Let’s walk through the passage.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

The use of the word therefore tells us that Paul is building of what has come before, immediately before Paul has talked about us obeying God with our mind even if we do not with our bodies, but this is not what I think what Paul is pointing to as he qualifies it by the phrase those who are in Christ Jesus he is pointing to the start of chapter 6 where he talks of how we have been united with Christ through baptism, made slaves to God, etc. The following verse continues to support this idea:

2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

see the second argument for righteousness in chapter 6; no longer are we slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness…

3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Paul ties in chapter 7 this is therefore the concluding idea of a section that began in chapter 6, Christ through his death and resurrection has made the conquering of the flesh possible.

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Paul sums up the position we were in, and the position that some remain in, see also Romans 3. The default position (see Romans 5; we once were in Adam, but now we are in Christ, we once were fleshly but now we are spiritual) is opposed to God, unable to submit to God’s law.

9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Paul now describes the process we have come through to where we are now, the major change is that the Spirit of Christ now dwells within the believer, we are no longer dead in our transgressions but alive because of Christ.

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Because of what has happened, we should not look to the flesh for our direction, but to the spirit, we should put to death the acts of the flesh. No longer are we unable to do things which are pleasing to God, no longer are we at enmity with God.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Our placement now as people who seek after the spirit, who seek after God’s will puts us in a unique standing, we are now deemed as sons of God and where there is sonship there is inheritance, both in good things and bad things, our suffering is part and parcel of our inheritance that eventually leads to our own glorification, after all we are the brothers of Christ, so if his inheritance has lead to his glorification then our inheritance will lead to the same. Paul puts it in a reassuring tone that suffering will ultimately give way to the glorification of the faithful. Also to be pointed out Paul sees the Spirit as the seal and guarantee of the believer’s adoption as a son of God.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Paul continues to reassure the Romans that their suffering will lead to greater things.

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

The expectancy of Gods creation is as a pregnant woman, but what is interesting here, the point Paul is making here is that even though Creation is in a state of futility, in a state of decay, it is God himself who has made it this way, Creation is longing, groaning hoping for the end of its futility where it is released, and even glorified through the revelation of the sons of God.

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Paul now moves to see this expectancy of Creation as the same as that of the believer, we are expectant, we are hopeful for the Resurrection where we will be as Christ.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

So as the Spirit is the guarantee of our adoption so it is our intercessor and our strength in weakness, he is the supernatural link between the believer and God.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

After going on about the glorification of ourselves as the ultimate inheritance in which all believers have been adopted to gain the good in my mind is one to look forward to, not the wealth and fame which the prosperity heretics would have us believe is the point of this verse. This heretical reading also does not fit in with the idea of being called according to God’s purpose, God’s purpose throughout scripture is his glorification not our wealth.

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

I’ll start in this passage from God’s act of glorification since that is a theme that has been going through the passage so far, we know that it is the sons of God who are glorified (v17), going backwards this group has also been justified, they are in right standing with God, they have been called by God and finally they are predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Does man then have the ability to choose God? Well we saw earlier in v5-8 that those who are not indwelt by the Spirit are actively opposed to God. As Paul puts it the Spirit comes into us whereby we are able to cry “Abba! Father!”(v15) we become sons of God through this act, we become right with God [justified] (for on what level can a son of God not be justified?) What does Paul mean by foreknew? The Greek here is active; God knows what is going to happen in an active sense, he is not sitting back looking at history going “oh they’ll choose me,” the Greek here is intimate, the idea of knowing can be traced back throughout the Bible, Adam knows Eve and Cain and Abel result, as Christ says God knows every hair on our heads (Lk 12:7) it is Salvific, when the false believers approach Christ at the end, he says depart from me I never knew you. So what then? Then God predestines those to be conformed into the image of his Son, this to my mind is the only piece that is exclusively present/future as opposed to all the others which are past/present/future, God has already known us, and as we will see God has already, called, justified and glorified us. Then God calls us, is this calling universal? Well this plays into whether God’s justification is universal as God justifies those who he calls, since we know that justification is not universal it is easy to say that God’s calling is not universal. Is the calling effectual? Well since God justifies all he calls it must be, all respond positively to the call of God. So then God justifies all who he calls and calls only those who he will justify. The justification of all who are to be justified happens at the Cross, as following this Paul says that the only person who is to condemn is Christ, yet as we see earlier in Romans while we were still sinners, while we were still opposed to God Christ died in order that we might have life. (c5) So we also have been glorified, remember we have been united with Christ through baptism (6:3) are we not also united in his resurrection and ultimate glorification?

