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Contrast Between The Law And Grace: Romans 5:20-21p

Contrast Between The Law And Grace: Romans 5:20-21
“20) The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21) that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans‬ ‭5:20-21‬
Paul closes Romans chapter five with one more contrast. This time it is between the Law and grace. He stresses again that the Law came in that transgression might increase. The Law was not intended to save people, but rather to prove the guilt of sin beyond all doubt and to show that they are worthy of death.
By contrast, grace abounded all the more and paved the way for righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ. Just as the Law reigned bringing death, much more grace reigns unto eternal life.
These two verses put the final nail in the coffin of works based religion. Any effort to be accepted by God on the basis keeping the Law or self-righteousness is futile. It only amplifies how bad we have missed the mark. When measured by the Law there is no guest question of my sin and guilt.
I join with Paul in celebrate amazing grace. I put all my faith and hope in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross as the payment for my sin and the basis for my salvation.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Contrast Between Death and Life: Romans 5:17-19

Contrast Between Death and Life: Romans 5:17-19
“17) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18) So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19) For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” Romans‬ ‭5:17-19‬
Paul now begins to focus on an important distinction between Adam and Christ. Just as Adam’s sin and transgression became the basis of death and condemnation for the whole human race, so the condemnation of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross became the only basis of forgiveness and justification for the human race. There is no other means of salvation but through faith in Jesus Christ. (See Acts 4:8-12)
Let me erase a confusion some have based on these verses. The transgression of Adam did bring death to the entire human race, but the death of Jesus Christ on the cross does not mean that every human is automatically saved. However, the atonement of Jesus Christ did open the door for salvation and justification by faith to those who believe in the Gospel and receive Jesus Christ through personal faith. According to Romans 5:19, there will be many who come to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul now begins a transition into the second part of the gospel message. Though it was the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His burial that became the basis of human redemption and forgiveness, it was His resurrection that became the basis of new life imparted to every believer. This will be Paul’s theme as we move into chapter six.
This is what separates Christianity from every other world religion. They all had founders who died, but only Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead by the power of God. Christianity is not about death, it is about life.
Paul states this point very clearly in Romans 5:17. Let me quote the verse for emphasis. “17) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
Note the contrast between death and life! Adam brought death, but Christ brought life. But notice that this life is to those “who receive the abundance of grace.” There needs to be a personal faith response to the gospel. Believers are the ones who will reign in life through Jesus Christ.
From this point forward in the book of Romans, Paul is going to focus on the new life through the Holy Spirit that begins to emerge in every true believer. Christianity is about life and not death. It is about forgiveness and not wrath and condemnation. It is about our future and not our past. It is about the Spirit and not our flesh. It is about being set free and not enslaved. It is good news and not bad news.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Contrast Between Adam and Christ: Romans 5:15-17

Contrast Between Adam and Christ: Romans 5:15-17
“15) But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16) The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans‬ ‭5:15-17‬
Paul now makes a crucial comparison between Adam and Christ. He starts both verses 15 and 16 by saying that the free gift through Christ is not like the transgression that came through Adam. They are similar in that Adam’s transgression affected the whole human race, just like Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. (See John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2) They are different in that death spread to all people through Adam’s transgression, but the free gift of salvation is only applied to believers. Justification is by personal faith in Jesus Christ through the Gospel. Romans 5:17 amplifies this point when Paul said; “… much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
I recognize there is disagreement from strict Calvinists on this point, especially if they hold to the concept of the limited atonement of Christ. With circular reasoning they argue that Christ died only for the elect, because in the end His atonement will only be applied to the elect.
Though there is some merit to the final point, I would say that Romans and the whole Bible consistently teaches that Jesus died for the whole world, and salvation is reckoned only to those who are justified by faith. This is the thrust of the book of Romans through chapter eight. Looking back, we will discover that those justified by faith were the elect, but looking forward is much more difficult to identify them. I have met many among the frozen chosen who show no evidence of conversion. By the way, I consider myself a biblically balanced Calvinist. I agree with much of what Calvinism teaches but I am not dogmatic.
I find no value in arguing these points. It is much more productive to simply preach the Word than it is to argue theology. Our call is to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world while trusting the Holy Spirit to convert those Whom Jesus is calling to Himself. This call has never been more urgent or needed than today. God’s people need to carry the good news of the gospel courageously into the world and our culture today. The Great Commission is as binding today as in any time of church history.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Doctrine of Original Sin: Romans 6:12-14

