Jottings – Freedom from the Penalty, Power, and Presence of Sin


Referring to Romans 8:21:


When Christ finally imprisons Satan, He will deliver the entire creation from this bondage, and all nature will enjoy with us “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (v. 21). What a thrilling salvation we have: free from the penalty of sin because Christ died for us (Romans 5); free from the power of sin because we died with Christ to the flesh (Romans 6) and to the Law (Romans 7); and someday we shall be free from the very presence of sin when nature is delivered from bondage.


Wiersbe, Warren W. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992. Print. [emphasis added, chapter references reformatted]



Read More

Devotional – The God of the Impossible

Devotional Sun Icon

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 ESV

Immediately after waking up this morning I was quickly engulfed by a dreadful torrent of fear. My heart started pounding… I even began to sweat as my mind raced though all of the items on my agenda.  “This is impossible,” I thought, “How can I ever face the day ahead of me!”

Amazing!  I was already defeated.  I had only been awake for a few minutes—I was still in bed!—and I wanted to give up.

Is this how God wants us to live?  Paralyzed by our own feelings of inadequacy and fear? Of course not!

God’s earnest desire for us is to abound in hope, fill us with all joy and give us His peace that surpasses all understanding!

How?  How can I possibly know hope, joy, and peace despite the seemingly insurmountable problems I face?  By believing!  By believing in the long promised Messiah—The Lord Jesus Christ.

Why was I filled with a paralyzing fear this morning?  Because I was looking at my problems!  I was looking at myself.  I had taken my eyes off of Jesus Christ and I began to sink in to a quagmire of self-pity and fear.

Lord, help me to keep my focus on you, to rely on you and to fill me with all hope, joy and peace that comes from believing in you.



Editorial note: Originally published March 2, 2015 at


Read More

Jottings – Who’s Crying Now?

Like Jesus and Paul, Jeremiah wept over the sad spiritual condition of the people... it’s unusual today to find tears either in the pulpit or the pews.

Commenting on Jeremiah 9:1-6 ~~

“Like Jesus (Luke 19:41) and Paul (Rom. 9:1–5), Jeremiah wept over the sad spiritual condition of the people, and this is one reason he’s known as “the weeping prophet” (see Jer. 9:18; 10:19; 13:17; 14:17; Lam. 1:16; 2:11, 18; 3:48). It’s unusual today to find tears either in the pulpit or the pews; the emphasis seems to be on enjoyment. Instead of evangelists and revivalists, the church now has “religious comedians” who apparently have never read James 4:9–10.”


Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Decisive (p. 48). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.



Read More

Jottings – The Greater The Conscious Weakness The More Is He Clung To And Counted On


Jottings Pencil Red

Commenting on Romans 7:4 — “We are set in relation to One who is pledged in love to support us. It is not now a demand to which there is no strength to answer, but a Person in whom all the wealth of divine grace is embodied, and in whom there is a full supply of all that weakness needs for its support, It is not, merely that He is a storehouse of supply, but it is all made available in personal love. Our sources of supply and strength are realised in conscious nearness to One who loves us. How all hardness and legality would go from our spirits if we kept the company of Christ! With what certainty would our hearts be assured that we could count on Him for everything! Every true husband loves to support his wife and supply all she needs, but he also loves to give her what is nearer to his heart even than his support– his personal affection and companionship. What a new spirit is formed in one who companies with Christ! The greater the conscious weakness the more is He clung to and counted on. The more trying the circumstances one may be called upon to pass through the more is companionship in them valued, and what companionship can be compared with that of Christ? It is the consciousness of this that sets our spirits free from all legality.”


C.A. Coates, The Book of Romans, n.d.


Thanks Keith!


Read More

Jottings – Lost Peace Found

Jottings Pencil Red

Commenting on Romans 15:33 “God alone can preserve peace. Backslider! hast thou lost it? Go and seek it again of God. Christian! is thy peace marred? Go to God, and he can say to every doubt, ‘Lie down doubt,’ and to every fear, ‘Begone.’ He can speak to every wind that can blow across thy soul, and can say, ‘Peace, be still;’ for he is the God of peace, since he preserves it. Trust in him.”


C. H. Spurgeon, “The God of Peace,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Vol. I. Originally preached on November 4, 1855. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), p. 374.


Thanks Keith!

Read More

Jottings — Dominated & Characterized by Love

On 1 Timothy 1:5 – “The ministry of one who handles the truth is to be dominated and characterized by love. Since God’s love has been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Romans 5:5, it is designed to find its refection in the life and conduct of the believer. The ministry of the Scriptures is never to be a matter of cold theology. The heart must be aglow with the impulse of divine love. Its source and character, in the human channel of its exercise, is described in what follows in this verse.”

W. E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine: 1 Timothy. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996).


Read More

Audio: Renew Your Mind

Romans 12 2 Renew Your Mind

“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. 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.” Romans 12:1-2 NJKV

Paul describes the all out, full on Christian life as a “living sacrifice.” How is this even possible? The answer to this question involves several aspects, however one of those aspects is the renewing of the mind.

How is this even possible? I hope that this sermon will be of help to you in answering this question….

Recorded: Sunday May 27, 2012 at the Memorial Day Weekend Conference convened at the Bethany Gospel Chapel in Worcester, MA.


[Graphic Credit]


Read More

NT Tuesday: Be Affectionate & Honor One Another

SubwayLast week we looked at the Biblical imperative of “build up one another“. This week we will look at being devoted to one another or outdoing one another in showing honor. Paul writes in Romans 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor”

We want to look at two thoughts that are contained in this verse, but first the setting for the verse. In the first eleven chapters of Romans, Paul, in a most systematic and concise manner, expounds on God’s gospel according to His Son, Jesus Christ. He then exhorts us to live in an entirely different manner based on the truth of the Gospel. In fact, the difference was supposed to be so remarkable that we would appear to be like a living sacrifice! (A living sacrifice – think of how odd that sounds).

