There are two kinds of transitions, the stark and the subtle.
Spring transitioning to Summer usually creeps up on us. It gets warmer day by day, and the next thing you know the end of the school year has come, and summer vacation awaits. It’s a subtle transition.
The transition from Summer to Fall, on the other hand, is hard to miss. Routines are renewed, your social media feed is bombarded by photos of kids going back to school, and when 8:00am hits we slam on our brakes to make sure we don’t go over 30 km/hour.
This Fall, as a church we are entering our third season studying the book of Romans, and the transition from where we have been in our study, to where we are going next is stark.
One reason we will notice this transition is because Paul’s entire mood changes over the course of a few verses. At the end of Romans 8 he was exuberantly declaring the great hope and joy that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God! A few verses later, Paul expresses a deep sorrow and “unceasing anguish.”
The transition to Romans 9-11 contains some of the most hotly debated passages in all of Scripture. The massive theological concepts of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility in salvation is explored in Romans 9 and 10. And Romans 11 doesn’t get any less controversial when it explores the topic of the future status of God’s chosen people, Israel, and the surrounding Gentile nations.
As we head into this season of change and transition, and we sit under Paul’s instruction to the Romans, and to us, about some significant and controversial matters, we can know that some things remain the same. God is big, God is strong, God is good. Indeed, Paul concludes this section in amazement about the greatness of God: ‘to Him be glory forever. Amen.’ (Rm 11:36)