Sunday September 11, 2022 Romans Week 66 Romans 12:14-21 “Transformed Attitudes Pt 2”

Sunday – September 11, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – September 11, 2022

Romans 12:17-19
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

Even in the church, the vigilante spirit is alive and well. Christians sometimes attempt to sanctify their anger calling it righteous indignation, but we too are tempted to retaliate against those who mistreat us. Piously, we may pretend to resist evil supposing that God is on our side as we seek to “even the score” by causing hurt or harm to those who have mistreated us. Yet, Scripture calls for much more of us, requiring death to the flesh and the subordination of our personal interests to those of others.

Paul’s teaching in Romans is not new, the same essential truths were taught in the Old Testament as Paul cites from the Book of Proverbs. The teaching of our Lord Jesus calls for the same attitudes and actions (Matthew 5:38-48) along with the teaching of the other apostles (1 Peter 3:8-12; James 3). But as clear, consistent, and emphatic as the teaching of our text may be, it is not popular because it runs contrary to the inclinations of our flesh. We are tempted to try to find a way to excuse ourselves from simple obedience of the Word of God. We must be on guard against this temptation and let His Spirit to guide our interpretation and implementation as we seek to present our bodies to God as living sacrifices and as we love and serve Him through loving service to others.

You may wonder, what should I do if I’ve already blown it? Maybe you didn’t stop to think about how you should respond and so you exploded in anger at a difficult neighbor or family member. You pretty much ruined your testimony. Now what? The answer is, humble yourself, go to the person you wronged, and ask forgiveness. Don’t try to use your apology to witness to them, because they will think you’re just apologizing so that you can give them the religious pitch. Just ask forgiveness and leave it with them to ask about your faith.

Romans 12 calls upon the Christian to live in an entirely different way. We are to offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices. To do so, we must be transformed from what we were and not be conformed to the world. This is done by the renewing of our minds. Our thinking ceases to be in merely human terms but conforms to God’s thoughts. We must realize that to live as Christians, we must first think as Christians. This kind of thinking comes only through the Word of God, illuminated by the Spirit of God. Our text highlights the contrast between God’s thoughts and man’s. Let us be conformed to His thoughts. Let us obey Him by loving our enemies, seeking their benefit and, ultimately, seeking their salvation.

Sunday July 24, 2022 Romans Week 60 Romans 11:25-34 “The Arrogance Antidote”

Sunday – July 24, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – July 24, 2022

Romans 11:33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments,and His paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

If history has shown the Word of God to be absolutely trustworthy, both the Scriptures and history have shown God’s wisdom to be infinitely above that of mortal men. All that has happened to Israel and through Israel to the Gentiles is precisely what God purposed and promised. All of this was, is, and will be a mystery to fallen men, because the wisdom of God is vastly higher and infinitely superior to the wisdom of men. Who could ever have thought of a plan so wise as what Scripture has foretold and which history has unfolded?

The life of faith is trusting God in the midst of the mystery. Because God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than ours, we will find that we are unable to reason out what He is doing at any particular moment in time. We shall only understand fully when we are with Him, in heaven.  Did the Israelites know how they would survive trapped between the sea and Pharaoh’s army? But when all was done, the sea was the instrument of Israel’s deliverance and Egypt’s destruction. Did Abraham understand what God was doing when He commanded him to leave his homeland and go to an unspecified place? Did he know what God was doing when He commanded him to sacrifice his son? All Abraham knew was that God was faithful and that He promised him a land, a host of descendants, and blessings for the whole world.

Romans 9-11 are a beautiful illustration of Romans 8:28. God does cause all things to work together for the good of the elect and the glory of God. Jewish unbelief has prompted Gentile evangelism; and this Gentile evangelism will provoke the Jews to jealousy. Those things which ‘appear’ to be tragic and catastrophic are but a part of a much larger picture, which contribute to the accomplishment of God’s holy and perfect will, a will which for the Christian is always good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). Whenever we find ourselves in circumstances that appear to be counter-productive to our spiritual advancement, we must assume that our situation is like that of Israel described in Romans 9-11. That God is at work in a way which we could never have devised to promote God’s glory and our good.

I suspect that God’s work in your life is a mystery at this very moment. You may have lost your job or your mate. You may be facing circumstances which seem to promise only defeat or disaster. But if you are a child of God, you know that He is in control of all things. He is working out your good and His glory by means of the very circumstances that puzzle you. You do not need to know the secrets which God has chosen to conceal. You only need to know what God has promised and to trust and obey. This is what the life of faith is all about. God is in control and He has promised to bring about wonderful things for His people.

