Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 5: Saturday
Today’s Bible reading is Romans 11–12. In chapter 11, Paul finishes writing about God’s purposes in bringing in the Gentiles to be saved. As I said last week, chapters 9–11 can be controversial. Read them with humility, and don’t read them unless you’ve already read Romans 1–8, and understand the nature of man’s sinful rebellion and the mercy and love of God in sending His Son. Before you start reading chapter 9, read the last four verses of chapter 11. From there go back to Romans 9, and read these chapters as a sinner saved by the grace of God. (See last week, Romans 9–10: God & His Mercy).
One word you’ll see repeated in this section is the word, mercy. Surprised? If you’ve read Romans 1–8, you will understand why mercy is used, and your words will echo Paul’s praise at the end of chapter 11.
In chapters 12–16, Paul will instruct us on how to live with other people. What are his opening words?
Paul has spent eight chapters telling us of the mercies of God. In verse 1 what does Paul urge our response is to be to God’s mercies?
In verse 2 Paul tells us something we’re not to do, and something we are to do. What are they? How are we to accomplish this? And why?
In verse 3 Paul begins talking about our relationship with other people. How is verse 3 related to verse 2? Who is Paul talking about in verses 4–13?
Paul commands us to do a lot of things in these verses. Now before you get overwhelmed or burdened under the weight of your sins and weaknesses, remember Francis Schaeffer ‘s words on Romans 8 (emphasis added):
“…the law is not enough to save us, and it is not enough to sustain us after we have been saved. Both before and after we become Christians we need the power of Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. In chapter 8, Paul introduces us to the Holy Spirit specifically as the agent of Christ’s power in our lives.”1
Go back and look at Romans 6–8. You are not under law, but under grace. The Holy Spirit now lives in you. You are not alone. God is always with you. And Romans 12:4–8 is also about how we as other Christians are to help each other!
Read carefully through the end of the chapter. These verses contain some of the hardest things we will ever have to do: how we are to act toward those who have persecuted us and done evil to us. There may be someone in your life who have done you grievous harm. This may have happened to you many times.
From these verses how does God want you to handle those who have cut you to the deep? What is your response to be? If you do this, will it mean that you’ll never see justice for what happened to you? Answer these questions from the text. Because those are God’s answers to you. He has not forgotten you. He is a Rock. He is just. He is faithful.
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.”
What does the last verse in chapter 12 say? If you’re struggling with this right now, what has God said to you in this letter of Paul’s that will help you? Write down those verses on a small card and remind yourself of God’s truth. Remember the Holy Spirit intercedes for you. Remember we stand in God’s grace.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
1Francis Schaeffer, The Finished Work of Christ (Crossway Books, Wheaton IL: 1998) 187.
Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter