Saturday, March 16, 2019

What Shall We Say to These Things

Let's look at seven rhetorical questions the apostle Paul asked in his epistle to the Romans, in order to learn what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us through them. Under each of the topical headings below, observe the recurring question he asked, "What shall we say?", followed by the the apostle's answer to his own question.

1. The Righteousness of God

Q: "But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)" (Rom 3:5)

A: "May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?" (Rom 3:6).

This teaches us that God is righteous and that He alone is fit to judge the world.

2. The Righteousness of Abraham

Q. "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?" (Rom 4:1)

A: "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness..." (Rom 4:2-5).

This teaches us that Abraham found the righteousness that is by faith.

3. Freed from Sin 

Q: "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?" (Rom 6:1)

A: "May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?...knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." (Rom 6:2, 6-7).

It's wonderful to know we no longer have to sin. We are free not to sin, because two thousand years ago our old self was crucified with Him. That's amazing freedom!

4. The Law is Holy

Q: "What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? (Rom 7:7a)

A: "May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COVET'...So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good...For we know that the Law is spiritual..." (Rom 7:7b, 12, 14a).

This teaches us that no matter what anyone says of the Law, it is holy, righteous, good, and spiritual. The problem is not with the Law but with our weak, sinful nature. We are no longer under the Law but under grace. And by this faith we do not nullify the Law but uphold it (Ro 3:31).

5. All Things Work Together for Our Good

Q: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us...And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things?" (Rom 8:18, 28-31a)

A: "If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us." (Rom 8:31b-34)

This teaches us about the awesome glory of God and His amazing love for us.

6. The Sovereign Justice of God

Q: "What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there?" (Rom 9:14a)

A: "May it never be! For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy." (Rom 9:14b-16, NIV*).

This teaches us that our salvation does not depend on our desire or effort, but on the mercy of God. It also teaches us that God doesn't have to ask anyone for permission to do anything. He doesn't report to anyone, and does whatever He pleases. Whenever a person goes to their eternal destruction in hell, it is because they deserve it and it is perfectly just. Whenever God chooses to have mercy on anyone or to have compassion on anyone because of His Son Jesus Christ, that is solely His prerogative beyond any doubt or scrutiny. He always acts in accordance with His perfectly just, sovereign will.

7. The Righteousness of the Faithful Remnant

Q: What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, "I will call those who were not My people, 'My people,' and her who was not beloved, 'Beloved.'" And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' there they shall be called sons of the living God." Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute His Word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly." And just as Isaiah foretold, "Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, we would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah. What shall we say then?" (Rom 9:22-29, 30a)

A: "That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith. but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law." (Rom 9:30b-31).

This teaches us about the amazing grace and mercy of God. Gentiles and Jews alike can attain the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by keeping the law.

Closing Words
From each of these seven rhetorical questions asked by the apostle, we have learned about the holiness of the Law, the sovereign justice of God, the righteousness of God, the righteousness of Abraham that is by faith, the righteousness of the faithful remnant, the freedom we have in Christ from sin, and that all things work together for our good, who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Such freedom! Such glory! Such love! What do you say of these things?

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, copyright The Lockman Foundation, used by permission, Other Scriptures where noted taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. The image may be subject to copyright, used according to the Fair Use Act for commentary and educational purposes only. *The first four words of this quote are from the NASB, and the remainder of it is from the NIV.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy No Flesh Will Be Justified By Works, The Conditional Security of the Believer, Life By the Spirit - Not Under Law, Sins That Will Keep You From HeavenDrifting Away, Is Obedience Optional?, The Apostasy Parables, Obedience by the Spirit, The Obedience of Faith, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Aim for Perfection, Walking in the Perfect Will of God, Baptized with the Spirit, Holy Fire Baptism, The Straight and Narrow Path, Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God, Pleasing the Lord, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, Doing What is RightThe Ways of Life, Whatever You Do, Do All Like This, and Listen to Jesus, Who Upholds Moses and the Prophets. You can find more of my articles related to Working God's Way on the Home page of this blog. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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