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

We have therefore firmly established that God is for us, especially through the death of his Son a willing (on the part of the Father) sacrifice for the people of God.

33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

So then since we have been justified through the Father’s giving up his Son, the charge of condemnation is laid at the Son’s feet, yet since he also willingly died for us we have security, more than that we have hope, and the knowledge that Christ also intercedes on our behalf.

The following is just beautiful and I don’t think I need to add anything to it, however I will point out that the quote Paul uses is a celebration of us being counted worthy of the persecution of the world for the sake of Christ!

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

To the glory of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity Amen!

I do not think that success should be a metric of whether we are able to bully someone into professing a few statements of faith, and so the passage that I will be exegeting in regards to this work which Christ commanded us to perform before he left work shall be to do with the Church.

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

I have chosen this passage first of all because it points to the one who is truly at work in the believer, if we are to claim conversion, or acceptance of Christ as a measure of success in Evangelism, then it is God and not us who is successful, so then if we are to charge ourselves with failure at converting someone does not our foot tarry over the abyss of calling God a failure? This is monstrous and our thoughts should not turn to even the mere thought of such. What do I propose instead as the metric by which we are to judge our success? In his earlier discussion of this subject I think the Apostle Paul gives us an answer;  “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” ((1 Cor 1:17)) and “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” ((1 Cor 2:2)) I think if anything is to define success for us in the ministry of evangelism it is to be whether we preached Jesus Christ and him crucified it is this matter which as Paul says is the power of God ((1 Cor 1:18)) so our metric for evangelism should be us clearly presenting to the lost Christ. If we fail at this then we have failed at evangelism and no amount of bullying will put in the man’s heart the pressing need for Christ. ((As an aside I must point out that regardless of our own failing at evangelism God will continue to use us, and an in depth look at this is coming))

So what then is Apollos? What is Paul? The apostle is ever so pained to point out that both himself and his fellow apostle Apollos are merely human, they are fallen and cannot live up to the standards of God. Yet as he goes on to say they are servants through whom you believed, it is a joy to join with our heavenly master in talking about his graciousness in his mercy upon his people. What greater joy could there be but to arrive at the end and be greeted by Him saying; well done good and faithful servant ((Matt 25:21, 23)) So I truly think that we must be both servants and heralds for our master.

This is the work of God that we are joining in, he who gave his only Son, ((Jhn 3:16)) calls us to join with him, God goes before us ((Deut 31:8)) and he is already at work in the hearts of his people. He has his chosen ones, whom he will bring unto repentance, ((Rom 8:28-30)) but as the Apostle Paul says how can they believe in him whom they have never heard of? How are they to hear if there is no one preaching? And how is anyone to preach without being sent? ((Rom 10:14-15)) So it is clear while God will save whom he wills he compels us and uses us as his tools in order that the Gospel concerning Christ go to the ends of the earth, the Lord has assigned to each their job, and to each he has given a ministry, this is the work of God in the justification and sanctification of the believer, that we participate in the Church and so grow it both numerically (that is evangelism) and to grow it into Christ. (that is discipleship)

God gave the growth, ultimately we must recognise that this is God’s work, it is for his Glory that we are sent out into the world to proclaim the Gospel, we do not do this in some feeble attempt to save sinners from the Lake of Fire, but rather to call to man’s attention the Glory and Holiness of God. For it is in that realisation of the Glory and Holiness of God that sinners who are being moved on by the Holy Spirit are convicted of their sinfulness and their failing at their true purpose (that is to bring Glory to God) It is in that moment that men realise their need for a saviour and it is only at that moment that we can present Christ and him Crucified to any effect. But what if the Holy Spirit is not moving on that sinner and convicting him of his sin? We still present Christ and him Crucified because that is what we are told to do, the sinner will undoubtedly stumble and think us mad, but this is ever been the charge against the Church on these matters. So I feel I must adjure you to dwell upon the words of Paul; we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. ((1 Cor 1:23-24)) reminding us again that what we preach is Christ and him Crucified.

