I love the book of Romans. The very first time I heard God speak, I was reading in Romans. Plus, there is something about Paul’s boldness and his unapologetic and unashamed love for the gospel and Christ that draws me.
I feel the leading to read slowly and ponder long over the passages in Romans. In this blog series, I will share my thoughts, share things I’ve found along the way as I have wandered through the sentences, share what I’ve pondered over the words, and where I meditated on the sayings. I encourage you to do the same and share what you are learning with someone else, or with me. This first portion will be Romans 1-4.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 1:1-7
The first thing that sticks out to me in this passage are the words grace and apostleship.
Grace means favor, mercy, kindness
Apostleship means a messenger or one who delivers teaching
These two words together, set like this, remind me of the scripture verse in John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
First thoughts: 11 years ago this word grouping – grace and truth – was a type of motto to me. I don’t think I really understood it back then. I think grace still feels elusive to me, not that God doesn’t give it but rather that I struggle to live in it, because grace is radical and it requires nothing of me. That’s just hard for a productive over-achiever like myself. In my life, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with truth. Not that I don’t speak it but I find it to be something that can free you and backfire all at the same time. The Bible says that the word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. It cuts both ways, it cuts through the crap going in and cuts a row of truth going out.
I used to visualize grace and truth like one heart with two wings. One flapped grace and one flapped truth. I was always better at flapping truth than I was grace. The trouble for most of us is that we overuse one wing. Sometimes we are so full of grace that we leave out truths that ought to be said and sometimes we are so full of truth that we forget to dip our tongue in grace before we let the truth loose.
Do you see it? How this is not about us at all or how graceful or truthful we can be. Read that passage again: …we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name…
No, this is about Him! This is about Jesus Christ. This is about the One who is truth Himself. This is all about the Son of God who has power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead. By this power we have received grace and apostleship. We have been given these gifts for a purpose. It is for the obedience of faith! Why does obedience in our faith matter? Because God shines most glorious to those who are lost when those who know Him are obedient to Him!
Matt 5:16 Let your light shine so others see your good works and give glory.
So it begs the question: we are obedient to what, for what?
We are obedient to the gospel and for the sake of His name! It’s about His glory! The glory that the Son of God deserves. The gospel strengthens our faith and has the power to produce obedience in us which brings our God glory.
All is grace,