Saturday, July 23, 2016

Romans; Introduction

Romans; Introduction
Romans; Two Great Lies



Romans; Introduction

There is no greater urgency in our day in time for mankind to have an understanding of the Doctrine of the book of Romans.  For in it is the Power of a living God to rescue mankind from doom and impending misery.  For it's message and instruction is the solution to all of the problems we face today.  When I use the word "all" I am not by any means exaggerating.

It was the Doctrine of the book of Romans that was very popular and attractive to the Gentiles during the first century, so much so that all Asia heard this gospel within two years and three months under the ministry of the apostle Paul.

It was the Doctrine of the book of Romans that reached into the slavery of the dark ages and freed the common people.  Most, if not all ninety nine thesis that Martin Luther nailed to the door of the church that enslaved the people was based on the Doctrine of the book of Romans.

Today, in our day in time, two thousand years after it was written, God sends a message to mankind in the form of a compilation of writings called the "Church Epistles" specifically addressed to a class of people it refers to as "saints" where evidence of God's literary and artistic handiwork is well defined and established in structure, the use of Figures, the use of words and is only realized when the instruction is actually applied and practiced.

Romans is the first of these seven "Church Epistles" and Romans is the first and foundational to the three main Doctrines to the saint.

1. Romans comes first in order of the three great doctrinal epistles (A1,A2,A3; Ap. 192). (see: Appendix 192 Companion Bible ) And rightly so, for it contains the A B C of the believer's education.  Until its lesson is learned, we know and can know nothing.  The Holy Spirit has placed it first in Canonical order because it lies at the threshold of all "church" teaching, and if we are wrong here we shall be wrong altogether.   (Companion Bible P. 1661 notes)

Although Romans is addressed to the saint, as well as the other church epistles, Romans has a message addressed to the entire race of mankind.  Although again, it is not addressed to the God-rejector,  or the skeptic or the unbeliever, but for those who are searching for God and searching for answers to life itself.  God promises in His written Word that those who actually believe there is a living God, that He is a rewarder of  those who would search diligently for Him.

[Heb 11:6 KJV] 6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

This is a foundational truth.  It is only within God's written Word that we may know God.  God is not arbitrary or abstract.  You cannot just make up a god and expect that to be God.  God is well defined and very specific.  This is why God had His Word written.

God's literary and artistic handiwork is notable and recognized by its accuracy.  Of all God's handiwork in creation, the greatest of them all is His written Word.

[Psa 138:2 KJV] 2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

God's written Word is magnificent to the eyes when it is seen and realized in its accuracy.  We can recognize God's handiwork within its own integrity.  If God lied to us in one place, how can we trust it in other places and then how can we trust God when He promises something?

[Psa 12:6-7 KJV] 6 The words of the LORD [are] pure words: [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

God's Word is pure, that is, it is not contaminated with error.  God's written Word is "... purified seven times..."  that is, God took the Hebrew language and purified it seven times.  (see also: Figures of Speech E.W.Bullinger pp. 71-74  Fig of Speech p.71 )  Not only that, but God watched over, protected and preserved His Word, in written form in such a way that no man could ever ruin it.  This becomes evident when we understand that God protected His Word by it's own integrity.

Once it is established that God is living and real, and that it was God that had His Word written, and that this written Word is accurate and held together by its own  integrity, and that it is God's written communication of His Will to mankind, it places us in a magnificent position to actually know God.

