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speaks to Timothy in II Timothy 2:15, telling him to become
"a workman who does not need to be ashamed",
"rightly dividing the word of God".
In this work, there is a study of a number of vital Biblical issues and doctrines, mostly from Romans, and it deals as it is necessary, with great care with what is actually taught, avoiding alike the folly of adding or subtracting for one's own part, and for tradition. Virginia creepers in Autumn can look very beautiful on walls, especially classic ones; but one must never confuse the creeper with the wall. The creeper may fall; but THIS wall, the word of God, will remain invulnerable for ever; for everlasting is
He whose it is.
What is written, is indeed what is written, and when the mind of the composer is God, it is pure folly to tangle.
World Wide Web Witness
ISBN 0 9587235 7 5
The Epistle to the Romans
a vast exposure of the history of Israel in Biblical terms, but stirred
by recent history and
its intractable insistence on things past for the resolution of things present in the Middle East, and a look at the parallel place placarded for the Gentiles,
we look through Paul's Epistle to the Romans, to find the theme,
basis of truth in the Gospel, predictions of God,
His requirements and entire specifications
in the core and heartland of His revelation,
and His will for man, both in the Middle East
and to the furthest coastlands.
While there are 8 chapters and 4 Appendices, the manner of procedure through Romans, following our initial excursion into history from recent times back, the 3 steps in the sequence taken in Romans are these:
1. First Romans 4-11, following prophecy (Chs.2-3)
2. then Romans 1-3, back to the first foundations (Chs.4-5)
3. consummated in Romans 12-16 (Ch.6)
Following this (Ch.7), specialised considerations take us to the scope and teaching on beginnings broadly: dwelling on teaching in the Bible as earlier considered in particular in Romans 1, and always in essence discernible from evidence of reality before us. Following this, we also come to correlative focus on endings, including that of the universe and destiny for man - and indeed for each man and each woman, made in the image of God, and accountable to Him, as well as equipped with a Gospel summons, the most beautiful ever to be conceived.
Finally (Ch.8), we look at the beauty which is available to man, yes old and young, male and female, strong and weak, gifted and ordinary, which pride (ironically often in talents and honour which soon meet their mortal end, before judgment supervenes), rebellion, indifference and the whole gamut of sin often discards from sight, while living the life of the blind. With this is the loveliness of dedication when the object and objective is living and God; and the whole is provided in an instructive session in botanical theology, as if we were walking through a beautiful garden, the acronyms for its sites and steps being a walk through the teaching of the Bible.
The four Appendices focus matters of moment and expound them to aid confusion which so often produces intemperance and complexity in place of simplicity.
Thus we have:
EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
and allied TOPICS
Ch.1 - Orientation Excursion back into history
Ch. 2 - Romans 4-8
Ch.3 - Romans 9-11
Ch.4 - Romans 1
Ch.5 - Romans 2-3
Ch.6 - Romans 12-16
Ch.7 - Beginnings - survey with Romans 1 in mind, but much more
Ch.8 - Excursion into Faith - from Romans 12:2
1. Jeremiah is more than Jeremiad
Jeremiah 30-33 with the vast picture of Israel, past,
present and future.
This is taken from a News Item which we have prepared and placed in that Section; but very shortly the focus on Jeremiah proceeds, giving understanding for the news before us, and for much more that concerns it: Israel, the Middle East and the earth itself.
2. Paul's benign tsunami from the Lord
Romans 4-8 with the series of parallels, systems and structures leaving the heartland of doctrine in splendour
Moving from Long-Term Coverage of Jewish History, in perspective, and focusssing Abraham: to the all-time amplification and glorious consummation of the Gospel, largely through God's work in Jewish hearts, at the incarnation, the Cross and the resurrection and their entailments.
3. LAGOONS OF LOVE - Left by the Tsunami
Continuing the surge from Romans 4-8 into the deep inner sanctuaries of
4. Earth Movements Preceding the Tsunami of Love
Declivities and declines, as observed in
5. Biblical Geology- Spiritual Division
The Study of the Earth Movements Preceding the Tsunami of Love : analysis and remedy revealed
Survey of Romans 2-3 thematically
6. The River of Love - Applied Christianity
Moving Graciously to Every Area of Life,
as the Spirit of the Lord Flows into
the Ways and Works of the Christian ...
