“Now you see both how kind and how hard God can be….” Can God be “hard”? The word used by the writer of Romans can mean “stern, severe, intense, strict, or harsh”. Is this a passage that most churches would put out on their front signs: “Consider the sternness of God”?Read More
Verse 25 is very interesting, “Some of them have become stubborn, and they will stay like that until the complete number of you Gentiles has come in.” There is a dance being described here between our free-will and God’s sovereignty – a dance God leads.Read More God’s sovereignty, mystery, free-will
How do I know his will for my life? Romans 12 tells us how to become better listeners to God who has a perfect will for us. Paul, the writer of Romans “begs” his readers to “offer” our bodies as living sacrifices to God. Paul writes that this is our most reasonable response in light of God’s goodness or mercy.
What is God’s mercy?Read More morph, change, sacrifice, God’s will
There are four Greek words that in English we simply translate “love”. Two are in this passage: “Be sincere in your love for others” and “love each other as brothers and sisters”. The first is agape which is unconditional love (the love God has for us), and the second is philia (where we get “Philadelphia”) which is brotherly love.Read More love, hypocrisy, agape
Followers of Jesus will have a reputation for being peaceful, good citizens, good neighbours, and respected in their community. It is not disrespectful or unnecessarily disruptive to live within the parameters of the law. For instance, in my country a good citizen is free to: protest peacefully, vote, write editorials, run for government, etc. A follower of Jesus will be a good citizen.Read More community, leaders, good citizens
Paul here underlines Jesus’ teaching on the Old Testament law. Jesus did not negate the old law, he fulfilled it. He helps us understand it.
For Jesus it was about pathways. For instance, he said, “But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts” (Matthew 5:28). Implicit here is the path: lust in your heart, imagine, fantasize, flirt, act on the impulse… Jesus says, “Stay off the path.”Read More love, law, wake up, paths
There is a right answer: “Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables” (v 1). Clearly the strong in the faith “eat anything” and the weak in the faith don’t. Paul makes it clear that there is a right answer to whether a Christian can only eat certain foods or worship on certain days, dress a certain way …Read More maturity, criticism, dogmatic
Yesterday we read about Paul acting as spiritual father to the church in Rome: “Stop fighting!” In today’s passage he has not left the issue, but the focus has shifted slightly. He is most concerned with our responsibility to each other. In fact in this section the onus is on the “strong” in the faith to not “hurt” the “weak”.Read More selfishness, other people, appetite
Paul is speaking into the life of the church at Rome as a spiritual father. Oh that we each would set a life course that would lead to us being spiritual fathers and mothers in our church families! That we would aspire to become men and women who speak out of the heart of God, and love deeply the body of Christ.Read More love, church, pleasing others
Paul ends his plea for unity by bringing the people in the church at Rome to the Father. Paul quite naturally and easily slips into prayer. He could have ended the section with an appeal to his authority, but instead he simply and beautifully invites us into the presence of God, as if to say, “Okay, we’ve talked about important things.Read More hope, Holy Spirit, joy, God’s presence, prayer