Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Courtroom drama

Romans 1-5

Previously the court has been anxious as rebellion has been identified as leading to death and judgement.

The judge then looked to the sides of the court to expose those who justified themselves by criticising others. The he called in those who were teachers of the law, the lawyers, and condemned them for their hypocrisy – teaching but not practising. The courtroom was then silenced for the verdict -  all guilty.

A voice is heard  -  “ yes your honour, I am guilty and undone”

  To the surprise of the witnesses and guardians of justice, the judge rises from his chair and declares, ‘I have a solution to the problem. The penalty of death has been paid by another. I ask nothing more of the guilty one, than that he believe in the one who paid the price.’

The person in the dock is visibly changed. Distress is replaced with beaming relief. A tear of gratitude is seen on the face of the convicted person, as he looks across at the one who has pierced hands.

The judge is not finished yet. All the audience in the room are attentive as the judge responds.
      ‘I now give directions and motivation for the accused to live a different life. Clerk of the court, please make public the terms of release
1     Peace – the conflict is over.
2    Grace – provide inspiration and encouragement in suffering and temptation so that hope and love prevail.
3    Reconciliation - so that friendship can develop.
4    Security – ongoing support and protection by means of the presence of the one who paid the penalty.
5    Identity – Change the ID card from an Adam family, to the Jesus Christ family
Court is now adjourned  until the next sitting.

Try reading Romans 1,2,3,4,5 in the light of the above description and find the thrill of knowing God as Just and the Justifier of all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord.

John McKee

Friday, September 11, 2015

The discerning eye of God

Romans 2.17 -29

           The argument of Paul now touches religious hypocrisy. It is indeed commendable to read, study and teach the Bile truth. However when the teaching of God’s law becomes a matter of pride and conceit, then it often leads to the damning problem of hypocrisy i.e. teaching but not practising .

           The Lord Jesus identified this same problem when He advised the common people concerning the religious leaders ‘ do as they say (they sit in Moses seat), but don’t do as they do.’ Matthew 23.3 .   He described them as blind leaders of the blind. God’s judgement will be more demanding on these leaders since they have such brilliant light from God’s law yet do not keep it.

       Verses 25 – 29 Identifies the same problem in the ritual of circumcision . Jewish exclusiveness by circumcision has fostered national and religious pride, but the cross-examination has showed up that outward religious ritual without the corresponding inward reality is a sham. Indeed the argument goes so far as to say that the Gentiles who don’t know the ritual, yet keep God’s laws, whose hearts are changed by God’s Spirit, will be given the rights and honours of being God’s people!

  God knows the hearts
       God will reward the genuine.

No wonder He is called  “ a  Just God and a Saviour” 

comments welcome

Saturday, September 5, 2015

God the Judge is fair

Romans 2 continued..............

On the last day when God judges .... will He be fair?  Many people today  imply that God is not fair. E.g.  Why does God allow suffering? – I will also ask you a question. Do you drive a train or a motor car? A train is much safer but it is locked into a particular track with few controls except speed. A train has no steering wheel. Likely you prefer a motor car, so that ‘at the wheel’ you are in control and you can choose both speed and the way you go. If you crash it, remember you chose to take the steering wheel ! So in life, God has chosen to give us the steering wheel – don’t blame Him if you go the wrong way or if someone else loses control and does damage to others.

       But the focus of Romans 2 is not the present, but rather the final day of reckoning. Verse 6 is a reminder that God has record books (Revelation 20). His records are more sophisticated than that of Google. Not only the emails, the texts, the phone calls but God records the attitude of the heart as well. And when God opens the books on the last day, His justice will be for real. He will account for good and reward it. He will expose evil and reward it.

Verse 7 promises eternal life and verse 8 promises wrath and fury! Is this just hypothetical  ?  No. This has been verified by the Master Himself.  He clearly spoke about the resurrection and the last day of judgement. (John 6) 
Let me connect this teaching  with the reactions of the Lord Jesus.
A young man came to the Lord Jesus with this question – “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  The Lord gave the answer “What is written in the law? this and you will live” (Luke 10.25) Did the Lord really mean that this man could have life by keeping the law ?  Yes.    On another day the self appointed judges came to the Lord Jesus accusing the woman taken in adultery ( sound like Romans chapter 2) The Lord did not contradict the law given through Moses but identified the same problem that is unveiled here in Romans two and three - None are morally qualified to sit in the seat of judgement,  and our own conscience tells us that none of us can qualify for eternal life.

In this matter of eternal life God is not partial, but rather He will pass judgement according to the light a person has received. For the enlightened Jew, greater responsibility, for the uninformed Gentile less responsibility.

This testimony to God’s justice must be considered in the context of the next few paragraphs in Romans. Chapter 3:23 -  the just and fair judge comes to the conclusion that all have sinned ( missed the mark for attaining eternal life) and all fall short of the glory that God intended to be seen in humanity – His own image.

I remember listening to a missionary who had been working among some remote tribe of people. He thought that they would have been glad to hear the good news, but was rather shocked when these people deliberately chose the ways they knew were evil instead of seeking after the true and living God. He admitted that the lesson of universal human rebellion came to him in an unexpected way.

Verses 12 -15  describe the fair judgement of God according to the responsibility under law, and according to conscience etc.

Verse 16
I would like to highlight the important truth unveiled in this Bible verse:
“ .. on the day when according to my Gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus”
1.      1.  The message of the Gospel includes the reality of future judgement!
2.    2.   God is more interested in the secrets, the motives, the attitudes, the heart faith or unbelief, the reactions to mercy and grace etc than  the outward actions.
3.    3.    God has committed  all judgement to His Son Jesus Christ. (John 5.27) Why is this so important? 
     Because He as a man has also suffered as we have. We cannot say the judge doesn't understand. 
     He has been rejected by both Jew and Gentile when as God’s representative He came to bless.
     He bears the scars in His hands, evidence that He gave Himself a ransom for all, so that all might be saved. Well might He  the judge of all the earth, give eternal life to all who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. For those who have refused to believe in the Son of God the judge will reward justly, see Revelation 20 

Conclusion    God will be fair in judgement, not according to human standards, but according His true holiness and justice.
                   The judge is abundant in mercy now, but will execute justice in the last day.

John McKee