ROMANS – “Therefore…”
Great Christian parents will discipline their children with a reason for good behavior. They train their children with words of wisdom such as “that is not okay to behave like that because of these possible bad consequences” and then they carefully explain the why of obedience with good behavior so they can learn. Parents explain that it is best for all of us to live together in harmony when we obey and help each other. It’s Biblical.
Paul’s letters are written like a parent to a child. He explains all the benefits of being a child of God. He carefully outlines who we are in Christ now that we believe. Then Paul’s letters to the churches take a turn and rise to a peak with the infamous “therefore”. Therefore is there for a reason. Paul, knowing the Law of God coupled with an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, tenaciously pursuing the mind of Christ, explains to believers how they should now behave.
Do we behave like we say we believe? Paul takes on this task of explaining the new way of life for believers.
We begin with Romans. Paul’s letter to the Romans is a piece of exuberant and passionate thinking. This is the glorious life of the mind enlisted in the service of God. Paul takes the well-witnessed and devoutly believed fact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and thinks through its implications. How does it happen that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, world history took a new direction, and at the same moment the life of every man, woman and child on the planet was eternally affected? What is God up to? What does it mean that Jesus “saves”? What’s behind all this, and where is it going?
These are the questions that drive Paul’s thinking it seems. He takes logic and argument, poetry and imagination, Scripture and prayer, creation and history and experience, and weaves them into this letter that has become the premier document of Christian theology. Amazing grace through Jesus, our Savior and Lord is profoundly explained. Let’s dive in with Paul’s introduction…
Romans 1, The Message
I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ on assignment, authorized as an apostle to proclaim God’s words and acts. I write this letter to all the believers in Rome, God’s friends.
2-7 The sacred writings contain preliminary reports by the prophets on God’s Son. His descent from David roots him in history; his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ! And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah.
–Paul is a sinner, saved by grace, and is now a devoted slave/servant of Jesus Christ. How devoted as a servant am I?
–Jesus is declared as Messiah. Jesus was sent to save us. Think deeply about these simple yet profound words. Jesus saves. The Son of God left heaven and glory to save you and I.
–We all have the urgent task to obediently trust Jesus.
–We are who we are because of the gift of salvation through Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Speak to our hearts, minds and souls as we read through your servant’s letters. Help us to think more like you so we will “therefore” behave more like you taught us. Yes, speak Lord, for your servant is listening.
In Jesus Name, Amen