A Collection of Topical Articles

I love to write through chapters of the Bible or spend time on thinking and writing through Biblical topics. Here is that collection, arranged easily to be able to find what you are looking for. Here is the list of things I have written on.

Most Recent Blog Articles


   

No One is Righteous—Romans 3:9-18

"What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."  "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:9-18)

This statement begins the closing argument of the entire case against humanity. The first chapter of Romans highlights the Gentiles’ guilt before God because of their innate knowledge and refusal to glorify Him. Chapter 2 shows the Jews were worse off than the Gentiles because they had the Word of God but did not keep it. So chapter 3 summarizes everyone’s guilt by using several Old Testament passages that support this claim.

The bottom line: Apart from Christ, mankind is hopeless.

Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. The Amplified Bible describes this state as “held down by and subject to its power and control.” This grasp is so controlling that there is no hope in us because no one is righteous. This collage of Old Testament scriptures magnifies our desperate need for a savior.

This condition apart from Christ is important to recognize because it frees us to move into a solution in which Paul will spent the next five and a half chapters explaining. But unless we accept that sin has defeated us, we will never fully understand the depth of how Jesus rescued us from its grasp.

Previous: Romans 3:7-8  Next: Romans 3:19-20

Original article published June 19, 2009.

Slanderous Reports—Romans 3:7-8

Slanderous Reports—Romans 3:7-8

"Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" Why not say-as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say-"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved" (Romans 3:7-8)

To preach the full gospel opens you up to criticism. I know from experience. It always surprises me how quickly others are to denounce what I’ve written, accusing me of giving people a license to sin. All because I’ve written extensively on the complete forgiveness of sin once and for all.


The more in-depth I study what Jesus accomplished for us, the more convinced I am that it is radical, that we need spiritual insight to understand it and that we need to leave behind our preconceived religious ideas to embrace it.
 

Sharing as I have has opened me up to personal attacks. I’ve been criticized on forums, other’s blogs, and even my in own comments section. And the truth is, sometimes it bothers me, but the fact remains that the more in-depth I study what Jesus accomplished for us, the more convinced I am that it is radical, that we need spiritual insight to understand it and that we need to leave behind our preconceived religious ideas to embrace it.

I think this is where Paul was at. His revelation of grace was hard to swallow and still is for many Christians today because religion has taught us differently. This understanding was unrivaled among his peers so he had to constantly defend the truth by combating objections and excuses others were making.

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Is God’s Wrath Unjust?—Romans 3:5-6

Is God’s Wrath Unjust?—Romans 3:5-6

"But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?" (Romans 3:5-6)

In college, I got written up at work when a server on my shift walked out because one of the line cooks was targeting the wait staff with a squirt gun. At first, I thought this was unfair because I was not participating in any way. Most thought it was a joke and laughed, so I didn’t see any harm in allowing it. However, the server who quit wasn’t laughing. I was slow to realize that my lack of leadership did deserve the written warning. And when it all came down—I had no excuse, although I’m sure I tried several.


When in error, we naturally try to find an excuse, and when that doesn’t work, we question authority.
 

When in error, we naturally try to find an excuse, and when that doesn’t work, we question authority.

Here was mankind’s challenge: Is God unjust in bringing His wrath on us?

Our unfaithfulness magnifies the mercy of God in an exponential way. So if our sin promotes and amplifies His holiness, why are we still being judged for sin?

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The Faithfulness of God—Romans 3:3-4

The Faithfulness of God—Romans 3:3-4

"What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written:  "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge" (Romans 3:3-4)

The question Paul addresses is important: What if some did not believe God, will that nullify the promise of God? Does our lack of faith cancel God’s faithfulness? The answer is an emphatic and resounding no, God forbid, never, absolutely not! God’s faithfulness is not dependent on humanity’s faithlessness; rather, it is dependent on His character.


Our faith is a response to His faithfulness, but our lack of faith doesn’t change His faithfulness to us; instead, it magnifies it.
 

But sometimes living in the midst of this broken world, it is hard to always see God’s plan and faithfulness toward us. So one thing we must settle in our hearts is that no matter the circumstances, what we feel or even experience, we must decide that God is true and everything contrary to His Word is a lie.

God’s promises are always true, even when we struggle to believe or experience them.

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The Jews' Advantage—Romans 3:1-2

The Jews' Advantage—Romans 3:1-2

"What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God" (Romans 3:1-2)

I am sure by this point, the Jews reading this letter were feeling beaten down. Paul ended Chapter 2 by revealing that they had misunderstood God’s covenant. They were operating under the assumption that because they were circumcised and the natural descendants of Abraham, they had an advantage with God. But all of this had been shattered by Paul’s declaration that a true descendant is one whose heart has been circumcised by the Spirit of God (Rom. 2:29).


