May 22, 2022
In yesterday's reading, Samuel was formally made a judge, and then he led the people of Israel into victory over the Philistines. But when Samuel was old and after the appointment of his two sons as judges in his place, his sons perverted justice for bribes. So the people asked to have a king. God had already long ago said this would happen, in fact, this idea was in Hannah’s prayer. Samuel was displeased, not for the sake of his sons, but because the people were rejecting God as their king.
This is a gem among the psalms. Note the exuberance of worship in this psalm! And this is balanced by reverence to God. The last half of this psalm is quoted in full in Hebrews and is an important topic in that New Testament book.
In Romans chapter 3 Paul refutes important misunderstanding and wrong teaching in the process of resoundingly proving that Jews cannot save themselves by their own power by means of fulfilling the Law. (In his use of the term ‘the Law’, Paul was following the custom of including other Old Testament books.) In the verses he quoted, he made it very that not even one person can claim to be righteous in God's sight. So God has provided another way to become right in His sight, which is actually foretold in the Law and Biblical prophetic writings.
NLT Translation notes:
Rom. 3:21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him[, and this way is not based on// without keeping] the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Mosesi and the prophets long ago.
[The Greek says “apart from the Law,” so NLT’s translation is technically possible, but I think it is saying something Paul is NOT saying and is doctrinally defective. In most of my suggested changes to the NLT text, I am concerned with clear communication, here however I am concerned with avoiding misunderstanding that would lead to wrong teaching.]
22 We are made right with God by [fully believing//placing our faith] in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
[Here is an excellent example of the point I keep harping on. Note that using the verb form ‘believe’ instead of the abstract noun form makes it clear that the same word is used later in the verse. Cohesion of ideas makes better understanding. Secondly, it is easier for people to ‘do’ a verb than it is to ‘do’ an abstract noun. It is easier to ‘practice’ something than it is to ‘make a practice of’ something. It is easier to ‘eat’ apples than it is to ‘practice the consumption of’ apples.]
27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on [fully believing//faith].
[Notice again the cohesion of the verb ‘believe’ in 26-31.]
28 So we are made right with God [by our fully believing//through faith] and not by obeying the law.]
29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the [non-Jews//Gentiles]? Of course he is.
30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by [believing in that message (the Good News)//fully believing//faith], whether they are Jews or [non-Jews//Gentiles].
31 Well then, if we emphasize [fully believing//faith], does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have [fully believe//faith] do we truly fulfill the law.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.