Faith, Reviews

Bible Book Review: March – Romans

“You are where you’re supposed to be at this very moment.  Every experience is part of God’s Divine plan.”

Like previously stated in my January and February review, this blog post will be an overview of what I learned in the book of meditation for that previous month.  I will give main takeaways from each chapter in the book, my favorite verse from each chapter in the book, and an overall “conclusion” of what that book meant to me.  So here is my third “Bible book review” of 2018.  I decided to focus on Paul’s epistle of Romans, which is a very convicting letter to the Romans with strict guidelines for a faith that continuously prospers.

March’s book of focus is well-known, a good size, and filled with so much conviction that it makes it hard to put down. Romans is a 16 chapter book making it very easy to pace, considering you could read about 1 chapter every two days.  How I attacked the book of Romans was reading the same chapter, two days in a row.  It’s a  medium-sized book, but is very dense with a lot of wisdom, light and orders on right living.  So I wanted to make sure I did not miss or overlook anything.  For example, I would read chapter 1 on the 1st of March, take my notes, highlight key verses, etc. and then do the EXACT same thing the next day.  Focusing on Romans in this way helped me to see a theme, and kind of stick to it, because sometimes (depending on the day) I might overlook a theme(s) because that day something else really stood out.  Reading it twice helped me to see and understand everything.  When I went back to the same chapter the next day, I got something completely new out of the same text, which to me was awesome!

Romans is, and always will be, the book I lean towards when I am feeling unworthy, not enough, or when I feel like I am not building upon the promises/truths that God has already offered me.  I think that often in our culture, we fall into society’s trap of “earning your place” or “working your way up” and we think that we must work so hard in order to deserve a good outcome.  I know I am guilty of working my butt off and then wondering why God is not working in my favor?  When deep down I know that I am completely ignoring the promise He so freely has already provided,  and that I need to remember to fall back into the Word because this provides an easy guideline for a faith that in constantly building. And that is where Romans comes in.

This book is always a huge reminder that grace in unearned and not deserved but we are so lucky to be blessed with it.  It also is a wonderful reminder that if we allow God’s activity to move where we are or change our ideals on who we are, our depth in faith can change. I will read this book when I feel like I need a better understanding on the free gift of grace, how love triumphs over anything, and how acceptance is the key to relationships (with people or with God.)  I hope after reading this “review” you might begin to see why.

 

Chapter 1 – in Christ, we are committed to a new life.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 1 = 1:25  “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things, rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.”

The Lord calls you into His embrace simply by the life of Jesus Christ.  No, we are not worthy of this, but we all are freely given it by the Lord’s great love for us.  He only calls us to have faith, to follow His path, and to leave our earthly desires.  Remind yourself that with His salvation, you are reborn, and after that, it is merely a choice to live for Him.  Will you seek a new life through His Good News?

Chapter 2  – His judgment is righteous.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 2 = 2:1-4  “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

When you have anger against God, you are only storing up self-hate and self-condemnation.  In the Lord’s kindness of waiting, He really is holding back His own judgement, giving you time to fully repent, how blessed!  You cannot save yourself, therefore you need God, even if it feels like He isn’t present, because He has a reason for ALL things.  Therefore, live to be right with God through all seasons, He desires heartfelt obedience from you!  Your life should reflect Jesus if you are claiming to be a child of God.  Admit to God that you frequently fail Him to receive His grace for a new life.

Chapter 3  – His faithfulness is unending.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 3 = 3:22-24  “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

We are all helpless sinners, however, we are also pleasing God is we choose to follow Him.  Yet, you cannot be saved unless you make yourself right with God and admit that you have been wrong.  No one is righteous, but God is faithful, and He will lead you through sin if you decide to live in the faith of Jesus’ life; not what you think but what the Word of God says.  Accept His love, follow His word, and have faith that He will do it!

Chapter 4  – we are justified through our faith.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 4 = 4:25  “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

The Lord’s Law’s are important, and obeying His Word is crucial, but ONLY faith can draw you more near to Christ and His salvation.  We need only to accept and trust His love and His plan for us.  Therefore, all we can do is cast out worries and sins onto God’s grace, for it is done and over with, the price was already paid at the cross! All we can do is look to God, admit we need Him, trust He will do it, obey what He says, and wait for fulfillment.  Pass over the burdens, new life and hope are waiting for you!

