Comments on the Book of Romans

By COGwriter

This article consists of scriptures and notes related to a series of sermons on the Book of Romans.

Here are links to related sermons on the Book of Romans:

Romans 1-2: Believe the Truth of God
Romans 3:-6: Sin, Law, Grace, Salvation
Romans 7-8: God’s Spirit and Guarantee
Romans 9-10: Grace, Mercy, Salvation
Romans 11-12: Gentiles, Jews, and the Fulness
Romans 13-16: Obedience, Gentiles, Love, and Women

There are a some comments from Bible studies that the late Herbert w. Armstrong taught in 1980.

So, for an introduction, let's strt out with some comments from his Bible Study on June 6, 1980:

Book of Romans
There are two books that are attacked by the Protestants in general as being against the Sabbath and they are Romans and Galatians. I think if anyone had understood Galatians that they would understand Romans, but I thought it might be good if we went through Romans this time. It is a longer book. We did some time back start through Romans and take the first two chapters.

As far as Galatians goes, we have an article on it: Comments on Galatians Plus, we did a sermon series on that book: Galatians 1 and the False Gospel and Galatians 2 & 3: What Law was Added? What was Abolished? and Galatians 4 & 5: Who Does Not Inherit the Kingdom? and Galatians 5 & 6: The Gifts of the Spirit.

Getting back to Herbert Armstrong's introduction he stated:

Romans Chapter 1
The first chapter of Romans Paul is addressing and it is a letter to those at Rome, not necessarily to Romans. It is just marked that way in the name of the Book. It is a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to brethren or saints at Rome. They were not necessarily all Romans but probably most were. There were some Jewish proselytes there....

Now when we come to Rome, Paul is talking in Romans 1 about the Gentiles who thought by that time — the time of Christ — and after in the first century A.D. that they had developed a great fund of knowledge. We have the great philosophers of Greece and Athens and Paul came to them and they had this idol marked to the unknown God — and Paul said the God that they ignorantly worshipped he would declare to them -the true God.

Gentile Intellectuals

In Romans 1 Paul mentions how these intellectuals had known something of God, but would not acknowledge Him as God. And had rejected everything good about God and had been turned to licentiousness and the Worship of idols and to homosexuality and every filthy minded thing and that they had looked down on the Jews because the Jews looked on the law.

Now, let's look at the verses in that chapter:

1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7, NKJV throughout)

Herbert Armstrong noted:

The word 'apostle' means 'one sent forth,' proclaiming a message. Actually, it was a proclaiming of a message, but it was not what today in Protestant religion would be called a 'soul-saving' crusade. Jesus did not come on a soul-saving crusade. Never did He invite people to come forward and 'give their hearts to Him' as Billy Graham does, for example, today and other protestant ministers. Never did He try to talk anyone into being converted.

Back to Romans 1:

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established — 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Paul is giving thanks for the faithful.

So, do I. So, should you.

Continuing:

13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

Yes, the good news is that God has the power for eternal salvation and that it will be granted to those who truly believe, whether Jew or Gentile.

Now, Paul goes into some of the intellectuals of his day--and which also apply to many in our day:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,

25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Notice that not only those involved with various sins are deserving of death, so also are those who simply approve of them. Christians are not supposed to approve of the agenda of the sexually-immoral or others who promote sin.

In parts of the so-called free world (Canada and Finland come to mind, as do certain internet platforms) they do not want several of those verses quoted.

The Bible teaches:

1 "Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Herbert Armstrong stated:

Anyway, Paul is talking about how the gentiles were trying to do away with law altogether in the first chapter and how they had turned to wrong ideas and how they had not retained God in their knowledge, and he corrects them on that. In Romans 2, Paul goes after the Jews. The Gentiles thought they were so much better than the Jews because the Jews just had this old crazy Judaism religion whereas the Gentiles were proud of their human knowledge. But it was not the knowledge of God. In Romans 2 Paul corrects the Jews because they boasted that they had the law, but they didn't obey the law.

One of the problems with the Pharisees is that they reasoned around the Ten Commandments. In differing ways, Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox followers do as well.

Romans 2

Now let's look at Romans 2:

1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:1-3)

Paul is basically warning that while we should not approve of sins, we need to be careful that we do not overlook our own while condemning others.

James wrote:

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:8-13)

Now, back to Romans 2:

4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Note that it is God's goodness, not His despising of you, that leads us to repentance. For more on repentance, check out the article:
Christian Repentance.

Again, back to Romans 2:

5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness -- indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;

So, do not think that you will get away with lack of repentance.

Notice that there is a reward associated with repentance:

10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.

We are not just to stop doing what it wrong, but also to work things that are good--that is also consistent with God's plan for us. For details, check out the free online book:  The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? and/or What is the Meaning of Life?

Back again to Romans 2:

12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

There is a death penalty for sinning, whether or not one understands God's laws. Notice also that just hearing the law is not enough, but one has to be a doer, a keeper, of the law in order to be justified. Paul is also commenting that Gentiles who have laws that also align with God's laws benefit from them.

God's laws are for our good.

And in verse 16 we again see that God will judge.

Continuing in Romans 2:

17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.

Paul was pointing out that the hypocrisy and not keeping God's law by the Jews caused it to be blasphemed by the Gentiles. While many improperly think Jesus condemned the Jewish religious leaders called Pharisees because they supposedly strictly kept the law, the reality is that Jesus condemned them for violating it. For information on how they, Protestants, and Greco-Roman Catholics violate the Ten Commandments and how you can keep them, check out the free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

Just because you are (or were) in the Church of God, that does not mean that you may not also be subject to condemnation.

Continuing in Romans 2, we see that Paul condemns the Jews for relying on certain works of the law:

25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

Paul continues pushing keeping the law:

26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Two points to mention. The first is notice the following:

172 My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness. (Psalm 119:172)

Yes, it is righteous to strive to truly keep the Ten Commandments.

The second point is to notice that race is NOT a factor in salvation. True Christians are spiritual Jews. For more on race, see the article
God's Grace is For All and/or watch the short video Mystery of Race.

Here is a link to a sermon related to the first two chapters: Romans 1-2: Believe the Truth of God.

Romans 3

Now let's go to chapter 3;

Romans 3:1: "What advantage then has the Jew (talking about the difference between the Jew and the Gentile -- the Gentiles had philosophy -- human knowledge filled with myth and superstition, but the Jews had the law) or what is the profit of circumcision?"

Hebert Arsmtrong noted:

Circumcision is one of those things that Paul had explained was part of the-ritual law that as a religious ordinance was not required for converts. However, he didn't say that if you were circumcised it is bad and shouldn't have been done or God wouldn't have had it done in the first place. But it is not a religious rite any more and hasn't been since Christ.

While it is not a required religious rite to become a Christian, it is a good thing to do and does have health benefits. For details, see the articel Health Benefits of Circumcision and/or watch a related video: Circumcision: Good or Bad?.

Continuing in Romans 3 as to what advantage the Jews had:

Verse 2: "Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God."

The advantage of the Jews is that they had and preserved the very word of God, whereas other cultures were not blessed to do the same. By having more access to it than others, the Jews had various advantages when it came to knowing how best to live.

The Greek term in the New Testament for oracle, means inspired writings. And based upon historical records this was so, as the Jews in Palestine preserved what we call the Old Testament. Those were the same books that Melito of Sardis confirmed in writing that made up the Old Testament. Actually, it is from this writing by Melito of Sardis that we first see the term Old Testament in the Christian literature.

More on the Bible, the role of the Jews, and the role of Church of God Christians preserving aspects of it can be found in the free online book:Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete?

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 3: "For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?"

Herbert Armstrong stated about verse 3:

What Paul had in mind there was something like this. There are people who say that based on what they've seen of people who profess Christianity, they don't want any part of it. They judge Christianity by the lives of the people who profess to live by it, but are not really living it at all. That is what he is talking about here -- that if some do not believe God, does that change the fact that He exists.

And that remains a problem to this day.

Many irreligious consider that religion, including the Christian one, supposedly condones war, lust, and many other things that true Christianity never accepted as legitimate. This has turned people off about Christianity, as well as have various other wrong doctrines from the Greco-Roman-Protestant churches and their offshoots.

The reality is that unfaithfulness by Jews or those falsely who claim to be Christian does not change the truth of God. Those making false claims were prophesied:

7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": 8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. (Revelation 3:7-9)

Christians are spiritual Jews

Back to Romans 3 answering the question of Jewish unbelief caused.God to be unfaithful, Paul wrote:

Verse 4: "Certainly not! Indeed let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That you may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged."

Paul taught something similar about God to Titus when he wrote that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

Before going further, perhaps it should be pointed out that in this age of censorship, shadow banning, and false assertions of science, we always need to realize that the word of God is true and God does not lie.

If something, from any source, seems to contradict any verse in it, then either:

1. We have a mistranslation and/or misunderstanding of the verse OR

2. The opposing view is wrong or is wrongly understood/wrongly interpretted..

Every year, so-called experts falsely claim that there could not have been the biblical Exodus, to cite one example. But they do this by claiming that the time the Exodus supposedly took place was in a time when it did not. Furthermore, they overlook evidence in Egypt and elsewhere that supports it. Details related to that are in the article: When was the Exodus? Did it Happen?

Similarly, various false claims about the origin of the universe and life are in error. Falsely calling something 'science' or 'knowledge' has long been a problem as the Apostle Paul pointed out to Timothy:

20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith ... (1 Timothy 6:20-21, KJV)

20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (1 Timothy 6:20, NKJV)

For more information on the universe and origin of life, check out our free online booklet: Is God’s Existence Logical? 

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 5: "But if our unrighteousness demonstrates righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.)"

The Apostle Paul also wrote related to the above:

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)

While it may appear otherwise, people who wrong us, etc. "are NOT getting away with it."

Continuing in Romans 3, Paul answering whether or not God is unjust wrote:

Verse 6: "Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?"
Verse 7: "For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?"

Or as the AFV puts verse 7:

For if, by my falsehood, the truth of God has shown itself to be supremely great, to His glory, why am I still being judged as a sinner? (A Faithful Version)

Paul is basically saying that despite his imperfections, he is teaching for God's glory and God can use him, and us for that matter.

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 8 "And why not say “Let us do evil that good may come”? - as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. "

Herbert Armstrong commented:

He is referring there to a type of religion that some had. They said that since we do evil and God has grace, and through God's grace He can forgive it, then it shows the greatness of God in forgiving our sin. Therefore the more we sin the greater we make God and it makes God greater because He has more forgive so let us sin more. In the early years of Christianity, the Nicolaitans spoken of in Revelation 2 observed that kind of doctrine.

Furthermore, we in the CCOG are slanderously reported, just like Paul and those with him were. This is a Satanic ploy that stops some from truly pursuing the truth.

Paul continues in Romans 3 with:

Verse 9: "What then? Are we better than they? No, not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin."

And no, we Christians were not called because we were better. And even though we have hopefully built character since being called, Paul also wrote:

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 10: "As it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one. There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God."

We all have faults. Paul wanted Christians to realize that and started to cite what is in the 14th and 53rd Psalms.

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 11: There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Even the apostles didn't seek after Christ. Christ called them. Peter and Andrew didn't want to find Christ, they wanted to fish. As Jesus said, no man can come to Christ except the Father draw Him. And the Father predestinates and calls those He had predestinated to call. ... What I do think is that God has fore-planned that a certain few would be called to certain positions when we get to this place and predestination has nothing to do with whether or not you will be saved or lost at all, but only with whether you are called at this time or whether you are not! But no man is seeking God. It is God who seeks us.

To learn more about God's calling, please check out the free online book: Is God Calling You?

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 12: "They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no not one."

But if we properly respond to God's calling, we can do good now as well as for all eternity. More details on that is in our free online book:
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 13: "Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips."
Verse 14: "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;"
Verse 15: "Their feet are swift to shed blood."
Verse 16: "Destruction and misery are in their ways."
Verse 17: "And the way of peace they have not known."
Verse 18: "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Without acknowledging God, humans feel free to push all kinds of false and perverse ideas. Many say they want peace, but cannot accept the way of life of "the prince of peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

In chapter 8 of Romans we will go more into the carnally minded.

Continuing in Romans 3:

Verse 19: "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

Herbert Armstrong commented

Under the law in this case I think he may be referring to the Spiritual law -- the Ten Commandments -- and you are under the law when you've broken the law and the law then is over you and demanding your life as its penalty. That life is going to have to be paid, but Jesus has ransomed us and paid it in our stead. Under the law doesn't mean under obligation to obey the law. Everybody is under obligation to obey the spiritual law anyway.

Now back to Romans 3:

Verse 20: "Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin."

Herbert Armstrong commented

That should be marked in every Bible. Let me explain it this way. No man is justified by a ritual. They believed that a man atoned for his sins by punishing himself -- that was the Gentile religions. The Jews took the physical rituals which included circumcision and the fleshly laws, and because they considered it irksome to keep doing it, then it was a type of punishment and they were using it to forgive their sins, but on the other hand it says by the law is the knowledge of sin. The purpose of the Ten Commandments is to tell us what sin is. Later Paul will say that he would not have known what sin was except by the law. Because he wouldn't have known it was wrong to covet if the law had not said that. In other words, obedience to the law doesn't forgive sin. That is what he goes on to say here -- that everyone has broken the law. The law tells us what sin is.

As the Apostle John wrote:

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (1 John 3:4-5, KJV)

Jesus did not come to do away with the law, but to take away the penalty of our sins and save us.

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 21: "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets" (by the Old Testament scriptures).

Verse 22: "even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ (not our faith in Christ, but the faith of Christ which will be given to us by the Holy Spirit) to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference."

Verse 23: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

All have sinned includes me and you. That is why we need repentance and the sacrifice of Jesus. The Apostle John wrote:

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

It is often our pride that gets in the way of us seeing our sins. We have a short video about that: Pride: Quit Lying to Yourself.

Continuing in Romans 3:

Verse 24: "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (not through our obedience today)

Verse 25: "whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed."

Herbert Armstrong added:

I'm glad it says the sins that are past. Grace does not forgive sins that you have not committed, you don't have license to sin.

Yet, Jude noted that some who professed Christ thought so:

4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)

Many Protestants have basically agreed with those Jude condemned. Though they CLAIM otherwise, Protestants do deny the truth about Jesus and how His followers should live. More on Protestantism can be found in the free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism).

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 26: "to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

Verse 27: "Where is boasting then? It is excluded.” (The Jews were boasting because of the law and the Gentiles were boasting because they had such great knowledge so they thought) “By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith."

Verse 28: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

You have to understand what justified means. Justified means that your guilty past is cleaned up and paid for. Justified is a matter referring to your past sins. You are not justified by your righteousness today; you are justified by the blood of Christ.

In modern times, when a government official pardons someone for a crime, the pardoned one does not then have free reign to go and commit the crime again.

Back to Romans 3:

Verse 29: "Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,"
Verse 30: "since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and uncircumcised through faith."

Yes, God is the God of all peoples. Paul taught the Gentiles of Athens:

31 ... God ... now commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:31) .

Now back to the final verse of Romans 3:

Verse 31: "Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law."

Herbert Armstrong added:

If you break the law today, you still have to keep it tomorrow, and you have to have the blood of Christ to forgive you for breaking it.

Romans Chapter 4

Now to chapter 4:

Romans 4:1: "What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?”

This is one verse that supports that view that Abraham was the father of the faithful.

Continuing:

Verse 2: "For if Abraham was justified by works he has something to boast about, but not before God." (it is talking there not about works of the law, but of good works, of good performance and obedience)

Verse 3: "For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

He believed and he also obeyed. He disobeyed on certain occasions too, but he did have faith.

Yes, we must believe God, not just believe in God--even the demons believe in God, but do not have the faith or works to believe God (cf. James 2:19).

Notice something from the Book of Hebrews:

6 But without fait77h it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ...

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:6, 8-10)

For more on fatih, see our free online book: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen.

Back to Romans 4:

Verse 4: "Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt."

Consistent with that, Jesus taught:

7 ... the laborer is worthy of his wages. (Luke 10:7)

Back to Romans 4:

Verse 5: "But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,”
Verse 6: "just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:"
Verse 7: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;"
Verse 8: "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin."

For God to impute no sin, we must repent (Acts 2:38-39), but also not continue in sin. Paul wrote elsewhere that we are saved by grace, but are to have good works:

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

As stated in our free online book,Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation:

Grace is favour and includes unmerited pardon--God forgiving us.

Back to Romans 4:

Verse 9: "Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness."

Abraham was blessed (Genesis 15:6) when he was still physically uncircumcised. He ended up being circucised when he was 99 (Genesis 17:24).