The Doctrine of Original Sin: Romans 6:12-14
“12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13) for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” Romans‬ ‭5:12-14‬ ‭
Paul now makes an important observation about the entire human race. He establishes what is often called “The Doctrine of Original Sin.” Not only was the guilt of Adam’s sin passed on to all of his descendants, so was a tendency or predisposition toward sin. This text establishes the point that all people are sinners both by nature and by personal choice.
It appears that both the guilt of Adam’s original sin and the nature to sin are both passed on through the male at the time of conception. This is what makes the virgin birth of Jesus Christ so important. Because God was His Father, Jesus Christ had neither the stain or guilt of Adam’s original sin over His life, nor did He have a sin nature. He was in every way sinless.
In the same way, because Mary was His mother, Jesus was therefore part of the human race and could become a substitutionary atonement for all of humanity. He was the sinless Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) He was a “type” of Adam with a clean slate. (Romans 5:14)
But Paul makes another point in these three verses that is very significant. In both Romans 3:19-20 and 4:15, he had stressed the point that the violation of the Law is the basis of establishing guilt and placing the sinner under Gods wrath. The problem is that the Law was not given until Moses. So does that mean that all people who lived prior to the giving of the Law were innocent?
In tackling this objection, Paul points out that death reigned over all humanity from Adam to Moses. (See Romans 5:14) People from every generation died. How can we explain this apparent inconsistency?
The answer is found way back in Genesis 2:16-17. God’s original command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the consequence of death, were given to Adam prior to his transgression. It was his willful breaking of this basic command that placed him and all of his descendants under the condemnation of death. The doctrine of the universal guilt of sin on the entire human race is actually illustrated by the physical death of all people who lived prior to Moses and the giving of the Law. It serves to punctuate the Doctrine of Original Sin.
This brings us to another commonly asked question; “What about the innocent?” What about newly born children who are in a state of innocence because they have not committed personal sin? The Bible constantly points out that the original sin of Adam is passed on at the moment of conception. For example, in Psalm 51:5 David observes; “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Again, I stress that because of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ was the only human ever conceived without the stain of Adam’s original sin and the resulting death sentence on their life.
In these three verses, Paul convincingly argues both the concept of original sin and the concept of a sin nature in all people. The result is that all people are sinners and worthy of the judgement of death. (See Romans 3:23 and 6:23) When properly understood, this doctrine underlines the urgency of the Gospel.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Introduction to the Holy Spirit: Romans 5:5

