Kata Romaious: A Reflection

Recently, I was taking a course on Romans. Together with the book study on Romans that I have to attend for Eagles Rendezvous and a similar book study that I co-teached in church, this is the third time that I am learning about the truths in the book of Romans. There are at least four learning points that I have gleaned over the past few months:

1. The Love of God in Our Lives

Perhaps one of the most poignant messages that Romans can offer us is the grace that God so willingly bestowed to us even though we are not deserving of it. Romans 5:6-8 sums it up well, that God demonstrated His love to us through Christ while we were still sinners. This, to me, is the ultimate evidence of God's love in our lives. Many times, we question the love of God when we are going through downtimes. I experienced this just during the course, as I began to think of my own future career in my current workplace and my own future family planning. I had a few setbacks (which I will share in future post) but this continues to bring me back to the place where God showed His love - the foot of the cross and the empty tomb.



If this is insufficient to display God's love, then nothing else will. And for me, this fact alone needs to be the key reason for my soul to bless the Lord and I probably don't need another 9,999 reasons to do so.

2. One Function of Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in tongues is a controversial topic in the Christian circles, especially outside that of the Pentecostal and Charismatic circles.

Many times, Romans 8:26-27 is used to provide a proof-text for speaking/praying in tongues. I happened to be doing some research in this area and found Gordon Fee's argument in his book "God's Empowering Presence" convincing. Essentially, when the Spirit intercedes for us in wordless groans, there are words which Paul could have used if he were talking about silent prayers. However, he seemed to be referring to a ministry of the Holy Spirit that is a common experience of prayer for the believers of his days - which the main possibility lies in the praying of tongues. (For more details, you can refer to Gordon Fee's book)

But the implication is such: our Christian spirituality is meant to be supernaturally normal. The inarticulate groanings that we experience not only help us to trust God more – the act of speaking in tongues is already an act of trust to let go and let God, but also help us to help us to connect with God in a deeper level in our prayer lives. It is not something that we, as Pentecostal Christians, try to hype up, but more than just being a mere supernatural phenomenon, it is part of our spirituality. When we do not know what to pray for, the Spirit intercedes in our behalf. We can be certain that God hears these prayers which are prayed in accordance to His will, even though we do not understand what we are praying about. The act of praying in the Spirit is also a supernatural normal act, which prepares us for the greater supernatural acts.



It is in realising this that I learned to trust God more through my tongues and my prayers - confident that He will know what I need the most.

3. Serving Wholeheartedly in Christ

I mentioned that blessing God needs only one reason. Similarly, as I was reflecting on the implications of the gospel, serving God with our body also only needs one reason. Romans 12:1-2 spell it out very clearly. Again, serving God is and should be a natural consequence of knowing that we have received the mercies of God. It should not be a by-the-way thing that we do because we have too much free time on our hands, nor should it be sacrificed because of other distractions in our lives, such as having kids in the family.

From my own experience, kids can sometimes have such effects on their serving parents

Again, these few months I have been pondering about how I should serve God, and the conclusion that I have come to is that I serve God where I will be most effective and will be able to meet the needs of my ministries. This however draws not from the request of my wife, nor my leaders but on the realisation that I owe God my one and only life, that this is part of serving Him as His doulos (slave) and this is part of my own reasonable act of worship unto Him.

4. Learning and Teaching

Because this is not my first time going through the book of Romans, I felt that it gets sometimes a bit boring or weird to go through the content again. But nothing can be further than the truth - that this is ultimately the word of God and you can never know enough or study enough from His words. This applies for the book of Romans as well, even for the book of Ephesians which I am currently preparing as a teaching for my next mission trip (this will be my second time teaching this book).


This brings me to a conclusion, that I need to continue to immerse myself in the Scripture if I want to teach the truth to people, to help people realise the richness of God's word. How can I do so if I myself do not demonstrate that the Word of God is rich in itself? This is perhaps one reason why I would probably feel sad if I hear of people who think they know enough of Scripture (I actually know of two in my life and by thoughts and practice, they do not come across as authentic Christians to me though).

In short, the journey to Rome had been an interesting one for me, particularly when I went through so much during these 4 months, with the passing on of my grandmother, going for my second reservist and encountering possible career move. But the word of God never fails - it did not fail for Israel, hence it will not fail for us.

Till the next time I write.

Comments

  1. Anonymous2:23 PM

    hihi

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  2. Yes, I agree that in our spirituality we should count supernatural experience with God as normal, and there should not be a clear dichotomy between what is natural and supernatural. We live according to the unseen world of the Spirit, to whom we look to and trust in.

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