Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why is my new Bible missing verses?

First off, don’t worry, you have not fallen victim to some massive Bible destroying conspiracy. There are basically two different families of English translations. You have the King James Version/ New King James Version and on the other side you have the English Standard Version, New American Standard Version, the NIV and others. All of these versions are fairly accurate translations, although some are more accurate than others.

As archaeological discoveries are made we are able to find older and older manuscripts. It is assumed that the older the manuscript, the more accurate to the original it is. When the King James Bible was formed the manuscripts the translators used were not as old as the ones that formed the New American Standard Bible and others. Over time when copying by hand verse endings may have been added or footnotes may have been mistakingly copied as part of the text. This is why you will sometimes see verses in one Bible and not in another. It is not that the newer versions took them out, but that as older manuscripts are found, we discover a more accurate rendering of a passage. 

None of these variant passages are significant when it comes to doctrine. Even with the differences, there are no key teachings removed or added, and in the grand scope of Scripture they prove to be very insignificant. You will notice that in your Bible usually there will be a footnote explaining why a verse is not in your particular translation. For example in (Acts 8:37) you may see a note saying “NU, M omit v. 37. It is found in Western Texts including the latin tradition” (Nelson NKJV).

The translators of our English Bibles are very transparent when it comes to why a verse is removed or added. It can be a very rewarding study to research the origin of our different English Bibles. 


By Cliff Sabroe
Image from TheBlaze. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What does baptism do? Why do Christians baptize? Should I be baptized too?

There are many verses in the Bible that mention baptism.  Below you will find a few passages and an explanation of what they teach:
  • Mark 16:16 - "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned"  - Baptism is necessary for salvation.
  • Acts 2:38 - "Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" - Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. 
  • Galatians 3:27 - "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" - Baptism clothes us with Christ.
  • Romans 6:3-4 - "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" - Baptism puts us in Christ.
  • 1 Peter 3:21 - "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ"Baptism saves us through the resurrection of Jesus. 
  • Acts 2:41 - "So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls." - At Baptism God adds you to the church.
  • Acts 22:16 - "Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." - Baptism is how one "calls upon the Lord" for salvation and has their sins washed away.
Conclusion
  • Baptism is necessary for one to be in Christ, receive grace, be saved and be added to the church. Baptism is how one asks God to save them. 
  • A person must trust in Jesus' redemptive work on the cross to be saved. Baptism is how we do that. Baptism replicates Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.
  • God justifies the one being baptized by His grace. 
  • Baptism is not a work by which we earn our salvation, but instead it is an appeal to God for the salvation He offers. 
By Cliff Sabroe
Scripture references from NASB and ESV. Image from ourimgs.com

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Is it a sin to smoke weed? What does the Bible say about using other drugs? Can a Christian Get High? What if it is legal?

This question was answered during the West Visalia Church of Christ 2015 Youth Forum. 

Here in California it is common to see “Medical Marijuana Dispensaries” or corner medical clinics advertising “Medical Marijuana Cards”. As with most narcotics, when used under the close observation of a legitimate doctor they probably can meet a medical need. For example Vicodin is commonly prescribed for pain. If used properly it can provide relief to a patient recovering from an injury, however, it is commonly abused too. Although there is still an ongoing debate about its use, Marijuana could probably meet a medical need, however, some “Medical Marijuana” users are not taking it for medicinal needs, but instead just to get high.

The question under consideration is not the legitimate medicinal usage of drugs, but instead, is it okay for a Christian to recreationally use drugs for the purpose of being stoned? What does the Bible say?

