"Deeper Grace"; The book of Romans
June 1, 2012

C. R. Oliver

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June 1, 2012

"Deeper Grace"
The book of Romans

Introduction: Under the ministry of Paul, grace-understanding increased, just as it did under the ministry of Jesus and Simon Peter. The Jews knew that it was grace that chose Abraham and made him the father of their nation and the father of faith. Scripture and the prophetic word taught them their history was one of grace outpoured upon a special people of God. They rehearsed their deliverance by God's grace from their Egyptian bondage. Full well they knew the consequence of rejecting grace, having found themselves wandering in a wilderness. They also knew each time the high Priest presented at the altar, they were viewing a picture of the grace of God poured out through the sacrificial blood of animals (all the while depicting the work of Jesus on the cross). In contrast to their pagan neighbors, they had a covenant with the living God whose grace conquered their enemies, provided sustenance and offered companionship that expressed itself in visitations and glory.

But, they began redefining grace on their terms, even to the degree that grace became an ingredient solely Jewish and narrow enough in scope as to be unavailable to any other people or nation. Only through the hierarchy of their system could grace be administered, and only through codified rules could grace be viewed. The common man might live his whole life under their rule and never once encounter true grace in action.

Then came Jesus.

He ministered grace outside their box, even to an adulterous woman. He spoke theology beyond their comprehension when He ministered to a Samaritan woman. Grace reached out through Him to a demoniac with a thousand demons. Jesus operated in grace giftings.

Jesus re-established, through example, the scope of the grace of God. His every action, every sermon exuded the message of grace--until Paul, years later, could burst through the Jewish rubble and declare, "By Grace we are saved through Faith" with nothing more!

The early church, through Simon Peter, had already opened the door to the Gentiles, as God expanded his mind to encompass Cornelius. Peter witnessed the outpouring of the Spirit upon pagans, who came under God's grace and who received salvation and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, even as he.

God's grace became the authority for N. T. ministry and the catalyst for empowering all ministry. Just as the Jews could not comprehend a religion without Law governance, the disciples could not envision a church without the power of Grace operating in them and flowing outward to others.

It is in this mode one must enter the study of Romans.

Paul was on his third missionary journey (already having penned his first epistle to the Galatians in 49AD) when he wrote the book. It was about the same time James, the half brother of Jesus, wrote his epistle. Matthew also had just formed his gospel and recounted the evidence of grace gifts through the ministry of Christ.

Paul wrote four other works before he wrote Romans (I, II Thessalonians and I, II Corinthians -in that order). It took time, under the Holy Ghost, to arrive at the place where a deeper Grace doctrine could be discussed. This doctrine would emerge to challenge the very heart of established religious tradition. It took matters out of the hands of mortals and made all things subject to the Lord Jesus. This is why Paul could continue his Romans' treatise with the sweeping statements found in the first chapter of Ephesians.

Romans is all about preparing a people to become a "people of the giftings."

Romans also includes Paul bringing Judaism "up to speed" and clarifying their doctrinal error. He re-established the place of grace emanating from the God of mercy, love and peace. No longer would their own determinations rule, for God's Law of Grace superseded their Law.

Study of Romans:

By starting at the end of this epistle and reading first in chapter 16, one will find a prelude to a benediction (blessing) by Paul. It is necessary to start here because Paul sums up his discussions in Romans by ending with an invective similar to Star Wars. Instead of "the Force be with you," he ends with, "Grace be with you."
Romans 16:24
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with you all. Amen.
"May the Grace force (be) with you."
By omitting the "be (which is not in the original text, but added for clarification)," one can see the power of the statement and how it includes all the Grace Gifts that had been working in the earthly ministry of Jesus (and should have been working in them). Just as Jesus ministered grace to His hearers-so should they. Paul taught that the Old Testament Law was fulfilled in the higher Law of Grace, so all their considerations must revolve around this greater ingredient. "Grace…With you" incorporated an element of ingraining or becoming "part and parcel" with the believer. It certainly incorporated all of the teaching of Paul found in this Roman epistle.

The blessing of the grace force.
Observe how this construct flows into the benediction (Blessing) with which he closed his work.
Romans 16:25-27
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith -

27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
"My gospel" coupled with "the preaching of Jesus Christ" linked together a new understanding in the arena of Grace. No more "council considerations." No more Sanhedrin pronouncements. No more applications based on tradition.

Where the Law once stood in precedence, Grace now stands. Its job is to bring all who will believe to the perfection and standing of Jesus Christ. It is the highest order. It truly was a great mystery now made manifest to all nations. Grace took precedence according to a higher commandment than that of Moses.

Earlier, Paul said his ministry to the saints was based on grace that had been given him.