Chapter 5  – being at peace with God = having hope for tomorrow

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 5 = 5:8  “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The Lord has already wiped clean all sin… past, present, or future, it was redeemed at the cross so that we could live at peace with God, and have hope that He will make us new.  Our relationship with God begins with faith in His redemption, and grows with our hope in His promises.  As we are becoming more and more like Jesus, we are also overcoming difficulties because we now have His mind.  He helps us turn from who we are, to who we were created to be.  Therefore, we trade judgment for forgiveness, and we trade sin for righteousness, and we trade earthly life for eternal life!

Chapter 6  – i am dead to sin and alive in Christ!

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 6 = 6:20-22 “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Although the Lord’s mercy is unending, we must not take it for granted.  We must strive to die everyday to our old self so temptation doesn’t phase us, and we must consciously choose to be a slave; but this time a slave to Christ, not to sin.  Learn to lean onto God’s grace for strength, He wants to guide you, protect you, and see you succeed in His name.  The Lord so freely loves us, and in return we must so freely hand our lives to Him.  We restrain from sin when we make a habit of Christ’s service and motives… are you willing to die to your old self?

Chapter 7  – saved through the cross, not through the Law.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 7 = 7:15-16  “ I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.”

We do not serve as Christian’s simply by obeying the Law, but by the renewing of our loving and kind hearts with the motive to do good always.  We should not be motivated to get God’s approval, but instead we should be actively seeking His will through loving others, doing good onto others in every circumstance, and living by the crosses freedom.  Yes, the knowledge of the law does keep us aware, but it does not save us.  Yes, we are grateful for it, but it does not get rid of temptation and earthly pleasures.  Therefore, we must press on, it is a lifelong race to be like Christ, and we can never stop evolving more.  So, do not be discouraged, but rather motivated that you can always become better and more like Him.

Chapter 8  – we are more than conquerors!

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 8 = 8:28-30  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love? Instead of live? live Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.”

If we are trying to please humanity, not the Lord, we will never see our plans come to life… God destined us, not society!  Therefore, everyday we must consciously choose spirit over flesh, and God over society.  He encourages us to come to Him for whatever we may need, but He also requires us to share in Jesus’ sufferings to receive His good!And that is why we must joyfully wait for the King to free us from the worlds bondage, and we must choose to become more and more like Him as we wait for the complete change of our mind and body through the Spirit!  Salvation is ongoing; past, present, and future, continually purifying us through the renewing of our heart and mind.  He will not withhold you from anything if you believe in the reasoning for Jesus’ death.  Therefore, we should feel secure, knowing that it is already done and there is nothing more we can do than believe we were called, and act as a conqueror in Christ.

Chapter 9  – His choices are sovereign, always.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 9 = 9:18 “Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.”  

God does not exclude His free gifts of love and salvation from anyone, rather he seeks people out based on their heart.  He chooses those who are willing, eager, excited, and determined, not just those who want forgiveness.  Does God exclude these other people? No.  However He rewards those who are seeking a relationship with Him before forgiveness with Him.  This is humility, which is all He asks of us.  His intention is for you to invite Him in; He doesn’t need you but you need Him.  Therefore, do everything you can to be open to anything He has for you, after all, you do not know what is best, only He does.  And you do not earn mercy, He gives it.  And you do not earn His love, it is already there.  Seek it! Seek Him!

Chapter 10  – why the Law cannot save you alone.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 10 = 10:10  “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Jesus is the most complete revelation of God, and apart from knowing Jesus Christ, we cannot know God.  Therefore, you will not be saved just by church, by prayer, or even by good deed if FAITH is not one of the components.  The Law was given as a wakeup call but Jesus’ life was given as a promise.  Believe it in your hearts and say it with your mouths, you must have faith in the mix of your good living to be saved.  He will meet you where you are at, so invite Him to where you are, knowing that the first and only step to being a follower of Jesus is to have faith in the Good News.

