Friday, August 19, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 21, 2016

Over 110,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

GOD’S MERCY ON ISRAEL
(That same mercy is also for everyone)
(Romans 11:1-24)

   In Romans chapter 11, Paul brings to the Jewish thought, the divine idea of “The Remnant”. Here he uses the Old Testament prophet Elijah, as his example, but certainly he could have equally chosen the likes of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Ezekiel, Zephaniah, or even Micah, as they all came to realize, one by one, that there was never a time when the whole nation of Israel was true to GOD, and, that there never will be. They all experienced times when they felt as though the work that they were doing in ministry to GOD was futile, or, of non-effect.
    Listening to Paul, the Jews probably felt that GOD may have already rejected his chosen people as a whole. Here Paul seeks to re-assure them that no such thing will ever happen, because of GOD’s promise to their patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Vs. 1-2a & 28b).
    Here Paul brings to the Jews memory how the prophet Elijah complained to GOD about the people of Israel when he said, “LORD, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:14). There GOD re-assured HIS prophet that, indeed, he was not alone. HE tells Elijah that there were 7000 others in Israel who had not yet bowed down to the idol gods of Baal (Vs. 2b-4).
    Time and time again Scripture returns our thoughts to the idea of a faithful remnant of people who had always lived in obedience to GOD, and it is still that way even today, as hard as that may seem to believe. And, even though there is no Church, denomination, or group that will be saved “en masse”, there always exists among us, certain individuals who are saved by way of their faithfulness, which leads to GODly behavior on their part.  
    A relationship with GOD has always been, is now, and, will forever be an individual and personal one. A person must individually give their own heart, and surrender their own life to GOD. None of us can go to Heaven based on the GODly life that “Big Mama” lived, unless, of course, we imitate her GODly behavior and obedience in our own life, and teach it to our own children.
    The Jews had to learn that they could not be saved based on their membership in GOD’s “chosen nation” alone, they must instead, live their lives in a way that is pleasing to GOD, based on faith in GOD, before GOD would consider making them a part of HIS “chosen family”. Here Paul is teaching that a person can only be saved by the personal decision that they make to walk with GOD, based on their faith.
    There can be no nation that can be lumped together as a “chosen people”, simply because of their heritage, national origin, or pedigree. The chosen people of GOD are those individuals who choose to obey GOD, and choose JESUS CHRIST, as their LORD and SAVIOR. It is those individuals who are members of “The Remnant”, that the Scriptures speak of, and that has nothing to do with race, creed, color, or national origin.
    GOD will graft into HIS family, whosoever he chooses, to replace those Jews, or anyone else, who has rejected HIM, however, those who are grafted in, must be careful not to boast of being righteous of themselves, but instead, must be willing to continue to walk in the righteousness of CHRIST JESUS (Vs. 15-20). If GOD did not spare those family members, the Jews, who were originally included in HIS family, certainly HE won’t spare the non-Jews who HE replaces HIS family members with (v. 21).
    Remember, GOD is both kind, and severe. HE is kind to those who obey HIM, and severe in HIS punishment to those who don’t. Paul goes on to say that, whenever the unbelieving Jewish people turn from their unbelief, GOD is willing to graft them back into HIS family again, because HE has that power. And not only does HE have the power to do it, HE will do it with exceeding, unspeakable joy (Vs. 22-24).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website





Friday, August 12, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 14, 2016

Over 109,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

GOD’S SELECTION OF ISRAEL
(Living under GOD’s mercy)
(Romans 9)

   Here in Romans chapter 9, the Apostle Paul lays the foundation that will support his argument, that, post-CHRIST Israel consists not just of the Jewish descendants of Abraham, but rather, of both Jews and Gentiles, who together, form the chosen covenant community of GOD.
    In this passage, Paul speaks of Israel while making a distinction between being a “descendant of Abraham”, and being a member of “the Covenant Community of GOD”. Here Paul seeks to show that the covenant community of GOD has always been composed, not of Abraham’s “natural” children, but rather, of his “spiritual off-springs” who share Abraham’s strong faith. It is those who believe GOD’s promise about HIS SON, CHRIST JESUS, who, share in the Covenant promise, not those who share Abraham’s physical genes. 
    In verses 6-13, Paul shows how GOD made promises to Abraham, and then chose who HE wanted to inherit those promises. Though both Ishmael and Isaac were Abraham’s natural sons, only Isaac would inherit the promise. GOD chose Isaac to inherit the promise, even though both boys were Abraham’s son. And even when Isaac grew up and married Rebecca, and she gave birth to twins, before either child was born, GOD had already chose Jacob over Esau to inherit the promise.
    In GOD’s Word, we see set forth, on the one hand, HIS sovereignty over all things. On the other hand, however, we see that GOD has given to man, the freedom to choose the way that he wants to go in life. And out of that privilege of “freedom to choose”, man automatically inherits the responsibility to “make right and GODly choices” before the LORD. Abraham chose to be faithful to GOD, and GOD, chose to bless Abraham and “the inheritors of his faith” with the Covenant promise.
    GOD also makes HIS OWN choices freely and sovereignly, and HIS decisions are not bound by our understanding, and nor are they bound by our lack of understanding. GOD is clearly subject to no one’s will, but HIS OWN, and, unless GOD chooses to be merciful to us, none of us could be saved from sin and death (permanent separation from GOD).
    And so we see that, GOD, WHO is the Potter, or, Creator of all things made, both, freely makes HIS OWN choices, and, HE gives man to ability and authority to do the same, to a lesser degree (Romans 9:20-21). GOD has every right to select who HE sees fit, for what HE sees fit, when HE sees fit. And HE will always exercise HIS judgment and power, even to be patient with those who are the object of HIS judgment, and, are only fit for destruction (Romans 9:22).
    GOD also has the right to pour out the riches of HIS glory on those who are the object of HIS mercy (Romans 9:23). Who receives GOD’s promise is not up to us, and we can’t receive it by doing good works. GOD will show mercy to anyone HE chooses, even to an ungodly person if HE sees fit. Remember when GOD told the ungodly Pharaoh of Egypt that, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying MY power in you, and so that MY fame will spread throughout the earth”.
    And so we see, GOD, shows mercy to some just because HE wants to, and HE chooses to make some people who display a huge amount of stubborn pride, like the Pharaoh, and who HE knows will refuse to listen, to play a role in HIS plans for others. And this does not mean that GOD is responsible for our sinful condition. Those who are “prepared for destruction” have already chosen to do evil. And despite the fact that their evil deeds cry out for judgment, GOD remains patient with them, giving them every opportunity to change for the better. GOD always uses HIS sovereign power, by choosing to go the route of “love”, “patience”, and “grace”. 
    If a man’s heart goes out in love and submission to JESUS, then JESUS represents for that man, salvation. But if a man’s heart is entirely unmoved or angrily rebellious, JESUS represents for that man, condemnation”. In Romans 9, verses 30-33, the Apostle Paul once again hits his readers with the, now familiar, rhetorical question, “What then shall we say?”
    Here, Paul draws a stunningly vivid contrast between the Jewish way, and the Gentile way, of viewing GOD. The Jews set out to try and earn their way to Heaven through deeds, and, by trying to follow the letter of the Law, while the newly admitted Gentiles in the church, tended to seek GOD the correct way, which is of course, by faith.
    When we try to earn our way to heaven the way the Jews sought to do, we are, in effect, attempting to put GOD into our debts. But man, because of his imperfections, can never satisfy the letter of the Law. He can never walk “according to the light of GOD”, but rather, he can only seek to walk “in the light of CHRIST”. And even that can’t be done without his or her obedience to the power of the HOLY SPIRIT in them, to guide and counsel them in the right direction.
    We can never stack up enough brownie points, that GOD will owe us salvation in return for our good deeds. Salvation is the gift that keeps on giving through faith, and it cannot be purchased by money, or, by deeds. JESUS CHRIST never did conform to the Jews’ expectations from HIM, and as a result, they rejected HIM rather than to respond to HIM by faith. They ultimately delivered HIM into the hands of Pilate, and in order to save himself from his own, self-imposed, troubled career, Pilate was compelled, to sentence CHRIST to death.
    Driven by their hatred for JESUS, the Jewish leaders lost all sense of proportion, and they totally forgot about the mercy, that they themselves had so often preached about in the temple every Sabbath. In fact, they forgot all about justice, and in the end, as it is recorded in John 19:15, they denounced GOD, and professed Caesar as their king.
    And to show how GOD had anticipated this kind of action from HIS “chosen people”, Paul reminds them of a couple of contrasting quotes from the prophet Isaiah, some 750 years earlier (Isaiah 8:14 & 28:16), in verse 33. Here, we are forced to accept one great eternal truth about CHRIST JESUS. HE was sent into this world to be both a SAVIOR of men, and, the living human example by which all men are judged.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander








