II ROMANS 27
THE BIBLE IS GOD’S PERSONAL MESSAGE TO YOU
Now, Paul gets very personal in this 12th chapter. He starts out by reminding his readers that he has been given by God the special blessing of teaching them the will of God. That gives authority to what he is about to say. I have had people say they do not like Paul’s
style and pay no attention to what he says as they only use a Red Letter Bible and note only the words of Jesus. A lot of people use various methods in an attempt to avoid certain teachings of the Bible.
If my church practices something that the Bible does not approve, then it is because of an error in translation, or the manuscripts we have are not authentic, or some other reason for ignoring some of the plain teaching of the Book.
The Bible is the only source we have that identifies the God who created the Universe. It is the only communication we have from the Creator. Do you suppose, for a moment, that One who could create you and the world you live in would allow His only source of information about what He wanted you to do, and what He created you for, to be sullied or destroyed by the stumbling mistakes of men?
If you really believe in God, you must believe that His message of love for you gives you exactly what He wants you to know and that the
messengers who wrote it were enabled to do so by His authority and guidance. Every word of this sacred Book should be studied, thought about, and taken to heart. When Jesus said, “Thy Word is Truth”, He
authenticated that which God would make available for us in all
centuries to come.
I think it is important to realize that Paul is authenticating his words when he says that he speaks that which the grace of God gave him to speak. And then he says, “To every man that is among you”,
placing the responsibility upon every individual to hear and heed
the Word of God. You have no excuse if you believe what you got from your ancestors, or from the church you belong to. Finding the Truth is a personal responsibility for every person.
Then Paul says that no one should think more highly of himself than he ought to think. Stop for a moment and realize that this statement is a two-edged sword. It not only means that one should not be egotistical and overestimate himself, but it also means that everyone should realize what talents he has and be willing to use them to the fullest in the service of the King.
Paul, ever conscious that the church is a family, and that every member of the family should be willing to do his part to help the others by happily giving whatever he can to the common goal of glorifying the Father, lists a series of things the body needs to effectively represent Christ to the world. Some of these things call
for the open display of one’s talents. Some of them are best displayed in secret, unnoticed and unapplauded by the group. In the language here, Paul urges us to fulfill whatever the grace of God has given us,
with humility and sincerity.
William Barclay tells us that the ancient Stoics thought a part of God was in every creature. The skeptics laughed and said, “God in
worms?” The Stoic answered, “Why not? Cannot an earthworm serve God’s purposes? Happy are you if you can serve God, and carry out His great purposes for you as well as the earthworm”. That is a good
lesson for all of us. That is what Paul means when he says, “Present your bodies, a living sacrifice to God”. Whatever place God has given me the talent to occupy, I should fulfill with my whole heart.
There are many more riches in this 12th chapter, and we will explore more of them in our next essay or two.