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Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Gospel of God's Grace # 54

A Study of the Epistle to the Romans

Series of Contrasts

Something that enters more deeply into the chapter is a series of contrasts.

The first contrast occurs in the second verse: "the law of the Spirit of Life" over against "the law of sin and death" (vv. 1-4). "In the flesh" and "in the Spirit" (vv. 5-13) are two further contrasts. Next is "the spirit of bondage" and "the spirit of adoption" (vv. 14-17). "Present sufferings" and "future glory" are set against one another (vv. 18-25).

What we do not know and what we do know (vv. 26-30) are a further contrast. We do not know "how to pray as we ought," but we do know that "all things work together for  good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."

God for us; no one against us (31-39).

But there is still another viewpoint for an outline, and that is to take the key statement: "No condemnation." View the chapter as setting forth the theme "in Christ Jesus," and then we might say that in Christ Jesus:

1. There is no condemnation.
2. There is no defeat.
3. There is no fear.
4. There is no despair.
5. There is no calamity.
6. There is no adversary.
7. There is no separation.

There is no condemnation. Why? Because Christ died for us!

There is no defeat. Why? Because the Spirit of God indwells!

There i no fear. Why? Because God has become a Father to us!

There is no despair. Why? Because we know that our very sufferings reap the glory! How could there be despair?

There is no calamity. Why? There is no calamity that can overtake us in Christ, because, "We know that all things work together for good."

There is no adversary. Why? Because God is for us! Nobody can be against us!

Last, there is no separation in Christ. Why? Because God, in Christ, has set His love upon us!

New Things

There is a phrase that occurs twice in the first section: "in Christ Jesus." Our new position is in Christ Jesus so we will call the first section "our new position."

Our new life. "For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life" (v. 6). Look at verse 10: "If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness." The idea of life runs all through this section, so it shall be called "our new life" - the Spirit of God (vv. 6-13).

Our new relation. Verse 14 says that we are sons of God. "The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God" (v. 16). There, then, we have "our new relation" (vv. 14-17).

Our new hope. Verse 19 speaks of "the earnest expectation." The last word of verse 20 is "hope." That is almost like expectation in thought. Hope is what you look for. "In hope we were saved" (v. 24). All through this section appears the idea of hope. So verses 18-25 may be entitled "our new hope" - "the hope of glory."

Our new help. Beginning at verse 26: "And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth." Let us call this section "our new help" (26-27).

Our new knowledge. "And we know" (v. 28). We know something. We are going to call this "our new knowledge" (vv. 28-30).

Our new assurance. "What shall we say to these things?" (v. 31). Read also verse 38. We have our new assurance (vv. 31-39).

Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians, "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17). "In Christ Jesus" everything is new. We have a new position, a new life, a new relation, a new hope, a new help, a new knowledge, and a new assurance.

New Things

Our New Position

Let us consider our new position as set forth in verses 1 to 4: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." Be sure to put a period at this point, if one is not there in your Bible. The remainder of that verse does not belong to the original. You may ask, "How did it get in?" Look at the end of verse 4: "Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." It is the same phrase. Back in the early church, scribes copied the Scriptures by hand, it must be remembered that scribes were subject to error. Perhaps a scribe read the verse as it was in the original and thought to himself, "If I leave it that way, folks are apt t take it that way and live in sin. I must protect God a little bit." And so he may have added that phrase in the margin; and then another scribe concluded that it had been accidentally omitted and placed it in the text. On the other hand, the scribe may have had a wandering eye, and accidentally picked up and repeated the clause in verse 4. Nevertheless, since that time archaeologists have found many older manuscripts and not one has that clause in it. It is essential that this clause be excluded, for it is not a part of the Word of God. What God has intended to do in this chapter is to give an assurance, and He point us to Christ Jesus. The moment we look at that last phrase we look inward, and the moment we look inward we lose assurance. The only thing that s necessary is that we be in Christ Jesus. If we are in Him we can then say, without the slightest feeling of presumption, "There is therefore now no condemnation."

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 55)

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