Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What is death?

In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die. (Genesis 2:15)

I have been a believer since the ripe old age of 19. Being 57 now, and schooled well in public school math, I am able to do simple subtraction and come up with 38 years of being a believer. Remarkable, isn’t it? How much public schools taught me. Forgive my cynicism—I am a public school teacher and live with the guilt of what is avoided in education. But this piece is not meant to be about public education, or the lack thereof, but it is meant to be a reflective piece on what death means. I have spent 2/3 of my life believing that we did indeed die when we (in Adam) partook of that fruit. But I do still wonder what it means, and the difficulty of understanding what it means may lie in the fact that we have never known what it means to live. That is, we never have the experience of living and walking and talking with God, so how can we possibly explain that which we have never known?

In Bible school, the professors taught me that death means separation from God. I think in a wholesome sense that is the best meaning, for who am I to argue with men that spend their lives in theology? I have often pondered the ramifications of death and what it means. At the least, I suspect that it must include a loss of the wholesome “rightness” that comes from our relationship with God. Perhaps an analogy will serve here to clarify what might have happened that fateful day when man first disobeyed God.

When our relationship with someone close is severed, such as a man and woman severing their relationship, or the loss of a loved one, we see some gleanings of what that separation from God might mean. When a man (and here I speak from a man’s point of view, naturally) loses the woman he fancies, he dwells on that loss. It fills his imagination, and in extreme circumstances, even the most minor corners of his thinking. Everything in the course of his ordinary day just serves to remind him of his loss of her. Even after the separation continues his loss may bring fresh remembrances and longings for lost companionship.

What if, in the beginning of the separation of God and man, it was still possible to remember that companionship? Indeed, possibly some men remembered it so well that they continued some of that relationship in their minds. Are there things which we study about that time that could give us hints about that being true? I think of the long life spans of man, 900 years or more, as being part of the radiance of the lost relationship with God. The Bible tells us of one man, Enoch, who missed companionship so sorely that he found it in an extraneous walk with God, who eventually took Enoch to be in companionship with him.

If I may extend the analogy a bit, perhaps it may help to think of those who we all know, the poor souls who seem never to be able to make it through the loss of a loved one. The presence of their beloved lost one so fills their minds that they never get over it; their minds are consumed with their loss so much that even their everyday life is spoiled. The normal grieving process becomes extended to years and even decades; their whole life is afflicted by their loss, and neurosis eclipses totally the joy of continued life.

Which is the point of my wondering. What if mankind has become so neurotic in their loss of fellowship to God that they have become “walking dead people”? What if we have so lost our remembrances of fellowship with God that we are nothing but walking zombies? Indeed Scripture seems to indicate that very fact, declaring over and over that we are dead in our trespasses and sins.

I am convinced that we do not even realize our zombie-like condition. One day, perhaps right after we are allowed to drink from His spring of living water, then and only then, will we realize just how dead we really were.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Raccoon

If you are skeptical of the existence of God, the slightest contemplation of the raccoon should not only tell you of the Creator, but also that He has a great sense of the comic.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remembering the Fall

In these times, part of the world, mostly those who were locked within, are celebrating the destruction of the Berlin Wall. It is no accident that those who would do the locking up behind new walls are the ones who stay away from commemorating the destruction of the old.

But I was drawn to another Fall, one that is even more ignored by much of mankind to its eternal detriment. Man sinned and death resulted. Not even the most modern science of man has been able to undo the curse of God. Man is frail, and after almost a hundred years of “modern” medicine the life span of man is the same as it has always been. Moses, in Psalm 90, comments that 70 years hath the life of a man and 80 years if due to strength.

Today we realize that someone reaching 80 with good health to be as remarkable as it was in Benjamin Franklin’s day. Soon, with the kind help of our national government, we may look forward to living to 70—as long as we senior citizens do not impinge our poor health on the rest of the system.

