I thought it might be a good idea to journal my observations on Scripture as I read it. If you are looking for commentary on this book of Scripture, this might not be the best place to look. I’m just a guy attempting to put his spiritual house in order after a lifetime of messing up. My expertise on this is zero. But feel free to hang out here anyway.
Romans is perhaps my favorite book of Scripture. It’s very heavy, though. The Apostle Paul always struck me as one of those guys with a gigantic brain who, even when he attempts to dumb down what he is talking about for the rest of us, still manages to be so weighty that people like me need to read over what he is saying multiple times to grasp the significance of it.
Like these verses:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).
In my previous experiences in the Christian faith, I can’t say that I wasn’t ashamed of the gospel. I was. In fact, during those experiences, I would cringe at the name Jesus or terms like “The Bible.” Over the last few days, I’ve come to understand the reason why: I wanted to be a god in as far as I wanted to be adored or looked up to. I wanted people to marvel at my knowledge or be amazed at various items that I owned (particularly my record collection- I have a side job as a DJ). I wanted people to follow me and to listen to my ideas.
As I sit here typing this, I almost chuckle at the absurdity of it all. I only started making close friends recently because I decided to actually be a friend instead of someone looking for someone to adore him. And, even though it has only been a couple of days since my satori in the garden center (where I realized I wasn’t God), I’ve begun to shake off the feeling of being ashamed of my faith and cringing at the thought of my Creator.
It is ridiculous that I would think that Jesus would bring me spiritual ease and rest for my soul when I would not abdicate the throne of my life to Him. The Lord made it clear in scripture on numerous occasions (most notably in Exodus) that He would not accept any gods before Him. Since I did not recognize that He was God and that I wasn’t, is it any wonder why my quixotic quest for adoration resulted in me being ashamed of His gospel, not to mention estrangement from Him and bitterness towards Him.
Isn’t that the law of cause and effect at work (Galatians 6:7-8)? In as much as I can tell, God is a huge enough fan of cause and effect enough to make it a driving force in the universe that he created. I selfishly chose to want adoration (which should only belong to God) and I wound up with almost no friends and no relationship with Him. I could not live a life modeled after His gospel because I hated it.
What gives me hope is that the law of cause and effect is that I believe the law of cause and effect can result in positive outcomes. If I step aside from this ridiculous desire, Jesus will take His place at the head of the table of my life and that positive relationship will begin.
And if I make my aim actual friendship with other people rooted in love and respect for the other person rather than my selfish desires, I believe that real, honest, and close friendships will follow.
As for the part of the verse that states “The righteous shall live by faith,” I’ll get to that in future posts.