Thursday, February 27, 2014

Romans 3:23/Biblical Context

So this will probably be short. I want to say that this is all my own thinking, so if its incorrect, please tell me. This is just something I've noticed.

I've heard Romans 3:23 a lot. At school (Christian school), at church, sunday school, bible camp, you name it. If you don't know it, it goes "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Or at least, that's how I learned it. How it really goes is ".... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ..." Note the .... Who is all?

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe.There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

So if we look at the surrounding verses, Paul is talking about "righteousness given through faith ... to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned..." I believe that the point of Romans 3:23 is not about how everyone has sinned and we're all terrible like I learned (or what I took in, maybe not what they were trying to teach) in sunday school. While its true that we are all sinners, what Paul is saying is almost the exact opposite. He's saying we've been given righteousness through faith, and we are "justified freely through his grace".

So the point here is don't try and look at one verse out of context. Through those lenses, Romans 3:23 is a pretty bleak, sad, depressing message. Through the message around it, it says, "Yeah, humanity sure has messed up, but salvation is here if you accept it."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

First Post Ramble

Well, this is my first post, so I suppose I should say something that introduces myself, like my name, my age, my school, what I like to do, what I plan to blog about (there is no plan), and stuff.
But if you're reading my first post, that's probably because you saw a link to it from me, so you probably already know that stuff, so I probably don't need the standard introductory stuff, so I should probably end this sentence and move on to the next one, because I probably didn't need to say any of this in the first place.
Ok, I rescind what I said earlier about having no plan. Well I don't, but I do. I don't have a plan on when I'll post, or what I'll post, but I'll post what I decide to post several time increments after I could have, should have, and probably meant to have posted it. A lot of my blogs will be my opinions on different aspects of Christian theology, I hope to do some book reviews, and then I'll blog about life and stuff.

So, now I suppose I should actually write something that actually has some meaning and value and will actually help make this blog go to where it ends up being.

Today, I heard a speaker make a common, almost cliche, thing to say among Christians. He asked us if we thought it would be good if Christ returned tomorrow. Many people raised their hands, and I began to, because of course it would be good if He came back tomorrow! Then I thought about it. Sure, it would be good for me if He came back tomorrow. I'd be in Heaven then, and of course that would be amazing. But then I thought about the friends I have who don't know Christ. How sad would it be for them? And then I realized that only a Christian who has done their best to spread the gospel to everyone in their life who doesn't know Christ can be truthful in saying that yes, they would be happy if Christ came back tomorrow. Because if we haven't tried to spread the gospel to everyone in our lives, then we have failed.

Sure, we'd still end up in Heaven. But think about it. Those in our lives who we could have reached but didn't would end up Hell. And if we didn't even try to save them, then it is our fault. (Of course, God still loves us.) I think it should be hard for any Christian to say, "I want Christ to return tomorrow", if they haven't done their best to ensure that when He does return, the people around them join them in Heaven.

Now don't take this the wrong way. I don't want to say, "You're a horrible person and you should be ashamed if you don't try to evangelize every single person in you're life!" Sometimes spreading the gospel means talking to the guy behind the counter at Starbucks, or the person next to you on the bus. Sometimes it means showing love to someone who doesn't feel love where they should, like in their families. Alright, I'm done.

That was way longer than I planned, but I guess my plans don't really matter when God has better ones.