It is abhorrent to me that society built on human dignity and rights would so cavalierly discard both that dignity and those rights. But may I add that I am not surprised? Disappointed but not surprised. You see, my religion teaches that men are intrinsically evil, unable even with utmost effort to effect salvation upon themselves. Even when we manage to create, in the words of Winston Churchill, the worst form of government ever devised by mankind, saving all others. The problems of our society are growing faster than we are able to reason our way toward morality and rationality—if indeed we are ever able to get there at all.

I used to call this the pull of evil and in my mind, fancied it as sort of a 20:1 ratio. That is for every problem attempted to be addressed and eradicated, twenty others would spring up to pull society down again. Sort of like Jason fighting the perennial soldiers that sprang from the earth. It seems to me that this is one of the rare points where I do find agreement between conservatives and liberals is in the decay of society. Neither group seems to have much hope for the redemption of mankind and see an ongoing, seemingly unstoppable, degradation of our society. They might disagree about the points of society’s fall, but both groups would not expect to see another generation of Americans grow old.

Which leads me to my point of these feeble comments: the redemption of mankind. Christ said that He would return, that his return would be visible and manifest to all. He also said that if He did not return mankind would destroy all. The elements themselves will be burned with fervent heat, He declares, and that does sound to me like a nuclear holocaust. He told us to not count Him slack concerning His promise, but also asked the rhetorical question if He would find any faith when He returned. It is to rescue us from the Fall that He came the first time; it seems that He is coming the second time to stop the total Fall of civilization itself.

That time, that day, will be like no other. Those who are waiting believing in God’s Son, and in his redemption will be made forever holy, separate unto Him, a cherished people. But life on earth will continue with a peace that knows not conflict, where swords will be beaten into plowshears, where a child who dies at 100 will be thought to be cursed.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

On Christian Unity

I was in church this morning with someone who mentioned that he had been raised Catholic, and before I realized it, we were in a quite interesting conversation speculating on whether the Catholics we personally knew really had faith in Christ. Such speculation is always incomplete, though at times fascinating, since who can know the heart except God alone? At any rate I came home thinking of one of the greatest statements of unity of all time was made by Paul the apostle: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28) Of late I have been studying Revelation, and have pondered long on the “Roman prostitute” that is in league with the beasts and also hated by them. Long have I pondered of the meaning of the prostitute, and after 2,000 years of Bible scholars similar ponderings, I confess that I have nothing more to offer other than this weak observation: God will reveal His truth in time, and that time is almost upon us.

The unity of our faith is most precious. But the world unity and the unity which we will have under Christ’s hand seem to me to be very different. In the former, faiths are taught to give up ideals and principles of heritage and doctrine to bring a neutral harmony of mankind; in the latter, Christians are transformed into the correct beliefs of Sonship, and share that transformation eagerly and fluidly with one another for all of eternity. I see the march of many churches fighting to give up one Biblical doctrine after another in hopes of pursuing their elusive goal of harmony balanced with a tolerance that they seem to expect will make them more greatly respected (but, it seems to me, only makes them more despised, for in their efforts towards tolerance they give up their very character, and the one least respected is the one without character).

In our present world thus lies the difficulty; we are commanded to be one, yet find ourselves to be many. If we force ourselves to compromise and be the one, we find no character left to our message, and the world receives it as such. Do let me remind you that the world church will draw together in the last times, and they will proudly proclaim the false messiah. So part of the movement of our churches to unite must be seen as preparatory for the false world church. Our unity is nevertheless our strongest testimony of Christ. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other (Galatians 5:16). And again the prayer of our Lord: May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23).

I figure my bottom line is to unite in Christ with my brothers present in this world, but is also to hold fast to the doctrines revealed in the Scriptures. In our present time, I admire Mr. Billy Graham for his steadfastness with core principles, yet his ability to reach across to others who accented different strands of the Christian faith.

