Tuesday, October 23

Romans 8:18-30

FROM GROANS TO GLORY
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly, but because of him who subjected it — in the hope 21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. 23 Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits — we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 25 Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

Summary:

What we see in this portion of Romans 8 is that all of Creation waits and anticipates the coming glory that will be experienced when all things are fully united with God. Our hope in Christ for the future is the main source of our daily joy. Our hearts and minds should be stirred to excitement when we think of the glory and perfection we’ll experience when united with Christ. Here, life can be hard and we grow tired. But when we’re finally with Christ we’ll experience true rest for the first time ever. When we are united in glory we will enjoy full and final victory, temptation will end forever, and joy will be the constant emotional state we live in. Paul’s excitement for eternity motivated his daily joy and he’s encouraging the church in Rome, and us, to share in that excitement.

Reflection:

Today, really think about how amazing it will be to one day experience no sense of struggle or suffering. That is the reality that you as a Christian will live in for eternity.

But don’t just dream of the future and forget the present. Let the promise of future glory and perfection be the driving force behind your daily efforts to follow Jesus now.

Prayer:

Father, give me a true picture of what eternity will look like. Fill me with anticipation and excitement for the future that motivates me to worship you in the present.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Monday, October 22

Romans 8:1-17

THE LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,
2 because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 What the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. 6 Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S MINISTRIES
12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13 because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “'Abba', Father! ” 16 The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs — heirs of God and coheirs with Christ — if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Summary:

The opening statement of this passage of scripture is declarative and powerful. Let’s not forget that Paul is declaring this freedom immediately after declaring his weakness and desperation that we read about in Romans 7. For all the confusion and conflict that exists in our life due to our weakness and the brokenness of the world, there is also confidence and peace and comes IN CHRIST. This simple but victorious statement comes to those who are in Christ Jesus. Since God the Father does not condemn Jesus, God will not condemn those that are in Jesus. So if you are in Christ and Christ in you, you are not condemned, you will not be condemned, you cannot be condemned.

Reflection:

Brett Moore once made the statement, “Romans 8:1 isn’t telling us that God just stopped condemning those who are found in Christ. It’s telling us that there’s actually no condemnation left.” Today, believe that there is truly no condemnation waiting for you.

Prayer:

Father, give me the peace and confidence that only your salvation can bring. Help me navigate my brokenness and the brokenness in the world through the confidence of knowing there is no condemnation left for me to endure.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Friday, October 19

Romans 7:14-25

THE PROBLEM OF SIN IN US
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold as a slave to sin. 15 For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me. 21 So I discover this law: When I want to do what is good, evil is present with me. 22 For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, 23 but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am serving the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin.

Summary:

The end of Romans 7 reveals the tension that we as imperfect believers constantly live in. C.S. Lewis explained this tension well when he said, “No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good.” Paul knows that he “of the flesh”, That is proof that Paul is wise and his spirit is alive. He’s aware of his sinful tendencies and he’s not okay with it, he’s angry about it. He goes on to explain his frustration with the fact that he’s

consistently doing the things he resolves not to do. And he’s constantly coming up short in the areas he’s decided to do better. I don’t know about you but that sounds extremely familiar to the thoughts and feelings I experience about myself every day. Paul’s issue here isn’t a lack of desire, we can tell he wants to do what is right. We know the issue isn’t knowledge, Paul knows the difference between right and wrong. Paul’s problem is a lack of power. The law says: “Here are the rules and you had better keep them.” But it gives us no power for keeping the law.

The whole tone of this passage shows that Paul is desperate for help. He is overwhelmed with a sense of his own powerlessness and sinfulness. We must come to the same place of desperation to find victory.

Reflection:

Similar to Paul, our desire has to go beyond a hope to just do better. You have to become desperate for God to change you and no longer depend on changing yourself. Remember that Jesus works through you and with you. You don’t need to get more educated. You don’t need to get more motivated. You don’t need to better diagnose the issue. You don’t need a teacher, a coach, or a doctor. You need a Savior, and you have one. Live from victory today. Acknowledge the struggle and thank God for the victory he’s already given you over that struggle!

Prayer:

God help me understand that the awareness I have of my sin is actually a really good thing because it means your spirit is alive inside of me. Give me the grace to see every fight in my life from the place of victory that you have already given me.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Thursday, October 18

Romans 7:1-13

AN ILLUSTRATION FROM MARRIAGE
Since I am speaking to those who know the law, brothers and sisters, don’t you know that the law rules over someone as long as he lives?
2 For example, a married woman is legally bound to her husband while he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law regarding the husband. 3 So then, if she is married to another man while her husband is living, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law. Then, if she is married to another man, she is not an adulteress.

