October 25, 2006

The Centrality of the Gospel and Romans 12:1-2 (Part 1)

On Monday, I had the privilege of preaching the power of the gospel as represented in Romans 12:1-2. A lot of Christians (especially the zealous-reformed type...) have been using the "Gospel" almost to the point where it is becoming a 'buzz word' where everybody 'knows what we're talking about, but no one can really define the term nor do they see its significance.' (Similar approach taken by Mark Twain in his definition of a Classic novel - "A classic is a work which everyone has heard of, but no one has read!")

Romans can be very intimidating! It is a very complex book. I do not suggest it for casual Bible reading early in the morning, unless you have a carafe full of a black brew steaming on the countertop. I had always seen Romans as a treatise on sin and righteousness, and those are dominant themes of the book. However, they can be the trees that cause us to miss the forest. Romans does begin showing the reader the sinfulness of man and his inability to please God. Beginning in portions of chapter 3 and especially in chapter 5, a ray of hope is given to the reader, who hopefully has seen that the righteousness of God has been revealed, and that it condemns him because of his sin. This ray of hope is none other than the Gospel of Christ. Paul spends chapters 1-11 developing the need for the gospel, the revelation of the gospel, and the explanation of the gospel. Chapters 12-16 develops the application for having received the gospel. "What should I do now? What does the doctrine dictate for me personally?"

As you view the book as a whole, it is very apparent that Romans 1-11 is the framework, with 12-16 serving as the swinging door. However, without the "hinges" of 12:1-2, the door does not 'work' These "hinges" show the relationship of the doctrine with the application. I would insert that you do not know doctrine if it is not affecting your life.

I want to assert that without Romans 12:1-2, Romans is 2 books having no direct connection. These two verses are vital to the cohesiveness of the work, but more importantly, they are vital to the Christians understanding of how the great doctrine applies to him personally in his life.

(Exposition and Application of 12:1-2 to come soon!)