Sunday June 19, 2022 Romans Week 55 Romans 10:1-13 “The Essence of the Gospel”

Sunday – June 19, 2022

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Word On Worship – Sunday – June 19, 2022

Romans 10:8-10
But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Every time I purchase a new item from the store, the first thing I notice as I take it out of the box is the list of “appropriate” uses for the product.  The manufacturer, I am sure out of fear of being sued, goes to great lengths to explain the appropriate use and care of their product knowing that someone will always find a new but unintended use.  It is always possible to misuse a good thing.

It is also certainly possible to misuse the Old Testament Law, for purposes for which it was never intended. Unfortunately, this is what happened with many of the Jews. God gave the Law for one purpose, but the Jews used it for another. The Law, which was never given as a means of attaining righteousness, was used by the Jews for this very purpose. The result was that the Jews, though working hard to keep the Law, failed to attain righteousness, while the Gentiles who did not even seek righteousness or possess the Law, did attain it.

God made several provisions for His people to enable Him to dwell in their midst—in a way that would not result in their death due to His holiness and their sin. First, God provided the Law. The Law of Moses prescribed the conduct necessary for Israel to live in God’s presence without offending His righteousness. Second, God provided the people with a sacrificial system. The sacrificial system was instituted so that the sins of the people could be atoned for temporarily, by the shedding of the blood of a victim in the sinner’s place. Third, God provided the people with the tabernacle, a provision whereby a holy God could dwell in the midst of a sinful people without putting them to death for their sins.

If law-keeping were God’s means of attaining righteousness, why was it necessary for these elaborate provisions to be made? If Law-keeping was God’s means of making men righteous, then why was it necessary for Christ to come to the earth and die in the sinner’s place? The Old Testament gave every indication that law-keeping was not going to justify anyone. Law-keeping was never a second way of salvation. It was something self-righteous men sought to do, in defiance of God, and in rejection of His provision of righteousness through faith. This is the difference is between faith and works. The Jews tried to earn righteousness by law-keeping; the Gentiles attained righteousness as a gift, by faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Men are saved by believing in Jesus, not by behaving good enough to earn God’s approval.

Sunday – November 14, 2021 Romans Week 29 Romans 6:19-24 “Is There Win Over Sin”

Sunday – November 14, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – November 14, 2021

Romans 6:22-23
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

For those who have been saved, who have been justified by faith in Jesus Christ, the subject of good works is still very important. If God does not save men on the basis of their works, does this mean that the deeds of the Christian do not matter? The relationship between faith and works is an important one, and it is an issue which is presently causing Christians to disagree and debate among themselves. It is commonly known as the question of “lordship salvation.”

The fundamental issue is the relationship between faith and good works. On the one side are those who wish to stress that justification is by faith alone, “apart from works,” just as Paul teaches (Romans 4:1-6). On the other side are those who insist that salvation is “unto good works,” just as Paul teaches (Ephesians 2:10). The fact is, both “sides” are correct, but each stress one side of the issue more than the other.

Having established once for all that man’s works do not contribute to his “justification by faith,” Paul now sets out to show the necessity of sanctification. God does not justify men only to get them to heaven or to keep them from hell, God justifies us to make us righteous, not only in principle, but in practice. Those who would advocate “living in sin” would do so under the banner of “liberty.” Paul refutes this error by raising the banner of “slavery.” Freedom is a misnomer because in reality, everyone is a slave and must choose one of two masters. Unsaved men are the slaves of sin. They have no choice, though they think of themselves as free. In Christ, believers have the freedom to choose our master: God or sin. But we still have a master.