4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belong to another. You belong to him who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions aroused through the law were working in us to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law.

SIN’S USE OF THE LAW
7 What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet. 8 And sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind. For apart from the law sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life again 10 and I died. The commandment that was meant for life resulted in death for me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. 13 Therefore, did what is good become death to me? Absolutely not! On the contrary, sin, in order to be recognized as sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment, sin might become sinful beyond measure.

Summary:

Verse 6 summarizes the theme of this passage really well. Because we died when Christ when died on the cross, we are dead to the law and delivered from the control it had over us. This means that the law is no longer the thing that justifies us (makes us in right standing with God) or the thing that sanctifies us (makes us more holy, like Jesus). This is the case SO THAT “we may serve in the newness of the Spirit.” We have been set free from the law, not so that we can stop serving, but so that we can serve better in the midst of a better covenant and a better power. We now serve out devotion to Christ, not out of devotion to the law. The law no longer condemns us. It now serves to reveal the weakness in our lives so that we can continually see our need for Christ’s power.

Reflection:

Are there ways you’re allowing the law to condemn you rather than to point you to Jesus? The gospel leads to change, not to guilt. You have died with Christ and your guilt died with him. Now, just as Christ was raised you’re raised to new life. Better life. A life intended to serve Christ out of passion not out of guilt.

Prayer:

God give me a desire to see your law as something that points me towards holiness. Give me the grace and power I need in order to be more like Jesus.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Wednesday, October 17

Romans 6:15-23

15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Absolutely not! 16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey — either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over, 18 and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. 19 I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness. 21 So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. 22 But now, since you have been set free from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification — and the outcome is eternal life! 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Summary:

Paul is continuing to press into the idea of living free from sin and it’s effects. He’s already been clear that living in habitual sin isn’t compatible in the life of someone who’s been changed by grace. Now he’s reiterating that, even though we’re still broken, we don’t even have to dabble in sin. One of the powerful word’s Paul uses to describe our relationship to sin is “slaves.” One definition of a slave is, "One who serves his master to the disregard of his own interests.” Before Jesus, we were slaves to the sin to such an extreme point that we would obey the sinful desires inside of us with no regard for how it was hurting us. Paul then highlights that as Christians we are now “slaves to righteousness.” If we obeyed sin when we were enslaved to it, that means that we now obey God and His righteousness. This idea of being a “slave to God” is the beautiful tension of the gospel that we live in. Being a slave to God doesn’t mean being in bondage the same way we were when we were slaves to sin. Being a slave to God is the same as being a slave, or bound, to freedom!

Reflection:

Because we are now bound to God, His grace, and His standards we are intended to live free from the lesser things that the world has to offer us. What lesser things of the world are you living for when you should be living for the abundant things God has to offer you? Remember, no matter how tempting it looks the world can only offer you pain and hurt. God’s offer is for you to be bound to freedom and bound to eternal life.

Prayer:

God, set me free from any and every sin that binds me and instead bind me to your freedom and righteousness!

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Tuesday, October 16

Romans 6:1-14

THE NEW LIFE IN CHRIST
What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply?
2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him. 10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace.

Summary:

When Paul addresses that where our sin runs deep, God’s grace runs deeper he’s very quick to clarify that this does not mean we now have a license to sin. In our culture, we can be timid in talking about grace out of fear that people may hear us say “because of grace, you’re free to do as you’d like.” Scripture doesn’t share that fear and Paul boldly declares that GRACE REIGNS. The reason for that confidence is because when grace really reigns, it doesn’t tolerate sin. Grace doesn’t accommodate sin, it destroys it, it has victory over it.

Grace is no friend to sin; it is its worst enemy. Thomas Benton Brooks wrote, “As heat is opposed to cold, and light to darkness, so grace is opposed to sin. Fire and water may as well agree in the same vessel as grace and sin in the same heart.”

Reflection:

The type of sin Paul is referring to when he says, “shall we continue in sin?” Is the habitual type. He’s referring to an intentional pursuit of a sinful lifestyle. We know that we’re always in need of Jesus because sin dwells in and around us all the time. Because of that, Paul isn’t suggesting sinless perfection. If that were possible Jesus wouldn’t have been necessary. Instead, Paul is challenging a mentality that is willing to pursue consistent, habitual sin because “there’s grace for it.”