The Church Epistles

Introduction

When the Apostle Paul preached the good news concerning Christ and His Church, at Ephesus, his ministry continued in Asia for the space of two years (Acts 19:10). We read that the Word of God grew mightily and prevailed, and that "all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus." And yet, at the close of his ministry, and of his life, he writes his last Epistle to Timothy, when he says "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand" (II Timothy 1:15): "This thou knowest that all they that be in Asia have turned away from me."
     We are told, on every hand, today, that we must go back to the first three centuries to find the purity of faith and worship of the primitive church!
     But it is clear from this comparison of Acts 19:10 and II Timothy 1:15, that we cannot go back to the first century. No, not even to the apostle's own lifetime!
     This turning away could not have been merely personal; but must have included his teaching also. For in chapter 2, verse 18, he speaks of those "who concerning the truth have erred." In chapter 3, verse 8, he speaks of those who "resist the truth." In chapter 4, verse 4, he speaks of those who "turn away their ears from the truth" and are "turned unto fables."
     It was Pauline truth and teaching from which all had "turned away."
     It was this turning away from the truth as taught by the Holy Spirit through Paul, especially as contained in the Epistle to the Ephesians, that led necessarily:
(1) To the loss of the teaching concerning the Mystery; that truth concerning the one Body of Christ. The effect of this was at once to put everything wrong ecclesiastically, and to make room for all the various and different "Bodies," so-called, with all the consequent divisions and schisms of the church.
     Instead of recognising "the One Body" which God had made, men set about making their own "Bodies" and Sects! and with this ecclesiastical confusion came the loss of the truth as to the Christian's perfect standing in Christ as having died and risen in Him.
(2) Next, after this, went the truth of the Lord's promised return from heaven; and of resurrection, as the one great and blessed hope of the church. Other hopes, or rather fears, came in their place, and "death and judgment" took the place of those lost hopes. Having lost the truth of what God had made Christ to be unto us, and the joy as to our standing thus given, in looking for that blessed hope, preparation for death and judgment was the necessary result, and therefore:
(3) The next thing to go was the truth as to what God had made us to be in Christ; and "justification by faith" and by grace was lost. The way was now open for the full tide of error to come in: and it came in, like a flood, with all the corruption and superstition which ended in centuries which have the significant description "the dark ages."
     Everyone is familiar with the term, and with the fact. But what were the dark ages? How did they come? They were not brought on suddenly by some untoward event. There must have been some cause, something that made them possible. The corruption was historical. The Eastern churches today are in similar darkness. And the Western churches, where the Reformation has not removed it, are in the same darkness.
The Reformation itself -- what was it, but the beginning of a recovery of these great truths? The remarkable fact is that the recovery of these truths has taken place in the inverse order to that in which they were lost.
     Justification by grace through faith was the first great truth recovered at the Reformation. This was the truth over which that great battle was fought and won, though the victory was far from complete. For not until the nineteenth century had well begun did the Lord's return from heaven begin to become again the blessed hope of His church. In later years the subject has become more and more precious to increasing numbers. But this great and "blessed hope" is not yet really learned, because it ought to be the natural outcome of truth received and held, instead of being treated as an independent subject artificially produced. It must come from the heart into the life, and not be merely held and retained in the head, if it is to be productive of the blessed results seen in the Thessalonian church. It must be learned experimentally as a vital and essential part of our standing as Christians, and not be studied as if it were an extra subject, in order to produce Thessalonian fruit. Hence, it is that we more often see prophecy taken up as a study, rather than as the result of waiting for God's Son from heaven.
     The last of the three truths to be recovered is the truth taught in Ephesians; and it is only in our own day that we see any real sense of the loss, with any real effort to recover it.
     The truth of the Mystery, as it was the first to go, so, it seems, is the last to be recovered.
It is with the hope of doing something to recover this truth that these papers have been written on the Church Epistles. May the Lord use them to bring back vital truths to their proper place, that their power may be felt in the hearts and seen in the lives of an increasing number of the members of the Body of Christ.
     The cause of all the confusion around is that thousands of those who profess to be Christians know little or nothing of these Church Epistles. There is no other profession which they could enter without being able to pass a satisfactory examination in the text books set forth for that purpose. There is no position in life that anyone could apply for without being asked how much one knew of its duties and responsibilities. But the Christian "profession" is treated in quite a different manner, and as quite a different matter. Anyone may undertake that, and all the while be totally ignorant of these Church Epistles: -- "The Creed, the Lord's prayer, and the Ten Commandments" are considered as sufficient for Christian position and profession. Hence the almost total neglect of these Epistles. The four Gospels and the Sermon on the Mount are taken as the essence of Christianity, instead of the Epistles specially addressed to Churches. Hence the great ignorance of Christians as to all that God has made Christ to be unto His People, and all that He has made them to be in Him. Not knowing their standing in Christ, and their completeness and perfection in Him, they are easily led into error concerning their state and their walk. Many, who know they are justified by grace, yet seek to be sanctified by works.
     Nothing but full knowledge of what is revealed for our instruction in these Church Epistles will effectually deliver us from all the new doctrines and schools of thought which find an entrance into our midst.
     May the great Head of the Body the Church, own this effort, and use it and bless it to the deliverance of many from all the variable winds of doctrine, and build them up in their most holy faith. 
.(The Church Epistles  E.W.Bullinger Introduction )
If the doctrine in these Church Epistles can effect such change like it did during the reformation, can you imagine what change could take place when it is believed in all its fullness?