Lastly, I would say make no mistake for God is not mocked. Whatever a man may sow, we are told, that shall he also reap. If your doctrine is one that splinters man from knowing God, you shall be judged of your false teaching. Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). But we have this from the Word to comfort us: Abraham believed God and it was reckoned unto him as righteousness. If we are to be saved in these most perilous times, it will be because we believed God when He sent His Son to save us- not for correct or incorrect doctrine. The advantage of steering the correct course of truth is that we become much more free to emphasize the true gospel that can save all men.

If you are Catholic or Protestant or otherwise in the Christian faith, it is not what is false in your teaching that saves you—it is your faith in believing God only which shall save you. I believed God and it was reckoned unto me as righteousness. At that time, we shall become like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And I shall walk through eternity, not with Catholics or Protestants, but with men and women who are changed, just like me, into the very image of our Lord. What a marvelous time that will be! What unity we shall at last have!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Day that Death Dies

Death is the antithesis of life. In Revelation, God tells us that “Death and Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire.” In the third chapter of Genesis the fall of mankind takes place when woman and man both disobey God. God banishes them from the Garden of Eden, and will not allow mankind to escape the penalty of death until the Supreme Sacrifice is made, and time is given to all man to believe their God. Then we are told to look forward to a time on earth when the wolf shall lie down with the lamb, where the child will play next to the adder and suffer no harm, and where “none” shall be told of the Lord, for all mankind, from the least to the greatest, shall know him. Swords will be beaten into plowshears as a time of peace unbeknown to man shall abide on him. The “child” who dies at age one hundred shall be thought to be accursed, since the lifespan of even sinful man shall be extended dramatically.

When well-meaning but thoughtless people say about the death of their loved ones, “Oh, it is just the natural life cycle, and I know that, but I have a hard time with it anyway,” I cringe at their statement even while I try to offer sympathy. The sympathy is easy because there is so much empathy in each of us about the subject of death. Death shadows us all until it at last conquers. We empathize deeply with others losing their grandparents, or their parents because the same has happened to us. But it is only when we come to terms with the gospel of God that we see death is the enemy, the antithesis of what life should be.

There is nothing “natural” about death. The natural state was before the Fall, when man was in harmony with God. The unnatural state is to have to watch older generations diminish and die as they lose control of their bodies. So the position of the Christian should always be to utterly reject this awful penalty of death, for it is a curse, and it is for a specified duration, and it is to one day be lifted.

In our debate on health care, I wonder if it is we Christians who are causing much of the problem. It is our nature, the nature of life, to perceive death as the “last enemy.” Hence we reject utterly the offers of a peaceful assisted suicide, or any giving in to what is now inevitable: the march of death sweeping over mankind. Hence, we tend to support the “heroic” measures that Obama is against because we have such value in life itself.

“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. After that, we who are alive and are left will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.” Death will be no more for we shall be with the Lord forever!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The pearls

I have often stumbled over the precious gems of life in my pursuit of the cheap and shiny.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reflections on The Abolition of Man

In reading The Abolition of Man, I found myself thinking in a new way. I have observed that this often happens with Lewis, who is a master at taking things of an ordinary sort and putting them in quite a fresh perspective.

Lewis talks extensively, and I confess, somewhat boringly, about his Tao. His Tao as best I can conceive, is an unassailable perspective or philosophy which is the kernel of who man is, or should I say, should be. I have always found The Abolition of Man to be more remote and abstract than it should be, and have found his arguments persuasive while not heroic, and certainly not central to the way I might want to present the rationale of Christ. Until I read him this time.

What I find so different in this time perusing through the book was, of course, my own reflection. The power of the best writers is not found in their ability to persuade us to their cause, but rather to cause us to begin persuasion of ourselves in trying to fit that piece in our philosophy which has not quite fit before, but now, because of the great writer, seems a bit more abhorrent than it ever was before. In rethinking this little bit that does not fit, the thinker may find himself trying to refine his own sense of philosophy, of decency by twitching a little this way, or by tinkering with a little thought that way. Frustrated at his efforts he perseveres, annoyed that no matter how he twists or bends his thoughts, it does not fit; in the end he is forced to throw out the whole bit and start over. Of course this is the result of and the power of great writers.