Pursuing Romans 12-16 ...
7. "In the Beginning ..." - Looking at the Source
The Beauty of Beginnings - a Counterpart to Chapter 1, the Survey of Prophetic Perspectives for the Jews :
this is universal for the race, drawn from multiplied Biblical Declarations.
8. Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Finisher of our Faith
The Biblical Environment, Botanically Expressed:
Excursion into Beauty from Romans 12:2
of God, the Beauty of the Garden of God and the Wonder of Completeness
in the Word of God, without Flying Buttresses
THE REALM OF THE APPENDIX:
TOUCHES, REDEEMING THE TIME
APPENDIX ON FAITH -
The Bible Speaks on Faith - when man listens to what God says, FAITH is already beginning to settle like dew
2 - 155-172
ON JUDGMENT AND LOVE
A clarification from many mischiefs, in the wonder of truth
EXCURSION ON 'FUNDAMENTALISM'
The Historic Clash -
Peace in the Mist of Warring Words:
The Plushy Halls of Propaganda, or the Quiet Peace of Truth ...
THE LOVE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
A few of the facets of the divine righteousness remind us of the wonder of His word, who speaks.
FOR THE BIBLICAL WORKMAN
(II Timothy 2:15)
These are Biblical presentations, expositions, alerts, so that
the Biblical Workman may be stirred to deeper study, and so all may together grow.
WHERE THE WORK IS
Near the first of this work, in chapters 2 and 3, the focus is on the love of God, its coming like a tsunami as expressed by Paul in Romans 4:23-8:39, and continuing in His own divinely prepared programs, to the end of the Age. This takes us from Romans 9 to 11:36.
HERE WE SEE IN DETAIL AND IN PRACTICE, the love of God in perfect harmony with the sovereignty of God, each complete and uncompromised; for there are works enough on the one or the other, which attenuate what is not preferred; but it is necessary to see the unitary magnificence of the attributes of the Lord as HIS, not Him as theirs, far less as someone dependent on some conceptualisation of some dominant attribute which must live at the expense and humbling of the others.
In the Bible, this is precisely what is seen, this magnitude of harmony, peace and power in such a Being as the One whose Son has shown the height, as sin shows the abyss of separated, compromised and in the end doomed clashes with the self, with others of like kind, in the flesh, and with God.
Before these chapters, however, we have as a foretaste, a focus on Jeremiah 30-33, which, being an account of God's dealings with His people of that time and far beyond, forms an introduction of great value to the treatment of Romans 4:23-11:36, to follow, especially to Romans 9-11 in terms of Israel; but at the same time, it is a magnificent preliminary to the stress on the love of God in Romans 4:23-8:39.
As to Israel, the Jeremiah passage in turn is related to Appendix A in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, which provides the parallel in Ezekiel, especially chs. 34-37. The focus on the love of God may be continued in Appendix B (op.cit.). In these ways, the statements of principle and the divine dealings in history are intertwined, like a laboratory practice text and the actual work in the laboratory itself, which as those who have pursued such two-faceted studies know, is most satisfactory when it demonstrates that the findings and the principles interlock! That, in this instance, is precisely what is demonstrated.
The principles being demonstrated, being divine, are never outmoded, never alter, were long proclaimed, exported in prophecies, imported into human history, where the performance of the requirements basic to it all, wrought by Jesus Christ, was as incomparable as the principles themselves are unique. Where God is concerned, uniqueness is natural, and glory is normal. As the Cross however showed, this is not to say facile; for the work of this same Jesus Christ was of the grandest scope, just as the predictions of it were the vastest preliminary of all time; for a great event may be heralded for days, but this for more than a millenium.
We move then in Chapter 4, where we find Romans 1 exposing the declivities and declines of mankind, in the light of the wonder of the gracious act of God, which is introduced with Paul, to the Church in categorical terms of power. Following this, we come in Chapter 5, to Romans 2-3 which begins to reveal something of the apostolic schema, ground-plan, mode of approach; and the pith of the Gospel introduced into the pit which he opens to our eyes, as is the One who inhabited it to extradite us who believe, those who have believed and those who are yet to believe. In all this, there is a unity, a perspective, a continuity of theme and emphasis which is delightful and needs savouring.
