[reaction to OYB's July 18-20 readings]
First a couple of one liners. Romans 4:16 says, "Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all." This statement interests me at a time when the children of the faiths of Abraham are fighting with each other.
Proverbs 19:17 reads, "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done." Compare with Matthew 25:40, "‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" A nice illustration of how Jesus' teachings were Jewish teachings.
The big story in today's reading is the full on expression of Christianity as a way to be free from sin. In Romans 6, we read get this idea, I believe for the first time. The Sermon on the Mount moves the focus from actions alone to actions plus intent, which seems to me to personalize the scriptural focus. But not until Paul do we see such a focus on sin. And lets not forget, that Jesus mostly emphasized healing people and taking care of the poor. There are certainly Christians who focus more on Paul's emphasis that Jesus'.