So I started teaching through the book of Romans about a month ago. Any Bible teacher worth more than a fish taco has preached through the book of Romans, right? I figured if I didn’t do it, I’d eventually get kicked out the club.
So here I am and here are few of my early observations from wading into the deep end:
I realize this is going to sound shallow, but I wonder if Paul’s intent (or God’s) was for us to scrutinize his letter with such academic fervor. Parsing verbs and diagramming sentences and translating words are important. They are. But turning his letter into a fourteen volume commentary or preaching 225 sermons through the book… so that we can accurately understand what Paul meant, is slightly overkilling it. There. I said it. I’ll definitely never make it into the Theologian’s Hall of Fame.
I have always been slightly intimidated by the letter, because it seemed like it had been hijacked by a certain theological camp as “their” source book for doctrine. I no longer feel that way.
I am often ashamed of what people who claim to be followers of Jesus do. (Last week was a bad week, btw.) However, I am more often ashamed of myself and my struggle to live every day as Jesus would. But I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
There’s a long list of sins in the back half of chapter one. It’s absolutely amazing to me that we not only accept, but welcome into our churches, people who practice most all of these sins…without requiring them to confess, or even admit that what they are doing is sin. Yet we judge, condemn and refuse friendship with people who exhibit one particular sin on the list. Like I said, amazing.
And from yesterday’s teaching, there is no distinction. Nobody measures up. Nobody is good enough. Nobody’s sin is worse than another’s. And the answer is the same for all of us.
Hope to see you next Sunday.