So the question to reflect is this: Are there areas in your life where you’re pursuing flesh and presuming upon grace?

Prayer:

Father, give me the wisdom to see the places that I seek to satisfy my flesh. Give me humility to repent of those places. Give me strength to live in victory over those places.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Monday, October 15

Romans 5:12-21

DEATH THROUGH ADAM AND LIFE THROUGH CHRIST
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned. 13 In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression. He is a type of the Coming One.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift which comes through the grace of the one man Jesus Christ overflowed to the many. 16 And the gift is not like the one man’s sin, because from one sin came the judgment, resulting in condemnation, but from many trespasses came the gift, resulting in justification. 17 Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18 So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is justification leading to life for everyone. 19 For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Summary:

Though it might sound complicated, what Paul is saying in these verses is actually pretty simple. By one man’s disobedience mankind is made sinful. By one Man’s obedience mankind is made righteous. We were made sinners when Adam chose to turn away from God’s commands. Of course, it’s important to recognize that we’ve done a pretty good job turning away from God on our own as well. This principle of becoming sinful because of one man should lead us to realize that we can also be made righteous by the work of one man, Jesus.

Reflection:

Imagine committing a crime, getting caught, and then standing before the judge for sentencing. At that moment you have a friend come in and say “Your honor, I want to serve his prison time. I will stand in his place and take the punishment for him.” A judge isn’t going to allow someone else to pay the penalty for your crimes, that would be nonsense. Right?

Nevertheless, where our sin exists grace overcomes it! If Jesus had not come, we should expect that where our sin multiplied, god’s judgement would also multiply. Because of

Jesus, the judgment is taken care of and what we can now expect that where there is sin there is always more grace!

Prayer:

God, help me live in the freedom of knowing that, because of Jesus, I can stand before you innocent and guiltless. Grace reigns in my life, help me celebrate that today.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Friday, October 12

Romans 5:1-11

FAITH TRIUMPHS
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

THOSE DECLARED RIGHTEOUS ARE RECONCILED
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will someone die for a just person — though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 How much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.

Summary:

“In the whole Bible, there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text.” - Martin Luther

Romans 5 shows us that it’s possible to live in victory and peace! Our hope is connected to the final and permanent nature of our Justification. His grace over us are never- ending and can’t be voided. Because of this, we have PEACE. There is no more room or need for anxious feAR that we will be dealt with according to our evil nature. We now live with the nature of Jesus, perfectly secure and perfectly pure.

This grace we now stand in means that we see struggles in our lives differently. Instead of seeing struggles as defeat we see them as opportunities to grow. We now have the strength of Christ to endure through all hardships. Relying on that strength to endure is one of the primary ways we mature in life. Don’t run from struggles and don’t shy away from difficult things. Those difficult things are often what God will use to grow you, and He’s given you everything you need to run towards those hard things!

Reflection:

What things in your life do you need to ask God for strength to see differently and endure through? God has a plan to grow you, mature you, and prepare you to serve Him better. Ask for His power and peace, it’s available to you in every circumstance!

Prayer:

Father, help me see the difficult things in my life as opportunities to trust you and lean into your power! Give me the boldness and bravery to run towards the difficult things, not away from them.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Thursday, October 11

Romans 4:16-25

16 This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations. He is our father in God’s sight, in whom Abraham believed — the God who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. 18 He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be. 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 because he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also able to do. 22 Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Summary:

All God’s promises rest in His power, not your ability to believe them. There was so much about Abraham’s life that human circumstance and mentality would have called impossible. What we can see here is that our Faith must have 3 things.

An Object - God
Obstacles - Sin, Flesh, Human Weakness
A Clear Objective - The Glorification of God

In Faith, you weigh the impossibility of your circumstances against the impossibility of God breaking His promise. No promise ever has been or ever will be too large for God to keep.

Reflection:

Verse 20 says “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in the faith as he gave glory to God.” Unbelief is going to happen, doubt is going to enter your mind and heart. When unbelief comes knocking today, fight it with Faith. Fight your unbelief with the reality that there’s nothing God cannot do and God will always come through.

Prayer:

Father, help me rest today. Help me rest in your promises, your grace, and your truth. Allow me to see that you are fully in control of everything in my life, no matter how hard my current circumstances might be.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Wednesday, October 10

Romans 4:1-15

ABRAHAM JUSTIFIED BY FAITH
What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about — but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness. 4 Now to the one who works, pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.

