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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Romans 15:8-13 – Five activities

As we read this paragraph, we can note five responses that we can make as Christians. First, we should observe the humility of Jesus. Although he was the eternal Son of God he was willing to become a servant in order for his Father’s promises to be fulfilled and for sinners to be saved. His humility took him to the cross of Calvary, as Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:6-8. And it is not surprising to read in Isaiah 52 that God tells us to behold his Servant.
Second, we should note the importance of reading the Old Testament to see what it says about the person and work of Jesus. He may not be mentioned directly in some passages, yet it should not be hard to find a link between the passage and the effects of his saving work on sinners who believe in him. We can see that is the case in some of the references that Paul uses in this paragraph.
Third, we can see that theme to praise God for above all others is his mercy. Some might say that we should praise him for his love, but then we have to ask what his love is like. As far as we are concerned, it is merciful love. God does not love sinners with the same kind of love that he has towards the unfallen angels – they don’t need his mercy. Jesus came so that the Gentiles could sing about the mercy of God. Everyone needs mercy, but mercy can only be found through believing in Jesus. And when people discover this mercy they want to sing about it.
Fourth, if we have believed in Jesus, we can expect great experiences from God in our hearts as he gives to us out of his overflowing grace. The happiest and the most peaceful persons in any location, under normal circumstances, should be Christians. They should stand out from the crowd.

Fifth, we have high expectations about the future. Robert Haldane, in his commentary on Romans, says about this passage that Christians have high hopes. The church has a wonderful destination and Paul has written about some of its features in this letter. And he reminds us that the God of hope can enable us to anticipate them.

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