Romans, Week 7, Part 1

The recent weeks have been so fully-packed that I haven’t been able to get this final post written to wrap-up our study of Romans chapter 8. But now that I am self-isolating, and many of the things that occupied my time are now cancelled, I figure it’s the perfect time to reflect on God being for me in the face of everything that is arrayed against me.

Paul asks in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things?” What are “these things” to which Paul seeks an answer? In broad terms they are everything that Paul has written in the letter to this point pertaining to what God has done for us in Christ. But more specifically he is pointing toward the immediate context of what he has just written—that before the creation of the world, God himself set his love upon us and predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ. To this end even now he is orchestrating all things to work together for our good, which ultimately is to bear Christ’s image perfectly. And then, in time, God called, justified, and glorified all those whom he so predestined (8:28-30). Continue reading “Romans, Week 7, Part 1”

Romans, Week 1

In this week’s class we faced a near impossible task—have a discussion through the main points of Romans chapters 1 through 4, and keep it within the 2-hour time frame for our class. We made it by the skin of our teeth. Whew! And now, similarly impossible, a blog post hitting the main points, without writing a book.

I think a fair summary, in brief, is that Paul has laid out as thoroughly as possible the sinner’s absolute inability to come to God on his own for salvation, and God’s gracious provision of Jesus Christ to save sinners. Continue reading “Romans, Week 1”

Week 12, Hosea Summary and Conclusion

How can I summarize this study of the book of Hosea? We spent 12 weeks mining the treasures of this book, and I still feel like there’s so much that we didn’t tap, so much still just out of reach.

We know that God is love. Last year we studied—deeply—the book of 1 John, in which we learned of the great love of God that moved him to give his one and only Son to save sinners and make them his children. If we study the ‘math’ of redemption long enough, at some point, it all adds up. We are sinners. Sinners cannot earn salvation. But, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). So Jesus came, lived a perfect life, paid for our sins by his death on the cross—the death we deserved—and all who believe in him by faith are forgiven their sins, clothed in his righteousness, and receive eternal life. This is the great and glorious truth of the gospel: the Great Exchange. When we grasp it, it makes sense, in a way. By God’s great love and mercy, sinners are saved.

But in Hosea we see the other side of the equation, and suddenly, our math is thrown all out of whack. Continue reading “Week 12, Hosea Summary and Conclusion”

Hosea Week 11: Final Appeal

Oh, sisters, how refreshing it is to come at last to the final chapter of our study. Not because it means that our time is drawing to a close, no, but because we see in chapter 14 of Hosea a model of true, mindful, heartfelt repentance and the Lord’s turning from his anger as a result. The outline of true repentance in the first 3 verses are instructive, and the promises of God to his repentant people are precious. These point forward to Christ, because of whom, ultimately, God’s anger is turned from his people, our apostasy is healed, and God therefore loves us freely and blesses us abundantly. Continue reading “Hosea Week 11: Final Appeal”