DAVID CELEBRATING THE SAME TRUTH
6 Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“7 Blessed are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the person the Lord will never charge with sin.”

ABRAHAM JUSTIFIED BEFORE CIRCUMCISION
9 Is this blessing only for the circumcised, then? Or is it also for the uncircumcised? For we say, Faith was credited to Abraham for righteousness. 10 In what way then was it credited — while he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? It was not while he was circumcised, but uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while still uncircumcised. This was to make him the father of all who believe but are not circumcised, so that righteousness may be credited to them also. 12 And he became the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised.

THE PROMISE GRANTED THROUGH FAITH
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made empty and the promise nullified, 15 because the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression.

Summary:

Romans 4 paints one of the clearest pictures of the difference between works and grace. The idea of grace is directly opposite to the principle of working for salvation. Grace is something that is freely given as a gift, while works have to do with earning what you receive from God. One of the real problems with a works-based mentality is that It puts God in debt to us, it makes us believe that God owes us something because of our good

behavior. In a works-based mentality we dangerously begin to think that God owes us salvation because of how well we’ve been behaving. We should be really grateful that isn’t the case. If we’re really honest, how long can we actually keep our “good behavior” up? I’m so thankful God doesn’t deal with us based on what we actually deserve. Instead, He deals with us based on unmerited, unwarranted, and undeserved grace!

Reflection:

Paul doesn’t suggest just sitting back doing nothing. He does suggest that we do the work of believing - we must do the work of surrendering to God and putting our faith in Him. Today, how can you put your faith completely in the finished work of Christ?

Prayer:

God, help me celebrate the grace you’ve given me by giving me opportunities to talk to others about how you’ve saved me and changed me.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Tuesday, October 9

Romans 3:21-31

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD THROUGH FAITH
21 But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets. 22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as an atoning sacrifice in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.

BOASTING EXCLUDED
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith. 28 For we conclude that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then nullify the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Summary:

Here Paul helps us recognize is that the entire universe is guilty before God. This is clear when he tells us that not one person is righteous and that all have sinned and all fall short. Thankfully, Paul doesn’t just share the bad news. He makes it clear that the law cannot save us it can only make us realize our need for saving. The law helps us recognize the evil inside and around us, but it’s always intended to point us to Jesus and His grace. The righteousness that CAN save us is apart from the law The law cannot save us, but God reveals a righteousness that will, apart from the law. This is the beauty of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is a salvation that is offered apart from the law, apart from our own earning and deserving, apart from our own merits. This is great news!

Reflection:

Are there ways you’re believing that salvation can be earned by your actions? Be free from the pressure of feeling the need to earn your way into salvation today! Recognize the bad news and then celebrate the fact that the good news (Jesus) has come.

Prayer:

God help me live in the joy of my salvation today. Let the fact that I have all the grace I need enable me to be a positive influence on those around!

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Monday, October 8

Romans 3:1-20


PAUL ANSWERS AN OBJECTION
So what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?
2 Considerable in every way. First, they were entrusted with the very words of God. 3 What then? If some were unfaithful, will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Absolutely not! Let God be true, even though everyone is a liar, as it is written:

“That you may be justified in your words and triumph when you judge.”

5 But if our unrighteousness highlights God’s righteousness, what are we to say? I am using a human argument: Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath? 6 Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world? 7 But if by my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, just as some people slanderously claim we say, “Let us do what is evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved!

THE WHOLE WORLD GUILTY BEFORE GOD
9 What then? Are we any better off? Not at all! For we have already charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, 10 as it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one. 11 There is no one who understands there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one. 13 Their throat is an open grave; they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips. 14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths, 17 and the path of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment. 20 For no one will be justified in his sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.

Summary:

There are a few important things to recognize in this passage of scripture. Paul points out the fact that many Jewish people had rejected the gospel. This, however, did not mean that God’s faithfulness to them was in vain. It did not mean that God’s work was no longer legitimate. If everyone in your life rejected the truth of God and his promises it would make what God says no less true. In the midst of unbelief, go on believing. God will always prove Himself to be faithful. No matter how many people refuse to believe, The gospel will never fail to be powerful and true.

Reflection:

Do you allow other’s unbelief and doubt affect the stability of your faith? God has never been proven wrong. God has never failed and He won’t start now. Let his faithfulness give you confidence and peace!