The Jews had the monumental task of taking the Word spoken to the and recording it and preserving it.
 

So the question becomes: What advantage is there in being a Jew?

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We Overcome

We Overcome

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11a).

I sat with rapt attention while listening to a former meth user, a drug dealer and a runaway. Her life was in shambles before she encountered the Lord—and to be honest—it has been ever since.

Even after finding peace, she struggled for years occasionally returning to her past lifestyle of drug use, men use, and living on the streets.


When we share our struggles, we highlight what God has done, causing others to marvel at Jesus.
 

However, something beautiful and unexpected happened when she opened up to bare her soul. Before me, I didn’t see someone chained to a life of drugs. Instead, I saw a beautiful woman, with physical scars, but still deeply loved by God, and she was teaching me something about forgiveness.

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Worthy of the Gospel—No Grumbling (Video Teaching)

Worthy of the Gospel—No Grumbling

Watch this video teaching by Juli entitled Worthy of the Gospel—No Grumbling*

Are we pre-conditioned to grumble and complain?

Complaining is a natural default for many, but Paul observes in the Book of Philippians that a mark of Christian maturity is doing EVERYTHING without grumbling or complaining (Phil. 2:14-15). 

This teaching will hit many people right between the eyes as Juli examines the devastating effects of constant grumbling and complaining. She will offer three practical steps on how to be “complain-less.” She finishes with a message of hope for those of us who struggle with grumbling and complaining.

*Juli taught this sermon at Orchard Hill Church on March 6, 2016.

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Circumcision of the Heart, The True Mark of A Child of God—Romans 2:28-29

Circumcision of the Heart, the True Mark of a Child of God—Romans 2:28-29

“A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).

This passage of scripture is powerful. In a world where we judge others on the basis of their skin, the country we live in, or even the church we belong to—we find so many things to divide us. But this is an invitation to unity in Christ. In a startling revelation, as Paul announces that it is the condition of one’s heart that makes him or her a true child of God. 


Abraham had a righteousness that could not come from following the commandments in the Law because Abraham had been declared righteous over 400 years before the Law was given.
 

To the Jewish people, who had prided themselves in being circumcised, a physical sign showing they were a part of God’s chosen people, this is quite the statement. Paul reveals that circumcision is merely an outward sign of an inward reality. This reality is a circumcision of the heart by the Spirit of God himself.

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Righteousness of the Law vs. the Letter of the Law—Romans 2:26-27

Righteousness of the Law vs. the Letter of the Law—Romans 2:26-27

“If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker” (Romans 2:26-27).

If the Jewish people were unable to keep the Law, how did the Gentiles, who had no knowledge of the Law, accomplish it? They did it because instead of fulfilling the letter of the Law they kept the righteousness of the Law (Rom. 2:26 KJV). 


If the Jewish people were unable to keep the Law, how did the Gentiles, who had no knowledge of the Law, accomplish it?
 

The difference is huge. A person can fulfill the righteousness of the Law by faith in Jesus, but no one, Jew or Gentile, can keep the Law. The Jewish people were pursuing righteousness as a reward for the things they did, instead of trusting in the only one who could provide what they sought. In the previous verse, Paul announced their habitual sin disqualified them from obtaining righteousness through the Law (Rom. 2:25).

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The Value of Circumcision—Romans 2:25

The Value of Circumcision—Romans 2:25

"Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised" (Romans 2:25).

It’s all or nothing. We either trust in our good works or we trust in Jesus. However, if we trust in ourselves, failing one time ruins everything (James 2:10). This is the point. The Jews were relying on circumcision, a symbol of the righteousness Abraham had obtained by faith (Rom. 4:11), but instead of living by this faith, they were trusting in their ability to keep each commandment. In a disquieting declaration, Paul said, their habitual sin makes it as if they were uncircumcised. 


If no one is justified by following the Law, why did Jesus instruct the man to obey the commandments?
 

This is quite a statement! What a shock for the Jews who went to great care to follow the letter of Law. They prided themselves in living up its standards. And yet, Paul observes that it is of no value to them because they are unable to live perfectly. In other words, they were trusting in the wrong thing! In fact, one of the main points in Paul’s letters is that no one will be justified by their ability to keep the Law (Rom. 3:20, 10:3-4; 11:6; Gal 2:16, 3:10-11, Eph. 2:8-9, Titus 3:5). 

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