It has been a real privilege and joy to dive into the book of Romans with our fellow believers here in Toboland. We are currently poised to begin the third chapter of this incredibly deep and rich epistle, and so far we’ve been encouraged by the truths that are being picked up on and reinforced in people’s minds and hearts.
One prominent theme that has come out again and again in the teaching has been the gospel of grace through faith alone in Christ alone as seen in the key verses of the entire book, chapter 1 verses 16 and 17, and then in the rest of chapter 1 and into 2 and 3, the sinfulness of mankind and the wrath of God toward that sin which could and can never be satisfied by the good things we try to do to appease him. To many of us with a lengthy Christian background, these truths seem so simple that we often take them for granted. But even last Sunday, as we discussed the situation in chapter 2 of the Jews who were trusting in their religious heritage and ritual circumcision to make them clean in God’s eyes and clearly (in their minds) superior to the “heathen”, the application to the Tobo of today was not lost on many in our fellowship.
Stela Nangia, a very astute lady in our group, was tracking intently during the lesson and had this to share: “I have something to say. It is true what God’s Talk says here about how following many different customs like skin-cutting or doing other good works like going to church, how that cannot make us clean in God’s eyes. And many people in this area are doing just like Adam and Eve did when they sinned and then made the fig tree leaf clothes for themselves as a false covering to try to straighten their wrong. But we know that God saw it and was not satisfied, so He himself gave them the animal skins and covered them Himself and that is a good picture talk of how people want to cover their bad with their own good works and not believe in the sacrifice that God helped us with in Jesus. He is the only road to God, not these other things, and many people in this area have heard this but still do not understand or believe this. We need to pray for them.”
Many in our group are still quite shy about sharing their thoughts as they have been steeped in a culture of secrecy and reluctance to ‘go against the flow’ for decades and even centuries, so speaking up in this manner is still a stretching experience for people here, even believers. So you can see how encouraging it was, not only to hear this dear sister speak up in our meeting but also to hear how she’s really taken hold of these basic truths and going back to the gospel of grace!
Please be in prayer for us as we will soon be moving on from the universal guilt of man to a more in-depth look at how God is both just and justifier; that is, the amazing way that He in his righteousness provided Jesus as a sacrifice who properly took care of the sin problem and appeased His wrath and can now say of those of us who believe that we are right in his sight because the righteousness of Christ is covering us just as the new clothing God provided Adam and Eve covered them. These are exciting truths, and we would ask you to pray that our believers would all be faithful to come as we study these upcoming chapters of Romans which are vital to their growth as individuals and as a body.
Thanks for your continued faithfulness in praying for us. It is a real privilege to stand together with you as we watch God at work here!
Chad, Janeene, Elijah and Zekey