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The No-Name God

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

16  Romans


An elaboration of the gospel

 

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 16

 

 

More than likely, this letter to the Romans was a summary of what Paul had taught for the two years he was in Rome.

 

As our study enters the book of Romans, please remember that although Paul will often be mentioned, our primary focus is on what he taught about The God. Paul, himself, is strictly secondary to our purpose of seeking out what the scriptures teach about The God and what his son, Jesus, the Christ, revealed about him.

 

Thus far, the scriptures have shown that the apostles taught about the kingdom of The God, but there has been little expansion about what that kingdom meant. This is probably a good time to offer a short excursion into how the good news, or gospel, or glad tidings, of that kingdom was referred to in the scriptures.

 

Matthew 4:23 calls it the gospel of the kingdom. Mark 1:1 calls it the gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 20:24 calls it the gospel of the grace of The God. Romans 1:16 calls it the gospel of the christ. Romans 15:16 calls it the gospel of The God. II Corinthians 4:4 calls it the light of the glorious gospel. Galatians 2:7 calls it the gospel of the uncircumcision. Ephesians 1:13 calls it the gospel of your salvation. II Thessalonians 1:8 calls it the gospel of our lord, Jesus, Christ. Revelations 14:6 calls it the everlasting gospel.

 

As these references reveal, the different labels for the kingdom depended on the viewpoint from which the speaker approached the subject. At first, the apostles referred to what had happened as the glad tidings, or gospel, of the kingdom of The God. But, as time went on, the apostles began to describe more of the components encapsulated within the kingdom of The God.

 

When Paul used the word "god" it was not always meant as a reference to the invisible god of heaven. Often, it was used in the genitive as part of a prepositional phrase, which can then be translated as an adjective. For instance, one could say, "See the garden of beauty," or they could say, "See the beautiful garden." The first is a prepositional phrase in the genitive.

 

Both phrases mean the same thing, and Paul often used this grammatical construction in the first chapter of Romans. The first instance occurs in Romans 1:4:

"And declared to be the son of god with power...."

 

Since there is no definite article, this should be translated in English as either "a son of a god," or "a divine son."  According to the Greek, the translation "a divine son" is the more correct one.

 

Another instance is found in Romans 1:16.

"For I am not ashamed of the glad tidings of the christ; for it is power of god unto salvation...."

 

Since there is no definite article, this would be more sensibly translated as "a divine power unto salvation."  Paul was saying that all who base their life upon the truth that The God gave his son will find it to be a divine power into salvation. Salvation refers to the future kingdom of God, inaugurated at the return of Jesus, the Christ.

 

Another example of the grammatical construction occurs in Romans 1:17.

"For in it is righteousness of god revealed...."

 

Again, with no definite article, this would be more easily understood if it were translated as "a divine righteousness." And, in Romans 1:18, Paul again used the same construction when he said,

"For there is revealed wrath of god from heaven upon all ungodliness...."

 

Again, this could correctly be translated as "a divine wrath."

 

These examples are mentioned only to point out that every time the word "god" appears in the scriptures it is not necessarily a reference to any entity. Sometimes it is simply descriptive, or used as an adjective in a genitive prepositional phrase.

 

Noting when the definite article is present and when it is not will definitely help one understand the scriptures correctly. Too many preachers and teachers often dismiss the presence or absence of the definite article as unimportant, while, in reality, it can completely change the meaning of a particular scripture.

 

In Romans 1:19-21, Paul used the word theos, god, with the definite article. Notice the contrast to our earlier examples where the definite article is absent.

"Because that which is known of the god is manifest among them, for the god manifested [it] to them; for the invisible things of him from creation of [the] world are perceived, being understood by the things made, both his eternal power and divinity; for them to be without excuse. Because having known the god, they glorified [him] not as god, or were thankful; but became vain in their reasonings, and the heart of them was darkened without understanding."

 

By contrast, where the words "the god" appear they cannot be translated as "divine."  Nor can the word "god" used later, as it is not in a prepositional phrase.  [For further discussion on these verses, see our book, The Truth Revealed in Romans.]

