Over the next four Sundays we will be studying parts of the Apostle Paul's most comprehensive theological treatise, his letter to the church at Rome. So far as we know, Paul never visited the church at Rome, but his letter was so profound that it was circulated among all the churches.
A dictionary defines “integrity” as uprightness of character, proven virtue or honesty. The Apostle Paul defines integrity for all who claim to be God's people: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (5:1).
How often have you, when faced with sadness or challenges, turned to Leviticus for inspiration and encouragement? When reading the Bible through in a year, did you get more excited about Leviticus than any other book?
History focuses on the tragedies and heroic events of people as they struggle against armies, vanquish ruthless oppressors and build empires. The story of Israel is not shaped by military and political success, but by the steadfast love of God and his grace.
No matter the subject, going against what has become “normal” for society invariably produces anxiety and pushback. We are studying the beginning of Jesus' public ministry which confronts not just social change, but produces a bitter rejection by the very people who should be elated that God's promise has arrived.