Prayer:

Father, help me believe that If you say one thing, and everyone else in the world says another, what you say is true, and everything else is false. Help me to believe your truth even if nobody else does.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Friday, October 5

Romans 2:17-29

JEWISH VIOLATION OF THE LAW
17 Now if you call yourself a Jew, and rely on the law, and boast in God, 18 and know his will, and approve the things that are superior, being instructed from the law, 19 and if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light to those in darkness, 20 an instructor of the ignorant, a teacher of the immature, having the embodiment of knowledge and truth in the law — 21 you then, who teach another, don’t you teach yourself? You who preach, “You must not steal” — do you steal? 22 You who say, “You must not commit adultery” — do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob their temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 For, as it is written: The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.

CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART
25 Circumcision benefits you if you observe the law, but if you are a lawbreaker, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if an uncircumcised man keeps the law’s requirements, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 A man who is physically uncircumcised, but who keeps the law, will judge you who are a lawbreaker in spite of having the letter of the law and circumcision. 28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. 29 On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart — by the Spirit, not the letter. That person’s praise is not from people but from God.

Summary:

We have been called to be messengers of the gospel of Christ. As messengers we need to realize that we never rise above the need for grace. As we challenge others to live consistently to the Bible’s commands we must realize that we don’t ever move past needing forgiveness for the ways we fall short. God is not deceived by our delusional renaming of personal sins. We cheat, lie, steal, murder, and commit adultery with the “worst of them.” This truth isn’t intended to keep us feeling defeated it’s intended to keep us looking to Christ for power and grace. God is who calls us to be messengers of His word and His daily mercy is what keeps us qualified for that work. Allow God to heal you on the inside and growth will continue to happen on the outside!

Reflection:

Ask God to make you very aware of your need for grace and forgiveness, and then realize that all the grace you need is available to you right now! Regardless of how your life looks on the outside, you haven’t even begun to deplete the well of God’s grace for you.

Prayer:

Father, forgive me for all the way that I fall short. Help me know that although sin runs deep inside of me, your grace runs deeper and purifies me completely.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Thursday, October 4

Romans 2:1-16

GOD’S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT
Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.
2 We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. 3 Do you really think — anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same — that you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? 5 Because of your hardened and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. 6 He will repay each one according to his works: 7 eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but wrath and anger to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth while obeying unrighteousness. 9 There will be affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no favoritism with God.

12 All who sin without the law will also perish without the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified. 14 So, when Gentiles, who do not by nature have the law, do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts either accuse or even excuse them 16 on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.

Summary:

An important thing to understand from these scriptures is that not one of us is in a position to judge another. The kind of person who does this is like the Pharisee that Jesus describes in Luke chapter 18.

“The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people — greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.”

The Pharisee was focused on his accomplishments, earning his righteousness with good behavior, and comparing himself to others.

Another thing to recognize is that God’s wrath is real and the only way to avoid suffering the consequences of our sin is to repent. This is good news. This means that it isn’t up to our accomplishments or good behavior, but is instead up to our surrender. The only thing that can save us from the wrath of God is repentance and turning to

Christ. The bad news is that God must punish sin. Distress and affliction is what we all deserve. Then Jesus enters the pictures and takes that punishment upon himself. The bad news is really bad, but that makes the good news even more exciting.

Reflection:

Do you often believe that God changes his mind about how he feels about you based on your behavior? Maybe today you need to repent of self-righteousness and stop striving to earn your salvation. Or maybe today you need to repent of the sin you continue to chase. Either way the response is the same, praise and thank God that He has taken the punishment for your sin upon himself. No more affliction, no more distress! Live in the joy that the bad news is no longer news, but is history.

Prayer:

Father open my eyes to see that I am not above or better than anyone else around me. Help me understand that I need just as much grace and forgiveness as those who I see as worse than me. Help me repent and continue to turn from sin. Help me rejoice in your gospel.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Wednesday, October 3

Romans 1:26-32

FROM IDOLATRY TO DEPRAVITY
26 For this reason God delivered them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 The men in the same way also left natural relations with women and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.

28 And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. 29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. 32 Although they know God’s just sentence — that those who practice such things deserve to die — they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them

Summary:

Taking our focus and worship off of God is oftentimes the beginning point for many of the behaviors that we struggle with. These scriptures list quite a few behaviors that directly conflict with a lifestyle of Righteousness. The important thing to recognize is that Paul doesn’t point out that righteousness begins with the absence of bad behavior, It begins with understanding who God is and worshipping Him instead of those behaviors. Focus set on the Creator is the starting point for change.

Reflection:

In what areas of your life do you need to believe that Jesus is better than the sin that entangles you?

