Daily Devotions

Romans 9-16: From Guilt to Glory -- Exhibited and Experienced

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith". (Romans 1:17)

The Book of Romans tells how God can save the whole person: body, soul and spirit. That fulfillment is accomplished, not simply as followers of a philosophy, or a philosopher, but through relationship with a Living Person, Savior and Redeemer.

  1:  Jacob I have Loved Romans 9:1-13
  2:  Let God Be God Romans 9:14-21
  3:  Why People Stumble Romans 9:22-33
  4:  The Need to be Saved Romans 10:1-4
  5:  How To Be Saved Romans 10:5-11
  6:  Kindness and Sternness Romans 11:1-24
  7:  The Mystery of the Jewish People Romans 11:25-32
  8:  Our Great and Glorious God Romans 11:33-36
  9:  Offer Your Body Romans 12:1-3
10: Who Am I, Lord? Romans 12:3-8
11: Sincere Love Romans 12:9-13
12: Who To Bless Romans 12:14-21
13: God and Government Romans 13:1-5
14: Tax Day Romans 13:6-7
15: A Debt of Love Romans 13:8-10
16: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ Romans 13:11-14
17: Debatable Issues Romans 14:1-4
18: Reading Hearts Romans 14:5-12
19: What Matters Romans 14:13-18
20: Conviction Based on God's Word Romans 14:19-23
21: The Wise Use of Liberty Romans 15:1-6
22: Accept One Another Romans 15:7-13
23: Full of Goodness and Knowledge Romans 15:14
24: A Bold Reminder Romans 15:15-16
25: Pioneers or Settlers? Romans 15:17-29
26: Striving Together in Prayer Romans 15:30-33
27: A Faithful Sister Romans 16:1-16
28: The God of Peace Romans 16:17-20
29: Paul's Friends Romans 16:21-24
30: Established! Romans 16:25-27

A devotion introduction for November

There is a verse in the book of Jeremiah that comes to mind as we begin to study the second half of Romans. When Jeremiah was very troubled about some things that were happening to him, he came to God and told him how he felt. Instead of being comforted, as he thought he would be, the Lord said to him, If you have fainted when you run with footmen, how will you contend with horses? (Jeremiah 12:5). If you had difficulty handling Paul's arguments in Chapters 1 through 8 of Romans, what are you going to do now that we are in the ninth chapter? For, in this chapter, the apostle brings before us some of the toughest questions ever faced by man as he contemplates the actions and workings of God. All the bitter and denunciatory accusations that man brings against God are faced squarely in this chapter.

Chapters 1 through 8 constitute the first major division of the letter and deal with Paul's explanation of the gospel of the grace of God, the full plan of redemption, as God has worked it out. It is a marvelously brilliant explanation — the best, the most accurate, the most theologically complete detailed explanation that we have in the Scriptures. Then, starting in chapters 9, there is a second division. Paul has been talking about the grace of God and the gospel of God, and he has given an explanation of it, but now he goes back over it again — but this time his purpose is not to explain the gospel, but to exhibit it. These chapters are an exhibition of the grace of God.

At Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco there is a Wax Museum with exhibitions of scenes from various historic moments and the wax figures of various renowned characters in our national and world history. Those figures help me to grasp more clearly what those historical incidents were actually like. This is what you have in these chapters of Romans. It is a demonstration — in terms of people — of how God works in human history, how he redeems and saves.

In Chapters 1-8, the apostle has declared that man is actually helpless to save himself. There is not a thing we can do to save ourselves. We have power to choose, we are expected to choose, and we are free to choose, but, nevertheless, as Paul has made clear, God is behind it all. We don't understand that, and so in chapters 9-16 Paul turns the spotlight on Israel to demonstrate just how God works. We will learn many important things from this section of the epistle to the Romans.

This is a sad and rather sobering story about Israel. Here is a nation that counted itself as having an inside track with God, and saw itself as the people of God, the chosen nation close to God, with various advantages which no other nation had. The Israelites regarded themselves, therefore, as having a specially privileged position with God. Yet Paul begins this section with a clear acknowledgment that this nation is far, far away from God. Despite all the possibilities that they enjoyed, nevertheless, they are a long, long way away.