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Showing posts from May, 2019

Romans 1:32: Though They Know God's Righteous Decree That Those Who Practice Such Things Deserve To Die

Romans 1:32 [32] Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (ESV) Have you ever had to punish your child and when you confronted your young one on the offense that they committed they responded, "I didn't know!"? If a child truly did not know that their behavior was offensive we could perhaps excuse what they did. Is it possible that mankind can stand before God's judgment and say, "I didn't know!"? The Apostle Paul says no. In the previous verses Paul has listed every kind of sin imaginable. Sexual immorality, murder, envy, malice, arrogance, gossip, disobedience to parents, and even being inventors of doing evil. The apostle makes a strong claim. He says that man knew God's righteous decree that practicing evil brings death, but they not only committed the sins, but approved others who did them. This is quite an indictm

Romans 1:30-31: Slanderers, Haters Of God, Insolent, Haughty, Boastful, Inventors Of Evil . . .

Romans 1:30–31 [30] slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, [31] foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (ESV) When we look at these verses it is easy to just see a list of horrible behaviors. In fact, we are likely to read each offense and compare ourselves. We likely will say, "I am not doing that one, or that one. I must be ok." I want to encourage you not to do that. There is a bigger picture here that we see as we look at the whole book of Romans. The Apostle Paul writes the book of Romans as a primer on Christianity. If ever there was a part of the Bible that defined for us what it means to have faith in God it is Romans. In this first part of the book Paul is making very clear just how evil the heart of man is. The wickedness of man is more than just a list of wrong behavior, rather it is a condition of the heart. Behaviors flow out of that heart. One of the most dangerous beliefs that plague our cul

Romans 1:29: They Were Filled With All Manner Of Unrighteousness

Romans 1:29 [29] They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, (ESV) What happens when you remove God from a society? It ought to frighten you. Paul is continuing to describe mankind. God has revealed himself to mankind. Man did not "see fit to acknowledge God," so He gave mankind over to a debased mind, to do what ought not to be done. In verses 29 and 30 he gives a partial list of what we can expect from a godless society. This list given to us in verse 29 is harrowing. All manner of unrighteousness. If you can think of some terrible kind of evil, be sure that someone has already done it or is planning it. We have simply to look back at the history of atheistic nations and consider the atrocities. China, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany are responsible for the ruthless murder of millions upon millions of people. Those who refuse to be filled with the goodne

Romans 1:28: And Since They Did Not See Fit To Acknowledge God

Romans 1:28 [28] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (ESV) One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Dostoevsky. He said, "Without God, everything is permissible." If one is able to believe that God does not exist then he can be led completely by his own desire. We know that our desires will lead us to all kinds of depravity. In fact, everything becomes permissible. Dostoevsky also said, “Now suppose that there is no God or immortality of the soul. Now tell me, why should I live righteously and do good deeds, if I die entirely on earth?" A perfect question. Without a belief in God what is the motivation to do anything good? I have heard atheists claim that they can still do "good." But the bigger question is why would they? The Apostle Paul describes the one who does not acknowledge God as having a debased mind. The Greek word for debased uses the imagery of a me

Romans 1:26-27: For This Reason God Gave Them Up To Dishonorable Passions

Romans 1:26–27 [26] For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; [27] and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (ESV) There is an expression that says, "Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." Man rejected the knowledge of God. God's response? God gave them up to dishonorable passions. When God gives you up to your sinful passions it is not an expression of your freedom, rather it is a prison sentence that God gives you over to. You are trapped in your rebellion. In our culture today we are being told that there is nothing wrong with men having sexual relationships with men, and women having sexual relationships with women. In fact, if you have a problem with same sex relationships you are descr

Romans 1:25: Because They Exchanged The Truth About God For A Lie

Romans 1:25 [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (ESV) In the previous verse Paul explained that those who had rejected the knowledge of God that was given to them were turned over to their own desires. This was not a good thing. This was essentially a prison sentence. They are trapped in bondage to their own folly. Why? "Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator!" It is amazing the lengths that mankind will go to in order to hold on to the lies of their own creating. I think of modern day scientists who sometimes fall into this trap. I don't want to put all scientists in this grouping, but consider the ones who have embraced the theory of evolution as fact. They have taken a theory of man as the ultimate truth and rejected the truth of God's creation. It would be one thing