1. Christians must obey the law.
  • (Romans 13:1) “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities”. 
  • Most illicit drug use is against the law in this country. For a person to use an illegal drug or even prescription medication in a way other than its intended purpose is violating the law and sinning. 
2. Christians are to have good self-control.
  • (Proverbs 25:28) “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls”.
  • (Galatians 5:22-23) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law”.
  • (1 Peter 4:7) “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers”.
    • When a person is under the influence of drugs whether cocaine, pot or even alcohol, their inhibitions are lowered and they are in less control of their actions.  God wants us to be “sober minded” and to be in control of ourselves. If a person is high, they are more likely to sin. 
    • Our task as Christians is to live pure lives and make good choices. Many times people do things while on drugs that they normally would not do. When stoned, a person’s judgement is impaired and harm may befall them and others because of their intoxication.
    • Another point to consider in regards to “self-control” is the addictive properties of most drugs. It is easy to become dependent and addicted to most drugs. 
    • Although some drugs might not be physically addicting, the feelings of euphoria  and temporary pleasure associated with their use can be. Many times a person becomes dependent upon drugs to get through stress, relax or even just function on a daily basis. God is to be our master, but when addicted to drugs we are often servants of a “high” and not our Savior.
3. Sorcery and Witchcraft in the Bible 
  • (Galatians 5:19-20) “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions...”.
  • (Revelation 21:8) “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
    • There is a good possibility that drug use was associated with the sorcery mentioned in the Bible and that the so-called “spells” that people implemented were actually the affects of ancient drugs.
    • Concerning this point the Christian Courier writes: 
      • The Greek word, pharmakeia (Gal. 5:20) derives from the term pharmakon. The original term had to do with “medicine” (like an ointment), or “a potion,” whether for good (as used by a physician), or for “evil” (as in the administration of poison). The term could signify a drug. Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, tells of a man named Arcesilaus, who “fell sick,” and while “under the influence of a drug [pharmakon] which he had taken, was strangled” by one of his own brothers (IV.160). With the passing of time, the term came to be associated with pagan ceremonies, sometimes in connection with the use of drugs. The term could simply take on the sense of charm, spell, incantation, or enchantment (Liddell & Scott, Greek-English Lexicon,1741)....In principle, the term might well apply today to those who use drugs as mind-altering substances for recreational (or even religious) purposes. (Jackson).
    • Although there are other sins associated with sorcery (pagan and idolatrous worship, the occult etc.), it seems that drug use (whether personal or in attempt to poison others) may have been inferred when discussing the sin of “sorcery”.
4. Drunkenness is a sin.
  • (Ephesians 5:18) “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery...”.
  • (1 Corinthians 6:10) “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God”.
    • In numerous passages in the Bible being drunk is condemned. Why is this? Because when intoxicated, one no longer has “self-control” (see point #2). (Proverbs 20:1) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise”.
    • Without a doubt, it should be assumed that the mind altering state drugs produce would be sinful just like “drunkenness”. In the same way that alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, drugs do as well.
Conclusion:
  • Many of the plants created in nature or chemicals created by man are not inherently good nor evil. There are legitimate medical uses for many of the drugs in use today and there is also a great opportunity for abuse.
  • The Bible does not condemn medicine, in fact Paul told Timothy to “use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23). Legal Doctor prescribed drug use for a legitimate condition would NOT be in violation of Scripture. (Although one should still be cautions with medicine that alters judgement, mood or can be addicting).
  • Using drugs in order to chase a buzz, forget problems, get high or just “feel good” is not only usually against the law, but would also be against the teachings of Scripture.
Post by Cliff Sabroe - Scripture Quotes from ESV Bible. 
Christian Courier. Wayne Jackson - https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/473-does-galatians-5-20-condemn-the-use-of-all-drugs 

Should a Christian take communion alone when they cannot assemble with the local church?

Jesus wants us to remember Him through the Lord's Supper (Communion/Eucharist). What about the times when you can't make it to church? Does He want us to take it by ourselves? Is there more to communion than just eating bread and drinking grape juice? These questions and more are answered this week on the Bible Answer Show
Listen to the audio here

Friday, September 11, 2015

Can you explain Hebrews 13:17? Does it mean I have to do whatever a church leader says?

Hebrews 13:17 states,
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (NASB). 
This passage is often used to promote the idea of total obedience to church leaders (such as Elders or Bishops). In some religious circles it is used as a proof-text for Pastoral Rule in a church. Is this what the passage is teaching? This post will ask a few questions of this verse in an attempt to better understand and apply its teachings.

Who are the “leaders”?
Scripture is its own best interpreter. Many form the conclusion from this passage that the “leaders” by necessity must be “elders”, but is that conclusion warranted? Previously in this same section of Scripture, the Hebrew writer declares, 
“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7 NASB).
The leaders in 13:17 are the same as those who “led” in verse 7. The leaders in verse 7 are those who “spoke the word of God to you”. The Hebrew Christians needed to go back to what they were taught. They needed to remember these good leaders (whether, elders, apostles, preachers or teachers) and consider the “result of their conduct” and “imitate their faith”.  

These godly leaders had taught the Truth, and were living the Truth. The Hebrew Christians needed to follow what they were taught by them. If they didn’t, they would run the risk of being “carried away by varied and strange teachings”  (13:9 NASB).

These godly leaders cared about these Christians, in fact, the Hebrew writer states in verse 17 that they “keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account”. A person who speaks the Word of God to another is watching out for that person’s soul, and will give an account for what they are teaching and how they are living. This would include elders, but there is nothing in this passage that would exclude other teachers of Scripture such as apostles or preachers.

What does it mean to “obey”?
This term often causes confusion and results in false ideas. The English term “obey” is very strong. When employed, images of kings and dictators often come to mind. No other passage of Scripture paints church leaders as rulers who must always be “obeyed”. Is this what this verse is teaching?

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The Greek word translated “obey” in verse 17 is peitho. This writer is of the conclusion that “obey” is NOT an accurate translation of peitho in this section of Scripture. Most lexicons give the possible definitions of “persuade”, “convince”, “trust” and even “obey”. The student of God's Word must determine what definition is the most accurate for verse 17? Remember, Scripture is its own best interpreter and usage determines meaning. We must ask, how is the word peitho used in Scripture?

There is an abundance of New Testament passages that contain this term. In the NASB, most of the passages translate the word peitho as “persuaded”. However, different books are written by different authors and one Bible writer may use a term differently from another. 

When trying to determine the definition of a term, it is best to look at its usage in the passage and book under consideration. In the book of Hebrews, the word peitho is used  4 times (2:13, 6:9, 13:17,1 18). To the Bible student, the verse that should stand out immediately is 13:18 because it is in the same passage as the verse under consideration. In our English Bibles it is easy to miss that the same term is being used. In the NASB, Hebrews 13:18 reads,
“Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things” (Hebrews 13:18).
The word peitho in verse 18 is translated as “sure”. We are wise to assume that if a term is used in back to back verses, that its meaning is not going to change. In verse 18, the Hebrew writer states that they are “sure” that they have a good conscience. If translated as “persuaded”, “convinced”,  or “trust” in verse 18, it would still convey the same idea, but “obey” would not!