Chapter 11  – we cannot support ourselves alone.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 11 = 11:22-24  “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.  And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”

We are not supporting ourselves alone in this earthly life, God is.  Only we can rely on Him to be our foundation, or our trunk if you will, because He is more sturdy than we could ever be alone.  We are like the branches of the tree, we frequently break, it is to snap us, but we can always grow again with God being our firm foundation.  This is salvation at its finest.

Chapter 12  – staying humble in your service for Christ.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 12 = 12:14-16  “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

We are called as Christians to be set apart from the “norms” of society.  He has made it clear to us that daily we must fully offer ourselves to Him in order to be refreshed, renewed, and firmly planted in His values.  Yet, He reminds us that His values take a conscious effort each day.  It takes a conscious effort to stay humble, kind, generous, and loving, but Christ Jesus has demonstrated that it is possible.  Have effort and concentration in your interactions, it will lead to right feelings and relationships.  Offer love to all, you won’t always receive it back from earthly things, however, God will reward you with His love in return.

Chapter 13  – love overrules everything.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 13 = 13:8-10  “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

We are servants of Jesus, as Christians, which calls us to do good in all circumstances.  Because His love will always be infinitely greater than ours, we will always have the obligation to serve, to obey, and to carry out life in love to all surrounding us.  Permanently, we are in debt to Christ because of the cross, but we can fulfill this with love, honor, and respect towards all.  We must press on to imitate God’s love for us, and to exemplify Jesus qualities throughout our life on earth.  This will overrule any temptation, confusion, or condemnation ALWAYS.

Chapter 14  – we may be weak in faith, but we can be strong in His Promise.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 14 = 14:4  “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”

We all have some weak areas and some strong areas when it comes to our faith in Lord Jesus Christ.  That is why we must be cautious in our weak areas, standing strong in His Promise.  And in our strong areas, we can press on to serve Him, fully know Him, and spread His love and Good News.  We will face much tribulation and many differences in our journey of faith, but we accept every bump in the road with love and respect through the Spirit.  Learn to accept, listen, respect, and love all opinions and all people, as it can always be an opportunity to enrich your knowledge or spread the Good News!  Love leads to joy, peace, strength, and unity what is unity?, an ultimate goal of the body of Christ!

Chapter 15  – we have one mind and one voice.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 15 = 15:5-7 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,  so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

The more we know about God’s past the more we can trust and hope in His future for us.  We must get to know His Love, His Word, and His Promise fully so we can stand strong when evil is stronger.  If we learn to consciously spend time with Him and with other believers it is going to provide you with one mind and one voice (which is the Lord) that acts in good, thinks in love, and carries out in honor to the Trinity.  Therefore, pray not only for yourself but for others, and intercede as God did for you with Jesus, so that you may be on track with His path of life for you.

Chapter 16  – embody service and love.

Favorite Verse in Romans Chapter 16 = 16:20  “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

Unity, service, and love with a strong foundation of God’s Word will always triumph over every doubt, every bad thought, and every temptation.  Learn to constantly clothe yourself with not only the humility in Christ, but also the love for all that He has done.  This will allow you to properly spread that unconditional, reckless, and genuine love onto others and deepen your faith in the Gospel!

Book of Romans Conclusion: A love that is pure, genuine, meaningful, and grounded in the foundation of Jesus’ life, will always triumph.  Acting in a love that is so selfless, and servicing towards others will not only result in right feelings and right relationships with earthly things, but also with God.  Diligently make the effort to act as if the cross has a significant role in your life, which is should, and see the depths of your faith expand.  The only way to possibly know who God is and what He stands for is to act like Jesus, and invite Him into our lives to guide us.  We cannot earn this guidance, and we do not deserve it, but it is there waiting for us right now.  How much longer are you going to wait to activate your faith upon a Promise of unconditional love?

Remember, the Lord is your sole provider of love, truth, and acceptance.  He will always do you right if you consciously make yourself right before Him.  He wants to deepen your faith, expand your heart, and grow your love for serving others, so He can more properly serve you.  When you feel temptations weighing on you, and earthly pleasures ruling your mind, remind yourself that it is okay to take a step back, re-ground yourself in the firm foundation of the Lord’s grace, and to try again.  Everyday is a new day with the Lord at your side, and the cross in your heart.

With all that I am,

Nicole

 

 

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