Romans 1:24: Therefore God Gave Them Up In The Lusts Of Their Hearts To Impurity

Romans 1:24 [24] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (ESV) Mankind is prone to folly. As we have discovered in the previous verses in this chapter, God takes the first step toward mankind by revealing himself to his creation in the things that he has made. What is man's general response? Ignore God's existence. This ignoring of God leads to foolish thinking. What is God's response? God gave them up in their lusts. Mankind thinks this is a good thing. It is not. This phrase, "gave them up" is a judicial term that basically means they are being turned over to their prison sentence. God walks away from them. This is a catastrophic situation. We know that God is the source of joy, life, light, and all goodness. When he walks away you are left with nothing good. Where does man go after God gives him up? He chases after every impurity that his foolish heart can imagine. It is

Romans 1:22-23: Claiming To Be Wise, They Became Fools

Romans 1:22–23 [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (ESV) I remember my father saying to me when I was a child, "Use your head for more than a hat rack." Have you ever heard someone talk and wonder what they were actually using their head for? Paul is talking here about those men who have rejected the knowledge of God. They may claim to be wise, but rejection of God leads to utter foolishness. In the Old Testament we read of all the Canaanite tribes who followed after various idols. These idols were often images of some kind of animal. They gave glory to that which represented the creation, rather than worshiping the Creator himself. We read of how men and women worshiped idols and wonder how they could be such fools. It starts by rejecting the knowledge of God. In most of our "cultured" society we do not see people worshipin

Romans 1:21: For Although They Knew God, They Did Not Honor Him As God

Romans 1:21 [21] For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (ESV) Have you ever been ignored?  How did that make you feel? I think one of the most unkind things people do to one another is to ignore each other. Imagine someone sharing with you how much they love you, and even demonstrating it by giving you various kinds of gifts, and you respond by walking away and pretending you never even heard them. That would be rude. Offensive. Let's take this illustration a step further. Let's suppose that the person who has demonstrated love and kindness is God himself! Imagine that God has revealed himself through his created order. He has placed all of the stars and planets and galaxies exactly where they are for mankind to thrive. And imagine that man looks at that knowledge and completely ignores him. That would be rude. Offensive. "Although they knew

Romans 1:20: His Eternal Power And Divine Nature, Have Been Clearly Perceived

Romans 1:20 [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (ESV) I have genuine compassion for those who do not know God as I do. The plight of every man on earth is that they have a sinful nature that rebels against the knowledge of God's existence. Many men and women claim that God simply does not exist. Yet, God lays out the argument that his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in the Creation of the world. Many scientists and philosophers gather together and collectively reject the revelation of God that is found in the created order. They hold on to theories that lack sense yet pacify their desire to be free of the shackles of faith in God. Yet, not all scientists have embraced folly. There are many who have objectively looked into the heavens and found God. Here is a gr

Romans 1:19: For What Can Be Known About God Is Plain To Them

Romans 1:19 [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (ESV) There are those who claim to be atheists. An atheist claims that it is a provable fact that there is no god. That is a bold claim. In this verse God makes a bold claim. He is essentially saying that he does not believe in atheists! Why does God not believe in atheists? Because he has shown all men that he exists. What can be known about God is plain to them. In the previous verse Paul laid out the point that it is men's unrighteousness that suppresses the truth. It is not that men do not know that God exists, it is that they take that knowledge and suppress it with their ungodly behavior. They would rather walk in darkness than allow the truth of God to penetrate their lives. One of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century was a man called C. S. Lewis. Lewis was a professor at both Oxford and Cambridge. He became one of the greatest defenders of Christianit

Romans 1:18: For The Wrath Of God Is Revealed From Heaven

Romans 1:18 [18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (ESV) There are many people who if asked about the nature of God will give some sort of description of him being a loving deity who has no intentions of bringing any punishment to their sinful lifestyle. This kind of viewpoint is based on people's assumptions and not based on the authority of God's Word. Paul is not ashamed of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has made that clear in the last two verses. This verse today helps us to understand why the gospel of Jesus Christ is such good news. Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf was to take the punishment that we deserved because of our sin. Paul tells us here that God's wrath is revealed to mankind because their ungodliness. Paul begins in this verse to tell us just how bad the situation is. We like to think that we are pretty good by nature.

Romans 1:17: For In It The Righteousness Of God Is Revealed

Romans 1:17 [17] For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (ESV) At some point in each person's life there comes an understanding that we are flawed creatures. We recognize that there is a self-serving aspect of our nature that is willing to sabotage relationships with others to get what it demands. We will lie, steal and cheat one another in one form or another. Our flaws come completely clear when we come to an understanding of who God is. Paul is a flawed creature who has good news concerning this dreadful nature that we all struggle with. He is speaking of the gospel. In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed. This verse could better be translated "righteousness from God." Righteousness is the state of conforming perfectly to God's holy character and law. In our natural state this is an impossibility. We are flawed. How can one obtain a righteousness that places th

Romans 1:16: For I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel

Romans 1:16 [16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (ESV) Someone once said, "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." There are many people who know the truth yet keep it to themselves because they are afraid of how it will be received if they share it. So they do nothing. It is one thing to see the world crumbling around you. It is quite another to take a stand against it. The Apostle Paul lived in a time of pagan religion and emperor worship. Moral decay was the rule of the day. Each city had a collection of deities that were worshiped. In Acts 16 we find Paul in Athens where he is disturbed to find that they had so many idols there was even one idol for the unnamed god they had not discovered yet. Paul could have been intimidated by all of the wickedness in the world he lived in. He was not! Paul tells us that he is not ashame

Romans 1:15: So I Am Eager To Preach The Gospel To You Also Who Are In Rome

Romans 1:15 [15] So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (ESV) What are you eager to do? What is your passion? What is that one thing that you could not envision life without? Paul's passion was to preach the Gospel. As a preacher myself, I can totally identify with Paul's heart. If you are called to preach the gospel there is nothing else you would rather do. Specifically, for Paul, he is eager to preach the gospel to those who were in Rome. Why Rome? I believe that God had placed a desire in Paul's heart to preach to the people in Rome. He was hindered from being there physically so he does the next best thing. He writes this letter to the church there. I find it interesting that there have been thousands upon thousands of sermons preached from this letter to the Romans. Rome was a place with a wide range of people. You would have had the wealthy elite; political leaders, centurions, people of Caesar's palace. There was a great popula

Romans 1:14: I Am Under Obligation Both To Greeks And To Barbarians

Romans 1:14 [14] I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. (ESV) Discrimination is an ugly word. None of us like it when we are treated as having less value than someone else. In the United States we have seen people treated as less valuable because of the color of their skin. That is disgraceful. Many women have aborted their child because they feared it would be born with Down Syndrome, as if that makes a child less valuable. Discrimination is ugly. Always. The Apostle Paul lived in a different time. Discrimination was just as ugly in his day. In this verse he makes a wonderful statement. He declares that he is under obligation to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. What is the overall point he is making? There is no discrimination in God's kingdom! He is obligated to share the Gospel to all. When Paul uses the word Greeks he is referring to not only those of Greek descent. The Greeks had infl

Romans 1:13: I Have Often Intended To Come To You

Romans 1:13 [13] I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. (ESV) I have heard the saying, "We make plans. God laughs." The reality is, we like to know what is going to happen in our future. Many of us go to great lengths to accomplish what we desire in our careers and in our personal lives. A true believer submits their will to a sovereign God who loves them and knows best. The Apostle Paul's plans for his future were all wrapped up in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He had desired to go to Rome and preach the Gospel there. Rome was the capital of the entire empire. If ever there was a strategic city for the Gospel to be proclaimed it was in Rome. Paul longed to preach there. It was in his plans. God had different plans. Paul does something important here for us in this verse. He

Romans 1:12: That Is, That We May Be Mutually Encouraged By Each Other's Faith

Romans 1:12 [12] that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. (ESV) We all have spiritual heroes. There is nothing wrong with that. It is very normal for us to look up to others who have demonstrated a sincere faith that we can emulate. In fact, there is a whole chapter in the Bible that is kind of a "hall of faith." You will find that in Hebrews 11. I am not sure who your spiritual heroes are, but I will give you a few of mine. My first spiritual hero in my life was my father. My dad was a pastor and taught me that the answer for every situation I face in life is found in the Word of God. Another hero of mine is the late Baptist minister from the 1800s, Charles Spurgeon. His direct and passionate approach of delivering the truth impacted me deeply. Finally, I would refer to the Apostle Paul as a hero. The Apostle Paul's writings continue to amaze me. They are so challenging. They speak of the grand truths of God

Romans 1:11: For I Long To See You, That I May Impart To You Some Spiritual Gift

Romans 1:11 [11] For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— (ESV) When I was a child I used to love it when we got company. It might have been a relative or possibly a friend of the family. It would not be too unusual for the guest who came to visit to bring some sort of gift. This was especially true if it were a visit from my grandparents. It was probably something small, but it was special. The Apostle Paul tells the church at Rome that he wants to be their guest, and he would like to bring gifts with him for everyone. What kind of gifts would he bring? The reality is more that Paul would help them to all see the gifts that God has for them. The gifts are spiritual gifts and would be for the strengthening of the believers. It is interesting that Paul speaks in several places in the New Testament about spiritual gifts (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12). This was something that Paul knew about. These gifts ultimately had their source in

