31 October 2013

What Is Romans 1-8?

Romans 1–8 is what you say means everything to you, but which actually means far less to you than it should, but even that is taken care of by the very thing that you and I feel with such pathetic intensity.

Romans 1–8 is God’s answer to what he does to the bride whom he marries and finds out she’s been cheating on him with other lovers since their honeymoon—he pursues her anyway, and doesn’t stop, eventually laying down his life for her.

Romans 1–8 is God’s insistence that if you throw in the towel on your own moral resume you can have Christ’s perfect record as yours and he will take your messy record to the cross as if it was his record and be punished for your sin there, in your place. Including the sin of this week. And of this very moment, conscious or not. Everything.

Romans 1–8 is God’s honest assessment of our hopeless situation (Rom 1–3), God’s self-initiated rescue plan in his Son (Rom 3–4), and God’s determination to actually change, from the inside out, those whom he has declared righteous in his court of law (Rom 5–8).

Romans 1–8 is the news, both terrifying and liberating, that to cover your sin now is to have it uncovered on the final Day, and to uncover your sin now in contrite openness is to have it covered by Another on the final Day.

Romans 1–8 is the message that God’s love for you is not dependent on the level of intensity of your response to the sermon you heard this week.

Romans 1–8 is the reason you never have to ask forgiveness more than once. When we screw up, we tend to slather it in a litany of requests for forgiveness, which dishonors Christ by thinking a lot of requests for forgiveness will help out or speed up God’s approval of you.

Romans 1–8 is the reason we can laugh in the face of habitual failure, rejection by others, fears that don’t go away with age, joblessness, academic adversity, miserable family dysfunctions, singleness when we wanted to be married by now, kidlessness when we wanted to have kids by now, and every other darkness that washes over us when we roll out of bed in the morning. Romans 1–8 says that if you are in him, every darkness, every pain, every anguish, every relationship gone sour, every dashed hope, everything in you and in your life that makes you cringe, is all going to be reversed and rewound. You cannot lose because the more darkness now, the more light then. 

Romans 1–8 says that if you have a spark of faith toward Christ, an ember of trust in Christ, that’s because you have been united by grace to Christ himself. You are one with him. You are invincible. Not even you—if you are in Christ, not even you can ruin your life. All must work out for light and calm and shalom and rest and resplendence.

Conclusion: relax. Calm down, and enjoy loving your neighbor. 

1 comment:

Anne said...

Don said:
My son, you have wisdom beyond your years! Mom’s brother-in-law, was killed tragically by a drunken driver, and I decided that after the Sermon on the Mount I would memorize Romans 1-8 the gospel according to Paul, since that is what John was teaching at the time. But that was many years ago, and now I can barely remember my ??? zzzzzzzzz. Oh yes, back to my comments.

In Bloom’s taxonomy he states that synthesis is one of the highest forms of learning and understanding. And you, my good man, have posted a God-inspired synthesis of Paul’s letter to the Romans.

In another letter that he wrote to the Galatians Paul describes what the fruit of the Spirit looks like in a man. I always thought that he had given us “a yardstick” by which to gauge our spiritual growth. But your words reminded me that Paul was actually describing the nature of the Father.

I refer to your 10 ¶s

¶ 6 Love “God’s love for you is not dependent.. “
¶ 8 Joy “We can laugh in the face of habitual failure”
¶ 10 Peace “for light and calm and shalom and rest and resplendence.”
¶ 2 Forbearance “he pursues her anyway, and doesn’t stop.”
¶ 3 Kindness “He will take your messy record to the cross.”
¶ 9 Goodness “the more darkness now, the more light then.”
¶ 5 Faithfulness “to have it (sin) covered by Another on the Final Day.”
¶ 4 Gentleness “God’s self-initiated rescue plan in His Son.”
¶ 7 Self-control “you never have to ask for forgiveness more than once.” God is in control of everything, including His own wrath.

See you in January. Go Sox.
Simsbury Dad