Theology is Nice, But How Do You Live

The small group was reading in Romans. More reading than studying.  Many just hit a verse and say they’ve underlined it many years ago.

Inevitably, someone starts in on “theology lite.” She/he begins to expound on some theology from a thinker they’ve probably never actually read. Happens all the time.

I intercede (interrupt?). That’s one of my weaknesses–speaking up.

Let’s look at the simplicity and beauty of the letter, I suggest. Paul says we all start life as sinners. We may have the “Law” or may not, but it doesn’t matter. We’re all the same. Given the era Paul wrote in and his audience, he tries to explain the whole Jew/Greek thing. Same conclusion.

By the way, as an aside, some people stop here. We’re all sinners, they proclaim darkly. But that’s not the end of the story.

By chapter 6, Paul starts to hint that there’s a better life ahead. Chapter 8 he hits us full on with grace. We can dwell in sin, or we can live freely in grace. Chapter 10 reinforces the thought.

Paul concludes the letter with how we actually live under grace.

Sinners–>Grace–>Belief–>New Life (beginning Now)

Theology is nice. It’s an intellectual exercise. Makes for heated arguments. Humans have done it for thousands of years.

But, does it help you when you walk through the door into the world?

When you boil it down, almost everything Jesus taught, almost everything Paul taught, what James taught, what Peter taught–how we live beginning right now, this moment. Are we harboring evil thoughts toward another? We just committed murder in our hearts. Watch someone with lust in our hearts? We just committed adultery.

Or

  • We saw someone in need and helped them (not preached at, gave them a meal)
  • We saw someone mourning and we wept with them
  • We saw someone rejoicing and rejoiced with them
  • We saw someone lost and showed them the way to life through discipleship

We can think all we want. It’s our response to living with God that counts.

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