Friday, August 5, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 7, 2016

Over 109,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

THE FUTURE GLORY
(Safe in GOD’s love)
(Romans 8:18-39)

   The Christian Hope is invincible, because it is founded in GOD. Peace, hope, patience, comfort, and love are the things that men, such as Paul, recognized in GOD. Here in Paul’s letter to the Romans, as it is expressed in chapter 8 verse 19, in his original Greek writings, Paul uses a wonderful word for “earnest expectation” or “hope for the future”. It is “apokaradokia” (a-pock-a-rah-do-KEE-ah), and it describes the attitude of a man, who scans the horizon, with his head thrust forward, as he eagerly anticipates the first signs of the coming of the glory of GOD.
    You see, for Paul, life was not an overbearing and defeated waiting, but rather, it was a throbbing and very vivid expectation. The Christian has always been, is now, and will forever be, a part of the “human experience”. By that I mean, from within, we must all suffer with our own “sin nature”, in the Greek, “epithumia” (ep-i-thoo-mee-ah), that war we wage within ourselves between  “reason” and “passion”. And from the outside, we must all live in a world full of death and decay, as we continue to suffer the consequences of the sins of others.
    But, thanks to GOD, as Christians, we do not just live in the world. As Christians, we also live in JESUS CHRIST. Therefore, we do not see only the world, but we must be able to look beyond this world, to GOD. That way, we do not just see the consequences of ours, and other people’s sin, we’re also able to see the power and mercy of GOD’s love. And so we see that the essence to the Christian Faith must always be hope, and never despair. The true Christian isn’t waiting for death, but rather, we wait for life. The true Christian, just like Paul, must always wait, in “apokaradokia”.
    GOD does not want us to wallow in the troubles and failures of this life. HE wants us to always, through our strength in CHRIST JESUS, be able to look beyond this world to a future with HIM. We need to know that HIS power and love will always be able to overpower all of the worries and issues of this life. And, we can finally come to rest in the thought, that this life is not the final act of the human drama, when we truly have faith, and trust in GOD.
    As Christians, we know that all things work together for good, to those who love GOD (Romans 8:28), but when trouble comes, we’re sometimes hard pressed to remember that. Paul was convinced that nothing could separate him from the love and safety found in GOD (Romans 8:38-39), and we, if we are truly believers, should be convinced of that too. 

    Try to recall a time in your life when GOD has worked out a situation for your good, when you could only see the bad. Then, think of a time when you went ahead and tried to work something out in your own strength, and after failing, realized that you should have prayed first, and then, waited on GOD to work it out, through HIS strength.
    Suffering and hardship does not mean that we’ve been abandoned by GOD, nor are we ever separated from HIS love. No matter what happens to Christians in this life, GOD forever holds us firmly in HIS mighty hands.


LIFE RESPONSE:

    Write down on a piece of paper, what you believe to be currently, your biggest problems. Then go to GOD in prayer over those problems, or situations, and ask GOD to remove them from your life if it be HIS will. And if it’s not HIS will, at that particular time, pray that HE give you the strength to endure in suffering for the faith you have in HIM, that HE will work things out for the greater good, in the end, but either way, those who live in CHRIST are eternally protected from all permanent hurt and harm.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander










Friday, July 29, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 31, 2016

Over 108,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

SIN’S POWER IS BROKEN
(Freedom to obey GOD)
(Romans 6)