Rom 15:15
Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God,
His mind was never far from the grace poured on him at the Damascus Road and the furtherance of that grace through his ministry. Oh, if preachers would just preach with such in mind,how it would flow over their audiences like living water. Grace filled words would flow from grace anointed lips to hearts longing to know the true Grace of God. Such a message would create an atmosphere so thick with the Holy Ghost that leadership would hardly be able to minister. They would be like the priests after Solomon's dedicatory ended and the smoke filled the Temple.

(Faith Declaration: I am here and now declaring that such grace preaching will again be heard. Such outpoured grace will again enter cold hearts and make them alive to Him. Such preaching, bathed in the love of God, will once again cause a stirring so massive that it cannot be ignored!)

Until pulpits are filled with those who can testify of the "grace given" to them, what is the use of listening? Paul's authority flowed from Grace. Paul's ministry was propelled by Grace. Paul's energy came from Grace. Paul's great understanding of the true doctrine of God was rooted in Grace. It was God who revealed Himself; it was God who appointed him; it was God steering him to pour out His grace to people of every kindred and tongue.
Comment: I grew up in a church that commissioned over a thousand missionaries and preachers. All of them mentored under the preaching of an old South Carolinian man of God who poured out grace filled messages for 41 yrs. and was rewarded by fires of evangelism. One Sunday I saw him in the baptistery for over 4 hours as 700 new believers were obedient to immersion. We truly are saved by grace, not of works; it is the gift of God. Porter M. Bailes, Sr., insisted on repentance and faith toward God. He preached a grace that did not gloss over unrighteousness, but separated the believer from it.
In like manner, Paul opened this epistle with a declaration of Grace. He first pointed to the origin of such grace founded in Jesus, then made sure his readers comprehended his commission in that work.
Romans 1:5-7
Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; 7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Aside from noting the underlined base for the book, Called to be Saints, take a look at verses five and six. Paul joined in with his believing brethren, using the "we" pronoun, "We have received." Beyond the common bond of Judaism, already afforded them, Paul wanted them to recognize his apostleship was not based on man, but on the manifold grace of God. Herein is where all apostleship should begin and end. If there is boasting, let it be in Him.

Paul's desire was to see them face to face, for one reason: to impart some spiritual gifts. These are the Grace Gifts spoken of in Chapter 12.
Romans 1:11
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established - -
The great lack in the modern church is that of not being "established." In Chapter 12, Paul nails down a base for operating in the spiritual gifts (he mentions it in 1:11). The construction of Romans is unique in that Chapter twelve is the focus and all other passages flow toward it. It is as if he doubles back and re-enforces what has been concluded in the previous eleven chapters. He calls for "determinative purity" before God and then from that purity comes a ministry to the world.
Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Although these verses are universally known by Christians, often there is failure to "enter in" to their contract. It says, "You present, (which is volitional and intentional)" A holy transformation must take place. This will cause the grace of the Lord to bring the committed one into the "good, acceptable and perfect," which sets the stage for the working of the spiritual gifts.
Comment: Personally, I have never known anyone exercising these Grace Gifts who has not been through this transformation. The Azusa Street power would never have fallen had they not been so transformed. The Awakenings of the early days in the West were characterized by holiness and a soul-pluming to the will of God. It was as if the soul searching of the early days of the Twentieth Century guided the Pentecostals to a re-discovery of these gifts. The gifts cannot operate apart from holiness, and here is the problem with the charismatic movement.
Knowing the huge transformation he had experienced, Paul bowed to the grace working within him and gave glory to it. His authority flowed, not from a legal right, but from a sovereign Grace working within him. That kind of grace will carry one through beatings, testing, prisons, Mistreatment and slander, and it will produce a person who, in humility, will cry out for others (like Paul who wished himself anathema for the redemption of his fellow Jews).
Romans 12:3-5
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Having established a foundation, Paul was now free to entertain the varying gifts of the Spirit. Today, we have reversed his course of action and fallen short in almost every venue. Instead of ministry to God, we minister through man and receive the reward of man. Man-ministry, however, fails to produce the power of revival and the testimonies of salvation, healing and deliverance we long to see.
Romans 12:6-8
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
These Seven giftings (which are summative and often viewed with less honor than the list in Corinthians [which was circulated before this writing]) came chronologically after the nine gifts were presented. These seven wrap around those nine like a cloak of protection. These are the headings under which the "activities of the Spiritual Grace Gifts" are aligned. (In I Corinthians 12: 4-11 one sees enumerated the nine "activities" cloaked by the seven.)
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
In Romans, the gifts of the ministry are reflexive in nature. Each has "activities" that work within them toward the needs of the body of Jesus; while at the same time, they have within them elements of service only toward God.

Because of this, the glory of God and the grace of God are seen in their manifestations and workings. A "glorious church" manifests the grace gifts with ease--through a body of believers who have given themselves to the transformation. There are no shortcuts. There are no true manifestations without it! One's body must be presented as a living sacrifice before these gifts work. Renewing of the mind must take place.