What is it that I threw out? Not so much I would warrant, just that I saw where Lewis was coming from. He was presenting the very bad arguments that I myself have had from my Father’s generation when they told us of the sixties’ generation that we should do this or that. “Go pick up your rifle and give your life cheerily for your country. Live your life virtuously. Be brave and be truthful. Your country needs your body and it is your duty to go to war.” All of these maxims my generation questioned. I also questioned them, and found many of the older generation unable to voice why I should do this or that. What is it, I would reasonably ask, that makes me want to die for my country, or be a hero, or even truthful, for that matter?

My father, not being a Christian, and not being a philosopher either, could never articulate the reason why we should do this or that over another, perhaps more preferable course. It was not until I encountered Christ that I began to see that most of what he had been teaching me, was part of Lewis’s Tao. That is, it was the underpinnings to the why of life, and it was largely left out by my father’s generation. His generation subscribed to a plethora of dictums that largely came from Christianity.

I realized this fact very soon after my receiving Christ, but as hard as I tried to articulate it to my Dad, it never seemed to soak in. I do not think it soaked in for a lot of his generation—my Father did not believe himself until near the end of his life. I find it ironic in thinking about his generation, a segment of heroic men and woman who became much bigger than themselves and gave us the greatest gift—our continued freedom. The irony is, of course, they knew not whom they served.

In thinking about it today, I could extend a metaphor of a great generation handing us the greatest engine of civilization of all time. They had given us the greatest and most powerful diesel engine by one of the great American generations, but they forgot to tell us about the fuel to run the engine. We of the sixties frustrated them to no end with our questions of why; they could only see their marvelous diesel engine of civilization and could not understand our questions. What we should have been talking about was, of course, the fuel. Neither generation was finding The Christ, the master of both generations, and the diesel fuel on which the greatest engine runs.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Analogy of Time

As a child I remember learning to fly a kite. There was something very empowering to me to finally successfully launch a kite, and watch it bob and weave in the wind. I remember trying to see how high I could get the kite, sometimes tying two or three rolls of string together, until the kite became just a speck in the sky that could hardly be seen.

I remember when using a new ball of string I had to be very careful. I could let the string run through my fingers as the ball unraveled at my feet, but if I was not careful I would not see that I was at the end and the kite would soar off into the sky, not to be recovered.

An apt analogy for today, I think. The string of time is running through our fingers in a steady stream. But the string of this age is about to run out, and the only connection to that string is the time of great judgment that is coming on the world. Fortunately for earth and mankind, that roll of string is also connected to a time on earth when peace will rule, when our swords will be turned in plow shears, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb.

I can feel the string of time whizzing through my fingers now. The end of the string will be upon us before we know it. As the seconds go by, waiting for the end, I would ask: are you ready?

Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness. Patrick also believed God, and it was also credited to him for righteousness. God so loved the world that whosoever believeth. . .

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Truth never shares its pedestal.
Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Simple logic. Jesus was one of three people. First we could suppose him a liar, bent on the worst evil and deceiving the world. He built a deception in his whole life that would unalterably change the world to accomadate a lie.

Don't like this Jesus? Good, because neither do I. Second, we could suppose Jesus to be crazy, a maniacal man bent on his destruction and the destruction of his people. He did what he did out of some mental disease and was unable to help himself. Indeed, not only did he end on the cross, he has followers by the thousands who have irrationally followed his madness.

I don't think that works too well either. Third we have the Jesus who was who he said he was. The Son of God come to redeem a lost world. As Lewis so aptly points out we are not ever, in strict logic, left with the idea that Jesus is merely a nice man.

Would that the world was better trained in simple logic! What do they teach them in schools these days? (Oops, that would be me!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Romans One and Two

Concluding Thoughts

Key verses:
Romans 1:32 and Romans 2:1 (NIV)

Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you who pass judgment do the same things.