 

In Romans 1:21-31, Paul shared several more facets of the invisible god and what he has done for his human creation. The God has given us the glad tidings, or gospel, as the power enabling us to live in godliness. The Godís righteousness is revealed in these glad tidings.

 

The glad tidings of Jesus, the Christ, and his life, death, resurrection, and ascension to The God in heaven fulfills the promise made to the fathers. This fulfillment of the promise is referred to as the righteousness of The God.

 

The God has also manifested certain of his attributes to everyone through his creation. The creation, itself, is testimony to the existence and the power of a god. Someone beyond human understanding made the universe, and all that is in it.

 

The God also gave over to reprobate minds those who did not glorify him as a god.

 

Romans 2:2 says,

"We know but that the judgment of the god is according to truth upon those that do such things."

 

The God is truth, and he knows truth, and that truth will be the basis for judging all menís works.

 

Romans 2:4 says that,

"the kindness of the god leads thee to repentance."

 

The continued love and kindness of The God toward the humanity he created leads people to repent, or change their minds, about what kind of god he is.

 

Romans 2:11 says that,

"there is not respect of persons with the god."

 

Paul also clarified how the judgment will be carried out.

 

Romans 2:16 says,

"In a day when the god shall judge the secrets of men, according to my glad tidings, by Jesus Christ."

 

The God is the first cause, and Jesus is the secondary cause. The judgment will be carried out by Jesus, the Christ.

 

Romans 2:24 says,

"For the name of the god is blasphemed through you among the nations, according as it has been written."

 

It is amazing how often the name, or the reputation, of the god is blasphemed by religious organizations. Or, consider all the atrocities still being committed in the name of The God.

 

Romans 3:19 says why the god gave the law.

"...that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world be under judgment to the god."

 

Romans 3:21-26 lists several different aspects of the previously unknown god. First, that the righteousness of God, or a divine righteousness, has been manifested. Previously the law and the prophets had attested to it. But now, this divine righteousness, or righteousness of God, has been set forth for all to see through the faithfulness of Jesus, Christ.

 

This righteousness is toward all. It is not just for some, such as the believers. But, as concerning the believers, this righteousness is upon them. Or, as this righteousness abides upon believers, it gives them the peace of knowing that Jesus has paid the penalty for all their sins, and they are now considered to be righteous.

 

Romans 3:24 says that we are,

"justified gratuitously by his grace, through the redemption which [is] in christ Jesus."

 

The God has also justified all those who lived before the time of Jesus.

 

Romans 5:5 says that,

"... the love of the god has been poured out in our hearts by holy spirit which was given unto us."

 

The portion of holy spirit each person received communicates to that person that he or she is loved by The God.

 

Romans 5:10 gives an amazing statement of that love.

"For if, being enemies, we were reconciled to the god through the death of his son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

 

The death of Jesus reconciled all people to The God; any obstacle between him and people had been removed. Notice, too, the great promise given to those who commit themselves to The God: we shall be saved by the life of Jesus. When people surrender their own will to that of the lord, Jesus, then, through holy spirit, Jesus can live through those people and bring forth righteous deeds that will survive the judgment.

 

Romans 6:4 says that,

"... we were buried with him by baptism unto death; that as christ was raised up from among [the] dead by the glory of the father, so also we should walk in newness of life."

 

Jesus, the Christ, was raised from among the dead ones by the glory of the Father. His premiere goodness, plus all his other attributes, are brought to bear in the word "glory."  Jesus was not raised for us, but because it gave glory to the Father in that he kept his word, or covenant, to the fathers. In their smugness, most people assume that Jesus was raised for our benefit; the scriptures say otherwise.

 

When Jesus came forth from the tomb, he walked in newness of life, or in a spiritual body and spiritual life. The God also expects us to walk in a spiritual manner. Why? Because, when Jesus was baptized with death, The God reckoned us to also be included in that death. All our sins were forgiven because of Jesus, and we can now approach the presence of our father in the heavenly holy of holies to find the strength to walk in this newness of life.

