Is There Harmony in Your Church?

Claudia Elzinga

READ : 1 Corinthians 1-4 Corinth, a city in Achaia (southern Greece), was known for its immorality. In that environment Paul had planted a church and left. Now he hears that they are struggling with problems, so he writes this letter giving solutions to these problems, one by one. The first problem was lack of unity. One characteristic of a healthy church is a spirit of harmony. Is your church characterized by harmony? If not, a top priority ought to …

Dealing with People

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Romans 14-16 The Bible says that the way to show that we love God is to love people created in his image. Therefore, we are to welcome people into our churches, though they differ with us on “secondary issues.” One problem, of course, is deciding what is secondary. Certainly right belief regarding the deity of Christ and salvation by faith in him alone does not fall in that category, while issues like diet and how to celebrate religious …

Saved to Serve

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Romans 11-13 Paul ends the second section of Romans, dealing with salvation by grace, with concluding thoughts on his disappointment that more of his own people are not being saved (chap. 11). He then begins the final section of the letter dealing with a life of service as the way to show gratitude for salvation by grace. He begins chapter 12 with “therefore,” because of all he has said about salvation by grace. “Therefore” we should respond with …

Life in the Spirit

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Romans 8-10 What a contrast between Romans 7 and 8. The seventh chapter is one of spiritual defeat. The word “I” is mentioned again and again, but the Spirit is not mentioned. In Romans 8, there is little mention of “I,” but note how the Spirit is mentioned again and again. The chapter begins with no condemnation and ends with no separation from Christ. In between we are given the conviction that in all things God is at …

Faith

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Romans 4-7 Having shown that every human being is a hopelessly lost sinner, Paul now shows the way for us to be made right with God (justified). Since Christ has shed his blood as an atonement, all who put their trust in him (have faith) will be forgiven and received back into fellowship with God, which is true life. Is this idea something new? No, already at the beginning of the establishment of God’s people, Abraham, our spiritual …

All Have Sinned

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Romans 1-3 Like the Old Testament, the New Testament begins with historical books: the four Gospels and Acts. Also, like the Old Testament, the New Testament then has a series of writings. In the Old, the writings are the poetic Wisdom Literature; in the New, the Letters (the Epistles). The Letters are arranged as follows: first the letters of Paul, not chronologically, but roughly in the order of length, and then the letters of others. Romans is divided …