Back to Romans 4:

Verse 10: "How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or  uncircumcised? Not while circumcised; but while uncircumcised."
Verse 11: "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all those who believe, though are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

You see, it isn't just that you believe and then go out and sin. What he is trying to get at is that we cannot obey God's law and live the perfect life in our own strength alone. It takes the faith to trust God to help us — through the Holy Spirit. Later you will find in Galatians and James that Abraham wasn't justified by faith alone, but also by works. His belief resulted in obedience.

Back to Romans 4:

Verse 12: "and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised."
Verse 13: " For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
Verse 14: "For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,”
Verse 15: "because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law is there is no transgression."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Because when you break the law, the penalty is death. I've used this as an argument to people who say we don't need to keep the Ten Commandments — which they are done away. The law just didn't start when Moses gave the Ten Commandments — it started with Adam.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 16: "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all"

Here is another translation:

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (Romans 4:16, ESV)

Yes, there is a guarantee--a true promise.

Back to Romans 4:

Verse 17: "(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”), in the presence of Him whom he believed – God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;"
Verse 18: “who contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’”

Verse 19: "And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb."

Abraham understood nothing was impossible for God. More on him being faifhful is also in Hebrews 11, known by many as the 'faith chapter" in the Bible.

As far as tips related to praying for things that look to be impossible, check out our free online book:Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?

Back to Romans 4:

Verse 20: "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,”
Verse 21: “and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

This is a definition of faith. God will perform what he has promised. All you do is know that he will do it. It doesn't depend on anything else you see, hear or feel.

Back to Romans 4:

Verse 22: "And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness."
Verse 23: "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him,"
Verse 24: "but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,"
Verse 25: "who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification."

Yes, what happened to Abraham was written for us to understand. Abraham faced what was clearly understood to be impossible, yet believed God. We need to do the same.

Romans Chapter 5

Now to chapter 5:

Verse 1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"

Christians should have a real peace. Paul included peace as one of the gifts of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Verse 2: "through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Through Jesus, you have access to faith and real hope. But yes, we will have difficulties as Romans 5 continues with:

Verse 3: "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;"
Verse 4: "and perseverance, character; and character, hope."

Yes, we are to build character, despite tribulations in this life.

Herbert Armstrong wrote about character:

So mark well this super-vital truism - that perfect, holy and righteous character is the supreme feat of accomplishment possible for Almighty God the Creator - it is also the means to His ultimate supreme purpose. His final objective.

But how? ... such perfect character must be developed. It requires the free choice and decision of the separate entity in whom it is to be created. But, further, even then it must be instilled by and from the Holy God who, only, has such righteous character to endow.

Perfect, holy and righteous character is the ability in such separate entity to come to discern the true and right way from the false, to make voluntarily a full and unconditional surrender to God and His perfect way - to yield to be conquered by God - to determine even against temptation or self-desire, to live and to do the right. And even then such holy character is the gift of God. It comes by yielding to God to instill His law (God’s right way of life) within the entity who so decides and wills.

Actually, this perfect character comes only from God, as instilled within the entity of His creation, upon voluntary acquiescence, even after severe trial and test...

God made us in His image, after His likeness (form and shape), only composed of matter instead of Spirit. But God says, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5). (Armstrong HW. The Incredible Human Potential, pp. 39-40, 52)

Back to Romans 5:

Verse 5: "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit {which} was given to us."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

I have this underscored also. Love is the fulfilling of the law. But the love we have, with which we were born and have developed in our life will not fulfill the spiritual law of God. It takes a spiritual love to fulfill that spiritual law, we were not born with it, and we cannot develop it. He gives us that love. God not only gives us His love — the Holy Spirit is the love of God. A love we have never had. It is also a new kind of faith, which we never had. It is something, which we can't work up. It is the same faith that Christ used to walk on water and heal the sick, and the same love that God has for all those He created. We are to have a divine love and faith — something that God will give us by grace — an unmerited gift.

Back to Romans 5:

Verse 6: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

Jesus did not die for you because you were so good. Jesus died for you because, despite your flaws, He loves you.

Continuing in Romans 5:

Verse 7: "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die."
Verse 8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Jesus said:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

Back to Romans 5:

Verse 9: "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
Verse 10: "For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

There is so much there. The Protestant religion leaves God out of it altogether. They only have {their misunderstanding of} Christ. Jesus had to obey God and overcome Satan in order to sit on His throne. We have to do the same thing. God is the lawgiver. When we sin, it is against God, not Christ, and we have to first be made right with God. God is the One who has eternal life to give. But we cannot be reconciled to God as long as we are under condemnation for having disobeyed God. We've got to get that past disobedience against God's law forgiven. Christ makes grace possible. He is the One who makes it possible.

But you've got to get right with God before Christ can save you. Christ's death reconciles us to the Father. Once we are reconciled to the Father then it is possible through Christ's life to be saved. God gave Christ for our sins and Christ gave His life. They both had a part in it.

Back to Romans 5:

Verse 11: "And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."

Or as the KJV put it:

11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:11, KJV)

Yes, the Day of Atonement has New Testament applicability as Romans 5:11 and other verses point to.

Back to Romans 5:

Verse 12: "Therefore just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned -"

Herbert Armstrong commented:

... if there is no law there is no transgression. Adam had the law or he would never have known he had sinned. God pronounced the death penalty on Adam if he disobeyed. He couldn't do that unless Adam had known the law he would be disobeying. It isn't all recorded in Genesis -- 2,000 years are covered in the first eleven chapters. But sin was imputed then.

Back to chapter 5 which supports that:

Verse 13: "(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That is, from Adam until Moses.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 14: "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come."

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Adam was a type of Christ except that he went the evil way and Christ went the right way.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 15: "But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many."

Verse 16: "And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgement which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification."

Verse 17: "For if by one man's offense death reigned through the one; much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)"

Jesus is our atonement.

Continuing in chapter 5:

Verse 18: "Therefore as through one man’s offense judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Jesus' sacrifice grants us access to the free gift of eternal life.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That doesn't mean that it came right at that time. The world has not been judged yet, but it can be now.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 19: "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous."

Verse 20: "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,"

But understanding what sin is as well as its results, this helps us understand how fantastic God's grace is.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

They understood the law more when God codified it into the Commandments, but it still existed before.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 21: "so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Jesus allows us to die in this life, but offers us eternal life and the opportunity to skip the second death that those who willingly reject him will face (see also The Second Death).

Regarding Romans, Herbert Armstrong commented:

Peter says that Paul's writings were hard to be understood. You have to know a little about what the contexts of Paul's writings were. The Jews understood all of this about the different laws -- but people today don't. That is why you need the background of what these people did know when they listened to Paul.

Romans 6

Regarding Romans Chapters 6 & 7, Herbert Armstrong made the following comments in gave in a Bible study on June 13, 1980:

Paul’s letter to the Romans, rather to those that had become Christians at Rome - they were not necessarily all Romans - was written of course long before he himself went there.  He went there much much later. But the first chapter he addresses to those who had been Romans, and of course to all those who were converted. For example he addresses the first chapter, “Paul a servant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle” and so on. He tells all the introductory part before he gets to the salutation and who it’s to, to whom.

He is talking to those that had been converted at Rome, but they had been Romans you see and consequently the Romans fancied that they were intellectual. They look down on Jewish Christians because the Jews had considered that they were superior because they had the law of God. But the Romans considered that they were superior to the Jews because they had knowledge, and they didn’t necessarily regard the mosaic law of great importance anyway because in their conversion they hadn’t been taught that we have to obey the rituals and the physical rituals and sacrifices of the mosaic law, but only the spiritual phases.

And so Paul’s opening chapter is correcting the Romans of how, when they had known about God, the Romans generally - not just the Christians but the Romans anciently - they had not regarded him as God and how they had withheld the truth when they got any of it from the people, and how they had, in their intellectuality by denying God, they had become fools. They had not retained God in their knowledge, and consequently they had gone over every licentious thing imaginable, and he was calling them down.

That they were not so wise and so high up on the ladder as they seem to think they were. Then the second chapter he addresses more to the Jewish Christians who happened to be at Rome. Now they prided themselves in being superior to the Romans because they had the law of God, and so he says you feel you’re superior because you have the law, but you yourself don’t obey the law.

So then from that time on he gets to talking along that line. Now we need to know that the earliest opposition to the Gospel came from unconverted Jews who did not believe that Jesus was the Christ. Now they were not converted. So much of the earliest preaching that we find recorded in the Bible, in the Book of Acts and then even letters of Paul if he covers that part of it, was testimony by the twelve apostles of Christ proving He was the Messiah. You see they had spent three and a half years with Jesus, day in and day out. Day and night you might say. And they had been instructed by Him. Then they had spent forty days with Him after His resurrection, so they were eyewitnesses. And it was just like in a jury trial, where you call on eyewitnesses, which is the strongest proof you can get I suppose, and they were eyewitnesses of the resurrection. So a lot of people think they were preaching about Christ instead of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now that is not true. Much of their early preaching to unconverted Jews, hoping that some of them would be converted, was their eyewitness testimony that Jesus was the true Messiah and that they were responsible for His death.

But then we come to another place where they are talking to those who had been converted. Now those who had been Jews and were converted were still following on something that the Jews had had. Now the Pagan religions did not have any of the doctrine the that Christian religion had in the area of  forgiveness of sin. How that Christ’s death forgives our sins. The Pagans instead had a system of self-punishment, self-inflicted punishment, that they felt would equal, by punishing themselves with the pain and everything would equal, the evil that they had done and square it up. Now it wouldn’t because all of the self-punishment in the world isn’t going to get away, sin is against God. And your punishing yourself doesn’t please God one way or the other or make you any better in God’s sight. But they didn’t know God and that’s they way they looked at it.

Now what they did then, the Jews barred the principle of this very thing from the Gentiles. For example one thing that I just called to mind that the Gentiles would do, they would take a long plank and drive nails into it, sticking up, and then turn it down so that the nails were sticking up, and have to walk over that barefooted on those nails. Now of course that would just go right, cut through to the bone. And it will be a very painful thing, but they would have that self-inflicted torture to square up their sins.

Now, after the days of Ezra and Nehemiah there was a colony sent back to Jerusalem to build the second temple, it was only part of the Jews and the Jews were only part of Israel. The whole nation Israel had been divided way back almost 1000 years before Christ, and had been divided into two nations. It was right after the death of Solomon and the northern kingdoms rejected Rehoboam the King, who was the son of Solomon and the grandson of David, and they set up Jeroboam as their king and they made their capital at Samaria which is up north of Jerusalem. Well then, Judah separated from them in order to keep the King Rehoboam, and Benjamin stayed with Judah. The first thing that Jeroboam, now king up at Samaria, the first thing he did when Israel made him king was to change the Feast of the 7th month to the 8th month. Now it didn’t say it in the Bible, but by putting what is stated in the Bible together, a little bit of putting two and two together, it is strongly implied that he also changed the day of worship from the Sabbath to the day after. It was said the Sabbath was the 7th, lot of times they called Sunday the 8th day, although it's also the first day of the week because we begin counting the days of the week all over again with Sunday. And that is where Sunday began, and that was way back a thousand years before Christ. That began in Israel.

Now the nation Israel had never been called Jews. Jew is a nickname for the tribe Judah. Now the next thing that Jeroboam did, was to put the Levites out of the ministry. They were the priests of the nation, all the born Levite’s, and they were the highest educated. They did not farm or work to produce a living, but they lived on the tithes of the people. Now since they were one of the small tribes and Joseph had the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, that means that there had been twelve other tribes and nearly all of which were a lot larger in number of people than Levi. The result is the Levites had about two and a half, or three, or three and a half times the income, which we would use money as an exchange today and say two, or three, or three and a half times the amount income or money that the others in Israel had. They were also the highest educated and had the better minds and the better training. Jeroboam deposed them and put the lowest and most ignorant of the people in the priesthood. The result is that practically all, maybe all I don’t know but it was all or most all, of the Levites went down to join with the tribe of Judah and that became then not the Kingdom of Israel but the Kingdom of Judah, which consisted of three tribes now Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. They were called the Jews. Never was the big nation of the other ten tribes ever called Jews. The first place that the word Jews occurs in the Bible is 2 Kings 16:6. You will find that Israel was at war against the Jews. And today people think that all  Israelites were called Jews and not is not true at all. People just don’t understand the Bible because apparently they don’t read it. They read a verse here and a verse there once in a while, but they read it out of context and don't know what was before it and after it and they get all mixed up.

Now after, Judah was taken captive in 721 to 718 BC and taken away from that land as slaves over into Assyria. Within 100 years the Assyrians with them had migrated north and west, or northwest, and the Assyrians settled down in the land that we call Germany today, both East and West Germany.  Now Germany is divided and part of it is under the Soviet Union. The Germans are merely the descendants of ancient Assyria, not Syria but Assyria. The ten tribes of the Israelites kept going on farther west and settled in France and Belgium and Holland and Denmark and Sweden and Norway and in England, now Britain.

Now in the meantime I told you that Jeroboam, the first king after they rejected Rehoboam, had changed from the 7th to the 8th day.  The 7th day Sabbath God had made as a sign between Him and Israel. A sign, if you see a sign hung out that says Smith and Company Furniture or H. Jones and Son Drugs you know the sign identifies. It tells you what it is what kind of a store, who owns it, and it’s a means of identification. The Sabbath is a means of identification. It tells Israel who God is because in six days God did the creating of this world as it is today, of all plants and animals and people and so on, and on the 7th day He rested and was refreshed. Now also it identifies who are the people of God because they are the only people, the only nation, whoever kept Sabbath on Saturday as the Sabbath. No other nation does and no other nation ever did as a nation. So it is a sign. Why do people think the Jews are all there is of Israel?  Because they’ve kept the Sabbath. I don’t mean they keep it like they should, but at least they keep it in name, and they don’t reject it and that identifies them as being the people of God. And if Israel had kept it they would have never lost their identity. But they got into speaking a different language as soon as they were taken to Assyria, and by the second and third generation they weren’t speaking Hebrew anymore. So they got lost, and they got to thinking they were Gentiles; they didn’t even know who they were and the world doesn’t know to this day who they are or where they are. That’s one thing that no church, but our church understands that truth. That is plain in the Bible. And my book on that will soon be printed as a book in bookstores are over.

Seventy years after the Jews or Judah had been taken or been invaded by Babylon and Babylon had won that war and took them as captive away from Judah and over to Babylon as slaves, seventy years later the Persian empire had succeeded Babylon and now the king of Persia was in charge, and God moved on him through the spirit that was in him to have a certain number of Jews sent back to form a colony in Jerusalem to build a second temple. Because between 604 and 585 BC the king of Babylon had completely destroyed the temple that Solomon had built at Jerusalem and there wasn’t even one stone left on top of another. It was just totally gone. So a group went back under a man who was named Zerubbabel.  He was the governor. Along with him was the high priest Joshua and then about the same time also came the two prophets Ezra and Nehemiah.  Ezra and Nehemiah each wrote a book in the Bible, the book of Ezra and the book of Nehemiah. The book of Haggai and the fourth part of the book of Zachariah near the end of the Old Testament give all the history about this colony of Jews, which is only part of the Jews, and the Jews were only part of all Israel. It tells about them. After them, about a generation or two later, remember they went back there by 515 BC - 515 years before approximately before the birth of Christ - and a generation or two later the Jewish rabbis in this colony began to take the physical laws - the rituals, the ceremonial law of just physical things to do morning, noon, and night that were in the law of Moses as a temporary substitute until the Holy Spirit should come, and also the animal sacrifices which were a temporary substitute until Christ would come and become the Lamb of God and the slain - and they made those things, especially the ritual law, they made that their means of self-punishment to expiate their sins. In other words, instead of taking a plank and walking on nails sticking straight up in it and then punish yourself, now you have to obey this ritual law which was very difficult in things you had to do every day, and that would justify your sins. In other words to justify is to, well really you could say forgive is what it means, but technically it means to make just or wipe out the penalty so that all that hangs over you is the penalty for what is past.
The Jews, the early Jews that were converted in the early years, wanted to keep all those ritual laws. And they wanted to get justified, whereas the Apostle Paul is teaching, as the Apostles all did, that we are justified because Christ paid the penalty in our stead and His shed blood, of course He died by shedding His blood, and the blood is the life and when the blood’s gone out of your body you’re dead- that’s all, so they worked on that as the means of justification.

Now in Romans, Paul then after showing how the Jews had prided themselves on having and the law, now he starts talking to converted Jews - and a lot of them now wanted to keep that ritualistic law, which was a physical law and not the spiritual law of Ten Commandments. The spiritual law is one word, love. But it is outgoing love and concern for the welfare of others. It’s love toward God and love to neighbors, it’s not incoming lust but outflowing love. God is love and love just flows out from God. God isn’t trying to get anything from us one way or the other. He wants to give us of his love of eternal life, of everything good, but he isn’t trying to get anything from us. So Paul now, to these early Christians who were Christians and had been Jews, he gets to talking about this law. An we’ve been covering the first five chapters of Romans and then now beginning the 6th chapter - because that gives you a little bit of summary up to this point.

