One of the very best things about reading through the Bible is how it puts all the pieces of God’s plan for salvation all together. Throughout our lives we memorize verses like Romans 3:23 or John 3:16, but reading and studying these verses in context makes them so much more meaningful and deepens our insight by leaps and bounds. We hear of the heroes of the faith from the Old Testament, but actually reading their stories and following the history of the Jewish people and their laws helps us to understand the need for salvation and God’s plan for humanity in a way that is quite impossible without actually reading through the Old Testament.
It is so hard to believe that the Growing4Life Bible Challenge 2015 is drawing to a close. We are on Week 49. That means that if you have stuck with me this year, you have almost made it through reading the entire Bible! (If you just found Growing4Life and didn’t know about the challenge, I will leave the information on the blog, as it can be done any year and maybe you will want to tackle it for 2016!)
My last two weeks have been crazy busy so now I am a few days behind in the Bible Reading schedule. So this means that I started Romans today. Wow, what an incredible book! Even though I have read it several times before, this morning I read it afresh with new eyes and deeper insight–perhaps it is because I now have the historical perspective of the Old Testament. Whatever the reason, this morning I realized that there is much treasure to be mined in the book of Romans!
Romans is the book to read if you want proof that we are ALL sinners, born with unregenerate and darkened hearts (Romans 3:10-11). It’s here that we understand that salvation is based on faith alone (Romans 3:23-26). Romans also shows us why salvation and God’s grace is not a “get out of jail free card”, giving us the right to continue in sin (Romans 6:1-2). And it’s the book to read to find out why there is no acceptable excuse for anyone to reject God (Romans 1:19-20) and why we must continue to proclaim that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27). It also shows us that these sins rank right up there with homosexuality–
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,© wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,8 unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
I don’t know about you, but looking over that list is a little sobering when we think about the Christians–including perhaps ourselves–who are caught up in such sins like pride, lack of love, and unforgiveness. Oftentimes, we aren’t even willing to call these things sin but instead convince ourselves that they are personality quirks or are some kind of psychological dysfunction.
Actually, Romans flies in the face of much that is being taught in mainstream Christianity today. If you want to know and understand basic Christian doctrines, as they have been taught through the ages, read Romans. If you want to be able to defend a biblical world view using scripture, study this book. I cannot believe how much is in there and I have only read the first six chapters!
I would like to come back and study it some more. But for right now, I will enjoy reading the profound truths held within its pages. I hope that you, too, will read this book– even if you aren’t participating in the Bible challenge. While it is certainly filled with unpopular truths that the unregenerate are not interested in hearing, if we are truly saved, this book will be a balm to our souls and will deepen our understanding of God’s wonderful plan of salvation.