In presidential elections, we often hear a lot about "family values." I believe in family values. But an appeal to "family values" without a corresponding acknowledgment of God’s existence, God’s law, and the biblical revelation as a basis for them will always have a hollow ring and sound purely political and manipulative.

Chapter 12 and following of Paul’s letter to the Romans are very likely the most practical section of the book. Ours is a practical age and most people want "practical" teaching. But to call these chapters practical suggests that the earlier doctrinal sections of Romans are not practical, and whenever we find ourselves thinking along those lines, we are making a mistake and contributing to great misunderstanding.

Today's Christians need to articulate these great biblical doctrines afresh, not just adopt the theology of our culture. We need to speak of the depravity of man, of man in rebellion against God, so much so that there is no hope for him or her apart from God's grace. We need to speak of God's electing love, showing that God enters the life of the individual in grace by his Holy Spirit to quicken understanding and draw the rebellious will to himself. We must speak of perseverance, that God is able to keep and does keep those whom he so draws. All these doctrines and the supporting doctrines that go with them need to be proclaimed.

Faithfulness to Christ’s teachings must also involve a knowledge of the sovereignty of God. The English Bible translator J. B. Phillips wrote a book entitled Your God Is Too Small. That title, which is also a statement, might well be spoken of the great majority of professing Christians who, in their ignorance of Scripture, inevitably scale God down to their own limited and fallible perspectives. We need to capture a new, elevated sense of who God is, particularly in regard to his sovereignty. Sovereignty refers to rightful rule. So to say that God is sovereign, as the Bible does, is to say that he rules in his universe. This means that nothing is an accident, that nothing catches God off guard.

The Great Commission contains four universals, each marked by the word "all"; all authority, all nations, everything (all) that I have commanded you, and always (all the days). The second of these is "all nations." It refers, as I indicated in the last section, to the universal authority of Jesus and the worldwide character of Christianity.