Lunches are made, uniforms bought (no small feat this year), clothes washed & ironed, supply lists purchased, tags cut off, cellophane ripped and thrown… Here’s to a shiny, fresh start at a new school!
We just landed back in Texas after three wonderful weeks in Oregon. We enjoyed gorgeous weather, rivers, mountains, berries & best of all sweet fellowship with so many of you! It is so good to catch up on what is happening in your lives. If we missed meeting with you, drop us a note. We’d love to be praying for you more accurately.
For now, we are settling back into school routines. Praise God with us for safe travels & provision! Praise Him for providing a wonderful house & dog-sitter, Stephanie, while we were away!
Please pray specifically for James & Joel starting at a new school next week, for new friends, growing in wisdom, favor & stature. (Pray also we can find all their required supplies & uniforms by the time school starts next week.)
Pray for Anna & Kim beginning her first year of full-time homeschooling this year.
Pray for Kent’s research & work beginning in 10 days at the university.
Pray that we would all represent Christ well and glorify Him in our relationships and in our lives.
We are brown-eyed parents with blue-eyed kids. I’ve learned that no two sets of blue eyes are identical. I’ve always called Anna’s eyes “blueberry blue” because their particular shade of light gray/blue is like the white dust coating the first blueberries of the season. Here is our blueberry blue girl next to some of the ten pounds of blueberries we picked outside of Corvallis yesterday. The lightest berries are just about right, don’t you think?
So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith”. (Rom 1:15-17 ESV)
Here we see what could be called a thesis statement for the book of Romans. If Romans is the explanation and defense of the Gospel as Paul preaches it, then this is the summary statement of how and why that happens. There are a number of things to notice in these verses:
- Paul is eager to preach the gospel to this audience. (v15) because
- Paul is not ashamed of the gospel. (v16) because
- the gospel is the power of God.
- the gospel brings salvation.
- that salvation is to everyone who believes.
- that salvation is for Jews, and
- that salvation is for Greeks/Gentiles/non-Jews. This is because
- The gospel is about the righteousness of God. (v17)
- That righteousness is revealed by means of faith (source).
- That righteousness is revealed for the purpose of faith (end/result). And finally,
- This centrality of faith is not new; it has backing in the Hebrew scriptures.
Looking at this verse another way, we can ask the following questions:
Who is the object of the gospel?
This passage is clear enough, I think, that the Gospel is aimed at and available to all nations, Jew and Gentile/non-Jew alike. Elsewhere in Romans, Paul lays out the evidence that neither all nor only the descendants of Abraham will receive the blessings promised to Abraham. That is, at least some Jews don’t obtain that blessing, and at least some non-Jews do. So the object of the gospel is not one particular ethnic group, but everyone who believes.
What is the basis of the gospel?
If the gospel is not a message to a particular people group, who is it for? And how do we enter into it? I find it intriguing that “from faith to/for faith” is somewhat ambiguous. That is, does it mean something like from A to Z, meaning all-inclusive, or more like Alpha and Omega, which presumably doesn’t mean that Jesus is everything, but that He is the origin and purpose of everything else. Here the difference might be between saying that the righteousness of God in the Gospel is revealed entirely by faith — never by anything else, on the one hand, and on the other hand saying that the righteousness of God in the Gospel comes from/through faith (as its source), but also aims at faith (as its goal). This second interpretation would mean that not only does God provide us with His righteousness by means of faith (as in Eph 2:8-9), but the purpose for doing that is to give us faith — that is, relationship with Himself. I find this intriguing because I don’t think these interpretations are incompatible, so maybe the ambiguity is intentional. Maybe it is all about faith, AND provided by and for the purpose of faith. In any case, there is nothing else that provides this righteousness; faith is the only means by which we may enter into the blessings God offers us in the gospel.
What is the purpose of the gospel?
The purpose of the Gospel is addressed three times in this passage, though perhaps tangentially. First, Paul is not ashamed because the gospel is the power of God. Then in verse 17, the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel. And finally, as mentioned above, I think the whole point of the gospel is to magnify faith in God, making Him the primary mover and shaker, revealer and powerful One in all gospel work. That is, the gospel is all about showing the Glory of God.
God in the Gospel does not hand out blessing to one people group and not another; rather, what He desires in us is, and has always been, faith. And the purpose and result of all this, is that we get to connect relationally with the glory of God.
Thank you to those who prayed for provision of housing and transportation on our Oregon trip! Thank you also to the five households hosting us or having us housesit. We have wonderful transportation & housing for every bit of our trip! So far Oregon has been amazing to us. Grateful. So grateful.