   When we were joined to CHRIST in “spiritual baptism”, we became so united with HIM that HIS death became our death to sin. Sin no longer has dominion over our lives, and we are free to make the choice of obeying GOD fully. JESUS’ resurrection became our resurrection and we now share in HIS new life. In sharing in that new life, we are now better able to choose to live for GOD, just as CHRIST chose to live for GOD during HIS life here on earth (Romans 6:1-11).
    In the Greek, the word used for “truth” is “aletheia” (al-ay-thi-a), and it means “in harmony with reality”. When we come to CHRIST, we experience a “spiritual reality” or “truth” through faith, that, we otherwise, would have never known. We have chosen to live in harmony with reality, and can now, consider ourselves to be dead to the world of sin, and new citizens to the “kingdom of Heaven”. We must now allow the Laws of GOD to become paramount to us in our new life, and we are ready to accept the reality of GOD’s truth, based on faith in HIS WORD. We are saying to GOD that we no longer want to be slaves to sin, but rather, we choose to be servants to HIM, through HIS grace (Romans 6:12-14). 
    Chapter 6 of Paul’s letter to the Romans is all about “present tense salvation”. It exemplifies the truth that we are being perpetually saved by CHRIST JESUS daily, and in fact, moment by moment. And even though our propensity to sin remains with us, and indeed, we all still feel our “sin nature” tugging at us, however, now, we have the strength of CHRIST, through GOD’s infusion of the HOLY SPIRIT, to help us win those battles between our “reason to do right”, and our natural “passion to want to do wrong”.
    In verse 15, the mention that believers live “under grace” led some early believers to ask the question, “Should we sin more because we are under grace, and not the law?” Paul refuted this silly notion and went on to explain why that idea can never be accepted. Here Paul tells us, in effect, that, there can be no middle ground between, being “a slave to sin”, and, being “a slave to obedience to GOD’s Word”. In other words, no one can serve two masters. We can’t straddle the fence because the fence is entirely on satan’s side of the line that GOD has already drawn in the sand.
    The fence (ideology) was built by satan for those who really don’t want to completely obey GOD, but rather, are really looking to find a god that is made in their own image. However, what they really don’t understand is that, there is really “no gray area” between “right and wrong”, there is only the line that GOD drew in the sand. We either have to make up our minds whether we want to be on GOD’s side totally, or, do we want to be on the side that belongs to satan. We can’t serve both GOD and the devil.  Being a slave to sin leads to death (eternal separation from GOD), and being a slave to GOD means having an “eternal life of freedom in CHRIST JESUS”. To choose “obedience to GOD” is to choose a new MASTER, and, to abandon the chains of slavery and bondage with the old master, satan (Vs. 16-18).
    The Apostle Paul used the illustration of “slave and master” because it was easy to understand in the physical sense. However, Paul sought to impart “spiritual” understanding of our spiritual problems, which always lead to our physical suffering. GOD is SPIRIT, and so is satan. GOD’s SPIRIT is righteous, and satan’s is evil. We can choose to let ourselves fall victim to the impurities and lawlessness of satan’s evil spirit, or, we can choose the righteousness of CHRIST, and become holy with GOD’ SPIRIT. Remember, the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of GOD is eternal life, through CHRIST JESUS, our LORD (Vs. 19- 23).
    The role of faith becomes easier once we decide in our hearts to seek the righteousness that can only be found in living a more “CHRIST-like” life. Life has always consisted of choices that shape our lives for better or for worse, and in the end our own personal history will judge us. And since every rational person wants the best out of life, we must choose to make the choices in life that align us with the will of GOD. We cannot enjoy goodness apart from GOD. We must determine that we are going to live for the CHRIST WHO died for us, and make doing GOD’s will, our daily goal in life.  
     In order to overcome this world, we have to make the choice of “Life in CHRIST”. It is an option that is readily available to us, for as long as we have breath in our bodies. If we are a professing to be Christians, we must remain constantly in the Word of GOD. Every time we begin to release our grip on the Word of GOD, the old life begins to regain its grip on us. We must spend as much time as possible training in GOD’s Word, and more importantly, we must remember that, from the very moment we close your bible and put it down, we begin the process of being untrained all over again, and so we can’t wait too long before we pick it up again.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website





Friday, July 22, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 24, 2016

Over 107,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

FAITH BRINGS JOY
(CHRIST gives us the hope of salvation)
(Romans 5)