To better understand the term peitho in verse 17, we must look at peitho in verse 18. When putting these two verses together, along with the other times this term is used in the book (2:13, 6:9), it is clear that “obey” is NOT the definition the Hebrew writer had in mind.

Conclusion

Hebrews 13:17 is not a verse about blindly obeying elders. Instead it is a passage that exhorts the reader to follow the Word of God as taught by godly leaders. We need to be persuaded by, and trust those who are teaching us the Word of God. When the Word is taught, we need to submit to it and understand that our teachers are watching out for our souls. If we do not follow the teaching of godly leaders (whether by word or example), we run the risk of being carried away by false teaching. 

By Cliff Sabroe

Is Same Sex Attraction Sinful?

What does the Bible say about "Same-Sex Attraction"?

There are certain thoughts and feelings that a person has that are often hard to understand. A socialist cannot comprehend why a person would be a capitalist and a capitalist does not understand the socialist. This idea is also true in the realm of sexual attraction. The thought of being sexually attracted to another man is considered disgusting to a man who is attracted to women. The purpose of this post is not to answer whether or not it is healthy, normal or natural to be attracted to the same sex, but whether or not it is sinful.

Homosexuality, sex before marriage, rape, adultery and bestiality are all actions that fall under the category of “sexual immorality”. Sexual immorality is a sin, and if not repented of, will cost a person their soul (Revelation 21:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21). Acting upon one’s immoral attraction is sinful whether it be a man having sex with a man, or a married women having sex with a man other than her husband.

This, however still does not answer the question on whether or not the attraction is sinful. One thought that sheds light on this question are the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. One would assume that this teaching would apply for same sex lust as well.

From the passages already discussed one can conclude that homosexual acts and lust are sinful, but what about the temptation to engage in homosexual behavior or homosexual attraction. Please remember, temptation to sin is not the same as sinning. In James 1:14-15 it reads 


“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death”. 
The temptation itself is not the sin, but when one allows that temptation to become a mental fantasy it is sinful, and when that fantasy becomes a reality, it will destroy. This would be the same for a heterosexual sinful desire as well. If a man finds a woman physically appealing he is not sinning. However, if he starts to dwell on what it would be like to be intimate with her, his thoughts have become sinful.

One person’s temptations are not the same as another’s. Some may be tempted by heterosexual sin (such as premarital sex or adultery) while others may be tempted by homosexual intimacy. Temptation is not inherently sinful, even Jesus was tempted (Hebrews 4:15). Although temptation is not sinful, one should work to no longer be tempted by various sins as they grow in Christ. The danger in not keeping ones desires under control is that the desires/temptations may grow into fantasy/lust which often will grow into action.

Lust is sinful, immorality (whether heterosexual or homosexual) is sinful, temptation, desire and attraction are not necessarily sinful, but if left unchecked, may grow into something that is.

If you are struggling with homosexual attraction (or any sin) and you find yourself wanting to engage in evil behavior, talk to someone, pray, confess your struggles to God and to close Christian friends so they can help you. Don’t allow the desire to become a fantasy in your mind or even reality through sinful action.  All of us have various sins that tempt us and all of us by God’s grace are working to overcome them.  When talking about the sins of drunkenness, homosexuality, adultery, idolatry thievery and more, the apostle Paul writes,

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). 
There is hope for all sinners in Jesus.

By Cliff Sabroe 

Quotes from NASB Bible
Image from myselfanddela - google image search 
(Sad Woman Looking Out Dark Window)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Is it sinful for a Christian to bake a cake for a gay wedding?

Since homosexual relationships are condemned in Scripture, many Christians have trouble engaging in actions they feel may be supporting, or legitimizing a sinful behavior. The argumentation is usually along the lines of, “homosexual relations are sinful, thus homosexuals should not marry each other, therefore, I cannot do something to promote gay marriage (like bake a cake with two grooms on top)”. 

A similar line of reasoning is often manifested in individuals or groups choosing to boycott a business because of behaviors they find morally repugnant. An environmental advocacy group may choose to not buy goods from a company that has a reputation of harming the environment, pro-life individuals will often choose to not support a business that donates large amounts of money to Planned Parenthood. 

An Ancient Debate Revisited (Meat Sacrificed to Idols)
Although the Bible does not specifically deal with baking cakes for gay weddings or organizing a business boycott, it does deal with the question of can a Christian eat meat that was sacrificed to an idol. 

During the writing of the New Testament there were people who worshipped idols. They would offer meat sacrifices to these idols. This author’s understanding is that leftovers from these sacrifices would also be sold to consumers in the marketplace. Herein is the challenge, idol worship is sinful, but would it be wrong to consume meat that was offered to an idol? Would the funds collected from the transaction support an idol priest? If people saw you eating that meat, would they think you worshipped idols?

Questions like these and others were being asked by Christians in the First Century. Most fell into one of two sides on this issue. Some believed it was always wrong to eat the meat because of where it came from and what it supported. Others took the view that it was just meat, thus it is nothing more than a business transaction and you can eat what you want. 

