“Wrestling With Romans”
The New is in the Old Contained (Chapter 1 Verses 1-7)
The Gentiles may think this gospel message to be some strange and new teaching, Paul assures them it is not (v2). It is what God had been promising in the Old Testament for many years. Of course the Old Testament would be read in the context of their worship, so this would become meaningful to them. Now, it is vitally important that we study the Old Testament too, there is not enough attention to it today, and the Church is impoverished by it. It is important that we see the gospel in the Old as well as the New, that we grasp the continuity, the flow, that when we come to Matthew’s gospel it is not something totally different that is happening. Simply a continuation, or a fulfilment of what God had been promising all along. An example? Jesus points to the dawn of his ministry (Luke 4.18), as the fulfilment of God’s promise through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61.1).
Those prophets were the medium through which the promises of God concerning the gospel came, conveyed in words. It is an amazing, incredible thing, the Scripture. How that God most reliably enabled first the Old Testament prophets, then the apostles in the new, to transmit his word, exactly as he wanted them to. This is the simple and biblical fact of verbal inspiration, every word of it is God’s word. It is because it is God’s that it gets the designation of being Holy, whatever men may think of the Bible, scholars and the like might downgrade it, but be assured God does not. It is his holy word, in and through which he speaks to us for our learning (Romans 15.4). We ought to have a great respect for, and delight in our Bible’s, because it is God speaking to us, in the Old Testament (Hebrews 1.1; Romans 3.2; Romans 9.4; 1Peter 1.10-11), as in the New. God by the power of his Spirit brought his word to the men he was pleased to use, to declare it to us (2Peter 1.19-21). Not just the doctrine, the actual words themselves, choosing them carefully. So every word comes to us as immediately from God, it is his voice, it therefore comes with the same authority as it did to the original prophets. That is why the true Church of God looks to the Bible as being fully authoritative in all matters, we will not come short of it, or go beyond it. I leave you with a question, can a Church, that does not recognise the full authority of Holy Scripture, or declare that prophetic word of God, really be called a Church?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)