 

Romans 6:5 points out that,

"if we have become conjoined in the likeness of his death, so also we shall be of [his] resurrection."

 

This is a first condition if statement, which means that it is accepted as a fact. We have been conjoined with Jesus in the likeness of his death. In other words, when Jesus died, The God considered that we, too, had died. So, too, we may now consider that when Jesus comes in his glory, we will also be resurrected, not because of what we have done, but because of the work of Jesus, the Christ, and the grace of The God whereby he considers us as one with his son.

 

Why would The God do this? Because he promised Abraham that in him all nations would be blessed, and he is merely keeping his promise.

 

Romans 6:6 says,

"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be annulled, that we no longer be subservient to sin."

 

Another attitude of The God toward men is that he no longer considers us as being in Adam, or our old man. When Jesus died, our carnal nature, or our relationship with Adam also died, at least so far as The God is concerned.

 

We are still very much in the flesh, but we also have been given a portion of holy spirit whereby the instincts of the flesh may be overcome. We are no longer subservient to the flesh because of the goodness of the Father.  [For a more detailed discussion on the body of sin, see our book, The Truth Revealed in Romans.]

 

In Romans 7:24, Paul asks the question,

"O wretched man I! Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?"

 

Then, in faith, he answers his own question,

"I thank the god through Jesus Christ our lord." (Romans 7:25).

 

Paul realized that he had already been delivered by the grace of The God. Paul also recognized that his body is a body of death. He is a spiritual being walking around entombed in a dead body insofar as The God is concerned. We, too, should regard ourselves in the same manner. Unfortunately, too many love this old body of death, and through unbelief, they do not desire to be freed from it as did Paul.

 

Romans 8:3-8 contains more of Paulís comments about what The God had accomplished on our behalf through Jesus.

"For the law [being] powerless, in that it was weak through the flesh, the god, having sent his own son, in likeness of flesh, of sin, and for sin, condemned the sin in the flesh, that the requirement of the law should be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to flesh, but according to spirit. For they that are according to flesh, mind the things of the flesh; and they according to spirit, the things of the spirit. For the mind of the flesh [is] death; but the mind of the spirit, life and peace. Because the mind of the flesh [is] enmity towards god: for it is not subject to the law of the god; for neither can it [be]; and they that are in flesh, cannot please god."

 

Many people do not understand that they cannot please The God with their natural mind. Neither do many people realize or accept that what they do naturally is against the things of The God. Not only can the natural mind not please The God, the natural mind cannot even understand the things of The God. What people do will be pleasing to The God only when they surrender their natural mind to The God, and follow the guidance of holy spirit.

 

How can people know whether their deeds are those of the flesh or those of the spirit? Paul answered this question in Romans 8:9-10.

"But ye are not in flesh, but in spirit, if indeed [the] spirit of god dwells in you; but if anyone has not [the] spirit of christ, he is not of him: but if christ [be] in you, the body [is] indeed dead on account of sin, but the spirit [is] life on account of righteousness."

 

The difference between flesh and spirit is a matter of whether or not "a spirit of a god," or a divine spirit, "dwells in you," or makes its home there. What is meant by "a spirit of a god," or "a divine spirit," is not necessarily speaking of a spirit from The God. Rather, this refers to whether or not we demonstrate a godly kind of attitude toward others.

 

We gain a godly kind of attitude when we commit ourselves to The God, allowing our bodies, minds, and spirits to be controlled and used by the portion of holy spirit given to us by grace. When this happens, then The God can love others through us, and we produce righteous works, retaining our right to enter the kingdom of The God.

 

If this be true, then indeed "the body is dead because of sin" and its deeds no longer need worry us. The spirit of god-like love is spiritual life to us because of the righteousness we allow to be brought forth by holy spirit. In that case, the body has attained the very purpose for which Adam was first created: to bring glory to The God.