Romans 1:10: Always In My Prayers

Romans 1:10 [10] always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. (ESV) Have you ever had that situation where you talk to someone and they begin to tell you their current list of troubles? You patiently listen and then you tell them, "I'll be praying for you." A few weeks go by and you run into that same person. They begin to share how God worked in their life and answered all their troubles. They are so thankful and say, "Thank you for praying!" There's only one problem. You never prayed for them. Oh, you meant to. In fact, you had the greatest intentions of praying for them. You were deeply moved by their situation. You pictured yourself in their shoes and you knew that you would not have handled their struggles well. You meant to pray. But you forgot. The Apostle Paul does not seem to suffer from the problem of forgetting to pray. I hope you don't feel bad if you identified too well wit

Romans 1:9: For God Is My Witness, Whom I Serve With My Spirit

Romans 1:9 [9] For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you (ESV) Have you ever told someone you were struggling with a situation and they responded with an immediate "I will be praying for you," yet you questioned their sincerity. Sometimes when people make a promise to pray it is almost like saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes. People say certain things just to be polite. The apostle Paul is not lacking in sincerity when he promises to pray. He tells the church at Rome that he mentions them to God in prayer without ceasing. He takes this very seriously. It is more than him trying to break the ice with these people or an attempt to be nice. He says that God is his witness that he is praying for them and says, "whom I serve with my spirit." Paul took sincerity seriously. Previously he had been a pharisee. The pharisees were the religious leaders of the Jews who lived by su

Romans 1:8: First, I Thank My God Through Jesus Christ For All Of You

Romans 1:8 [8] First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. (ESV) Imagine your church getting a letter from the great Apostle Paul. If he were alive today and sent your church a letter what do you think it would say? Maybe he would critique how well you had followed the other letters he wrote. Perhaps you would rather not receive a letter from Paul. He was known to be rather firm when necessary. Paul writes this letter to the church at Rome. He had never met these people, but he had heard of them and wanted to be a blessing to them. In this verse today he tells them how thankful he is for them. That's a great encouragement. Just as Paul had heard of them, I am sure that they had heard of him. Was his letter going to be a positive one? Yes! Why is Paul thankful for these believers in Jesus Christ at Rome? Paul is thankful for the genuineness of their faith. In a place where believers were not always treated w

Romans 1:7: To All Those In Rome Who Are Loved By God And Called To Be Saints

Romans 1:7 [7] To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV) Is there a place that you would love to travel to that you have never been before? Maybe some exotic island is what excites you. Perhaps you would like to explore the castles in the beautiful island of Ireland. Maybe the safari land of Africa with its amazing animals like lions, tigers and elephants intrigues you. Paul had a place he longed to travel to. It was Rome. In our verse today, Paul is writing to the church in Rome. He had never traveled there even though he had greatly desired to do so. He writes to those who are in Rome, who are loved by God and called to be saints. The church had already been established possibly by converts who were saved at the Day of Pentecost who then returned to their homes in Rome. Paul looks at the church of Rome as a great opportunity to write to saints who are in desperate need of in

Romans 1:6: Including You Who Are Called To Belong To Jesus Christ

Romans 1:6 [6] including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, (ESV) There is something special about being included. How many times have you been hurt because a large group of people were part of something exciting and you were left out? I remember when sides were being picked for football on the playground as a child. I was the last one picked. If there was a stray dog around it would have probably been picked before me. Paul spoke in the previous verse about the gospel being preached to the whole world. Here in verse 2 he says, "including  you." I love that phrase, "including you." You were not forgotten, but rather you were included in God's plan to bring God's salvation to the world. You were not left out of the greatest experience ever, but rather you were included. What does it mean to belong to Jesus Christ? After all, that is what Paul is saying we were called to. Belonging to Jesus Christ means so many things. Primarily it means t

Romans 1:5: Through Whom We Have Received Grace And Apostleship

Romans 1:5 [5] through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, (ESV) I once heard someone say, "God could have used the holy angels to preach the message of the gospel to the lost, but he chose us instead." We may feel inadequate for the task. We may be overwhelmed by the thought that many will not want to hear what we have to say. What we do not realize is that being ambassadors of the message of God's love is a privilege. In fact, it is a gift. Paul says that we have received grace and apostleship. Let's look at what that means. Grace is the unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor of God. If we got what we deserved we would all be in eternal hell. God looks on us with love and gives us his love. That is grace. It is this message of the gospel, which is a gift of God's grace that we share. The word apostleship in this context means more than just someone who is a lea