Read More

NT Tuesday: Build Up One Another

Open Bible MarkLast week we looked at exhort one another. This week we will look at “building up of one another” or “edifying one another.” Romans 14:19 NASB reads “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (I had to “resort” to using the NASB because the ESV does not use the terms “one another” in its translation of this verse.)

The verse follows an exhortation by Paul to mature Christians to not allow their freedom to participate in certain liberties to be a stumbling block or a hindrance to other Christians as they walk with Jesus on the path that He leads them. Rather than causing “differences” to become an issue, Paul argues, we should spend time strengthening each other.

A similar thought is also found in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 – For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

God, in His manifold and infinite wisdom, has designed the body of Christ to be knit together. Believers are not individuals running around on their own individual crusade or left alone to deal with their own issues, problems, challenges, or successes. Rather, our Father has designed a body where each member is joined together with each other and with Jesus Christ as our Head. He has designed this body so that each member is needed and vital. He has designed the body so that each member is necessary for the mutual upbuilding of the other members. In other words, we need each other. We need each other in our walk with the Lord, we need in other to be better equipped to use the gifts given to us, we need each other for encouragement, exhortation, prayer, confession, etc.

Because we need each other – and let’s think selfishly for the moment – the more we can positively impact one another, the better off we will be because the body, as a whole, will be in better shape. It’s sort of like the exhortation to husbands to love their wives like their own bodies. We can extrapolate that verse from marriage and apply it to body life – “believers edify the other members of the body as you want to be built up yourself.”

I want to make one more observation about Romans 14. Notice what Paul says. He says we are to “pursue the things which… edify one another”. That, to me, sounds like it needs to be purposeful, not random. In other words, we need to proactively and decidedly behave in such a way that it builds up the other members of the body. We need to structure our day, our week, our month around being edifying to other members of our body. That takes time, investment, sacrifice. But it would seem that it would be a wise investment and it seems that it would be pleasing to Jesus.

Until next week – fulfill your ministry and build one another up! Hey, why not invite them to the Shepherding Conference at Greenwood Hills later this week (shameful plug!!)



Photo credit: CreationSwap/Krist Adams






Read More

Best Commentaries For Studying Romans: Case Study on Bible Study Tools

I’ve been doing this series on Bible Study tools and was focusing on commentaries. In this post, I am going to list my commentary methodology, and a recommendation, with one book of the Bible: Romans.

I’ve read it quite a few times. Repeatedly. Taken notes on my perfect Bible and backed them up. Each time I find myself thinking “well, still don’t fully get it!” Paul had quite the brain.

But Paul was also in a certain culture. And Paul was also writing to a people in that culture. And he used words that were distinct to that culture.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’ve done hard work in the text. I’ve got an idea of the thought-flow. I have some fifty posts on Romans—and those are just the ones I’ve taken a chance to organize and post online! But there are some debatable things that stop me while I’m reading. Since I want to be faithful to what the God is saying in the inspired text, I get nervous. I had better consult my teachers with the questions that stop me.

For example: what was the socio-cultural milieu when Paul wrote Romans? How would they understand that whole section on the Law and divorce in Romans 7? What have other believers in Church History believed about the text? How would they struggle with Romans 3 and the justification by faith passages? How have they read Romans 9-11? Has the treatment of the passage always been the same? What would this mean today? How can it be properly applied?

Then I consult my Romans Collection (here’s a link to WorldCat if you wanted to try picking them up at the library or store: there are about 60). Witherington’s Socio-rhetorical commentary is self-explanatory. Newell tries to deal with the text verse by verse but seems to focus more on summarizing. Luther reflects the fire of the reformation. Calvin underscores a careful exegesis. MacArthur is constantly applying after dealing with the text. Barth looks like he’s responding to something (when you can understand him). Cranfield deals with the text as it stands. Hodge gives you a strong post-reformation exegesis. Augustine, Chrysostom and Origen reflect how the early church dealt with the text. Ironside tries to encourage the regular reader; Darby meditates on what the text is saying and tries to apply it.  Wright and Dunn give you another way to read the text if their historical references are right.  Moo counteracts many of their uncareful exegesis by upholding the traditional reading.

Now I’m careful. I take more care with the ones that make assumptions with the text, or with history, or with the original languages. The devotional ones, or the ones that are talking to the Regular Joe, might say things confidently without defending them and that’s a road fraught with error. I think it’s better to focus on what the text says than to focus on some flowery application that someone has made on the text. But I’m also careful with the ones who spend their time hovering over the text and creating a culture that changes the reading of the text. No good telling me the text doesn’t say what it says just because of some hypothetical historical drama.

All these commentators—giants of Biblical exegesis, theology and church history—sit around my office and discuss the text. And I let them talk.

So if you had to buy two commentaries on Romans, Moo and Cranfield are the best. Moo is easier to read and up to date with its argumentation; Cranfield often writes in Greek without bothering to translate but I think he’s more faithful with the text even if he doesn’t deal with New Perspective on Paul stuff.  If you only had to buy one, I’d say buy Moo since Cranfield’s is two volumes.

I didn’t recommend anything for the other books of the Bible since you should now have a tool for that. But remember this: if you’re going to study Scripture, especially if you plan to teach it, you had better be doing some serious work with the text and that should include consulting those people that have spent lifetimes struggling with it throughout Church history.We’re not alone.

Crossposted at The Bible Archive.





Read More
p 1 of 712345...»»