[PODCAST] Longsuffering is Salvation

In this episode, I explore what the Scriptures teach concerning God’s longsuffering leading humankind to repentance. This attribute of God is mentioned by Paul in Romans 2:4 and discussed in detail by Peter in both of his epistles. I show how mercy, grace, and justice are expressed in God’s enduring patience and how we should respond.

The episode is available at the following links:

Anchor – Longsuffering is Salvation
Google Play – Longsuffering is Salvation
Apple Podcasts – Longsuffering is Salvation

Please feel free to leave comments, feedback, or suggestions for future episodes.

I hope you enjoy!

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[PODCAST] Idolatry: When God Gives Us Up

In this episode, I discuss the idea of God giving sinners up to their sin and how that relates to idolatry. Does God purposefully cause us to sin? Do we have a role to play in God giving us up to sin? Does God give up on us when we constantly sin? Is there a particular context in which God decides to give us up to our vile passions, lusts, and debased mind? This discussion is based on Romans 1:18-32.

The episode is available at the following links:

Anchor – Idolatry: When God Gives Us Up
Google Play – Idolatry: When God Gives Us Up
Apple Podcasts – Idolatry: When God Gives Us Up

Please feel free to leave comments, feedback, and suggestions for future episodes.

I hope you enjoy!

[PODCAST] An Invitation to Be Holy

My first full episode is now available! I decided to discuss the significance of being set apart or called to be a saint. The main text is Romans 1:1,7, but I also explored other passages from the Epistles, the Gospels, and the Mosaic Law.

The episode is available at the following links:

Please feel free to leave comments, feedback, and suggestions for future episodes.

I hope you enjoy!

Commentary: Romans 2:1–16

This post is part of a series of essays based on my study of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. They are simply drafts and not intended to be well-polished essays. I would appreciate any constructive feedback.


Romans 2:1–16

Click here to read the passage.

After dealing with the sinfulness of the Gentiles, Paul then turns to the ones who judge—the Jews (See v. 17). They were hypocritical in that they judged the Gentiles for their sins, but yet they too were just as sinful (Matt. 7:1–5). They believed that they would not be held accountable for their actions because of their heritage and status of being God’s people. They took for granted the riches of God: goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering. Instead of living a life of repentance because of how good God was towards them, they continued to practice sin. Many today do not realize that the goodness of God is manifested in that he is patient with us—waiting for us to change our lives before he returns. He does not wish that anyone perish (2 Pet. 3:9,15), and therefore, he is waiting for all to repent (Rev. 2:21).

The Jews had hardened their hearts like the Gentiles, and they were storing up wrath for themselves. Their punishment would be justifiable because God had been merciful and gracious towards them. He renders to us according to the things we have done (Job 34:11; Ps. 62:12; Matt. 16:27). If we do good by seeking for glory, honor, and immortality, we will receive eternal life. If we are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, we will receive death. This warning is for everyone—Jews and Gentiles—because God shows no partiality.

He justifies those who do the law, not those who just hear it (Jas. 1:22,25). Although the Gentiles were not under the Law of Moses, they still fulfilled some of the requirements of the law instinctively, because these requirements were written on their hearts (See Genesis 12:14–20). Their conscience told them what was right and wrong according to God’s moral standard. Verses 12–15 indicate that Gentiles were able to sin, because there was a law that governed their thoughts and actions. We learn from the Scriptures that where there is a law, there is sin. However, where there is not a law, sin is not imputed (Rom. 5:13). Since all are under God’s law, Christ will judge all according to that law, which is the gospel.

Our Duty as Bondservants of Christ

The word “bondservant”—also translated as “slave”—comes from the Greek word doulos (Strong’s Greek Concordance #1401) and is used in the Bible in its literal sense to refer to a person in a position of servitude (1 Cor. 7:21). The duty of a bondservant is to be obedient and pleasing in all things to his master, and to be sincere and honest in his work (Eph. 6:5; Col. 4:22; 1 Tim. 6:1; Titus 2:9). The term is also used in the Scriptures metaphorically. For example, in 1 Corinthians 7:22, we read that the one who is called being a freedman becomes Christ’s slave; that is, he is a spiritual servant. Paul opens up his epistle to the Romans with this concept of spiritual enslavement that, as Christians, we must seek to emulate in our lives if we want to be obedient and pleasing to our master.

