NT June 14-18

June 14 — Acts 28 — Influence.  We read in the previous chapter about Paul’s great influence on the centurion and others on the ship.  In this chapter, we see continuing evidence of his unusual influence on others.  Part of it was due to his great God-given ability and part was because of his diligent and effective ministry.  His miraculous encounter with a snake made a great first impression on the Malta natives, changing their opinion of him quickly from “murderer” to “god” (vv. 4-6).  Because of the healing of the chief’s father, sick people from the whole island came to Paul to be healed (v. 9).  He also influenced the Jewish leaders in Rome who came to listen to him for hours (v. 23).  Although it is not stated, I am sure that the soldiers assigned to him were also impacted as they observed these events and listened to what Paul had to say (v. 16).  It reminds me of people we influence every day when they watch what we do and hear what we say.  Some may seem to be bystanders but we are influencing them—bystanders like our children and grandchildren who are constantly being influenced by our words and actions.

June 15 — Romans 1 — Theological Training.  It is appropriate that just as we finished reading Acts about Paul’s two-year custody in Rome, we now begin reading his letter written to Roman Christians several years earlier, probably from Corinth.  This letter contains the most thorough explanation of Christian theology of all of Paul’s letters.  It is a message about “the power of God” for those who believe (v. 16), “the righteousness of God” for those who walk by faith (v. 17), and “the wrath of God” for those who insist on sinful living (v. 18).  Although the faith of these Christians in Rome was “proclaimed in all the world” (v. 8), they still needed Paul’s teaching.  As we saw in the final chapter of Acts, these believers had apparently not made much of an impact in the synagogues in Rome because the Jewish leaders Paul interviewed seemed pretty ignorant about Christianity, which they called “this sect” (Acts 28:22).  In this letter to the Romans, Paul will walk them, and us, through a valuable 16-chapter course in theology.

June 16 — Romans 2 — Get Serious.  I recently heard a friend share about how she was raised in a Christian home but came to a point as a young adult when she decided to “get serious” about being a Christian.  Her life changed dramatically at that point.  Our chapter for today says a lot about people who might be “sitting on the fence” regarding the Christian life, with one foot in sinful practices and the other in worshiping God.  God is being kind to those fence-sitters, urging them to jump to His side (v. 4).  Those who are willing to “get serious” about living for Christ are given eternal life (v. 7) and “glory and honor and peace” (v. 10).  The fence-sitters are not only denying themselves the goodness that God has waiting for them but also are being a stumbling block to those who might be considering the Christian life: “The name of God is blasphemed … because of you” (v. 24).

June 17 — Romans 3 — The Just Justifier.  Paul wrote that God is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (v. 26).  The dictionary says that “just” is “to be and to act in conformity with what is morally good.”  That describes an important attribute of God.  He is perfect at being and doing what is right and good.  He is the perfect judge.  On the other hand, we are very imperfect: “All are under sin” (v. 9, cf. v. 23) and “None is righteous” (v. 10).  That is a desperate predicament to face but it is not hopeless because God is also “the justifier” (v. 26).  The word “justify,” in a theological sense, is defined in the dictionary as meaning “to declare or make righteous in the sight of God.”  Our deserved sentence is death but God sent His Son to pay that penalty for sin and has given us the opportunity to claim His sacrifice as our substitute.  Those who accept Jesus as their Savior in faith are “justified” by the Father.  He is “the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (v. 26).  Thank God that you have received “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” (v. 22)!    

June 18 — Romans 4 — Father Abraham.  Seven times in this chapter Abraham is referred to as being our father in one sense or another.  Physically, he was the father of all Jews through his grandson, Jacob (Israel), being their “forefather according to the flesh” (v. 1).  The main emphasis of the chapter, however, is that he is “the father of all who believe” (v. 11).  That allows even Gentiles to be “sons of Abraham.”  Abraham’s faith was certainly exemplary but one statement in this chapter shows that even his faith had a need for growth.  We can learn to grow in faith through Abraham’s example.  How did he grow?  “He grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God” (v. 20).  We also grow strong in our faith by giving God glory.  How do we do that?  Some Scriptural examples show that we give glory to God in these ways: to “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:11), by allowing grace to extend “to more and more people” (2 Cor. 4:15), by being “filled with the fruit of righteousness” (Phil. 1:11), and comprehensively, in “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).  Basically, giving God glory is giving Him credit and thanks, and by that, we can grow in faith.

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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