What is a Christian to do?
Just as there was in the First Century, there are those today who point fingers and condemn those who choose to not participate in a boycott or who would choose to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Those on the other side accuse those boycotting as being silly and not able to understand the difference between business and actually supporting a sinful behavior.
Thankfully, the Bible does speak to this debate (although it may not give the answer you would expect). In (Romans 14:3) the text states:
The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.
The Apostle does not stop with food, he even deals with holidays. In verse 5 he continues:
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. 
Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God (Romans 14:5-6)
From the aforementioned passages it appears that one can make a judgment call when it comes to matters of conscience and opinion. 

“But…!”
  • “If I bake a cake for a gay wedding it make me feel like I am supporting something sinful!” - Don’t bake a cake if it violates your conscience. 
  • “I don’t think it is different than baking a cake for any sinner!” - If you do not feel it is nothing more than a business transaction; go ahead and bake it. 
The Big Idea
In many areas in life there is not clear cut right and wrong answer. Some of my Christian friends do not buy coffee at Starbucks because of their stance on gay marriage. It is ok for them to boycott Starbucks. I, however, still buy coffee from Starbucks, because it tastes good and I do not feel that when I am buying coffee I am actually supporting a false idea.

Where sin comes in, is not whether or not you choose to bake a cake or buy a pound of coffee. Sin occurs when you judge the conscientious decision of another as sinful. God has not legislated on whether or not one should bake a cake or support a certain business, thus, we have no place to condemn. If a Christian baker says they cannot in good conscience bake a cake for a gay wedding… that is fine. On the other hand, if a Christian baker says they are just providing service and not endorsing a behavior, I cannot condemn them either. 

Sin occurs when unwarranted judgment is passed or when one is forced to violate their conscience. Romans 14 goes on to state:
 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:13-17).
Conclusion
If a baker chooses to bake a cake, or where a customer chooses to shop are matters of conscience and not doctrine. Don’t feel pressured either way by opposing sides of a particular opinion, instead, use wisdom and be fully convinced of whatever choice you make. In the conclusion of Romans 14 it reads:
But he who doubts is condemned if he eats [or bakes] , because his eating [or baking] is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin”
By Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NAS Bible. Image from TheBlaze

Thursday, July 16, 2015

When is a person ready to be baptized?

“He that believes and is baptized will be saved, he that does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16)

I direct a week long summer Bible camp, and it is common for a handful of young people each year to decide to put on Christ in baptism and have their sins washed away. (Praise be to God!!!) One of the things we worry about at camp is that a young person may choose to be baptized prematurely or because of peer pressure. Many of the teens at camp are thinking spiritually for the first time. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and get baptized without thinking about the lifelong commitment that is being made. This post intends to answer the common questions about baptism that are asked in regards to “when is a person ready to be baptized?”

