our human
nature or our unrighteous nature to seek GOD. The tendency is for all to depend
upon themselves. GOD knows that because humans are in a fallen state, they need
salvation and HE provides the way to Himself through CHRIST. GOD, because of
HIS love for humans, works within every person to woo him or her to HIM. HE
reveals Himself to every person and when HE does, he or she has a choice either
to accept CHRIST or reject HIM. Before CHRIST, those seeking a relationship
with GOD went to the temple. Since the passion of CHRIST, HE opened the way for
all who place their faith in CHRIST to have a personal, intimate relationship
with HIM. We know that the Holy Spirit confirms this by the indwelling Holy
The bottom line is that all have sinned regardless
of our ethnicity or apparent physical wealth or physical gifts. Being born into
a Christian family or the son or daughter of parents who serve CHRIST does not
impute righteousness to that child. It does expose the child to the Bible and
teachings of CHRIST but each person must make a choice.
What happens if a fetus dies or a child dies? I
personally believe there is an age of accountability. It is not a numerical age
but an age only GOD knows and HE will be the judge. Our part is to be obedient
as HE leads us to those who are to receive either salvation or to plant a seed,
water, take out some weeds or whatever is needed in their lives which will open
the path to their salvation or recommitment of their lives to CHRIST.
The key is for every Christian to be obedient to the
opportunity GOD provides. Because Christians know the truth and have been
redeemed from eternal death by the shed blood of CHRIST, GOD declares them
righteous and justified before HIM.
To be made righteous is to be made in right-standing
with GOD. To be “justified” is to stand before GOD, thoroughly cleansed by the
shed blood of CHRIST, such that a Christian appears to GOD as if he or she has
never sinned or using a play on the word “justification” - “just-as-if-I-had-never-sinned.”
Once a person receives CHRIST as his or her Savior, his or her Spiritual growth
begins. GOD removes all the things that encumber him or her from obediently
serving HIM as led by the Holy Spirit. As we read in Romans 1:17 - For
[Because] in it (Salvation) God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to
faith, just as it is written:
The righteous will live by faith.
All Christians have the opportunity to obediently
serve GOD and to experience GOD’S righteousness being activated in their lives
by stepping out in faith as led by the Holy Spirit. Do not step out in your own
faith but as GOD provides the opportunity. As Christians step out on faith, GOD
provides as the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:10-15:
Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and
multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11
You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces
thanksgiving to God through us. 12 For the ministry of
this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also
overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. 13 They will glorify God for
your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your
generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by
this service. 14 And they will have deep affection for you in their prayers on
your behalf because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God
for His indescribable gift.
The opportunity to obediently serve GOD comes in
many different forms. Ask HIM to open your Spiritual eyes, which are the eyes
of your heart, to discern those opportunities. Trust HIS leadership. Most
likely you will stump your Spiritual toes a time or two but how else do you
learn as you walk with HIM. Responding in faith often reveals our nature. Do
not get discouraged but seek the fullness of HIS presence in your life and wait
I know in the early days of my journey with CHRIST,
I was very eager to serve HIM and I got ahead of HIM. I often thought GOD was
dragging HIS feet and HE needed to catch up with me. Well, GOD lets us run
ahead of HIM but just know HE teaches us as we journey with HIM. I had to learn
to wait upon HIM. This is not to discourage you or to slow you down. GOD gives
the balance in our lives through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are all created
differently and HE works within our nature to make us and mold us into the
image HE desires for us. Some of us need to have some rough corners knocked off
and HE knows how to do it. I have been journeying with the LORD since 1971, at
the age of 34, and HE is still working on me. It is all part of the “Do Over”
program. Happy Do Over. Blessings!!!