As we saw yesterday, we often forget to look at the really broad picture of the Bible, especially when it comes to how individual books of the Bible are laid out. Take Romans again for example.
Romans is a letter that has been broken up into 16 chapters. These chapters have themes, and these themes form purposed arguments. In other words, the words of the Bible AND the flow of the Biblical authors arguments are not by accident. In Romans chapter 1:1 – 3:20 descends into the abyss of sin. 3:21 – 5:21 soars in description of the gospel. 6:1 – 7:13 responds to the gospel with a call to holiness, while the rest of chapter 7 (7:14-25) discusses man’s failure to live up to those gospel standards. This is all clear, but notice what comes in the beginning of chapter 8? “There is therefore now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.”
This structure teaches us many things, one of those things stands out in particular to me today. One cannot get to the astounding love of God toward us through Jesus without going through the darkness of sin. This calls out a couple of types of people.
1) Some of you draw from the well of God’s love so much that you have never or have no intention of ever looking yourselves in the mirror to see how wretched you really are. This is wrong.
2) Others of you drink heavily from the darkness of your own sin and failures so much that you never look up out of your pit, and glance in the direction of God’s love at all. This is also wrong.
You probably already know what I’m going to say next don’t you? We must avoid both of these extremes to be Biblical. In order to get to the glorious love of God in gospel theology, we must go through sin to get there first. There is no other way to it. We cannot have sin with no love, or love with no sin. We must see our sin to know what love is.
I wonder, which side of the pendulum to you fall on? Find out, and run toward the middle to have a rich gospel-centered theology.