So Paul continues,

Now to Romans 6:

Verse 1: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

Grace is favour and includes unmerited pardon--God forgiving us--spiritually it is an undeserved gift.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

He’s showing that grace has been an undeserved pardon and an undeserved gift. It really is two-fold. One, Grace means that you were pardoned from your past guilt that hangs over you for breaking God’s law. But it is also something else. God not only forgives that, He gives you his Holy Spirit. And Grace means having God’s Spirit by Grace, as well as the forgiveness of sins as a result of Grace. Now there were some that were preaching and it was a doctrine of the Nicolaitans, that since it showed how great and loving and kind God is, that because through the blood of Christ will forgive our sins and that showed the greatness and the glory of God, therefore the more God had to forgive the greater it made God. So to make God greater, they said ‘Let’s go on and sin more and then ask him to forgive it and that makes God greater.’ So they actually had what they called temple prostitutes back in those days and many times some of us have gone past, oh what is that little small temple in Rome which was really the temple too, the temple prostitutes that they actually had the temple of worship. And they just went into every wrong kind of sex and everything that way, feeling that that made God greater because the greater their sin, the greater is God’s glory in forgiving all of that sin. Paul is trying to show that is just a lot of foolishness. It’s not true at all.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 2:  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

So, despite comments from people like Protestant Reformer Martin Luther endorsing multiple sinning, no we are to strive to avoid sinning.

Did Martin Luther teach that it was acceptable to strongly and boldly sin?

Believe it or not, Martin Luther actually taught,

Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger...No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day" (Let Your Sins Be Strong: A Letter From Luther to Melanchthon Letter no. 99, 1 August 1521, From the Wartburg (Segment) Translated by Erika Bullmann Flores from: _Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche Schriften_ Dr, Johannes Georg Walch, Ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15,cols. 2585-2590).

On the other hand, Herbert Armstrong commented:

See if we have the Holy Spirit, we only have the Holy Spirit because we repented of sinning. Not only of sin which we will have done but we’ve repented of sinning which means we repented of continuing in it and we don’t live in it any longer. We turned away from it. And if we turned away from it, we’re dead to it. In other words we don’t do it any more.

God gives His Holy Spirit to those that obey Him (Acts 5:32).

Martin Luther, who is featured on the front cover of our free online book, Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism, did not have God's Holy Spirit. He and those like him should not be considered as true Christians.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 3:  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism. You see going down into the water is like being buried into death, under the water and if if you don’t come up you will drown and be dead. If anyone stays under the water doesn’t come up, the minute you begin to try to breathe you will strangle and you will drown.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 4: Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now then coming back up out of the water in the form of baptism, means a type of a resurrection of Christ and we’re coming up it means that we go down, we die the old self. We bury all of our sinful life and the way we’ve been living and leave it there. Then we come up to a better and a different kind of life. Now that’s the meaning of water baptism. That’s probably a little more than some of our ministers explain it too.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 5: For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 

Herbert Armstrong commented:

By coming up out of the water we come up to every different kind of life and just like He came to a new kind of life, Spirit life by His resurrection.

The Apostle essentially confirms this when he writes the following in Chapter 8:

29 Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 6: knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That is, the kind of man or the kind of woman that we were and the way we lived, is crucified. In other words we crucify that way of living so to speak. We just don’t do it anymore. We’ve repented of it. Repentance means we turn around to go the other way. That the body of sin might be destroyed. We don’t do it anymore. That henceforth we should not serve sin because we come up to live according to the Law of God. Now the Law of God, as I say, is just love. It is giving and not getting. It is the way of living according to God’s law, which is summed up by the Ten Commandments. It is the way of giving, serving, helping, and all of that and not the way of coveting, of  trying to see how much we can get, and how much we can get the better deal with everybody, which is really the main key of life from the average person in the world today - is getting. They live by that law of getting. They want to get the best of everything, the best of every people. They’re not interested in giving. The average person, if he would see someone got something worth an awful lot of money, now it might be some stock or a cashier’s check that was already signed and endorsed or something. Now it might be trucks that the banks use, an armored truck, for carrying money from one bank to another.  And he turned it in and that man had to move out of his neighborhood, because everybody was angry at him because he had been honest to turn it in. They said ‘you fool, why didn’t you keep it?’ That’s the way people are and that’s what we are supposed to bear when we go down into the water in baptism. We’re not ready to be baptized until we’re ready to do that.

Yes, we have to give up the way of the world.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 7: For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That is, if you’re dead to sin you don’t do it anymore. That part of you, the doing of that is dead. Anyway you’re not dead but that part of your life then, you are freed from sin. You see sin often is a matter of habit and then if you’re its prisoner then it is your boss. You get into a habit and then boy it’s got you. Perhaps one of the least of sins is smoking. A person who smokes is a slave to that cigarette. They can’t quit it. Now of course they don’t admit that. They say ‘Oh well I can quit that anytime but I don’t want to quit. I like it so I want to.’

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 8: Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Verse 9: knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

He’s giving an analogy here. Christ can ever die again. God can’t die. Christ is called the Word and was God before he was born of the Virgin Mary, and He gave that up to become a human being so He could die. And as a human being He died. But God rose Him from the dead in the resurrection and now He is holy, immortal in spirit again and now He cannot ever die again. Well once we have left everything that is wrong behind us we should never go back to it again.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 10: For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Verse 11:  Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

You quit doing it and that doing is dead. The doing of sin, the thinking of sin, the wanting of whatever it is, is dead and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 12: Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now reign means to rule over you and sin becomes habit and people have such a habit and are the slaves of it. It is ruling them. I would hate to think a little cigarette just made me it’s slave and it had dominion over me. I’d like to think that my mind is a little stronger than that.

But yes, some are slaves to smoking. To assist with that, we have the following article: Should Christians Smoke (or Chew) Tobacco or Marijuana?  Here is a link to a related video: Should You Smoke? Would You Like Help to Quit?.

In his Autobiography), Herbert Armstrong called it "a dirty, filthy habit."

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 13: And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Because that’s what people do. I just mentioned one of the least of sins and I think that there are degrees of sin. The Bible doesn’t say so now directly but I know this, the men who sinned back in old days of the Old Testament and that were men of God, and who had more wives than sugar and even had concubines and other women, but their hearts were right with God; God overlooked to some extent. God said to David one time that you’ve had many wives and concubines and He said I would have given you even more if that had been good for you. The thing that God held against David, it wasn’t so much when he had Bathsheba brought to him and committed adultery with her. He was under great temptation and it was a weakness. It wasn’t a deliberate thinking, a rebellion against God or some deliberate wrong, it was just a weakness that he gave into. But then what he probably would have called a weakness, but I don’t think God did, in order to get rid of it and save himself he had the husband of that woman killed so that now he could legally marry her and make it alright because she was going to have a child. And he was the king and if the the people found out that he committed adultery and had a child as a result of adultery, that would have gone very much against David as king with all the people. And so had this man killed. That was his worst sin. That was a pre-meditated thing not just giving into a weakness and you’ll notice that when the Bible throws that up it doesn't throw up the adultery part of it, which was bad enough, but it throws up the murder part of which was worse.

And I think that Solomon remained alright with God when he first began to take so much the women on all after he became king. Solomon had 1000 women. He had 300 wives and 700 concubines and even then, what God blames him for is that turned his heart away - they got him to serving their idol gods and deserting the true God. And therefore he was disloyal to God. There’s an example in the 17th chapter of Ezekiel of a colony that had been left in Jerusalem. They had made a solemn agreement with the King of Babylon who had conquered Judah and taken out of this little colony away and left one members there as a local governor of the colony.  Then when the King of Babylon wasn’t looking, then they made a compact, an agreement with the King of Egypt and they double-crossed the King of Babylon. And God held them severely accountable for that. That the kind of thing God won’t stand for.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 14: For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now there are a lot of people say that means you don’t have to obey the law anymore that you either have law or grace – it’s one or the other.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 15: What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Here he’s talking about for Ten Commandments the spiritual law.

Continuing in Romans 6:

Verse 16: Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Herbert Armstrong commented:

You do something contrary to God’s law and you become the servant or the slave of whatever that is.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 17: But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That was the keeping of the commandments.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 18: And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

As Christians we have been freed of being a slave to sin and Satan's ways.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 19: I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
Verse 20: For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

When they were servants of transgressing the law, they were free from right doing. People don’t want to follow the government of God. They want the freedom to choose. That is the freedom of sin.

This affects Christians as well.

In these days, the bulk of Christians are Laodiceans.

That compound word means "people decide." Many of you would be shocked about the different specific doctrines that individual Laodiceans hold as so important, they will not support the end time Philadelphian work. They do not see that they have exercised what Herbert Armstrong called 'freedom to sin.'

Continuing in Romans 6:

Verse 21:  What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
What did those things produce? What benefit? For doing the things your now ashamed of.
Verse 22: But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Not free to sin but freedom from transgressing the law. Servants of God.

Back to Romans 6:

Verse 23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Note that the wages of sin is not grace, but death. However:

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:9-10)

Herbert Armstrong commented regarding the death part of Romans 6:23:

You’re not an immortal soul.

More on that can be found in the following article: Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? There is also a related YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?

A sermon covering Romans 3-6 is available: Romans 3-6: Sin, Law, Grace, Salvation.

Romans Chapter 7

Now on to the 7th chapter of Romans.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Then we came to chapter seven. The law has dominion over us all of our lives. Now like the marriage law is for life, and if you leave a husband or wife and marry another, you are committing adultery. And God's law is the way we must live and if we transgress it we are sinning, and that's for as long as we live in this life

Then he goes on to show us that the law is a spiritual, holy law, and he is talking about the Ten Commandments (the spiritual law) and only the Holy Spirit in us can fulfill that law. And the Holy Spirit comes by faith and by reconciling us first to God through the blood of Christ, and then we get saved by His resurrection in the time when we will be resurrected ourselves if we die between now and then.

Then Paul went into a great deal about (in the seventh chapter) about his own personal struggle and how with his mind he served the law of God. He knew God's law was the right way to live and he wanted to, but somehow he didn't always do it. And he wound up by saying that he was such a miserable man who was going to save him?

Here are the first 3 verses:

Verse 1: Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

Verse 2: For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
Verse 3: So then if while her husband lives, she marries another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now that again is from the not necessarily technically one of the Ten Commandments but it is based on the Ten Commandments and it is is part of the statutes and judgments that were given Israel for the law of their nation, but it was all based on laws that only carried out the principle of the Ten Commandments and that’s what this does. The very commandment about adultery shows that it gets into the the Ten Commandments, actually get into the marriage situation. For the woman that has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives but if the husband be dead she is loosed from the law of her husband.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 4: Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another -- to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

In other words you were married to sin, but now your married to Christ. He’s using another analogy here. In other words you were married to breaking the law. It was your master. You’re like a woman and the husband is over the wife in God’s law, and now you’re married to another - Christ and we who are in the church even though we’re men, are part of the church that will be married to Christ. And there we begin to take the part of the women collectively you see, to be married to Christ at His second coming. But you should bring forth fruit from the God.

Regarding been married to Christ, notice the following:

9 Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' (Revelation 19:9)

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:25-33)

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 5: For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions of which were aroused by the law were at work on our members to bear fruit to death.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Because they brought forth transgression and the wages of sin is death. And it means the second death too, as other scriptures show. But now we are delivered from the law, but being dead wherein we were held, held as slaves because we were breaking the law. You can see how Paul writes here, and how people saying just in one part of it, and I’m not taking it all together, can get it twisted.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 6: But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

For now we are delivered from law - they {some Proestants} just take that one thing by itself there - were delivered from having to keep the law. {They say} We don’t need to keep it anymore. And that if you read the whole thing it is not what Paul was talking about. And he says one verse you do not have to keep the law at all, and in the next verse but you do have to keep it, and Paul wasn’t quite that crazy.

That we should serve in newness of spirit and not in the wholeness of the letter of the law. In the New Testament in the third chapter of the II Corinthians we find the Paul says that Christians must live according to the spirit of the law and not the letter. The spirit of law means the obvious intent and what it means, and not the strict letter {which tends to be referring to the 'ritual law" that many misunderstand}.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 7: What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet’.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

He’s talking about the Ten Commandments. He isn’t talking here about the ritual law like he is in most of the book of Galatians. The Ten commandments - the 10th command is thou shalt not covet . But sin taking occasion by the commandment, for I was alive without the law once - that is I was living but I was living in sin. That’s what he means, because he didn’t know that some of these things were wrong until the law told him it was wrong.

More on thre Ten Commandments can be found in the free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 8: But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.
Verse 9: I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 

The penalty for violating the law was death. But Jesus came to bring life, and God's Spirit in you keeping the Ten Commandments leads to life.

Continuing in Romans 7:

Verse 10: And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.

The idea that keeping God's commandments brings life was known and in the Old Testament. Here are a couple of examples:

4 You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 18:4-5)

16 'Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 5:16)

10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

11 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; (Deuteronomy 30:10-20)

God is giving guarantees that His way is best.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 11: For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 
Verse 12: Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Wherefore the law is holy. They {the Proetsants} don’t read this verse. The law is holy and the commandment is holy, and just, and good.

Many Protestant leaders consider that God's commandments are a burden. But they fail to understand:

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. (1 Timothy 1:5-7)

And it is not love to violate the Ten Commandments or to teach that they are done away.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 13: Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 
Verse 14: For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Those are two verses I want you to mark. In verse 12, it says the law is holy, and just, and good. In verse 14, it says the law is a spiritual law. Now you see the works of the law are a physical law - a ritualistic law. But he’s talking about is the spiritual law of the Ten Commandments. We know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal. As a normal human being without God’s Holy Spirit, we are sold unto sin.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 15: For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 

Yes, we all make mistakes. There are some sinful pulls that can overwhelm us.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

For what I would, because in his mind he sees now by the commandment that this, that, and the other thing is wrong and the commandment only gives us the principle by the spirit of the law and not the letter. And what he would do is is obey the law.

In his mind he sees that’s what he ought to do and that’s what he wants to do. But what I hate, that I do. Now he finds he isn’t always doing that what he sees he ought to do and what he really wants to do. If I do what I don’t really want to do, because I see it’s wrong but I’m doing it, I consent under the law that it, the law, is good. Then it is no more I that do it because with my mind I want to do what is right in God sight, but it is sin that grows in me. You see habit gets into our bodies and then our minds, until it it has us do what we’ve seen we ought to turn away from, and we don’t always do it. It’s the struggle that everyone has when they try to repent and come out of sinning, and do what is right. And nobody is living perfectly. No Christian is living perfectly. There was only One whoever did and that was Jesus Christ.  

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 16: If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 

Yes, the law is good and not a terrible burden.

Verse 17: But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
Verse 18: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 

We need to hate the sin and strive to make progress, even though we can stumble:

2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. (James 3:2-5)

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 19: For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
For the good I do not, but the evil, which I say is wrong and yet I find I’m doing it.
Verse 20: Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

In other words it’s just gotten in us, as a matter of habit, but you see that’s where the Christian life has to become a life of overcoming and you don’t do it all at once. You have to struggle with it until you finally do get it done.

As far as habits go, we need to develop good habits--these will help push out bad habits. Each day YOU have an opportunity to do good, and somehow support God's work.

Are you wasting time, instead, with bad or useless habits?

Back to Roman 7:

Verse 21: I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.
Verse 22: For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 

Herbert Armstrong commented:

He delights in the law. He’s talking about the spiritual law. The law that is holy, and just, and good.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 23: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 
Verse 24: O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Herbert Armstrong commented:

He can’t do it himself and by himself. Now he’s coming to show us that the only way we can do it is through the power that God will give us through the Holy Spirit. He’s coming right into the 8th chapter, and the eighth chapter is the Holy Spirit chapter of the Bible.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 25: I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Herbert Armstrong commented:

In other words, he thanks God, that God is the one who can deliver him, through the power of the Holy Spirit. He can’t deliver himself. It’s impossible for anyone to keep the spiritual law perfectly according to the Spirit, and keep it perfectly. Now you read that the parents of John the Baptist were keeping the law perfectly, but that was according to a letter in the Old Testament and the referring pretty much of the physical anyway.

As far as going good and thanking God goes, notice that the Bible teaches:

1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night, (Psalm 92:1-2)

Notice those four stanzas show four ways you can do good.

1) Thank God.
2) Sing praises to God's name.
3) Declaring God's lovingkindness
4) Declaring God's faithfulness

Support God's work in these times relates to at least three of the above.

Romans 8

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Then he comes in to the Holy Spirit in chapter eight (which is the Holy Spirit chapter) and that God will save us through the power of the Holy Spirit. In chapter eight then; "to be carnally minded [having only the human spirit] is death; but to be spiritually minded [having the Holy Spirit of God added to the human spirit with which we were born] is life and peace." (verse 6) That we need the Holy Spirit.

