Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

# 8 Bankrupt

Paul has argued in Romans 2 that salvation does not come by attempting to keep moral or ceremonial Jewish Laws. The circumcision of Jewish or gentile  baby boys does not save them from sin;  rather it  was the sign of God’s covenant relationship with Israel, as taught in Genesis 17:9-14.  If salvation depends on our abililty to keep God’s Law perfectly, then there is no hope of salvation, whether we are Jews or Gentiles.  The outward surgery of circumcision is not the issue. Instead, it is the spiritual circumcision of the heart which causes us to deal with sin and bring us into right relationship with God. The Lord Jesus Christ applies  this circumcision to our hearts, both male and female, when He saves us.

WHAT THEN IS THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING A JEW?

 Paul asks that question in Romans 3:1.  Considering the history of the Jews, it is certain that they have had no advantage being Jews.  Their history is one of being  hated, abused and enslaved by the nations of the world: including Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.  In this past century they have endured great suffering at the hands of the Nazis and by the Muslims.

On the other hand down through the years the Jews have enjoyed some great advantages.   To them were given the privilege of writing the Word of God by inspiration of God.   The King James Version translates Romans 3:2   Because that unto them, the Jews, were committed the oracles of God.”    That would include, The Holy Scriptures.

Furthermore, God gave the Abrahamic Covenant to Abraham, the father of the Jewish race.  Through that covenant was promised the coming of the Messiah who would save His people from their sins.   In the fullness of time, Jesus was the fulfillment of that covenant.

A list of advantages to the Jews is found in Romans 9:1-5.  It includes the truth that the Jews were adopted by God. 

It includes the Shekinah glory of the presence of God in their portable tabernacle through their wilderness journeys; and later, their temple in Jerusalem.  That bright cloud by day and pillar of fire by night led them on their journey.  

It includes God’s covenants with both Abraham in Genesis 12 & 17, and with David in II Samuel 7.

Moses also received the Law of God written by His hands on Mt. Sinai.

They also received many promises of their coming Messiah throughout the Old Testament.  All of these were fulfilled in detail by the coming  of the Lord Jesus Christ,  the Messiah,  promised to Israel.  That Messiah is the Saviour to the world.

THE JEW’S REJECTION OF CHRIST

We see the Jew’s rejecton of Christ throughout the New Testament Gospels, culminating in their demand for Jesus’ crucifixion.  As Gentiles who have come to Christ for salvation, we do not blame the Jews for Jesus’ crucifixion.  God was ultimately responsible, for John 3:16 states that He gave His Son, the Lamb of God,  as a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Those who receive Christ as their sacrifice for sin are saved from their sins and given the Gift of Eternal Life. 

Throughout the Book of Acts we have the history of the early years of the Church.  Throughout we see the Jews opposing and persecuting and even killing the early preachers of the Gospel, including Stephen, the first Deacon. 

When Paul preached the Gospel to the Jews in Asia, we learn in  Acts 21:28 that the Jews charged the Apostle Paul with preaching against the Jews, against their Law, and against their temple.  None of that was true.  Paul was not against the Jews, nor against the Law of Moses nor aganst the temple. That’s the way enemies of Christ see Gospel preachers. 

Being a Jew does not save from sin any more than being a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran,  Roman Catholic, Mormon or Jehovah Witness or any other religious denomination or group or being non-denominational.   What matters is not the religious label, but the faithful proclamation of the Gospel.

WHERE DID THE JEWS GET THE IDEA THAT THEY WERE A SPECIAL PEOPLE?

They got it from the Bible, the inspired Word of God.  Read the following passages and it becomes very evident how special the Jews were and are today  to God.  Deuteronomy 10:14-15,  14:2,  Isaiah 5:1-7,  43:21,  and  Ezekiel 16:1-28.

ARE THE JEWS BETTER THAN THE GENTILES?

Romans 3:9-10 teaches that they are not;  nor are the Gentiles better than the Jews.  None of us are righteous.  We are all sinners, regardless of our religious labels.

THE DEFINITION OF SIN

Romans 3:9 mentions sin for the first time in this Epistle.  Sin is mentioned about fifty times in Romans. It is a major theme and it ought to be a major theme in our preaching as we warn of sin and its consequences.  About twelve different Hebrew and Greek words are used to refer to sin to help us gain a more complete understanding of it.  Here are four of them.

1. MISSING THE MARK

For example it means missing the mark, as an archer seeking to hit the bull’s eye.  That usage is found in Romans 3:23  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  I often explain this “coming short” in my illustration of attempting to jump the Grand Canyon from the south rim to the north rim, a distsance of eighteen miles.  If you had to jump that distance, you know you would fall 5,000 feet  to your death. Such a jump is totally impossible, just at it is utterly impossible for any of us to jump from our sinful state to God’s perfect, sinless state by our own effort. 

It takes faith in Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead three days later, to accomplish our salvation, which He does totally apart from any works of righteousness on our part. 

2. OVERSTEPPING THE BOUNDARY

Adam and Eve did that in the Garden of Eden when they ate fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a tree from which  God had forbidden them to eat.  They listened to the temptation of Satan, clothed in a talking serpent,  and ate the forbidden fruit, bringing the curse of sin on the entire world, including the entire human race which was to come.

This is the same sin we see in our chldren when they do that which we have forbidden them to do.  It continues throughout our lives as we over-step boundaries.

3. FALLING INSTEAD OF STANDING

Righteousness and  upright come from the same root word.  Man is born crooked morally and needs straightening, which God does when He saves us.  

4. BEING IGNORANT INSTEAD OF KNOWING

Ignorance is no excuse with God.  Read and think about Romans 1:20.  Ignorance is a matter of the will; not a lack of intelligence.  Sinners are ignorant of God’s standards and God’s way of salvation because they choose to be ignorant. It has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence.

TRUST CHRIST NOW

Jesus died  to pay the penalty for your sins and rose again for your justification. Trust Him now and receive God’s Gift of eternal life. Read John 3:16  and John 1:12 and claim those promises today.

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June 24, 2011 - Posted by | Romans

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