Introduction to the Holy Spirit: Romans 5:5
“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans‬ ‭5:5‬
Justification happens the moment we place saving faith in Jesus Christ. At that instant we are born-again. We become a child of God. But it is not a cold or static event. It is more like tipping the first domino that starts a chain reaction in our lives.
Everything Paul talked about in Romans 5:1-5 begins to unfold immediately… and much more. Why? Because at the moment of salvation we are both sealed and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is a New Testament phenomenon that does not come through the Law or in the Old Testament. This is the promise Jesus made to His disciples. (See John 14:16-21)
From the moment of salvation forward, the Holy Spirit is active in the life of the believer. He begins the process of changing them from the inside out. This is often referred to as the doctrine of sanctification. He works to bring our character and conduct into harmony with our justification.
Romans 5:5 says that this includes pouring out the love of God within our hearts. The word “love” in this verse is “agape.” I simply call this “the God kind of love.” Both 1 John 4:8 and 16 say that “God is love.” This kind of love is connected to the very character and nature of God. It is part of His essence.
In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul talked about the fruit of the Spirit; “22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” This is a broader panoramic view of Romans 5:8. It is also a character portrait of Jesus Himself.
As the sanctification process unfolds, each believer should begin to reflect this image of Christ. Paul hints at this in Romans 8:29-30. God predestines us to become conformed to the image of His Son.
A common mistake many young Christians make is focusing more on the power of the Holy Spirit “through them” rather than the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit “in them” producing personal holiness and Christ likeness. I am learning that the “through them” is intimately connected to the “in them.”
Let me be candid, God can work through a dumb mule to accomplish a given work, but He doesn’t ordain mules into full time fruitful ministries. In the same way, the Holy Spirit can do amazing things through anyone, but a life of fruitfulness comes from abiding in Jesus and His Word on a daily basis. Read the full context of John 14-16 and the promised ministry of the Holy Spirit. Notice the emphasis Jesus made in John 15. He wants us to abide in Him. He wants us to bear much fruit.
If you are a new Christian, I encourage you to start an extended biblical study of the ministry of the Holy Spirit as soon as possible. If Satan cannot stop a person from becoming a Christian, he will work overtime to keep them ignorant, timid or confused about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Make walking in the Spirit a life long pursuit.
Read and listen to what others have to say about the Holy Spirit, but make this subject a life long study of your own. As you read your Bible over and over again, be diligent to underline, highlight, take notes and compare everything the Bible says about the Holy Spirit.
I have been a believer since 1973 and this subject is more meaningful, precious and insightful for me than ever before. God is constantly coloring in the picture with compounded new understanding. I am confident He will do the same for you as well.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Amazing Grace: Romans 5:2

Amazing Grace: Romans 5:2
“1) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2) through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” Romans‬ ‭5:1-2‬
Justification by faith in Jesus Christ not only brings us peace with God, but according to verse 2, our faith also places into a different kind of relationship with God. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross to pay our debt of sin, we can now enter into a standing with God based on grace. It is no longer a relationship of enmity and wrath; but rather one of forgiveness, acceptance and love.
Grace can be defined in many ways. Some look at grace as God’s unmerited favor or undeserved kindness. That is a great definition for the process of a lost person coming to salvation, but it falls short of describing what it means to live by grace as a child of God.
My personal definition of God’s daily grace relates to “Gods Divine power through the Holy Spirit made available to help me do what in and of myself I could not and most likely would not do.” Grace is therefore the strength to live as I ought, rather than the freedom to do whatever I want without consequence. Many people have a confused notion of grace.
Grace therefore has in it the concept of God’s favor toward us in Christ. Recognizing Gods favor on my life despite my failures transformed my view of God and the Christian life. It broke the condemning voice of the accuser of the brethren in my life and helped me distinguish the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and restoration when I fell into sin. (Compare Revelation 12:10 and John 16:7-15)
The study of grace in the Bible is a worthy endeavor for every child of God. Grace is mentioned very few times in the Old Testament, but it is an abundant theme in the New Testament. Living by the Law and legalism is very different from living by grace and the walk in the Spirit. Both are based on God’s holiness, but the age of grace in the New Testament is accompanied by the indwelling Holy Spirit as mentioned in Romans 5:5. The Holy Spirit is given to help us and not hurt us.
The longer I am a believer and study Gods Word, the more I realize that grace and walking in the Holy Spirit are inseparable doctrines. They go hand in hand. Hence, when we talk about “the age of grace” and the “age of the indwelling Holy Spirit” we are referring to the same biblical phenomenon.
This helped me erase the erroneous notion that grace is a ticket to sin. To the contrary, I now understand that grace is both the invitation and the provision to move away from sin and bondage and into freedom and holiness through the Holy Spirit.
Grace also places in a standing with God based on love and patience as this process unfolds in our life. Grace means He is for us and not against us. He is with us for the long haul as a loving Father as the Holy Spirit brings us to maturity and completion.
Developing a biblical understanding of grace ushered me into an intimate relationship with God as my loving Father. I can now cry out “Abba Father” in sincerity and truth. (See Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:14-17) The biblical meaning of Grace radically changed my view of God in the way He relates to me as His child.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Peace With God: Romans 5:1

