Sinclair Ferguson: When the wonder of the gospel breaks into your life, you feel as though you are the first person to discover its power and glory. Where has Christ been hidden all these years? He seems so fresh, so new, so full of grace. Then comes a second discovery—it is you who have been blind, but now you have experienced exactly the same as countless others before you. You compare notes. Sure enough, you are not the first! Thankfully you will not be the last. If my own experience is anything by which to judge, discovering Romans can be a similar experience. I still remember, as a Christian teenager, the slow dawning of this thought in my mind: all Scripture is God-breathed and useful to me, but it also seems to have a shape and structure, a center and circumference. If that is so, then some biblical books may be foundational; these should be mastered first. Then came the realization that
John Piper: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. My aim in this message is that you would be encouraged by God and enabled by his Spirit to build your life on the mercies of God revealed in Jesus Christ. There are two parts to this aim: that you would build your life on something, and that you would build it on the mercies of God revealed in Christ. I see those two things in the first half of verse 1 of Romans 12. It says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God.” 1. Build Your Life on Something
Andrew Wilson: Simon Gathercole is one of the brightest New Testament scholars around, as well as being a conservative evangelical, which makes him something of a unicorn. In a recent review of Tom Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God, he puts his finger on something I’ve never quite been able to nail down, but have always had a funny feeling about: . “The argument here is, at risk of caricature, that big is better. The broader the canvas and the more all-encompassing the narrative, the more important the theme is. But I’m not sure that that does best justice to Paul. It remains unclear to me that the main theme of Paul’s gospel was ‘God’s restorative justice for the whole of creation’. When he summarises his gospel, he uses not themes and language comparable to those of Romans 8.18-27, but rather talks of Christ’s death for our sins and his resurrection on the third day. This is the focus in
John Piper: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2) Believer, you died and the new you is alive, and you are God’s. The whole of our Christian life is learning to become — by God’s Spirit — what we already are in Christ. These verses show us how this newness in us comes to life in our everyday choices. In this four-minute video, John Piper explains how the Spirit within and the word of God without work together to make us new.
Trevin Wax: After spending 11 chapters magnifying the grace of God shown to us in Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul broke out into a hymn of praise: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33). Have you come to this place before? A place of awe before an all-knowing, all-wise God? Whenever we study the big questions of life, the big debates of our world, and the development of a biblical worldview, we can easily become smug and confident in what we know. We put God in a box and assume we have figured out His ways and His plans. Reacting against this arrogant overconfidence, some Christians make everything about the Scriptures a mystery. They wonder whether we can know anything with certainty about who God is and what He has done. The apostle Paul struck the right balance. Paul believed he knew things about
I highly recommend this message from Andy Naselli. Andy Naselli: “How to Disagree with Other Christians about Disputable Matters” – That’s the title of a sermon I preached on Sunday on Romans 14:1–15:7. I open by explaining triage in order to introduce the idea of theological triage. We must distinguish between first-level, second-level, and third-level issues. I suggest about 75 disputable matters (grouped into 17 rough categories) that can be extremely divisive in some churches. I present 12 principles from Rom 14:1–15:7 about how to disagree with other Christians. I borrow these from a forthcoming commentary on Romans that veteran missionary J. D. Crowley wrote for people in Cambodia: Welcome those who disagree with you (Rom 14:1–2). Those who have freedom must not look down on those who are strict (Rom 14:3–4). Those who are strict must not be judgmental towards those who have freedom (Rom 14:3–4). Each believer must be fully convinced of their position in their own conscience (Rom 14:5). Everything you do, or refrain from doing, must be for God’s glory (Rom 14:6–9).
Preaching from the book of Romans (7:7-8:4) Tchividjian explains how the law shows us our need and the Gospel shows us how Christ fulfilled that need:
From Jonathan Parnell: From beginning to end, the Book of Romans soars into the deep mysteries of God’s ways and spells out, in unprecedented clarity, the gospel of his son. John Piper has called this book “the greatest letter ever written.” Martin Lloyd-Jones said it is “a colossal and incomparable statement of Christian truth.” J. I. Packer describes it as “the high peak of the Bible.” And Martin Luther, whose recommendation glows more than all, wrote of Romans: It is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes. We want to feast on this book. We want to taste the wonders of the Jesus it exalts. We want to deal with its content more
“After his exposition of the gospel in Romans 1-11, Paul begins to discuss the application of that gospel in chapter 12 by telling us to be transformed. But just how are we to be transformed? When we hear the word transformation, perhaps our first inclination is to think of the way we live, of doing the right things. We may tend to think of the Christian life as a series of observable do’s and don’ts. Those things are indeed important, and Scripture has much to say about them. But the first thing on Paul’s mind when he begins to think about the transformation of our Christian lives is the renewal of the mind. This means the that the way we think has much to do with the way we live.” Oliphint, K. Scott. The Battle Belongs to the Lord: The Power of Scripture for Defending Our Faith. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2003. Print. 92 (HT: Jude St.John)
From David Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ exposition of Romans 1, The Gospel of God; specifically Romans 1:2. Why was the gospel hidden? To reveal the depth of our sin To show mankind cannot save himself To show God’s lordship and sovereignty Why does Paul appeal to the Old Testament? To show the gospel was not something strange and new To show the Bible as complete, authoritative, unified, essential To show the New never contradicts the Old To show the New fulfills the Old To show salvation is for the world. (HT: Jude St.John)
I’m preaching through Romans midweek, and Ephesians on Sundays for my friends at King’s Church, Southend. I like this from Justin Taylor: One of the beautiful things about the book of Ephesians is the way in which Paul celebrates God’s grace, power, might, wisdom, love, and glory. Follow the adjectives and superlatives to see an example of worshipful pastoral theology in action. We are saved “to the praise of God’s glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6) Our redemption and forgiveness through the cross is “according to theriches of his grace, which he lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:6-7). We are called to know “the riches of [God’s] glorious inheritance in the saints” and “the immeasurable greatness of his power . . . and his greatmight” (Eph. 1:18-19). Because God is “rich in mercy” and because of his “great love” toward us, we were saved” (Eph. 2:4). In the coming ages God will show us “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). Paul
Tonight I begin teaching through the book of Romans at our church. I have recently started reading R.C. Sproul’s new exegetical commentary on Romans and can recommend it as a helpful verse by verse guide. It’s not technical or verbose so is a great introduction to the great book of the gospel. I particularly appreciate how Sproul integrates aspects of church history – especially the Reformation – into his exposition. Here’s a nice video clip of RC introducing his book: . (HT: Justin Taylor)