Just a few brief thoughts to note hear. Verse 32 tells us plainly not to 1) do the sorts of things previously listed (including homosexuality) and 2) to definitely not give approval of those who practice them. But verse 1 tells us plainly that we are completely unfit to judge others without condemning ourselves because we do the same things.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus plainly sets a bar so high that it is impossible that we should reach it; rather it is only faith which can save us. Jude further tells us that “we are to snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
The walk of the believer then is most assuredly a narrow one. He is called to stand against sin, condemning it completely, shunning it and denouncing it as sin. At the same time he is called to stand with the sinner, being merciful and humble, hoping by any means that the sinner might recognize that he too is naught but a beggar in need of grace.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Romans One Part Two

The general theme of Romans is succinctly stated in the maxim: “The just shall live by faith.” Paul’s cogent argument that we are “without excuse” is powerfully built in the last half of Romans One. I shall try to demonstrate his persuasive points in these next few paragraphs.

First Paul establishes that “men are without excuse” by depicting the downward spiral of sin. First he tells us that “their thinking became futile.” It is futile thinking which marks the beginning of the trek away from God. How many ways are there for modern man to engage in “futile thinking”? I wonder about our movement into the worship of nature and its mythical balance. Today we are more worried about our carbon production than we are about being judged by an angry God. The former is largely imagined while the latter is a coming reality. We are engaged in futile thinking when we imagine ourselves as saviors of the earth--it is we ourselves who are in desperate need of a Savior.

If “futile thinking” is the first mark of the sinful man, the second mark is “darkened hearts”. I see a connection here. Futile thinking would frequently lead to darkened hearts. People become captured by their vain imaginings and those imaginings bring about a heart which is darkened. I look at the wonders of creation, having gazed at the beauties of the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. They make me see the Creator, but those with darkened hearts and vain imaginings only see accident and happenstance. I cannot look at a tree without wondering about the one who created it, but those who vainly imagine darken their own hearts. Paul tells us that they are “without excuse” because the Creator is plainly seen, “being understood from what is made”. They think they are wise, yet they are but fools, worshipping created things rather than the Creator.

Sexual impurity is the next result. Fools who pretend they are responsible to no one begin to act toward one another without righteousness. The loss of any righteous stance leads the sinner to sexual impurity, and Paul lists the worst outcomes of sexual impurity: women lust toward other women, and men lust toward other men. Such behavior comes from those who “do not retain their knowledge of God”. (Please scroll down to see Marriage Compact, written several years ago).

Those who leave their knowledge of God so willfully spiral yet further into sin and disobedience by developing “depraved minds”. The rest of the chapter lists the marks of the depraved mind:
“29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” I count 21 ways that depravity is counted here.

I can quite imagine the righteous man, indeed it is my tendency too, to read this list and become incensed at the wickedness of mankind, thinking foolishly that it is “those others” who engage in sin. The next verse especially seems to make me want to establish myself as different, better than ‘those sinners’.
32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

I find myself wondering about how other people have gone so far wrong, and in my suppositions I fall into Paul’s trap. Paul’s trap comes in the next verse, which is the first verse of the second chapter. When Bible scholars chopped the text up into chapters and verses they correctly saw verse one of chapter two as beginning a new thought; but it is also the summation of what Paul has been building. It is put there as a cold bucket of water to be tossed over the righteous head and awaken him to his dire need. I find myself a bit shocked in reading it, even after all these years of being a Christian, because it does point at my utter depravity.