Prayer:

Father help me set my eyes on you and not the struggles I face. Help me understand that it is your power that leads to freedom and change. Help me be led to change by passion and love for you.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Tuesday, October 2

Romans 1:18-25

THE GUILT OF THE GENTILE WORLD
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

24 Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

Summary:

What we’re reading here is that people in Rome were doing the same exact things that people in our culture are doing thousands of years later. We’re constantly exchanging the truth of who God is, who he says we are, and what he says about the world for lies that are constantly influencing us. Ultimately what Paul is pointing to is the issue of idolatry. In Rome, they were quite literally fashioning idols and worshipping them, but just because our idols aren’t statues doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It doesn’t even mean they aren’t physical. For many, if not most of us, our idols are other people. If they aren’t other people, they are other things that God Himself created. Here Paul is challenging us to place God in His proper position in our lives. That position should be above all things He created. We, as his creation, so often look to other created things for fulfillment. Paul is suggesting here that the answer look to the creator rather than the created. When you look to the creator, you get freed up to enjoy the created things in the ways they were actual intended. Not in the broken ways we so often do.

Reflection:

What created things are you unfairly looking to for fulfillment? How can God be more properly put in the position of First, Lord, and Master?

Prayer:

Father help me see that you are kind and that everything good in life is a gift from You. Help me stop making created things the object of my worship and instead worship the Creator of all things.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Monday, October 1

Romans 1:1-17

THE GOSPEL OF GOD FOR ROME
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures — 3 concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh 4 and was appointed to be the powerful Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection of the dead. 5 Through him we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the Gentiles, 6 including you who are also called by Jesus Christ.

7 To all who are in Rome, loved by God, called as saints.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

PAUL’S DESIRE TO VISIT ROME
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world. 9 God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in telling the good news about his Son — that I constantly mention you, 10 always asking in my prayers that if it is somehow in God’s will, I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I want very much to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, 12 that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

13 Now I don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now ) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as I have had among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE BY FAITH
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

Summary:

Paul opens up his letter to the church in Rome with a very clear message about who he is and whom he serves. These opening verses point straight to Christ as the one who offers grace and the one who makes us his apostles. Christ offers us that grace so that would be obedient to live for his sake among all people. The dictionary defines an “apostle” as, “A vigorous and pioneering advocate or supporter of a particular policy, idea, or cause.” Paul wasn’t ashamed to be an pioneer for the gospel and he encourages us to share that conviction with him.

Reflection:

In what areas of your life can you become more of an advocate and supporter of the gospel message? Let grace empower you to step into those areas.

Prayer:

Father, make me passionate about sharing my faith and give me opportunities to tell someone about Christ today.

 

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Jamison PriceComment
Friday, September 28

Reflection and Application

This has been a long, slow journey through the book of 1 John. Think back on it. What has stuck out most?

Also, expect that Monday’s readings may be a little more Scripture with a little different focus. As you wrap up this journey through 1 John, consider these questions:

What has God taught you?

Has He answered your prayer? Have you seen victory in the area of your one goal?

If the answer is yes, how has this strengthened your desire to keep following Him and replacing fear with faith? If no, how can you keep going in pursuit of Him?

 

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Ben ShounComment
Thursday, September 27

1 John 5:13-21

13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

14 This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.

16 If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him—to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death.

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true one. We are in the true one—that is, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

Summary:

If you feel ashamed, be absolutely certain you have placed your faith in Jesus’s death on the cross as the full payment for your sin. You can know that you have eternal life. If you do know that, remember that you will struggle with sin. There is relentless pursuit necessary to keep your eyes on Him. 

Prayer:

Take time to pray today that He will show you whether you have real eternal life. If not, ask Him for it. If so, thank Him that He has given it. Imagine where you’d be without His grace! 

Reflection:

Do you have confidence toward God or do you feel the need to run from Him in shame?

 

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Ben ShounComment
Wednesday, September 26

1 John 5:5-12

5 Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 Jesus Christ—he is the one who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement. 9 If we accept human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that he has given about his Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life.


Summary:

Our “testimony” is that Jesus is life. How have you felt in the past and where are you tempted to believe today that Jesus is a burden to carry, that life with Him is too much or too hard? Though we may suffer as His follower since He did as well, He is enough for us. He is good! 


Prayer:

Father, thank You that You are enough for me today. No matter my circumstances, You are enough.


Reflection:

Do I see my faith as a burden or blessing?

 

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Ben ShounComment