So ... today we travelled through Romans 6-10. One of the great advantages of working through an entire book in one week is you can begin to see the big picture. After introducing himself and his love for the people, Paul begins to preach the gospel declaring all are under God's wrath. BUT there is a righteousness outside of the sinner sent by God received through faith - Jesus. Paul then turns to the Old Testament and shows how Abraham was justified by faith in the promised seed and this took place before he was circumcised, so the promise is offered both to Jew and Gentile. But if justification is a declaration, what about sanctification? Romans 6. And what about our relationship with the law? Romans 7. And what takes place between salvation and glorification, including our suffering? Romans 8. But is there a problem with God's Word if the Jews are not believing? Romans 9- 10. And God's plan for Jew and Gentile? Romans 11.
One of the joys of my day was taking the students through Romans 8. We will suffer, as our Saviour suffered but He will keep us as the Spirit intercedes for us and as the work of Christ is applied to our lives. Will anything separate us from the love of God? If God is for us, who can be against us? Imagine, after Romans 1-3, we read God is for US!! It was such a joy to rejoice in the gospel together and celebrate the love of our God.
Romans 7 went smooth - or at least for a while. I went through Romans 7 with them, expressing my view (I'll keep it a secret for now so I do not lose 2/3's of my faithful blog readers, assuming the three views are evenly divided!!) and then asked if there were any questions - NO. OK, we move on. But we got sidetracked on a totally different question and when I thought I was clear, a student asked about another view. Rats - they caught me!! So we spent some more time on it and I told them that I held all three - loosely;). Actually, whatever view one holds, all agree that our position with the law has changed and we rejoice to be under the new covenant with the leading of the Spirit.
Now, Romans 9 and "Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated" - (as you can see - a BIG day in the small classroom on the ninth floor of an anonymous Mongolian apartment building where church leaders are studying Romans to bring back to their people so those outside the apartment can maybe one day hear the gospel!!). We went through the various questions and at the end, one of the men stood up and said that it really helped clarify his understanding!! I rejoiced in the good providence of our sovereign God. One of the amazing things about teaching in Mongolia is they do not have years of baggage - it is so clear in God's Word and therefore, it is accepted and believed.
So ... tomorrow we start again. While exhausted at the end of the day, there is an inner joy as my heart has been nurtured by God's Word and Spirit.
Now ... on a totally different subject I know I have ranted about traffic in Mongolia and I assume you are still reading so if you will permit me another rant - elevators. I am on the 12th floor and I leave the apartment about 8:15 so I can meet my ride at 8:30. Here is how the elevator works in this apartment: if there is someone lower then the 12th floor (in other words - everyone!), then the elevator will stop, go all the way down to the first floor and drop them off. It starts the trip up again and if someone happens to be on the 4th floor, it stops, picks up and then drops them off. I saw - I saw the elevator stop at the 11th floor (there is a crack in the wall) and I heard it travel down. Seriously - 10 minutes waiting.
So... why did I not walk down? A good question - a very, very good question. I have three views on why, let me share them with you ...