Memorize it all? I know another pastor who memorized Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Sixteen chapters? Most of us couldn’t manage it: The translation I prefer has 458 sentences. 9,725 words.
Still, Martin Luther wrote: “Every Christian should know it (Romans) word for word, by heart.”
Also: “He should occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. We can never read it or ponder over it too much; for the more we deal with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.”
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Can you memorize only a snatch of Romans?
Make it: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31–32).
Why memorize these words, Christian?
1) They’re so soothing.
Paul says that if God is for us, it doesn’t make the slightest difference who is against us, including Satan and all the powers of hell.
Likely, today someone is (many are?) tempting you to feel scared or miserable. Stop that. God is on your side. It doesn’t matter who is against you.
2) These verses are so simple.
Paul tells us to trust totally in God, not in ourselves or anyone else, for all the mercy we ever need, now and forever.
Paul doesn’t pretend we have only a few problems or enemies, or that those who oppose us are weak. We may be overmatched. Still, if God is for us, who can be against us?
3) These verses are so solid.
No guessing here, or wispy wishing, until mists of unfounded optimism evaporate in reality’s hot sun.
No. God must be “for” us: He did not spare his own Son. He deliberately killed him on the cross, instead of damning us forever in hell. “It is finished,” Jesus cried, before he died for us (John 19:30). Nothing can erase any of that.
God did it for us all, too. No exceptions.
4) These verses — logic-defying — are still so sensible.
Paul goes from greater to lesser: If God, for free, for us all, had his Son die, and Jesus died for all our guilt, won’t the Father also, along with Jesus, for free, give us all things?
Rev. Daniel A. Witte, pastor of Risen Savior Lutheran Church, can be reached at 747-5564. For more information, see www.rsavior.com. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald, written by local clergy members.