Last time we studied from Romans we took great encouragement by God's love being shown through Jesus' death for us while we were yet sinners. His sacrifice was an incredible event, and with the resulting resurrection, we have great hope today. As the passage continues, Paul goes on to discuss another action that had a great impact on us all. That being the sin of Adam and death that follows to this day.
Over the past several months, many have dealt with friends and family becoming ill from COVID-19. While I expect a number of them have recovered, I'm sure that some died from it, or complications related to it. Even more have passed away from other health problems too. Of course, the eventuality of death is something that all of us have to face. It is the great equalizer.
As Christians, we have many reasons to be joyous. Some of these are due to physical blessings that God graciously provides to all people. However, we who are of the family of God should feel far more moments of joy than most. One collection of Scripture that often teaches on this topic is the book of Psalms. It speaks of praise, gladness, and singing in a wide variety of contexts. One of the best passages that refers to all of these is Psalm 100.
When we look at the world, it is possible to think that God is not in control. The Jewish people likely felt that way when the Babylonians destroyed the Temple. As the Bible tells us, after 70 years of exile, thousands of Jews returned to Jerusalem and recommitted themselves to God. Many of these events are detailed in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. This may have also been the time that Psalm 93 was written.
To those who are not Christians, it can seem that those who follow Christ are obsessed with His death. I don't deny that. The same can be said for His resurrection. One reason is because the Bible mentions them extremely often. For example, in Romans chapter five the apostle Paul refers to it three times in less than ten verses. In it, he connects God's love for us with Jesus' death.
Sometimes it is tempting to feel that God is not quick to help in times of need. Especially when one is threatened physically. A person who knew that all too well was King David, who prayed that God deliver him from his enemies often. It was so common that the end of Psalm 40, which speaks of this topic, is repeated almost verbatim as Psalm 70.
Although the concept of a resurrection is not natural, it is spoken of repeatedly in the New Testament, and is often connected with Jesus Christ. Many of the letters explicitly mention it. All the Gospel accounts share testimonies of the Lord after He rose from the dead. As we know, the apostle Paul used Christ's Resurrection in many of his teachings too. One place where he does so is at the end of the fourth chapter of Romans.
Last time we studied from the book of Romans we considered the patriarch Abraham and him being accounted righteous apart from works of the Law. This truth was, and is, a fundamental part of us becoming Christians. It's also non-negotiable, as is the case for many other topics in the New Testament. Two of these include Jesus' death and resurrection, the former of which we'll examine today.
The Bible is filled with multiple passages concerning prayer. Some of these speak about the attitude we should have, topics to bring before God, and more. All of which are good to consider, but one question we may still have is whether or not it is okay for us to pray publicly before eating meals. This cannot be answered with a straightforward "Yes," or "No." Especially since Jesus taught against praying publicly in some contexts.
Sometimes it is good to return to core principles of the Faith. Not necessarily to learn something entirely new, but rather to be refreshed and reminded again. Such is the case for our examination of the apostle Paul's teaching on Abraham's faith in Romans chapter 4. Let's explore some main ideas from it in relation to righteousness.