 

Romans 8:11 promises a positive resurrection by The God because of the god-like spirit that dwells in us.

"But if the spirit of him who raised up Jesus from among [the] dead dwells in you, he who raised up the christ from among [the] dead will also quicken your mortal bodies on account of his spirit that dwells in you."

 

Paul revealed so many different facets of The Godís love for us that it is difficult to refrain from quoting the entire book of Romans, especially this eighth chapter. However, we have already done that in our book, The Truth Revealed in Romans.

 

Perhaps a short explanation of "if clauses" would be appropriate to help readers understand the meaning in this scripture. Conditional sentences consist of two clauses: a subordinate conditional clause (the protasis) and the main clause (the apodosis). Four classes of conditional clauses appear in Greek. The first class condition affirms the reality of the condition. The second class condition is the contrary-to-fact condition. The third class condition is the probable future condition. The fourth class condition is the possible future condition. In Romans 8:11, Paul used the first class condition.

 

Romans 8:14 says,

"For as many as are led by [the] spirit of god, these are sons of god."

 

There are no definite articles in this verse. The word "the" preceding spirit is not in the Greek manuscript, but was added to make it read better in English. Therefore, because there are the two prepositional phrases without the definite article, they may be used as adjectives. That being the case, this verse would be better translated, "For as many as are led by a godly spirit, those are godly sons."  Our own spirit is to be subdued by that portion of holy spirit given to us for that very purpose. However, there is always a battle between the spirit and the flesh (see Galatians 5:17).

 

Romans 8:15-16 presents more about the attitudes and characteristics of The God. Please read these verses carefully!

"For not ye received a spirit of bondage again unto fear, but ye received a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, father. The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of god (godly children)."

 

The portion of holy spirit given to us was not for the purpose of bringing fear, but for completely removing the fearful attitude of the Old Testament people who lived in constant fear of their god, Jehovah. They knew nothing about the love of the invisible god revealed by Jesus.

 

We should know by now that The God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten son on the cross to prove that point beyond doubt. Knowing that The God loves us so much should remove any fear that we may have had. Now we can understand that The God, by the death of his son, has adopted us and given us the knowledge, or a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba, father."  When we understand what The God has done, then, when we pray, in essence we can crawl up on the lap of our Daddy and have a conversation without fear.

 

Romans 8: 17 tells us further,

"if children, also heirs; heirs indeed of god, and joint-heirs of christ; if indeed we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together."

 

There are conditions attached to being an heir. It is not an easy thing to live with our bodies on the altar of sacrifice to The God. Continually submerging the many natural desires to serve The God will bring suffering. However, if the suffering is shunted aside whenever it seems convenient, we will waste some of our inheritance, our "joint-heirship," with Jesus. If we continue to waste our inheritance, we may not enter into the next age with Jesus to rule and reign in a condition of blessedness. Instead, we may find ourselves in outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (see Matthew 8:12).

 

Romans 8:19-22 says,

"For the earnest expectation of the creation awaits the revelation of the sons of the god; for the creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected [it], in hope that the creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of the god. For we know that all the creation groans together and travails together until now."

 

This revelation about the purpose and the nature of The God is seldom mentioned. Perhaps, this is because it provides a leveling of mankind with the rest of creation.

 

All creation was changed, along with mankind, by Adamís sin. But, just as mankind has the hope of being redeemed to a new glory, so does the rest of creation. When mankind is changed, all nature will also be freed from corruption, entering into a new glory. That new glory will be freedom from the corruption bestowed upon the children of The God.

 

According to much of the preaching today, only humans will be changed into glorious beings. Occasionally, a preacher will quote Isaiahís reference to the lamb lying down with the lion, but even that is presented as a metaphor for peace among men. Some people may believe that the word creation applies only to people. According to Thayer (p. 363), creation, ktisis, refers to,

"The aggregate of irrational creatures, both animate and inanimate, [what we call nature.] Romans viii. 19-22."

