One of my favorite Christian musicians is a man named Shai Linne. On his latest album, “Lyrical Theology, Pt. 2: Doxology”(Lamp Mode Recordings, 2014), he wrote in “Doxology Intro,” “So if you have theology without doxology, you just have dead, cold orthodoxy;” and later “But, if we have doxology without theology, we have idolatry! Because it’s just a random expression of praise; but it’s not actually informed by the Truth of who God is; So, God is concerned with both!”
God is GREATLY concerned with both Theology, the study of God, and Doxology, the Praise of God. They are intertwined, and to properly have one, you must have the other. And this is something many churches today have lost, some more than others. Something that needs to be remedied.
And this is where we get to Christian Doctrine, Romans Style.
Throughout the book of Romans, there is so much theology and doctrine intertwined throughout this timeless letter of paramount importance to the church as we know it today. We read through the Old Testament to learn about the rich history and traditions of Judaism all the while we see the greats of the OT faith looking forward to something better that was to come, that is, Jesus. We read through the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and see who Jesus was as a person and God the Son, who came to die for our sins, to see who God is. We read through the letters of Paul, and especially Romans, to see God’s purposes not only for individual believers, but for the church as a whole. We are put on a level playing field in Romans 1-3, that we are all sinners, deserving death, needing a savior.
“as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” (Romans 3:10–11, ESV)
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, ESV).
In Romans 4-5, we see that we are Justified by faith, and are given examples of times past of God’s justification (Chapter 4). And, in Chapter 5:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1–2, ESV)
Paul goes on and on, giving us vivid descriptions of who God is and how He works. It’s like reading one of those Bible tracts that we all have seen and many of us have probably used at one point or another: We are all sinners in need of a Savior. We cannot get to heaven of our own accord, we need Jesus to come into our lives and forgive us of our sins. And the only way we can get to that Justification, is through faith. And that faith comes from God, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you that you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”(Romans 12:3 ESV, emphasis mine).
I could go on and on and on and on about the rich theology and doctrine found throughout the book of Romans, but, I won’t. Why? I don’t want to deprive you of doing that yourself(that is, if you haven’t already!). However, I will tell you this: Paul calls us to unity. In the book of Romans, his letter to the church in Rome, Paul is addressing the Saints in Rome, that is, the Christians (Romans 1:7), those already saved by God. And, he calls the saints, those loved by God, to unity.
The church needs to not be just a place where we listen to our preachers preach. We need to fellowship and build one another up. And, part of that is making sure we are correctly informed of who God is, thus leading to an appropriate expression of praise within the church. Why is this important? Because a god that is praised that is not informed of through the Truth of the Word of God is NOT the God of the Bible.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”(2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV). As we fellowship with one another, we also need to make sure we are keeping each other in check. We need to have godly fellowship within the church, and we need to make sure we are all worshipping the same God, that is, the One True God of the Bible.