Friday, November 27, 2015

Just a Thought "89"

It was God’s plan before the creation of the world, that humankind’s fingerprints would not be found on humankind's salvation. Romans is designed to grow us up in faith doctrine. God has always used faith in every age, he has always used faith or what a person believes as the criteria necessary to effect salvation for humankind.

Romans 1:1 - Paul was not only first in line, when it came to dispensing the grace of God, Paul was also foremost in crime when it came to murdering the saints of Israel’s earthly kingdom program. If Paul was at Pentecost, would Paul himself, if he took part in stoning Stephen for believing the message given at Pentecost, would he have been a blasphemer at Pentecost? In Paul’s pre-grace zealousness, he would have been a foremost rejecter of any notion whatsoever that Jesus was Israel’s messiah or that Jesus had been risen from among the dead.

First in line, first in crime are apt descriptions for the Apostle of Grace. Paul was the chosen spokesman for God to relay the information for this entire dispensation of grace. God is not dealing with Israel nationally today, he is dealing with all alike in the Age of Grace. The apostle Paul dispensed a message that the 12 apostles had not dispensed, and that message was different, and that message was geared to the Gentiles.

Paul is the chief pattern of God’s grace to all, he is the foremost example. We need to understand that even though Paul was saved, Paul still considered himself to be a sinner. Paul understood the word: Sin. And Paul understood that word meant to come short of the righteousness belonging to God himself. Paul is the foremost example of the impossibility, the total impossibility of gaining righteousness before God through the performance of the flesh.

Paul could never preach and never preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, because the kingdom was no longer at hand. God cease dealing with “the outer man” in connection with God’s program with Israel and prophecy concerning their promised earthly kingdom, and then began dealing with “the inner man” in connection with his program concerning the saints of his heavenly calling.

Romans 1:2-3 - The Davidic covenant is an eternal and unconditional covenant between God and the House of David, or the dynasty of David. God says that David and his descendants may be punished for sin. They certainly will be punished for sin, but God will not take the kingdom away from them as he did from Saul.

God’s unconditional and eternal covenants with the patriarchs and with David do not prelude the possibility of punishment or chastisement for sin as specified in the conditional Mosaic covenant. The covenant with David, it’s a covenant of grant, it’s a grant of a reward for loyal service and deeds. God rewards David with the gift of an unending dynasty, in exchange for his loyalty. 

God’s oath to preserve the Davidic dynasty, would lead eventually to a popular belief in the invincibility of the Holy City. The belief in Israel’s ultimate deliverance from enemies, became bound up with David and his dynasty. When the kingdom fell finally to the Babylonians, the promise to David’s House was believed to be eternal. 

The community looked to the future for a restoration of the Davidic line or Davidic king or messiah. And in the exile, Israelites would pray for another messiah, meaning another king from the House of David appointed and anointed by Yahweh to rescue them from enemies, and reestablish them as a nation at peace in their land as David had done. The Israelites hope for a messiah; it involved the restoration of the nation in its land under a Davidic king.

Romans 1:4 - The Christian belief in the resurrection of the body did not arise from philosophical speculations or wishful thinking like the notion of the immortality of the soul. It arose from the conviction that such an event had actually already taken place with the resurrection of Jesus from among the dead. The resurrection is proof that Jesus is who he claimed to be, and that his sacrifice was pleasing to God.

As long as Jesus lay in the tomb, he was just another tragic religious figure who suffered a martyr’s death. In fact, Paul tells us that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest display of God’s power ever to be demonstrated, nor can it ever be surpassed. Our degree  of judicial perfection in the eyes of God comes not through Jesus’ death for our sins, but through our identity with Jesus’ resurrection life.

Paul’s statement that Jesus’ resurrection was “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep,” the expression “first fruits” has little meaning for today’s urban dwellers. In Bible times, it had a rich meaning because it referred to the first produce of the harvest, which was offered in sacrifice to God to express gratitude for granting a new harvest. Thus, the first fruits, which were brought to the Temple, were seen not as mere hope of a new harvest, but as its actual beginning.

Jesus’ resurrection, then, is “the first fruits” in the sense that it has made the resurrection of believers not a mere possibility, but a certainty. Paul and the 12 apostles preached the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul preached what that meant to us Gentiles. The 12 apostles had preached the necessity of Christ being raised from among the dead, in order to sit on the throne of David in the promised kingdom. 

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