Scripture: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel; for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and, also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed…” Ro 1:11-17a
Observation: It takes a lot of reading to disseminate, unpack various subjects from Scripture at time; especially from the introduction or preamble of a Letter. Today, I think I see Paul speaking of his heart’s motivation to the church of Rome…
Analysis: I will bet Kel struggles at times to discern what the Spirit would have him speak to the congregation.
Today, with technology, these messages can be saved for years and, if someone wanted, to pull out and nitpick in detail.
Anybody writing has the same issue to face. Most of the writers are not on a saved, publicly accessible, website.
I wonder if Paul had misgivings about putting his thoughts on paper in the form of a letter? Here we are, 2,000 years later, pouring over his words, trying to understand them and embrace them. After all, I am confident that this letter, with other documents, is the Word of God.
The introduction to Romans shows me, in part, Paul’s heart. I see this mighty man of God, humbly identifying with other believers: “…that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith…”
I notice that when he talks about preaching the Gospel, he is writing to the Roman local church. How is it, that when I think of the Gospel being preached, I automatically and in reflex think about the unsaved?
I think that my unspoken tendency is that “that box has been checked off, I don’t need the Gospel anymore, now I need either more “truth” to grow with or stuff to be armed to face the great enemy and present the hordes of unbelieving opposition—sinners.
I don’t think that Paul is like that. Sure, he knows what he is talking about…and as I read further into Romans he is eloquent, succinct, and thorough. But his heart…
Yes, Paul states clearly, he is “not ashamed of the Gospel” but why? Because of three things:
- He is there with us in the power of God for salvation. No more, no less. He stands before the throne of Grace in faith of the Atonement just like I will.
- My growth in faith encourages him as well as me—and as it should in each believer in our local church. Growth should not be hidden but displayed.
- Growth comes from and through the Word of God in the Gospel. To separate the Gospel from other study subjects is shortsighted. “For in it (the Gospel) is the power of God revealed…”
Hammer point: Writing is a growth experience, not an arrival experience. We grow in the understanding of the Gospel. The Gospel should be the catalyst for increasing humility…
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to be like Paul says and “impart some spiritual gift…” Sometimes I wonder if I have these thoughts and they fall like lead balloons to the ground. I suppose that’s ok, been that way for 40ish years, and I am growing in understanding through the experience.
I pray for Kel and his family and the elders and deacons. Please give them clear thoughts and noggins full of rejoicing in the Gospel today. AMEN