Then he gave the definition of a Christian in verse 9. If you have not the Holy Spirit of God and are not being led by it and following the Holy Spirit, (and through the Holy Spirit living the way of God's law, because it is the love of God that fulfills God's law) then you are not a Christian — you are "none of His."

And verse 11 -- if the Spirit of God is still living in you and you are being led by it and following it, that at the time of resurrection you will be resurrected and given immortal life by the Spirit of God that dwells in you and that you will come to eternal life.

Then he mentions how the Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirit. We're born with the one spirit but we need a second spirit, the Holy Spirit of God. And when His Spirit comes it witnesses with our spirit. The spirit in man is what imparts intellect to a physical brain. Now a cow or a horse has a brain as good as a man, and just about as large.

An elephant, a whale and a dolphin all have larger brains than a human brain and just as fine, just as good, and formed and shaped the same way. But they don't have the mental powers, they don't have the mind output that the human brain does. The difference is that there is a spirit in us that works with the physical brain and imparts that power.

Actually, primarily what it does, it is the depository of memory. You've always heard that memory is stored up in the gray matter in the physical matter of your brain. That's poppycock, that is not true. Your memory is stored up in that spirit. When you die the spirit returns to God and everything else that is in you is physical.

And that is you, you are wholly physical because the spirit in you is not part of you, it is something IN you. But that spirit leaves. But that spirit is like a mold and it carries the exact form and shape and your countenance, your look and how you look in your face and the form and shape. It carries your fingerprints, and your footprints, and it carries your character and all that is in your mind and memory.

Now then, when you come up in the resurrection, because of that spirit, everything that's in you in this life will come right back, and all of your character. You'll be right there just as you are. That's a wonderful thing and very few people understand that, very few people understand it.

But that one spirit is not enough, it can only memorize the knowledge you receive. And the knowledge does not come through the spirit, the knowledge comes through the brain. Well, it comes through the eye, the ear, the sense of smell and feel or touch and hearing. But you can only see physical, material things. You can only hear physical, material things which vibrate and which produces what we call sound.

So the average person without God's Holy Spirit is confined in knowledge to the physical realm. And that's the way those Romans were back there that thought they knew everything. It is interesting why God formed Israel. ...

And why did God raise up the nation Israel and deny them the Holy Spirit? God never offered them eternal salvation. They had no salvation. They couldn't be, as they call it, saved or get eternal life. Now I wonder what people who think you go to heaven when you die, what they think happened to the Israelites? They didn't have salvation. Where did they go when they died?

Well, of course you don't go to heaven when you die anyway, and what the Bible promises is the resurrection at the time of Christ's second coming, which is yet future. And the resurrection is made possible by that spirit. ... But the Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we already now, having had the Holy Spirit, are the children of God.

Now we're only begotten children, not yet born, but the begettal of human beings is just like an unborn child. It has been begotten but it hasn't been born yet. And that's the way we are now. We are in the mother's womb so to speak, and the mother is the church. And the church has to protect us and feed us just like a human mother protects and feeds the fetus before it's born as a human baby.

All creation, the whole universe, is now awaiting that spiritual birth when we will be born again. Then we'll be spirit. We'll be composed of spirit. We'll be spirit beings and we won't have any flesh and bone and blood circulating in our veins. We won't be like we are now. ...we will then be born immortal.

Now to Romans Chapter 8 itself:

Verse 1: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 

If you are repentant and focus on God's ways and plan, there is no condemination. This does not say that if you walk in the ways of the lusts of the flesh there is no condemnation, which some Protestants have implied.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 

Herbert Armstrong commented:

The law of the Spirit of Life. He’s talking about the Holy Spirit. What he couldn’t do, wretched man that I am. I’m not doing what I want to do, what I see is right. Now he’s showing that Christ Himself, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has delivered him.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 3: For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

I think he’s referring to the law of rituals, or even the keeping of the Ten Commandments because they can’t make you righteous in itself. It’s only fulfilling the law. It takes the love of God by the Holy Spirit to do it. We don’t have the kind of love that will do it, but God will give us his Holy Spirit anytime we want to turn surrender and turn around and believe and accept Christ.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 4: that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

We’re led by the Holy Spirit. I believe the first thing the Holy Spirit does is open our minds to understand the spiritual truth of the Bible.

Jesus paid the righteous requirement through His death for us and our sins (cf. Romans 5:18).

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 5: For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Verse 6: For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

The Apostle John wrote:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

The world's focus is mainly on the physical things of this world, along with deceptive pride. Satan's carnal world is passing away.

Back to Romans 7:

Verse 7:  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Is enmity or hostile against God...for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be -- not until you receive the Holy Spirit.

Until you receive God's Holy Spirit you are carnally-minded. Now when God calls someone, He starts to provide enough of His Spirit to help get you to the process of repentance and conversion.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 8: So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Only those that obey God will be granted His Spirit (Acts 5:32) and will properly please God.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 9:  But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That is the definition of a Christian. A Christian is then one who has the Holy Spirit of God. He’s showing that the law is spiritual and we are carnal. And we have to have the Holy Spirit to give us the spiritual love so we can keep the spiritual law.

As Peter and the other Apostles stated in Acts 5:32, God gives His Holy Spirit to those that obey Him). Notice also:

9 ... He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9)

Many Protestants do not understand that. Those who do not truly obey God do not have His Holy Spirit and they are NOT Christians.

Nor do those that reason around obedience to God.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 10: And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

We cease to be slaves of sin.

Back to Romans 8, this time with the AFV:

11. Now if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit that dwells within you. (Romans 8:11, A Faithful Version)

Most translators improperly insert a personal pronoun for the Holy Spirit which is not in the Greek (see also Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?).

Verse 12: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 
Verse 13: For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Being a slave to sin leads to death. Being a servant of God leads to life.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Verse 14 is another definition of a Christian.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now, the Holy Spirit will not get behind you and push you, it will not shove you. It won't get in front of you and get hold of you and pull you and drag you along. The Holy Spirit though, I say that, not first in importance but first in the process of time, the Holy Spirit opens the mind to understand the Spiritual knowledge of God. You'll find that in First Corinthians 2, how the natural mind cannot understand the things of God.

Spirit in Man

A human being could not understand the knowledge that a man understands, he would understand no more than a dumb animal. Now, an elephant, or a dolphin, or a whale has a larger brain and it's just as good as ours and bigger, but they can't understand the knowledge of a man. And no man could understand it except that there is a spirit in man that imparts intellect to the physical brain. Animals don't have that spirit within them. That spirit is something like water or air.

It's not a physical being or anything of the kind, but it does impart the power of intellect. Yet it doesn't know anything, and all that you know is what you see through your eye, or hear through your ear, or smell through your nose, or through the sense of touch, and hearing, feeling, and tasting. And you can only see, or hear, or touch, or feel, or taste physical matter. You cannot see or hear spirit.

And no knowledge can come into the human mind that is Spiritual knowledge. Your mind cannot receive it. All the knowledge you have comes through...well, I'd say ninety-five, ninety-eight percent of it comes through the eye and the ear, but the sense of smell, and taste, and feel brings a certain amount of knowledge too, but again, it's all physical.

And now, a man could not understand what a man knows without that spirit. Animals have the same kind of brain and just as good, but they don't have the knowledge that a man does, and they can't think and undertake processes of thinking and reasoning, and come to conclusions and decisions like a human being because of the lack of that spirit.

Now, God created man with the one spirit, but He did not finish His creation. Everything God creates, now remember this is basic; God's creation is always in a dual pattern. Never does He create anything a finished product all at once. Man was not finished. Man's creation was an unfinished piece of God's workmanship.

The one spirit in man needs another spirit to go with it, the Holy Spirit of God. And you can't understand the things that are Spiritual, the things God has prepared for them that love Him until you receive the Holy Spirit.

Now, the Holy Spirit then begins to develop holy, and righteous, and perfect character within you. In other words, the character of God and it has to come from God but with our consent and with our desire even. So Paul has explained a lot of that through this eighth chapter of Romans. But if the Holy Spirit is in us, and it's only those of us that are following.

Now, I started to say that first in time order at least of the attributes of the Holy Spirit, would be to open our minds to Spiritual understanding, Spiritual comprehension. But, now we begin to understand the Spiritual things in the Bible.

I have whole volumes over there of Bible commentaries, and Bible encyclopedias, and a Bible dictionary, but they don't help me very much. The men who wrote those were very learned and scholarly men, but THEY DID NOT HAVE GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT, AND THEY DID NOT COMPREHEND WHAT'S IN THIS BOOK! They just didn't. God has given me more understanding than all of them put together, although they had a lot of technical knowledge that I don't have, but that technical knowledge if virtually useless.

They don't know why we're here. Not one of them can tell you what and why is man. Not one of them can tell you really what is God, and it's all revealed in this Book. They can't tell you who and what is God! And no religion on the earth can tell you. Billy Graham can't tell you. They just don't know. They don't know what was the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 15:  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

God is our Father, and we should try to approach Him in that manner as holy Father as Jesus taught in Matthew 6:

9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name. (Matthew 6:9)

Herbert Armstrong commented on Roman 8:15:

Some people think you’re in bondage if you live according to the Bible and the Christian way. It’s really the other way around. The people living according to this world are the ones in bondage. Sin is always bringing punishment and suffering.

Adoption is not the right word. It is sonship. We become sons of God. The Holy Spirit impregnates us with God life. And at the resurrection we’ll have eternal life.

In 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,” It hasn’t happened yet so you can’t see it.  Similar to abortion. The life is already there and abortion is taking a human life. If one has received the Holy Spirit, there is an immortal life and it can be snuffed out right here and now.

Back to Romans 8 and the AFV:

16. The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16, A Faithful Version)

Again, having God's Spirit is essentially the definition of a Christian in this age.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

This shows we have a spirit in us. The spirit is in our whole body. The body is the temple of God.
When it combines with our spirit it brings us that knowledge. But the man's spirit alone won't bring that knowledge.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 17: and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Herbert Armstrong commented on the first half of that verse:

Christ is now God. An heir is not an inheritor. We’ll become an inheritor at the time of the resurrection. God turned everything over to Christ. It’s His. Jesus is glorified. We will be too.

Real Christians are heirs, we will inherit eternal life at the first resurrection.

Notice the following related to suffering:

8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

Are you learning from what you suffered. Or are you more like Bill Murray in the movie 'Groundhog Day' where you keep having the same type of problems over and over again? In the movie, Bill Murray finally changed and then no longer had to endure the same tests, but instead became what appeared to be a less selfish and more giving person.

We also have a video related to that movie: Lessons from ‘Groundhog Day’.

Hopefully, you will examine yourself and learn from suffering and perhaps some of it will not repeated.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 18: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Many people do not understand that the suffering we have is temporary as this life is temporary, and it is for our own good, even though it does not seem that way.

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11)

More on why we suffer and what it will lead to can be found in the free online book:  The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?

Most who profess Christ, including most end time Christians, do not know why God actually made them personally.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 19: For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

When we will appear as sons of God, we will be like God. The whole creation meaning the planets that we see, in all the universe, is waiting for this time.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 20: For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;

Herbert Armstrong commented:

God did not create this earth in the state of confusion, chaos and decay. God created those planets perfect. The earth was perfect but not wholly complete. Then He created us. We are not complete. Go back to Job, where he says ‘You will desire the work of Your hands’. God is the potter and we are the clay. He is molding us.

As far as how additional information about how God created the earth, check out the article: How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Gap Theory?

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 21: because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

The angels didn’t do the job. They failed. Men will be resurrected and go to the other planets and create there.

God looks to have put Lucifer and numerous angels over the earth. But many rebelled and became demons, and hence God did not use them as He otherwise would have.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 22: For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Yes, sin is affecting the physical universe. Many signs of the impact of sins can be seen on planet earth including those from greed, pollution and war.

Continuing in Romans 8:

Verse 23: Not only that, but we also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 

Yes, we groan. Notice something else the Apostle Paul wrote:

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 5:2-5)

 17 in which God, desiring to show more abundantly the unchangeableness of His purpose to the heirs of the promise, guaranteed it by an oath,  18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, having fled for refuge, to take hold of the hope being set before us, (Hebrews 6:17-18, Berean Literal Bible)

Notice that Christians have a GUARANTEE! Yes, a guarantee you can rely on and have hope in.

Let's consider also the following scriptures:

24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

15 Christ died to rescue those who had sinned and broken the old agreement. Now he brings his chosen ones a new agreement with its guarantee of God's eternal blessings! (Hebrews 9:15, CEV)

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

God is faithful, we have a reliable guarantee. So do not give up.

Herbert Armstrong commented on part of Romans 8:23:

It’s not adoption – it’s sonship.

We are to be sons and daughters of God:

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 24: For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

Herbert Armstrong commented:

You don’t hope for what you already have.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 25: But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Not let's go back to the AFV:

26. Now in the same way also, the Spirit is conjointly helping our weaknesses because we do not fully understand what we should pray for, according as it is necessary, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be expressed by us. 27. And the One Who searches the hearts comprehends what the strivings of the Spirit are because it makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27,A Faithful Version)

God's Spirit helps us obey Him and do the will of God. Paul also warned:

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20)

Paul would not have given those warnings unless these were possibilities for Christians. In this age, many Laodiceans despise prophecies and are often lax in response to God's Spirit and are chastised by Jesus (cf. Revelation 3:14-21; see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

This should be one of the most comforting scriptures for Christians when we experience tests and trials, which many do daily.

As far as God's purpose, here are some quotes in the free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?:

God's plan takes into account what has happened to you. Notice Old Testament teachings related to that:

11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance. 13 The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. 14 From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; 15 He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. (Psalm 33:11-15)

1 For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. (Ecclesiastes 9:1a)

9 A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

24 A man's steps are of the Lord; How then can a man understand his own way? (Proverbs 20:24)

73 Your hands have made me and fashioned me; (Psalm 119:73)

17 ... “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” (Ecclesiastes 3:17)

Notice, now, passages in the New Testament:

11 But the one and the same Spirit is operating in all these things, dividing separately to each one as God Himself desires. … 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and you are all individual members. (1 Corinthians 12:11, 27, AFV)

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7-8)

10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name ... (Hebrews 6:10)

God has a plan for ALL! That includes YOU INDIVIDUALLY whether you are called in this age or not. And He considers ALL OF YOUR WORKS.

All that you have been through, all that you have suffered, all of which you accomplished, etc. is preparing YOU to make eternity better (unless you will ultimately refuse to support God’s Kingdom). Everything you have been through has been preparing you for the calling and work God has for you! YOU will be able to give in a unique way and help make eternity better!

The Bible mentions that just like the body has parts like hands and eyes and parts for smelling, hearing, and other things (1 Corinthians 12:12-26), we all have our unique part in the eternal plan God has. Yes, your role could be quite different from the other billions of humans—don’t think God does not have a real plan for YOU.

Furthermore, you are accountable for what you do (Romans 14:12). God will judge based on what you do (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Revelation 20:12) as well as what you fail to do (Matthew 25:24-30). The more you do what you should do, the more you will make eternity better for your own self and others. The more you do not do what you should not do, you will make eternity better for your own self and others. God is a righteous judge (2 Timothy 4:8).

The Bible teaches that we shall be rewarded according to our works (Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6; Proverbs 24:12; Jeremiah 17:10; Revelation 22:12)! And we will be able to help more people because of that (cf. Luke 19:15-19). The Bible says that after death, our works follow us (cf. Revelation 14:13)—which basically means that what we learned and developed while physical will shape how we will be able to give and work throughout eternity.

Everything God has done He has had a reason for (Ezekiel 14:23). Including the length of our lives, which is usually a mystery for us (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:12).

“Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22) as He has fantastic reasons for everything He does—even when it does not always seem that way to us (cf. Hebrews 12:11; Romans 8:28).

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 29: For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

The only way to be Jesus' true brethren is being adopted as His sons and daughters. As far as predestination goes. God did predestine some to be called in this life--and that probably includes you. More on that is in the free online booklet: Is God Calling You? 

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Christ is the first to be resurrected to be immortal.

But as Paul wrote, we are to be as well:

49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinthians 15:49-54)

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 30: Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

The ones predestined are those that are called. That shows that predestination has nothing to do with whether you are saved or lost. It only has to do with whether you’re called now or not.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 31: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

The above was one of my favorite memory verses.

We all have difficulties, but should have hope.

Romans 8:31 is a verse I think all endtime Christians should try to memorize.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 32: He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

This was a massive risk on the part of God the Father. He was willing to risk the elimination of His companion for eternity (John 1) for us (John 3:16).

But what was the risk?

Notice:

15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

If Jesus failed and sinned, the wages of sin would have been death for Him (cf. Romans 6:23) and He would not have been our Reddemer either.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 33:  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Satan still will. He is the "accuser of the brethren" (Revelation 12:10), and sometimes he will try to get you to accuse yourself and give up.

