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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chew on this...

Two of the studies in which I participate are in Romans.  They are back to back tomorrow morning.  The one at 6 AM is in Romans 12 the one at 8 AM is in Romans 8.  By the way this is my third study of Romans this year… I digress.
I need to know what you think...  Thoughts at DTTB.
You know if you have read much of this blog that I encourage men to look at the structure of a passage for insight into what is going on.  “Therefore” is one of the biggies.  It tells us that what comes after is related to or caused by what comes before.  One of the biggest examples of that is Romans 12:1 – 2.  The book divides right there.  In the first 11 chapters Paul sets out the most complete treatise on his understanding of the gospel, then “therefore” he launches into the application in the community of believers.

My question for you is why, after the deep theological discussion on the centrality of faith in God’s sovereign control over redemption does he begin, first thing out of the chute with Spiritual gifts?

Chew on that and let me know what you think, and why you think it?

1 comment:

  1. I so appreciate your emphasis on "connectedness," Mike! So much of my experience has been random verses or passages taken as "stand-alones" which so easily allows me to confidently support my own preconceived thoughts. It's often hard work to follow these connected ideas to proper conclusions (especially when they contradict mine...).

    So on Romans 12:1: If I take the plain English as a faithful representation of the Greek meaning, I am forced by honesty to consider what the "therefore" is there for (being limited to 0 in my understanding of Greek I checked ten common English translations; all have either the word "therefore" or an identical idea, such as "so.").

    Paul also says that this is based in some way on "the mercies of God." The New Living says "because of all God has done for us." It seem so me that this captures the essential thought. Paul has just spent eleven chapters illuminating many facets of what God has done for us through Christ, by faith beyond the Law. But does it end there? No passage I know of (which still leaves a lot) could honestly be taken to support such a view. True doctrine always must result in some (usually some change in) lifestyle whether in Old or New Testaments. The teachings of Jesus of course abound in these passages. The doctrine Paul teaches is designed the same way.

    But spiritual gifts? I think an all too superficial answer could be stated that our spiritual gifts reflect the way we normally express the way we work out these doctrinal truths in our own practice. And, I need the expressions of others with other gifts in fulfilling this reflection of the goodness of God in the actual world of men. This ultimately a function of community. In any dimension, whether my personal qualities that need development (e.g. I have some relationships with very patient people, patience being one of my great needs) or outworking of the mercies of God in the world (i.e. compassion to the needy) those with other gifts of compassion can give me a way of practically connecting and expressing it by either supporting or challenging me to do the same. And so on.

    Spiritual gifts properly understood and expressed ought to be a strong way to develop unity in Christ's body. I have at least one, so I am needed by the Body. But I don't have all of them, so I need others to enable and encourage me. Significance in being needed and humility by being needed by others - a powerful bond among us.

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