I started reading Romans again. I just sat down and read Romans chapters 1-3 without focusing on 1 verse here or there to justify any attitude that my human self may want to take about a particular set of people. After laying out his indictments against mankind in chapter 1 Paul starts off chapter 2 with an interesting statement to the believers in Rome. He says to them, “Therefore, you are inexcusable, oh man, whoever you are that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things.”
Why doesn’t anyone ever get that far when they use Romans to condemn others? We are all guilty in the eyes of God, that’s why Jesus had to die on the cross. If acceptance to God is based on our behavior, everyone needs to forget access to heaven. Paul then starts to lay out the ground work for the reason for the cross. There is not a single person that can say they are worthy of heaven because of what they have done.
We need to focus on the whole council of God, not just our pet verses to justify our theology. If you need to pick just one verse to base your theology on then, it should be John 3:16. But I like 1 Corinthians 1:18. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolish, but for those of us who are saved it is the power of God.” God made the Way. God made the Sacrifice.
As I’ve been praying, thinking and writing this blog, I found myself thinking about all of the history of the people of Israel and people in general. The whole history of Israel could be generalized to people in general - a people who are obedient to God over time stray from God. God has to bring them back to himself. Even the New Testament saints weren’t perfect. What we see over the history of man is that man will always make a mess of things. Only God can clean up the mess.
“If my people, who are called by My name, would humble themselves and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways…” There are so many things that are considered wicked in the eyes of God – pride being number 1 on God’s list. Yet, so many ‘religious’ people are proud, knowing not as they ought. They look down on those they feel aren’t living up to the ‘standard’ that has been set before them. They aren’t living ‘the Christian life’ – whatever that means.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot judge people with piecemeal theology – use a verse here and a verse there to point the finger at those I disagree with. Under the ‘whole council of God’ we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. Jesus is the only Son. Jesus is the only answer. Jesus is the only Way. Jesus is IT. Jesus is God. If God is Love, then Jesus is Love in the flesh. Love died on the cross and rose from the dead to give me new life in God. Not the old life in the Law, but new life in the Spirit. It’s not about winning arguments. It’s not about gaining adherents to our ‘religious’ way. It’s not about being better than others. It’s about Jesus.