   The sin of Adam brought physical death. The Resurrection of CHRIST brought spiritual life. Because one man disobeyed GOD, many people became sinners (Romans 5:12). However, because one other MAN obeyed GOD, many people will be made right in GOD’s sight (Romans 5:17).
    In the original Greek, the word Paul uses for “access”, in Romans 5:2, is “prosagoge” (pros-a-gogue-ay), and it means “to introduce, or usher someone else into the presence of royalty”. It can also be defined as “a safe haven, or harbor”. We have “access” to GOD through our faith in JESUS CHRIST, WHO came into the World, and overcame the World, by way of HIS enduring SPIRIT. We can now rejoice in our trials because we know that those trials are not meant to make us fail, but rather, they are tests, that are meant to strengthen us, and make us better warriors in the army of CHRIST. Trials help us learn to endure, and endurance develops strength and character. Our character then strengthens our hope and confidence in the gift of salvation (Romans 5:2-4).
    In John 15:13 JESUS says that, “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (KJV). This gives us confidence in salvation, because, here JESUS is saying in effect, that, from that glorious moment when HE died on the cross at Golgotha, we were no longer just HIS servants, but rather, at that moment, we became HIS friends. By the sin of Adam, all men became sinners and were alienated from GOD. In total contrast, by the righteousness of CHRIST, all men can become righteous, and can be restored into a right relationship with GOD (Romans 5:18).
    Paul says it more clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 where he states, “For since by man came death, by MAN came also, the resurrection of the dead. For in Adam all die, even so in CHRIST shall all be made alive” (KJV). There are two basic Jewish ideas that come into play when reading this passage. One is “solidarity”. The Jews never really thought of themselves as individuals, but rather, they were a part of a chosen clan, a family, or a nation, and whatever happened to one, happened to all. The other thing that comes into play is that, at least in those days, death was considered to be the direct consequence, or result, of sin. The Jews believed that sin was intimately connected with death, and in essence, they are right.
    GOD’s love, however, is not limited to just a select few, and HE proved that when HE extended HIS love to the entire ungodly human race by sending HIS SON JESUS to die on the cross for our iniquities. And since HIS death brought reconciliation to us all, while we were still HIS enemies, we are now reconciled, and should have confidence that HIS sacrifice will complete the work of salvation in us (Romans 5:6-11).
    GOD’s law was given to us so that all people could see how sinful they are. The more people sin, the more abundantly GOD’s wonderful grace and kindness will manifest itself. And just as sin had previously ruled over all people, bringing them to death, so now GOD’s grace and kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with HIMSELF, and resulting in eternal life through CHRIST JESUS, our LORD (Romans 5:20-21).
    Through faith in CHRIST, we can see an ultimate happy ending to the unpleasant circumstances that we now find ourselves in. Faith gives us hope to see beyond our suffering, tribulation, and understanding. Faith enables us to realize how GOD can work a greater good in our lives through difficult times. And we can also rejoice and come to rest in the hope of a glorious future that was prepared for us long ago, by a kind and loving GOD.
   In the coming days, let us each think of someone we know, who may be seeing themselves as being in a hopeless situation because of a recent setback in life. Then, try and come up with some GODLY ways in which you might be able to encourage them in the SPIRIT of hope, which CHRIST JESUS lends to us as Christians. For instance, perhaps we can arm them with a list of scriptures, perhaps from this particular chapter of Romans that may seem most appropriate to their struggle. When a person has hope, they also have peace, and that is true with everyone. Through the power of CHRIST we can be conquerors of all things, even those things that bring us harm and disappointment in this world.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website







Friday, July 15, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 17, 2016

Over 106,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

GOD SETS THINGS RIGHT
(JESUS is our sacrifice of atonement)
(Romans 3:21-31)

