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
Have you ever had to take the long way around to get to your destination? Maybe it was because there was construction going on in the normal route or just because at that time of day the traffic was awful in some parts of the route. Whatever the reason, you finally got where you were going. But to someone who doesn’t have that context, if he looked on a map at the path you took, he’d be scratching his head.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 11. Living by the Spirit
I was taught a long time ago that whenever I have to write a paper or a report, I should leave writing the Introduction for the end. Why? Because often it takes going through the whole analysis and argument to figure out exactly what I have accomplished. I don’t really know what my story is until I have told it. After I am done, then I can write an Introduction that prepares the reader to see what I mean, even foreshadow the concepts that I want that reader to get. And, certainly, then I can write a conclusion.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 10. The (interim) conclusion
Jesus said that whoever sins enslaves himself to sin. That means that we enslave ourselves by our own choice, a choice we make using our free will. But how free were we in the first place, if the choice we make is to be enslaved? Sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it?Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 9 Exercising our freedom
N. T. Wright is fond of saying that Jesus’ coming finally taught us and enabled us to be truly human. To be what we were created to be. I have reached the conclusion that Jesus’ revelation to Paul finally taught him what it really meant to be a Jew, chosen by God to bless the whole world.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 8 The consequence of the forgiveness of our sins.
I recently read an excellent paper by E. B. Howell, entitled “Saint Paul and the Greek World”. It is from the Journal Greece and Rome, March, 1964, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 7-29. In it, he makes a comment in passing that the recorded speech we have that Paul gave at the Areopagus in Acts 21 must be an extremely abbreviated version of the whole thing. At that time, and to that audience, the method of address would have followed all the rules of oratory they were expecting, including extensive and detailed proofs of the points argued. I guess it is a good think that Luke anticipated our love of Cliff notes.Read More about Through the letter to the Romans – Part 7: The Promise was to all Abraham’s seed.