The Beginning of Something Wonderful
- Romans 1:1 (ESV)
- Romans 1:2 (ESV)
- Romans 1:3 (ESV)
- Romans 1:4 (ESV)
- Romans 1:5 (ESV)
- Romans 1:6 (ESV)
As I go through Romans, I do not plan on writing about anything new, but rather something newly discovered in a very personal way. It is very much like our Lord to show His wisdom and our foolishness by "hiding" something in plain view. I hope that through my study in Romans to indelibly mark the words my Lord on my heart.
Paul's opening to his letter to the Romans reads like a Gospel tract - a tract that many who are in the church have heard over and over again. This is why we are in Church - because we believe this. He was descended (speaking of the flesh) from David, fulfilling Scriptural prophecy. He was declared Son of God by the Spirit of Holiness which in His miraculous resurrection. This was in order to dispense grace, and to Paul and others, Apostleship, and all for the sake of His name among the nations. The object of this free gift of grace included the Romans, who were Paul's primary audience, whom he says are called to belong to Christ, but I do not think it too far a stretch to include all who believe.
What wonderful things! All of us can shout Amen to this pronouncement, and none of us can truly be Christian without embracing this as Dogma. Yet what did I leave out? And what is missing from so many of our lives? I think that it is a common Christian experience to with our whole heart believe in the saving power of Christ, yet feel that something is missing. In the sky, by and by, so to speak, Christ's promise of redemption will occur. We believe it and hope for it, yet we lack victory, and are plagued by sin and failure to achieve all that Christ has called us too.
In Luke 7:28 Christ says that the least in the Kingdom of God will be greater than John the Baptist, whom Christ declared as the greatest man who had ever lived up to that point! How many of us feel greater than John the Baptist?! This might even make us question if we are even citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We have the bitter realization that our lives do not even come close to the grand obedience and power of one whom Christ declared among the least! So, what do we lack?
Well, to be honest, we lack nothing. This does not seem to be the profundity of thought that should arise after such a lengthy introduction, but it is the most wonderful realization that anyone can make. If you noticed, I failed to mention anything regarding a very important phrase in verse five. Not only would Christ's work bring about glory to His name among the nations but it would bring about "the obedience of faith." What is this obedience of faith?
No doubt, our minds immediately race to moral questions of holy living, or the faith that begets salvation. Indeed these subjects are contained within this phrase. Yet I myself, and I believe many others, have failed to embrace this obedience of faith and as such have failed to embrace the glorious life Christ promised.
What might this obedience look like? Is it obedience to the Law? Our Sunday School answer is an emphatic no! But are we not often locked in a struggle to do what is right, in a sense still trying, though failing, to fulfill the law? How can a lover of Jesus be such a moral failure? So we are torn in our soul.
Is this obedience tothefaith? Obeying the precepts of a new religion, following its rites and tradtions? That sounds even worse, and more unChrist-like, but probably more achievable, humanly speaking. We're in the right faith, so we'll just hold on until Jesus comes to set everything right. How utterly disparaging if this is what it means!
No, this is the obedience of faith. Our responsibility is faith. Our obedience is faith. It begins here. Would we wish to live moral, and I should better say, Holy lives? It is only achievable by faith. Would we wish to be in the proper communions with the Saints and Christ? It is only achievable by faith. Would we wish to take hold of all promises of Christ? It is only achievable by faith.
We know Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we have been saved by grace through faith, but our entire living of the Christian life will be through faith. Thankfully, even that faith is said to be the gift of God. So let us repent of our religion of works that still tries to rule us and turn toward faith in Christ.
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