Friday, July 8, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 10, 2016

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(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

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