Some Thoughts On Romans 1:10-11

…always in my prayers, asking that somehow by G-d’s will I may come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

-Romans 1:10-11-

It seems it was within (the preposition “by” is the Greek preposition “en”, which usually refers to being in, with, or among something or some entity, be it a person, group, or object) the will of G-d for Paul to go anywhere the Gentiles and barbarians might be found (Romans 1:14).  Some areas of the world notwithstanding, because of G-d’s explicit instructions, Paul was to go anywhere that non-Jews might be found.

G-d, Paul knew, wanted the Gospel presented in Rome. Well, “presented” may not be the best word.  Sounds like a proposal being presented with arguments and talking points.  The gospel, when presented, rather ought to be done in such a way that we get ourselves out of the way and let the Holy Spirit manifest in a demonstration of power (1 Corinthians 12:7), given the gospel is not a matter of word or talk, but one of power (1 Corinthians 4:20).

Ministers of the gospel, we are not expositors of cleverly devised fables, but rather, we are followers of an Entity who loves deeply, relates intensely, dies passionately, and redeems completely  It is not our job to have a clever presentation with deft handling of words and turns of phrase (though some of us, teachers, are given to those details).  Rather, we are designed to plug relationally into a connection with others, and to connect them with a G-d who really does want a relationship with all of humanity.

Thinking I have to follow one preacher’s formula for making disciples, when G-d has made me redemptively with a big spirit for big-spirited connections with big-spirited humanity that has no interest in religion, sells G-d and the gospel far short of G-d’s design for the gospel.

We are redeemed, but to what?

To relate, with our whole being, spirit, soul (mind; will; and, yes, emotions), and body to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We have an innumerablly relational, big-spirited inheritance and birthright.  Let us seize that, rather than a list of do’s, don’t’s, and motions through which we think we must go in order to placate what we think is G-d, but really is not. 

G-d’s purpose in Paul’s coming was not so the Romans could have merely a soulish, cerebral connection, with perfectly buttoned-down apologetics right down to their feet.  Rather, His purpose was a deep, spiritual, intimate, and messy intimate knowledge (as John Mark McMillian writes, such that “heaven meets earth like a sloppy, wet kiss”) of the living G-d and a connection of believers with each other and the lost: a connection defined not by apologetic and argumentation, but by real relationship. Relationship has always been the cornerstone and bridge for redemption. 

That kind of connection brings with it some risk. But in the kingdom, our very living, moving, and having our being are defined in the context of risk (Revelation 12:11-NIV).

What are you risking, believer?

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