 

Romans 8:27 says,

"But he who searches the hearts knows what [is] the mind of the spirit, because he intercedes for saints according to god."

 

It is The God who searches menís hearts. The God also knows the mind of the spirit. Why? The latter part of this verse, "according to god, he intercedes for saints," could correctly be translated as, "he divinely falls in with saints" (see Greenís Grammar, p. 249). When we do not know how to pray, we should just begin, and the spirit will "fall in with us," and interpret our groaning to The God (Romans 8:26).

 

Romans 8:34 adds another dimension to this matter of intercession, or falling in with us.

"Who he that condemns? [It is] Christ who died, but rather also is raised up, who also is at [the] right hand of the god; who also intercedes for us.

 

The God has provided two intercessors for us in the matter of prayer: the spirit and the son, Jesus. With this kind of help, we have no excuse for failing to allow ourselves to be conformed to the image of The Godís son (see Romans 8:29).

 

The last attribute of The God mentioned in Romans 8 concerns his everlasting love.

"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of the god, which [is] in Christ Jesus our lord." (Romans 8:38-39).

 

Nothing can separate us from his love. This does not mean "eternal security," which is a distortion of verses 8:38-39. It does mean that no matter what our relationship with The God, he will continue to love us. Nothing in all creation will ever change that love!

 

Romans 12:3 says,

"For I say, through the grace which is given to me, to everyone that is among you, not to be high-minded above what it behoves [you] to be minded; but to be minded so as to be sober-minded, to each as the god divided a measure of faith."

 

It is The God who also supplies the faith necessary for anyone to believe. Faith is not of ourselves, but of The God. Whatever we need to be pleasing to The God, he has supplied to us.

 

Romans 14:18 says,

"For he that in these things serves the christ [is] well-pleasing to the god, and approved by men."

 

This verse summarizes several previous ones cautioning us not to judge others (especially in the matter of food), not to speak evil of anyone, and not to look upon anyone as being unclean in terms of their relationship with The God. Paul said that if we serve the Christ well in these things, it is also well-pleasing to The God.

 

An interesting note to this scripture is that Paul made such a definite distinction between the christ and The God. In no way can the two be construed as one in this scripture.

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 16

 

# The scriptures have shown that the apostles taught about the kingdom

     of The God.

 

# Paul was saying that all who base their life upon the truth that The God

     gave his son will find it to be a divine power into salvation. Salvation

     refers to the future kingdom of God, inaugurated at the return of Jesus,

     the Christ.

 

# Too many preachers and teachers often dismiss the presence or absence

     of the definite article as unimportant, while, in reality, it can completely

     change the meaning of a particular scripture.

 

# Romans 3:21-26 lists several different aspects of the previously

     unknown god. First, that the righteousness of God, or a divine

     righteousness, has been manifested. Previously the law and the

     prophets had attested to it. But now, this divine righteousness, or

     righteousness of god, has been set forth for all to see through the

     faithfulness of Jesus, Christ.  This righteousness is toward all. It is not

     just for some, such as the believers. But, as concerning the believers,

     this righteousness is upon them. Or, as this righteousness abides upon

     believers, it gives them the peace of knowing that Jesus has paid the

     penalty for all their sins, and they are now considered to be righteous.

 

# The portion of holy spirit each person received communicates to that

     person that he or she is loved by The God.

 

# The death of Jesus reconciled all people to The God; any obstacle

     between him and people had been removed. Notice, too, the great

     promise given to those who commit themselves to the god: we shall be

     saved by the life of Jesus. When people surrender their own will to that

     of the lord, Jesus, then, through holy spirit, Jesus can live through those

     people and bring forth righteous deeds that will survive the judgment.

 

# Jesus was not raised for us, but because it gave glory to The God in that

     he kept his word, or covenant, to the fathers. In their smugness, most

     people assume that Jesus was raised for our benefit; the scriptures say

     otherwise.

