Sunday, 9 November 2014
Journey Into Romans Day 1
“This Epistle (to the Romans) is really the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel, and is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.” Works of Martin Luther, Vol. 6, pg 447
I begin by saying I only agree with Luther in one sense. Romans is about the Gospel and the Gospel is the chief part of the Bible, indeed it is what the Bible is about. I disagree with Luther only in the sense that this Gospel is not found primarily in Romans. It begins in Genesis and continues like a golden thread all the way through to Jesus' final words in Scripture "Surely I am coming quickly".
What makes Romans so special is that it is Paul's attempt to define what this Gospel is and what it is not. If when we are finished your understanding of this awesome story God calls the Gospel (the Good News) is not more clear to you than I have failed and you will need to continue your search. There is no other search in life more important and more amazing than to search the depths of the Good News.
Who - The apostle Paul
What - A letter defining the Gospel
Where - To the church in Rome
When - About 60 A.D.
Why - Because already many false ideas were springing up about what the Gospel was
How - By taking the Gospel story from the beginning (Adam) and systematically defining from every angle our human condition and God's great plan to fix it.
"Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
You can see right from the start that Paul is writing on the subject of the gospel, a subject God has been talking about through His prophets from the beginning. The main character in this Gospel story is Jesus who came down through David's line just as the prophets said He would. However He is not to be mistaken as just another son in a long line of births and deaths. What separates Jesus from all others including David the great king is that after His death was confirmed with a spear in the side, He walked out of His sealed tomb on Sunday morning fully alive.
It marked at once the greatest fulfilled prophecy and promise God had ever accomplished to that point in the unfolding Gospel story.
Notice now what Paul says next: "Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His Name..."
Tomorrow we will begin to explore these words Paul is using and attempt to express these concepts in terms that make sense for us here and now.
Three things are certain: We are part of the continuing story called the Gospel, we have a part to play in it larger than I had known until recently, and He is coming quickly.
See you tomorrow.