Word for Today Archive

Pastoral Commentary for Romans 1
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie

In 2007 I received as a gift one of the first "new generation" Trek Madone bicycles ever produced. Just as auto companies every few years will scrap the old paradigm and start from scratch to create a better car, Tred did the same thing with the Madone. Now my bike is 2 1/2 years old and the new Madones are better yet. The technology has improved and the bicycle has "evolved" into an even better racing bike than the one I ride.

I intentionally used the word "evolved" because of what Paul has to say about creation in Romans 1:18-19: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them." The truth is that the scientific establishment today is doing exactly what Paul prophesied they would do almost 2000 years ago.

Scientists like Richard Dawkins deny the obvious and suppress the truth in order to promote Darwinian Evolution. Yet even while denying the truth, they unwittingly confess it. In his book The Blind Watchmaker Dawkins wrote: "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." They give that appearance because they were, in fact, designed for a purpose by God. But Dawkins wants to suppress that fact.

In his book, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, biologist Tim Berra used different models of Corvettes to show how evolutionary biologists could use similarities among organisms to construct an evolutionary "family tree." What he unwittingly demonstrated, however, was that designed objects could also be forced into an "evolutionary tree." So much for evidence of evolution.

All the true evidence of creation points to our eternal God whose divine nature is clearly revealed in everything he has created, especially life. That's why philosopher of science Steven Meyer called the complex, specified, functional information encoded in the neucleus God's "Signature in the Cell." God wants those of us who know him and can see his signature in his handiwork to stand up for the truth that so many try to suppress.

Yes, the Trek Madone has "evolved" over the years, but only under the guiding hand of intelligent designers who have constantly sought to improve this sophisticated racing machine. So also life may have "evolved" over the years from the initial kinds of animals that God created, but only under His sovereign hand, and only within the limits He has placed upon it.

The best part of understanding the truth that Paul said so many try to suppress, is knowing that we are not purposeless accidents of nature, random clumps of molecules with no more meaning, purpose or value than a rock. We are created in the image of God, designed for his glory, and able to experience his love and blessing. That gives you and me tremendous value and meaning. So let's fulfill our purpose and boldly proclaim the truth many seek to suppress: God is our Creator and our Redeemer. All glory be to God alone!

Pastoral Commentary for Romans 1
Author: Pastor Zach

Kids are funny. A couple of weeks ago, we had some friends staying with us who brought with them their two children - a two year old daughter and a six month old son. They were both endearingly precious and hilariously entertaining as we experienced all the idiosyncrasies that young children can bring.

Around supper one evening, the two year old, named Allie, wanted some cheese which, her father informed me, is her favorite food, as it is mine. As a fellow "cheese-head," I happily went to the refrigerator to get Allie some cheese. Upon delivering the cheese to her, her mother gave a gentle reminder. "What do you say, Allie?" she asked. Allie turned beat red and dropped her face to the floor. "What do you say?" her mother reminded again, this time in a mildly more serious tone. In her best sheepish voice, Allie replied, "Thank you."

I have found that there are two things that children are regularly remiss to say: "Thank you" and "I'm sorry." What's fascinates me, however, is that it's not just children who have a hard time giving gratitude and offering apologies when they're due. Adults have this problem as well. Sure, we may not turn beat red and drop our faces to the floor, but just try to get a politician to admit a massive mistake. Or consider how many times we have selfishly taken credit for something when we really owed those working behind the scenes a hearty and public thanks.

As we begin reading through Romans, Paul, in Romans 1, opens with these words: "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you" (verse 8). Paul, without a red face and a downward countenance, without any prompting and prodding from his mother, and without any smug tributes to his own accomplishments, says "thank you" to God. And notice, it's the first thing he does: "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you." Paul, it seems, is very liberal and quick with his gratitude.

Sadly, all too often, thankfulness is not a primary posture of our hearts, but a fleeting addendum to our souls, loosely appended to our prayers to God and our relationships with others. We pray to God concerning all our of our pressing needs and overwhelming worries and then wrap up with, "Oh, by the way, thanks for all your blessings, God." Or, a friend helps us with a daunting and challenging task, lending their elbow grease when it is needed the most, only to receive from us a couple of days later, "Oh, by the way, thanks for your help the other day." And thankfulness gets relegated to a paltry postscript again and again.

Rather than subtly tucking his acknowledgments away in some footnote or endnote to his epistle, Paul opens his letter by proudly announcing his gratitude. "First," Paul opens, "I want to say thank you." Shortly, Paul will wade into the tough stuff of life. For instance, in verse 18, when he writes, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men." Shortly, Paul will confront sinners (cf. 1:18-32) and demand righteousness (cf. 6:17-18) and ask for assistance (cf. 16:1-2). But now is a time for thankfulness.

So how about with you? Is a thankful heart a hallmark of your habits, or a mere obligatory appendix to a lengthy laundry list of requests and complaints? Today, begin your activities with a "thank you." Put thankfulness first. Who knows? You may spend so much time being thankful that you find you don't have much time left over to fuss and fret over the worries and cares of this life. Less time to fuss and fret? Why, that's something you can be thankful for right there. I bet you can find more.

Read Today's Scripture and Commentary on the Concordia website.

2020-06-05 07:26:47