From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/5:

Today Paul, Luke, and a brother in Christ named Aristarchus, along with other prisoners, board a ship to Rome. On the way, they encounter severe weather. “Paul advised them, saying, ‘Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.’” But the centurion, helmsman, and the ship owner ignore the warning and continue sailing into dangerous storms which cause damage and loss to the ship.

“But after long abstinence from food, Paul stood in the midst of them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.’”

After fourteen days without food, Paul encourages the men to eat – “‘Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.’ And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.” 

When the ship runs aground, the soldiers plan to kill the prisoners to avoid anyone escaping. “But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.”

God is going to keep His promise as He always does. Tomorrow Paul arrives in Rome. Keep reading.

(Acts 27:1-44)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/4:

When Paul appears before Felix in Caesarea, his accusers say, “For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.”

Paul responds saying, “they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”

After hearing both sides, Felix sends Paul back to prison but with liberty and rights to visitations. “But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.”

Festus honors the Jews’ request and agrees to send Paul back to Jerusalem to be tried. But Paul, not wanting to be tried in Jerusalem, invokes his rights as a Roman citizen and requests that his case be appealed before Caesar – “For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

When King Agrippa II (son of King Herod Agrippa I who killed James and great-grandson of Herod the Great who killed the babies in Bethlehem in search of Jesus) visits Cæsarea, Festus presents Paul’s case to him. So Paul again shares his testimony of how he once persecuted Christians but when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus his life forever changed.

Paul uses his life to teach everyone he can about Christ, no matter his circumstances or the cost to himself. Paul says, “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come- that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

“Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.’”

King Agrippa II and the others conclude that Paul is not deserving of death or chains but since Paul requested to go before Cæsar, tomorrow Paul is off to Rome. Keep reading.

(Acts 24:1-26:32)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/3:

While being led into the barracks, Paul is given permission to speak to the angry mob. So Paul stands in front of the crowd and begins sharing his testimony in Hebrew. When they heard him speak Hebrew, they kept silent for a moment. 

Paul explains that he too ”taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.”

Paul goes on to tell them how everything in his life changed the moment he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. He recounts the time that Ananias came to him with a message from the Lord – “Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’”

Paul says while he was praying in the synagogue in Jerusalem, the Lord told him, “Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.”

The crowd listened to Paul until he spoke of reaching the Gentiles – “And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!’ Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air, the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, ‘Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?’”

When they discover that Paul is a Roman, they “withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.” So, “the next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.”

After Paul is struck across the mouth for speaking the truth, Paul says to Ananias the high priest, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” Then Paul stirs up dissension between the Pharisees, who believe in resurrection, and the Sadducees, who don’t. “Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.”

Meanwhile, about forty Jews are plotting to kill Paul. “They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, ‘We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul.’” But Paul’s nephew secretly informs the commander of their plans. So the commander sends Paul to Caesarea with a letter for governor Felix. In the letter the commander wrote, “I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him.”

Tomorrow Paul appears before Felix. Keep reading.

(Acts 21:37-23:35)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/2:

On his way to Jerusalem, Paul stops in Miletus and calls for all the elders of the church of Ephesus to come to him. He tells them that this might be the last time he sees them – “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

He warns the elders to “take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

When Paul finishes speaking, he prays for them. “Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.”

Continuing on his journey to Jerusalem, Paul and his companions meet a prophet named Agabus. “When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’”

“And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.” However, when the Jews from Asia see Paul in the temple they “stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, ‘Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.’ (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)”

“And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut… Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks.”

Tomorrow Paul goes before the high council. Keep reading.

(Acts 20:13-21:36)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/1:

Today Paul warns the Corinthians of the false prophets who are preaching another Jesus. Paul says he humbled himself by preaching to the Corinthians for free so that he would be set apart from these false leaders who are all about their own greed and glory. Paul tells them that these false prophets are actually doing the work of Satan – “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”

Paul rebukes the ones who are boasting in their flesh and not the Lord; but in order to defend his position against these false leaders, Paul goes on to boast in his flesh, or as he calls it, “speak as a fool.” However, Paul’s account of his life looks a lot different than the identity of the proud and popular false teachers – “I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness – besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches… If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.”

