Encouragement, Harmony and Concluding Remarks

Read: Romans 15

The Christian life is profoundly corporate. We live in a time that is profoundly individualistic, but that is very much contrary to the teaching and the emphasis and the concern of the Scriptures and of the gospel. Being a believer in Jesus has an individual aspect to it that is vital, of course. We must believe as individuals and we must have a personal relationship with the Lord. But from a biblical perspective it is never just about me and Jesus. By believing in Jesus we become members of his body and that had huge implications for the nature of the Christian life.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Strong and the Weak

Read: Romans 14

This chapter deals with a very specific way of treating one other with love within the Christian community. The different opinions that are under consideration are not equally valid. One is right, and the other is wrong. Paul uses the distinction between some who are strong and others who are weak in this chapter. The opinions of the strong in this chapter of objectively correct while the opinions of the weak are objectively incorrect. But at the same time the differences of opinion are not over things that are part of core-orthodoxy or core-morality.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra


Read: Psalm 65

Thanksgiving in the Bible is part of the response of God’s covenant people to God’s salvation and it is part of praise and part of a relationship of prayer and forgiveness and dwelling in God’s courts and being satisfied with the goodness of God’s house and the holiness of his temple. And it is in the context of that relationship that we are to think of the bounty of the harvest and celebrate the fruitfulness that is rooted in God and his favor.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Hebrews 8

Read: Hebrews 8

That is what is promised to us in the new covenant and sealed to us in our baptism. Our baptism reminds us and confirms to us that through faith our sins are actually dealt with once and for all time. The forgiveness that is signified and sealed to us in our baptism is based on the reality of Jesus fully and finally paying the penalty for our sins. Because God’s justice has been served by Jesus’s death, that same justice requires that our sins can never be counted against us. And that registers in our own consciences so that the peace that we experience is much deeper and more profound than what was possible under the old covenant relationship between God and his people.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Our Responsibility to Government and General Exhortations

Read: Romans 13

The transformation that is the result of salvation in Christ, is from a life that is empty and self-centered to a life that is full and other-centered. The way of life that is concerned only with self is the way of death and being truly alive and joyful according to the Bible is to learn to sacrifice for God and others. Remember the opening line of this section. We are to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. That is not a bad thing. That is not a punishment. It is rather what it means to be truly alive. It is life as it was meant to be lived. It is the way of joy and satisfaction. It is a huge part of what salvation means.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Genesis 17

Remembering and forgetting are spiritually significant in Scripture – at least when it comes to remembering or forgetting that we are in a relationship with God – that God is our God and that we are his people. We are to live consciously in the light of God’s promises and of his requirements for us. We are not to forget that we belong to God with all that that means for our lives. One of the purposes for the sign of the covenant is to keep our covenant relationship with God top-of-mind.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Christian Life

Read: Romans 12

In Christianity the exhortations to the Christian lifestyle are motivated by grace. The exhortations come after forgiveness and after the grace of release from the slavery to sin. They are motivated by forgiveness already given. They are enabled by the renewing power already given. They are motivated by love and thanksgiving and not by fear.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

God Has Not Rejected Israel

Read: Romans 11

So if we take the long view of the history of God’s plan for the salvation of the world, we have a long period of time when the Jews are set apart in order to be a blessing to the rest of the world and we have a long period of time in which many of the Gentiles are saved to make the Jews jealous and this this will one day result in the Jews coming to salvation in Christ in a big way so that Paul can say, “And in this way all Israel will be saved….”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra