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Bible Focus - 18th October 2015

posted 19 Oct 2015, 23:39 by St.Serfs Tullibody-Clacks   [ updated 19 Oct 2015, 23:40 ]
Introduction to Paul’s Letter to the Romans

There’s a story about Albert Einstein. He was once asked by a student, “Dr. Einstein. How many feet are there in a mile?” To the complete astonishment of the student, Einstein replied, “I don’t know”. 

The student was sure that the great professor was joking. Surely Einstein would know a simple fact that every schoolchild then was required to memorize. But Einstein wasn't joking. When the student pressed him to explain this gap in Einstein’s knowledge, he declared, “I make it a rule not to clutter my mind with simple information that I can find in a book in five minutes”.

Albert Einstein was not interested in trivial data. His passion was to explore the deep things of the universe, to plumb the depth of mathematical and physical truth. The apostle Paul, too, was uninterested in trivial data. But, unlike Einstein, his passion was not to explore the deep things of the universe, but rather to know the Creator of the universe through His Son, Jesus Christ, and then to make Christ known to all.

For Paul, this gospel - this good news - was everything; it was the all-consuming focus of his life and ministry. This is what motivated him to visit the capital city of the Roman Empire. It is also the subject matter, the theme, of his letter to the Romans. When Paul speaks about the gospel and its impact on his life and ministry he draws out the central themes of his letter and prepares us for what he will write later.

Romans is his answer to the question “What is Christianity?” as he takes the facts of the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus and thinks through its implications for us all. It is through what God has done in Jesus that sinful human beings can be put right with God. 

At its heart of this letter is what Paul writes in chapter 1, verses 16 and 17. Paul was “not ashamed of the gospel,” negatively speaking. He boasted in the gospel, positively speaking. The chief reason for Paul’s boldness lay in what the gospel message itself was actually all about. The gospel, he says, is “the power of God to save” all kinds of men and women (then and now). To proclaim and defend such a faith is the aim of this letter, of which we read the opening section today.

(Rev Gordon Matthew)