Pastor Eric's Blog
Have You Thought About the Nations Lately?
Have you ever been reading the Bible in a familiar book, oh let's say, Romans 1? Then as you were reading you ran across a verse or phrase and you had to say to yoruself, "What did that say?" Not that what you read was offense, but that you just had not ever seen it there before and you can't believe you had never seen that there before!
Sherri and I recently started reading through Romans at night just before bed. I had recently broken off a long engagement with the book of Proverbs. It was so long that Sherri commented that she was glad we were reading something different. Well anyways. . . I had a similar experience as I started reading the first chapter of this great book that lays out so much of what Paul believes about conversion.
In 1:5 Paul writes "Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name." Briefly, the "Him" is Christ, who according to verse four had been declared to be the Son of God because of the resurrection. The benefit of this to Paul was "grace" and "apostelship." Grace obviously necessary every where the believer. "Apostleship" was given to Paul and many others. The purpose of these gifts of grace and apostleship was "for obedience to the faith." Question--That who might be obedient to the faith? Answer: "all nations for His name."
Paul never lost sight of what he and the church were called to. To go the uttermost parts of the world. To make disciples of all nations. To preach the remission of sins among all nations. Of course, Paul was told he would be used for as much when Jesus spoke through Ananias in Acts 9, declaring to Paul that he would preach to the Gentiles, to kings, and to the children of Israel.
So, what is the big deal right? The reason this struck me is because I knew the same phrase concerning oebdience to the faith among the nations was used at the very end of the book, in Paul's bendiction. Romans 16:25-27--"Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith--to God alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."
Briefly, we should note that:
- This was the plan laid out in the prophetic scritpures, that is the Old Testament Scriptures.
- It is being carried out because of the command of God!
- Romans opens and closes with statements about reaching the nations for the glory of Jesus!
- Paul had the same mission that God has!
What is our mission in life? What do we think about with our spare thoughts? Do the nations ever come into mind? Does your neighbor? God thought about the nations before Christ ever came. Paul sought to reach the nations because Christ saved him and gave him grace and apostelship for the carrying out of God's desire to save the nations! The saving of the nations. . . wow what an incredible, scarlet thread, running from Genesis to Revelation.