   The Law of GOD is designed to show man his own weaknesses and sinfulness. Once we learn what GOD wants us to do as human beings, and try to satisfy the law, we just as quickly learn how far we are from being able to do it. Either we feel that we can never completely obey GOD, or, that we have no desire to try to obey HIM. Fortunately for us, the way to GOD is not through obedience to the Law, but rather, it is through faith in CHRIST, and then, it is our faith in CHRIST JESUS, that fuels our desire to do those things that are pleasing to GOD.
    In Romans chapter 3, verses 21-31, the Apostle Paul teaches us how JESUS took our punishment for sin unto HIMSELF and personally delivered us from the permanency of the grave, or “death”, or, “permanent separation from GOD”. Through the vicarious sacrifice of CHRIST JESUS, GOD shows us a different way to righteousness than had been taught by the earlier leaders of Judaism in Jerusalem in the first century, prior to JESUS’ coming.
    Obeying the Law, in itself, is not the way that Scripture teaches us how we can arrive at the “righteous state” that will qualify us to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, we can’t even acquire righteousness on our own, at all. Christians are granted an “imputed righteousness” through their belief and faith in CHRIST, the only proven RIGHTEOUS ONE. We are made right in GOD’s sight when we trust in JESUS to take away our sins (Vs.21-22).
    We all come to CHRIST as “sinners”, or with “sin experience”, and were already at a deficit, falling far short of GOD’s OWN glorious standards (v.23). Our original nature (GOD’s Nature) that we were born with (made in GOD’s OWN spiritual image) had been damaged, or defiled from the moment we accepted satan’s “sin nature” the first time we disobeyed GOD, after we reached an age of accountability.
    Through CHRIST, a gracious GOD in Heaven is giving us an opportunity at redemption through “no work” of our own. JESUS volunteered to accept GOD’s request that HE come to earth to “take the sting out of death”, which was our punishment for sin. This satisfied GOD’s anger because of our iniquities, and restored us back into a personal relationship of friendship with GOD (Vs.24-25).     
    When, we as human beings sin, we sometimes display “what we think is” amazing “human ingenuity”, as we try to justify that sin. And even through our excuses may sound good, and make perfect sense to us, GOD, is not buying our foolishness. In verse 26 of this third chapter of Romans, we see a good and gracious paradox. Here Paul tells us that GOD is “just” and “fair”, and that, in that incredible, miraculous “grace” that, JESUS came to bring us, GOD accepts the sinner, not as a criminal, but as a son whom HE still loves. Thank YOU GOD!
    Remember, obedience to the laws of GOD is what we can do for ourselves; however, “grace” is concerned with what GOD can do, and, is doing, for us. The Laws of GOD serve to show us, just how far we are from HIS high and glorious standards. It exposes things to us, some of which, we didn’t even know were sins.
    The law shows us, very vividly, our need for grace, and, a SAVIOR. GOD’s grace gives us a chance to escape the bondage of sin, as there is nothing good in our own flesh. The only way for us to be reconciled to GOD is through grace received as a result of our belief in our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
    All of our human acts are tainted by our own sin nature, and thereby, less than perfect, and not acceptable to GOD. GOD’s Law serves to show us our imperfections, and when we are measured by HIS glorious standard, we all come up short.
    Everyone has already been judged by GOD’s Law, and the verdict has been announced by GOD, as guilty. Our “righteousness”, or, “justification”, can never come from our own acts, but rather, it can only come from the distinctive acts of an Almighty gracious GOD in Heaven.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



Friday, July 8, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 10, 2016

Over 106,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

GOD’S LAWS REVEAL HOW SINFUL WE ARE
(GOD remains faithful to a disobedient people)
(Romans 3:1-19)

