2 ways to live – Romans 13

I was privileged last night to read an email from our church youth pastor,  inviting me to preach on Romans 13 on the 1st of May. The night service has been preaching through the book of Romans for some weeks now.

Reading the passage caused me to think more about the Apostle Paul and other Biblical writers and the various downfalls of communicating through the written word as against face to face communication… and so I wrote a post titled Would we understand Scripture differently if the authors used emoticons ? 🙂

I believe that to fully understand the Epistles and what is written in them; we must understand the author through the narrative stories. For it is within the narrative stories that we can visualize and understand the authors emotions, mindsets and modus of ministry. We can understand how Christ challenged and transformed their lives.

And so we come to Romans 13.  We can read it and other passages like it through the lenses of rules and regulations and continue to think these are things we must do and in doing so we can create a stern picture of Paul the domineering lecturer. … Or we can read about the legalistic Pharisee who went about persecuting the early church; thinking he was pleasing God… who encountered the living Christ.

This encounter of God’s love changed him in a way that revolutionized and changed his life. And through understanding Paul’s experience of God’s love, through understanding Paul’s own radical change – we can then understand more deeply what Paul is talking about when he speaks about there being two ways to live.

We can live the way of LOVE – or we can live the way of HATRED. Love or hatred towards God, towards self and towards others. And I believe that Paul is urging people to live a life of love – because he himself was radically changed through experiencing Christ’s love.


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5 Replies to “2 ways to live – Romans 13”

  1. I remember learning in seminary that the chapters in Romans are out of order, as if the messenger dropped the papyri as he’s carrying them to Rome.chp 5-8 should be at the end I think….I think the order is 1-4, 9-16, 5-8. I’ll call my friend tonight and double check the order.

  2. Got it! Chapter 16 should have been first! This s the proper order of Romans:
    16, 1-3, 9-11, 4-8, 12-15
    4-8 are about the Christian life, 12-15 list almost every problem Paul or the other Gentile churches ever had in organic church life. (I’ve experienced VERY similar). Any one who dares to plant an organic church and leave it on its own without a pastor like Paul did, should note the closing advice Paul gave to a church.
    BTW, Romans was written in 58 AD during Acts 20:3-4.

    1. I disagree with that order. I think that the order is the one which we have – I say that because of his use of rhetoric which I feel confident in saying that he used.

  3. Anthony thanks for your comments.

    I don’ think the chapters are out of order. Rather what you are picking up on is how Paul changes from addressing his Jewish and then Gentile readers and ultimately brings them together in a climax of unity within the Gospel…

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