One’s choice to become a slave can be either conscious or unconscious. To continue to present oneself to sin is to remain a slave to sin. Very few people choose to become drug addicts. They begin by dabbling with them. They think they are in control, but soon the drug controls (enslaves) them, and they are no longer free. It is the same with sin. To dabble with sin is to become enslaved to it. And to be enslaved by sin is to put oneself on the road to death. Sanctification is not the “higher path” of the few, the committed, the dedicated; it is that path which is expected of every believer. Sanctification is the expected outcome of justification. We dare not excuse ourselves from pursuing this path. If we do, we will be very much like those who say, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

Sunday – October 10, 2021 Romans Week 24 Romans 5:20-21 “Super Abundant Grace”

Sunday – October 10, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – October 10, 2021

Romans 5:19
For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

We might say that the work of Adam was a bad beginning for the whole human race. But the work of our Lord Jesus Christ offers men a new beginning. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection does much more than to allow us to go on living just as we have in the past, but knowing that the sins we commit are forgiven. The work of our Lord makes it both necessary and possible for us to begin living in a whole new way, not as the servants of sin, but as the servants of righteousness. The work of our Lord not only forgives the sins of our past, it wipes out our past, and gives us a new future. In Christ, God offers men a whole new life, a new beginning, a fresh start. What good news this is—to the ears of a repentant sinner.

Having summed up the impact of Adam and Christ, Paul returns to the subject of the Law. Already Paul has said that those who lived before the Law (from Adam until Moses, verse 14) died because they sinned in Adam. Sin is not imputed to men without law (verse 13). The absence of the Law, for those who lived before the giving of the Law, was a kind of blessing. Without the Law, sin, other than that of their sin in Adam, was not imputed to them.

The giving of the Law did not solve the problem of sin. The Law was not given in order to reduce or remove sin but to increase it. And the reason was so that grace could surpass sin, abounding to men in righteousness and salvation. The Law increased sin, our Lord Jesus bore the penalty of that sin, and the grace of God is multiplied. The Law was not to deliver men from sin but to declare men sinners so that the sin introduced by Adam could be remedied in Christ. The link between Adam and Christ is that both persons, though one man, have acted in a way that affects all men. Adam sinned, and his transgression brought condemnation upon all men. Christ’s act was one of righteousness, resulting in justification and life. Adam’s disobedience makes sinners of many; Christ’s obedience will make many righteous.

How differently things look now! It first appeared that God might be unfair, condemning us as sinners, in Adam. But now we see this was in order that He might receive us as saints, in Christ. If the imputation of Adam’s sin to all mankind resulted in condemnation, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness results in justification. The means for man’s justification is the same as the means for man’s condemnation—imputation. The work of one man both condemns and saves men.

Sunday – October 3, 2021 Romans Week 23 Romans 5:12-19 “The Cure is One Step From the Cross”

Sunday – October 3, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – October 3, 2021

Romans 5:15
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

Over the centuries of mankind’s history, many men and women have significantly impacted the destiny of those who followed after them. None, however, has had greater impact than Adam, the first man. In our text, Paul shows just how great the impact of Adam’s “fall” has been upon mankind. Paul stresses this impact to demonstrate that in spite of the curse, which Adam’s sin brought upon the human race, God has provided a cure in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Adam is regarded as the source of sin’s entrance into the world. With his act of disobedience, sin first entered human history. No believer would disagree with this. But Adam’s sin did much more than this—it brought guilt upon all mankind. Adam’s sin and resulting guilt was imputed to all his descendants. Adam sinned, and because of this he died. Adam sinned, and because of this, all men die. All men die because they sinned, in Adam. Paul explains this more fully in verse 12. “The wages of sin is death,” both for Adam (Genesis 2:16-17) and for all others (Romans 6:23).

Men are not guilty sinners only because Adam sinned, corrupting and implicating the rest of the human race. Paul has already taught in chapters 1-3 that all men, without exception, are guilty sinners, because each of us is guilty of unbelief and disobedience toward God. All men have received some revelation about God from His creation. Some men have the added revelation of God’s Law. But regardless of how much men have had revealed to them about God, they have rejected Him and refused to worship or to obey Him.

Does the curse of sin on the entire human race, due to the act of one man, trouble us? Then we must press on to the second link Paul makes. Not only is there a link between Adam’s sin and mankind’s universal guilt, there is a link between Adam and Christ. In verse 14, Paul informs us that Adam “is a type of Him who was to come.” Adam is a type of Christ. What seems to be bad news becomes very good news. There is a similarity between Adam and Christ in just this respect: that as his one sin brought death to all, even when there was no personal sin, so Christ’s one act of obedience brings unfailing righteousness to those who are in Him, even when they have no personal righteousness. It is this likeness, this link, which enabled our Lord Jesus Christ to die on Calvary, and to rise from the dead, and in so doing to free men from the curse brought upon them by Adam. Adam’s curse has its cure, in Christ.

