When I am Weak, He is Strong

~from a great blog series by Don Merritt

We now continue in this section where Paul is making the point that grace gives victory over sin, and that victory is assured. As always, it seems to be one thing to say so, and another thing in daily life; how does this victory come about in the face of life’s challenges? We saw in the last post that this victory comes through the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which we received at “birth” when we were born again. This new life makes us God’s children, His family, and it is our membership in His Family that assures our victory.

Paul continues proving this point as we turn to his next sub point, in verses 26-30 where we find that God will bring His children through their earthly trials.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (8:26-27)

Read the rest: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/when-i-am-weak-he-is-strong-2/

We are not free to sin

~ Don Merrit

Romans 6:15-23

No! We are not free to sin; we are free from sin… and the difference between these two is huge.

In these verses, Paul is explaining what he spoke of in our previous passage when he presented us with a command and a choice. This time, he uses slavery as his illustration.

First, in verse 16 he explains what he meant in his use of the word “offer”.

Continue: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/we-are-not-free-to-sin-2/

The All-Sufficiency of the Sacrifice of Christ

Romans 5:12-21

The NIV (and other translations as well) has added a subtitle at the beginning of this section which says “Death Through Adam; Life Through Christ”. To the editors of the NIv I have two things to say to that subtitle: First, “Amen.” Second, “Why would you place a subtitle immediately before a section that begins with the word ‘therefore’?”

As I have pointed out so many times, the word “therefore” is used to draw a conclusion from the preceding passage, and that means what came just before “therefore” and what comes right after “therefore” go together; they are not separate. In defense of the NIV editors, many theologians over the centuries have read 5:1-11 and 12-21 as two different sections as well in total disregard of the rules of interpretation, rules they would apply anywhere else. Go figure?

I point this out because if we get that point, 12-21 gets much easier to follow. You see, these verses are about the supremacy of the sacrifice of Christ, not about the mechanics of sin; sin is defeated, as is death and the Devil. Here’s another way of saying the same thing: Adam screwed up; he was the first man to screw up. Later on, I screwed up too. Yikes, I have trouble with God because I screwed up. God sent His Son to sacrifice so I could get right with God. I accepted His grace through faith, and now I’m OK with God again. I am happy about that.

See? That wasn’t so bad…

Continue: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/the-all-sufficiency-of-the-sacrifice-of-christ-2/




John 21:1-14

The disciples got out of the city and went back to Galilee, probably a smart move. One evening at the Sea of Galilee, Peter suddenly announced that he was going fishing, and all seven of them got into a boat and went out on the lake; John doesn’t say anything about the other four, and course Judas was dead. After an all night fishing trip, they caught exactly nothing.

Very early the next morning, a man on the shore saw them and asked how they were doing, only to hear that they hadn’t caught a thing. “Try casting your net on the right side,” suggested the helpful man, which they did. Lo and behold, they had a huge catch! That is also when it occurred to John that the man on the shore was none other than Jesus.

Peter grabbed his clothes and jumped into the water and struggled to swim to shore to meet Him while the other guys struggled to haul their catch to shore where they encountered a shocking sight: Jesus was indeed there and He had a cook fire going: The risen Savior of the World was cooking breakfast!

Who’d have thought that after having been crucified, buried and then rising again from the grave that Jesus in His great glory would trouble Himself with cooking breakfast? Yet there He was; He had some fish and some bread, and He called to the guys at the boat to bring some of the fish they had caught so He could cook them up for the guys.

They all sat out there on the rocky beach and ate breakfast.

Take a moment to let that sink in…

Continue: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/glory/

Paul debates… himself

Romans 3:1-8

Read the blog: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/paul-debates-himself-2/

The Last supper, part 3

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That’s enough!” he replied.

Luke 22:31-38

Read Don’s comments: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/the-last-supper-part-3/

At Peace With God

~ Don Merritt

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1

When Jesus died on the cross, He established a New Covenant with his people, and this Covenant is a peace treaty between Man and God.  When we accepted its terms and entered into our new life by faith in Jesus Christ, we have turned over a new leaf, so to speak.

We have been “justified” through faith in Jesus Christ… but what exactly does “justified” mean here?

The easy answer is that “justified” means “just as if I never sinned”.  The more correct answer is that by the atoning work of Christ on the cross, the penalty for sin was paid in full for you and me, and we can approach the throne of grace with confidence; we are at peace with God, the rebellion in our lives is over.

Here’s a question to consider: Would you rather be at odds with God or at peace?

Personally, I think I’d rather take the peace option!