“The Night Is Nearly Over” ( Romans 13:12, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Paul encourages us with these words, “The night is nearly over;” “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed;” (Romans 13:11) and “the daylight is near.” Because the night is almost finished, and the light is dawning upon us, Paul exhorts us to “discard the deeds of darkness” since it is fading away and “put on the armor of light” since it is shining already and soon is to be in full glow. We are to “make no plans” to remain in darkness, but are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14) We are to actively avoid “quarreling and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13)

Notice Paul exhorts us to put off arguing which creates barriers between we who are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Paul says, “Let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in [our] brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13) “Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues.” (Romans 14:1) “Who are [we] to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4)

Therefore, Paul encourages to be accepting of one another in Christ for we are all members of the same body, who is our Lord.

“The Grace Of One Man” ( Romans 5: 15, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“How much more do those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ,” writes Paul to the church at Rome. (Romans 5:17) “How much more does the grace of God and the gift overflow to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:15) “Through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone.” (Romans 5:18) “Through one man’s obedience the many are made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) “Grace is multiplied even more.” (Romans 5:20) “Grace reigns through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21)

Whose obedience does Paul highlight? Certainly not Adam’s or Eve’s. Certainly not mine or yours. Rather, Paul writes of one man’s obedience, of the one man, Jesus Christ who obeyed God the Father completely. Through Jesus’ obedience is “life-giving justification.” Through Jesus’ grace, “the many are made righteous.” Jesus’ grace overflows to us as does the gift of His own righteousness.

“What shall we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not!” (Romans 6:1) “What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not!” (Romans 6:15) “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He does not even spare His own Son but offers Him up for us all; how does He not grant also with Him us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies.” (Romans 8:31-33)

“With Sober Judgment” ( Romans 12: 3, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Paul starts off by telling the church at Rome that he isn’t speaking from himself, but “by the grace given to” him. Most of the time, we know this. As I recall only once did Paul say “I, not the Lord” when he wrote the church. So I find it interesting that he starts this section about spiritual gifts with a reminder to his readers that the Lord is speaking.

The Lord commands “everyone among (us) not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.”

Poor self-esteem is a problem common to humankind. We look in the mirror, and we don’t like what we see. Either we are too short, too tall; our hair is too curly, not curly enough; our waist is too big, our legs are too skinny; our face is too dull, our teeth are just crooked! We buy all kinds of stuff to try to overcome our failed self-image. Obviously, nothing works.

Pride is a problem common to humankind. We look at our works, and we think: ‘Hey, that’s pretty fine. I did that. I like that. I wonder if anyone else noticed how good that was; that thing I did for God.’

Jesus says when we ponder our selves, “to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Sober judgment: judgment that is “calm, clear-headed, composed, dignified, lucid, sensible, steady, subdued, tranquil and unexciting.” (Oxford Thesaurus)

We are members of the body of Christ, and “individually members one of another.” (Romans 12: 5) Each one has his or her own level of grace and particular spiritual gift(s) which God “has assigned.”

Therefore, let us not think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

“Take Courage!” ( Acts 23: 11, NIV ) by Carley Evans


Ananias orders Paul to be struck in the mouth. Paul says, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!” (Acts 23:3) Some overhear Paul’s angry remark, and say, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?” Paul responds, “Brothers, I did not realize that he is the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'” (Acts 23:4-5)

Paul “stands on trial because of [his] hope in the resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 23:6) The Sadducees and Pharisees, who disagree as to whether or not there is a resurrection of the dead, argue in “a great uproar.” (Acts 23:9) The commander is “afraid Paul will be torn to pieces by them. He orders the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.” (Acts 23:10)

Jesus, on the following night, “stands near Paul and says, ‘Take courage!'” (Acts 23:11) Jesus tells Paul that he is to “also testify in Rome” about Him.

The very next morning, a conspiracy develops among some Jews who swear to kill Paul. Paul’s nephew hears of this plot, goes to the barracks and warns his uncle. Paul sends his nephew to the commander, who arranges for Paul to “be taken safely to Governor Felix.” (Acts 23:24)

Governor Felix keeps Paul in prison for two years, calling for him frequently, hoping Paul will bribe him. The Jews attempt again to plot their murder of Paul, but fail when the new governor, Festus declines to transfer Paul to Jerusalem. While in Caesarea, Paul appeals to Caesar. King Agrippa arrives. Festus explains that the Jews’ accusations against Paul are surprising and unexpected. He tells the king that “they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claims is alive.” (Acts 25:19)

Paul makes his case to King Agrippa. “Now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:6-8) King Agrippa knows Paul should be set free, except he has appealed to Caesar.

Paul along with other prisoners sail to Italy, but “the ship is caught by the storm” and “takes such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they begin to throw the cargo overboard.” (Acts 27:15,18) They “finally give up all hope of being saved.” (Acts 27:20)

An angel of the Lord stands beside Paul that night and says, “Do not be afraid, Paul.” The angel reminds him of Jesus’ words spoken several years earlier –“As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:11)

Paul says to his fellow prisoners, “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me.” (Acts 27:25) “Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” (Acts 27:34)

Finally Paul reaches Rome; he calls the leaders of the Jews together to discover that no negative reports have come to them from Judea. Paul is free to preach the gospel, to testify about Jesus for two years “boldly and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:31)