Romans 1:4: And Was Declared To Be The Son Of God In Power . . . By His Resurrection From The Dead

Romans 1:4 [4] and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (ESV) Is it easy for you to admit that you need help? I think that most of us struggle with owning up to our weaknesses. Many women joke about how a man will never ask for directions. Our children resist having their parents help them because they want to prove they are a big girl or boy. There are things that like it or not are bigger than us. We need help. The biggest challenge to every person in the universe is very simple. Death. We all face it. None of us can conquer it on our own. Many people try to delay it by eating properly and exercise. Others ignore the situation and try to drown out it's inevitable reality with alcohol, busyness, or pursuing all kinds of pleasures. Man needs someone to help us with the reality of death. Jesus Christ is declared to be the Son of God in power. What kind of power are we talkin

Romans 1:3: Concerning His Son, Who Was Descended From David According To The Flesh

Romans 1:3 [3] concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh (ESV) Have you ever heard someone say to you, "I know how you feel," but you know that there was no way they could possibly know how you feel? For someone to know how we feel it is imperative that they walk in your shoes. They need to experience the same kind of life that you are living, with all the struggles, if they are to understand. Imagine the God of the universe, the one who spoke all of Creation into being by his powerful word, saying to you, "I know how you feel." Would you believe him? Or would you be tempted to say, "Wait a minute. How could you possibly know how I feel. You don't struggle with poverty, sin, physical weakness, and all of my other troubles."? Imagine if God chose to come into our world, take on a human body and live a life of struggle, encountering all of the weaknesses and limitations of humanity. If he did that would your opinio

Romans 1:2: Which He Promised Beforehand Through His Prophets In The Holy Scriptures

Romans 1:2 [2] which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, (ESV) There is almost nothing more disappointing than having someone promise something that they never deliver on. When I was a small boy there was a man that used to stop by the house to visit my father. Every time he came he promised me that he was going to bring me ice cream. I looked forward to his every visit. The problem is, he never brought me ice cream. Here I am, decades later. Still no ice cream. Paul is speaking about something that was promised. What exactly is he talking about? We find out as we look at the last part of the first verse of Romans 1. Paul declared in the opening verse that he was "set apart for the gospel of God," and today's verse picks up at the end of that phrase and describes this "gospel" as being that which was promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The gospel simply means good news. We know that the good

Romans 1:1 (B): Paul, A Servant Of Christ Jesus, Called To Be An Apostle, Set Apart For The Gospel Of God

Romans 1:1 [1] Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (ESV) We love titles. We tend to be attracted to those who have authority. We like power. This is part of the make up of who we are. In the world that we live in those who have power are able to get what they want. They often have abused others to get the position of authority they possess. We don't want to be abused, but we seem ok with abusing others to avoid being mistreated ourselves. Paul had great authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Our faith is founded on the teaching of the apostles. The apostles were given great power to perform various kinds of miracles so as to validate their message. There is even a story in the Book of Acts where Simon saw the apostles laying hands on people who received the Holy Spirit. Simon wanted to give money and buy that power. (Acts 8) We may well ask why God chose Paul to be an apostle. The answer is found in the first part o

Romans 1:1(A): Paul, A Servant Of Christ Jesus, Called To Be An Apostle

Romans 1:1 [1] Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (ESV) What is the first word that you would use to describe yourself? Doctor? Wife? Food Connoisseur? Paul begins his letter to the church at Rome by describing himself. What is the first word that he chooses? Servant. I imagine that few of us would use that word to describe ourselves. That word seems to have a negative connotation. For Paul, the word servant was a term that he was honored to have. Paul lived in the time of the Roman empire. Many people were servants. They had been bought and sold on the market. Some were treated better than slaves. Others were not. They did not, however, have the choice as to whether or not they would be a servant. Paul used the word servant in a Hebrew context, not a Roman one. He was not purchased by anyone in the Roman Empire. He voluntarily submits himself to the authority of Jesus Christ. He gladly places himself in the service of t

James 5:19-20: My Brothers, If Anyone Among You Wanders From The Truth

James 5:19–20 [19] My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, [20] let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (ESV) There is a hymn which you may well know that has the phrase, "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the one I love." I believe that phrase captures the struggle that we go through as Christians. It does not take much for us to be wandering off the path of righteousness and caught up in another one of the enemy's deceptions. There is a responsibility of those who are walking in the truth to "keep an eye" on their brothers and sisters. If we see someone wander from the truth we should make the effort to bring them back. This requires more than just checking to see if the wandering soul is living in accordance with the Church Bylaws. It requires us to love them, and so desire the best for them. If we do