Sep 22

What is the book of Romans about?

Romans is focused on Jesus, God’s salvation offered through him, and how to live when we have committed our lives to God’s service.

The Bookends of Romans

Authors often have very similar sections near the beginning and near the end of their books. They are the bookends of the book. Bookends give the reader clues to the author’s central message.

The bookends of Romans are Romans 1:1-7 and 16:25-27.

Unifying concepts in the bookends

The following concepts are seen in both passages:

God                                        1:1,7               God                                       16:26-27

Christ Jesus                            1:1                  Jesus Christ                           16:25

Gospel                                    1:2                  Gospel                                  16:25

Beforehand                             1:2                 long ages ago                        16:25

Prophets, Holy Scriptures      1:2                  prophetic writings                 16:26

Regarding his Son                  1:3                  of Jesus Christ                      16:25

With power the Spirit             1:4                  by command of the eternal God 16:26

Gentiles                                   1:5                  nations                                 16:26

Faith                                        1:5                  believe                                  16:26

Obedience                               1:5                  obey                                      16:26

What do these bookends teach us?

The book of Romans focuses on salvation through Jesus Christ.

The entire Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit, are part of this salvation.

Faith and obedience are part of the gospel message. There is no true faith without a changed life. As John Calvin noted when he responded to the Catholic Council of Trent, “It is therefore faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone.” Luther made similar statements

The Gospel is consistent with the Hebrew Scriptures. We can and should see Jesus in the entire Bible.

The mystery of the inclusion of the Gentiles is mentioned before the ending bookend in Romans 16:25. The inclusion of the Gentiles is obviously rooted in the call of Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. Abraham would be a blessing to all humanity. Paul’s ministry would focus on bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles.

The Gospel is for everyone. It is not separate messages for different groups of people. As Jesus made clear in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23. Different results are seen in different soils but the seed is the same.

Some have seen politics and Paul’s view of the Roman government as central to understanding the book. That is not an emphasis seen in these bookends.

Romans is focused on Jesus, God’s salvation offered through him, and how to live when we have committed our lives to God’s service.

I have posted on this subject earlier but wanted to revisit these passages to include more insights from this pivotal book.

Questions for consideration:

Have you been tempted to separate obedience from faith?

Have you even been tempted to treat the Hebrew Scriptures as irrelevant for Christians?

Have you ever wished that the Gospel could be a little bit different for some of your friends? Maybe certain things that really offended them could be underplayed.

If you like this post, please share it.

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment via email to Bob@robertkrupp.com

Sep 18

Links to Begin the Week

Link to a previous post on my blog

The Just Shall Live By Faith- Romans 1

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

The Social Media Strategy of John the Baptist

The gospel is more beautiful when we take sin seriously

Three Truths to Settle Your Heart During a Storm

10 Parenting Imperatives From the Book of Proverbs

On Christianity and Confederate Statues

Three Tests God Ordains for His People

Don’t Speak Up: On the Spiritual Discipline of Silence

Be Patient with Your Slow Growth

Ravi Zacharias Remembers His Young Protégé, Nabeel Qureshi

The Demanding Faith of Flannery O’Connor

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I did not start any new books this week.

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to Bob@robertkrupp.com

Sep 09

The humility and calling of a Christian

Most translations use the word servant in Romans 1:1 but Paul was really saying that he was a slave. Slavery was common in Paul’s world and Christians used this word to describe their relationship to Jesus. They used it to answer Roman judges who condemned them to death and Paul used it regularly to talk about himself and other Christians

We may not think of it but Jesus’ followers should remember that they are slaves

Servant or Slave

John MacArthur. Slave: the hidden truth about your identity in Christ

John MacArthur, in an excellent and thought provoking book, talks about slaves and servants.

Servants were hired. Slaves were owned.

Servants had specific duties. Slaves did what they were told to do.

Slaves were property.

Jesus talked about slaves, not servants, in Luke 17:7-10.  The slaves were working in the field or with the sheep and then come in and were told to serve dinner. Jesus reminded his listeners that these slaves were not thanked by their master. In the same way his followers should do all that they are commanded and consider it their duty

Called… Set apart

However, slavery is not the complete picture of Paul’s or our relationship with God. We are also called or set apart for a mission in his kingdom.

