Sometimes, I want Paul to stop – stop rambling – stop inserting into his letters contextual particularities and examples that distract from what the Spirit is saying about God, salvation, faith, judgment. Maybe it was the lawyer in him that prompted him to always add just one more thing. Whatever the reason, it is tiresome at best but at its worst, his rants, ramblings, examples, often interferes with what the Spirit is saying. And from my perspective Paul, the creature, the man, the writer directs too much attention to self (“Romans 1:24…worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator…”).
Today’s reading was no exception for me, though most of the letter to the Romans is not overly wordy like others and at the same time, theologically dense. I like Romans a lot.
But today, as I made my way to the Epistle (I read chronologically: OT, Psalm, Gospel, Epistle) bringing with me whispers from each of the selections about fear, final judgment, hell of fire, prophesy, I had little patience for Paul’s rant on who is saved and who isn’t.
So, I paused, prayed to myself, “Come, Holy Spirit, Come…what do you want me to read, here? Aha! Got it. Just stop Paul when you first sense Paul, the man….Just stop there. Stop. Play. Rewind.”
So, that is what I did. I read the entire chapter from the beginning and when I first sensed Paul, the man/creature, I stopped.
And here is where I stopped and what I believe the Spirit is saying to God’s people:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone…
Now, go tweet that!