Paul says he will not only boast in his weakness, but the Lord actually purposed his weaknesses which Paul calls “thorn in the flesh”, so that he stays humble and dependent upon the Lord – “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Paul concludes his second letter to the Corinthians by telling them to, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”

If they believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins and rose three days later defeating death, and if they hate their sin which leads to repentance, and if they have a desire to obey the word of God, then they can be assured that Christ is in them.

Over in Troas, Paul’s current location on his journey to Jerusalem, a man falls asleep while Paul is preaching, falls three stories, and dies. “But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, ‘Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.’ Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.”

Tomorrow Paul arrives in Jerusalem. Keep reading.

(2 Corinthians 11:1-13:14, Acts 20:7-12)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/30:

Today Paul tells the Corinthians not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers – “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” Paul says since we are the temple of the living God, we should “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

The closer we draw to the Lord, the more grievous our sins become to us. Charles Spurgeon once said – “I suppose that, the nearer we get to heaven, the more conscious we shall be of our imperfections. The more light we get, the more we discover our own darkness. That which is scarcely accounted sin by some men, will be a grievous defilement to a tender conscience. It is not that we are greater sinners as we grow older, but that we have a finer sensibility of sin, and see that to be sin which we winked at in the days of our ignorance.”

Paul goes on to say that his heart is open to the Corinthians and that is why he shares truth with them, out of love. He says although he did not enjoy previously writing them a harsh letter of rebuke, he is not sorry because it led them to godly repentance – “For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” Worldly sorrow is just being sorry because you got caught and have to suffer the consequences, but it does not result in a real change and turning from sinful behaviors which lead to death. However, godly sorrow leads one to true repentance for sinning against the Lord, resulting in a genuine change in a person’s life.

Paul continues the to ask the Corinthians to complete the collection they started for the needy in Jerusalem. He tells them how the churches of Macedonia, even in their affliction, gave abundantly by grace – “And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.”

Paul encourages the Corinthians to give generously and joyfully with great anticipation that the Lord will use it to accomplish His awesome purposes – “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

Paul explains that his authority and boldness as an apostle comes through the power of the Holy Spirit, not his flesh. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”

Tomorrow we conclude the reading of 2 Corinthians. Keep reading.

(2 Corinthians 6:14-10:18)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/29:

We have a real enemy, Satan, whose goal is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Therefore Paul exhorts the Corinthians to follow his example and forgive the ones in the church who offended them, so Satan doesn’t have a chance to work his schemes of division and destruction – “For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Paul says we are equipped to do the work of the ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by our human capabilities of adhering to the letter of the law, “but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” And the Lord makes us ministers for the purpose of reaching others – “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”

Paul explains that both the old covenant and the new covenant are glorious, but the new covenant is more glorious because it changes people’s hearts and lifts the veil of darkness from their eyes – “But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

The ones veiled in darkness, who don’t accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, are controlled by Satan, the god of this world – “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them… For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Although this world is controlled by Satan, the ruler of darkness, Christians don’t lose heart because what is happening in the spiritual realm far exceeds what our eyes can see in the earthly realm. Everyone’s earthly body is perishing, but for the Christian, “the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Therefore, Paul lives his life to please the Lord, walking by faith with a mind set on eternal things. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

As a new creation reconciled to God through Christ, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, which is to share the good news of the gospel with others, so that they too may have hope of eternal life with Christ.

Keep reading.

(2 Corinthians 2:5-6:13)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/28:

Paul knows that reading God’s word daily nourishes our soul and gives us hope. Therefore, he says, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

Paul has been called to preach the gospel in places that have no church. He tells the Romans this is why he hasn’t visited sooner. However, he hopes to see them on his way to Spain. Paul ends the letter by greeting twenty-nine people in Rome (of whom ten are women) who labored in ministry with him. Paul concludes his letter to the Romans by giving glory to the Lord – “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.”

