Category Archives: Romans

“Our hope lies in His mercy” by Martin Luther

“Paul describes this faith in most significant words, namely, when we cry Abba! Father! For in the spirit of fear it is not possible to cry, for we can scarcely open our mouth or mumble. But faith expands the heart, the emotions, and the voice, but fear tightens up all these things and restricts them, as our own experience amply testifies.

Fear does not say Abba, but rather it hates and flees from the Father as from an enemy and mutters against Him as a tyrant. For those people who are in the spirit of fear and not in the spirit of adoption do not taste how sweet the Lord is (cf. Ps. 34:8; 1 Peter 2:3), but rather He appears to them as harsh and hard, and in their heart they call Him a virtual tyrant, although with their mouth they call Him Father, just as that slave in the Gospel who when he had hidden his master’s money said to him: ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, etc.’ (Matt. 25:24).

Such are the people who are displeased that God accepts no man’s merits but has free mercy. Thus they say: ‘Thou has commanded the impossible, Thou hast not given grace but only knowledge; this I still have, and I give it back to you.’

Rather they ought to rejoice because He has not put our hope in ourselves but only in Himself, in His mercy. All who are of this mind are secretly saying in their hearts: ‘God acts in a tyrannical manner, He is not a Father, but an enemy,’ which is also true.

But they do not know that one must agree with this enemy and that thus, and only thus, He becomes a friend and a Father. For He will not come around to our way of thinking and be changed for us, so that we may become His friends and sons.”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works: Lectures on Romans, Volume 25 (St. Louis: Concordia, 1972), 358-359. Luther is commenting on Romans 8:15-16.

[HT: Mark Dever]

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“What makes sin sin” by John Piper

“What makes sin sin is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God. This is the ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe.

The glory of God is not honored.
The holiness of God is not reverenced.
The greatness of God is not admired.
The power of God is not praised.
The truth of God is not sought.
The wisdom of God is not esteemed.
The beauty of God is not treasured.
The goodness of God is not savored.
The faithfulness of God is not trusted.
The promises of God are not relied upon.
The commandments of God are not obeyed.
The justice of God is not respected.
The wrath of God is not feared.
The grace of God is not cherished.
The presence of God is not prized.
The person of God is not loved.

The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist (Rom. 11:36) – who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25) – is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored by everybody in the world. That is the ultimate outrage of the universe.

Why is it that people can become emotionally and morally indignant over poverty and exploitation and prejudice and the injustice of man against man and yet feel little or no remorse or indignation that God is so belittled?

It’s because of sin. That is what sin is. Sin is esteeming and valuing and honoring and enjoying man and his creations above God. So even our man-centered anger at the hurt of sin is part of sin. God is marginal in human life. That is our sin, our condition.”

–John Piper, “The Greatest Thing in the World: an Overview of Romans 1-7,” as cited on www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-greatest-thing-in-the-world-an-overview-of-romans-1-7 (accessed February 23, 2012).

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“When Satan is tempting, Christ is praying!” by Thomas Watson

“When a Christian is weak and can hardly pray for himself, Jesus Christ is praying for him… What a comfort is this: when Satan is tempting, Christ is praying!”

–Thomas Watson, All Things For Good, or A Divine Cordial (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1663/2001), 23.

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“The Last Adam is greater” by John Calvin

“Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy.”

–John Calvin, commenting on Romans 5:15 in Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, trans. John Owen (repr. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 206.

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“If you squeeze Romans…” by N.T. Wright

“Romans is suffused with resurrection. Squeeze this letter at any point, and resurrection spills out; hold it up to the light, and you can see Easter sparkling all the way through.”

–N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 241.

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