“to bring about the obedience of faith for the
sake of his name among all the nations.”
Last night I started carefully reading Romans. It’s been a long time since I have done that, actually studying and reflecting on this particular book. I was rewarded richly with a wonderful evening with my Lord!
Romans can be an intimidating book. That’s why it takes plenty of uninterrupted time to go back and forth through the text, highlighting and underlining words and verses until they make sense. It also helps to have a starting point. That’s what the verse above is. The book of Romans was written so that we might all be on the same page regarding our faith and how it works. As we well have experienced, people have all sorts of ideas and opinions about God. Romans is intended to align everyone’s thinking based upon doctrine delivered to Paul by Jesus himself. It is the magnum opus of the Christian faith.
This should lead us to a question that we should easily be able to answer: Why should the bible get to make the rules about God?
Can you answer this, or do you need a few minutes? Let me try, off the top of my head. First, there is no other historical document like the bible. There are thousands of paper manuscripts that date from just before the time of Jesus. These are virtually exact copies although they have been dated over several centuries, with different languages, and in different regions. There is no other document (or collection of documents) like it.
Second, there have been all sorts of archeological findings that verify names and places depicted in the bible. Every year, new evidence is unearthed. Third, ancient sources by those outside of the Jewish or Christian faiths record many of the same events. For example, Roman historians recorded that Jesus was a real person and was crucified and that his followers claim he rose from the dead. Fourth, the bible records prophecy that has since come true.
Now, still a skeptic will disregard all this; but if this was a secular document, all would consider it reasonable to be an accurate depiction of history. Even great human events with no surviving original documents are believed by many to have actually occurred, for example, the Trojan War.
Perhaps the most compelling evidence is the impact the book has had on humanity. The appearance of Jesus marks an incredible impact to world history. Let’s face it, we refer to all time as either BEFORE or AFTER Christ. How could this be if Jesus was simply a man who the Romans executed for treason? There were countless who met that fate. Why was Jesus so different that the entire world knows of him?
Let’s stop there and acknowledge that there is another great book, the Quran, which also has a huge following. These folks claim that our bible was originally a reliable book, but it has been corrupted and is no longer trustworthy. They claim that God has given THEM a book that He has instructed the world to follow. These two books, while on one hand have similarities, do not agree with each other. Either one is right and the other is wrong, or both are wrong. It’s the same with any other religion, including atheism. They all contradict each other.
Which one should you believe? Test the fruit.
John 10:24-30 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Keep in mind that you can present evidence until you’re blue in the face; but unless they are among Jesus’ flock, you will not convince a single one. Furthermore, there are many who say the bible is true but do not do what it says. They are not believers; they are not part of the flock.
Anyway, long story short, there is compelling evidence to trust that the bible is indeed the Word of God. Those with ears that are able to hear will know this. Is Romans a book that we should consider as the flagpole of our faith? I believe it is. Yes, there are some who are Christians who vehemently disagree with some of what it contains, but it is this that Paul is compelling us to correct. In fact, that’s what the whole bible is about.
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
Father, teach your children. Teach me. If there is anything that I write or say that is contrary to your word, let those who read or hear quickly forget. Correct me, quickly, of any untruth that I may be spreading. Truth is our desire. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers