Remember the conversation Jesus had with his disciples after the rich young ruler went away downcast? He told them it is nearly impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And the disciples’ reaction was, “Then who can be saved?” That was an honest question, and it revealed the preconceptions of their worldview. Paul is now dealing with such preconceptions head on.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 5: Then who can be saved?
Once his Jewish audience catches where Paul is going, all sorts of knee-jerk reactions can occur. After all, through centuries of oppression and exile, it has been Torah that has kept the Jewish people together. Putting the Gentiles on the same footing as the Jews, even to calling them true Jews, is the same as saying, Torah is irrelevant. Or is it?Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 4: The purpose of the Law.
Whether we like it or not, there is no way to read the Gospel which can exempt us from the requirement to do good. Whether we like it or not, there is no way to read the letters of Paul to reach the conclusion that doing good works is not a requirement of our salvation.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 3: Your compass can’t save you.
In Part 1 we saw that the bottom line to Paul is that the Gospel has the supernatural power we need for our life because it is the revelation of God’s righteousness. That righteousness has brought us a salvation based on the principle of faith. But only those who believe get to see it and grasp it. So, what about the rest of the world?Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 2: The other revelation
The gospel for all nations: A recurring theme in this letter is that the, gospel, the good news of God’s rescue plan for humanity, has always been worldwide in scope. Nevertheless, in execution, it has followed a very precise path: The Jewish nation. Why God chose that path, and why it is important for all of us to understand that it was “a path” and not the end itself, is a case Paul will be building up incrementally. But he starts right off referring to it:Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 1: The bottom line: The Gospel has power.
Way back in the mid 80’s when I first started teaching Bible studies at work (during lunch time), I had a diverse audience of Engineers and Managers. I remember when I was about to start a Study on prayer, one of those managers stopped me and asked me to give him a summary of what we were going to be talking about before he would decide if he was going to stay on.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans: Appendix to the Introduction
The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans has the reputation of being complex. Some people will tell you it is because it is a treasure trove of Pauline theology, and they relish that. Others, that find it a slow read, may cite those very same “theologically” technical passages as contributing to the difficulty. Maybe both ways of reading it miss the point.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Introduction.
The question today is: Why do some people believe the Gospel and others don’t? And by that I mean that you can have two persons, similar upbringing, similar education, similar life experiences, both exposed to the same story of Jesus… and one will believe and receive it and the other will reject it.
The Gospel of Luke used to drive me crazy because it is so obviously out of chronological order. And, as an Engineer, I like order. But as an Engineer I also like Logic; and it wasn’t until this go around that I realized that a logical exposition was precisely what Luke set out to give us. Two blogs ago, I began my excursion into this Gospel by focusing on what I called, the formula: Repentance + faith = forgiveness of sins which produces Love. Today I want to continue where I left off. In doing so, I need to flesh out in more depth some of what I talked about then.
I have been going through the Gospel according to Luke with his admonition in mind that what he has written there was done with method: arranged to teach us, the way Greek tutors taught their pupils. As he says in the introduction to the Gospel, his purpose is to enable us to know the certainty of those things in which we have been instructed, the things we have believed.