As a new believer I was encouraged to read the New Testament. I took up the challenge and began reading; I wanted to understand what I had just chosen to believe. The Scripture wasn’t sinking in for some reason; but then I got to Romans.
Romans. Even today I love this book more than any other in the New Testament. It is so full of rich direction and lessons for new believers, as well as those who have been on the journey for a long time.
I remember exactly where I was when I read chapter 8 for the first time. I had flown to Lubbock, Texas and even though it was time to disembark the plane, I could not tear myself away from Romans 8. I had never read anything like it. I wanted to draw it all in at once, like a dry sponge soaking up water. Letting it fill ever nook, every cranny, until I will filled to the fullest measure with all that Romans said.
The words on my Bible’s pages were wild ones. Untamed by nearly 2,000 years, they leapt off the page. Drawing me in and taking me away all at the same time. I felt free, I felt hope, I felt alive in my faith.
Who could remain the same with words like, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1),” or “but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires (v. 5b).” And then there are the verses that say that the Holy Spirit will intercede for us (v. 26).
Or the now familiar verse, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (v. 28).”
My favorite part in all of Romans 8 are verses 38 and 39: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present, nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As a new believer those words were a revelation to me. Nothing could separate me from God’s love? NOTHING? Really? I could have floated to Heaven and back at that moment. My story of redemption needed to have that exclamation point at the end of it. I needed to know that God wouldn’t decide that it was a mistake to have forgiven me. Romans 8:38-39 were the first verses I memorized on my faith journey.
I was His daughter and I was worthy, really worthy of His Love. I could truly sing the verses in chapter 11; “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has know the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen (vs. 33-36).”
After reading this book a number of times over the years, I still feel excited, encouraged, challenged and most of all alive at the words Paul wrote. They remind me why I believe what I believe. The book of Romans ends with these verses:
“Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him–to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen (Romans 16:25-27).”
If you have never read Romans, or if it’s been a while, why not read it? Then you too can cry out in unison with me–Glory to God, Amen!!