So great is Paul’s admonition to us that God gave the growth that this concept is repeated again, this time to accompany neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything we should keep this in mind, we are but the messenger and our message is Christ plainly so, we do not need to wrap him up as if he is desirable, God will do that if he is so inclined, for Isaiah said of old concerning Christ; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. ((Is 53:5)) No, if there be any dressing up of the story we are in danger of sharing a false Christ with our audience and a false Christ is no Christ at all. We present God in his holiness and man in his fallen state, yes. We present Christ; emmanuel and curse for us. We present Christ now King and present again that man is fallen. The Holy Spirit will quicken man to respond, so we need not be discouraged if he does not, for after all we are not seeking to please man, but God. It is God that will be glorified whether he brings men back to himself or not. As Christ said to Peter concerning the Disciple Whom He Loved, what is that to you? You follow me! ((Jhn 21:22)) We have our charge it is to glorify God, we have our method, it is to preach to the world Christ and him Crucified, what is it to us if there seems to be no fruit from our preaching? We follow Christ!

An Exegesis of 2 Cor 3:7-18

In Opposition to the claims of the Adventists in regards to the 10 Commandments

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.

Paul Identifies the Law which has given way to the Spirit, he uses the phrase carved in letters on stone it is of high importance to the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) that this carving of letters of stone point to the eternality of the Law, however as the Apostle describes it was being brought to an end to give way to the ministry of the Spirit it is of high importance to the SDA that the Judgment be prefigured in condemnation this is after all the ministry of the Law, however the ministry of the Spirit is one of righteousness Let’s continue on.

Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

Since that which was carved in letters on stone has a glory that fades, surely it too will fade, that is the argument of the Apostle here, it is also surpassed in glory by that which supercedes it, that which is permanent is far surpassing in glory.

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.

Here Paul continues to talk about the effects of the Law, remember it is that which was carved in letters on stone Since we can easily see Moses as a figuring of Christ in his Priesthood in his work of Mediation between the People of Israel and God at Sinai, we have as a result of the Law the veiling of Moses, yet we are very bold surely in one sense this means that we commune, or are able to commune with God, for how else would such a comparison be made, indeed Christ himself may speak of this when he says You are the Light of the World. We are to radiate the glory of God so that men might be convicted of heart, for he says elsewhere Be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish amongst a twisted and perverse generation, to whom you shine as lights of the world, we who are of the Spirit are bold to expose the evil of man, Moses was timid and because of this he veiled his face to stifle the glory of God. Christ however takes away the veil that is in place because of the Law.

when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Having been unshackled from the bonds of the veil of the Law, we truly behold the Glory of God and in beholding the Glory of God we die.

This death is not one such that we are bound in Hades, no it is death to self, death to the flesh, we crucify the old man with his passions and the Spirit takes us like a lump of clay and begins his work, he identifies us with Christ through our Baptism, and grows us into Christ himself through faith and his enduring faithfulness.

I do not think that success should be a metric of whether we are able to bully someone into professing a few statements of faith, and so the passage that I will be exegeting in regards to this work which Christ commanded us to perform before he left work shall be to do with the Church.

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

I have chosen this passage first of all because it points to the one who is truly at work in the believer, if we are to claim conversion, or acceptance of Christ as a measure of success in Evangelism, then it is God and not us who is successful, so then if we are to charge ourselves with failure at converting someone does not our foot tarry over the abyss of calling God a failure? This is monstrous and our thoughts should not turn to even the mere thought of such. What do I propose instead as the metric by which we are to judge our success? In his earlier discussion of this subject I think the Apostle Paul gives us an answer;  “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” ((1 Cor 1:17)) and “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” ((1 Cor 2:2)) I think if anything is to define success for us in the ministry of evangelism it is to be whether we preached Jesus Christ and him crucified it is this matter which as Paul says is the power of God ((1 Cor 1:18)) so our metric for evangelism should be us clearly presenting to the lost Christ. If we fail at this then we have failed at evangelism and no amount of bullying will put in the man’s heart the pressing need for Christ. ((As an aside I must point out that regardless of our own failing at evangelism God will continue to use us, and an in depth look at this is coming))

So what then is Apollos? What is Paul? The apostle is ever so pained to point out that both himself and his fellow apostle Apollos are merely human, they are fallen and cannot live up to the standards of God. Yet as he goes on to say they are servants through whom you believed, it is a joy to join with our heavenly master in talking about his graciousness in his mercy upon his people. What greater joy could there be but to arrive at the end and be greeted by Him saying; well done good and faithful servant ((Matt 25:21, 23)) So I truly think that we must be both servants and heralds for our master.

