Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A debt to share (8/11/08)

Romans 1:14-15, “I am bound both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.” The greek word translated “I am bound” is ofeilethV, pronounced “of-i-let-ace” and it is a noun which simply means “a debtor.” Paul is literally saying that preaching the gospel is a debt which must be fulfilled. This brings to mind Romans 13:8, which commands us to “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.” As one who has received God’s love, I now owe it to those around me to love them with the love I too have received (Lk.12:48, 1 Jn.4:19). I fulfill the second greatest commandment (Mk.12:31) in the context of the first greatest commandment (Mk.12:30) by obeying the third greatest commandment (Mt.28:18-20). It was this debt to love every person by sharing Christ with them, about which Paul wrote, in 1 Cor.9:16, that he was “compelled to preach.” Understanding that “debt” to share Christ with those around him was why he continued in Romans 1:15, saying he was “so eager to preach the gospel” to the Romans. We often subconsciously view evangelism as an option or an action that earns special favor with God, failing to realize it is the fulfillment of a debt to those around us, to love them with the same love we have received, by sharing Christ with them. Evangelism is a debt I have to both God and those around me that must be fulfilled with the currency of love.

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