From A Burning Bush to a Burning House (Romans with J.D. Walt)

Prayer of Consecration

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you.

Jesus, We belong to you.

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Romans 1:18–23 (NIV)

Consider This

Chapter 1 of Romans takes us on quite a journey.

Yesterday we stood together in awe of the burning bush of the New Testament. Today and tomorrow we will stand in shock before a burning house.

The burning bush:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

The burning house:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

The real dilemma we must solve here at the outset—as it relates not only to the letter to the Romans but to our very hearts, homes, churches, and cities—is this one: Where will we focus? Will we focus on the burning bush or the burning house? Will we focus on the problem of sin or the power of the gospel? Will we focus on the crucified-risen Messiah or the chaotic mess in the world and our lives? Will we focus on the diabolical problem of sin and its myriad manifestations or the singular solution of salvation in Jesus Christ?

The seduction is to think you can choose both. To try and choose both is to choose neither. It is to wind up stuck in the eddies instead of the river (i.e., Romans 7 vs. Romans 8). We will not deny sin here. We must not. Sin is undeniably real. It is diabolical and devastating and yet it is a distraction. Sin’s most deceptive and successful strategy is to consume the conversation and crowd Jesus out. We cannot deny sin’s reality. But we must deny sin our focus. We must reserve our unfettered and undeniable focus for Jesus himself, only, ever, and always.

Jesus, we belong to you. Yes, Jesus, I belong to you. As we enter into the abyss of sin, we want to fix our eyes on you. We are sinners, which is to say we are profoundly susceptible to distraction and deception. We want salvation, not just a little bit but comprehensively. We know this salvation will not come by focusing on sin and trying to defeat sin but by being fixed on Jesus who has defeated sin and on belonging to him—believing more, beholding deeper, and thereby becoming completely his. Come Holy Spirit and prepare the way for the Lord Jesus like never before. Praying in his name, amen.

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