But the reality is that God will forgive us of our sins. So, if we confess them (1 John 1:9), we do not have to pay attention to Satan's charge. Whether he does it himself our through other people.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 34:  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Notice that Jesus will not condemn us if we have confessed our sins and followed Him. Instead, He acts on our behalf as our intercessor.

Verse 35:  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Yes, we will have tribulations, distress, and some of us persections and some of us famines, etc. But that will NOT separate Jesus' love for us.\Herbert Armstrong commented:

That’s a wonderful thing. Nothing is going to separate us from God.

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 36:  As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

And sometimes the world thinks we are foolish for believing God and being willing to suffer for our faith.

As Paul also wrote:

27 ... you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me. (Philippians 1:27- 29)

Back to Roman 8:

Verse 37: Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Notice if we will be faithful, we are not just conquerers, we are more than conquerers--that is a promise, a guarantee! We will ultimately be more than successful by any standard we can even image.

As Paul wrote:

9 But as it is written:

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Back to Romans 8:

Verse 38: For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
Verse 39: nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can stop us if we will not give up. THAT IS A GUARANTEE.

As Paul wrote elsewhere:

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:6)

The Bible, including the Book of Romans (cf. Romans 4:16, ESV), is full of guarantees for those who will repent, believe, confess sins, and obey God.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Romans 7-8: God's Spirit and Guarantee.

Romans 9

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Well now, we've been going through the book of Romans and we're up now to one of the favorite chapters of mine, the eleventh chapter. I was just making a brief little outline of Romans up-to-date from the beginning.

In chapter one Paul addresses his letter to all that are in Rome. Now remember he wrote this letter before he had even been there and he's writing it too, of course, to those in the church. And some of them had been Romans and were Gentiles, but also several of them were Jews (converted Jews) and he is addressing both.

Now in chapter one he addresses himself to the Gentiles who were going along with the Greeks at that time and with the intellectuals, who considered that they were the salt of the earth, and they were superior because they had great intellect and they were going into great knowledge. It is just like today, they go into great physical knowledge.

They take the universe apart and they take man apart. They dissect man in physiology and in, well psychology (they examine the mind), anthropology and other allied subjects. They even get into it in physics. And they take man apart inch by inch and still don't know what man is, and they don't know why he is or how he came to be here. They still don't know much about him, when you get down to it.

And that is the way with those of the Gentile world in Rome and over in Athens and in Greece at that time. He addresses himself though to those that are Gentile born, but those that had been called by God and he said the gospel was to the Jew first, but also then to the Gentile. But then he mentioned the intellectual world from Greece and of those people who thought they were so very great. They were way above the Jews.

The Jews, they looked on as illiterate nothings and they looked down on the Jews. But they themselves held back the truth, even though originally they had known some of it, and they suppressed the gospel. And even the reality of God had been shown to them by the things that are visible in the earth, but the Gentile intellectuals changed the truth into a lie. They were mostly corrupt. They did not retain God in their knowledge. God was just put out of their knowledge and anything spiritual, and so God gave them over to corrupt minds.

Overview of Chapters 2, 3 & 4

Now in the second chapter Paul addressed himself to the Jewish Christians. Now they felt they were superior and they looked down on the Romans. They were superior because they had the law. They had God's law and that made them superior. Now they looked on the law, both the spiritual law of the Ten Commandments and the ritual law (or ceremonial law) well at least those two, and circumcision and everything of that kind, and they felt that made them very superior.

Well as Paul said, they taught it to others and felt they were superior and yet they themselves didn't keep the law. They were just preaching the law but not obeying it themselves.

In chapter three, what superiority then did the Jew have? Well Paul said they had much in every way, but not because of their own performance. The scriptures had been entrusted to them and that was not anything they did but what God did. But they were under sin just as the Gentiles were. He showed that that we're justified by faith and not by obedience to the law; that you obey God's spiritual law. That is only what you must do today anyway, otherwise you are sinning.

But obeying the law today doesn't wipe out or justify you for your transgressions of the law yesterday and last year, and the year before that. And justification has to do with clearing up your guilty past, and justification came only by faith in Christ.

So keeping the law today is only their duty anyway.

Chapter four, he gets into old Abraham and says that Abraham was justified by faith rather than obedience. Now Abraham was obedient to God when God said go sacrifice his only son. He took him out. He actually got to the place where the dagger, or the knife, or whatever he was using, he raised his hand ready to plunge it down into his son. Had him right on the place to be sacrificed and with all the kindling underneath and everything to catch it on fire and burn him up.

And his son asked him, "Well what are you going to do? And if you're going to make a sacrifice, where will you find a sacrifice?" And Abraham replied, "Well God will provide a sacrifice." And at the last second God did.

And that reminds me of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the companions of the prophet Daniel, who were in Babylon and they were threatened that if they didn't bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden image when the band began to play, that they would be thrown into a burning fiery furnace. They told the king that the God they served would protect them, and they said that even if He didn't, that they still would not bow down to that image.

Well God tested their faith to the last second. They were actually thrown bound into that furnace, heated seven times hotter than usual, and it was at that last fraction of a second that God did something to them so that not a hair of their head was singed, none of their clothes were scorched and they walked around inside of that great furnace.

And finally Nebuchadnezzar saw them and called them out, and they just walked out. And God provided a great miracle. Well that shows how some, in times past, have had a faith that I'm afraid we don't have today. Jews Under Sin Too

But Paul went on in chapter three to tell the Jews at Rome that they were under sin because the law is over us and they had broken it, so the law was over them (or its penalty was over them) the same as the Gentiles. And the salvation did not come by obedience to law, but only — because that was only a duty anyway.
Oh yes then in chapter four, how Abraham was justified by faith rather more than obedience. However, in James you will read; that was he justified by faith only? No, he proved his faith by his works. Then in chapter four Paul talked more of the law. Overview of Chapters 5 & 6

Chapter five — the love of God comes by the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the love of God in us by the love that does fulfill God's law. And it is by faith in God that we receive His love, and that we can keep the law. Not that we shouldn't keep the law, we must, but we have to keep it by faith and spiritually and not by our own efforts alone. Chapter five: Love of God by the Holy Spirit that through God and receiving the Holy Spirit, we're reconciled to God by Christ.

Now that's a very important point. Remember I stressed on that a great deal. Billy Graham will tell you that all you need to do is come and just receive Christ. He is on the getting side. You get, you receive, you take Christ — and hocus pocus, you're automatically saved. Well you're not anything of the kind. Christ alone can't save you. The blood of Christ alone does not save anybody.

The blood of Christ only wipes out your past guilt because it paid the penalty in your stead. But first you've got to get reconciled to God, because your sin was against God. Now Jesus paid the penalty in your stead, but when you come to Christ (and you come to God by way of Christ) you have to come to Christ first, but you've got to get straight with the Father by REPENTANCE.

Repentance is toward God the Father - repenting of your past law breaking. You've got to begin to keep the law and be obedient from now on and live a different life. And so we are only reconciled to God by the death of Christ, and not saved by the death of Christ. But we are saved by His life — by His resurrection, as you will find in (let's see, I forget the verses now) but anyway it's in chapter five.

In chapter six, since it is grace (which is God's undeserved pardon and free gift that He gives us) since that saves us rather than deeds that we perform ourselves, then he asks; "shall we sin that grace may abound?" Now I think you will remember when we were on that chapter, I mentioned there had been the sect of the Nicolaitanes who, they reasoned that when you sinned, grace is much greater than the sin and that magnifies God, that God is able to have grace and to forgive, and through the sacrifice of Christ.

And "...God [the Father] so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son [Christ] that [we] ...should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). So they figured that the more we sin, the more there is for God to forgive, and the greater that magnifies God. That meant the more God forgives, the greater God is. And so they even had Temple prostitutes — prostitutes right in the Temple because they figured that was a great sin.

Well that's one of the things that God tells us in the book of Revelation that He hates. So Paul said that we are not to sin in order to magnify or exalt God in a greater way. The law is a way of living, the way we ought to live anyway, today and tomorrow. And living that way today and tomorrow doesn't make up for the wrong we did yesterday (or the transgressions of yesterday).

And "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. “That’s in the twenty third verse {1} of Romans 6.

Throughout Romans we also see that God has promises that are guarantees, and that we ought to live our lives as Christians with that understanding.

Herbert Armstrong commented also:

Now, in chapter 9, Paul has a heavy heart because of his concern about Israel. He was hoping that they could have spiritual salvation and they didn't. Well, as a matter of fact, God never offered it to them, but He did by the time of Christ's coming and in the preaching of the Apostles and Paul.

Now Paul said that to them pertains the sonship. Again, what advantage is it to a Jew? Well God gave them (not just a Jew but all Israel) and remember the Jew; there are only the three tribes of Benjamin, Levi and Judah. Jew was a nickname for the tribe of Judah.

Paul had a heavy heart because of Israel's sins, and to them he said pertains the sonship, because we'll be born as actual sons of God. Now we're already children of God but as yet unborn, only begotten. We're heirs now. When we're born of God we'll be possessors, no longer heirs, then we'll be inheritors.

The Covenants, the glory and the promises all pertain to Israel, and others have to become Israelites through receiving the Holy Spirit in order to inherit those things. And Christ even was of Israel and born as one of them.

But the carnal minded who have only the one spirit and don't have God's Holy Spirit, are not the children of God, even though they were born as Jews, or even though they were born as Israelites. Now the people of the United States are Israelites of the tribe of Manasseh, but they don't know it. We don't know who we are. We have lost our identity.

The British are of the tribe of Ephraim, and the French are of the tribe of Reuben. And we are all of the ten tribes of Israel, who became known as The Lost Ten Tribes. And they sure are lost. But God calls whom He chooses.

Now Christ said in John 6:44; "no man can come to [Christ] except the Father... draw him." God, at the time of Adam and Eve, drove them out of the Garden of Eden. And God closed the door on receiving the Holy Spirit to all except to those to whom God would call and give the Holy Spirit. And all others have been cut off from God and from the Holy Spirit.
Now God called the nation Israel, but He still kept the Holy Spirit cut off from them except for their prophets only. But anyway, God calls whom He chooses, and I'm learning more and more, that God calls those that He knows have the characteristics and the qualifications that they can perform what He wants accomplished. That they can do the job that He wants done by them.

Now, for example, He not only chose Moses as a man who by heredity and by birth had those qualities, but He had Moses trained until he was - for forty years I believe it was — as a prince in the palace of the Pharaoh (or the King). And he was highly and well trained for the job, but God didn't call him until he was eighty years of age. But God chose a man that was fitted for that.

Now, let's go to the first two verses 9th chapter of the Book of Romans:

Verse 1: I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
Verse 2: that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
Verse 3: For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,

Herbert Armstrong commented:

In other words, Paul loved them enough, he would do what Jesus did do for us, that he would even die for them if that would save all of them. But you see, one man cannot die and save a great many. Only Christ could do that because the life of Christ was greater than all human lives put together because He created and made all of us. So He was greater than all of us put together, and He's the only one that could die for us.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 4: who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now, the word "adoption" here is a wrong translation. The King James translators, in the year of 1611, could not bring themselves to believe we could ever become God, that we could become the real sons of God, although they translated in First John the third chapter, and let's see whether it's the first or second verse...

I John 3:2 Beloved, now we are already the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:..(what we will be doesn't appear, you can't see it yet.)

But the word should be "sonship."

We can be begotten and then born of God.

So you see, creation of man is still going on. God created an unfinished piece of His workmanship in Adam. Adam was made wholly mortal and with one spirit, but now in this life, through Christ, we can receive the Holy Spirit, ...

You'll read in the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel how the whole house of Israel are going to come up in the valley of dry bones, which is over a thousand years from now, after the Millennium, and they'll come back to a natural resurrection as they did.

Incidentally, something I'm bringing into that, that I had never of anyone getting and seeing it before, Why did God blot out all human life in the flood?

Well, ... human life had become so vile, so evil, so destructive, and so bent on violence and everything wrong. Now, they were eating, and drinking, and marrying, and giving in marriage. What's wrong with that? Well, they were doing it in a wrong manner somewhere.

Well, you'll read in the New Testament how some of them go around carousing and reveling in drunken debouches, and how that is condemned, and that a real Christian won't do those things. That's what they were doing. They were getting drunk, they were eating the wrong kind of food, and they were going into violence completely. ...

So why did God bring the plagues on Egypt? Have you ever heard that explained? He did it to show them that the gods that they were worshiping, He turned those very gods against them to show them that their false Gods were false, and He did it out of love for the Egyptians. EVERYTHING GOD DOES IS DONE IN LOVE. And the Devil wants people to think that God is a harsh stern monster.

An aunt of mine in Des Moines, Iowa said one time, she says, "Well, I tell you one thing, I can accept Jesus alright, He was good, but that God of the Old Testament I can't stand. He was a cruel monster."

She didn't realize the God of the Old Testament was the one who became Jesus, and that everything that God did in the Old Testament time, or ever has done, was done in love. Go into some of these things, why God put the plagues on Egypt, why God killed all humanity but eight souls in a flood. And He did it all in love and mercy, because that is the nature of God, and God couldn't do things any other way.

... But He set the bounds of the nations where they should live, but they didn't want to do that, so at the Tower of Babel they wanted to build a tower. Why? So that they could intermarry and be one race, and they all had one language, and they wanted to be one, and they didn't want to be separated. So God came down and divided the languages and made them separate.

Now, Paul said he had great heaviness of heart because of his people, the Israelites.

Romans 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption (sonship), They were the adopted. ...

Now, "pertains the sonship," and yet God in Old Covenant Israel did not give them any sonship or any eternal salvation.
Romans 9:4 and the glory, and the covenants,...

They made the Old Covenant and the New Covenant will be made primarily with them. Although it's also opened now to Gentiles.

And incidentally, of course we think we're Gentiles and we're not. We are the tribe of Manasseh of the sons of Joseph. And it all comes back, although there's been a lot of intermarriage since because men have violated God's way. But there's some of that same white strain still in our people.

As far as the racial appearance of the children of Israel, check out the article: Were the Ancient Tribes of Israel Black? Was Jesus Black?

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 5: of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now, what does he mean by that? Let's go on and get it...

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 6: But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,
Verse 7: nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

What does he mean there? ...

Sarah ... was getting up towards ninety, and she was still so beautiful that the king where Abraham had gone wanted to take her to be one of his wives. She was just that beautiful. You don't find women up around eighty and ninety years of age that beautiful anymore, but there were then, and Sarah was. And Abraham had done a few things that were wrong. He wasn't a hundred percent perfect. No man has ever been completely perfect but Jesus Christ.

But when Sarah was barren, Sarah brought her handmaid in and tempted Abraham and says, "Have a child for me by her."

But as soon as Hagar the maid became pregnant, then the same thing happened that would happen to two women under the same conditions anywhere. Hagar despised Sarah her master, and Sarah despised Hagar her maid.

And that was Abraham's first child. He was a wild man because he was half Egyptian. But Abraham wanted him to be the heir, and God said...

"No, he shall not be my heir. But I have tried to tell you, Abraham, but you haven't trusted me in this yet."

Now, he did believe...Abraham did believe God and was willing to sacrifice his only son.

I faced the same thing when my son, Dick, was killed. Would I be willing to give him up? He had one week to live, and I had to pray about it, and I knew I was facing...he was my firstborn son, the son that meant everything to me. The happiest day of my life had been the day he was born. I had to wait ten years to have a male son.

I had two daughters, and then we'd been told my wife could never have another child, and I thought I would never have a son, and then God healed my wife supernaturally. And now I knew I could have a son, and I did, and when that son was born I always said that was the happiest day of my life.

But I was called on to give him up. But I believed with all my heart, God wouldn't...He didn't make Abraham give up his son, I didn't think He'd make me, but He did. I had to give up my son. I had to go farther than Abraham had gone. I had to really give him up, and he died.

Then God left me another son, and I just had this one thing in mind, he's still alive and God may save him yet, and I pray for him every single day, because...well, I think that God is able to do things that will bring him to repentance even yet.

The children, you see, of Hagar, are not counted, and God said, "He shall not have the promises, but in Isaac shall thy seed be called." ...but, In Isaac... [well, there it is here]

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 8: That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

You see, Israel today is a Spiritual name of those who are converted, and some of them were born Gentile. That's what he's trying to say here. And that even though they were born Gentile, through Christ they become the sons of God. And that gets them back into a pure strain spiritually.

Romans 9:8 ...They which are the children of the flesh, [that is natural born] these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

In other words, Isaac and those. But it is only those who are converted and have the Holy Spirit that become the children of God. And we're already children of God though not yet actually born; only begotten.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 9: For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

And finally Abraham had to believe God. And Abraham was ninety-nine and Sarah was ninety when Sarah had the son, Isaac. And then did you notice, do you remember that Abraham sent his head man that was of his whole great staff, and he was a very wealthy man, he sent his head man back to his own people, among his own racial strain of people to find a wife for Isaac, and he brought Rebekah.