Common Questions about Baptism:
  • Are there things a person must know before being baptized?
  • At what age should a young person be baptized?
  • Could it be that in the past we have rushed people into the water?
  • Are their consequences to baptizing someone prematurely?
Baptism in the Bible
  • In Acts 2 it is observed that baptism comes after one comprehends the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
    • One needs to know that in baptism they are emulating those 3 acts (Romans 6:3-4).
    • One needs to know that they are “baptized into Christ” in order to “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).
  • One needs to not think that baptism is a work in which they now have earned salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).
    • Instead they should understand that in baptism they are placing their trust upon Christ’s work on the cross.
  • One must believe in Christ in order to be ready to be baptized.
    • (John 8:24) “unless you believe that I AM he, you will die in your sins” - This is more than just believing that Jesus existed.
      • This is belief in His Lordship, His Deity and all that it entails.
  • When one is baptized, they are submitting to His Lordship; they become His slave, and He is their Master.
    • “... 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).
      • When you confess Jesus is Lord before baptism, you are confessing that you are making a commitment to Him through baptism, because HE IS LORD.
In the New Testament one is baptized because they understand two things:
  • 1. The Lordship of Jesus. 
  • 2. Their own sinfulness.
    • Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Revelation 21:8.
    • Baptism is for the purpose of receiving the forgiveness of sins that Jesus made available to all when He died on the cross. (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16).
  • This means that before a person is baptized, they must have an idea of:
    • What sin is.
    • Their own personal sinfulness.
    • The consequences of their own sinfulness and because of the consequences of sin they must have a desire to place their trust solely on Jesus to remedy their sin problem.
Questions to ask a person (especially a younger one) who expresses a desire to be baptized: 
(These questions are not at all meant to discourage a person from following God, but instead are designed to make sure a person is ready, and understands what they are doing.)
  • Why do you want to be baptized?
  • Do you believe in the Lordship of Jesus and understand what that entails?
  • Do you understand the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross?
  • Are you a sinner?
    • (If they answer “yes”) Since you are a sinner, do you believe that right now, if you were to die that you would go to Hell?
  • Do you understand the commitment that you are making?
At what age should a young person ready to be baptized?
  • The Bible does not give an answer to this question, however, in the New Testament, the only examples are of adults getting baptized.
  • The Bible may not tell us a specific age, but it must be at an age when:
    • They can sin, realize it, understand its eternal consequences and feel compelled to do something about it.
    • They must comprehend the Deity of Christ and be willing to submit to His Lordship.
    • They must mentally and emotionally be able to make a lifelong commitment to God.
    • They must understand what Jesus did at the cross and how that ties into what they are doing in baptism.
Other points to consider about a young person being baptized:
  • When one is baptized, they are becoming the bride of Christ. 
    • Would this young person be ready for marriage or at least fully understand the seriousness of a marriage relationship?
  • When a Christian continues in sin and refuses to repent, they are to be withdrawn from.
    • Would we consider this fair or be willing to do it to this young person?
  • There are many passages of Scripture that carry adult themes (Song of Solomon, 1 Corinthians 7:1ff).
    • Would we allow a person of this age to attend a class on these subjects or expect them to understand?
    • Could this young person understand a “virgin birth”?
  • Baptism is a most important decision one will ever make.
    •  It is a mature decision that needs to be made by a mature mind that can make such a decision and commitment. A young person may want to do right, make good choices and follow God, but still not be ready to make a decision of this magnitude. 
      • (In those cases we should encourage a young person to keep trying to follow God in every part of their life. Let them know that when they are ready to make this big decision we will be there to help them. Let them know that God loves them and is glad that they love Him too. Promise them, that when they are ready to be baptized, they will know it for sure.)
A person must be a “sinner” before they require “remission of sins”.
  • Baptism is so one may have their sins washed away.
    • Do we consider these young people that want to be baptized old enough to be capable of committing sins, being separated from God for all eternity in a Devil’s Hell?
  • Just because a child “does bad things” does not mean that they are sinning.
  • Just because a child understands that the Bible commands baptism does not mean that they are ready.
  • We need to be cautious to not push our young people into doing something they do not understand.
  • We need to preach Jesus, sin, its solution, and when they grasp it, they will respond appropriately.
Is it possible to be baptized wrong?
  • Yes, in fact, there are examples of “re-baptism” in Scripture. (Acts 19:1-4).
  • Other reasons for re-baptism:
    • Baptized the wrong way.
    • Wrong reason.
    • Without understanding.
    • Without faith.
    • Without repentance.
The right reasons for being baptized:
  • You believe that Jesus is Lord (John 3:16)
  • You understand your own personal sinfulness and that Jesus came and died on the cross to take the punishment for your sins. (Romans 3:21-31). You understand baptisms relationship to Christ’s actions upon the cross.
  • You desire forgiveness and a committed relationship with Christ. 
  • You have placed your faith in Him (Eph. 2). You have repented of your sins (Acts 2:38). You want to confess that He is Lord (Rom. 10:9).
     “and why are you waiting, arise be baptized, washing away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

    CS

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    Why did God give so many strange rules to Israel in the Book of Leviticus? Is a Christian supposed to follow all of the Old Testament today?

    Answer
    Whether or not a rule is “strange” is a matter of perception. In my house, my children are not allowed to eat in the living room. Children often spill, my living room has a large rug in it, so it is very likely that my carpet would end up stained. A single man, living alone might view this rule as strange, but his perceptions are different because he does not have children, nor is he aware of the messes they often make.

    I will admit, that to the modern reader, many of the laws of the Old Testament seem strange, especially since so many of them do not have an equivalent in the New. God gave Israel laws about sacrifice, what food to eat, what to do with sick people, what clothes to wear, how not to trim your beard, even when and when not to have sexual relations. Many of these rules are very specific while others are more broad. 

    The Purpose of the Laws of Leviticus
    Understand that all the laws given in Leviticus (and other books of law) were given specifically to the Israelites, for a specific purpose at a specific time. As for “why are there so many strange laws?”, I believe the answer is found in (Leviticus 20:22-26).
    ‘You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, so that the land to which I am bringing you to live will not spew you out. ‘Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.‘Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples. You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean. Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
    Conclusion
    God wanted Israel to be holy and pure. He wanted them to be completely different from the extremely evil pagan nations around them. Some of the laws promoted good health, some kept them from immoral practices, others taught lessons about holiness and others prevented them from doing anything that resembled an idolatrous practice. There are some laws that are hard to understand, but remember, the reason that particular law was given, was to keep them “set apart” as God’s holy people.

    What about the Other Old Testament Laws?
    The Old Testament Law (including the book of Leviticus) was given to the Nation of Israel (the Jews) in order to separate them from the rest of the nations of the world and to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. All of the laws, the requirements, the feasts, the sacrifices, the priesthood, how to worship, the Sabbath and more, were also designed to lead one to the Messiah (Jesus). Now that Jesus has come, that system has been done away. 

    Notice what the book of Galatians states: 
    But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:23-26).
    The Old Testament Law fulfilled its purpose at the death of Christ. It was not abolished (as if it were not good), but instead it was fulfilled by Jesus.
    "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
    In the current Christian age, we are not subject to the requirements of the Old Law. The Old Law was only for a specific people (The Jews), for a specific purpose (To prepare the way for Jesus). Now, all people, (Jew are Gentile) are accountable to the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.
    God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world (Hebrews 1:1-2)
    "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. (John 12:28)  
    Final Thoughts 
    The Old Testament should still be studied, but with the understanding that it is not a law we will be judged by. 
    (Romans 15:4)For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
    By Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NASB, Image from WikiPaintings  

    Wednesday, June 24, 2015

    Who is the Devil? What does he do? How powerful is he? Is the Devil the same as Satan?