Sunday – August 8, 2021 Romans Week 16 Romans 4:1-8 “Forgiveness is the Greatest Blessing”

Sunday – August 8, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 8, 2021

Romans 4:2-3
If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about — but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

In the Old and New Testament, Abraham is named in 230 verses. Only 95 of those references to Abraham (or Abram) are during the life of Abraham in Genesis 11–25:10. The remaining 135 references to Abraham, primarily in the Old Testament, point back to historical events in his life. The Old Testament prophets spoke of the righteousness and salvation God would provide in fulfillment of His promise to Abraham. That righteousness, like the righteousness of Abraham, was not a righteousness which men earned by their law-keeping, but a righteousness which God Himself would provide through His Messiah, the coming Savior.

Abraham is also a very prominent person in the New Testament. We see the distorted thinking of the Jews concerning Abraham especially in the Gospels. The Jews took pride in their physical descent from Abraham. Believing they had confirmed reservations in the kingdom of God, the Jews saw the Gentiles as those who would never enter into the blessings promised Abraham. Jesus must have rocked the boat of Jewish exclusivism when He marveled at and commended the faith of the Gentile centurion in Matthew 8:10-12. Because of his faith, the centurion would be at the banquet table, along with Abraham, but many of the “sons of the kingdom” would be cast into hell. Here was a revolutionary thought to the Jews, but one completely consistent with the Old Testament and with the gospel.

No wonder Paul devotes an entire chapter to Abraham’s justification by faith! Not only does Abraham’s justification prove the Jews wrong for trusting and boasting in Abraham as their physical forefather, but it proves Abraham to be the father of all those who believe in God, by faith. Abraham’s justification by faith is precisely the same as that which the gospel offers to all men, Jew or Gentile, today. It is justification based upon the person and work of God, believed by faith, accomplished by imputation. It is a free gift, available to those who are uncircumcised and who are not under the Law of Moses, like Abraham.

Justification by faith is God’s only way of saving men. It is also the same way in which men have been saved from the beginning of human history. Men were not saved by works in Old Testament times and are now saved by faith. Men have always been saved by faith, apart from works. Abraham is an excellent example of justification by faith because he lived in a day when neither the Law of Moses nor the rite of circumcision existed as a part of Israel’s religion. He was saved apart from any works, apart from circumcision, and apart from the Law. His justification, like ours, was based upon God’s faithfulness to His promise and not on human performance. It is a gift of God’s grace and not something earned.

Sunday – May 2, 2021 Romans Week 6 Rom 1:18-23 “The Present Wrath of God”

Sunday – May 2, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – May 2, 2021

Romans 1:18-20
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

God is doing a work today, and few even know He is doing it. He is presently revealing His wrath on “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). God is judging men for their sin today, and few even know it is happening. Unbelievers are unaware of God’s judgment, because they do not know God, nor are they alert to His presence and power in the world today. This is to be expected. But many Christians are equally ignorant of God’s present judgment of sin. They think of God’s judgment only in terms of the future. And they think of the sinner’s present self-indulgence in terms of pleasure, not punishment.

Many Christians look upon the sinfulness of our culture in about the same way one of the psalmists of old looked upon his culture—with envy. Instead of grieving over the sins of others, as Lot did over the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, we are tempted to envy sinners, as though they are privileged to enjoy pleasures we Christians are denied. And so, very much as Satan implied that God was withholding good from Adam and Eve, we are tempted to believe that God is withholding something good from us. We try to console ourselves with the thought that though we must suffer now, we do so in order to enjoy better pleasures in heaven.

In the time of the great tribulation, God will allow men to do as they please. He will remove all restraints. But men will learn that there is no joy or pleasure possible when each seeks his own pleasure at the expense of others. Men want God to leave them alone; they want none of His controls. When God removes His controlling and restraining hand (Colossians 1:16, 17) the universe will begin to fall apart at the seams (Matthew 24:29). Men wish God to leave them alone, and God will give them an eternity of separation from Himself (2 Thessalonians 1:9). What an awesome thought. Hell is getting exactly what we want. And on the reverse side of the coin, how grateful we Christians should be to our heavenly Father Who has and will withhold much of what we ask for, for our own good.

