Friday, January 6, 2017

THE GOD OF BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES

Today’s Reading: Romans 3

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion on the right-hand side).

 

This is known as the Mamertine Prison. Tradition tells us that Paul and Peter were both held in this prison before they were martyred (a photo of the inside of the prison is below). Upon entering the city of Rome, “Julius, a Centurion of the Augustan Regiment” (Acts 27:1) handed Paul over to the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard (the commanding officer). The official duty of the Prefect was to keep in custody all accused persons who were to be tried before the Emperor. “Now when we came to Rome, the Centurion delivered the prisoners to the Captain of the Guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him” (Acts 28:16).

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verses: Romans 3:28 & 29

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also…

 

Justification (a declaration of righteousness before God) by faith was the reason given for the Protestant Reformation. The story is that Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic Priest, travelled to Rome for the purpose of gaining favour with God and an inner assurance of his salvation. He probably visited the prison pictured above. It is reported that as he ascended a stairway into a church, step by step on his knees, reciting prayers on each step, he jumped to his feet, exclaiming the Scripture, “The just shall live by faith.” He returned to Germany where he nailed his declaration of salvation by faith, and not by the keeping of the law, to the the door of a church, along with many other theses. As they say, “the rest is history.” What Luther and many others hoped would be a reformation in the Church became a high wall of division. The action of the Church courts, and unwise people on both sides of the issue, eventually produced different denominations. It could’ve been different. For example, Acts 15:1-11. Why was there not a new denomination or an independent church body formed in the first century? We may want to take time now to think about that question.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, help me to always “hold the truth in love.” I pray You will enable me to be part of resolving strongly held differences as Peter was in Acts 15. I ask for greater wisdom. You promised that if I would ask You would give wisdom liberally (James 1:5). Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

Paul wrote his “epistle of joy,” Philippians, from prison. I can’t imagine myself having such an overcoming experience in Christ as to be able to rejoice so enthusiastically in similar circumstances. I do know that God does give grace to endure, but seldom in advance of the trial. He does so as we have need.

Concerning divisions in the church, Jesus prayed for all who profess to follow Him, “…that they all may be one” (John 17:20-23). I have seen the power in working together for winning people to Jesus. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, many walls came down between denominations. I was asked by the Archbishop Cardinal of Toronto to preach a mission in Varsity Stadium sponsored by the Roman Catholic Arch Diocese of Toronto. Literature on the assurance of salvation by faith was distributed to thousands as they responded to my Billy Graham-style invitation. There was a strong sense that Jesus’ John 17 prayer request was being answered by the Father with a loud “Yes.” I believe that God is more than willing to continue to say “Yes” to Jesus’ prayer. I pray for much more of God’s unconditional love to expand my capacity to love and to overflow my life with His message of salvation.

Yours for an answer to Jesus’ prayer, unhindered by pride in a denomination or by human self-righteousness,

David

P.S. My eldest son, David Reynold, and his wife Kathy, return shortly to Uganda where their mission is to be a part of the answer to Jesus’ prayer for unity among Christians in that country. Here’s a link describing their work. Please remember them in your prayers. Thank you so very much!

Inside the Mamertine Prison, this metal grate in the floor covers where the prisoners were lowered into their prison cell. The first time Paul was imprisoned he was in a private house; however, the second time he was probably here, under Nero, who had him beheaded.

 

18 thoughts on “Friday, January 6, 2017

  1. Keeping Kathy and Reynold in our prayers, dear David. The photos are incredible–what a terrifying thought of being lowered through that grate, and being imprisoned, underground (especially when claustrophobic). Paul’s conversion experience–seeing a light from heaven flash around him, falling to the ground, hearing Jesus’ voice and talking with Him, being blinded and unable to eat or drink for three days, then healed completely, gave him the strength and determination to remain joyful in times of trouble. Could you imagine? Yes, he was forever changed and focused on exalting Him. Our God is so amazing–all knowing–omniscient, and all-powerful–omnipotent. He knew Paul was the perfect witness based on his experience to teach us, then and now, in 2017, to trust in and glorify Him! I can feel it, grasp it, and write about it, but not live it, when I am in the trenches. Shouting amen to You, Lord and wishing all saints a blessed day!

    When you pass through the waters…they will not sweep over you.
    Isaiah 43:2 NIV

    Good, Good Father, Chris Tomlin
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBwXHpKVS5I

    • Thank you Beverlee for this link! I met the Rawlings when they were in Edmonton years ago…what a privilege it was. What kind words of bless from the PM Benjamin Netanyahu!!

      • I was fortunate to meet them 1.5 years ago in Kingston, Irene. What a blessing and work they are doing in Israel, so needed. Thank you for your kind words, as always, Irene. God’s continued blessings to you. I have been praying that one day, we will meet, in person.

  2. An interesting timing! While I was writing down the key verse this morning in a book, I got a second visit from the Jehovah Witness in the last month; two girls of Russian, Ukraine, one also English origin, and a small boy who came from Saskatchewan, now living here. Told them I did not believe their doctrine and they said after much research they were convinced of it. Then they said they were also around convincing people to read their Bibles which they had in hand and read 2 Timothy 3:16 to me adding that they find so few reading them. I told them about 100words.ca and 100 Huntley St. which they didn’t know about. Beautiful girls but don’t have the truth about God and Jesus. Any advice or experience you would like to share with me? I would have liked to direct them but need to review my book on cults.

    • PRAISE THE LORD Ger! They came to YOUR house, a house where a Christian lives! Imagine that! You met them all, you understand that they are young and very vulnerable, YOU witnessed this website! You’ve done a great and mighty thing Ger! God bless you! Now we will all pray for you and for those who came to visit!
      You had an encounter with these beautiful people, they were lead by the Holy Spirit to you! PRAISE THE LORD!

      A very blessed and healthy New Year to you dear Ger! Keep posting and praying!

      In Jesus Name we Pray AMEN

  3. Thank you for the photo’s and your explanation of them Pastor David and Rev. Reynold. Words of wisdom and understanding you pass on to us…much appreciated!!!

    Once again I viewed the Reynold and Kathy’s vision for Uganda. I pray for their safe trip back and for the Blessings of the Lord upon them in their ministry there; Lord Jesus I pray You keep them in the Palm of Your hands! Amen!!

    I too find it hard to grasp Paul’s joy through all the difficulties and particularly while in prison! Our God is an Amazing God!! One who never leaves us or forsakes us!!! Great and Mighty is Our God, Faithful and true!!!

  4. Just a thought on David’s comment about an independent church body in the first century: it is my belief that there has always been , since the first church, a body of true believers who were never a part of the church that became Catholic and then after Luther, became Protestant.

  5. please pray for complete healing for a friend Monica! to be healed from the top of her head to the tip of her toes!
    Bless her family! Bless her marriage!

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