Romans–Passionate Christian Theology
When explaining something as new information in the lives of people we have to begin with what we know they know. People engage when you begin with what they are already comfortable in knowing. They agree with you. Then, step by step, we weave in new information that takes what they know and extends learning. It’s what good teachers do. Paul is a good teacher.
Paul is gifted by God to preach Jesus’ “setting everything right with God”, through Jesus death and resurrection. Paul knows his audience, knows their heritage and how they were raised. He was raised the same way! The new information, (which is actually old information prophesied in Scripture read in the synagogues and meeting places), about Jesus is expressed eloquently and precisely using their ancestry of David then Abraham, the Jews heroes of faith. Jesus is the Messiah, the One you have read about, the One who saves, the One who sets things right with God!, declares Paul, but in small bites, a little at a time.
Paul also shows all of us in the passage that it is God’s Story, not Abraham or David’s. It is ALL about what God did in Abraham not what Abraham did for God. Let us read this next passage with that thought.
Romans 4, The Message
6-9 David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man:
Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off,
whose sins are wiped clean from the slate.
Fortunate the person against
whom the Lord does not keep score.
Do you think for a minute that this blessing is only pronounced over those of us who keep our religious ways and are circumcised? Or do you think it possible that the blessing could be given to those who never even heard of our ways, who were never brought up in the disciplines of God? We all agree, don’t we, that it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God?
10-11 Now think: Was that declaration made before or after he was marked by the covenant rite of circumcision? That’s right, before he was marked. That means that he underwent circumcision as evidence and confirmation of what God had done long before to bring him into this acceptable standing with himself, an act of God he had embraced with his whole life.
What do we learn?
–We are fortunate when we believe that Jesus died for our sin.
–We are fit before God when we embrace all that HE has done for us, through us and because of His love in us.
–It is not what we do for God, but what He does for us.
–God does not respond to what WE do; we respond to what GOD does.
–HE is God and we are not.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Your Word, teaching us how Jesus fulfills Your Law is expressed so excellently through Paul. You remind us so clearly that it is still not about us, but always about You. We embrace You. Right now, I will be still before You. Speak further to our hearts. Your servant is listening. Meet us, also, at corporate worship of You this morning. May we make you smile as we worship You with all our hearts, minds, and souls. In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.