"Set apart for the gospel... concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord". Paul - Romans 1.
Over the last few entries, we looked at what might be termed the key elements of reality - that God is actually more immediate than we often care to realize, and the reason for that distance on our part (in terms of our invented beliefs) is our fundamental alienation from God ( a nature which has a propensity to reject and deny Him). The wonder, as we touched upon last time, is that in spite of this wretched estate, God still provides for our rebellious race, still cares for us, and still wishes to reach us with the good news that can truly redeem and restore us to be truly ourselves again (renewing our relationship to Him and each other).
The means God uses to re-connect us to what has been lost is the proclaiming of truth, particularly regarding His work through Jesus Christ, which facilitates God's promises being made ours because we are made His in Christ (See Romans 3:31-27).
We can see that such work and faith is evidenced, as Paul shows, in what could be termed some of the key events in human history.
The story of Abraham (Romans 4), for example, shows us the distinction between 'life' as we generally understand it - marked by the sin of Adam - and life renewed by God, allowing us to see God's faithfulness to take us from this into His Son (see Romans 5). It is this work, foreign to us and our world, which God Himself bestows to kill and raise us (Romans 6), to end the tyranny of the Law (which rightly finds us guilty) and Sin (which leaves us powerless to find any other remedy - Romans 7). When this occurs, we become those who participate in a life which finally brings us, after death and resurrection, to a full renewal of life amidst a restored and glorified creation (Romans 8), which is secured and established by the love of God.
It is purely because of the surety of this that we can have confidence in God's promises working through history (Romans 9), including and especially amongst those who first received the promises (Romans 10), and thereby revel in the full splendor of God's purposes to all men (Romans 11). This is the framework which allows us to seek to express the height and depth of redemption in our daily lives (Romans 12), especially in relation to this world (Romans 13) and towards one another (Romans 14 & 15).
Coming next... we'll seek to unpack some of the ramifications of these truths.