Peace With God: Romans 5:1
“1) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans‬ ‭5:1‬
This might be the most glorious verse in the entire Bible. Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, we can experience total peace and reconciliation with God based on faith. From that point forward, we become part of His family and He deals with us as with sons and daughters.
I do not take peace with God as an insignificant thing. For years as a non-believer, I was at enmity with God and the world around me. I was fighting an inner war. All of that ended the evening I surrendered to Jesus Christ and invited Him into my life as Lord and Savior. It was the beginning of a new life.
As Romans chapter five unfolds, Paul begins to count the many benefits of being justified by faith. It culminates is Romans 8:1 by saying; “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Why? The next three verses explain how the law of the Spirit of life in Christ set us free from the law of sin and of death. Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. We need not live under guilt and condemnation. We can come to peace with God, with ourselves and with other people.
Paul’s own life is an example of justification by faith and coming to total peace with God. In Philippians 3:4-11 he shares his personal story. His inner battles raged until he met Jesus Christ. Neither religion, nor good works, nor trying to keep the Law on his own merit satisfied his inner itch or calmed his inner battles, even though he was trying really hard. (See Philippians 3:4-7) But when he came to Jesus Christ, he found a value beyond his wildest dreams. He was finally at peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ. (See Philippians 3:8-11)
The same can happen for you! All of the benefits of Romans 5-8 can be put on your account through grace and faith in Jesus Christ. You can be “born-again” to a whole new way of life.
I encourage you to read these chapters in the book of Romans very slowly with a pen or highlighter in hand. If these things are not happening in you, it’s time to place personal faith in Jesus Christ and invite Him into your life.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Righteousness Put On Our Account: Romans 4:22-25

Righteousness Put On Our Account: Romans 4:22-25
“22) Therefore ALSO IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was reckoned to him, 24) but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25) He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:22-25‬
Some translations use a different word for “reckoned.” Another version of the New American Standard Version uses the word “credited.” The Revised Standard Version says “counted to him.” The idea is that the work of Jesus Christ is transferred to our account through faith in Christ. It is reckoned or credited to us by faith. He becomes both the payment of our sin debt and the basis of our righteousness standing before God. We no longer try to gain God’s acceptance by our own merit.
In this context, Paul is trying to illustrate that the gospel is received by the same kind of faith that Abraham had. We believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf. “23) He was delivered up because our our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” The moment we put our faith in Him, everything He accomplished is credited to us.
I recognize there is lot about Jesus Christ we need to accept by faith. Everything from His virgin birth, His being the sinless Son of God, and His being the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world are all part of the Gospel story. John 1:1-4 includes His true identity as the Creator, and 1 Corinthians 15:12-22 includes the fact of His Resurrection.
The truth is that Jesus Christ was God doing for humanity what we cannot do for ourselves. We are not saved by our self effort, good deeds, religious activities or family heritage. We are saved by personal faith in Jesus Christ.
The whole story of Abraham was recorded for our sake. His character flaws, his struggles, his fleshly efforts and finally his total surrender to faith in God embodied exactly how we are saved and justified by faith. In the same way he finally came to simple faith in God, we also need to come to the place of putting our faith in Jesus Christ.
The miracle that followed next for Abraham was that he was justified by his faith in God and Isaac was born. The miracle that follows for us is that we are justified by our faith in Jesus Christ and we are born-again. A new life begins for us and all the benefits of being justified by faith become ours. Stay tuned, Paul begins to describe those benefits in the next chapter.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

An Example of Saving Faith: Romans 4:17-22

An Example of Saving Faith: Romans 4:17-22
”17) … in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18) In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19) And Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20) yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21) and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22) Therefore also IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Romans‬ ‭4:17-22‬ ‭
Living by faith in God has been denounced as being irrational, illogical, unreasonable and sometimes even reckless. Those charges are true only if God does not exist. But if God does exist, then ignoring Him and His Word is the utmost foolishness.
The above text says that when God spoke to Abraham about the promise of a son through Sarah, he took inventory and concluded that humanly speaking it was impossible. He was very rational about his plight. But then He took his eyes off from all of the odds stacked against him and instead began to fix his focus on God and His Divine power.
The text includes a list of some of his considerations and conclusions about God. From verse 17 we discover that He realized that God gives life to the dead, and calls into being what does not exist. Suddenly his plight seemed small compared to the God Who Created everything from nothing and then brought life into being. By the way, that is the distinguishing characteristic of the God of the Bible. He is the Creator God!
Then from verses 20 and 21, he began to focus on the character and power of God. He concluded that if God makes a promise, He had the power and integrity to keep His Word. God would not and could not make a promise He was unable to keep. Suddenly Abraham realized that the fulfillment of the Promise was Gods responsibility.
The results of this conscious focus on God were amazing. Instead of becoming weak in unbelief, he grew strong in faith and started giving glory God. For the first time Abraham started trusting God and very possibly discovered the power of praise and worship.
He stopped trying to do it himself through fleshly efforts. That had failed with Ishmael. Instead, It was at this point he switched his focus and thinking from himself to God. We could say that Abraham came to the end of himself and simply started trusting God. Soon his faith started growing. Through this new focus and way of thinking, he became strong in Faith!
I have discovered that faith grows the same way for me. The more I focus on myself or the bad news in the world today, the more cause I have for despair and feelings of futility. But the more I learn about God from His Word and the amazing stories about Him in the Bible and living testimonies from others, the more my faith grows.
In the process, Abraham was justified by faith. He became an example of what it means to live by faith in God. Notice, he did not merely have faith in faith or hope in hope. Many make that mistake. That is the plight of the atheist and the agnostic. Abraham anchored his faith in God!
The same is true of salvation. Instead of trusting in our religion or good deeds to save us, we put our faith in God and His plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. John 1:12 says we receive Him through faith and thereby become children of God. We trust God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God becomes our anchor and foundation.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Walking By Faith: Romans 4:16-17

Walking By Faith: Romans 4:16-17
“16) For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17) (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU ”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. Romans‬ ‭4:16-17‬ ‭
As mentioned earlier, Abraham had two lines of descent. One related to physical descendants, the other related to spiritual descendants who follow in the faith of Abraham. Most people understand this and follow in the faith of Abraham.
But let’s have some fun in this post with a little Bible Trivia. Let me start by saying, a little bit of faith goes a long way. So, how many physical descendants did Abraham actually have? Most people respond by saying two; Ishmael and Isaac. But when God restored Abrahams body through faith, he did an amazing job. It seems that Isaac grew up with many younger brothers.
Genesis 25:1-2 records a detail that most readers miss. After Sarah died, Abraham married again. Let’s look at what the Bible says; “1) Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2) She bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah.” Altogether Abraham had eight sons, but Isaac was the son of promise.
Now look at the end of Roman 4:17 again. “… in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.” God certainly did give life too the dead, and called into being what did not exist. Abraham did have as many descendants as the stars of the heavens for number and he become the father of a multitude of nations and many kings came from him. (See Genesis 15:5 and Genesis 17:6-7)
When God spoke to Abraham in the above two texts of Scriptures, everything He said looked impossible. He was old and had no children. Later in Genesis 18:14, the Lord had to remind Sarah that “nothing was impossible with God.” She was well past the age of child birth. To the natural eye, it looked impossible.
But God does not call us to walk by our natural eyes. We walk by faith and not by sight. Faith adds God to the equation and takes Him at His word. Abraham now becomes an example of what it means to walk by faith. It is understanding that what God promises He is able to do, and he is able to do it abundantly. (See Romans 4:20)
Let me make a closing point. Faith is taking God at His Word and not holding Him hostage to our wishes. What God says, God does. What God does not say, He is not obligated to perform. Faith goes back to the Word and promises of God. Make sure your faith is anchored in the Word of God and not in your emotions.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global