Friday, September 9, 2011

Missions in Romans

Romans 1:1-6, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." (emphasis mine)

Romans 16:25-27, "Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith - to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen." (emphasis mine)

In the above two passages we read the beginning and end of the epistle to the Romans. In these verses, we see clear bookends to the letter. Paul's primary concern is that the nations hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and respond with the obedience of faith for the sake of the name of the Lord.

Romans is often thought of as a deep theological treatise that focuses primarily on man's sin, God's redeeming work in Christ, and our resultant sanctification. These topics are certainly dealt with in this letter.

However, when we try to understand where Paul's heart is, we don't see him dwelling on doctrinal truths while ignoring application. Paul loves all the truths about what God has done and is doing in this world, and the apostle desires to tell everyone about it.

In the end, Paul is concerned for the glory of the name of the Lord. Because of this, He wants to see all nations come to know Christ.

Romans, like all other books of scripture, illustrates for us how solid doctrine always has direct application. In fact, doctrine without application is poor doctrine.

The application in Romans is unmistakable. Paul's goal is to see the nations learn of and bow before Jesus Christ. Paul has a great message, explained in detail in Romans, that he intends to share with the world.

The gospel, by its very nature, intends proclamation. Let us share it liberally with all nations.

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