THE ROMAN ROAD:: MAYBE NOT AS STRAIGHT AS YOU THINK

Posted: August 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

It is interesting to me that people on opposing sides of an argument will both use the Bible to try to support their side and will say that the other side is being “deceived” by “teaching a false doctrine”. Thanks, Paul, for giving us a consistent verse to use against those who do not interpret something the way we do. “You’re a heretic! Paul warned believers about you!”

Oh goodness… Recently I read through the entire book of Romans so that I could try to trace the line of thinking that Paul had when writing arguable the most doctrinal book in the Bible. My findings were super interesting and it turns out that I have never read a more schizophrenic author than Paul. Especially when he began writing what we know as Chapter 9. The difference between the first 8 chapters and the rest of the book is insane! 

So I made some notes of different verses that are absolutely in the Bible that seem to completely contradict what we know today to be orthodox Christianity. I want you to see if for yourself:

Romans 5:

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So here Paul is saying that just how Adam caused sin to enter into the world and as a result everyone became a sinner, Jesus’ act of righteousness has made everyone righteous. He uses THE EXACT SAME LANGUAGE to explain both sides. It makes sense- Adam causes EVERYONE to be sinful (we accept that) so Jesus’ righteousness causes EVERYONE to be made righteous (Ohhhh, wait, we don’t want to accept that!).

Romans 9:

25 As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called sons of the living God.’”

Wait, God is not going to limit himself to a SINGULAR group of people, but will call people- people who have not been his people-“his people”. Interesting.

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,

The interesting part here is that the Gentiles, even though they DID NOT PURSUE RIGHTEOUSNESS, obtained it, while at the same time, Israel, who did pursue righteousness, failed to succeed.

Romans 10:

20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me;
    I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

Now that one follows more of what Calvinists believe. Nonetheless, its still really interesting that God is bashing Israel (his people) so profusely while he is going out of his way to say that there are other people who are his, even though they are not Israel. Salvation doesn’t look like we would think.

Romans 11:

16  If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Is Jesus the dough and root in this analogy? If so, then the WHOLE LUMP and BRANCHES are holy. Everything coming after Jesus is holy. Interesting.

Romans 11:

30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

God makes people be disobedient? Ok, that’s interesting. But the most interesting is WHY he causes all to be disobedient…SO HE CAN HAVE MERCY ON ALL. What? All? Like everyone?

Romans 15:

21 but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see,
    and those who have never heard will understand.”

“How can one see if you have never been shown? and how can one understand if one has never heard?” Sound familiar? Well how do you harmonize those two verses? Sounds like something God-like is happening here.

So these are just a few verses from just ONE chapter of the Bible that does a sufficient job in muddying the waters for an interpreter. Is it possible to harmonize the whole Bible with such outlandish statements like those above? Doesn’t it seem like there is something that only God can explain concerning the salvation of humanity? Is there a clear, precise, inerrant interpretation? Or are we as humans too impotent to comprehend God enough to restrict him to such concrete, rudimentary doctrines like what salvation looks like for everyone or how God is going to treat those who died without believing in him. For those who know FOR CERTAIN the eternity of mankind, you have greater faith than I. For now, I will allow God to be God and not make bold claims about something I have no certainty about.

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