Freedom which condemns

FaithA phrase often used by brethren is, “In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things, charity.” The phrase is a good one, for a basic practice among Christians is not to insist on issues that do not affect salvation.

The faith you have, keep to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not judge himself by what he approves.
Romans 14:22 NET Continue reading “Freedom which condemns”

Put on the weapons of light

EschatologyIf Christ has not yet come after two thousand years, will the end come at all? If already in that age of the first century the followers of Christ thought that the end was near, might they have been mistaken? In what way could the end be near if he has not yet manifested himself?

The night has advanced toward dawn; the day is near. So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light.
Romans 13:12 NET Continue reading “Put on the weapons of light”

A tree in the forest

mission-gospelThe phrase takes various forms, but the idea is of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Em terms of God’s great and inclusive plan, for Paul, seeing one tree, one sees the forest.

So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.
Romans 11:1 NET

The letter to the Romans is nothing if not a great missionary declaration from the hand of a messenger whose vision includes the whole world, always with an eye to the next field to be worked. Continue reading “A tree in the forest”

Desire and prayer

SalvationWhat child has ever asked his father for school clothes or textbooks? If he asked, the dad would give it with great pleasure, for his desire is for his child to study a lot.

Jesus instructs us to ask according to the will of God, as Paul does:

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites is for their salvation.
Romans 10:1 NET Continue reading “Desire and prayer”

The favorite to win loses

FaithfulnessIt’s not uncommon in some sport or race for the favorite to lose the competition. The one that everyone thought would arrive first, for some reason fails to live up to the expectations. So it was with Israel. The people had so many advantages, but in the end wound up outside the kingdom of God.

To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen.
Romans 9:5 NET Continue reading “The favorite to win loses”

The rocks of the Mantiqueira Mountains

If I were to throw myself from the Macela Rock, at over 6,000 feet elevation in the Mantiqueira Mountains (which I won’t do, since I have a fear of heights), who would get the worst of it, me or the rocks? The rocks would not hurt themselves. They would not even move or feel a thing. I’m the one who would come out of it all broken up!

And when God justifies but man accuses?

Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Romans 8:33 NET Continue reading “The rocks of the Mantiqueira Mountains”

How wonderful this death!

FreedomThe murderer knew that he could only marry again after the death of his wife. So he decided to kill her, in order to be free for a second marriage. His theology was correct, but his conclusion lacked a little. Paul has both the right theology and the correct conclusion.

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God.
Romans 7:4 NET Continue reading “How wonderful this death!”

Absurd conclusions among us

GraceThey say that love is blind. Perhaps it would be better to say that love ignores the challenges and difficulties of a relationship with the opposite sex. A line of thought that ignores evidences will reach wrong conclusions, which will lead in turn to great disappointments.

Some think about God’s grace as others consider love, as the blanket solution:

What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2 NET Continue reading “Absurd conclusions among us”

Making use of everything

SufferingIn the popular movement of preserving what is called nature and not wasting natural resources, some seek to take advantage of everything, recycling used materials and, to cite one example, utilizing those parts of fruits and vegetables that were once thrown away. It’s good to make use of everything, because God does it:

Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, …
Romans 5:3 NET Continue reading “Making use of everything”