This book is one of the most wonderful in the Bible. In the sixteen possible lessons before us we shall be able only to touch, in the briefest manner, upon the general outline of the book. We shall expect to find things we cannot understand, even as we cannot understand how the infinite God upholds the universe by the word of His power. We believe that which we cannot understand, because God says so. Approaching the study of the Bible thus, we place ourselves where God can unfold and explain to us the mysteries of His word.
Chapter 1:1-15. These fifteen verses are introductory, the first seven comprising the salutation, the remaining eight being personal explanations. Yet in these verses are some of the richest passages in the Bible, as in verse twelve, wherein Paul states that he expected not only to minister to the church on his visit but to be ministered to by it. both were to be comforted by their "mutual faith." This does not contemplate a condition of the church in which the minister must spend his energy in combating error and settling differences between brethren.
Verses 16 and 17. Here we have the text of the epistle. The entire book is but an expansion of these verses.
In the remaining verses of the chapter, we have a statement of God's justice in punishing wicked men and of the consequences of a separation from God. We are liable to get an idea something like this; namely, that we have the third angel's message, consisting of a system of truth comprising such subjects as the law, the Sabbath, nature of man, advent, etc., and that to this we have superadded a little gospel, the idea of justification by faith. There is but one doctrine we have to preach, that is the gospel of Christ. Mark 16;15, 16. This commission is to us. Those that believe the gospel will be saved. Is there nothing besides the gospel to teach? "It is the power of God unto salvation." What do we want besides salvation? What more can we ask for?
The gospel brings righteousness. The righteousness of God is what God does; it is His way. To be in harmony with Him is to make His way our way. The gospel reveals this way to us (Romans 1:17), and not only this but it is the power of God to work out His way in us. The Bible is a statement of God's way, and this is summed up in the ten commandments, which are a declaration of His righteousness. Isaiah 51:6, 7. In Matthew 6:33, Christ declares this righteousness to be the one thing needful. Why? Righteousness is life, and the man who has God's righteousness has everything in this world and in the world to come.
Verse 17. Here we have righteousness by faith. "The just shall live by faith." Nothing else? By faith and works? "Add not thou unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." To be just is to be righteous, and a righteous man will do righteous acts. That is the fruit of righteousness. But how does He do these works? By faith. John 6:28, 29. "This is the work of God, that ye believe." Possibly we have had a narrow idea of what faith is.
"The just shall live by faith." Here is the whole thing. Nothing can be added to the preaching of the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ. What about these doctrines, as the Sabbath, immortality, etc.? Since the "kingdom of God and His righteousness" is the one thing needful and since there is nothing unimportant in the Bible, all of these doctrines are simply division lines depending upon that one thing--all summed up in the doctrine of righteousness by faith. We can preach nothing else, for everything outside of this is sin.
Verse 18. Wrath is revealed against those who "hold (or restrain) the truth in unrighteousness." Connect this verse with chapter 10:3. God is a living God. His throne is a living throne. There is the water of life and the tree of life--everything is life. Therefore His righteousness is active, is life. Some men, ignorant of this righteousness, refuse to submit themselves to it and resist it. God will punish men. Why? Because they identify themselves with unrighteousness. They are permeated by it and when that is gone--for sin must be destroyed--it takes them with it. It means simply that God is no respecter of persons.
Verses 19 and 20. Is God unjust? No, for ever since the creation His works have testified of Him. Many do not know that the world could not create itself, but it "may be known."
Verses 21-32. How does it come that men do not know? They know so much. "Professing themselves to be wise they become fools." The most unreasonable thing in the universe is human reason. It is utter foolishness with God. 1 Cor. 1:19-31.
Paul says those who do the things described in the latter part of the chapter under consideration know that they are worthy of death and you cannot find a people who do not know it. The heathenism Paul was speaking of, as represented at Athens and elsewhere was not ignorance of things of this world. It embraced men whose work in the arts and sciences is studied today. A man may know without God, just as the beast may know, and where is the difference save in degree? There is no wisdom apart from God. This is what Paul means when he says, "Beward lest any man spoil you through philosophy . . . after the rudiments of this world, and not after Christ." So also in 1 Cor. 1:18 and Col. 2:3.
We hear a good deal of "natural morality" and "scientific morality"--morality common to all men. This is what Paul is describing. It is heathenism. The popular idea of heathenism is an incorrect one. The heathen is the man who doesn't know God. He may be a religious man but God is not the source of his wisdom. In Mark 7:22, 23, Christ describes the source of "natural morality." The hearts of all are alike; we are made of one blood to dwell upon the earth. The heathen are the people who do the things spoken of in Paul's first chapter, wherever they live. Men who in the United States or in England follow the leadings of the natural heart (Galatians 5:19-21) are no better than those who do the same things in China.
Compare 2 Timothy 3:1-7 with the latter part of Romans 1. They are almost identical. It means that men in the last days shall be open heathen--giving themselves up to the works of the flesh. This helps to explain many references in the Old Testament in which God speaks of judging the heathen. It means that all who will be destroyed will be heathen. Who are the heathen? Romans 2:1. "Thou that judgest doest the same things." Did we ever do anything we would be ashamed to speak of? Wherein were we different from the heathen? Here is broad enough ground for the gospel. It is a shame to speak of those things that have been done by us all in secret, but "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
Study No. 2; Romans 2
The first chapter of Romans, after its introduction, can be summarized as the condition of man without God and how he gets in that condition. The cause of this condition can be stated in one word--unbelief.
Coupled with unbelief is self-exaltation; with faith, humility. They lost God, "because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened." Verse 21. They attributed everything to themselves and as self was advanced, faith in God decreased, till they were in the darkness of idolatry.
Men, in the day of Plato, Seneca, and Marcus Aureleus, taught what they called moral science; Confucius taught moral precepts. But what they all lacked was to tell men how to do what they taught to be right. Even these men who taught moral science and virtue were themselves practicing the things they condemned, and coming far short of doing what they set forth as moral duty.
While those teachers tell us what to do but fail to give us power to do it, the religion of Jesus Christ not only makes known what is right but gives us ability to perform that which is good. Thus when Christ is not woven into the teaching, the very effort to teach morals is simply the old pagan science of morals, which is immorality.
All admit that the State should not teach Christianity, but some say we must teach morals without it. Moral science aside from Jesus Christ is immorality; it is sin.
The works of the flesh are clearly stated in the last part of chapter one. These are found in every individual that has not been converted to Christ; we denounce the heathen for doing these things but "there is no respect of persons with God" (Romans 2:11), and He condemns those things in us just the same and shows us that we are no better than they.
"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest, for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, for thou that judgest doest the same things." Romans 2:1. Whoever knows enough to condemn the evils of the heathen is condemned himself for he does the same things.
The first part of Romans 2 may be summed up in, God is no respecter of persons. He will render to every man according to his deeds. In the judgement nothing is taken into account but a man's works. "Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:12. "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Matthew 16:27.
The character of the works shows the amount of faith in Christ. A simple profession will not do. "Thinkest thou, O man, that judgest them which do such things and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" God does not respect our person or profession. We may call ourselves Christians and pretend to kept the law and pity the poor heathen, but God classes all together, who fail to have good works.
"As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without the law, and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law." Verse 12. This with the verses following shows that the law is the standard by which every man in the world will be judged.
But what is it to keep the law? It is to keep all its precepts; our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees, which was only an outward form. If we hate, it is murder (Matthew 5:22); if we have impure thoughts it is adultery (Matthew 5:25); if we have an impure heart, we violate all the rest of the law. We may be ever so strict in outward Sabbath observance and adhere closely to the outward obligations of all the rest of the law, but an impure heart renders every act sinful.
"When the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves." Verse 14.
God has by various agencies placed enough light in the heart of every man to lead him to know the true God. Even nature itself reveals the God of nature. And if a man in the darkest heathenism has a desire to know the true God, He will, if necessary, send a man around the world to give him the light of truth.
So every man that is finally lost will have rejected light that, if cherished, would have led him to God.
Study No. 3; Romans 3
In our study of the first and second chapters we have found that knowledge without God is foolishness and immorality and that a high profession or, as Paul states it, circumcision of the flesh profits nothing, where the thing which that sign was given to indicate--the righteousness of God by faith, the circumcision of the heart--is not present.
Chapter 3:1-4. "What advantage then hath the Jew?"--"Chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." Abraham was led out from amidst heathenism, from faith to faith, and his descendants were beloved for their father's sake. To them God committed His truth. They failed to realize what the profit of being a Jew was and rested confidently in their high profession, with the thought that God must think more of them than any other people. God had given them the light that they might carry it to other. But filled with pride they did not do the work, and God bore with them generation after generation.
During the captivity He revealed to Daniel that He would yet wait 490 years longer for His people to carry the light to the world. The carrying of the gospel to the Gentiles was a work which God all along the centuries had been working with the Jews to get them to perform, but they refused. Yet God cared for the Gentiles, and "left not himself without witnesses." Do we not see a tendency among us as a people to boast of the light we have and to feel that the Lord must have a special regard for us as a people? But He has given us the light only that we may carry it to others. If we boast of the light but do not carry it to others, God will bear with us long, but finally some one else will take our place and do the work.
God has sworn to Abraham and His promises will be fulfilled, even though men do not believe. Verses 3 and 4. If none are found with the faith of Abraham, God is able of the stones to raise up children unto Him. God is Himself on trial before the universe and Satan and evil men have always charged Him with being unjust and arbitrary, but in the judgment all the universe will say, "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."
Verses 9-18. All are in sin. There are no two ways of salvation. "The way of peace they have not known." Here is the touch-stone, showing the difference between the true Jew and the Gentile. The children of faith will have this peace--the peace which Christ had--continually with them.
Verse 19. "Under the law" is a mistranslation. It means in the law, or within its jurisdiction. By this law all the world becomes guilty; no man has any advantage over any other in the sight of the law.
Verse 20. Some people feel apprehensive lest laying stress on such texts as this should discredit the law. But God who wrote the text, may be left to care for the honor of His own law. It is to the everlasting credit of the law that it cannot justify the transgressor. The law requires in man the perfect righteousness manifested in the life of Christ. No man ever lived as Christ lived--all are guilty. The perfection and majesty of the law leads sinners to cry out, "What shall we do?"
Sometimes the idea obtains that if Christ would only wipe out the record of the past, the individual might then get along very well. That was the trouble with the Jews. Romans 10:2, 3. There is not a man on earth who in himself can do one deed as pure and as free from selfishness as though Christ had done it. "Whatsoever is not of faith in sin." A sermon not preached by faith is a sin to be repented of. Much missionary work has been done by us all that is to be repented of.
Threre never was a better man than Paul, as a man. If any man outside of Christ ever did a good deed, Paul did. Yet he had to count all things he had but loss, that he might win Christ. (Philippians 3:4-8). The psalmist says that God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. If Paul, before he found Christ, had had something in his nature that was good, he might have taken these things along with him. But he counted all as loss.
Verse 21. The law will witness in the judgment to the righteousness that the sinner receives without the law, testifying to its perfection. Only instead of getting the righteousness out of ourselves, where there is none, we go to the fountain-head. Verse 22. All men are on a level. We will be thankful that God is willing to save us as He saves others. The plan of salvation is one of giving and taking; giving on the part of God and taking on the part of man. The pride of the heart resents this dependence upon God, but we are pensioners, beggars, miserable and poor and naked. The only thing for us to do is to buy the white raiment. This is offered without money and without price.
The prophet rejoiced in the Lord, because God had clothed him with the garments of salvation and covered him with the robe of righteousness. We are not to put on the robe ourselves. Let us trust God to do that. When the Lord puts it on, it is not as an outward garment merely, but He puts it right through a man, so that he is all righteousness.
Sometimes we hear people talk as though we must ourselves put on a fairly presentable garment before we can ask for the white raiment. But it is the very need and helplessness of the beggar that recommends him to charity.
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." All men stand on the same level and offer of mercy is to whosoever will come and partake of the water of life freely. We are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Verse 24.
Study No. 4; Romans 3:19-31
The basis of the lesson of the evening is the latter half of the third chapter of Romans, beginning with the 19th verse. "Now we know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God."
Verses 21-23 contain in condensed form all that is treated of in the remaining verses of the chapter. The remainder of the chapter is an amplification of that which has gone before. In this chapter also occurs the climax of the thought of the epistle. In the first part of this chapter is emphasized the fact that God makes no distinction of persons; works alone are taken into account in the judgement. But while it is true that a tree is known by its fruits, it is also true that it is not within the province of men to judge of those fruits. God alone is judge. He looks upon the heart while man can judge only from appearances; therefore, while the works of men may seem good to their fellows, to God, who sees what man cannot see, they are known to be corrupt.
Again, the just shall live by faith. How much of a man's life must be just? All, every moment, for the just shall live by faith. But by the deeds of the law shall no act be just. This is a hard saying, but one that must be believed, for it is what the Bible says.
No deed that we can do can be just by the law only. By faith alone can a man or any act of his be just. The law judges a man by his works, and the law is so inconceivably great that no human act can rise to its height. There must therefore be a Mediator through whom justification shall come. And that justification properly belongs to him to whom it is granted by reason of his faith.
The heart unrenewed is desperately wicked. Only evil can come from a wicked heart. To bring forth good deeds there must be a good heart, and only a good man can have a good heart. But, as all have sinned and come short, therefore all the deeds of humanity are vitiated.
The law itself is the standard of perfect righteousness, but Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. In Christ is the perfect righteousness of the law, and the grace to bestow the gift of His righteousness through faith. And of this the prophets themselves are witnesses, for they preached justification through Christ, by faith.
When a man seeks to justify himself by his deeds, he only heaps imperfection upon imperfection, until, like Paul, he counts them all as loss, knowing that there is no righteousness but that which is of Christ by faith.
There is but one thing in this world that a man needs and that is justification--and justification is a fact, not a theory. It is the gospel. That which does not tend to righteousness is of no avail, and not worthy to be preached. Righteousness can only be attained through faith; consequently all things worthy to be preached must tend to justification by faith.
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." It is well understood that no act of ours can make right that which is past, but it is just as true that we cannot be justified in any present act any more than we can render the past perfect. We need the righteousness of Christ to justify the present just as much as to make perfect the imperfect deeds of the past.
In the case of the publican and the Pharisee, the one who put no trust in his own works went down to his own house justified, but he who desired to assume righteousness in himself failed of justification. Every one can have it who will ask for it, but each must come to the level of all other sinners and there receive it with the rest, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." What is "redemption"? It is repurchasing. Righteousness is an infinite gift and bought with an infinite price. It is a free gift to us, but it has been paid for. The blood of Christ has paid for it. We are exhorted to consider His greatness that we may know that although the thing to be done is beyond our comprehension, the power which is to accomplish it is also beyond our knowledge.
"To declare His righteousness" for the putting away of our sins. It is He that puts away our sins and if we but yield ourselves to Him, they will be remitted utterly. Christ grants no indulgences, but His righteousness remits the sins that are past, keeps the heart free from sin in the present so long as His righteousness fills that heart.
Faith is the beginning of all wisdom; it lies at the foundation of all knowledge. The child would never learn anything, if it did not believe what it is told. Now, that being so in physical things, why can we not be as reasonable in spiritual things?
Redemption comes through the creative power of Christ, and that is why I love to think that he is the Creator of all things, for He who created the worlds out of nothing and who upholds all things by the word of His power can by that same word create in me a clean heart and preserve that which He has created. To Him is all power and also all glory.
It is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure.
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law."
Study No. 5; Romans 4:1-15
The principles laid down in preceding lessons cause us to wonder that any should ever suppose that the doctrine of justification by faith is going to lower the law of God. Justification carries the law on the face of it. The only danger is in not getting it. It establishes the law in the heart. Justification is the law incarnate in Christ, put into the man, so it is incarnate in the man.
The third chapter presents the principle of justification by faith. In the fourth chapter the principle is illustrated by the case of Abraham. So far as Abraham had any righteousness, he could glory in that; but as an actual fact, he had nothing to glory in. He was justified by faith alone. Chapter 4:1-3. If a man could do a deed meriting the approval of Heaven, he could boast to that extent. But no flesh will ever be able to glory in God's presence. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29; Jeremiah 9:23, 24.
If a man can work righteousness, then when God gives the reward of righteousness, the man simply receives what he has earned. But eternal life is the "gift of God." Eternal life is the reward of righteousness and since it is the gift of God it can be so only because the righteousness is the gift of God. Verse 4.
Abraham's faith was counted to him for righteousness. Verse 5. The forgiveness of sins is not simply a book transaction, a wiping out of past accounts. It has a vital relation to the man himself. It is not a temporary work. Christ gives His righteousness, takes away the sin, and leaves His righteousness there, and that makes a radical change in the man.
No man can do any works that would stand in the judgment for a moment. Whether he is a professed Christian or an atheist makes no difference in this point. There is no believer in Christ who would dare go before the judgment with the deeds of any day, demanding an equivalent, and risking his case on the works. Verses 6-8 describe the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness without works. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord, when he is working in the cause of God, will not impute sin in that work.
First, righteousness was imputed to Abraham because he believed, and then he received the sign of circumcision, as the seal of the righteousness of faith which he had. Verses 9-11. Those who make a high profession, must not stand in profession but must walk in the steps of the faith which Abraham had. Verse 12. The idea obtains that in the Jewish age God did draw a distinction between peoples. But God never has been and never can be a respecter of persons. It was the bigotry and self-righteousness of the Jews which led them to hold themselves aloof from the Gentiles. They were set to be the light of the world, to be the salt of the earth. They refused to do the work and became as salt without savor, themselves needing to be salted. The salt must permeate the mass which it is to preserve. The same principle applies today.
The promise to Abraham was one, though it was repeated a number of times. It was that in him all the nations of the world should be blessed--that he should be heir of the world. Verse 13; Genesis 12:1-3. The gospel brings to view an inheritance. It brings salvation from death; it brings life, and the fact that life is given implies a place to live in. So we can say, as comprising everything the gospel brings that it gives to men an eternal inheritance. The doctrine of the saints' inheritance is the doctrine of justification by faith and if we do not preach justification by faith in preaching the saints' inheritance, we are not preaching the gospel. The inheritance promised is the same as that promised to the fathers (2 Peter 3:4; Acts 7:5), and this does not relate to this present world.
This inheritance is not through the law but through the righteousness of faith. But it will only be for those who are righteous, that is, conformable to the law. Yet "if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect." Verse 14.
Not only can we not work out the inheritance ourselves, but just in so far as we attempt it we are putting ourselves further from the inheritance; "because the law worketh wrath." Verse 15. If the inheritance is by works, it is not by promise. Yet it is for the righteous only and righteousness is obedience to the law. In other words, we have perfect obedience to the law which doesn't spring from obedience. Chapter 3:21. This is a paradox.
The whole gospel is contrary to human reason; it is infinitely above reason. Yet it is reasonable with God. Christ has promised the inheritance and His promises are yea and amen. He will give not simply the inheritance, but the righteousness which is to merit the inheritance. And so life, righteousness, and the inheritance are all gifts of God.
Study No. 6; Romans 4:16 continued
In the fourth chapter of the book of Romans we have faith in a concrete form. The narrative of the lives of Abraham and Sarai in connection with the birth of Isaac furnish a practical example of justification by faith.
Abraham was not justified by works, but he believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Abraham received the seal of circumcision. Why? To cause him to believe? No, but because he had believed. It was a seal of the righteousness which he had by believing. The promise to Abraham and to his seed was that he should be heir of the world. This promised inheritance was to be for an "everlasting possession." Genesis 17:8. Therefore it was a covenant of righteousness, sealed by a seal of righteousness, and the inheritance was to be a righteous inheritance, which none but the righteous can gain. 2 Peter 3:13.
How can God give us righteousness when we are so sinful? We cannot understand how nor do we need to inquire. It is just as great a miracle for God to make an unrighteous man righteous as it was for Him to create the world. If a man calls a thing which is not as though it were, he tells a falsehood; but when God calls a thing which is not as though it were, the very fact of His calling it makes it so. God not only makes our hearts righteous, when there is no righteousness there but He does more than that; He makes our hearts righteous, when there is nothing there but unrighteousness.
A man is just as much an infidel who does not believe that God can speak righteousness into his heart as a man who, by the theory of evolution, does away with the Mosaic record of creation. No limit can be put upon the power of God. If there were a huge mountain, which was to set itself up against the power of God, He could take nothing and break that mountain all to pieces.
"We brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." We get to be the children of God in the same way as Isaac was born--by believing, as Abraham and Sarai believed. The promise is to him "that worketh not but believeth on Him, who justifieth the ungodly."
There was much implied in the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Through no other son could the promise of the inheritance come. Christ could not come into the world except through Isaac. Cut off Isaac and what hope of a Saviour? None. Abraham to all appearances would cut off all hope of his own salvation.
Wonderful is the faith here exhibited. Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac up again and yet, the very one (Christ) through whose power he believed Isaac would be raised up, had not come and could not come except through Isaac. Nevertheless God had promised and Abraham believed, although he was called upon to do that very thing which to human sight would cut off all hope of ever having the promise fulfilled.
The promise itself was immutable, and that immutable promise was confirmed by an immutable oath. Therefore God is under obligation to fulfill His promises to all who claim them. the very throne and existence of God are pledged to this, and not to do it would be for God to deny Himself.
By and by, God will come and say, "Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." Christ is the sacrifice here referred to. It is through Him we come. He is the surety of the covenant.
The promise to Abraham depended upon one thing--his having a son. Twenty-five years elapsed from the time the promise was made until it was fulfilled. "Abraham staggered not at the promise of God," but Sarai did, and Abraham hearkened unto the voice of Sarai." She undertook to help the Lord to carry out His plan. But Hagar was a slave, and her child could be nothing but a slave, born after the flesh.
The seed promised Abraham were to be free men, not slaves, therefore nothing was gained by this plan of Sarai's. The time came when Sarai realized that the only thing for her to do was to believe that God was able to carry out His promise without her help. Then, "through faith" she "received strength to conceive seed." The birth of Isaac was a miracle. From a human standpoint it was utterly impossible for Abraham and Sarai to become the parents of a child. She conceived by the power of God.
Abraham and Sarai did nothing to gain the promise, except to believe, and yet the child of the promise was their own child. So with Christians. Nothing can be done to gain the righteousness of Christ, save only to believe the promises. It is wrong to put forth efforts to secure the righteousness of Christ. We are told to believe the promises. God has promised to make us righteous, and the only way to obtain that righteousness is to believe that God is able to input it.
When men are content to believe God and submit themselves to Him, there is power in His promises to work out their righteousness for them, without any power of their own. How are men made righteous, or partakers of the divine nature? "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakes of the divine nature." The power lies in the promise of God. How can we make the promises effectual to us? By believing them. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Confess your sins, believe that God forgives them as He has promised, and the promise is yours, your sins are forgiven.
The promises of God may be likened to "promissory notes." How many may have these notes? "Whosoever will." They are good for a certain amount of blessing. That amount can never be drawn in full, because God is able "to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think." Men take a promissory note to the bank and get the gold on it. Christians take the promises of God to Him and cash them for a blessing.
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