I finished reading Romans last night. Wow, what a book-- did that sound silly that last statement? Romans really is a mind bender. I have been going back through Romans looking at verses that I have underlined and highlighted (which happens to be practically the whole book) and I am just amazed at it all. Talk about a balance betwen Law and Gospel. I don't think I have really noticed that before, sily as that might sound, but I can really see how both aspects can and must be balanced. You can't have one with out the other. We can't know and enjoy the promise of salvation through Christ without first the knowledge of the damnation through the Law. I much prefer the salvation to the damnation. Or perhaps it is better said thusly: "For God has bound all men over to disobediece so that he may have mercy on them all." (Rom 11:32).
Of course then there is this: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." (Rom 12:3).
One cannot have the sweet without the bitter. If all we had was sweet and never knew the taste of bitter we wouldn't know that we had sweet. Romans to me was like a glass of good clean, cold water on a hot parched day. To me, Romans has the feel of Paul sitting down and with me and saying "hey, Karl, we need to talk. I want to tell you something. Its cool, though, I think you'll really dig it."
I have been a Christian all my life. I have read the bible countless times. But I have never read it from cover to cover, I am in that process now. It has been slow going because I haven't always been real good at keeping with the reading-- I'll admit that other things get in the way-- school, internet, fun reading, sleep, any number of things. But my bible sits by my bed waiting for me to come back and drink its cool refreshing water of salvation. Sometimes its no more than a verse or two or perhaps a chapter, but invariably there is something there that strikes me and makes me go "hmmm."
So, next stop is 1 Corinthians and things start to get a bit more heavy duty. I think Paul has some talking to do to me. I hope I'll listen.