Each Friday, I meet with a group of young men at a local gas station for a feast of Tex-Mex and Romans. We affectionately refer to our time as “Fajita Fridays” and have a great time feasting on fajitas and digging into the depths of the book of Romans. While some may have suspicions about our choice of the location of our fine cuisine, I think it is fantastic for a number of reasons. First, the fajitas are delightful and the owner of the small restaurant in the gas station is a great guy. Second, it is a central location for us to meet. When there is not much time between classes or work for a lunch meeting, the location of discipleship can be an important issue to consider. Finally, we get to sit and study through the book of Romans surrounded by people from all walks of life who are made in the image of God and are in desperate need of the grace of God found in Christ. With these men and women around us, our study through the book of Romans has a purpose: To grow in Christ and reach others around us with the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the conclusion of our study of Romans, each of these young men plan to find a few others and walk them through the book of Romans – teaching them what they have learned. Discipleship ought to always be about growing in Christ and going to others.
After the first few minutes of eating food and talking about our week, we dig into the book of Romans, one of the highest peaks in all of the sixty-six books of the Bible. Question: Why choose to carefully study through Romans while discipling a group of young men who are at a variety of places in their walk with the Lord? Answer: The book of Romans has been used in a huge way by God in a number of people’s lives and has transformed people and societies. I believe that this book will be hugely influential in their lives. In his commentary on Romans, the great Reformer Martin Luther said, “The Epistle is really the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel, and is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.” I highly recommend the book to your careful study. In fact, Steele and Thomas, in their book Romans: An Interpretive Outline, said:
“Should the Spirit of God be pleased to reveal the contents of Romans to the church of the present generation, true revival would be upon us. God would once again be exalted as the all wise, all mighty Sovereign of heaven and earth – the Originator, Director, and End of all things, the One who alone should be feared, loved, adored, worshipped, and served. The saving work of Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son, would once again be proclaimed as the only hope of salvation for lost humanity. Sinful men would be taught to see themselves as they truly are – corrupt, depraved, helpless, without strength or hope apart from the mercy of God – mercy which He sovereignly extends to the underserving objects of His choice. If Romans were properly understood and faithfully taught by the ministers of today, it would revolutionize modern Christendom. It would bring the church back to sound Biblical theology and true spiritual service. It would revive right thinking and result in right living.”
Over the next weeks on the blog, I will be including some gleanings from the book of Romans that have been beneficial in our time of growing together in Christ and preparing to go to others during Fajita Fridays. My hope and prayer is that these findings will encourage you to pick up the book and read through it for yourself regularly and carefully, as you see the beauty of the good news of Jesus Christ shine brilliantly from the pages of the Scriptures. I will leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul that he concludes his letter with in Romans 16:25-27:
“Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”