We obey God in the part of his mission that is given to us.

We are obedient slaves but we have a part of the mission of the eternal God.

Involves the three persons of the Godhead

Our calling involves all the members of the Godhead. Our gifts are from the Spirit, our place of service is from Jesus and we are empowered by the Father. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)

We may not think of it but Jesus’ followers should remember that they are slaves

Questions for consideration:

Are obedience and submission hard for you?

How would you describe your part in God’s kingdom?

If you like this post, please share it.

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to me at Bob@robertkrupp.com

Sep 09

Links to Begin the Week

Link to a previous post on my blog

In the school of faith each of us receives a customized curriculum

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Three Reasons to be Unashamed of the Gospel

What is the Relationship Between Evangelism and Apologetics?

You Are Not Destined to Be Your Parents

1 in 3 American Evangelicals Is a Person of Color

Christians are part of the same dating pool as everyone else. That’s bad for the church.

In Defense of Amy Wax’s Defense of Bourgeois Values

A Journey Through the Strange, Scary, and Awe-Awakening World of Video Games

“This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!” : College President Writes Scathing Letter About Students Wanting To Play The Victim And Blame Others

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I did not start any new books this week.

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to Bob@robertkrupp.com

 

Sep 04

Links to Begin the Week

Link to a previous post on my blog

Habakkuk 3- The Just Shall Live By Faith- Habakkuk’s Psalm

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

How Did I Fail My Unbelieving Children?

When You Can’t Hear God, Keep Talking to Him

Why You Should Make Time to Read the Bible . . . Even When You’re Busy

An Open Letter to My Colleagues LIFE SHOULD NOT EXIST. This much we know from chemistry. In contrast to the ubiquity of life on earth, the lifelessness of other planets makes far better chemical sense.

Reading the Gospels: Do You Know the 7 Differences Between Galilee and Judea in the Time of Jesus?

Loving Discipleship Avoids Condescension

Nashville Statement

I signed the Nashville Statement. It’s an expression of love for same-sex attracted people. by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Rosaria Butterfield: “Why I Signed the Nashville Statement”

Can a Progressive’s ‘Inclusive Values’ Include Christianity?

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

Brooke McAlary. Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to Bob@robertkrupp.com

Sep 01

We would like victory over our problems but God expects something different.

We want victory, a final banishing of our sins and weaknesses but God wants something different, a long pilgrimage of falling and getting up again.

We fall and get up

An outsider asked a monk, “What do you do in a monastery?”

He expected some spiritual answer about prayer and chanting and silence.

The monk answered. “We fall and we get up. We fall again and get up again.”

The monk explained that monks sin and confess and repent and do this process over and over again.

Focus on our victories versus focus on Jesus

In chapter 11 the author of the book of Hebrews lists achievements of faith by biblical heroes.  He then begins chapter 12 with a great application.

These heroes of faith have done great things. We can live the life of faith as well.  To empower this life of faith we are to focus on Jesus.  What we focus on in Jesus is his obedience in submitting to being executed on the cross.  The author tells us that Jesus did this because he could see the future. It was part of God’s plan. He has been elevated to a place of supreme honor in the eternal kingdom because of what he did.

We do not focus on victory but obedience.

Victory and Obedience

If you check a concordance for the references to victory in the Bible the vast majority refer to victory by God.

If you check for the references to obedience vast majority referred to our obedience to God.

Final victory when we are glorified

There will be a final victory for Jesus’ followers when we leave our sin behind and enter the eternal kingdom.

We want victory, a final banishing of our sins and weaknesses but God wants something different, a long pilgrimage of falling and getting up again.

A book that I am reading now that has influenced this post:

Jerry Bridges. The Pursuit of Holiness

Questions for consideration:

What do you want to be doing when Jesus returns?

What are the next small steps you need to take in your life?

If you like this post, please share it.

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to me at Bob@robertkrupp.com

Aug 28

Links to Begin the Week

Link to a previous post on my blog

The Just Shall Live By Faith- The Proud and the Just

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Marriage Is As One Long Conversation

Why We Grow So Slowly

Refuting 5 False Theories About Jesus

Why are there so many interpretations of the Bible?

