ISSL Reflections May 26 2024 Romans 10:1–17 Post 3

VII.
Today, let’s take note of Paul’s reference to Deuteronomy 30:14,

“The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart”

How does that image find expression in these words from Paul?

VIII.
Romans 10:1-17 (NRSVue)

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not based on knowledge. Not knowing the righteousness of God and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say?

“The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart”

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim), because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart, leading to righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, leading to salvation. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news, for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

IX.
Might we consider Paul’s word as an exposition of the sentence from Deuteronomy?

Paul does mention heart and mouth in reference to believing and confessing.

And those together “leading to salvation.”

He puts this in contrast to “righteousness that comes from the law.”

Then he seems to sum up the matter as,

“So faith comes from what is heard,
and what is heard comes through
the word of Christ.”

How would you relate faith to the “word of Christ”?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 26 2024 Romans 10:1–17 Post 2

IV.
Let’s spend a little more time thinking about “zeal.”

What do you take to be Paul’s warning about “zeal”?

V.
Romans 10:1-17 (NRSVue)

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not based on knowledge. Not knowing the righteousness of God and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say?

“The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart”

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim), because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart, leading to righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, leading to salvation. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news, for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

VI.
How is it that Paul can claim “zeal for God” is misplaced or misdirected?

If I read him correctly, the “zeal” he has a problem with does not have knowledge of or experience with God as its foundation. Does that seem accurate to you?

What do you think Paul considers is the foundation or starting point of such misplaced zeal?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 26 2024 Romans 10:1–17 Post 1

I.
This week’s focus passage has us thinking about faith and righteousness once again.

Paul attempts to contrast for us “righteousness that comes from the law” with “righteousness that comes from faith.”

Hold that contrast as you spend time with these words.

II.
Romans 10:1-17 (NRSVue)

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not based on knowledge. Not knowing the righteousness of God and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say?

“The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart”

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim), because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart, leading to righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, leading to salvation. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news, for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

III.
One other phrase that caught my attention was, “… they have a zeal for God, but …

He suggests their “zeal” is misplaced. And he adds that this “zeal” is “not based on knowledge.”

How do you think “zeal,” “knowledge,” and “faith” relate to one another especially as it relates to “righteousness”?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 19 2024 Romans 5:1–11 Post 3

VII.
Do you think we can agree that Paul believes we “are justified,” or at the very least can be “justified”?

What do you think about that? How do you feel about that? Do you really think and feel “justified” and at “peace with God.”

VIII.
Romans 5:1-11 (NRSVue)

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely, therefore, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

IX.
I know different Christian folk can have different definitions of justification and have different understanding of the “process,” but for the moment think about how justification, peace, hope, and reconciliation relate to one another.

Do these words point to vastly different aspects of our relationship to God and to one another or do they rather all point to a central matter of the heart, mind, soul and relationship?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 19 2024 Romans 5:1–11 Post 2

IV.
As we return to our focus passage, I am already caught by the phrase, “For while we were still weak…”

Take that as your starting point with which to meditate on this passage.

V.
Romans 5:1-11 (NRSVue)

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely, therefore, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

VI.
What do you think about that phrase, “For while we were still weak …”?

What might it imply about the nature of God? About what “justification” and “righteousness”?

And what about “faith” and “reconciliation”?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 19 2024 Romans 5:1–11 Post 1

I.
This week we continue our reflections on faith.

Let’s start with the first phrase in this week’s focus passage –

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have …..”

As you spend time with this passage, take note of what Paul suggests we have “… since we are justified by faith…

II.
Romans 5:1-11 (NRSVue)

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely, therefore, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

III.
What does Paul say we have?

  • Peace with God
  • Access to this grace
  • Things we can boast in
  • God’s love
  • Proof of God’s love

What else?

What stands out to you the clearest or the loudest in what Paul says we have?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 12 2024 Romans 4:13–25 Post 3

VII.
Did you pay attention to –

“… the words, ‘it was reckoned to him,’ were written
not for his sake alone
but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us… “

How do we fully catch on “… to us …”?

Reread this passage and let the above phrase be your path into the depth of Paul’s message.

VIII.
Romans 4:13-25 (NRSVue)

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there transgression.

For this reason the promise depends on faith, in order that it may rest on grace, so that it may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (who is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”), in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), and the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore “it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

IX.
How many times does Paul mention the “faith” of Abraham? What does he mention that could be a barrier to such “faith”?

As you consider what “faith” is and can be for you, do you recall barriers that have been overcome?

How will “faith” accompany you into the future?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 12 2024 Romans 4:13–25 Post 2

IV.
This passage begins with the claim that “the promise to Abraham [came] through the righteousness of faith.”

Take that as your starting point and as the lens through which you view this passage. Then ask yourself, “How can Paul make such a claim?”

V.
Romans 4:13-25 (NRSVue)

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there transgression.

For this reason the promise depends on faith, in order that it may rest on grace, so that it may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (who is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”), in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), and the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore “it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

VI.
In this passage what we are told about faith?

What does it mean that others (maybe us?) can “share the faith of Abraham”?

Why would Paul write that Abraham was “Hoping against hope”?

Paul suggests that Abraham was “… fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

Can you think of a time or situation in your life when you were “fully convinced that God was able…”?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 12 2024 Romans 4:13–25 Post 1

I.
Paul puts a lot before us in this passage and I begin to wonder where might be the best place to start our reflections.

Do we start by a focus on what he says of “law” or what he says of “faith” or maybe with his remarks about Abraham?

Maybe all three?

Here’s a thought, read the passage three times with a focus first on Abraham, then a focus on law, then a focus on faith.

II.
Romans 4:13-25 (NRSVue)

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there transgression.

For this reason the promise depends on faith, in order that it may rest on grace, so that it may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (who is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”), in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), and the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore “it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

III.
Which of the three foci lead you best through this passage? Which opens up the most meaning for you?

I keep going back to the thought, “faith is null and the promise void.”

Null and … void” – What do you think?

Does such a phrase help you see how strongly Paul wants us to pay attention to the contrast between “law” and “faith” and which is at the foundation of Abraham’s behavior?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 5 2024 Romans 3:21–30 Post 3

VII.
Today let’s return to the idea of God’s “demonstration of his righteousness.”

As you spend time with the passage, what do you notice about how righteousness is demonstrated?

VIII.
Romans 3:21-30 (NRSVue)

But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed and is attested by the Law and the Prophets, the righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to demonstrate at the present time his own righteousness, so that he is righteous and he justifies the one who has the faith of Jesus.

Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. Through what kind of law? That of works? No, rather through the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of gentiles also? Yes, of gentiles also, since God is one, and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.

IX.
What aspects of this demonstration stand out to you?

That faith is “effective”? That “justification” is not about “works”?

That all stand on the same “ground of faith” before God?

And while we are thinking about this – what does “justified” mean to you?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}