The gospel, the mystery, and the Scriptures. All three woven together by God through Jesus Christ that we might become two things: Established and obedient. Paul has encapsulated the difference between a "scholar" and a "believer", a "reader" and a "seeker", and I wonder if sometimes I am too much the former than the latter.
Archive for the '45: Romans' Category
When is it appropriate to exhibit my "righteous anger"? We all seem to agree that anger in and of itself is not a sin, but rather what one does with it. But my experience is that the vast majority of Christians in my corner of the world these days react to even the smallest hint of anger as being "wrong", "unacceptable", etc. If you try to point out Jesus' anger when he cleaned out the temple, the typical response is, "Well, you're not Jesus."
- "Instruction". What a child receives from parents to guide them into maturity along the right path.
- "Perseverance". Sticking with it regardless of the temporary circumstances, in order to attain an ultimate, worthwhile goal.
- "Encouragement". Support provided to sustain one's will to continue persevering in the instruction they know will lead to the worthwhile goal not yet obtained.
- "Hope". The yet unattained worthwhile goal that is so real in it's coming true that it is considered to be "future fact".
It's amazing how my present is simultaneously rooted in the past and the future, and that whatever I must endure at this time has been confirmed not only as the right thing to do, but is the assurance of my eternal future.†††
From the outset, Paul establishes that there are, indeed, brother and sisters in Christ whose faith is weak. No doubt about it. However, the issue isn't about how this will be immediately rectified, for Paul is not speaking to the "weak" in this instance but the "strong." The issue at hand is the motive of the "strong"; is their "acceptance" of the "weak" going to lead to spiritual maturity or merely camouflage the intent to scrutinize the "weak's" opinions.
One of the problems with Christians' emphasis—even personal beliefs—that we're living in the Last Days is that we're not living like we're in the Last Days. Take this quiz to see what I mean.
Q: In these Last Days, as a Bible-believing, Jesus-saved Christian I should…
[A] …build a bunker in my backyard and fill it with supplies so I and my family can survive the Tribulation.
[B] …spend the rest of my life wearing a "The End is Near" sign, shouting warnings to everyone on the street.
[C]…attend more Bible prophecy conferences and read more books about Bible prophecy.
[D]…live a Christian life.
When it comes to our relationships with other people, it's not required that we first ascertain their spiritual beliefs—whether they're "Christian" or not—before determining how we treat them. Throughout Romans Paul has been teaching that our behavior is a witness both to believers and non-believers alike. Here he identifies four types of people for whom our behavior is going to be an example. In fact, our behavior is going to determine whether WE fulfill the law, not them.
I know, I know…in advance I'll confess I'm on shaky ground here, but what if—just humor me—I don't like someone? In fact, what if I have good cause to even HATE them? For whatever reasons, what if I really, truly, honestly from the heart don't love someone? Should I still just say, "I love you" and PRETEND I love them? For the sake of unity, everyone's feelings, and the fact that it's probably true that it's all an issue on MY part more than anyone else's, should I profess love? That's what Jesus would do, right?