And that's…Abraham is a type of God the Father, and Isaac a type of Christ the Son, and Rebekah is a type of the Church. And we in the Church have to fall in love with Christ before we have seen Him. You have never really seen Christ, and don't think the pictures you've seen are Christ, because He didn't look like those pictures at all. And Rebekah had to fall in love with Isaac before she ever saw him. But God was superintending the whole thing and so it worked out beautifully.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 10: And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac
Verse 11: (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now, "him that calls" there's a lot that ought to be written about God calling. Jesus Christ said very plainly...

John 6:44 "NO MAN CAN come to me,"...[no matter how much he wants to, no matter if he really would like to become a Christian] "NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, except the Father which hath sent me draw him."

God takes the initiative. God is the one who decides who's going to be saved. God has to draw them through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He works on them, and you might say, draws or pulls them like the power of gravity will pull you to the earth. Trust in God.

Now, the calling of God and predestination both have something in common. God calls those that were predestinated to be called. ...

And God chose Abraham because He knew that Abraham had the qualities that would develop the character of righteousness, and faith, and steadfastness, and He called him and gave him the chance. Now, frankly, I don't think God knew whether Abraham would respond or not, because you see, when God calls one of us, we make the decision. But Abraham did. Abraham did. And he became the "father of the faithful." And all the promises were made to him. Now...

Back to Romans 9

Verse 12: it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”
Verse 13: As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That is a mistranslation in a way. God is not a God of hate, and it means that he loved Jacob more. He had… In other words, the calling, it talked about the calling up in the verse before, and God had called Jacob. God knew that Jacob had the qualities that if he were called he would make good. Now, that's just what it amounts to.

And maybe He knows in some cases before you're born, because there are some like Jeremiah, for example, and Christ, both were sanctified or set apart by God, which means called, before they were even born. But God sometimes knows even before they're born, through the heredity, of just what type of person they're going to turn out to be.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 14: What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!

The Apostle Paul also wrote related to the above:

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)

While it may not seem so to us, there is a divine logic to what God does. God is just:

21 Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.

22 "Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth! (Isaiah 45:21-22)

10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:10-12)

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 15: For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”

Do not think God is arbitrary. He is just:

11 God is a just judge,
And God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalm 7:11)

21 ... A just God and a Savior; (Isaiah 45:21)

3 ... "Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints! (Revelation 15:3)

Remember:

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is a reason for all that God does, and the reason is based on love and what would be best for all.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 16: So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

Mercy is a major part of God's plan. And while God will judge, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), the Bible teaches that God's "mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13b).

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 17: For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now, that was to Pharaoh, and that was the Pharaoh on whom the plagues fell.

Did I mentioned a while ago, that even in the plagues against the Egyptians, God was merciful to them because He was taking the very things they worshiped, and turning them in plagues against the Egyptians, and showing that their gods were not gods but enemies, and that they shouldn't have been worshiping them.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 18: Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

God does this so that the most will be saved. God wants no one to commit the unpardonable sin and let's certain hearts be hardened in this age, so that they will be willing to accept the calling in the age to come (see also the free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 19: You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
Verse 20: But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

Jeremiah recorded the following:

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the Lord. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. (Jeremiah 18:1-10)

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Who are you to criticize God? Or who are you to condemn God and blame God?

God is more than a potter. He loves us and has a plan for us that will benefit us.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 21: Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

God's plan is infinitely greater than the potter who makes a temporary physical item. God's plan works to maximize the potential for all.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 22: What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Verse 23: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
Verse 24: even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Well, that basically is what God has done. That is also why mercy will triumph over judgment (James 2:13).

That being said, Herbert Armstrong commented:

People are always wanting to sit in judgment of God. They want to blame God. Now, it goes a little further than that. You take in the Church, God has had to call some to raise up His Church and organize and to...it has to be an organization, and some have to operate it, and if God does the choosing you'll find that people are always going to say, "God made the wrong choice." They're plenty of them that think God made the wrong choice in choosing me to be His apostle.

When people try to correct me they're sitting in Christ's place, and they say, "Well Christ, I don't think you're on the job. You're not straightening out the man you corrected. And that's your job, and you're not attending to your job. I'm going to do it for you."

Now, I'm responsible for the men under me. If they don't perform right I remove them, and I will of course be criticized for it. People are so willing to criticize, and they even want to criticize God Himself. That's what this whole chapter is about.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 25: As He says also in Hosea:
“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
Verse 26: “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

The above has a two-fold application. The first is that God was calling Gentiles and not just the children of Israel.

The second is that after the second resurrection, God will call all not called in this age, whether Israelite or Gentile, and all who accept that call will be God's people.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

But there will be a lot of repentance in the meantime, and people can't understand that.

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 27: Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.

Verse 28: For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”

Only a remnant of Israel will be saved in this age.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

An angel says, "Wait, hold up the Day of the Lord until we seal the one hundred and forty-four thousand and another great innumerable multitude of all nations."

So that shows that, when it is necessary, God can slow up world events for His own purpose until time for something God wants done can be done.

As far as the short work goes, Herbert Armstrong commented elsewhere:

Just as Jesus said God will cut short the days of the Great Tribulation, so He tells us through the Apostle Paul He will CUT SHORT THIS WORK! Listen! Read it carefully! "For He will finish the Work, and CUT IT SHORT in righteousness: because a SHORT WORK will the Lord make upon the earth." (Romans 9:28.) ...

We need to be stirred -- to be frightened just enough to realize the SERIOUSNESS of the TIME -- and the SERIOUSNESS of THIS WORK! This is GOD'S DOING! -- not mine! YOU are privileged, as well as I, to have A PART in it! We need to dedicate ourselves to it, as the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN OUR LIVES, by far! (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, July 29, 1968)

In a letter dated October 18, 1983 he wrote that he reaized that the 'short work' was for the future:

I feel God will move swiftly soon to make a short work preparatory to Christ's coming.

We in the Continuing Church of God are preparing for the short work (see Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word).

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 29: And as Isaiah said before:
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

Although Jesus is "Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:28), Lord of Sabaoth means "Lord of hosts." It is not related to the Sabbath.

As far as being like Sodom and Gomorrah go, the USA and its British-descended allies seem to be racing to do so and will suffer destruction as they did (cf. Romans 1:8-32; see also The Bible Condemns Homosexuality).

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 30: That shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;
Verse 31: but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
Verse 32: Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now, works of the law, there it's referring to the rituals of the law. The word "works" in the English language is translated from the Greek word ergon and it means a physical law, not the Spiritual law of the Ten Commandments, but something that requires physical labor.

The children of Israel basically thought that going through the outward motions was what was important--they, and many today, missed the point of the laws, which was love (cf. 1 Timothy 1:15).

Back to Romans 9:

Verse 33: As it is written:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

God's way of life is offensive to many--including many of the religious.

It offends society and often family members.

Many think not being militaristic is naive (for more on that, see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?).

Many think that tithing is not possible (see also Tithing Questions and Some Answers).

Many think keeping the Sabbath at risk of your job or education is absurd (see Can You Keep Your Job, Get Your Degree, and Keep the Sabbath? and/or watch: Can you keep the Sabbath and your job? What about college?).

Since God's ways are a stumbling block to many, God does not call all in this age.

Romans 10

Now to Romans Chapter 10:

Verse 1: Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

Even though he was "an apostle to the Gentiles" (Roman 11:13), Paul wanted the Israelites saved. And, even though they were not usually his focus, he taught and reached them as well (Acts 18:1-4).

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 2: For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Let's see, I've written something in here. "Also Pentecostals have a great zeal for God but not according to knowledge." That does apply to them. They have a good time at church.

And they say, "Praise the Lord! Praise you Jesus! Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"

Oh, they have a good time, but if you want to bring them any knowledge about God, or His law, or the right way of living, they don't want to hear any more about it. I have had a lot of dealing with that kind of people.

They also believe that various occurrences prove they are God's people.

But Jesus warned:

21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus also warned:

9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9)

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

The Pentecostals, other Protestants, and Greece-Roman Catholics resist worshiping God in spirit and truth. Instead they vainly cling to traditions and hope their understanding of wonders or other events proves them correct, while often unknowingly practicing lawlessness. See also our free online books: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast,  Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism, and Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 3: For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
Verse 4: For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now, just to show you how some people misunderstand the Bible...

Romans 10:4...Christ is the end of the law...

That means that He did away with the law and it ended with Christ. That is not what it means, and I think you'll find some other translations say that He's the objective, or that the law leads to Christ, it was alluding to Him.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 5: For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

Yes, we should strive to live by the righteous of God's laws, but also in faith.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 6: But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
Verse 7: or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
Verse 8: But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
Verse 9: that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

We can pray to reach God, and if we believe and obey we will be saved.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 10: For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Of course now, Billy Graham, people like that, will quote that kind of Scripture right along, but they leave out the other parts of the Scripture.

Verse 11: For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

But to believe you have to believe what He says, not just believe on Him... Believe What Christ Says

As James wrote:

18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:18-20)

Protestants, in general, have a problem with that. Actually, the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther called James "an epistle of straw" as it was clearly against his misinterpretation of scripture. More on Protestant matters can be found in the free Online book:
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 12: For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Paul made a similar comment to the Colossians:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian nor Scythian, slave nor free; but Christ is all things, and in all. (Colossians 3:11, A Faithful Version)

The Apostle Peter wrote:

17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; (1 Peter 1:17)

Salvation is NOT a matter of race. Notice something which will happen probably within a decade or so:

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" ... 14 ..."These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9-15)

We also have an article at cogwriter.com titled: God's Grace is For All.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 13: For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

This is not a reference to a selfish, unrepentant, plea, but those who truly believe and obey the one they call upon.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 14: How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

Herbert Armstrong commented:

So it isn't all so easy, there's more to it than, if you just take that alone, than it might appear.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 15: And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Yes, a ministry is needed. Not just to preach for people to respond to God's calling, but also to keep them from falling into error as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

So, the ministry is to help keep the membership on track--and so love will be properly developed.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
Who believed our message of the Gospel.

Many do not believe now. God is calling some now, but will call the rest in the age to come.

Back to Romans 10:

Verse 17: So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Verse 18: But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:
“Their sound has gone out to all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”

We need to reach the ends of the world. Jesus taught:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

To assist with that, in addition to travel and personal meetings, being on radio, and on numerous internet channels, we have our free online booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, available in over 100 languages at CCOG.ORG

Jesus also taught:

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

In the CCOG, not only have we traveled around the world and put out materials over the internet, we have had sermons going over each and every verse in the New Testament where Jesus is quoted.

And, in order to better fulfill this even more completely, we have been working on putting out sermons covering every verse of the entire New Testament. Such as this series on the Book of Romans.

This is relevant to the command from Jesus as He taught Paul (cf. Galatians 1:12).

Back to Romans 10:

 Verse 19: But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says:
“I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation,
I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”
Verse 20: But Isaiah is very bold and says:
“I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”
Verse 21: But to Israel he says:
“All day long I have stretched out My hands
To a disobedient and contrary people.”

God called Gentiles, and Isaiah prophesied that would happen.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

So it isn't so easy as some of this might appear, and even though he stretched His hand and He called them, they wouldn't respond.

But, because God knew that, He sent Jesus and they also developed a plan to save those who could be saved in this age, and then for those it would be better to be called later, to be called in the age to come. See also our free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation.

Here is a link to a sermon related to chapters 9 & 10 of Romans: Romans 9-10: Grace, Mercy, Salvation.

Romans 11

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now I want you to study carefully one of the most wonderful, important chapters in all the Bible -- the 11th of Romans. …

Romans Chapter 11

Verse 1: I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now he's talking about the people called Israel. He'd been telling how sinful they were. How they disobeyed the law and everything, and well we should read the verse before, the last verse in the tenth chapter.

Romans 10:21 But to Israel he said [God says] All day long I have stretched forth my hand unto a disobedient and [a] gainsaying people.

That tells the truth of Israel and how God looked on them. Then Paul says:

Romans 11:1 I say then, hath God cast away his people? [Oh no] God forbid. [You see God is not like a human being, He's not looking for revenge. He isn't going to try to hurt them and destroy them] God forbid. For I (also) am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, [and] of the tribe of Benjamin.

Alright, I am an Israelite also, of the seed of Abraham and the tribe of Manasseh. But also I happen to be - there has been of course intermarriage. I don't mean racial intermarriage in this case either but I also am of the house of David. I'm a direct descendant of King David of ancient Israel. I am of the house of David and it rather figures. God would not have called a man for the job that He has laid on me, except in scripture will bear that out.

It had to be a man of the house of David and you study what the Bible says about the house of David and see what you find. God Has Not Cast Away His People

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 2: God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 
Verse 3: “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Let me tell you, I have felt time and time again just like that, but

"God [has] not cast away His people which He foreknew."

"Do you not know about Elijah?"

He said that he only remained.

Well sometimes I've felt that, but what does the scripture answer (of God) to him? God said:

"I have reserved to myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." (verse 4.)

Now they {the vast majority of Israelistes) didn't have the Holy Spirit. They didn't have salvation, but they had not gone to the extent of bowing their knees in front of the false idol god Baal. Well, there were how many of them at that time? There were at least, at that time, when they came out of Egypt, when they started as the children of Israel, there were six hundred thousand men. That means on an average of about six hundred thousand women.

Now they were a very prolific race, and that's a million, two hundred thousand. And if there were only four children per family, you would double it, and that would mean two million, four hundred thousand. So there were at least that many then. Now there must have been five, six, seven million of them at the time of Elijah because they were multiplying rapidly. And seven thousand out of so many million is a very small amount.

Well we have more than seven thousand that have not bowed the knee to Baal in the church today, but we are a very small minority. And that's what we have. I don't know how many of them have God's Holy Spirit, and I hope it's most of them.

Notice that Herbert Armstrong HOPED that most in the old WCG had God's Holy Spirit at the time (June 1980). As it turned out, most did not. Most fell away from the truth to embrace error,

There is a prophecy in Zechariah that may be relevant here. Notice:

7 "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,"
Says the Lord of hosts.
"Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,"
Says the Lord,
"That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
9 I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, 'This is My people';
And each one will say, 'The Lord is my God.'" (Zechariah 13:7-9)

While the above seems to have other applications, the fact is that two-thirds of those in the old WCG accepted total apostasy after the death of Herbert W. Amrstrong, and about one-third did not. More on falling away can be found in the article:The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teaching.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 4: But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

In other words, a small proportion of Israel had been converted. Now remember, at the time he wrote this, the ten tribes — not any of them had any salvation, they had all gone into Western Europe, and into Britain. And all they knew that were in Israel, and as far as Rome, and in the world over there, were those that were Jews, which only are the descendants of three of the tribes.

Now there are supposed to be about thirteen million Jews in the world today. That's all. There were more but Hitler killed (how many was it?) several million, that he had burned to death. So it's that way today, there's only a small portion. Remember God did not give ancient Israel His Holy Spirit, but now he's talking about, you see Christ has come and salvation has been offered. And that's out of the Jewish part of Israel.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 5: Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Notice that the Apostle Paul is stating that only a remnant, which is a small amount of the whole, has the election of grace--only a small number are called in this age,

Protestant commentators, such as Adam Clarke, get this wrong and claim it is a "considerable number" that are being called in this age.

Yet, the context of verse 5 following verse 4 shows the error of this thinking. Several Protestant commentaries claim that the remnant only refers to Jews, but scripture not state that.

Partially because Protestants do NOT understand that God is not trying to save everyone now in this age, they totally misunderstand election and calling, as well as God's plan of salvation.

To learn more about God's calling, please check out the free online book: Is God Calling You?

To learn more about God's plan of salvation, check out our free online book,Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation:

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 6: And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

We are NOT saved by works, but by the free gift of God related to the acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus. But we still need to obey as the New Testament plainly teaches:

5 ... Christ ... 9 ... He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:5,9)

Many Protestants do not understand that.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 7: What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now most of Israel were blinded and most of the Gentiles have been cut off from God so they don't know they're blinded too. They don't know anything about God and they can't. You go to China, the China history way back, they have never known anything about God. They never have. The oldest religion we can find that goes way back (way before the time of Christ) in China, was ancestor worship. Worshiping their own human ancestors.

That's one reason that they showed me such great courtesy while I was over there because they know of my age and that I was older than most of them, and because of that they gave me some attention that I wish they hadn't done. But nevertheless they meant it as a courtesy and as high respect. So "the rest were blinded.""

