January 21, 2024
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DAY 022: JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
Today, our journey continues through the book of Romans. The Apostle Paul understood the struggle Jewish Christians had with transitioning to a faith-based trust in Jesus Christ and viewing the law, the basis of their former faith, through the eyes of their Messiah, Jesus Christ. Imagine if you were a middle-aged Jew when Jesus began his ministry; imagine the struggle you would encounter in adjusting, not forsaking, your past beliefs. The Apostle Paul, author of Romans, was a good arbiter between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. It was a conflict between customs and traditions against those who were never bound by customs and traditions. It is unlikely that Gentile Christians truly understood Jewish customs and traditions. It is easy to understand that a Jew may find worship difficult without their former customs and traditions.
Before reading, stop and pray, asking that the Lord provide understanding of Romans 7-8. Read Romans 7-8. Let’s journey!
As you read today’s reading, keep in mind the overall context of the book. This letter was written approximately 30 years after the ascension of Jesus Christ. Several years earlier, the Jews (Jews and Jewish Christians) had been forced to leave the city of Rome by the emperor. Following the emperor’s death, the Jews began returning to the city. This letter came to the Roman church at a time of change. A great amount of tension existed between Jewish Christians and Gentiles. Jewish Christians insisted that the laws of Moses, including circumcision and dietary restrictions, must be followed in order to gain salvation. Gentiles were reluctant to abide by the strict Jewish laws. One of Paul’s goals in this letter is to relieve the tension that exists between the two groups.
Romans 7-8: Today’s reading explains the proper application of law to the Jewish people after Christ’s resurrection. Early Jewish Christians struggled with seeing the fulfillment of God’s plan through mercy, as they were raised believing that obedience to the law was what made you righteous in God’s sight. The problem with this form of faith is that the law cannot save you. As Paul points out the law’s authority over you ceases at your death. The law may condemn you: it can never save you. Christ fulfilled all the requirements of the law when He shed His blood, as our sacrificial lamb, at Calvary, washing away our sin that His Father, God Himself, sees us as the righteousness of Christ. (Romans 7:1-8:38)
Read chapters 7 and 8 and ask yourself these questions: What was the role of the Law to the Jewish Christians? To Gentile Christians? To us today? How does understanding the differences help Paul unite the two groups? How can it help us today?
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