The 'I Am' of Paul

Posted by Scott Lowther on

Romans 1:14-15 "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome."

Dear CBC Family,

I wanted to write a follow-up from last weekend’s sermon as I had a huge amount of feedback. I want to ensure that we are all clear on the grace that we are under obligation to give to all men. Rom 1:14-15 “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”

The obligation, or debt if you will, that God places us under is not a debt to Him because we have received grace. To try and pay Him back is wrong and fuels an anti-grace mindset called the debtor’s ethic. It sounds something like this “God has done so much for me I just want to do something for Him.” Again, though this sounds good it is actually an understanding of grace being some sort of cash advance that needs to be repaid. Instead of God saying we are in His debt for grace he places us in debt to others to show them the grace we have received. This grace we are under obligation is NOT simply being nice to each other. This obligation, in context, is restricted to giving the gospel of grace not random acts of kindness.

The reason I am mentioning the above is because I want us to make a distinction between what scripture teaches and a false application of it. This obligation of giving the gospel of grace to all men does not eliminate the requirement to hold the standards of scripture in all the other areas of our lives. For example, pastors are still obligated to meet the requirements of scripture, churches are required to be run according to the Bible, people are to call a sinning brother or sister to repentance etc. In other words, God telling us to be gracious in Romans 1:14 does not mean turn a blind eye to sin. Again, our being debtors to all men does not mean we throw sanctification and holiness out the window, rather it upholds it because the obedience of faith is not in contrast to the grace we are obligated to give as we indiscriminately share the gospel of grace with all. As a matter of fact, the gospel of grace is most believable coming from a holy life that is dominated by it!

This weekend we are back in the same text. I’m still wrestling through which points to focus on first so please pray for me. These things are critical for the health of our souls. I can echo the words of V11 “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.” I’m looking forward to your encouragement and hope that I will encourage you!
For the sake of His great name!

Pastor Scott

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