The Book of Romans is a good book. I’d like to memorize it. I was very moved when, via podcast, I listened to David Platt recite chapters 1 – 8 to his congregation in a sermon he gave while preaching at the Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL.
In an attempt to begin familiarizing myself with the text, I was reading Romans aloud the other day. And whether for the sake of memorizing or not, I think I like this method of experiencing Scripture. Speaking Paul’s exaltations and exhortations made me feel the emotions I imagine he felt while writing those words in a way that I don’t usually appreciate when I’m skimming verses in order to satisfy a daily reading plan.
It’s admittedly been a while since I’ve studied Romans. Come to think of it, I don’t know that I’ve ever personally studied Romans, but I’m sure I’ve read through most of it in the past. Consequently, it only took until Chapter 2 before I had to stop and breathe, not because I was preaching too exhaustively, but because I’d been spiritually doubled over by Romans 2:4 (ESV):
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Kindness is not weakness. I fear I may have forgotten this.
Grace is not meant to enable me to linger in my sin. Grace is the escape route from my sin. Grace is not meant to be an umbrella under which I can avoid the downpour of God’s righteous judgment while I go on living ignorantly of his presence and guidance. Grace is meant to lead me to repentance. Grace is meant to help me see the truth about who God is, and who I am.
I have often taken His love as a source of comfort while ignoring it as a source of correction. This needs to change.
Please help me, Father, to see that obedience to your word isn’t an opportunity for me to impress you, but an opportunity to live more fully satisfied than I’ve ever known. Help me find joy in obedience.