Job 12 & Romans 16

Job 12

    Then Job answered and said:

    “No doubt you are the people,
        and wisdom will die with you.
    But I have understanding as well as you;
        I am not inferior to you.
        Who does not know such things as these?
    I am a laughingstock to my friends;
        I, who called to God and he answered me,
        a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.
    In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune;
        it is ready for those whose feet slip.
    The tents of robbers are at peace,
        and those who provoke God are secure,
        who bring their god in their hand.
    “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
        the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
    or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
        and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
    Who among all these does not know
        that the hand of the LORD has done this?
    In his hand is the life of every living thing
        and the breath of all mankind.
    Does not the ear test words
        as the palate tastes food?
    Wisdom is with the aged,
        and understanding in length of days.
    “With God are wisdom and might;
        he has counsel and understanding.
    If he tears down, none can rebuild;
        if he shuts a man in, none can open.
    If he withholds the waters, they dry up;
        if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
    With him are strength and sound wisdom;
        the deceived and the deceiver are his.
    He leads counselors away stripped,
        and judges he makes fools.
    He looses the bonds of kings
        and binds a waistcloth on their hips.
    He leads priests away stripped
        and overthrows the mighty.
    He deprives of speech those who are trusted
        and takes away the discernment of the elders.
    He pours contempt on princes
        and loosens the belt of the strong.
    He uncovers the deeps out of darkness
        and brings deep darkness to light.
    He makes nations great, and he destroys them;
        he enlarges nations, and leads them away.
    He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth
        and makes them wander in a trackless waste.
    They grope in the dark without light,
        and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.

(Job 12 ESV)

Romans 16

    I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.

    Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

    Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.

    I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.

    Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.

    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.

(Romans 16 ESV)

Romans 16: In describing his ministry to the Gentiles, the apostle Paul points out that proclaiming the gospel is a distinguishing mark of the one who has offered himself as a living sacrifice to God. His own unique and specific purpose is “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” However, all of us are generally called to make disciples of all nations and to be prepared to give an answer to the hope that we have so that we can make the most of every opportunity were given with others. 

An observation worth noting in the apostle’s description of his calling is that a ‘conversion experience’ doesn’t seem to be his end goal. Notice that the apostle isn’t satisfied with obtaining mere professions of faith in response to his proclamations. What matters to him is that “the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Paul is not concerned with conversion as much as he is total life transformation. 

How many of us today reduce the call to make disciples into some sort of conquest to make converts? 

The apostle goes on to claim that Christ has accomplished great things among the Gentiles by leading them in obedience to God through the words and deeds of the apostle. Paul’s life had become a powerful portrait that displayed the validity of his powerful message. I once heard a sermon by Dr. Crawford Loritts in which he declared, “In the Bible, leadership is not a position. It is a portrait of the desired destination.” The apostle Paul portrayed what a gospel-believing Christian ought to look like. Therefore, may we preach and practice what we preach because sharing the gospel is insufficient unless we are portraying the gospel way of life in our own life and relationships with others.