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Unbelievable Unbelief

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Christianity is the only religion in the world that claims that its leader is risen from the dead. Resurrection is a pillar on which true Christianity stands or falls. Old Testament prophets have predicted the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Ps. 16:8-11; Ps. 22; Is. 25:8; Is. 53:10) and New Testament records the fulfillment of those prophesies. With all the evidence and the testimonies of the eyewitnesses, many deny the resurrection of Christ. But if one is skeptical about the resurrection of Jesus, it is not for the lack of evidence. There are some…

The Most Quoted Psalm

Psalm 118 is famous for a single word. That word is הושענה or 'hosanna!' (118:25) translated, 'save now!' This is the phrase the great multitude shouted when Jesus entered Jerusalem at the beginning of Passion Week, at His triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before the Passover that year and the Sunday before His Crucifixion on Good Friday. All 4 Gospel writers record this event and quote this psalm (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9; Luke 19:38; John 12:13). However, this psalm contains other famous phrases. Another is 118:22: "The Stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone" which…

Reviving a Dead Nation

Ezekiel is famous for his arresting prophetic visions and proclamations. These include: God's chariot (1:4-28); the Siege of Jerusalem (4:4-17); Jewish Idolatry (8:5-18); the slaughter of the idolaters (9:3-11); the departure of the Shekinah Glory (11:22-25); the Eagle and the Branches (17:1-24); the Wicked Sisters (23:1-49); the death of Ezekiel's wife (24:15-27); the fall of satan (28:11-19); the Watchman (33:1-20); the New Covenant (36:22-32); Gog & Magog (38:1-39:20) and the Millennial Temple (40:1-48:35). The most famous is The Valley of the Dry Bones (37:1-28), which prophecies the revival of the nation Israel. This Vision provides profound encouragement. The Major Prophets,…

Down to the Practical

 Chapter 12 begins a new section in the Book of Romans. Coming down from the doctrinal heights of Romans Chapter 11, Chapter 12 offers an entirely new landscape. Chapter 12 begins the so-called ‘practical’ section of Romans, extending to the end of the book. In this section, Paul deals more with Christian conduct than Christian doctrine. Characteristic of this section are imperatives, or commands, to believers. For instance, there are as many commands to believers in Romans Chapter 12 (9 imperatives) as there are commands to believers in all the first 11 chapters. Now that Paul has taken the church…

A Panoramic View

The end of Romans Chapter 11 is one of the great heights of Scripture. Frederic Louis Godet likened it to "a traveler who has reached the summit of an Alpine descent." The great journey up the mountain included an exhaustive explication and defense of human depravity, justification by faith, sanctification, the security of salvation, election, the calling of the Gentiles and the present rejection and final restoration of the nation Israel. Like every great Scriptural ascent, the very peak is the matchless, perfect character of God. Paul's final word at the top of this great height is a glorification of…

At the Peak

 Famous men of God have likened the end of Romans 11 to arriving at a vast, mountain peak. Frederic Louis Godet wrote (1880): “Like a traveler who has reached the summit of an Alpine descent, the apostle turns and contemplates.” Charles Hodge said (1837): “The apostle, having presented clearly the doctrine of justification, sanctification, the certainty of salvation to all believers, election, the calling of the Gentiles, the present rejection and final restoration of the Jews, in view of all the wonders and all the glories of the divine dealings with men, pours forth this sublime and affecting tribute to…

Called and Clothed in Christ

As Jesus approached the Cross, He told parables of His coming rejection. Parables illustrate truths. They teach by comparison rather than by logical derivation and doctrinal proposition. Jesus used them to point out truths subtly so as not to provoke the antagonism that might result from direct accusation or pointed statements. As Jesus neared the time of His crucifixion, He told a series of public parables. They all contained these truths. First: the Jews would violently reject Christ; second, as a result, the Gospel would go to the Gentiles; third, many Jews would suffer eternal judgment for this rejection; and…

Shut Up in Sin - Shown Mercy

  Paul is in awe as he approaches God’s incomprehensibility. As Paul reaches the end of chapter 11, he is speechless. He stammers, “Oh, the depth!” “How unsearchable!” “How unfathomable!” Truly, God’s gracious and mighty workings are beyond man’s ability to comprehend. Paul is astounded that God is able to utilize man’s sinful propensities of disobedience (11:30-31) and jealousy (11:11, 14) to display His love and mercy (11:28-32). Some have noted: “the wonder of God is that He does not have to perform a miracle to accomplish His purposes.” True. God could wave His hand and make all of His…

The Redeemer & the Covenant

Paul’s purpose in all of his writings is doxological. Doxological is something that gives all praise and glory to God. As Paul approaches the end of Chapter 11, he rises to the second of two massive, doxological mountaintops in Romans. The first was the conclusion of Chapter 8 where Paul wrote: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels . . . nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us [believers] from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our LORD” (Romans 8:38-39). That peak related to individual salvation, and how God…

Parables of Punishment

Jewish teaching consisted of many parables. The Greeks liked to teach with logic and equations; the Jews preferred analogies and illustrations. Parables were illustrated comparisons. Teachers would use the pictorial aspect to impress the memory; they would use the familiarity of the illustration to enhance application. Jesus, and Paul after Him, was a Master of parables. The great ‘parable’ chapter is Matthew 13, which contains 7 famous parables: The Sower; The Wheat & Tares; The Mustard Seed; The Yeast; The Hidden Treasure; The Pearl of Great Price and The Dragnet. However, Jesus used parables on many other occasions. As Jesus…

Paul's Prophecy

 Paul concludes his teaching regarding God’s future restoration of the nation Israel with a personal biblical prophecy. Many associate biblical prophecy solely with future predictions, and mainly with the Old Testament prophets. However, biblical prophecy is much broader: it occurs with other than future events and occurs in the New Testament. God provided biblical prophecy when the Scriptures were not yet complete. For instance, our Bible, complete with its 66 books, is sufficient to address the believer’s every need (2 Timothy 3:16-17). However, before this completion, God’s prophets provided the information which the Bible, still in process, lacked. These prophets,…

Worth A Thousand Words . . .

 Paul is reaching the height of his argument regarding the blessed future of the nation Israel. Paul has spent the last 9 verses (vv. 16-24) painting the picture of the Olive Tree, a depiction of the saved from all ages partaking of the Gospel of grace and bearing the fruit of righteousness for the glory of God. Paul now has a few words of application from this glorious picture. Paul emphasizes the importance of correct knowledge regarding the Jewish nation. Ignorance is dangerous, especially when it comes to the things of God. Paul addresses all the brethren, telling them that…