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

I, then, am guilty of the same things, the sexual sins, the list of 21 sins, the wickedness of futile thinking and darkened hearts. I think of Jimmy Carter who famously spoke of the lust in his heart, and I think of Bill Clinton who never quite acknowledged the lust of his zipper. Together they are both condemned. Moreover I am condemned right along with them. Jesus makes this explicit in his Sermon on the Mount, but Paul makes us see the three fingers pointing back at ourselves when we point our accusatory fingers and say “j’accuse”. The gospel has been magnificently explained as one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread. I need to forever remember my own beggar status when I speak to others about unrighteous lifestyles. I definitely should not approve of such lifestyles, but if I lose sight of my utter wretchedness I risk losing not only my testimony, but also my very proper perspective. I am a sinner who is made righteous, and called to live by faith.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Romans One part one

Key verses:

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

In Romans Paul starts out immediately letting me know that God includes more than His people, the Jews, in his grand designs. The key verses of the book are found in Romans 1:16 & 17.

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Paul tries to succinctly state the broad theme of Romans by letting us know first that the very Power of God is illumined when the merest man partakes in belief. It is only faith which brings us imputed righteousness. My belief in God is the only thing that pleases Him; I receive that which was done on the cross with His Son, and that alone is what pleases God.

Hebrews tells us this also: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6). Paul is restating this in Romans, or perhaps it was first, for if my memory serves Romans is the earlier book.

Now Paul begins to craft his arguments that all men are in the same fix: lost without Christ. His first argument is almost a trap to the righteous Jew, or to the righteous Christian. He begins with stating clearly that righteousness comes by faith but then moving to a great list of sins that are favored by those with a “depraved mind”.

Paul brilliantly marshals his arguments by plainly telling us that all men are without excuse:
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

In other words the natural mind is capable of and responsible for discerning the Creator through His creation. We should be able to look at a tree or a tall mountain and see the Creator behind them.

But men’s willfulness always corrupts them; though we do see God’s handiwork, and even His presence everywhere we have so darkened our understanding that we are incapable of seeing the Light of the World.

21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Idolatry is a chief manifestation of the wickedness of men- I wonder if we have really changed all that much this last several years. In the Old Testament the Israelites sacrificed their children to Molech by casting them into the fire; these times woman are counseled to sacrifice their unborn to the god of convenience. In former ancient times men worshipped the sun and feared it; today we have the religion of global warming that still fears angering the sun.

In our next passage to look at, Paul brilliantly captures the supposed righteous man by listing many more of the awful sins of the depraved mind. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Layman’s Look at Romans

For me, Romans is a most exciting book. I remember my college semester studying Romans but even before that, some 36 years ago, my wife and I attended young couples conference, and a man named Roger taught us about Romans. I recall some of his words as freshly as they were spoken still. He spoke to us of the old man that we are to put away and be renewed in the “new man” to which we are called. But as I recall those messages I do remember his summary of the earlier chapters, encapsulating great themes and arguments in single sentence summaries.

Even today, after reading through my Bible many hundreds of times, I find the words penned in Romans some of the most humbling and liberating for the wayward soul. It teaches the Christian of his relational place to Christ, from our humble, sinful, and lost beginnings to the exalted status that even the angels look on with amazement and wonder at what God has done.

I am undertaking to memorize key verses of each chapter, and have chosen those key verses from my own study, not from notes or another Bible study source. They are words chosen by me, the sole guidance I use is what God seems to speak to me as important. Romans, is, of course, a very coherent and strong argument to explain the complete and total loss of man’s righteousness apart from faith in Christ. It also gloriously explains to us what majesty that faith restores to us as the sons of God.

I intend to give the key verses of each chapter as I wind my way through this. My guide to “key” verses is my own, and I use only my sense of what is important, hopefully coupled with the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Though I enjoy checking commentaries out from time to time, it is again, my reliance on my common sense and the Holy Spirit which dominate my studies.

A final word on memorization. I have given myself through my life to much memorization (and sometimes I think- more forgetting!). I have found it a wonderful tool for getting familiar with the Word of God, but also for mediation and reflection, it is for me, an unparalleled tool. If by chance anyone ever bothers with reading this blog, please do accept my recommendation of committing this verses to your memory. I trust that God will enrich your life as He has mine.