Reading Romans the other day it occurred to me that had the apostles penned the New Testament in the same tone in which we often preach it, it would not have survived two readings. Many a sermon is intoned in dry monotony borne of even drier scholarship. The scriptures were on the contrary penned with passion, with feeling; even the eminently theological and Christological dissertation in Romans carries zeal, fire, logic yes but overwhelming passion.
Indeed the epistle pulsates with the apostle’s passion for the marvel of redemption, the centrality of Christ and the astounding power of faith in Christ to effect salvation where the law despite its many provisions falls woefully short. He waxes forth on the subject of his own people the Jews and their position in God’s plan. He enjoins the church to right living borne of gratitude for the awesome work of the cross.
Logic, truth, heart, feeling, emotion, passion all combine in the epistles to portray a picture of people who felt deeply about the things of God; people who were absolutely convinced of the veracity of God’s truth in Christ, people who took radical stands for the gospel and who communicated it with all their vigour, energy, spirit, passion and being. And each letter carries that heat and that fire. Consequently, they must be preached as they were written, with logic, and with passion, fire, hope, joy, tears, with life; ‘the words of this life’ spoken with life.
Might I add, the same goes for any communication of the gospel. What God is, what God did in Christ utterly beggars description, so when His people speak of it, in any context, over dinner with friends, at work, out in the streets, how can it not be with the same passion, animation, joy with which we would have it preached from the pulpit? How you feel about and speak of Jesus will most likely be the catalyst for people’s interest before they get round to examining the content of the message. I pray for passion all the time, to be so overwhelmed by the beauty of the gospel that i will speak it as I ought.