Throughout the Old Testament, God makes covenants with his people by entering into an agreement with one man who serves as the acting representative of all humanity. In Genesis 9, God enters into one of these agreements with a man named Noah where he promises that he will never again allow utter chaos to destroy his creation. The story of the great flood and God's covenant with Noah gives us an early glimpse into the eternal plan of God that unfolds throughout the rest of the Bible.
If our Lord was simply an almighty King sitting on his sovereign throne commanding us as his subjects to serve and to suffer for his sake then that sort of call would certainly feel like a burdensome mandate that we were forced and obligated to carry out. That is why the apostle Paul takes time to point out the proper motivation for Christian suffering by providing the beautiful portrait of Christ’s own sacrifice for our salvation.
Perhaps there is nothing in this world more unique and unexpected than someone who chooses to love the people that mistreat them and who chooses to pray for those who hurt them the most. The world can hardly comprehend such love because it seems so irrational and unreasonable. It goes completely against our natural instincts and our natural inclinations.
John Piper has declared Romans 3:21-26 as the most important paragraph written in the entire Bible. And some biblical scholars have even labeled Romans 3:21-26 as possibly the most important single paragraph ever written in the history of literature. It is in this profound paragraph, that the apostle Paul reminds his readers of the amazing grace of God and the incredible hope that he has given humanity.
This is an astounding description of God’s love for man and a beautiful promise to those who love Him back. This is perhaps one of the most awesome sentences in all of Scripture. However, I often fear that this summary statement made by Jesus has been hijacked at times to promote a distorted gospel message.
This is an invitation into His Kingdom which leads to eternal life, but it’s not the most inviting invitation. We can walk into a great number of churches and listen to a great number of preachers on any given Sunday, and we will be given a much more welcoming invitation into the Kingdom of God than what Jesus offers us here.
As I was watching the movie, I couldn’t help but feel the heavy burden and the hopelessness of the common American slave under the rule of such brutal masters. There was no way out. Unless someone came along and was willing to pay the heavy price to purchase you out of that slavery, you were destined to die a slave.
In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul declares that Scripture proves Abraham wasn’t justified by God on account of anything he did or accomplished. That is why Paul claims that he had nothing to boast about before God. His obedience was not a factor in his justification. Abraham simply believed what God promised, and so God credited him with righteousness.
The command to share and spread the gospel is clear, but perhaps sometimes we get confused as to what specifics regarding the gospel we need to make sure we're communicating. I am grateful that Peter, here, gives us two very specific things about our Lord and His message that we must share when communicating the gospel to others.
We all have turning points in our lives and in our careers that shape the way we end up handling the future. And we all have past experiences that we draw from in order to deal with present realities. One of those turning points for me was the season of 2006 when I had statistically the best offensive season of my career.