In his greeting to the Christians in Rome, Paul refers to himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1; See also Gal. 1:10, Phil. 1:1 and Titus 1:1). He had given up everything for Christ’s sake. He had studied under a highly honored teacher of the law (Acts 5:34; Acts 22:3). He considered himself a Hebrew of the Hebrews and a Pharisee of the Pharisees, being zealous and righteous according to his religion and heritage. However, he counted all as loss in order to serve Christ (Phil. 3:5–7). We see in Luke’s record that Christ had a plan for Paul (Acts 9:15–16):

“But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.’”

The Lord set Paul apart to carry out a special task, and Paul obeyed him as a servant would obey his master. The task involved being an apostle of Christ and preaching obedience to the gospel among the Gentiles (vv. 1 & 5). The Scriptures teach us that Paul fulfilled the requirements for his work as an apostle by being an eyewitness to the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 9:1, 15:3–10) and being chosen (Acts 9:15). We also learn that, after his conversion, Paul was zealous for proclaiming the word. He says in verses 14–16,

“I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

This description of Paul as a bondservant also extends to all Christians. We too have to consider ourselves slaves to Christ.

Notice that Paul says in verse 6 that the Romans were the called of Christ. God calls all people by his gospel. In Romans 10, Paul explains that it is the word that produces faith, and that faith is what enables us to respond to the gospel in order to be saved (Rom. 10:8–17). He writes in chapter 1 that the gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). The Romans were not called only to obey the truth, but also to be saints, set apart by God (Rom. 1:7).

We as Christians have become God’s special people, and we have a special task that we must carry out as Christ’s bondservants, having been bought with a price (1 Cor. 7:23). Our duty is to proclaim the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). If we truly want to live as bondservants of Christ, we must be dedicated to the work of glorifying God and spreading the word about the forgiveness of sins through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We cannot be ashamed of the gospel, because without it, men cannot receive the free gift of salvation. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to give up our will to carry out the will of God in the best way we can.

Commentary: Romans 1:18–31

This post is part of a series of essays based on my study of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. They are simply drafts and not intended to be well-polished essays. I would appreciate any constructive feedback.


Romans 1:18–31

Click here to read the passage.

In this section of chapter 1, Paul is writing about the sinfulness of Gentiles. Although they did not have the Mosaic Law like the Jews, they were still under God’s moral law, and thus, were held accountable for their sins. God stands opposed to sin; he despises all ungodliness and unrighteousness (Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6). However, his anger is not sudden, but rather, is brooding and welling up. It is revealed (is being revealed and will be revealed) from heaven on the day of judgment (Rom. 2:5). God will punish all those who are not in Christ and are living in sin.

The Gentiles’ unrighteousness was a sign of their suppressing the truth and existence of God. They knew that God existed because he made himself manifest to them in the things they perceived. The creation of the world, and those things found in it, declare the existence of God (Acts 14:17; Ps. 19:1–6). Therefore, the Gentiles were without excuse; they were still responsible for their sins. Although they invented all types of philosophies and were interested in knowledge (Acts 17:21), they became more foolish, and their hearts were hardened (Eph. 4:17–18), which is the result of rejecting God. Instead of glorifying God and giving him thanks, they chose to practice idolatry, worshiping images that resembled men and animals. The same situation is true today. Many people reject God and depend on their own philosophies. They worship men and material things and are completely blind to the truth. However, they will still be held accountable on the Day of Judgment.

Although God gave the Gentiles up to their uncleanness (i.e., impurity), he was not the cause of their hardening. They were the ones who suppressed the truth, exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature instead of the Creator. Paul talks about their hardening also in Ephesians 4:18–19, where he says that the Gentiles became callous and gave themselves up to sensuality and every kind of impurity; therefore, there were alienated from God. This hardening was their own doing, and God separated himself from them because they did not turn to him. Paul fleshes this out further from verses 26–31 by enumerating all the sins they practiced. Not only those who practiced these things were deserving of death (6:21), but also those who approved of the ones who practiced them.

Commentary: Romans 1:1–17

This post is part of a series of essays based on my study of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. They are simply drafts and not intended to be well-polished essays. I would appreciate any constructive feedback.


Romans 1:1–17

Click here to read the passage.

The author of this epistle is Paul, and he is writing to Christians who are in the city of Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. Paul considered himself a bondservant of Jesus Christ. The term “bondservant” is translated from the Greek word “doulos”, which means “slave”. However, the word is not to be taken in the negative sense, but rather as a condition in which one takes pleasure. Paul gave up his will to serve the will of Christ. He recognized that his duty was to be an apostle and to preach the gospel. He says in verse 1 that he was called for this work; that is, God invited him, setting him apart to be a vessel to preach the name of Christ to the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15; 13:2).

The promise of the gospel was declared by God through the prophets of the Old Testament, who were guided by the Holy Spirit. God declared that his son Jesus would come through the line of David and would have dominion over all. The promise was fulfilled when Christ was resurrected from the dead. Paul and the other apostles were appointed as ambassadors to preach obedience to the faith throughout the Gentile world. Notice in Acts 6:7 that, when the word of God was preached in Jerusalem, the church grew, and many of the priests were obedient to the faith. The gospel requires obedience. We are expected to obey the faith, thus showing that faith goes beyond belief—it involves action (Jas. 2:17–20). The gospel was preached among the Romans on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10). Paul reminds them that they are also called to be saints. That is, they have received the invitation to be set apart. He mentions in verse 8 that their faith is spoken of throughout the world. The Romans were among those who repented and were baptized after hearing Peter’s gospel sermon. Their response to the sermon marks the point at which they were obedient to the faith (cf. Verse 5), which involved repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

Paul had not been to Rome since he was baptized at the time he was writing this letter. He would not arrive in Rome until much later when he requested an audience with Caesar after being arrested (Acts 25:11). He had the right to appeal to Caesar because he was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25). The will of God did not permit Paul to go to Rome any sooner (v. 10). He desired to go to the Christians in Rome to impart to them some spiritual gift in order to strengthen and encourage them; however, “spiritual gift” does not refer to miraculous gifts from the Holy Spirit, but rather heavenly blessings received by the gospel by way of the word of God. He writes in chapter 11 that the Gentiles had been partakers of spiritual things (v. 27). Paul is referring to God’s grafting them in like the branches of a wild olive tree into a cultivated olive tree in order to partake of its root and richness. We can conclude therefore that “spiritual gift” refers to blessings that encourage a Christian. Paul desired to edify them (cf. Eph. 4:7–16) in order to bear fruit among them. However, he did want to bear fruit for his own account, but rather to bless them (cf. Phil. 4:17).

Being fruitful is to maintain good works and meet urgent needs among people (Titus 3:14). It is also preaching the gospel to the lost, which was Paul’s key mission (v. 15). In fact, preaching the gospel was more than his mission; it was an obligation. He believed that he was in debt to those to whom he had not preached or taught the word of God. Additionally, Paul was ready to preach the gospel at all times (2 Tim. 4:2) and never ashamed to do it (2 Tim. 1:18). He was passionate about preaching the gospel for a simple reason: “it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (v. 16). The gospel is the power of God; that is, it is a work of God only. It effectuates salvation. Its intended result is to save souls. No other doctrines or philosophies can save man. This salvation was made possible to both Jews and Gentiles, and it continues to be possible for all humankind today. Salvation is for those who believe. God’s righteousness—which could refer to his intrinsic, personal righteousness or his imputed righteousness—is revealed in the gospel. The revelation of his righteousness is from faith, that is, the faithfulness of God (Rom. 3:3). Also, it is unto faith. Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17). For this reason, it is written in the Scriptures (i.e., the Old Testament) that the just shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4). Righteous people live according to obedient faith (Rom. 1:5). They walk by faith, trusting in God and not leaning on their own understanding (2 Cor. 5:7). Some translations render the phrase as follows: “the just by faith shall live.” This version implies that we receive eternal life when we are justified by faith.

Death in Baptism is Freedom from Sin

For he who has died has been freed from sin.
-Romans 6:7

Paul writes in his letter to the Romans in chapter 6, verse 7 that the one who has died has been freed from sin. We understand from Luke 1:77 that being freed from sin—that is, the forgiveness of sin—is equivalent to receiving salvation from God through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must understand and teach others the manner in which they must die in order to be freed from sin, as this act will bring about the salvation of their souls. The answer to the way in which we die to sin is given in Romans 6.

After explaining to these Christians that grace abounded much more through Christ where sin abounded (Rom. 5:20–21), Paul poses the following question: “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Rom. 6:1) He then responds in verses 2 and 3: “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:2–3) What we observe in these verses is that the death we must experience is a death to sin, and once we die to sin, we must no longer live in it. Additionally, this death is realized in baptism and is related to the death of Christ. Paul is telling the Christians that their baptism into Christ, which was a baptism into his death, was the way in which they died to sin. Notice verses 4–6:

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Baptism—an act of immersion into water—unites us with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection, and the purpose of it is so “that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin,” but rather “should walk in newness of life.” This operation is only possible by the glory of the Father that raised Christ from the dead. Now, we arrive back at verse 7, where Paul says, “for”—that is, because—“he who has died has been freed from sin.” Clearly Paul has connected baptism with forgiveness of sin, which in turn, is the gift of salvation. In baptism and by the grace of God, we are saved from our sins, and we never die again. However, just as Christ, we must live to God, not giving ourselves over to sin once again, but rather allowing ourselves to be his instruments of righteousness (vv. 8–12). This lifestyle is accomplished only after we have submitted ourselves to Christ’s commandment of becoming his disciples through baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 28:18–20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).

An Analysis of Romans 5:12-21

In his letter to the Romans, Paul proclaims that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to those who believe. Therefore, if you believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you are made righteous (or just) by your faith. It is within this context that Paul explains the typological association between Adam and Christ in Romans 5. Verses 12–21 are normally used to support the claim that human beings are born sinners and that our sin nature is due to Adam’s sin. This doctrine is called original sin. According to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the guilt of Adam’s sin has been transferred to us throughout the generations (Chapter VI, Sections III and VI):

“They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.”

Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, does in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.”

Although the Reformers claim that we are now born sinful (See The Covenant of Works: Do This and Live written by Derrick Brite), Romans 5:12–21 does not teach that we today are guilty of Adam’s sin. What we learn from this passage is that, like Adam, we are all sinners (Rom. 3:9-12,23) and that we suffer the consequence of sin, which is death (Gen 2:17; Rom. 6:23; Jas. 1:15). Additionally, through the death of the one Man Christ, we are all made righteous when we believe (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:18).

Paul’s statement in verse 12 shows that sin exists in the world today because one man, who was in the world, sinned. That is, God created this man on the earth, and then this man sinned. Voila! Sin is in the world. Some take this further to say that his sin, or the guilt of his sin, was passed on to subsequent generations; however, that conclusion is false. The consequence of his sin was death (Gen. 2:17). Therefore, Paul explains that since we all sin, we also suffer death (Rom. 5:12): “…and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”

I believe one of the errors that teachers of original sin make with Romans 5:12–21 is that of equating sin with death or believing that both sin and death transferred to us. However, when we properly analyze these verses, we see that it is impossible to replace the word “death” with “sin.” Verse 15 says, “[b]ut the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” Christ is being compared to Adam. Adam’s sin brought death to all in the same way Christ brings eternal life to all. Paul’s discussion is dealing with death versus life, not sin versus life. Notice that verse 16 says, “and the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned.” The phrase “that which” refers back to “death”, not “sin.” It would not make sense to say the following: “And the gift is not like [sin] which came through the one who sinned.” This sentence negates the dichotomy of death versus life that is presented in verse 15. It also conflicts with verse 17: “for if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Once again we see that it is the consequence of sin –death– that reigns through Adam, and not sin itself.

