In 57AD, the Apostle Paul established an elite school for the
top one percent of local theologians. Its purpose was to teach the lost art of
ariel theological combat and to ensure that the handful of men who graduated
were the best theologian fighters in the world. Today, the Navy calls it
Fighter Weapons School. The theologians call it…. Top Gun: Romans.
Cue the music and some fighter jets screeching off a
Corinthian aircraft carrier.
Okay, just kidding. This is Angie, but I sure love me some
TOP GUN. If you haven’t seen the new movie, what are you waiting for?
Alright, back to the podcast, which is about Paul and the
book of Romans, and specifically chapters 4-6.
Justification. Salvation. God’s Righteousness. If you are in
your Bible much at all, you likely know that those four words shout the passion
preached by our brother Paul in the book of Romans. Paul is relentless in his
pursuit and sharing of truth, introducing the good news of salvation right out
of the gate to immediately demonstrating why we need saving.
In chapter four, Paul expressed the
very core of the good news; that the Gospel has the power to save everyone who
believes. Since everyone has violated the Law, and we cannot save ourselves, there
is no chance to establish righteousness on our own by keeping the Law. Our only
hope is for God to do something apart from requiring us to keep the law and
still not violate His own moral code and character.
Paul literally lays out the Top Gun
of truth: Only Jesus alone can satisfy
the uncompromising demands of a holy God. He did it by taking on our sin and
personally paying the price by His death on a cross. In this way God could
freely and rightly justify, declare righteous, and make righteousness any who
would put their trust in Jesus.
Jesus became sin for us that we
might become the righteousness of God in Him. The term Paul uses is
justification. Justification is like a judge declaring you
“not guilty” on the basis of payment by a substitute. Jesus paid our debt to
God and wiped the record clean.
We can’t work for it. We can’t buy it. There is nothing we can
do to earn it, not by any words or actions. Justification is a gift of God to
any and all who ask and trust, through salvation in Christ alone. That was the
core of Paul’s passion.
In chapter 5-6, Paul
touches on a multitude of benefits that we reap as a result of this
supernatural work of God. Once we have been justified by God, a whole new world
opens up. Do you know and remember all that has been promised to us? Here are
some brief reminders:
The separation between
us and God is over. As believers, we have peace with God that includes a promised
glorious future, where one day we will reflect the very glorious nature of the
Creator as He originally intended for us.
With a new peace with
God and a new assured future, we can have a new appreciation for what living in
this present world can produce in us along the way. When we face tribulations
with a new eternal perspective, it produces perseverance, character, hope.
Whereas sin once dominated everything we did, we have died to
the old master and are attached to a new master; there is no turning back once
we have been saved through Christ!
Paul is literally dropping truth bombs all over the place. Let’s
turn and burn!
If you are a believer in Jesus, all that I just shared from
Romans 4-6 should not be new news to you. But we can quickly forget our roots
and the importance of sharing doctrinal truths with those who don’t know Jesus.
We have an obligation to ensure the truth is passed on to the next generation.
In the newest Top Gun movie, the main character, Maverick,
trains younger fighter pilots for a seemingly impossible mission. He shares his
knowledge, his passion, his experiences, much like Paul does to the church in
Rome in this letter. At one point in the movie, Maverick is introduced to the
young bloods, and I can’t help but wonder if the same intro couldn’t be said
about Paul: “Your instructor is one of the finest pilots this program has
ever produced. His exploits are legendary. What he has to teach you, may very
well mean the difference between life and death.”
To one we are the aroma of death, to another the aroma of
life. It doesn’t take an elite fighter pilot like a Maverick or an elite theologian
like a Paul to share the Gospel. It just takes a willing heart. May we all spread
Gospel truth and love to the world around us with the same zeal and passion of
those who have come before and those who will come after. The next generations
are depending on us. You can be my wingman any time.