I love What if questions. They make us think of some amazing possibilities. They open out minds to some crazy stuff, cool stuff. So, I got to thinking, What if Paul write his letter to the Romans today? What if Paul wrote that letter, not the Roman, but to us – here, now? What would that look like? What would Paul say? How would we take his message? Here is a small sample of what I think Paul would have to say to us, now. It comes from “Chapter 2” of Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“Just because you were brought-up with your families particular brand of “Christianity,” don’t think for a second you can just kick back on your religion and take life easy; feeling smug over everyone else because you think you have an inside track on the Divine’s truth. Don’t think for a second that you have all the answers. Don’t think for a second that you are some kind of expert on the latest and greatest doctrines just because you read the latest authors. Don’t think you have all the answers. Here is a truth for all of you, who think you got the inside track on the Divine, watch out – you don’t. Just because you think you know the Divine’s story inside and out, what qualifies you to help others get their lives right with the Divine? Think of it this way, while you’re going around telling others they are wrong, who is doing this for you? No, I’m very, very serious. While standing and preaching, “Don’t steal!” are you in turn robbing others blind? After all, who would ever suspect a good little Christian like you? The same can be said about some other things, like the love of money, or excluding people. The reality is this; you can do and say almost anything you want, as long as you hide it with twisted and fancy talk concerning the Divine and your inside tracks on the whole deal. The old teachings, “It’s because of the acts of the followers of Christ that those outside are so down on the Divine,” shows us a real problem that isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
Then there is baptism, you know that water ritual that marks us as a follower of Christ. Sure, it’s wonderful – but just because you were “dipped” doesn’t means you got it all. You still have to live with an eye on the Divine’s grace, love and acceptance. Because if you don’t, if you chose to be baptized and claim to follow, but you don’t, it’s worse than not being baptized at all. The reverse can also be very true: if you are one of those not baptized who happens to keep an eye on the Divine’s grace, love and acceptance then, you are just as good as the baptized — in fact, I would say better. If you remember anything I write, remember this, it is so much better to keep the Divine’s grace. love and acceptance as a person who is not baptized than it is to break it baptized. You have to remember that it’s not the dip in the water, no matter how long, how deep or how often, that makes you a follower of Christ. You become a follower of Christ by who you are inside, a changed life, a desire to follow the teaching set before you. It’s that mark of the Divine on you, not how deep the water is that makes a follower of Christ. Here’s an added bonus, recognition of your walk comes from the Divine, not from legalistic rituals, or others who claim to know better.”