This is the work of God that we are joining in, he who gave his only Son, ((Jhn 3:16)) calls us to join with him, God goes before us ((Deut 31:8)) and he is already at work in the hearts of his people. He has his chosen ones, whom he will bring unto repentance, ((Rom 8:28-30)) but as the Apostle Paul says how can they believe in him whom they have never heard of? How are they to hear if there is no one preaching? And how is anyone to preach without being sent? ((Rom 10:14-15)) So it is clear while God will save whom he wills he compels us and uses us as his tools in order that the Gospel concerning Christ go to the ends of the earth, the Lord has assigned to each their job, and to each he has given a ministry, this is the work of God in the justification and sanctification of the believer, that we participate in the Church and so grow it both numerically (that is evangelism) and to grow it into Christ. (that is discipleship)

God gave the growth, ultimately we must recognise that this is God’s work, it is for his Glory that we are sent out into the world to proclaim the Gospel, we do not do this in some feeble attempt to save sinners from the Lake of Fire, but rather to call to man’s attention the Glory and Holiness of God. For it is in that realisation of the Glory and Holiness of God that sinners who are being moved on by the Holy Spirit are convicted of their sinfulness and their failing at their true purpose (that is to bring Glory to God) It is in that moment that men realise their need for a saviour and it is only at that moment that we can present Christ and him Crucified to any effect. But what if the Holy Spirit is not moving on that sinner and convicting him of his sin? We still present Christ and him Crucified because that is what we are told to do, the sinner will undoubtedly stumble and think us mad, but this is ever been the charge against the Church on these matters. So I feel I must adjure you to dwell upon the words of Paul; we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. ((1 Cor 1:23-24)) reminding us again that what we preach is Christ and him Crucified.

So great is Paul’s admonition to us that God gave the growth that this concept is repeated again, this time to accompany neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything we should keep this in mind, we are but the messenger and our message is Christ plainly so, we do not need to wrap him up as if he is desirable, God will do that if he is so inclined, for Isaiah said of old concerning Christ; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. ((Is 53:5)) No, if there be any dressing up of the story we are in danger of sharing a false Christ with our audience and a false Christ is no Christ at all. We present God in his holiness and man in his fallen state, yes. We present Christ; emmanuel and curse for us. We present Christ now King and present again that man is fallen. The Holy Spirit will quicken man to respond, so we need not be discouraged if he does not, for after all we are not seeking to please man, but God. It is God that will be glorified whether he brings men back to himself or not. As Christ said to Peter concerning the Disciple Whom He Loved, what is that to you? You follow me! ((Jhn 21:22)) We have our charge it is to glorify God, we have our method, it is to preach to the world Christ and him Crucified, what is it to us if there seems to be no fruit from our preaching? We follow Christ!

I have been contemplating the past few days this forthcoming edition of the ESV:

ESV Reader’s Edition

All too often we approach the Bible as it has been presented to us by the publishing companies of the Church, that is as a reference work, as such it stands as this monolith that to many Christians is a mystery. With this edition however that changes (hopefully) the Bible is something like any other book in that it is meant to be read. The making it less like a reference work and more like what we are used to reading is something I have long sought as a possible way to encourage people to read. It is as the Confession of Faith puts it:

the full disclosure [of Scripture] makes of the only way of man’s salvation, together with many other incomparable excellencies and entire perfections. By all the evidence the Scripture more than proves itself to be the Word of God. — 2LBCF 1.5

Scripture is testimony to Life itself in our Lord Christ. Surely one of our highest callings is to seek and contemplate God himself as he has revealed himself in the Person of Christ, this of course being preserved for us by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. If something stands in our way, say a lack of ability to read Scripture as we have it we should seek out other methods to be washed in the word. The Church used to do public readings of the Scriptures in every service to wash the congregants in the word, we now thanks to technology have the ability to have recorded Scripture and we have availed ourselves of this. I to have done so and am blessed by an Audio Bible which I listen to on my cycling rides.

One other problem with the chapter and verse divisions is that it artificially disrupts the flow of the thoughts of the Apostles and Prophets by whom the Holy Spirit has given us Scripture. This too is something that I see this edition as being able to do, that is in some ways restore this flow. I do hope and pray that this edition will inspire more editions such as this and that the level of Biblical literacy will increase.