Now, some will use verse 19 to further prove their doctrine of original sin: “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners….” Notice, however, that the verse ends saying “so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Proponents of original sin make the unnecessary conclusion that the guilt of Adam’s sin was passed on to all without any disobedience committed on our part. We would have to make the claim then that Christ’s righteousness was also transferred to us without any obedience on our part. Ezekiel 18:20ff proves that claim to be false. The father’s sin or righteousness is never transferred to the son. Individuals reap the consequences of their own actions (Ezek. 18:20,26-28).

20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

26 When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. 27 Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

The guilt of Adam’s sin is not transferred to us. We are guilty because we choose to sin. God determined that the consequence of sin would be physical death, but there is also a second death brought about by sin (Rev. 21:8) – a spiritual one. However, we have the opportunity to be righteous through Christ if we choose to turn away from our sins in order not to suffer that spiritual death.

Five Ways to Walk in Christianity

When we hear the word “walk”, what probably comes to mind is the physical activity involving our legs that we do everyday to get from point A to point B. Sometimes, when we want to get some fresh air, we take a leisure walk around the park. There are several instances of the word “walk” in the Bible, many of which exhibit a figurative sense of conducting or regulating one’s life. That is, the verb is used in the context of living a certain lifestyle. Paul employed the word “walk” throughout his letters as he instructed the early Christians in how they should conduct their lives. It is clear from his writings that Christianity is more that just a leisure walk in the park. Here I give five ways in which a Christian should walk.

Walk in Unity (Ephesians 4:1-6)

As Christians, we belong to one body, which is the church (Col. 1:18). Therefore, it is imperative that we all walk in unity. We do this by living a life that is worthy of our calling, that is, with humility, gentleness, patience, and love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as there is one Spirit, one Lord, one hope, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, we should be eager to conduct ourselves as one body united in peace.

Walk in Love (Ephesians 5:1-7)

Christ loves us and gave himself for us as a sacrifice to God. We should be imitators of God and Christ by walking in love and giving ourselves as a sacrifice to God. Walking in love involves leading a disciplined life and abstaining from sins that hurt one another (vv. 3-4; cf. 2 Thess. 4:9). Sin takes the focus off God and puts it on us, which in turn prohibits us from offering up ourselves in thanksgiving to him for our salvation. The practice of sin also prohibits us from inheriting the kingdom of God.

Walk in Light (Ephesians 5:8-14)

Those who have obeyed the gospel have come out of darkness and have become children of light. Now we have to walk continuously in the light of the Lord, bearing fruit that is good, right, and true. Our light should not be hidden, but rather, it should shine in order to expose the unfruitful works of darkness and make visible our good works so that the world may glorify God (cf. Matt. 5:14-16). When we sin, we must continue to walk in the light by confessing and repenting of our sins so that the blood of Christ cleanses us (1 Jn. 1:5-10).

Walk in Wisdom (Ephesians 5:15-21)

God expects us to walk in wisdom and have an understanding of his will in order to please him (Col 1:9-10). Speaking through the prophet Hosea, he told the Israelites that they were destroyed because of their lack of knowledge. Not knowing the will of God has grave consequences. We learn in Paul’s letters that having an understanding of God’s mystery brings riches and treasures. (Col. 2:1-2). We must not let human wisdom, philosophies, and false doctrines deceive us and lead us astray, but rather, we must walk in truth and obey God’s commandments, having faith in his wisdom and not in ours (1 Cor. 2:5; 2 Jn. 1:4-6; 3 Jn. 1:3).

Walk in Newness of Life (Romans 6:3-11)

Christians are required to change their lifestyle. They are expected to walk in newness of life by putting off the old self and putting on the new self (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10). This change is a continuous process that is initiated in baptism. Baptism is the way in which you die to sin and come alive again (Rom. 6:3-6):

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

You must be united with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection through baptism in order to come alive to God and be added to the church that belongs to Christ (Rom. 6:9-11; cf. Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47):

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Only after this change can one truly walk in unity, love, and wisdom and be a light to the world so that others may come to God for their salvation.