Tag: Romans

The Theology of God’s Calling (Romans 11:29) – The Theology of Work

1.0 Introduction

God’s Call in the Person (Romans 11:29), involves Work (Secular or Sacred), Service (Ministry) and Life – Romans 11:29“For God’s Gifts and His Call are irrevocable” (NIV). God’s Calling is the demonstration of His Love and Initiative, but more, it is through Service (Ministry) that we come to an appreciation God, better.

1.1 Theology of Work

Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man (Adam) and put him into the Garden of Eden to till it and to keep it” (KJV). This involved Man’s (Adam’s) Calling (Vocation). Adam was created to work, and his work was meaningful. From the beginning it was God’s Plan that Adam worked and be a responsible Steward of God’s Creation. Adam and his Descendants, with their privileges and responsibilities were to live and move in Kingly Fashion.

  • The word “dress” (till) from a root meaning to serve.
  • The word “keep” means “to look after or to have charge of.”

Point 1:

Adam’s responsibility was in fulfilment of a need described in Genesis 2:5b “There was not a man to till the ground” (KJV).

Point 2:

God intended that work is good, noble, and excellent and is the reflection of a Partnership with God in the care of His (God’s) Creation. Thus, work is important, significant, and valued by God – 2Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”  

Point 3:

With Fall of Adam & Eve, and the entrance of Sin, work became “toilsome”Genesis 3:17-19 “And unto Adam He said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistle shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (KJV).

Point 4:

We must never confuse work with toil or denigrate (belittle) the joy and privilege of work just because it involves toil; we must strive together for the recovery of the meaningful and joyful work.

Point 5:

Unfortunately, we have been deeply influenced by the strange notion that work is bad and should be avoided. God’s Word exhorts that the Person who is too lazy to work should not be supported – 2Thessalonians 3:10b “If any would not work, neither shall he eat” (KJV).

Point 6:

More Work – Our diligent and faithful in “small things” will be rewarded with “more work:” 

  • Luke 12:48b “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (KJV).
  • Matthew 25:29 “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (KJV).

Point 7:

Work is one of the central expressions in our life as Christians, and to do well and efficiently is one of the critical aspects of our spiritual maturity – Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are Serving” (NIV).

Point 8:

Deep within the psyche of People of many cultures and societies is the notion that all which is manual is menial. People are inclined to think that work that done with our hands is less important, significant, or valuable than work that can be described as being done with the mind, such as managing, writing, speaking or teaching, which are important, nevertheless, basically, in the Body of Christ, there are two broad groupings of spiritual gifts:

  • There is the “speaking gift” – Speaking forth the “Oracles” (“Burdens”) of God – should be “God’s Word” based – 1Peter 4:11a (KJV) “If any man speaks, let him speak as the Oracles (Logia = Divine Utterances, used in the Classical) of God.”
  • There is the “serving gift” – the Person who works “behind the scenes” – helping to make the Public Ministry possible – 1Peter 4:11b (KJV) “If any man minister (serve), let him do it as of the ability which God giveth.”

Both, “the speaking gift” and “the serving gifts” are important to the Body of Christ because not everybody are Teachers or Preachers, which tends to get the “lime-light and recognition” but there are those “behind-the-scenes” service ministry in seeing that the physical aspects of the Church are in place and properly functioning. Hardly anyone ever sees the work that they do. In fact, if they do their job properly, few People even think about it; their work is taken for granted by most of the Members of the Congregation. Furthermore, in Scripture we are encouraged to work with our hands, and consistently those who are masters of a craft are celebrated, such as those who designed and created the Old Testament Tabernacle, Bezalel, a Craftsman is the first person in Scripture who is said to be filled with the Spirit (Exodus 35:30-35).

Also, the Woman of Proverbs 31 is praised as one who worked with her hands. There is probably a measured of truth in the suggestion that only as we learn to work with our hands, mastering a craft as a means of employment or as a form of recreation, are we truly integrated with our bodies – when we live entirely in our heads we may miss out on a major dimension of life.

Point 9:

Sabbath RestGenesis 2:2b-3 “On the Seventh day, God rested from all His work. And God blessed the Seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all His work of creating that He had done” (NIV). The weekly Sabbath rest is instituted, not for God because God does not need to rest, but for us. The biblical theology of work also includes the explicit call for weekly Sabbath Rest, when we set our work aside and take time for worship, fellowship, leisure, and recreation, because we are not merely Workers; we are God’s Children. Our work is never the primary expression of our identity, and through the weekly Sabbath Rest we re-establish our identity in God and in His love, acceptance, and grace toward us (Exodus 31:13-17). We violate the meaning of work when all we do is work, when we lose a rhythm and routine of work and play, work and prayer, work, and Sabbath Rest.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned

Seven Characters of Conscience (Romans 2:14-15) (Part 2)

The Statement

It is important to know how Conscience is pictured in God’s Word. If the Person understands what Conscience is and how it functions, it will change his life. God’s Word reveals in Romans 2:14-15 the Seven Characters of Conscience:

1. Born With

Conscience is born in every Human Being since the Creation of Adam. Adam’s Conscience was inoperative until Adam sinned – Adam, when questioned by God (Genesis 3:11), excuses himself and accuses God and his wife (Eve) for the Fall – Genesis 3:12 “Then the man (Adam) said, ‘the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” The woman (Eve), when questioned by God (Genesis 3:13a), excuses herself and accuses the Serpent – Genesis 3:13b “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

2. Bears Witness

Romans 2:15a “Their conscience also bearing witness.” Conscience is the inner faculty that indicates to the Person whether his action is right or wrong, based on the “standard” within his heart. The phrase “bearing witness” is in the present tense, indicates that Conscience is active all the times:

  • Conscience is not the Law but it bears witness of the Law.
  • Conscience is not the “moral standard” but it bears witness to whatever “moral standard” the Person has in him – Conscience functions is based on “moral standard” that the Person holds! The highest “moral standard” is God’s Word, to the Christians.