It is our desire then to present basic or deeply challenging and enriching Biblical passages, in this work, stimulating independence of thought from cultural norms, without being in the least 'unorthodox'. There is, unfortunately, a cultural dominion of custom which often seems to distance anything but what is 'normal', and granted the fundamentals of the faith and of salvation are stated, to crimp and crisp, to fry and package to the point that what the Bible is actually saying tends to be repressed, or compressed and distorted, or simply not presented at all.
Fidelity with the faith is the exact opposite of the sects; but it does require a willingness to follow what is said, not what it is thought might have been said, should have been said, probably was said or may have been meant.
Thus the title WORKMAN: for the work is to find it as it is, and to express and exhibit it, like the set of jewels that it is. These things done, we complete this survey in the motion of love in Romans, already covered to Romans 11, by meditating on this aspect in Romans 12-16.
Thus in our Chapter 6, we move to Romans 12 - which in one sense takes off in flight from the preliminary Gospel impact of Romans 3, assuming the intervening inter-connections - and find the personal and individual applications, the church group implications and the whole array of results.
These follow as the river of love flows on after the tsunami of Romans 5-8, and the embankments of Romans 9-11. Here we see the elements of individual consecration, dedication and the characteristic note of "living sacrifice" which always distinguishes the Christian from this world; the beauty of the Christian team, immersed in the Lord and under His direction, that comes when people abide in Him, in the Church, in Romans 12. In Romans 13, the movement is from spiritual corporicity in the Church, to human responsibility in the State, in terms of governmental activities in their due form and setting; in Romans 14, it is question of sensitivity resulting from spiritual maturity, in our dealings; while in Romans 15, it is not so much the tact and grace among ourselves, as the sense of mutuality and concern, for the weak, leading on to the mutuality with the apostle and the incorporation in his task through prayer, in which we find this lovely passage:
In Romans 16, after seeking the removal of some differences which had arisen, Paul sounds the spiritual note of separation, making it clear that toleration is not the same as pollution, and grace is not another name for gutlessness and dislocation from the word of God.
Thus the tide of love has flowed, leaving lagoons, a river of love, and it moves throughout the entire book (one might almost say, 'gospel') of Romans to the benediction of 16:25-26, which fittingly is cast in terms both searching and vast, speaking in terms of a "mystery" which although present in the prophetic scriptures, is only now deposited with its full formed force. Paul finishes as he had begun, but now with an enormous increase of comprehension for his readers of his meaning, with "the obedience to the faith" (cf. Romans 1:5, 16:25), which results when the Lord of glory is also the Lord of faith, known through faith, and through this faith, leading the faithful in His own way, which neither this world nor its "prince" of darkness, neither misled churches nor misled false prophets can change on secure.
Nevertheless, full many are those,
both individuals and churches, some so-called, which
seek to satisfy the dual criteria of this world and the Lord, an impossible
undertaking so aptly designated in its spiritual disaster by John in Revelation
3:16, a very definite variant from John 3:16! In this part of Revelation,
in the survey of the churches, these words are found:
"So then, because you are luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
How far removed is this hypocrisy from the river of love with its beautiful peacefulness, purity and pleasantness; but love, it is not interested in the unlovely actions of substantive betrayal, with cloying, sickening slitherliness, making a spectacle of Christ, by misusing His name. Romans is about the obedience to the faith, it focusses on the faith in the Lord and the Lord of that faith. If it requires discipline, devotion loves that; and the discipline is not grievous, but in the lines of goodness, which those who love the Lord, love to follow.
In Chapter 7, following the intense emphasis on Creation found in Romans 1, we look back to the source, under the title "In the Beginning", considering affirmations in Colossians 1, Matthew 19, Isaiah 45, John 1 and Genesis 1, in the magnificence of their sweep, and the statuesque force of their consequences in a world which mirrors them, like a hand-glass to a face. In the end, the One who made them in the beginning, the light which lightens every man who comes into the world, is He who has foreknown everything with the ultra-temporal oversight of His creation, and the superabundant efficacy of His provisions, in salvation.