Freedom

Romans 6:12-14

Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist orator, spoke from experience. He had been born a slave. His first taste of freedom was after he refused to be beaten by an ultra-cruel “slave-breaker.” He writes of this incident in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave:

“The gratification afforded by the triumph was a full compensation for whatever else might follow, even death itself… It was a glorious resurrection, from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom. My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place…” (p. 69).

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Summer in Romans 6 Part III

Romans 6:12-14 Present Yourselves to God

Observation questions are in plain type. Interpretation questions are in italics. Application questions are in bold. (For a further explanation of how to do this Bible study, see here.)

Pray to present yourself to God and not obey the passions of sin.

Read Romans 6.

Romans 6:12-14

1. Notice the “therefore” in verse 12. If we are “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (verse 11), what must we do about sin?

2. What does sin try to do?

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Portraits

Romans 6:5-11

While being shut inside during this pandemic, I’m reading a few classics. I started with The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. The story paints an arresting picture of sin’s corruption of the soul. It opens with an artist painting a portrait of Dorian Gray, a “beautiful” young man of “innocence.” The artist heaps flattery on Dorian while another acquaintance mockingly warns the young man that he will age and won’t always be worthy of such praise. When finished, the painting so magnificently portrays Dorian’s youth and beauty that the young man jealously utters the wish that the picture could change, “and I could always be what I am now!” Dorian’s horrible desire comes true: the portrait becomes a picture of his corrupted soul as he lives a hidden life of licentiousness driven in an attempt to satisfy every illicit desire, while he keeps his outward beauty and youthful vigor. Dorian’s portrait vividly displays the ugliness and horror of sin.

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Summer in Romans 6 Part II

Romans 6:5-11 Alive to God in Christ Jesus!

Observation questions are in plain type. Interpretation questions are in italics. Application questions are in bold. (For a further explanation of how to do this Bible study, see here.)

Pray for the Holy Spirit to impress the truth of Scripture on your heart so you will consider yourself “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Read Romans 5:20 – 6:14.

Romans 6:5-11

1. “[I]f we have been united with [Christ] in a death like his,” what shall we certainly be?

2. Verse 5 begins with “For.” How is verse 5 connected to verse 4?

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Dead to Sin

Romans 6:1-4

Seeing sin in our lives is discouraging, especially when it’s a pattern—it can seem like a broken record that repeats over and over. We berate ourselves, “I can’t believe I did it again!” But Romans 5 tells us of an abundance of overflowing grace. We were born corrupted in Adam, and death reigns over us because we all sin. But while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died to save us from the wrath of God. Christ’s righteousness is the free gift of grace for all who repent and believe. In Adam we are bound to our sin, headed for death. But in Christ we receive Jesus’ righteousness, “leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21).

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Summer in Romans 6

Part 1 – Romans 6:1-4

Fighting Sin During a Pandemic

What was the book that caused St. Augustine to repent of his sins and become the theologian of the early church? What was the book that opened the eyes of Martin Luther and lit the Reformation ablaze? What was the book that motivated William Carey to cross the seas and become the father of modern missions? And what is the book that countless Christians go to for comfort in difficult times?

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Pandemic Sin

Have you been irritable stuck in your home during this pandemic? Are you fearful about the future? Have you been reaching for food or drink to calm your anxiety? Fantasy or pornography to alleviate your loneliness?

Have you been making the most of your time at home, or are you drifting from God in complacency? Things are starting to open up. How is your heart?

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‘Of the Incomparable Treasure of the Holy Scriptures’

A dear friend, Mary Katherine, recited this anonymous poem to me by heart. Initially it appeared as a Scottish poem, and then began in 1578 to be included in the preliminary material of most Geneva Bibles.

Here is the spring where waters flow,
To quench our heart of sin;
Here is the tree where truth doth grow
To lead our lives therein;

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While We Were Yet Unworthy…

The third article on God’s display of his character at the cross from The Good Portion: Christ.

A disproportionate amount of my time sheltering in place was spent watching videos of people I don’t know hanging out of their apartment windows and clapping. This nightly occurrence all over the world had an emotional grip on me, in part because of our innate desire to honor and celebrate those who are worthy of our praise. Even in our increasingly divided and polarized political world, we find common ground offering a meager gift to those who risk their own well-being in order to serve their fellow man. At a minimum, we should all be able to agree that doctors and nurses treating critically ill patients at risk to their own health deserve nothing less than a hearty round of applause.

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Glorious Justice at the Cross

The second article on God’s display of his character at the cross from The Good Portion: Christ.

How do you react when you go through trials you don’t deserve? What do you do when you witness the unfair treatment of another? In the current climate, what are you thinking about justice?

We often associate Jesus with mercy. A common theme in the Gospels is that he showed mercy to societies’ outcast. Tax collectors, those in poverty, and even lepers benefited from his compassion. We don’t have to linger long in the text to see examples of this aspect of Jesus’ character. But what does Jesus have to do with justice?

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