When religious people hear the Gospel, they respond to it sincerely from a heart that has been trained religiously. They generally reject God's free offer of grace without knowing so as they continue to work for God's favor. God never intended people to work for salvation; it is impossible! In fact, "religious good works shipwreck grace." God offers the free gift of eternal life only through His Son (Romans 6:23).
Romans 8:26 is another often-quoted verse from this chapter. Remember that its truth must be understood in the context of the spiritual security and assurance of the believer.
Good coaches emphasize the fundamentals because they are essential for success. At the end of chapter 3, Paul gives a parenthetical reminder to Timothy. If the churches that Timothy oversees at Ephesus are to have spiritual success, they must stay focused on their mission.
Paul had mentored Timothy for some time now. Timothy learned boldness in spite of timidity and learned to recognize and exercise his spiritual gifting. Timothy had watched Paul endure persecution and stay true to the gospel. By Acts 18, Timothy was strengthened to be an encouragement to his own teacher when Paul needed it. God has called every believer to be a spiritual encouragement to other saints. Even mature saints get tired and sometimes think about quitting, and even new believers can encourage these mature saints.
The narrative of Genesis 20 might look familiar, because we saw a similar story in Genesis 12. This is Abram’s second failure to trust God with his wife and his personal safety. Whenever God’s Word repeats itself, there is something for us to learn.
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