Sunday, December 18, 2011
Have you ever tried to put into one sentence what a magazine or newspaper article, a book you’re reading or a movie you’ve seen is all about? All you want to do is say it in a simple, clear way. It’s not all that easy to do, is it? Perhaps the article in the newspaper was about the trouble at the local high school. It’s not clear what kind of trouble we’re talking about. Sometimes it’s tough to put into words what we read, heard or learned.
Of course some of us, even when we get a clear picture of what we want to say as we summarize, find it difficult to be brief. That’s sometimes what we think Paul’s trouble was when he wrote. However, in Romans 16:25-27 Paul summed up all that he’d been writing about at the end of his letter to the Roman Christians. What does Paul tell the Roman Christians as he concluded his letter? He summed it up this way: Christ concealed is now revealed, and God helps us believe and calls us to obey Him. What does he mean?
I. Christ concealed is now revealed.
Christ was concealed (v. 25b). Since the fall of Adam and Eve, humanity has waited for the coming redemption. Paul talked about the “groaning of creation” for the coming of Christ earlier in his letter. Christ was a long time coming. He was “hidden for long ages past.” The Old Testament told of His coming, but not when He would come.
The text tells us Christ is revealed (v. 26a). Christ came in the flesh as a baby, and His coming fulfilled the ancient writings.
Christ concealed is now revealed. What is the result of Christ concealed but now revealed?
II. God helps us believe and calls us to obey Him.
Throughout this text, we are reminded again and again that God is the One in charge: He is the One who is able to make things happen. He is the One who orchestrated all of redemption.
Therefore, God helps us believe in Jesus. He is the One who helps us believe and the One to whom all our thanks should go. What is the result?
God calls us to obey Jesus. We are to obey Jesus’ teachings and commands that we might glorify God. God helps us believe and calls us to obey Him.
For the entire passage, we can sum it up simply: Christ concealed is now revealed, and God helps us to believe and calls us to obey Him.
Advent is a time when we think about Christ’s first coming. The clarity of Paul’s summary at the end of his letter makes the mission of Christ plain: Christ concealed is now revealed, and God helps us believe and calls us to obey Him.