Oswald Chambers gives a good definition of Conscience: “The Conscience is that innate faculty in a man’s spirit that attaches itself to the highest that the man knows.”

3. Accuses or Excuses

Romans 2:15b “And their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.” Conscience accuses or excuses. Conscience is that inner faculty given by God that indicates to the Person whether his actions, motives, thoughts, behaviour, or attitudes are right or wrong; based on the “moral standard” within his heart. Conscience guides him aright if he has the right “moral standard.” Everyone has experienced this. If he does something wrong, his Conscience will bother him. Something down inside keeps reminding him that he should not have done that; this is the “Work” of Conscience. However, if the Person abuses his Conscience, repeatedly; his Conscience begins to be less effective in guiding him: 

  • When David cut off part of King Saul’s skirt, while King Saul was asleep, David’s heart smote him (1Samuel 4:1-6). David knew that what he has done to King Saul was wrong, because he (Saul) is the King of Israel. David’s Conscience bothered him.
  • Proverbs 28:1 says: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.” That’s Conscience at work.
  • We read that Herod, when he heard about the miracles Jesus is doing, though that John the Baptist has come back to life; his Conscience bothers him: “John, whom I have beheaded; he is raised from the dead” (Mark 6:16).

Stay tune…..to be continued.

The Overview of Conscience (Romans 2:14-15) (Part 1)

The Statement

Every human being on earth is born with a conscience – “something within the heart of every person approves when he does right and accuses when he does wrong; and that something is conscience” – Romans 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.”  No person can get rid of or escape from his conscience. A person can cause his conscience to malfunction (breakdown) when he:

  • Argues with his conscience
  • Defiles his conscience
  • Hardens his conscience

Charles Wesley wrote these words to express a truth concerning conscience: “I want a principle within/of watchful, godly fear.”

Immanuel Kant a German philosopher wrote: “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe…….the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.

American Indian – An American Indian who was a Christian said: “In my heart there is an arrowhead with three points to it. If I do wrong, the arrowhead turns, and it cuts me. It I do wrong too much, I wear out the points and it does not hurt me quite so much. “But when the pain is gone, watch out!”

The word “conscience” is used 32 times in the New Testament (KJV).  It is used 21 times by the Apostle Paul in the Epistles. If a born-again Christian is going to be successful in his walk, he must understand what conscience is and how it functions.

The Definition

The word conscience in our English Language comes from two Latin words: “com” = “with or together,” “scio” = “I know.” From the Latin, our English word conscience means “to know with” or “to know together.” “To know with ourselves and to know within ourselves.”  Conscience is that inner knowledge that helps us to know ourselves

  • Greek – The Greek word used in the New Testament is “suneidesis” (“sun” = with; “oida” = to know). “To know;” “knowing of oneself” – the moral sense of what is right and wrong in-built in a human being.  In the New Testament, the word “conscience” is not a strange word. It is used by the Greek in their everyday conversations. It meant “the pain that you feel when you do wrong.” 
  • Oxford Dictionary – Moral sense of right and wrong; consciousness of moral quality of one’s actions or motives.
  • Webster’s Dictionary – Consciousness of the moral right and wrong of one’s own acts or motives.
  • ScripturalRomans 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, having not the law, are a law unto themselves. Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.”

The Description

Romans 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, having not the law, are a law unto themselves. Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.”

  • Conscience is man’s moral intuition, his moral self in the act of passing judgment upon his own state, emotions, and thoughts, and upon his own words and actions, whether there be viewed as past, present, or future.
  • Conscience is man’s moral self-echoing his cognitive (reasoning) self. It both approves or condemns (Romans 2:14-15).
  • Conscience is man’s inner voice repeating God’s voice, his own judgement endorsing God’s judgement, his own spirit bearing witness with God’s Spirit.
  • Conscience is the response of man’s moral consciousness to the Divine Revelation concerning himself, his attitudes, his words and actions.

The Gentiles are not given the Law; the Law is given to the Jews. But the Gentiles have the work of the Law written in their hearts. Paul does not say that the Gentiles have the Law written in their hearts.  When a person received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit begins to write God’s Law (Word) in his heart; the right and wrong is defined from God’s Word, God’s Principles and conscience. Whereas, an unbeliever knows the right or wrong as his conscience bears witness (Romans 2:15).  It is important to know how conscience is pictured in God’s Word. If the person understands what conscience is and how it functions, it will change his life. God’s Word reveals in Romans 2:14-15 the Seven Characteristics of conscience:

Stay tune…..to be continued.