In the August installment of my free podcast series, "Himalayas of the New Testament," found on Spotify and Podbean by searching for "Cecil Taylor Monthly Podcasts," I compare Romans 8 to Mount Everest (pictured above).
Romans in general, and Romans 8 in particular, has long been considered to contain some of the highest thoughts of the New Testament. It's significant to include this chapter in my podcast series.
For each of my podcasts going forward, I am blogging about the podcast and some of my thoughts as I created it.
Because Romans 8 can be controversial in places, and is also so dense in meaning if you go verse by verse, I wanted to take a different approach to it. I wanted to zoom out, as in the picture above, to look at the whole "mountain" of Romans 8 rather than get lost in the details of every face, wall, and crevice that you might encounter on the mountain.
When I did that, through my own study, I was astounded by the overall meaning of Romans 8. This was not something I've ever heard in a sermon, read in a book, or gathered from a Bible study. It was my own view, as I read through Romans and saw a connection between the end of Romans 7 and what is said throughout Romans 8.
In the second half of Romans 7, the Apostle Paul agonizes over his inability to keep the law of Moses. We can all relate to Paul's lament that we can know what to do, but our knowledge is not enough. We go and do the opposite of what we intend. Paul labels this as part of our sinful nature and cries out, "Who will rescue me from sin and death?"
The answer is given in Romans 8. As I course through the chapter section by section in the podcast, I show how the three persons of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit) work independently and in unison to draw us humans closer to them, to show their love, and to work for our salvation. It's striking how Paul breaks down the extreme effort shown by the Holy Trinity in these regards. You come away understanding that God indeed is for us, and not against us, as Paul expresses in verse 31.
In my view, although parts of Romans 8 tend to divide us Christians into our theology camps, when we look at the chapter from a zoom-out, big picture view of the whole mountain, we see theology that all denominations can ascribe to, appreciating the outreach, love and saving power of the Holy Trinity.
I'll add another amazing thing not in the podcast: The first verse of Romans 8 says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and the last verse says there is no separation that can stop the love of God for us that is in Christ Jesus. Thus, Romans 8 starts by assuring us that our failure to live up the law is not condemned when we live according to the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, and ends by assuring us that God never gives up on us, always pursuing his loving efforts to bring us to His glory.
I hope this blog as well as the podcast bless your understanding of God as revealed in the three persons of the Trinity.