    Many of us developed a view of the Devil as children from watching Saturday morning cartoons. Images of a hoofed creature with horns and a pitchfork are what usually come to mind. This post seeks to give an description of the Devil by using just the Bible.

    Biblical Names of Satan
    • The Devil
      • “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1)
      • The word “devil” is from a Greek term meaning “adversary, opponent or enemy”.
    • Satan
      • “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD” (Job 2:1)
      • Like the word “devil”, the word Satan (from the Hebrew) is also a term that means “opponent, adversary or enemy”.
    • Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24)
    • Serpent (Revelation 12:9)
    • Prince of the Powers of the Air (Ephesians 2:2)
    • Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15)
    • Murderer and Liar (John 8:44)
    • Prince of this World (John 12:31)
    • God of this World (2 Corinthians 4:4)
    • The Dragon (Revelation 12:9)
      • And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Revelation 12:9)
    What the Bible teaches about Satan?
    • He was a fallen angel:
      • (Jude 6) “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (cf. 2 Peter 2:4)
    • He was the first sinner:
      • “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8)
    • He was the original liar:
      • “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it”. (John 8:44)
    • He is a perpetual tempter of man (Revelation 20:2,8).
    • He is dangerous (1 Peter 5:8)
    • He will be defeated!
      • Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil... (Hebrews 2:14)
    • We can cause him to flee!
      • Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
    • Jesus will ultimately destroy him and his works!
      • He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
    • Satan will be punished for eternity!
      • The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  (Revelation 20:10)
    • We should fear him, but through Jesus we can defeat him!
      • "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death” (Revelation 12:11)
    The Devil is dangerous, but Jesus is more powerful! Satan will be punished and those in relationship with Christ will be victorious!

    By Cliff Sabroe

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    Can you explain grace?

    What is Grace?
    Most people have a basic understanding of what grace means, but don’t completely understand what it entails. The word grace is used over 150 times in the New Testament and in its most basic sense it can be defined as “favor or kindness”. More importantly, as it relates to salvation, it should be viewed as “favor and kindness from God”. This post seeks to present a few areas where we may not have considered the implications of God’s grace. 

    Our Salvation is a Result of God’s Grace
    It is impossible for us to be saved without the grace of God. No matter how hard we work, obey or do good deeds, we cannot save ourselves. Our salvation is a result of God’s grace. In his letter to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul wrote,
    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
    The point is clear, salvation is an impossibility without grace.

    God Offers Grace to All
    What is wonderful about God’s saving grace is that He has made it available to all. There are certain religious groups that teach that God has a “limited” amount of grace. This idea is foreign to Scripture. In the book of Titus it reads “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11). It is true that not all will accept and receive this grace, but that is not the fault of God, for He offers His saving grace to all.

    Grace Instructs
    Some try to paint a picture that because of grace obedience is not a necessity, this idea cannot be further from the truth. When describing the grace that is offered to all, in (Titus 2:12) the Apostle Paul writes that this grace is “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age”. The grace of God is a divine motivator and instructor for one to live a holy life.

    Grace is Not Earned
    Although our obedience is necessitated by God’s grace, God’s grace is not earned through obedience. None of us deserve grace. Because of sin, all that we have earned is death. God is so merciful and loving that He offers a gift that none of us could obtain on our own. 
    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
    Grace Must be Accessed
    We do not save ourselves. However, we must choose to access the saving grace of God. Sadly, many do not recognize that they are lost, and thus never come to Christ through faith in order to receive His grace. (Romans 5:2) reads, “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God”. When we place our trust/faith in Christ’s saving work we access His grace. We place our faith/trust in Christ by “calling on the name of the Lord”  through our baptism (Acts 22:16).

    We Must Continually Grow in Grace
    The Christian life is a life of perpetual growth. This is especially true when it comes to our understanding and realization of God’s grace. As Peter wrote at the end of his letter, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).  God’s grace does not increase through our growth, but our realization of His grace causes us to grow. 

    It is Possible to Fall from Grace
    Sadly, some people place their faith in something besides God for salvation. This lack of faith can cause one to “fall from grace”. In Galatia there were some Christians who were requiring Old Testament law keeping for one to be justified. Concerning this, the Apostle Paul writes,  “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4). Instead of trusting in Christ, they were trusting in circumcision, thus had fallen from grace.

    We live For Christ so the Gift of God’s Grace is Not in Vain
    God has done so much for us. He sent His Son to die for us and He offers us His grace. If we do not allow these great blessings to motivate us to live for Him, we cause all of God’s work to be in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:10) reads, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me”. God’s grace makes us who we are and we live for Christ so the grace received is not in vain.

    Conclusion
    God’s grace is the undeserved gift of God’s kindness and favor. God is a merciful and loving God who wants us to be saved. Thanks be to God for the gift of grace. May we always seek access to this gift through faith and allow the grace of God to motivate us to live in holiness. 

    By Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NASB and ESV Bibles

    Wednesday, June 3, 2015

    What is the difference between an Elder, Bishop, Shepherd, Presbyter and Pastor?

    Depending on what church you attend, you have probably heard at least one of these terms before. What you may have never heard, is that each one of these terms are in reference to the same role within a local congregation. This post seeks to define each one of these terms and demonstrate how you can prove they all refer to the same office.

    Elder
    The term “elder” in the New Testament is a translation of the Greek word (presbuteros) which means “older man”. In some English Bibles this word is transliterated into “presbyter”. As would be assumed with the term “elder”, the word expresses maturity and is often used in a religious sense. The following are a few verses in which this term is found.
    (Acts 14:23) -And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 
    (Titus 1:5) - For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you... 
    (1 Timothy 4:14) - Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
    Bishop / Overseer
    This word is not usually found in modern translations, however, it is used in the King James Version and the ASV 1901. “Bishop” is from the Greek word (episkopon) and is usually translated as “overseer”. This term reflects the idea of watching over intently. Note the following passages.
    (1 Timothy 3:2) -Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 
    (Titus 1:7) - For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain.
    One may observe that Bishop/Overseer and Elder are in reference to the same office by reading the whole of the passage in (Titus 1). In (Titus 1:5) these men are collectively referred to as “Elders” and then in (Titus 1:7) the singular “overseer” is used. This example proves they are in reference to the same role within a congregation.

    Pastor
    Of all the words being examined in this post, the word “pastor” is likely the most widely used term in American church leadership today. The word “pastor” is from the Greek term “poimen”, which can simply be defined as “shepherd”. In fact, this word often is not used in reference to a church leader, but instead, to an actual “shepherd” watching over a flock of sheep. The word “pastor” is listed as an important role in the 1st Century church.
    (Ephesians 4:11) -And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers…
    It can proven, that the word “pastor” in reference to the same office of an elder and overseer. Notice the text of (1 Peter 1:1-5).
    Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. (1 Peter 1:1-5)
    The previously quoted passage makes it clear that an “elder” is also a “shepherd/pastor”, as well as an “overseer/bishop”. 

    Conclusion
    In religious tradition, Bible terms are often misused or misunderstood.  Many churches today use the term “pastor” without thinking twice about how it is used in the Bible. Certain religious groups have men ordained as “bishops”, to oversee the “elders” of a particular congregation. In the Bible, however, “bishop” , “elder”, and even “pastor” are all in reference to the same role in the church. Instead of looking at these terms as separate congregational duties, one should view them as the same office with different responsibilities being explained by each one of these inspired words. 

    By Cliff Sabroe, quotes from NASB95, Image from churchleaders.com. Definitions gathered from Strong's and Thayer's Greek Lexicons.

    Friday, May 8, 2015

    Does “Do you not have houses to eat in drink in?” (1 Corinthians 11:22) teach that it is wrong to eat inside a church building?

    The Passage Explained
    There were some problems associated with the Communion (ie. The Lord’s Supper) in Corinth. Paul spend time in 1 Corinthians 11 attempting to correct these issues.  The main problem he addresses is “Division”.

    The church is to be an united group, a body and a family. The Communion meal is supposed to be a time of mutual fellowship between the members of a local congregation with God, and with each other . The Corinthians, instead, had turned it into a time to selfishly fill their stomachs.

    This divisive, selfish environment is condemned by the Apostle Paul. In (1 Corinthians 11:18-21), he states:
    For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
    The purpose of this part of worship was to eat Lord Supper together, but instead, they were not even waiting for everyone to get there! In fact, it appears that some members were eating up ALL the food and drinking down all the wine before everyone could commune! This was a blatant corruption of what the Lord’s Supper was supposed to be!

    After, explaining that the purpose of the Lord’s Supper is “remembrance” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), the Apostle gets back to his corrective rebuke in verses (33-34). The passage reads:
    So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment...
    The Communion meal is different from other meals the church may eat together. The communion is a time of remembrance, sharing, celebration, praise and fellowship. The entire congregation is to participate in this weekly observance. It is a shame that there were some brethren in Corinth who turned it into an opportunity to quickly stuff their faces before everyone could participate.

    Answer:
    With the context of this passage in mind, let us examine verse 22. It reads:
    What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
    The point of the passage is not to forbid eating in a church building (in fact, church buildings were probably not on the Apostle’s mind at all). Instead, this passage is saying, “if you are hungry, eat at home”, “if you are thirsty, be sure to get a drink beforehand”, because when it is time to take the Lord’s Supper, it is not to fill your belly, but a time to remember Jesus with your Christian family.

    By Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NASB95 Bible. Picture courtesy of cofchrist.org

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    Is God going to save all the Jews? Does Romans 11:26 really teach that “all Israel” is going to be saved? Is this passage figurative? How can I interpret Romans 11 correctly?

    Due to the fact that this is a very challenging question, this post will be longer and more in depth than others. I encourage you to not just skip to the conclusion, but instead, read through it with an open mind, an open Bible and a desire to understand the book of Romans.

    Introduction to Romans 11
    A main turning point in the book of Romans is chapter 11.  In chapter 11 Paul directs his attention from the Jews to the Gentiles. 11:13 states “But I speak to you that are Gentiles” (ASV).  Chapter 11 does not stand alone, as it relates to the underlining theme of the book of Romans.  The book of Romans is a book about unity, and in chapter 11 Paul again tries to unite the Jews and Gentiles on common ground. Please note how the theme of unity flows through the previous chapters. 

    Overview of  Chapters 1-10
    The book of Romans begins in chapter one with the unifying theme as found in (1:16), which declares to the reader that Jew and Gentile can be made just by faith in the gospel “as it is written ‘but the righteous will live by faith” (1:17).  

    Chapter 1:18 – 3:31 unifies its readers by teaching that all have sinned, all need to be justified and that none can justify themselves by keeping law.  

    Chapter 4 unifies the Jews and Gentiles on the basis of justification by faith, this is illustrated by the account of Abraham and how it was reckoned to him as righteousness when he believed. Righteousness on the basis of the faith of Abraham makes him the father of “all” (Jew or Gentile). This means that all who believe may also be reckoned as righteous. 

    Chapter 5 again unites the Jew and Gentile by illustrating from the account of Adam that all are subject to death and that all need Christ. In chapter 6 we learn that if one is in Christ, they will be dead to sin, and in chapter 7, the struggle to die to sin is illustrated. 


    Chapter 8 shows the blessings that come from being united in Christ on the basis of justification by faith, and chapter 9 confirms that it has always been God’s plan. Chapter 10 brings the final argument for justification by faith and not the keeping of law, and the end of chapter 10 and all of chapter 11 remind Israel that God has not rejected them.

    The Context of Romans 11
    In this section the Apostle Paul is painting an exquisite picture of God’s unwavering love for Israel.  A Jew reading this epistle may have come to the conclusion that they could not ever be just, they may be thinking that they had been wasting their time and that God has neglected them for the Gentiles.  Paul in 11:1 answers the Jewish question about God rejecting them, Paul declares “may it never be”.  Paul does say that although God never rejected Israel, many of Israel have rejected God. He shows that one of the reasons that the gospel was given to the Gentiles was to provoke the Jews to jealousy and move them to draw closer to God (11:11).

    In (11:13) the chapter takes a turn and the intended audience goes from the Jews to the Gentiles. As he did with the Jews, Paul exhorts the Gentiles to not be arrogant, but instead have an attitude of humility. This is illustrated with an example of an Olive Tree. 

    In (vs.17-25) Paul identifies God’s people as being a tree. The Jews were part of this tree, but some Jews rejected Christ and were broken off. Where the Jews broke off the Gentiles were allowed to be grafted in.  At this point in the text the Gentiles may be feeling superior to the Jews, but again Paul reminds them in (vs.21) “for if God spared not the natural branches, neither will he spare thee”. If the Gentiles continued in their boasting they would be broken off in the same way the unbelieving Jews were broken off.  If the Jews believe, they likewise will be grafted back into the tree in the same manner as the Gentiles (11:23-24). The point about not being conceited is driven home in (vs.25) in which he declare to them to “not be wise in their own understanding”. 

    What is the meaning of “all Israel” (11:26)?
    Without a doubt, the most difficult passage in this chapter is the first part of (11:26) which states “and so all Israel will be saved”. The question of who “all Israel” is and reference to is a challenging one.

    This writer is of the persuasion that the most likely interpretation of (11:26), is that “all of Israel” is referring to the physical nation of Israel. The Gentiles were assuming that the “hardening” of the Jews was eternal, but Paul is correcting them by proclaiming that “all of Israel shall be saved”. “All Israel” in the context of Romans 11 must be seen as literal. In (Romans 11:1,2,7 and 25) the Israel being referred to is literal Israel. It is poor exegesis to take one verse out of five and make the word mean something different than the definition of the word in the preceding verses. 

    One should note, the word hutosand so” in verse 26 could be better translated “in this manner” (Bauer 602). Thus, what Paul is saying, is in the same manner of being grafted in as the Gentiles were, the unbelieving Jews can be grafted in also if they believe.  100% “all” of Israel has the chance of being saved if they believe and are grafted in as the Gentiles were.

    Continuing in verse 26 the quotes Isaiah 59:20-21 to reiterate the point that God has always wanted to offer salvation to the Jews, as chapter 11 continues this is made wonderfully clear. God wants Jew and Gentile to be saved! 

    The passage shows there was a time where both groups rejected God but now they can both be united together as they are grafted into the tree of salvation the same way.  In (11:32) it states “For God hath shut up all in disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all”. God’s plan is not always a plan that all can understand (11:33). Even though all the nuances of God’s plan cannot be understood, the point of this passage is clear.  God wants both Jew and Gentile to be saved, both Jew and Gentile were separated from God at one time, both Jews and Gentile are saved in the same way, and thus, neither Jew or Gentile has reason to boast!

    Conclusion
    The book of Romans proclaims justification on the basis of faith. Paul wants the readers (both Jew and Gentile) to be united upon this truth. Rome was a church divided, the Jews and Gentiles were in opposition to one another.  In chapters 1-11 Paul beautifully illustrates numerous reasons on why Jew and Gentile are one in the same in the eyes of God. Chapter 11 brings to an end the doctrinal unity that the Jews and Gentiles must embrace. In chapter 12 the book takes a turn to the practical application of the previous eleven chapters. Chapter 11 is the conclusion of Paul’s doctrinal discourse for unity, chapter 11 shows that no matter what race you are, whether you rejected God in the past or in the present, there is room for all in God’s tree. You can be grafted in, if you have faith, and come to Him. 

    By Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from ASV and NASB95 Bible 
    Work Cited - Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.  2nd E.d. Edited By. W.F Arndt and F.W Gingrich. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.