Saturday, September 08, 2007

Living out Scripture meme

Andrew tagged me a fair while ago in the 'living out scripture meme'. This is my first ever meme, and I'm supposed to: “that verse or story of scripture which is important to you, which you find yourself re-visiting time after time”. So here goes.

My piece of scripture isn't as amazing as some other selections have been, but it represents a fond time in my life, when I was enjoying the ministry I was in and growing, I think, quite significantly as a christian (which isn't to say that I am not growing or enjoying life today). And my selection of scripture is a piece of the Bible that is terribly important.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find Paul's introduction to his letter to the church in Rome as the piece that I time and again come back to. It was through studying this passage that I really came to understand the Christian gospel. It was such a breakthrough for me to realize that the gospel isn't first and foremost a message (or a philosophy), but the event of Jesus life, death and resurrection - the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Having been raised to understand the gospel to be a couple of stick-figures in a box, this was quite refreshing for me. And it was by studying this passage that all whole heap of other things fell into place. such as the context and structure of the epistle to the Romans, and the significance of 'The Resurrection' to both the early church and Christian thought and life.

However, what my friends and I found most liberating was to understand that the gospel isn't justification by faith first and foremost, but Jesus Christ is Lord. As great a doctrine as JBF is, I think we found ourselves breathing a sigh of relief when we discovered the gospel is what it is. It was significant for us then to also think through the implications of the all-encompassing Lordship of Jesus - that he really is Lord, lord of all the universe (the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name) with implications not just for me just for now; and lord of my life. What a paradigm shift it was to realize that living the Christian life is to live out the lordship of Christ in every aspect of my life.

These are some of the theological reasons why I love this passage, but I also love it because I was studying it at a time of 'peak experiences in my life': studying Romans at uni in small group leaders training, the eu mission that year, hearing some great talks on Colossians in Public Meetings and running the PM team at the time, and reading a great book that also helped change my life and praxis. I think Romans 1.1-7 is a great passage. And I praise God for his faithfulness in acting to restore his creation in and through his Son,
who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

I tag Alison, Michael, Andrew R, Tim, and Iain.

3 comments:

byron smith said...

Mmm, looks like you need to do a little tidying up on this post. But a great passage; I had a similar experience at a similar age (reading a similar great book).

Moffitt the Prophet said...

I was pretty tired when I wrote it.

andrewE said...

Amen! Finally got to it. Sorry Matt. Great post.