Romans is the most logical and clear treatise on salvation offered in the Bible. No greater gift has been given to man than salvation through Jesus Christ. The first part of this great Epistle shows us what we deserve — condemnation; what we received — justification; and what we experience — sanctification. We must understand the path, process, and progress of our salvation to truly appreciate our ultimate reward — glorification. Is it right to honor and obey a government that rebels against the laws of God? To answer such conundrums, we must consider Biblical spheres of authority: God’s Kingdom, government, society, the Church, marriage, and family. All of this was in Paul’s mind as he crafted the latter half of Romans, describing the implications of God’s sovereignty over nations. As citizens of two kingdoms (heaven and earth), His words encourage us to:
- pray for our leaders and government,
- obey them while trusting in God, and
- influence people and politics in God’s way and for God’s glory.
The Bible is packed with mysteries. Examples include the incarnation of God and prayer. Each of these mysteries operate within time, and yet somehow they transcend time. Time itself becomes a looking glass through which we can ponder the mundane problems Christians face as described in 1 Corinthians. The mystery of time provides importance for each moment, every circumstance, for all people. What you and I do in and with time will impact our eternity. Paul gives us more personal, emotion-filled, biographical information in his 2nd letter to Corinth than in any other letter. His writing reminds us how as Christians we regularly face the tension between feeling out of our minds for God and acting in our right mind for the sake of others. 2 Corinthians contains encouragement, exhortation, and examples for our lives. As servants of Christ, we must be prepared to sometimes appear foolish, even crazy mad, as we live with the kind of devotion the Bible demands. Galatians reminds us of the need to demonstrate the great grace of God even in the stickiest of situations. Just like Christ, Paul confronts Christians — he speaks plainly without judging others. We too must learn that no matter how bad someone has acted, God’s grace is still to be offered. We must also learn to distinguish between love and legalism. Few messages are more relevant to our culture, where relativism seems to win the day. Paul opens Ephesians with great truths of doctrine and moves into practical application about our spiritual battles. We must learn to stand our ground. When we face evil, we are called — even commanded — to stay and not retreat. Ephesians outlines a strategy for victory by:
- standing to protect our great and precious wealth in Christ,
- standing to maintain our faith-walk , and
- standing to win the war against the opposition from the enemy.
For such perseverance and victory, we must understand and adopt our God-given spiritual armor. Paul’s letter to the Philippians emphasizes the joyous Christian. In life, even as we face death, we can remain on top, trusting God, and winning victories. A key question we must ask ourselves is this: Is Christ our life, our breath, our whole being? We may think we have Him, but does He fully have us? This call to complete abandonment for God is not impossible but the expected norm for every believer. God promises to finish what He started in us, and Philippians shows us how to trust in God as He brings His will to fruition. As cornerstone and capstone, Christ is over everything: the Creation, the Church, and our lives. Paul provides a pre-creation portrait of Christ, who was and is before everything was created. In Colossians, we gain fresh insight about the supremacy of Christ over all things. For it is Christ who holds all things together. He is head of the Church, and the beginning and fullness of the God’s people on earth. The book of Colossians gives us reason to trust God in an ever-changing world.