 

# When Jesus came forth from the tomb, he walked in newness of life, or

     in a spiritual body and spiritual life. The God also expects us to walk in

     a spiritual manner. Why? Because, when Jesus was baptized with

     death, The God reckoned us to also be included in that death. All our

     sins were forgiven because of Jesus, and we can now approach the

     presence of our father in the heavenly holy of holies to find the strength

     to walk in this newness of life.

 

# We have been conjoined with Jesus in the likeness of his death. In other

     words, when Jesus died, The God considered that we, too, had died. So,

     too, we may now consider that when Jesus comes in his glory, we will

     also be resurrected, not because of what we have done, but because of

     the work of Jesus, the Christ, and the grace of The God whereby he

     considers us as one with his son. Why would The God do this? Because

     he promised Abraham that in him all nations would be blessed, and he

     is merely keeping his promise.

 

# Paul also recognized that his body was a body of death. He was a

     spiritual being walking around entombed in a dead body insofar as

     The God is concerned. We, too, should regard ourselves in the same

     manner.  Unfortunately, too many love this old body of death, and

     through unbelief, they do not desire to be freed from it as did Paul.

 

# Many people do not understand that they cannot please The God with

     their natural mind. Neither do many people realize or accept that what

     they do naturally is against the things of The God. Not only can the

     natural mind not please The God, the natural mind cannot even

     understand the things of The God. What people do will be pleasing to

     The God only when they surrender their natural mind to The God, and

     follow the guidance of holy spirit.

 

# The difference between flesh and spirit is a matter of whether or not "a

     spirit of a god," or a divine spirit, "dwells in you," or makes its home

     there. What is meant by "a spirit of a god," or "a divine spirit," is not

     necessarily speaking of a spirit from The God. Rather, this refers to

     whether or not we demonstrate a godly kind of attitude toward others.

 

# We gain a godly kind of attitude when we commit ourselves to The

     God, allowing our bodies, minds, and spirits to be controlled and used

    by the portion of holy spirit given to us by grace. When this happens,

     then The God can love others through us, and we produce righteous

     works, retaining our right to enter the kingdom of The God.

 

# If this be true, then indeed "the body is dead because of sin" and its

     deeds no longer need worry us. The spirit of god-like love is spiritual

     life to us because of the righteousness we allow to be brought forth by

     holy spirit. In that case, the body has attained the very purpose for

     which Adam was first created: to bring glory to The God.

 

# There are conditions attached to being an heir. It is not an easy thing to

     live with our bodies on the altar of sacrifice to The God. Continually

     submerging the many natural desires to serve The God will bring

     suffering. However, if the suffering is shunted aside whenever it seems

     convenient, we will waste some of our inheritance, our "joint-heirship,"

     with Jesus. If we continue to waste our inheritance, we may not enter

     into the next age with Jesus to rule and reign in a condition of

     blessedness. Instead, we may find ourselves in outer darkness where

     there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

# All creation was changed, along with mankind, by Adamís sin. But,

     just as mankind has the hope of being redeemed to a new glory, so

     does the rest of creation. When mankind is changed, all nature will also

     be freed from corruption, entering into a new glory.

 

# The God has provided two intercessors for us in the matter of prayer:

     the spirit and the son, Jesus. With this kind of help, we have no excuse

     for failing to allow ourselves to be conformed to the image of The Godís

     son.

 

# Nothing can separate us from his love. This does not mean "eternal

     security," which is a distortion of John 8:38-39. It does mean that no

     matter what our relationship with The God, he will continue to love us.

     Nothing in all creation will ever change that love!

 

# It is The God who also supplies the faith necessary for anyone to believe.

     Faith is not of ourselves, but of The God. Whatever we need to be

     pleasing to The God, he has supplied to us.

 

# This verse (Romans 14:18) summarizes several previous ones

     cautioning us not to judge others, not to speak evil of anyone, and not

     to look upon anyone as being unclean in terms of their relationship

     with The God. Paul said that if we serve the Christ well in these things,

     it is also well-pleasing to The God.

 

 

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October 2009

 

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