Wages and the Free Gift on the Romans Road

Romans 6:23 is one of the passages I memorized as young Christian.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The passage was part of the Romans Road, a brief summary of the way of salvation from Paul’s letter to the church at Rome.

  • All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
  • The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.. Romans 6:23
  • But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
  • If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
  • Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Believers were encouraged to memorize this scheme and use it to evangelize non-believers. It captured what its creators believed to be the essence of Christianity.

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One God and the Holy Trinity

This is a post about the Holy Trinity. Why does it matter? Because the word “orthodox” means “right praise”. We worship God as he has revealed himself. If we worship him as someone he is not, it’s a problem. That shouldn’t be a surprise because it’s a problem on a human level too. We want people relate to us as who we really are, not who they think we are or who they think we ought to be.

In Christian thought, the word “God” can mean the co-eternal unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in essence, honor and glory.

But the word “God” can also mean God the Father. This is the way that it is normally used in the New Testament and the early church fathers.

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An Iron Curtain Still Surrounds North Korea

On June 25, 1950, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea invaded the Republic of Korea to the south. Kim Il Sung ruled North Korea in the Stalinist mold, initially as a Soviet client state. The Korean People’s Army that invaded South Korea had been advised, trained and equipped by the Soviet Union expressly for this purpose.

In Europe, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. Russia and its former clients have all evolved since then, sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much. All except for North Korea, that is, which is still run as a absolute dictatorship. North Korea combines Soviet style authoritarianism with a personality cult built around the Kim family. Kim Il Sung died in 1994 and was succeeded by his son Kim Jung Il. The younger Kim died in 2011 and was succeeded by his son Kim Jung Un. Nothing significant has changed for the North Korean people since 1950. Kim’s version of the Berlin Wall has never fallen. An iron curtain still surrounds North Korea, locking its citizens in a virtual prison. This is the root of North Korea’s suffering.

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On Aldergate’s Legacy

On May 24, 1738 John Wesley felt his heart strangely warmed while visiting a Christian meeting on Aldersgate Street in London. Wesley wrote of that experience, 

I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

Methodists and other evangelicals frequently look back on that event as a model of Christian conversion, an experience that for some defines the essence of being a real Christian. For Wesley, of course, it wasn’t one experience that determined whether one was a real Christian. The whole life of a Christian is marked by the love of God and neighbor, from the core of one’s being to every outward act.

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Isaiah’s Suffering Servant in 1 Peter 2

The Suffering Servant in the New Testament

In its description of Jesus, 1 Peter 2:22-25 draws extensively from the image of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52:13–53:12.

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
1 Peter 2:22–25

Peter is not alone in is appraisal of Jesus.

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