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Oct 3, 2007

The Book of Romans... I have often seen websites and heard people talk about how the book of Romans teaches us to disobey the commands of Christ. In fact, they will tell you that keeping the commands of Christ is just flat-out wrong and is considered "works". Well, I just finished reading the book of Romans again. I can't tell you how many times I have read this wonderful book. And I learn something new every time I read it. It is easy to see how new Christians and unbelievers can become very confused by it. It's certainly not Christianity 101. It is an advanced book of the Bible originating somewhere around A.D. 57. It is a book consisting of words spoken by Apostle Paul, someone who had perhaps a better understanding of Christianity than any of us do. It was addressed to other Christians with an advanced understanding of Christianity. Written to people who had already mastered the concept of obeying the commands of Christ and living in the Spirit.

Please don't read a verse or two in Romans and then go create or join a "grace" based church teaching others to disobey the commands of Christ. If you want to write your own bible and start your own religion, then that's your business. But please don't try to change the Bible into something that it's not. If you want to understand Romans, it might help to read the entire Bible from front to back. Read Romans. Read the gospels. Then read Romans again. Consider who the book was written to. And consider who it was written by.

I have yet to find anywhere in the New Testament that says that Jesus made a mistake when He told us to obey His commands. Wishful thinking maybe? So, we can justify that affair or those lies while still calling ourselves a Christian? Do you think Christ was just talking to create hot air when He told us to obey His commands? Do you think Paul later figured something else out about Salvation that Jesus forgot to tell us? Or maybe Paul found a mistake that Jesus made? I don't think so. Jesus was God in the flesh walking the earth. He made no mistakes. He knew what He was doing. He knew we would idolize Him and try to imitate Him, hanging on every word He spoke.

Paul is not teaching us to disobey the commands of Christ in the book of Romans. The book of Romans is about living in the Spirit versus living in the flesh. It's about taking our self-consumed focus off of ourselves and worldly things, placing our focus on God and our spiritual life. When we are living in the Spirit, we are in Christ. We have the very Spirit of the Law and the Truth in our hearts, minds, and souls. We know when we do something wrong and feel bad when we do it. We have a conscience. We no longer have to keep a copy of God's commands in our pocket to check every five minutes to make sure we are not sinning. God is the very essence of the law. When we are living in the Spirit rather than in the flesh, we will be living in a state of righteousness. We will be obeying the commands of Christ. Otherwise, we would not be in the Spirit. Paul is talking about sacrificing our carnal flesh to God's will. He is talking about sacrificing the selfish, instinctive urges of our flesh and living our lives for and in Christ.

The book of Romans is also about loving others and living peacefully with others, including our enemies. Its about not seeking revenge when we feel we have been wronged by someone. Paul says that God will avenge us. The book of Romans is about not wasting time competing with each other and squabbling over trivial things. We should humble ourselves and be thankful for anything and everything God gives us. Paul tells us that we should not worry about and compare the blessings of others to the blessings that God has given to us. We were all created by God for whatever purpose He has for us. Even things that seem bad to us at the time will in the end work out for the good of God.

Paul also says we should not boast about how good we are at obeying God's laws. He says we can't get ourselves into Heaven by simply following the law without believing in Christ, having faith in Him, and having a spiritual relationship with Him. Salvation is a gift from God. When God makes His home with us, it is a gift. And Jesus has already told us point blank, black and white, how to receive this gift. It's very clear and simple. Paul goes on to talk about how we are all sinners, being descendants of a sinner. We are sinners simply because we are human and have the same blood flowing through our veins that Adam had flowing through his. And that unless we are living in the Spirit, we certainly will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven no matter how many good works we have done here on Earth. The only way into Heaven is through the Spirit of Christ. God will not turn His own son away from Heaven. It would be like God locking Himself out of His own Kingdom. It will not happen.

The book of Romans can be difficult to understand. But in summary, it is about trading our carnal nature for a spiritual nature. A higher state of being where we have a natural, instinctive urge to obey the commands of Christ. If there is a grey area that you don't understand in the book of Romans, go back and read what Jesus himself said while He was here in the flesh. He made it very simple and clear. It's easy to understand. He said that in order to live in the Spirit, we must love Him and obey His commands. Then He clarified what His commands are. He made that very simple for us to understand as well. He condensed all of His commands down into two simple commandments for us to obey. They are simply to love God and our neighbor. And Paul in the book of Romans backs this up by talking about how love fulfills the law.

However, there is more to being a Christian than just saying "I love Jesus". When Jesus told us that the greatest command is to love God, He said to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind'. If we truly love Him, then we will be interested enough in Him to study the Bible to find out more about Him and the details about what God desires us to do. And if we truly love Him, then we will desire to do everything He commands us to do. There is more to being a Christian than going around quoting vague one-liners like "I'm saved by the grace of God" or "The blood of Christ has redeemed me". Seriously, I think we are almost programmed to say these things and don't even really understand what they mean anymore. Its almost like we are now under the impression that we don't have to do anything other than saying "I believe in Jesus".

Being a Christian takes work. Call it works or whatever. But it takes effort on our part. Jesus told us what to DO. It's what the Bible says. I'm just the messenger. I'm simply sharing what Jesus said and what the Bible says. We can't just sit back waiting for the grace of God to do everything for us. And the Christian life may not always be sunshine and rainbows. Paul is a perfect example of one of the many great Christians in the Bible that had anything but an easy life. Sometimes God's purpose for us may entail giving us heavy burdens to carry. It may involve a lot of work, pain, and even suffering. But if we truly love Him, we will be willing to do the work and endure the burdens all while rejoicing in His awesome presence.

Have a Blessed Day,

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Book of Romans Explained -