Could it be the reason there is such a dearth of the gift of "discerning of spirits" lies with the matter of such commitment, rather than failure due to lack of knowledge?

Hindrances addressed by Paul:

l. Whacked Out Theology:

Paul, throughout the book of Romans, addressed issues that cause grace-gift failure. Knowing the mindset of the Jewish population (those who became Christian, but maintained their Jewish traditions [similar to those of the Messianic movement of today]), he felt it necessary to spell out" to them those things that hinder grace's work.

It is time that Messianic groups own up to their error in not manifesting the giftings and their lack of emphasis in the writings of Paul. Feast days might be fun and the rarified aire of elitism a thrill, but both do nothing to bring the body of Christ to a deeper walk in the Spirit. Paul called for a mindset that was transformed from just keeping the Law, to the liberty of the Law of Grace.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
In Romans Chapter 3, Paul looked at the place of the Law through the eyes of Grace and declared that the Law is established by grace. The famous passage about justification is in this chapter:
Romans 3:24
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
In Romans Chapter 4, Paul explored grace apart from works and found it operating in Abraham and validated by David. He showed how Abraham was chosen by God before any Law (or even a covenant of circumcision). These came into existence AFTER the selection of Abraham. .
Romans 4:4

Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Romans 4:16
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
Paul reviewed how David extolled, in the Psalms, the imputing of righteousness apart from any action of man.
Romans 4:6
Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works
In Romans, Chapter 5, Paul expounded one theology-the redemption of man through Jesus Christ, Alone!
Romans 5:1-2
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
          Paul's conflict with those Jews wanting to do "add-ons to grace," spoke worlds to denominationalism, quirky theologies and religious diatribe. He, in essence, declared, "There are no 'add-ons'" there is just Jesus and everything of Christianity flows to Him, through Him and from Him. Quirky, whacked out theology blocks the working of the gifts of the Spirit. Those who seek to hold to both find themselves in serious conflict with the Word.
Romans 5:15-17
But 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.

16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Comment: A lady from Canada, who recently experienced the death of her husband, called our headquarters to seek prayer for her problems. She had been a "declaring saint and a Watcher," but satan had sent discouragement and, with the many matters attendant to one's Life-cares, had submerged her self-evaluation to despair. But God had a word for her. Instead of focusing upon self, He wanted her to regain her poise and begin hearing afresh from the Spirit and once again declare what God spoke over her nation and the world. (Saints, the attacks are calling for a steadfast stand against self-interest.)
2. Whacked Out Commitment:
          Paul recognized the need to renew one's commitment to Christ and His work. Many had allowed sin to slip in and dominate them, so they were backslidden and living below God's standards.
Romans 6:1-2
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Romans 6:6
6 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.

Rom 6:11-15
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

15 From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Paul knew that he was about to present the grace gifts in chapter twelve, and there had to be correction and rededication to Christ and His ways. Sin was in the camp and must be dealt with. Today, sin is in the camp and must be dealt with. There are some "practicing a form of spiritual gifting," while living in sin---this causes congregations to be guilty of "entering in" with their sin---it is time for an awakening among God's people!

3. Whacked out religious culture:

          More than ever, it is time to know who is around you spiritually. I am not discussing theology at this point; I am delving into spiritual warfare through the grace gifts. There is a huge religious structure, and it is not just denominationalists; it includes Word churches and charismatic and Messianic fellowships. Just like one does not wish to be standing next to the guy when lightning strikes him, you don't want to be "in fellowship" with "God's out group."

Today, participating in the huge religious strata may well be deleterious to one's spiritual health. Similarly, walking into most Christian bookstores may also be spiritually unhealthy. The diatribe poured out for public consumption is reflective of the religious culture of the day. Pop culture is so diffused into the churches, it is indistinguishable to the normal congregant. But it is highly noticeable to those who operate in the gifts.
Romans 11:5-7
Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
Can one not see two groups? The religious culture of Paul's day incorporated the masses, but he addressed a "remnant."
Romans 11:8-10
"God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day."

9 And David says: " Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them.

10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, And bow down their back always."
The election of grace is Divine Intervention into a world "gone mad." Like Elijah's seven thousand who had not bowed the knee, so are the elect. The elect of grace are today's holiness ones who refuse to compromise. They walk in a purity that makes them be looked upon as "odd" and "out of place." (Get acquainted with them my friends; they are Jude's dignitaries and Paul's associates.)

Among the elect of grace there is light in a world of darkness. In their culture, there is fellowship based on something more than "pie suppers." In their culture, there is a common commitment: "sold out to Jesus." In their culture, there is no disunity, confusion or despair. In their culture, there is a countermove going on that is sweeping among them, "get everything right before Him and walk in the Spirit" and "be concerned with nothing else."

It is to them the gifting applies. It is to them Paul addresses. It is these "glorious sons of God" which are soon to be manifested.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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