Paul writes a second letter to the Corinthians – “Paul wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia, sometime after sending 1 Corinthians from Ephesus. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians in response to news Titus brought him of the church in Corinth and to further his collection for the poor in Jerusalem” (OYCB).

In his letter, Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” God uses our suffering to draw us nearer to Him for our good, and so that we may better know how to comfort others during their trials.

Paul defends himself to the Corinthians regarding why he changed his travel plans. He says it wasn’t because he was untrustworthy or indecisive, but for their own good – “Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth.”

Apparently there was some tension the last time Paul visited them, so Paul decided not to return. Instead he sent Titus to the church with a “severe letter” from Paul. “And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.”

Paul writes hard truths to the Corinthians, not to grieve them, but so they will know his love for them. We will read more of Paul’s words to the Corinthians tomorrow, so keep reading.

(Romans 15:1-16:27, 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:4)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/27:

Paul explains that God has not cast away His people, the Israelites – “For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, ‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life?’”

Remember during the Divided Kingdom Era, after Elijah had the showdown on Mt. Carmel, he assumed he stood alone for the Lord (1 Kings 18-19). However, God encouraged him by saying, “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Paul says, “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” And we have seen throughout the story of the Bible, there is always a remnant who walk by faith with the Lord, with the same being true today.

Because of the Jews’ lack of faith, salvation came to the Gentiles in order to provoke the Jews to jealousy and save some of them. So Paul warns the Gentiles not to boast in their salvation since it is all a gift from God by grace. He says that any Jew who puts their faith in Jesus Christ will also be saved, or as Paul puts it, they will be grafted into the olive tree.

Israel is still God’s chosen one. However, at this point in time, the majority of Israelites have rejected Christ as their Savior, resulting in the gospel being spread to the Gentiles. But there will be a day in the future that God will show mercy to Israel because “they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” The Lord is going to keep His promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and as was written by Isaiah – “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” 

Paul exhorts the believers to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God… And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Therefore, they are not to view themselves more highly than others within the body of Christ. “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” And use them with love and good works toward one another.

Paul explains that God is the one in charge of placing people in positions of authority. “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves… Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake… Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

We end the reading with Paul telling the Romans not to judge one another. – “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand… For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

Tomorrow Paul concludes his letter to the Romans, and begins a second letter to the Corinthians. 

Keep reading.

(Romans 11:1-14:23)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/26:

Paul, still writing to the Romans, says that no suffering can compare to the future glory we will have in our new resurrected bodies, in the new heaven and earth. And although we will suffer for a short period of time here on earth, God uses everything for our good, including our suffering – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Paul states that if God is for us then nothing can be against us; not “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” For nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul grieves the fact that His people, the Jews, are not all saved. However, Paul says that God never said everyone would be saved. He illustrates this point by taking the Romans back to the Patriarch Era with Abraham. He says although Abraham had more than one child, the promise came through the chosen son, Isaac. “And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.’”

Paul explains that God is righteous and He can do whatever He desires with His creation. “For He says to Moses, ’I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’ Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.”

We are all sinners deserving of death. God shows His just wrath against our sin to highlight His abundant mercy and grace to us. In God’s mercy, He sent His son to die a death that we deserve so that Jews and Gentiles may be reconciled to God by grace through faith in Christ.

Paul says that Isaiah prophesied that not all the Israelites, but just a remnant, would be saved by faith. The ESV Study Bible explains the tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s freewill – “God’s sovereignty is compatible with human responsibility. Israel should have believed the gospel and trusted in Christ, but the majority refused to do so. Still, God’s saving promises will be fulfilled.” 

The stumbling block to the Israelites is their pursuit of righteousness through the law and not through faith. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Paul says, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved… For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

We end the reading with Paul teaching the importance of sharing the gospel message with others – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’”

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” And since faith comes by hearing, it is critical that we share the story of Christ with the world, fulfilling Jesus’ command to go and make disciples. The individual’s response to the message is upon them. However, nothing should stop our call to spread the Good News of Christ with the hope that some will hear, repent, and receive eternal salvation.

Keep reading.

(Romans 8:18-10:21)

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