A Walk through Paul’s letter to the Romans – Sean Davidson

A Walk through Paul’s Letter to the Romans

(I wrote this on my journey to work this morning. It began with an effort to make sense of a difficult passage in the first chapter. It ended with something like a targum or paraphrase of the entire letter.)

There is no special identity that can save us, no privileged place to stand above the fray. We’re all caught up in the great turning away, curving endlessly in on ourselves. But this isn’t the end. God’s tracked us down in his love. And he’s gathered us to himself at the cross. Here, there’s freedom to turn in faith and receive in joy. (Rom. 1-5)

Does freedom mean we can do whatever the hell we want? Short answer: no. Of course, we can, but why would we? At the cross, we’ve joined with Jesus in his death that we might rise up to share in his love. This isn’t about following the rules more closely; that’ll only tie us in knots. In good times and bad, it’s about coming alive to the Spirit and walking in newness of life, anticipating the day when suffering and death will be no more. (Rom. 6-8)

Think of it: how amazing that salvation would come to unsuspecting outsiders through the failure of privileged insiders. This isn’t cause for outsider pride. God continues to care for the insiders. And we’re all being gathered in by grace alone. Let’s seek to be faithful in a spirit of appreciation and deep gratitude. God’s mercy is a wondrous thing. (Rom. 9-11)

So press into your calling. Open your life wide to God that you may be transformed through and through. And seek to give and receive in community, sharing God’s love among friends and enemies alike. Don’t be a zealot. Instead, keep awake in the dawning light, doing good wherever you can. (Rom. 12-13)

Also, remember to be kind to people not like you. There will be times of disagreement in community. Some will feel free to do what others believe is wrong. It’s OK. Respect each other and walk in love. Liberals: avoid contempt. Conservatives: avoid judgment. Instead, look to Jesus and seek to build each other up despite your differences. And may the God of peace be with you. (Rom. 14-15)

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Brad Jersak

Bradley Jersak is an author and teacher based in Abbotsford, BC. He serves as a reader and monastery preacher at All Saints of North America Orthodox Monastery. Read More

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