Monday, October 1, 2012

Romans 1 and 2

Well I just went through the first 500 links or so and started following a TON more blogs because I liked their idea for 31 days. I think I may have to dedicate one day to reading... We'll see how I manage this. There's a way though.

Today for my first cup of tea with Jesus, I'm turning to Romans. I wasn't able to get up to meet Him before work since I was up until nearly 3am, unable to sleep. (Which also led to me having Starbucks and a chocolate croissant for breakfast. Note to self: latte and sugar not a good combination first thing in the morning.)

"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith." Romans 1:11-12

This verse to me shows why we need to have people around us who are also believers. This is what Mary Beth, among others, gives me. My faith is not lived out in a vacuum. It's lived out in community, strengthened when I take time to be with those who encourage my faith and share theirs with me or weakened when I neglect those relationships. That's not to say that those friends I have who are good people but not Christian aren't good friends. I do still need time with other people my own age and at the moment most of that is coming from people who are non-Christians. They still nourish me and they can still help me to grow but if I only spend time with those friends, my faith won't be challenged or encouraged in a way that will help me grow. That's why after a conversation with Mary Beth I feel much more refreshed and fulfilled than after a conversation with the girls I've meet here. Or I suppose I'm fulfilled in a different way. (Now if I could get together with Mary Beth for coffee or shopping then I'd be perfect.)

"[S]ince what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:19-20

General revelation as written in the Bible. This is why when I look out the window I see my Father. I cannot learn everything about Him from the world around me but I can see His power, I can see that He is good. I can see the plan He has for the world in the way He cares for the animals and the flowers. After all, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:25-30)

"They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. (Romans 1:29-31)

This is what happens when you don't have G-d. Envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, hate, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness, disobedience, lack of fidelity, of love, of mercy fill your life. What logical person wants this list to describe them? I'm pretty sure I want the exact OPPOSITE of each characteristic listed here used the describe me at the end of my days.

"All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law." Romans 2:12

I just wrote about my opinion on the Law yesterday on Christian Forums. I'll post that here:

I am by no means a scholar. The only Greek word I know is probably agape. I cannot tell you clearly that because this word means this instead of it's usual translation as that we are supposed to do XYZ. 
I can tell you that we cannot simply disregard the OT without considering it. Sacrifices cannot be done today because we have no temple and no priests of Aaron. We don't need sin sacrifices because Jesus died for us on the cross and wiped away all of our sins with the one perfect sacrifice. Rules regarding killing people for breaking OT laws cannot be carried out because they violate our government and we are called to obey our government (Romans 13). 
I personally eat biblically kosher. I don't see any compelling evidence that those animals which were once unclean-were not made for food-have been changed and made clean. This is something I prayed about and have eaten this way since I was 17.
Many of the rules that G-d instated in the OT were designed to separate the Hebrews from those around them. Some of those rules today seem ridiculous to us now. We are still called to be different from this world (Romans 12:1-2). For us today, maybe that looks different than it did in the OT but I encourage everyone to pray about the rules that are still possible, research the possible reasons behind G-d creating those rules, and ask G-d if He still finds them to be applicable in YOUR life. Eating kosher has given me many outlets to bring up my faith in many situations. (When I'm not sure if something has pork in it, I ask. Those who I'm eating with then ask me why I want to know and I get a chance to share about the amazing Father I serve.)
Also, I just want to be clear that I do NOT believe that following any law, any rule, OT or not, will help gain ANYONE entrance to heaven. For me, if I eat bacon, it's a sin because G-d told me not to. It's like when G-d told Jonah to go to Nineveh. For him, not going was a sin. For the others, it wasn't sin not to go because G-d never told them to. So if I violate this, it's sin and I must repent and get right with G-d just as if I had committed any other sin. But eating kosher doesn't get me any closer to heaven. It's simply a sign of my obedience to G-d.

I think that's enough for today's cup of tea (which is frankly getting cold). Thank you for joining me. :)


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