Paul’s words may take many of us by surprise. We are not inclined to believe that God’s judgment has a present, as well as a future, manifestation. And even if we do believe in a present judgment, the form which this judgment takes, according to Paul, is not that which we would expect. The Book of Romans will force us to re-evaluate much of our thinking on the judgment of God. We must have the Holy Spirit illuminate His Word to understand it, and we must have divine enablement to apply it. Let us petition God for the ministry of His Spirit, as we approach our study in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Sunday – March 28, 2021 Romans Week 2 “Tracing Righteousness Through Romans”

Sunday – March 28, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – March 28, 2021

Romans 3:21-23
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

The righteousness of God, one of the most prominent attributes of God in the Scriptures, is also one of the most elusive. Initially, distinguishing the righteousness of God from His holiness or His goodness seems difficult. This is because the righteousness of God is virtually synonymous with His justice. No one states this better than A.W. Tozer, “Justice, when used of God, is a name we give to the way God is, nothing more; and when God acts justly He is not doing so to conform to an independent criterion, but simply acting like Himself in a given situation.”

The righteousness of God and the justice of God are not secondary matters; they are primary. When summarizing the very essence of what the Old Testament Law was about, Amos and Micah both spoke first of justice and righteousness. The righteousness or justice of God is to be the guiding principle for the people of God. So often we think God’s righteousness is revealed in His judgment of sinners and His mercy by His salvation of sinners. The Scriptures teach that God’s righteousness is the cause of both condemnation and justification. He is righteous in saving sinners, as well as merciful and compassionate. God is righteous in all His dealings with men.

The righteousness of God is particularly important in relation to salvation. In Romans 3, Paul points out God not only justifies sinners (that is, He declares them righteous), but He is also shown to be just (righteous) in the process. Men have failed to live up to the standard of righteousness laid down by the Law (Romans 3:9-20). God is just in condemning all men to death, for all men without exception have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). God is just in condemning the unrighteous and also just in saving sinners. As Paul puts it, He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

How can this be? God is just because His righteous anger has been satisfied. Justice was done on the cross of Calvary. God did not reduce the charges against men; nor change the standard of righteousness. God poured out the full measure of His righteous wrath upon His Son on the cross of Calvary. In Him, justice was meted out. All of those who trust in Him by faith are justified. Their sins forgiven because Jesus paid the full price; He suffered the full measure of God’s wrath in their place. And for those who reject the goodness and mercy of God at Calvary, they must pay the penalty for their sins because they would not accept the payment Jesus made in their place. The good news of the gospel is that salvation by grace is offered to all men, and by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, men may be forgiven of their sins and made righteous.

Sunday – March 7, 2021 1Peter 2:13 “Christian Thinking During COVID 19” Pt 10

Sunday – March 7, 2021

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Word On Worship – Sunday – March 7, 2021

1 Peter 2:13-15
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”

For centuries, the Christian’s relationship to civil government has been a matter of critical importance. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel spent 400 years under Egyptian rule. The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the people of Israel, directing them to submit to Nebuchadnezzar and to Babylonian rule. The false prophets, however, promised the people that God would quickly deliver them from their bondage. As a result, over a period of time through a sequence of defeats at the hands of the Babylonians, almost the entire population of those dwelling in Jerusalem and the territory of Judah were taken as captives to Babylon. This same spirit of rebellion against foreign domination, even though divinely imposed, was evident in the Jews of Jesus’ day.

The command is given to submit ourselves to every human institution. The word “submit” is almost always taught and understood in terms of authority. Submission is the proper response of the Christian to those in a position of authority over us. In secular thinking, this may be as far as submission will go, but this is not so in the Bible. In addition to being a matter of authority, submission is also a matter of priority.

Peter calls upon the saints to “honor all men.” I believe this is a manifestation of submission. Peter commands the saints to submit to the king as the one “in authority” (verse 13). Submission is not only to be granted to the king, the ultimate authority, but to all of his agents. As I understand Peter, this not only means men in prominent positions of power such as governors but those who act on their behalf, the civil servants who carry out the functions of government on our level. Peter expects us to respond to these agents of authority as though they were the supreme human authority whom they represent.

Christians today are becoming more and more suspicious of government as it seems to encroach on our freedoms, especially during the COVID pandemic. When Christians are dominant in government, Christians breathe easily, but when “liberals” take control, we suddenly look at government differently. Let us remember that the government of Peter’s day was Rome, and the emperor at the end of Peter’s life was Nero. And yet Peter speaks of government not as our persecutor but as our protector. He speaks not of civil disobedience but of submission. He does not speak of government as our accuser but as the instrument through which false accusations are silenced. Let us look at government and respond to it as God has intended it to be, not as we fear it will be.