My 7 Least Productive Habits

When Your Opportunities and Influence Fade

Millennial Motherhood- Three Traps for Young Moms

Americans’ Declining Interest In History Is Hitting Museums Like Colonial Williamsburg Hard

3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet rewrites the history of maths – and shows the Greeks did not develop trigonometry

Lost Latin commentary on the Gospels rediscovered after 1,500 years thanks to digital technology

The Rise of Digital Technologies and the Decline of Reading

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I did not start any new books this week.

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to Bob@robertkrupp.com

Aug 21

Links to Begin the Week

Link to a previous post on my blog

The Just Shall Live By Faith- Habakkuk’s prayer

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

God Does Not Despise Your Struggle

Lift the Heavy Burden of Shame How to Care for Parents of Prodigals

7 Back-to-School Prayers for Students

Race, the Gospel, and the Moment

Satan Has a Forked Tongue

Jesus Was A Case Maker

The 11 Beliefs You Should Know about Jehovah’s Witnesses when They Knock at the Door

The 8 Beliefs You Should Know about Mormons when They Knock at the Door

The More We Limit Ourselves, the More Resourceful We Become

Are We Going to Allow Smartphones to Destroy a Generation?

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I did not start any new books this week.

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to Bob@robertkrupp.com

Aug 18

We usually underestimate people and overvalue things. Great Cities Fall but People Live Forever.

We usually underestimate people and overvalue things.

As C. S. Lewis powerfully observed in his sermon, The Weight of Glory,

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

Two verses, that shouldn’t be so similar, were almost identical.

I was listening to Isaiah recently and some words leap out at me that I remembered but from a different place.

Isaiah predicted that the leading city of his near future would fall (Isaiah 21:9).  Babylon, the great city-state, used by God to judge the Jewish people would itself be conquered.

The words are identical to the words in Revelation 14:8 and 18:2 where a future Babylon will be destroyed for its rebellion against God.

The people of the past and the people of the future lament the fall of the cities that represented their greatest achievements.

People mourned the fall of the cities.

Cities are the centers of culture, commerce, education and political power. People are drawn to them and the materials benefits they bring.

People are conquered and forced to conform to support the bottomless appetite that feeds their growth.

I was born and raised in the then largest metropolitan area in the world. I remember the hugeness of everything from museums to sports. When I left home for college and adult life few places caused the wonder of my childhood memories.  The ones that did were also large and historic cities.

The reasons the Babylons fell

Isaiah and Habakkuk described the pride of historic Babylon. They were never content and worshipped their military power.

John in Revelation is given a vision of the immorality and materialism of future Babylon

There was no place in either city for God.

A caution

Cities are more than things. They are homes to people. People have come from smaller places to find jobs and educational and cultural opportunities. People come from other countries to find peace, toleration, and economic possibilities.

In the loss of their traditional identity they are open to the redeeming identity of Jesus. Many have been raised in and have drunk deeply of its values and opportunities. They may suffer from the emptiness of godlessness and find true value and identity in Christ.

Christian creatives also come to the city redeem its culture and reach its people.

The city is a place of great temptation and great opportunity.

We usually underestimate people and overvalue things.

I have covered some of these issues in earlier posts:

Four ways that Christians can change the world

How do we live in an unbelieving world?

Questions for consideration:

What things of this earth will you miss the most when you near the end of your life?

Are there any things that you will miss that will not be in heaven?

If you like this post, please share it.

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to me at Bob@robertkrupp.com

Aug 14

Links to Begin the Week

Link to a previous post on my blog

Faith and Experience- The Crowd- Experiencing a miracle

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Envision the End of Your Sin

The War Within: Flesh Versus Spirit

Nine Promises of God Every Parent Should Cling To and Pray

Rectifying the ‘Greatest Missed Opportunity in Christian History’

Bruce Waltke Lectures on Proverbs for 26 Hours

5 Ways Tracking Church Attendance Messes With Your Soul

Books aren’t Clutter (and my reading list for the rest of the year)

Was the First Eclipse Prediction an Act of Genius, a Brilliant Mistake, or Dumb Luck?

The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

Jerry Bridges. The Pursuit of Holiness

Jerry Bridges. The Practice of Godliness

You may give me feedback, suggest blog topics, or make any other comment to Bob@robertkrupp.com

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