< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Thoughts on Romans 5:1-5

Monday, January 05, 2009

Thoughts on Romans 5:1-5

Romans 5:1-5: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

At youth last night the kids read this passage and our youth director played a song in the background where the words kept repeating over and over: you have to spend time with me and I will love you. He was trying to get the kids to talk about how they spend time with God – how they could spend time with God.

I just listened. As an adult it’s easy to step in and tell them what to think. It’s harder to wait it out. Wait out the silence when none of them want to speak up. But, I thought about it a lot.

When our youth director told me what he was going to do, I remembered studying Romans in Bible Study Fellowship. When you study a book of the Bible in BSF it takes a whole year. So we probably spent 2 months on the first 4 chapters. Those are some of the most depressing chapters in the Bible. All about man is sinful. We are unworthy. There seemed to be no hope.

Then chapter 5! The “but, then” chapter! Paul opens the door, the sun comes out – God has provided a way for us. Through Jesus Christ we are worthy in His eyes to spend eternity with Him.

When I saw that wasn’t where the youth were going with this verse, but instead to ask themselves how they can put Him first in their lives, I was reminded of the book of Revelation where Jesus talked about the different churches. To one He said, “You are doing many things right.” But, the thing is they were doing many things. Things that were keeping them from truly worshipping Him. Missions, meetings, socials. And Jesus told them to go back to their first love. What was it like when they first knew Him? First loved Him? Go back to that awe, that relief, that Romans Chapter 5 “but, then” miraculous feeling.

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