Jesus said:

41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; (John 9:41)

God has a plan for all, including the Chinese. ALL WILL BE OFFERED SALVATION, either in this age or the age to come.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 8:  Just as it is written:
“God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now if God gave that to them it's not their fault, and that means that God is the responsible party and God then, must do something about it. Well in Ezekiel 37 you'll find what God is going to do so far as Israel is concerned. He's going to bring them back in the Great White Throne resurrection. In the Great White Throne Judgment and so all Israel finally is going to have salvation.

But let's read on here now: God [gave] them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day. (Romans 11:8) Now he's talking about Israel all the way back when he uses that kind of language.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 9: And David says:
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
A stumbling block and a recompense to them.

Verse 10: Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see,
And bow down their back always.”

God has made it so that all do not see in this age.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 11a: I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not!

Protestants do not seem to understand that God allowed many to stumble, but He still has a plan for those who were not called in this age.

Continuing in verse 11:

Verse 11b: But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

So, one of the reasons for their stumble was for Gentiles to be called in this age.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 12:  Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

Once the fulness of the Gentiles comes in, it will set the stage for Jesus' return and His Kingdom!

Verse 13: For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,

In Galatians, Paul points out that Peter was to reach the Israelites and he the Gentiles:

7 ... they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), (Galatians 2:7-8)

This is one reason why it would not seem that Peter would spend much, if any, time in the Gentile city of Rome (see alsoWhat Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?).

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 14: if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.
Verse 15: For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Herbert Armstrong commented:

You see they are going to be received back. God has cast them away now but in the Old Testament, as he says that, (I think that's in Hosea) that where it was said, "you are not my people" as God said. Yet the time will come when He will say, "Now you are my people." (Hosea 1:10) So God's plan hasn't worked out yet.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 16: For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now he's talking about a tree and the root of a tree, and the branches of a tree. And now in the seventeenth verse he begins to talk more about olive trees.

Grafting still happens today. Britannica.com states:

Grafting is the act of placing a portion of one plant (bud or scion) into or on a stem, root, or branch of another (stock) in such a way that a union will be formed and the partners will continue to grow. The part of the combination that provides the root is called the stock; the added piece is called the scion. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/graft accessed 03/10/22)

Grafting is highly used in modern agriculture. A great deal of the fruit produced has the root of a different type of fruit tree. My wife and I learned this when we lived in the San Joaquin Valley.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 17:  And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches were broken off, [Israel was called a natural olive tree]; some of the branches be broken off — [that's through unbelief as they were ] , and you, being a wild olive tree, [Now he's talking to Gentiles and Gentiles are branches on a wild olive tree] ... and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

You see the branches of the wild olive tree are cut off from the wild olive tree, (which means their Gentile ancestry) and are grafted, contrary to nature, into the good olive tree to being converted and becoming Christian.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 18: do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
Verse 19: You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”
Verse 20:  Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.

Paul is warning Gentiles not to be haughty about them being called and many Jews not being so. He somewhat also carries this over in 1 Corinthians:

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — 31 that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:20-31)

God does not call you because you are so wise, etc.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 21: For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
Verse 22: Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now remember, in the Old Testament God did not offer Israel the Holy Spirit, but He did give them His government. He gave them His laws. He gave them His way of life, and they, even then, wouldn't live according to it. The only way they could was the literal letter of the law. Without the Holy Spirit they couldn't keep it spiritually. But they wouldn't even keep it literally and according to the letter.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 23: And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

Yes, God can call Jews now. See also: God's Grace is For All.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 24:  For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

Herbert Armstrong commented:

How do Gentiles get in? If you are converted, you simply are a converted Israelite. That's all there is to it. ALL the promises pertain to Israel. You've got to become an Israelite to get into the promise of eternal life. The promises and the covenants, if you are going to make the New Covenant with God is going to be made with ISRAEL AND JUDAH, NOT WITH GENTILES.

You read that in Jeremiah 31 beginning with verse 31. You'll read it also in the eighth chapter of Hebrews.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 25: For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

25: “Blindness in part is happened until Israel”-HOW LONG? Forever? No-note it-“UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” -the end of this age during which God is calling a people from among the Gentiles to bear His name (Acts 15: 14). … These blinded Israelites have not now, in this age, received mercy, that thru the mercy of the Gentiles saved in this age, they MAY, THEN, obtain mercy and salvation. How? Because these saved Gentiles will then be kings and priests, assisting in this wonderful work! (Armstrong HW. Where Will The MILLENNIUM Be Spent? Plain Truth, February-March 1954 , pp. 4-5)

(25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel [or that part of Israel, meaning the great part, the big part — all but a few, have been blinded. It’s the big part actually] until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [Or the number of Gentiles to be converted becomes complete — as other translations have it] (Armstrong HW. Romans 11-13. Bible Study, June 27, 1980)

The fullness, the full number of Gentiles have to be reached in this age prior to (Jesus' return). They, along with converted Christians with an Israelite background, will be kings and priests. We are closer to that time than when Herbert Armstrong wrote what he did. And in the Continuing Church of God many Gentiles are coming to us--that is consistent with the prophecy by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25.

More information on Romans 11:25 can be found in the article: What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles? 

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 26a: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now the expression "all Israel" is used many places in the Bible where it doesn't mean EVERY person in Israel, but it does mean Israel as a whole. It doesn't mean a little tiny part of Israel, it means the big portion of Israel. And they are going to be saved.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 26b. “The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That's Christ at His second coming on. Now, He will reign for the first thousand years on the earth and all of those still living at that time will be called. Those who have been converted of course will be there, immortal and living with and under Christ.

But, what about Old Testament Israel? They're going to remain in their graves. After the first thousand years, then He is going to get around to them, and then they're going to be resurrected and then in that judgment they will have their salvation.

Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote:

Here is GOOD NEWS! Here is part of the gospel message. Blindness is happened to Israel, not forever, but until the full number of Gentiles who are to be converted in this age comes into the Kingdom. Then Israel shall be forgiven and the vast majority of Gentiles shall seek God. (Hoeh H. The Coming UTOPIA… Wonderful World of Tomorrow. Plain Truth, March 1957, p. 6; see also Hoeh H. The Coming UTOPIA… Wonderful World of Tomorrow. Tomorrows World, May-June 1970, p. 22)

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 27: For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

Notice God still has a plan to take away sins, even for those who did not choose to accept Jesus in this age.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 28: Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

Yes, although they claimed to believe the word of God, Jewish leaders were enemies to early Christians and got many killed. But they still are to be beloved 'for the sake of the fathers,' which includes the idea that they had the 'oracles of God' which was mentioned in Romans 3:2.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 29: For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

God has a plan and it is guaranteed. God will NOT revoke your calling.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 30: For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,
Verse 31: even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.
Verse 32: For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

Notice that although Paul said a remnant would be saved from this age, notice that he also says that God has a plan that He might have mercy on all. ALL will one say receive an offer of salvation. The called in this age, and the rest in the age to come. How else do Paul's words here make sense?

This is something that Protestants and others failed to understand.

See more in  our free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 33: Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

God's plan is fantastic and Paul is pointing that out.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 34: “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”

God's wisdom is far above ours.

Back to Romans 11:

Verse 35: “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”

Verse 36: For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

And that is the end of, I think, one of the wonderful chapters of the Bible, the eleventh chapter of Romans, that Christ is coming. And that's referring to His second coming, because His first coming had already happened and He'd ascended back up to the throne of God when Paul wrote this. So that's what he is talking about.

Romans Chapter 12

Now to the 12th chapter of Romans:

Verse 1: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

I know that when I was converted, back in the spring of 1927, that I did that. It is just like I presented myself, and I said; "Here I am, I give this whole self to you. I don't think it is any account. It's no good, I don't know how you can use such a worthless thing as I am."

I was pretty well discouraged by that time. I had been very cocky and conceited. I had been very successful before that. But now two businesses had been swept out from under me by no fault of mine at all — forces out of my control, without my knowledge. And in fact I know that God had it done because He was having to bring me down to bring me to Him, and I felt my life was useless. But I said to God that "Here is a life and I am giving it to you. " I said, "Jesus Christ bought and paid for it with His own life, and you can have it if it is any good to you." ...

Well I felt I was not offering God very much when I offered myself but I meant to leave myself in His hands and I haven't always done it a hundred percent. Nobody has. Nobody has ever, from the time he was converted, left himself one hundred percent in God's hands. Only one man has ever done that and that's Christ Himself.

But when I have fallen down and made a slip I have repented of it. God has forgiven and God has taken that life and used it, otherwise you wouldn't be here today. So he says that we should present our whole self to God. We don't belong to ourselves, we belong to Christ. He bought us and paid for us..."acceptable to God which is your reasonable service." That's all it is, just reasonable.

I tend to quote Romans 12:1 from time to time. For example, it you are a Christian, attending Feast of Tabernacles' services each day is part of your reasonable service.

The Bible says that time constains holy convocations (Leviticus 23:35-36), you are to have saved what we commonly call second tithe (Deuteronomy 14:22) and people should travel to "the place' God chooses, which may involve significant travel (Deuteronomy 14:23-25).

Another scripture for people to consider is as follows:

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

If you are serious, then live as a true Christian. We also have a free booklet: Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian.

The Apostle James wrote that "a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8).

Jesus warned endtime Christians:

15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

Don't be a half-way or almost Christian. Strive, also, not to be a Laodicean one.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We need to live GOD"S way, not the way of the world.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That's what people want, to be conformed to this world. They want to live the way of this world. They want to do the way of this world. They want to be interested in the things of this world. And the ways and the things of this world are just a lot of rottenness that's all, putrid] but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Now the Holy Spirit is the spirit of a renewed mind. Renewing of your mind - a changing of your whole mind and your attitude about everything] that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

God says "prove all things" {1 Thessalonians 5:21}. I've gone after the proof, and that's what we should do.

YOU should prove there is a God:

Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Here is a link to a related sermon: Evolution is NOT the Origin of Life. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?

YOU should prove Jesus is the Messiah:

Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the MessiahProphecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and deathJesus’ prophesied divinity200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He madeWhy Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists' Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but ... 

Then YOU need to understand which writings are the the Word of God:

Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete? Are there lost gospels? What about the Apocrypha? Is the Septuagint better than the Masoretic text? What about the Textus Receptus vs. Nestle Alland? Was the New Testament written in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? Which translations are based upon the best ancient text? Did the true Church of God have the canon from the beginning? Here are links to related sermons: Let’s Talk About the BibleThe Books of the Old TestamentThe Septuagint and its ApocryphaMasoretic Text of the Old Testament, and Lost Books of the Bible, and Let’s Talk About the New TestamentThe New Testament Canon From the BeginningEnglish Versions of the Bible and How Did We Get Them?What was the Original Language of the New Testament?Original Order of the Books of the Bible, and Who Gave the World the Bible? Who Had the Chain of Custody?

Notice the following scriptures:

17 ... Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

Then YOU should strive to live as Philadelphian Christian and support the remnant of the Philadelphian church:

Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. Here is a video in Spanish: ¿Qué es un verdadero cristiano?

Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?

This is something the world does not want to do. Nor, sadly, most end time Christians.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 3: For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

Verse 4: For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

Yes, we are all members individually, as the Apostle also wrote to the Corinthians:

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Corinthians 12:27)

We all have individual responsibilities and opportunities. More on your role can be found in the free online book:  The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?

Anyway, Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now that is something we need to think about, we don't all have the same office. But there is one office that certain ones of them have wanted, and that's my office. They wanted to take that away from me. And of course I'm selfish, and I'm just thinking of self and everything, if I don't just turn it over to them and let them have it. Now that's not true. God is holding me responsible for what I do in this office and I'm going to hold on to it and I am going to try to equip myself for that responsibility that I have to account to Him for it.

...but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 5: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now we are not the body in the sense that we are the arms and the trunk and legs and feet of Christ. We're not the body of Christ in that sense. We are a body of believers. We are a body that is a church body, but it's Christ's church body and He owns it. He is the head of it. That's all that is. And it is a body of separate individuals, separate from Christ, who are going to marry Christ at His second coming.

But we won't be like we are now. Our faces will be shining as bright as the sun when we marry Christ. Our eyes will be like flames of fire — just flames shooting out. We'll be so different from we are now.

But just like in a human body, different parts will have different functions. The some of the parts of a human part is greater then each individually. Actually, there is basically almost no useful functioning if the body does not have nearly all its parts.

You cannot survive, for example, without a brain or heart or digestive system. You won't live long without a least some type of an immune system.

All the parts make the body work.

All the individuals who ever lived who will accept God's ways will make eternity better for themselves and everyone else.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 6: Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

Some have foolishly challenged me to just spout out prophecies. But that is not how it is done. Notice:

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

That being said, I do believe that God's Spirit has moved me to write various biblically-based predictions that have come to pass (see Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?  and see also Church of God Leaders on Prophets).

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 7: or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
Verse 8: he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Yes, we have individual gifts and talents that we need to use. While pretty much everybody could exhort, for example, relatively few do, or do it often.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 9: Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Verse 10: Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

Herbert Armstrong commented:

We've had too much of people differing themselves against the other, however we're rid of most of those. I hope that's all gone out from among us now.

Well, WCG had more problems with people differing from themselves and the Bible than HWA realized then. Most people part of the WCG at the time of his death in 1986 apostasized.

We have various ones on our fringes who are convinced they are right about one or more pet doctrines they have convinced themselves of. And this has gotten in the way of their spiritual development as well as often their support of this end time work.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 11: not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

We have many volunteers who are "not lagging in diligence" as they serve. We also have some that are less than diligent.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 12: rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

The Book of Hebrews teaches:

11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

Yes, we all have lessons to learn. Once trained by them, we will be able to give love in a unique way to make eternity better for ourselves and everyone else.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 13: distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

As supporters of the CCOG realize, we take the above seriously. For more details on how we spend money to support the needs of the saints, check out the article: Continuing Church of God Donations page

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 14: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Jesus said:

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

I regularly pray that God will bless those who regularly curse me and/or or often spread false information about me and/or others in the CCOG. I hope you all do as well.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 

We are to have a connection with those in the church. This can include online connections, but also should include attending services where possible as well as the Feast of Tabernacles as God commands.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 16: Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

In this Laodicean time, many are wise in their own opinion. Jesus tells such people to repent (Revelation 3:14-18), but such people tend to be stubborn and that is one reason why the Laodiceans are not promised to be protected from the great tribulation.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 17a: Repay no one evil for evil. 

It is NOT our job to get back at people or society. We are not to cheat those who cheat us, etc.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 17b Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

Try to set a proper example as a Christian.

Back to Romand 12:

Verse 18: If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Yes, we try to get along where we can as long as we do not have to violate God's law or commands.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 19: Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

God is just, and although we do not also see or understand how He is, we need to have the faith that He is. More on faith can be found in the free online booklet: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen.

Instead of taking revenge, notice that Romans 12 teaches:

Verse 20: Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

Your actions now may or may not have anything to do with someone being called in this age, but almost certainly will affect some who will be called in the age to come.

Our example counts.

Back to Romans 12:

Verse 21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

That does not mean we are to be doormats and never speak up for what we believe we are entitled to, but it does mean that we need to have faith that God will settle what needs to be settled and to do good. More on faith can be found in the free online booklet: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen.

Paul wrote a similar principle:

28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:28-29)

We are not just to not steal, work, produce, and give. We are not just to not curse, but to say what is necessary to help provide grace to those who listen to us.

Jesus said:

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

The Father does more than just not sin, He gives love and life. Otherwise you would never have been born.

We are to reign in the Kingdom and that entails more than not doing wrong, but in giving and doing right.

Here is a link to a sermon video: Romans 11-12: Gentiles, Jews, and the Fulness.

Romans Chapter 13

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now he comes into — he's been talking about the spiritual things — now he's coming into some political things. Now remember this is the letter he is writing to those who were then living at Rome. And this is just after there had been a great persecution. And it's after the people at Rome thought (and even many of the Christians were beginning to think) that the gospel of Christ was merely.....oh what's the word I want? It's the thing that the Scribes and Pharisees thought Jesus was when He was there.

They thought that what He was going to do was to tear down the Roman Government right then and turn everything over to the Jews. Now the Jews thought that that was what Christ meant. They understood the Kingdom of God to mean that He was going to destroy the government of Caesar and tear it all down.

Now to Romans 13:

Verse 1: Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

In other words God is the source of all power. Now actually, what God has done; God has said to Adam, "Look you've rejected my government, so go form your own governments." But God told him that but the power of government comes from God. Now they've formed wrong governments and all of that but nevertheless the power to do it came from God and God could have prevented it if He had wanted to.

Now Paul was writing to those at Rome. There had been a great persecution there and the people didn't know quite how to act. (And subversive is the word I was trying to think of). The government was inclined to look on them as subversive and they were acting like subversives and thinking that maybe they shouldn't obey the government at all. And it is speaking to the individual here, it is not speaking to the church as a whole. ...

Paul is writing a letter to those in Rome. There had been a great persecution in Rome just before this. You need to get the history of a lot of that. I'm just going to read a few sentences here in one of the commentaries on this very first verse of this chapter.

