Paul’s letter to the Romans has been significant throughout Church History. At least three famous and influential leaders were brought to faith because of this letter. The first one that I will mention is Augustine. His Confessions
is one of the most powerful pieces of Christian literature that has ever been produced next to the Bible. I read it every couple of years.
The first part of Confessions is the story of how Augustine came to faith. His mother, Monica, was a believer who prayed for him for years. Augustine lived an immoral life as a young man and it was this lifestyle that kept him from Christ. He knew that if he became a Christian he would have to give up sexual sins. This led to a spiritual tug-of-war in his mind.
Augustine recounts, “Habit was too strong for me when it asked, ‘Do you think you can live without those things?'”
He says in another place, “I was in torment, reproaching myself more bitterly than ever as I twisted and turned in my chains.”
He even prayed, “God give me continence (self-control), just not now!”
One day, everything came to a head. He was sitting in his mother’s garden wrestling with his decision. He was crying and praying, but unable to surrender his will to Christ. Just then, he heard a child’s voice from over a fence singing, “Take it and read. Take it and read.” A copy of Paul’s letters was on a nearby table. Augustine picked it up and opened it randonly to Romans 13:13-14: “Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarrleing and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”
Something clicked inside of Augustine. Listen to his words: “I had no wish to read more and no need to do so. For in an instant, as I came to the end of the sentence, it was as though the light of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness of doubt was dispelled.” A single revelation from God changed Augustine’s life. He became a pastor, a bishop, a writer, and one of the most important theologians in history.
Have you ever been impacted like that by a Scripture? How do you feel that God speaks to you?
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