   In the Greek, the word used for “justification” is “dikaiosune” (dik-ah-yos-oo-nay), and it is “equity in character or action”, or, “righteousness”. However, in the biblical sense, the word “Justification” takes on a dual meaning. First it means that a person is pronounced “not guilty” before GOD, by GOD, and, that that same person is also pronounced as being “righteous” by GOD. However, that person’s new-found righteousness is an “imputed righteousness” that is made possible by the sacrifice of JESUS CHRIST, our LORD and SAVIOR, and is not earned by the person who has that righteousness bestowed upon them.
    Justification is a one-time event that happens at the very moment of one receiving “Salvation” from GOD. Then, the process of Salvation or “Sanctification” begins. Sanctification is a lifelong process, by which the “saved” person is expected to become more like CHRIST, with each passing day, in terms of their behavior, and “representation of GOD”, here on earth is concerned.
    The great advantage that the Jews had, at one time, was that they had possession of GOD’s Word all to themselves, and more often than not, they chose not to obey it. Thanks to GOD’s grace, a lack of faith by them, did not nullify HIS faithfulness to them. GOD’s law was never intended to be used by GOD to save us, but rather, it is used by GOD to make us aware of our sins.
    GOD, through the Scriptures, has revealed a righteousness that has nothing to do with the law. And since all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of GOD, all need to be justified by a “Grace Gift” given only to those who have faith in JESUS CHRIST.
    The Jews often misunderstood the meaning of their special position with GOD. Paul believed it was special because with it came with a certain responsibility. He knew the special position didn’t afford them to do what “they” like, but rather, it afforded them with a responsibility to do what GOD likes.
    In verse 2 of this passage, the word Paul uses for the phrase “oracles of GOD”, in his original Greek writings, is “logia”, and it is “a special statement, or pronouncement from GOD”. Here it means the “Ten Commandments”, and here in verses 2-3, Paul is saying that GOD entrusted the Jews with actively keeping the Ten Commandments with their lifestyle and behavior, and not by focusing on them as being endowed with special privileges, whether they obeyed them or not.
    The Jews never quite grasped the fact that, GOD’s “special choice” of them, was made for the purpose of “special duty” and responsibility to HIM. Responsibility is always the “obverse” of privilege. In fact, the more opportunity a person has to do right, the greater their condemnation is, when they chose to do wrong. The root of all sin is disobedience to GOD’s law, and in fact, disobedience to GOD’s law is the very definition of sin. Whenever “pride” sets the “will of man” against the “Will of GOD”, the end result is always “sin”.
    Some people even foolishly believe that our sin serves a good purpose in that we will see GOD’s goodness when HE ultimately declares us innocent of sin after HE forgives those who repent. However, if that were the case then GOD’s punishment for us sinning in the first place, would be unjust, and completely unfair. And if GOD is not “just” and “fair”, then, how is HE qualified to judge the world that HE HIMSELF created (Vs.5-6).
    It wouldn’t make sense for GOD to judge and condemn us if our sins and dishonesty actually highlighted HIS truthfulness and brought HIM more glory. We can only glorify GOD by obeying HIM, not by disobeying HIM. In fact, if we follow and adhere to that kind of thinking and logic (thinking our sin glorifies GOD), we are actually saying that, the more we sin, the better it makes GOD look. Anyone who harbors such foolish thoughts deserves to be condemned (Vs.7-8).
    All races of people are sinners, and the Jews that GOD chose as HIS “figurative representative nation” on earth, are no different. All people who have ever lived in this world were indeed born into “the sinful state of the world” that already had existed since the first man, Adam, was created by the literal hands of GOD. And even though GOD made Adam and Eve perfect in the beginning, they squandered that perfection of “GOD’s Nature”, and accepted instead, the “sinful nature” of satan.
    Since that time no one has been sinless as a human being, except JESUS, no, not even one. No one has had real understanding instilled in them by their parents, and therefore, no one has chosen soon enough to seek GOD earnestly. We’ve all, at one time or another, chosen to turn away from GOD in order to pursue our own will, and as a result, our lives have gone terribly awry (Vs.9-12).
    In verses 13-18 the Apostle Paul gives us a laundry list of characteristics that describes perhaps, the worst case scenario, of one who has chosen to live outside of GOD, or has never experienced the benefits of a life abiding in GOD;

“Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
    Their tongues are filled with lies.”
“Snake venom drips from their lips.”
    “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
 “They rush to commit murder.

   Destruction and misery always follow them.
 They don’t know where to find peace.”
    “They have no fear of God at all.”  (NLT)

    Laws apply to whoever they are given, in the world, and, in one’s dealings in life under GOD. The main purpose of any law is to keep people from having excuses and to bring everyone into judgment before man, and also ultimately, before GOD, the creator of man. If we judge ourselves first, according to the law, and live our lives in obedience to the law, in the end, we won’t have to suffer the penalty of the law.
    From the day of our first sin, we become labeled as sinners, and we can’t ourselves, un-ring a bell, for only GOD can. Through the vicarious sacrifice of CHRIST JESUS, GOD has begun the process of un-ringing the bell of sin, and restoring us back into a right relationship of friendship with HIM. And ultimately, GOD says HE will grant to the believers in CHRIST JESUS, a “new human spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26), and with it, we will be able to enter into, first, the Millennial Kingdom, here on earth, and, into the Kingdom of Heaven, bypassing the White Throne Judgment, in the last day.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander