Romans: Lesson 5: The Remnant of God’s Instruction in the Fallen Heart and the Jewish Failure at Rome

Natural Law

To confront the Gentile sin of license, Paul wrote that God will judge everyone impartially, even that His impartiality is a character of His righteousness (Romans 2:6-11).  Of course, Paul earlier taught that God’s righteousness is our salvation (Romans 1:16-17).  So, God has the cure for what ails us.  If we stand before God based […]

Esther: Lesson 9: Origin of Purim and Conclusion

Purim

In our earlier lessons, we learned of Mordecai’s character, which showed him to be a self-serving person.  Last week, we learned about Mordecai’s Edict in the King’s name, which allowed the Jews to rid the Persian Empire of their “enemies.”  In total, about 75,000 people were killed.       The Jews Celebrate, not Their […]

Understanding Alzheimer’s

Neurons.jpg

This is our pastor’s article for the September issue of our newsletter.   We are defective copies of imperfect copies of flawed copies.  Humanity’s fall into sin introduced, not only death but also physical decay and disease.  We admit as much every Sunday in our Confession of Sin: “We are by nature sinful” (LSB 151, […]

Romans: Lesson 4: God Gives Salvation but also Judges

Apse Mosaic of Christ (1911)

Paul is dealing with both Jewish works-righteousness and Gentile sinful license.  Against works-righteousness, he drew from Isaiah 51, affirming that salvation IS the righteousness of God.  Against sinful license, he adapted from the Apocrypha book of Wisdom as a foil to confront sin: If pagans have no excuse before God, how much more so for […]

Esther: Lesson 8: Mordecai’s Revenge

Esther2

Haman’s plan to kill the Jews backfired and resulted in his death.  We also learned much about Mordecai and his character.  Though he is no Haman, he is both good and evil—and very self-serving!  Mordecai:  let Esther go to the palace, knowing she would be sent into a harem and become a “sex slave” (although […]

Romans: Lesson 3: Ignorance is No Excuse—Not When You Aren’t Really Ignorant

Ignorance is not bliss

Paul writes a letter to the church at Rome to correct ideas that the Jews and Gentiles brought with them into the Church.  The Jews brought a work righteousness, displayed by following Old-Covenant rituals (Law).  The Gentiles brought their current-day mores, thinking that grace allowed them to continue in sin.  After the faintest of praise […]

Esther: Lesson 7: Haman Gets His Comeuppance

Esther Accuses Haman

Events at Esther’s banquet did not turn out as Haman thought.  He envisioned receiving honor but, instead, his nemesis, Mordecai, was honored.  Even worse, Haman walked beneath Mordecai, who was on horseback, proclaiming: “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”  When Haman returned home, his “wise men,” magi, […]

Romans, Lesson 2: Set Apart for the Gospel

Set Apart for the Gospel

The Opening Salvo As was the custom of letters in his day, Paul first identifies himself as the author.  Next, the author would identify the recipient(s) and then greet them. 1 Maccabees 10:25: “King Demetrius to the nation of the Jews: Greetings.” Acts 15:23: “From the apostles and the elders, your brothers, to the brothers […]

Esther, Lesson 6: The King and Haman

Mordecai is Honored

Esther went in to see King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) uninvited—and he was, in the end, delighted to see her.  He not only spared her life but even offered her “to the half of [his] kingdom,” pre-approving what she would ask of him.  Her gamble paid off!   Esther is playing the strategic game, especially as Haman’s killing […]

Romans, Lesson 1: Introduction

Paul Writing

  Author Paul, through a scribe he used, named Tertius: [From] Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus… (Romans 1:1) I, Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord (Romans 16:22). Paul normally used a scribe, like Tertius.  The cost of producing a letter of exceptional length, like Romans, was expensive.  A scribe could […]