I started a new Bible study with the totally awesome group of women at The Well. (See thewellbiblestudy.org) Each semester you have the opportunity to chose a book that interests you from a selection they offer. This time I chose Romans by Max Lucado.
I like Max, one, because I know he wouldn’t me mind calling him Max. Two, because he tends to be more devotional than academic in his writing. By the way, I went to seminary for over a year to learn the difference between academic and devotional commentators/authors. My professor said the easiest way to tell the difference is you fall asleep within five minutes of reading an academic commentator and you stay awake for the devotional type!
Anyway….I hadn’t even completed the introduction before Rev. Max resonated with me. Here are just a few “nuggets”! (That’s what our fearless leader Liz calls them!)
“God’s highest passion is to get his children home. His book, the Bible, describes his plan of salvation. The purpose of the Bible is to proclaim God’s plan and passion to save his children.”
Now don’t say, “Duh, Debi, thank you for clearly overstating the obvious!” Contemplate with me the significance of the word “passion“. If you have been a Christian for many years or grew up in the church it is easy to forget that bringing us home is God’s plan and passion, not ours. Any desire we have in our heart to be united with God has been planted there by him! We didn’t just wise up one day and decide to be Christians, he pursued us. As Romans 9:16 states, “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” I’m not just referring to God “getting” us to heaven. As in the story of the prodigal son, coming home is symbolic of relationship, connection, provision, security and completeness.
As often as we have heard it, sometimes we forget Romans 3:23- 24, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Get that? We are justified freely by God’s grace! Do you know why? Because he is passionate about us! Not because we are so great, but because he is! “The glory of God is man fully alive.” – St. Irenaeus said. When we God’s creation are “home” and fully alive, God is glorified.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there is much mystery surrounding God’s passionate pursuit of us and our willingness to receive his love by faith. Romans 4:5 is just one of the verses that refers to this when Paul states, “However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”
Let me just close by saying, I for one am glad that God initiated relationship with me, sustains a relationship with me and will maintain the relationship with me eternally! For this child of God, Mercy and Grace are two of my best friends!
The doxology in Romans 11 says it best!
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.