“Wrestling With Romans”
Spiritual Fervour (Chapter 12 Verses 9-21)
Keeping our spiritual fervour (v11), that is keeping the kettle of our spirituality on the boil, generating enough steam to enable us to keep serving the Lord. This zealous, spiritual fervour is not a fanatical one, we have enough religious fanatics in the world (Galatians 4.17), no, again it is Paul’s Spirit-controlled, tempered with the knowledge of God’s word (Romans 10.2). It produces goodness (Galatians 4.18). Of course generated steam produces power which can be expressed in two ways, either a lot of noise, or movement. It is the latter that is required here. There are those who make lots of noise but never get anything done for the cause of Christ. Then there’s those with a fanatical zeal who literally boil over and the everybody gets scalded, none of which serves the Lord. Then there are those who fervently, but quietly get on with serving the Lord, actually moved to doing things, for others, and for the Church in general, and are a blessing to all. The service in mind here is that which Paul himself has been called into, a servant, or slave, of Christ Jesus (Romans 1.1). It is not the thought of position, but obedience to the Master’s will. Some of those early Christians who were slaves held high and responsible positions, stewards, managers of estates and so on. The point made here is that the servant never acts as Master, but takes orders from Above. The steam generated must be channeled in the right direction (Ephesians 5.15-16).
Rejoicing in the sure expectation of the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises (v12). Being patient in afflictions (v12), knowing that this is the way of a Christian in the world (Acts 14.22; John 15.18; Revelation 7.14), So we don’t try to evade these afflictions, we simply, quietly, uncomplainingly endure them. Not with gritted teeth, but joyfully (James 1:2f). We accomplish the former two by being steadfast in prayer, our great resource, the fountain of our strength, continuing in prayer (Acts 1.14; Acts 2.46) as we have been taught (Acts 2.42). The Apostle is not asking for money from these Christians in Rome (v13), he speaks generally, and to the Church as a whole. Paul never viewed the Church as just a local congregation, much wider, all of God’s people, to whom we all have a responsibility. Whatever they call themselves, Reformed, Presbyterians, Baptists, Pentecostal, whatever the label, all who call on the name of the Lord, he is their Lord, as well as yours (1Corinthians 1.2). And we have an obligation to share with all the family who are in need.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)