Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Romans 9--Passionate Love and Rigorous Thinking

There is a terrible lie that abounds saying essentially that one is either “loving and practical” or “aloof and theological”. Similarly, it is said that if you truly believe in God’s sovereignty of all things, even the human will, we’ll become cold, lazy, and fatalistic. (Of course, this runs absolutely counter to history’s greatest kingdom laborers, like Spurgeon, Edwards, Whitefield, Judson, Carey….to name a few.) In Romans 9, ironically, both one of the most neglected and yet hotly debated chapters in Scripture, we see both coming together. In most of the chapter, Paul lays out a very full argument on the sovereignty of God in individually electing who would be His people (i.e. what people today call “Calvinism”). However, notice 9:1-3, where Paul pours out his heart more sincerely and passionately that perhaps any of us have for His people: “I am speaking the truth in Christ--I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit-- 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Let this convict us not to compromise Scriptural teachings for the sake of worldly logic and in the so-called name of “love”. Let our hearts not grow cold for God because we think we are growing warm towards people. We are pierced in heart at how deep, hard thinking and zealous, consuming love come together not only in this text, but throughout the church’s history….but how easily we separate them.

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