Thursday, May 16, 2024

Orange Moon Thursday, May 16, 2024 "Doctrinal. Personal."

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"Doctrinal.  Personal."    


    "Genuinely principled devotion to doctrine inevitably results in personal devotion to people."

   Many through the ages of the church have contended - and I concur - that the Apostle Paul's epistle to the Romans serves as the doctrinal hub of the Bible.  "All roads lead to Rome" suggested the ancients regarding the Empire of old.  Scripturally, it could also be said that "All roads lead to Romans, and proceed from Romans."  From the sad condition of humanity bound by sin, to the liberation, justification, sanctification, and ultimate glorification of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (along with much practical insight into how Christians are to live, and God's purposes for His earthly people, Israel), Romans perhaps provides the clearest and most thorough presentation of God's redemptive working in humanity anywhere to be found in human literature.  Indeed, the poet Coleridge well stated, "Romans is the most profound writing in existence."

    Thus, we find the principles of truth and the Gospel in Romans. A fascinating feature of the epistle, however, involves the fact that the epistle includes perhaps the most personal communication in the New Testament directed toward people and individuals.  Consider Paul's closing farewell of the letter, the sixteenth chapter of Romans.  He references twenty seven individuals by name, from Phebe to Olympus, and many others along with way.  This confirms that genuinely principled devotion to doctrine inevitably results in personal devotion to people.  Those called to communicate the Gospel will not ferret themselves away in ivory towers, but rather involve themselves in the hearts and lives of souls so precious to God that His Son bears the prints of nails etched upon Him at the conclusion of His earthly lifetime.  Indeed, do we consider the Lord Jesus as being merely a preacher to multitudes?  Not if we rightly read and acknowledge the narrative of the Gospels.  Therein, we find our Savior personally involved with individuals so dear to God that "the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30).  The Lord Jesus well knew this, and very likely never saw a crowd in His life, even when preaching to thousands.

   The Christian witness, preacher, teacher, and writer all do well to remember the truth that if we have no interest in personal ministry, our influence will be minimal.  The Lord Jesus and Paul confirm that communication without communion does not proceed from the Holy Spirit.  People must matter to us because they most certainly matter to God.  The Gospels tell us this, as does the document - Romans - that most defines what the Gospels and the entire Bible are about.   Twenty seven saints from long ago would tell us this, souls that found their way onto the pages of the New Testament because they found their way into an Apostle's heart, as indwelt by his Lord's own heart.  Yes, God's truth is so very doctrinal - and so very personal. 

"And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind Him, and touched the border of His garment: and immediately her issue of blood staunched. And Jesus said, Who touched Me?  When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press Thee, and sayest thou, Who touched Me?"

(Luke 8:43-45)

Weekly Memory Verse

     I have loved thee with an everlasting love.

(Jeremiah 31:3)


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