In the opening “chapter” of his letter to the church at Rome, Paul tells his brothers and sisters in Christ, “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.” (Romans 1:15)
A question that comes to mind after reading that would be, “Why would Paul “preach the gospel” to a church whose faith was already being talked about throughout the world?” (Romans 1:8) Perhaps Paul’s desire was to help the church continue in their numerical growth, and such a desire would entail preaching the gospel to the unbelievers in Rome; while that may be true, we know for sure that he desired to help the church grow spiritually (Romans 1:11), and this seems to be more in line with the context. But nonetheless the question remains, “Why would such a spiritually strong church need to “hear the gospel” again?” I think the answer is so they would remain spiritually strong!
When the fundamentals go missing from our faith, the foundation that supports true spiritual growth gets removed (for an analogy, think about professional athletes who quit playing according to the fundamentals of his or her sport and how their “game” suffers because of it). This is why spiritual growth is about staying focused on Jesus, his death and resurrection, what he means to us, what he means to the world and what kind of effect the gospel is continually having on our life. Just look at the entirety of Romans 1 and you’ll see how Paul draws this out.
Now, a failure to add to the fundamentals of our faith can be as bad as not having any fundamentals of the faith in our life (2 Peter 1:5-11, 1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12), but, that fact withstanding, for a strong faith to become a stronger faith, we must from time-to-time be reminded what our faith is all about in order to remain firm in what matters the most…never forget that there is a simplicity found in the gospel that is meant to remain simplistic (2 Corinthians 11:3).
To be fundamentally sound in relation to the gospel story is a wonderful blessing, but such a blessing will only remain as long as the fundamentals are a part of our heart, soul and mind.
“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.” (2 Peter 1:12)
#fundamentals-of-the-faith, #milk-of-the-word, #spiritual-growth