Our Christian community began studying Romans a few weeks ago. Every time I read through it I'm reminded of what a magnificent piece of literature it is and even more importantly, what a magnificent gospel we've been given. Romans is good news. The gospel is good news. Here are some highlights from Paul's letter that have brought me encouragement recently.
"For I'm not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, 'The one who is righteous will live by faith.' - 1:16-17
"Abraham...in the presence of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become 'the father of many nations,' according to what was said, 'So numerous shall your descendants be.' He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead." - 4:17-19
"Do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." - 6:3-5
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death." - 8:1-2
"But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you." - 8:9-11
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved." 8:22-24
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - 8:38-39
I wrote a poem reflecting some of these themes some years ago.
Lying in the dust the corpse rots through and through.
There's no more life to live, there's nothing left to do.
Then the bones begin to rattle, the bones begin to shake.
The sinews and the flesh, new life begins to make.
Gasping deep, lungs expanding, Spirit's wind, life's breath.
The living God's the giving God and life has conquered death!
His body hangs limp, beaten, broken, his side dripping blood.
On the faces of the women, tears stream down in a flood.
He was the one who'd redeem his people, but the cause is now lost.
None could imagine the pain and the suffering, no one could count the cost.
And the tomb stands ready to receive his lifeless body dead,
But it's Sunday morning now and resurrection wins instead!
She's heard of resurrection, but it seems to good to be true.
Yet through faith her heart believes, so there's nothing she won't do.
Her dead body is buried; the grave of water sucks her in.
She's covered in his blood, and she rises free from sin.
Her old life is behind her, in her new life she looks ahead
To the time when he returns and her body will rise again!
"O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways...For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen." - 11:33 & 36
Good news indeed. - Shay