Recently, I finished a verse-by-verse sermon series through the book of Romans.  What is unusual about this is that in all my 33 years of ministry, I had never attempted this.  In fact, because of my professor in Bible College, I became intimated by the book of Romans.  The series took me 2 ½ years to finish and has become the most life changing series that I have ever preached.  I can honestly say the book of Romans has energized me and reminded me to “finish strong.”

 

I became struck with the seemingly sudden change in direction from chapter eight to chapter nine.  Most would agree that chapter nine through eleven is written with Israel in mind.  But what was Paul thinking?  What would cause him to change course for three chapters?  Could it be that the Jews were feeling deceived by God and abandoned?  After all, Paul has been talking about being justified by faith and not by law and the Jews might have been feeling “left out” or that God may have forgotten them.  Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth and Paul reminds them in chapters nine through eleven that not only has God not forgotten them but one day God will restore them as a whole nation as they once were.  What a glorious day that will be for Israel!

 

But what is the one thing that comes into my mind when I think of this great doctrinal treatise?  It is the love of God.  I am struck with the connection between chapter eight and chapter twelve.  As Paul is persuaded, as should we, that nothing will separate us from the Love of God, (8:35-39), our response should be to present ourselves a living sacrifice and not be conformed to this age (12:1-2).  The ‘why’ of 12:1-2 is found in 8:35-39.  What a great truth!  And it is this great truth that should motivate all of us to finish strong!