"It has been asked if the ruler be an immoral and profligate man, does he not prove himself thereby to be unworthy of his high office and should he not be deposed?

I answer No, he should not be deposed because he is an adulterer and he is divorced and remarried and he's done a lot of wrong things. No. If he rules according to the Constitution, nothing can justify rebelling against his authority. He may be irregular in his own private life. He may be an immoral man and disgrace himself by an improper conduct. But, if he rule according to the law, if he make no attempt to change the Constitution nor break the compact between him and the people, there is therefore no legal ground of opposition to his civil authority." (Let's see) "Every act against him is not only rebellion in the worst sense of the word, but is unlawful and absolutely sinful. Nothing can justify..."

Now it's talking about a single man feeling he doesn't have to obey the laws. That's exactly what it is talking about here and you need the background, you need to know what was going on in Rome at the time to understand this.

Back to Romans 13:

Verse 2: Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Verse 3: For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
Verse 4; For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Satan was a minister of God when he struck Job with boils. It seemed awful at the time but it was for good, for Job’s good.

What rulers sometimes do is in violation of God's laws, but God will have it work out for our good.

Remember Paul wrote

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Back to Romans 13:

Verse 5: Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
Verse 6: For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.
Verse 7: Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Whether its fair or unfair, we do it.

As far as taxes go, yes we pay them, despite potential 'constitutional' concerns. More on taxes can be in the article titled Taxes  If you prefer, or additionally, you could watch the video Should Christians Pay Taxes?

Back to Romans 13:

Verse 8: Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Pay your debts. We all owe love to all. And we will have even more of an opportunity to give that love in the Kingdom of God.

But showing love does not mean that we are not to strive to keep the Ten Commandments--if done properly, showing love never violates God's law.

As the Apostle Paul continued with:

Verse 9: For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Verse 10: Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The above most certainly does NOT 'do away' with the Ten Commandments in verse 8. (see also the free online book The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Paul also wrote:

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love ... (1 Timothy 1:5)

Back to Romans 13:

Verse 11: And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
Verse 12:  The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

The time to change is NOW. And yes, we are nearly 2000 years closer than when the Apostle Paul wrote that.

Back to Romans 13:

Verse 13: Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
Verse 14: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

This includes not only NOT buying things like cigarettes or pornography to reduce temptation, but also deciding not to tithe because you are unwilling to rearrange your life in order to obey God that way.

More on tithing can be found in the article: Tithing Questions and Some Answers.

Romans Chapter 14

Now to the 14th chapter of Romans:

Verse 1: Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Someone is weak in faith, and can’t work up the faith -- faith is not something you work up, faith is a gift from God, they don’t understand. We believe in Christ that we may have the faith of Christ in us. If someone is sick or ill and doesn’t have the faith to be healed.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 2: For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
Verse 3: Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

So, yes, while most of us consume biblically clean meat, Christians are allowed to be vegetarians if they wish.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

This is a principle, not a law God. You don’t judge others.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 4: Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

Be careful how you judge others. Many think THEY are right, but often do not have enough information for righteous judgment.

Back to Romans 14:.

Verse 5: One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
Verse 6: He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.

The above looks to be referring to days in order to fast. It is not authorization to change the 7th day Sabbath to Sunday or replace God's Holy Days with demonic holidays. Notice that it is discussing whether or not to eat on a day.

As far as whether the the 7th day Sabbath is still valid for Christians, the New Testament teaches:

3 for we enter into the rest—we who believed, as He said, “So I swore in My anger, They will [not] enter into My rest”; and yet the works were done from the foundation of the world, for He spoke in a certain place concerning the seventh [day] thus: “And God rested in the seventh day from all His works”; and in this [place] again, “They will [not] enter into My rest”; since then, it remains for some to enter into it, and those who first heard good news did not enter in because of unbelief 7 -- again He limits a certain day, “Today,” in David saying, after so long a time, as it has been said, “Today, if you may hear His voice, you may not harden your hearts,” for if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken after these things concerning another day; 9 there remains, then, a Sabbath rest to the people of God, for he who entered into His rest, he also rested from his works, as God from His own. May we be diligent, then, to enter into that rest, that no one may fall in the same example of the unbelief, (Hebrews 4:3-11, Literal Standard Version)

Even Origen of Alexandria of the 3rd century understood some of this as he wrote:

But what is the feast of the Sabbath except that which the apostle speaks, "There remaineth therefore a Sabbatism," that is, the observance of the Sabbath, by the people of God...let us see how the Sabbath ought to be observed by a Christian. On the Sabbath-day all worldly labors ought to be abstained from...give yourselves up to spiritual exercises, repairing to church, attending to sacred reading and instruction...this is the observance of the Christian Sabbath (Translated from Origen's Opera 2, Paris, 1733, Andrews J.N. in History of the Sabbath, 3rd editon, 1887. Reprint Teach Services, Brushton (NY), 1998, pp. 324-325).

As it turns out, at least 20 Protestant translations make it clear that Hebrews 4:9 is pointing to the weekly seventh-day Sabbath (ASV, BLB, BSB, CSB, DBT, ERV, ESV, GNT, HCSB, ILB, ISV, JMNT, Jubilee 2000, NASB, NETB, NHEB, NIV, WEB, WNT, YLT).

Yet, one reason that many today do not understand this is that certain translators have intentionally mistranslated the Greek term sabbatismos (ςαββατισμóς) which is actually found in Hebrews 4:9 (Green JP. The Interlinear Bible, 2nd edition. Hendrickson Publishers, 1986, p. 930).

The Protestant KJV and NKJV mistranslate it as does the CHANGED version of the Rheims New Testament, also known as the Challoner version (changes in the 18th century)--all three mistranslate the word as 'rest,' whereas there is a different Greek term (katapausin), translated as 'rest' in the New Testament. Sabbatismos clearly refers to a 'sabbath-rest' and honest scholars will all admit that. Because of the mistranslations, most today do not realize that the seventh-day Sabbath was specifically enjoined for Christians in the New Testament.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 7: For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.

We all affect others and others ourselves.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 8: For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Paul also wrote:

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 9: For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

There’s another verse:

In Luke 20:38: For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”

This is not a contradiction. Those that died will be living again. He will be God of the living, but at this time there are people who are dead. They will live again.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 10: But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Verse 11: For it is written:
As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
Verse 12: So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Yes, all will be jduged:

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

Christians are being judged now, which is why it often seems like we have more problems and trials than those of the world. But ALL will be judged. All will be found guilty of sin.

But, because knew this, He established a plan with His Son Jesus.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 13: Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Since God will judge, we must be careful with our judgments.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 14: I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

For example, pork is of itself not unclean, but it isn’t for us as humans to eat. God said not to eat it. But of itself, it is not unclean.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 15: Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.
Verse 16: Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
Verse 17: for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Now, as earlier verses in this chapter have pointed out, Paul was discussing vegetarianism and fasting. This was NOT a discussion about eating unclean meat like some Protestants have tried to assert.

One of the reasons that all scholars of early Church history should realize is that early Christians did NOT eat biblically unclean meat. Although the Church of Rome claims that a Roman Bishop named Eleutherius (175-189) changed this, that is an admission that early professors of Christ did not think that they were allowed to eat biblical unclean meat (see also The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats).

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 18: For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Verse 19: Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

We are to be peacemakers, as Jesus also taught:

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 20: Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
Verse 21: It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

The subject was primarily vegetarianism--Paul also seems to have been including cultural variations related to food and perhaps food preperation. But Paul was also warning about people who push private positions that they consider important, but in God's sight are not.

Back to Romans 14:

Verse 22: Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
Verse 23: But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

If you think eating meat is a sin, then you are not to eat it. Nor are you to do anything else that you consider to be a sin.

Romans Chapter 15

Now to Romans 15:

Verse 1: We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

In other words, we have to help others.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 2: Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

This builds character in us.

Yes, we build character by doing good. Yet, we need to be careful about others. We have an obligation to help others. We need to consider others.

But, that does NOT mean that we are to enable wrong behavior by giving to professional beggars who lie for money nor to those who do not wish to work or to those who wish to commit sin with the money they ask for (like to support various addictions).

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 3: For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That is quoted from Psalm 69:9 in the Old Testament.

Did you ever think of that? Christ didn’t do what pleased himself? He gave up things that might have pleased him for other people’s needs.

We, as Christ's followers, should do the same. However, sadly, we are too often focused just on ourselves. We may tell ourselves that we have to do that, but even though that may be true at times, that should not always be the case. We should make time to consider others needs.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 4: For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Paul is speaking of mainly the Old Testament there. And he confirmed that elsewhere when he wrote:

11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:11-13)

Paul is also warning that Christians can fall like the children of Israel did. We should learn from the mistakes of others.

Many have said that experience is the best teacher.

In some ways it is.

But we personally do NOT have to experience all the bad things people do--we should learn from the experience of others.

Every single day, people who are not in their right mind because of illegal drugs and similar things walk down the main street in Grover Beach, California. We in our office often see them aruging with themselves and otherwise doing things

I have never used illegal drugs, and do not intend to start to 'learn' from them. I learned not to do this from scriptures about not being drunk as well as from parental and academic teachings. And later, having seen the effects of those whose minds seem bombed, it reinforced the view that the Bible was right on those subjects.

We also have information on those topics:

Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 5: Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
Verse 6: that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 7: Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

We are to truly treat other Christians as brethren.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 8: Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers,

God's promises are guarantees and true.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 9: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”
Verse 10: And again he says:
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!”
Verse 11: And again:
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!”

Yes, God's plan was to always call Gentiles.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 12: And again, Isaiah says:
“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”

Herbert Armstrong commented:

This is also from the Old Testament: Isaiah 11:1

11 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
The root of Jesse was Christ.

Anyway, yes, God's plan includes Gentiles.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 13: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We should be filled with hope and joy and peace.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 14: Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Yes, as Christians we are to be filled with goodness and knowledge. Bible study, church literature, and sermons all help with that.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 15: Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God,

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Paul loved these people enough to correct them. People today don’t want to be corrected. They think it’s awful. If you’re not being corrected you are not one of God’s.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 16: that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

While the CCOG is not the minister to the Gentiles, per se, we have had more growth in Gentile congregants than any other COG with ties to the old WCG in the 21st century.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 17: Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God.

Yes, we can glory in that God is using this work to help assist in the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:19-20, and Romans 11:25.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 18: For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—
Verse 19: in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Having more detailed literature, as well as having literature in more Gentile languages, has helped result in more Gentiles being obedient.

And as far as mighty signs and wonders go, nearly all the confirmed dreams we have had have involved Gentiles. For details, see
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 20: And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation,

There are many groups who mainly have attempted to preach to those in groups once part of the old WCG. In the CCOG we have not taken that approach.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 21: but as it is written:
“To whom He was not announced, they shall see;
And those who have not heard shall understand.”

Brethren, we are helping those who had not heard understand.

Furthermore, with the depth of our materials, we are preparing Christians to be able to fulfill end time prophecies in order to "instruct many" (Daniel 11:33; see also Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word). Furthermore, Jesus said:

18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. (Matthew 10:18-20)

Although the Holy Spirit will guide end time Christians as to WHAT to choose to speak, this will mainly be done by bringing back to memory things Christians have learned, consistent with Jesus words:

26. But when the Comforter comes, even the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name, that one shall teach you all things, and shall bring to your remembrance everything that I have told you. (John 14:26, A Faithful Version)

Yes, to be best used by God, you need to learn.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 22: For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you.

Paul was delayed to go to Rome because God had him teaching others--including other Gentiles.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 23: But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you,
Verse 24: whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while.

So Paul had a plan to one day get to Rome. But he ended up going there as a prisoner per Acts 28:16, which had not been his original plan.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 25: But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.
Verse 26: For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.

So, Paul went and brought support for the poor in Jerusalem instead of going to Rome when many there wanted him to.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 27: It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.

Yes, Gentiles and non-Gentiles are to supply financial support for the work of the church, which also includes helping to support the poor.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 28: Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

They were having a drought and the saints of Jerusalem were without food. Paul took many people with him and animals and packed them with food.

Anyway, we do not have evidence that Paul went to Rome on his way to Spain. His repeated speculations on this may not have panned out.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 29: But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

That ended up being true, but again, not as Paul thought it would.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 30: Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,
Verse 31:  that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,

Paul requested prayers because he knew coming into Jerusalem was risky.

Actually, it was so risky that he got arrested. Which is how he ended up going to Rome.

Back to Romans 15:

Verse 32: that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.

Verse 33: Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Yes, God is a God of peace. Here is information about those who have great peace:

165 Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
166 Lord, I hope for Your salvation,
And I do Your commandments. (Psalm 119:165-166)

And if you do not have great peace, you need to examine yourself to see if you truly love God's law, the proper hope in His salvation, and are properly doing His commandments.

Romans Chapter 16

Now to the last chapter of the Book of Romans, the 16th one:

Verse 1: I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea,
Verse 2: that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
Verse 3: Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
Verse 4: who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

Notice that Paul starts off mainly greeting women. He also lists Priscilla before her husband Aquila, suggesting that she was likely doing more to support the work than him--even though both risked their lives for him. Notice also that Paul included Priscilla as a fellow worker in Christ.

More on the roles of women in the church can be found in the article: Women and the New Testament Church.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 5: Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia to Christ.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

They did not have great cathedrals. The Catholics built those for stature. At this time people were meeting for church in homes.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 6: Greet Mary, who labored much for us.
Verse 7: Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Verse 8: Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.

While some men are mentioned, Paul keeps mentioning women. These women were apparently volunteers that helped him do God's work.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 9: Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved.

The Eastern Orthodox claim Stachys as one in their succession list (see Apostolic Succession), but The Catholic Encyclopedia states that this is based on a late and forged document.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 10: Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus.
Verse 11: Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
Verse 12: Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord.
Verse 13: Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Verse 14: Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them.
Verse 15: Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.

From the above, we see that Paul had a lot of fellow laborers that he knew. All of which were seemingly volunteers. Some spent their own funds and even risked their lives to support the work.

In the CCOG, we have a lot of volunteers who support the work, laboring in ways beyond prayer and financially.

That being said, notice also that he called them "saints." One does not need a declaration by a pontiff to be a saint--all true Christians are saints.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 16: Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.

The above is not a command that we are to kiss brethren we come across. It is stating, where it is culturally appropriate, only kiss in a friendly, non-sexual, way.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 17:  Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

That is a command from God. To avoid those who have caused division and offenses and tried to divide the church.

This is something that sometimes, sadly, needs to be done. Though, if all who claimed to be Church of God Christians would accept proper biblical governance (see The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government), this would not need to ever happen.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 18: For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

There are people with charisma and they sway people to believe them and sway them with emotion.

Sometimes they have charisma, but often times they confuse people with their misapplication and misunderstanding of scripture (see also  Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism and Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church).

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 19: For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.

Notice that the Gentiles in Rome are said to have been obedient.

The Book of Romans does not do away with the need for Christians to obey God and His laws.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 20: And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Well, they all died and Satan is not a factor for Christians awaiting the first resurrection.

And, notice also that Christians are to have Jesus' grace with us.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 21: Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you.

This is Timothy that Paul wrote two letters to.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 22: I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord.

So, we see Tertius was basically Paul's stenographer.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 23:  Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother.

Notice that Gaius was called a host. My wife and I were host for many years in the Global and then Living COGs. In the CCOG we still use the title host for those who host church services in their home or area.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 24: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Paul again points out that Christians are to have Jesus' grace with us.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 25: Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

Yes, aspects of God's plan have been a mystery to the world, And, even though many mysteries can be known in this church age, most are ignorant of them. To assist, we have a free booklet, available in numerous languages, titled: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? 

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 26: but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— 

Despite what the above states, there are Protestant ministers who do not believe we should use prophetic scriptures to demonstrate Jesus is the Messiah. But, Paul and other early Christians did. More on that and Messianic prophetic scriptures can be found in the free online book:Proof Jesus is the Messiah.

Back to Romans 16:

Verse 27: to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

Note that God alone is wise. And that there is glory FOREVER through Jesus.

Yet, Jesus noted with disappointment end time Christians who were essentially wiser in their own eyes (cf. Revelation 3:14-18).

Here is a link to a related sermon: Romans 13-16: Obedience, Gentiles, Love, and Women

There are lessons for Christians in the Book of Romans and this sermon series has touched up on many of them.

Here are links to related sermons on the Book of Romans:

Romans 1-2: Believe the Truth of God
Romans 3:-6: Sin, Law, Grace, Salvation
Romans 7-8: God’s Spirit and Guarantee
Romans 9-10: Grace, Mercy, Salvation
Romans 11-12: Gentiles, Jews, and the Fulness
Romans 13-16: Obedience, Gentiles, Love, and Women

Thiel B. Comments on the Book of Romans. COGwriter (c) 2022 0423 https://www.cogwriter.com/romanshwa.htm

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