Finally, the final conclusion. A good Conclusion should remind the reader of the most important points discussed. This is what Paul does now.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 21. The final conclusion
We are in the middle of the discussion on disputable matters in Romans 14. But, before going on, I need to come back and ask the question: Did Paul contradict the Holy Spirit there in 1 Corinthians when he told them that, since idols are nothing, there was nothing wrong with eating meat sacrificed to idols? Remember, James said in Acts that the instruction they were sending seemed “good to the Holy Spirit and to us”.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 20. The answer is Love and Faith
Or maybe the dinner table… Paul has been spending all this time “getting us on the same page”. In chapter 12 and the beginning of 13 he has circled back to our lives as children of God. And, to me, what he just said there is all in the category of what we “ought to do”. This is our duty. But knowing our duty and doing it, cheerfully, are two different things. The only motivation that works is love.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 19. The talk around the fireplace
It has taken Paul eleven chapters to lay a foundation on which both Jewish and Gentile Christians can stand as equal children of God. Along the way, he has reminded us that this Salvation is accessible to everyone else in the human race because it is a plan God established before the foundation of the world. This speaks of purpose.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 18. Therefore, let’s do the job we’ve been called to do in this world.
In Chapters 9 and 10 of Romans, Paul finally dealt with what could seem a paradox to an outside observer: That the very people who had, in writing, all the story about God’s plan and the Messiah could actually choose to reject Him. This was a very personal pain for Paul. But Paul took the opportunity to preach the Gospel: to point out that bloodlines or circumstances of life do not determine our choices. We all hear the call and we are all responsible for how we respond. That allows him to bring the conversation back, full circle, to the conflict at hand: Gentile Christian versus Jewish Christian.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 17. We are all in the same boat
Two wrongs don’t make a right; but three lefts do. Isn’t it human nature to try to find a different way? Especially being an American, I want to be able to do things “my way.” (Ask Frank Sinatra.) But that is not the way this Universe works. Gravity pulls you down, whether you like it or not. It would be foolish to go stand on the edge of the roof of a ten-story building and say, “I think Gravity is unfair.” Until you can make your own Universe, I’d advise against taking a step over that edge.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 16. One Way
Pitting God’s sovereignty against human free will has been the subject of discussion by theologians for centuries. Some focus so much on defending God’s sovereignty that free will appears to go by the wayside. And it is understandable that this would be deemed an acceptable strategy, seeing as the concept of “free will” is implied rather than explicitly discussed in the Bible whereas God’s sovereignty is explicitly stated. But this approach eventually subjugates the question to one of two positions regarding how humanity is saved: Are we saved only by Grace, in fact elected to be saved by God before we were ever born? Or are we saved by choosing to Believe?Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 15. God’s Sovereignty and free will; and love
Jesus told his disciples at the end of the gospel of Matthew: “I am with you, to the end of the age.” In John 14 he tells them “In my Father’s house there are many abodes; were it not so, I had told you: for I go to prepare you a place; and if I go and shall prepare you a place, I am coming again and shall receive you to myself, that where I am ye also may be.” He reiterates this a few verses down: “I will not leave you orphans; I am coming for you.” Why did we need that assurance?Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 14. God’s choice to love is our hope
You might recognize the phrase “Lost Horizon”. It is the title of a 1933 novel by James Hilton which was turned into a movie of the same name, directed by Frank Capra. It is a story about the utopia, Shangri-La. It is a fictional Paradise on Earth, where people age extremely slowly. The Gospel tells us about another place or state in which we will never age, it calls it eternal life.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 13. Found Horizon.
In one of my favorite movies of all time, “The Princess bride”, Vizzini, the Sicilian, keeps using the exclamation, “inconceivable”, over and over again. And finally, Iñigo Montoya, the swordsman, tells him: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 12. God knows