It could very easily be argued that the book of Romans is the most important book in the New Testament for those who are searching for, or new to, their faith in Christ. It is perhaps the greatest treatise on what it means to be a Christian ever written. As a book, Romans walks us from the complete guilt and sin of humanity before God to the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to alleviate that guilt. Romans explores the sad reality and depth of sin, and then goes on to give us perhaps the greatest explanation of grace that Bible has to offer (the word grace appearing 20 times throughout the book).
After that, the book takes us on journey through how Jesus’ work for us on the cross should affect and change how we live our lives, beginning with those incredible verses at the beginning of Romans 12.
Have you ever struggled with your faith? I know I have. I have often felt unworthy of this love, grace and mercy that God extends to us through Jesus. I have often felt that I have disqualified myself from those gifts because of sin, or guilt, or ungodly behaviour (yes, even pastor’s have days when they aren’t very godly). When I feel that way, I turn to the book of Romans. While it is true that Romans begins by explaining to us the gravity of sin and it’s consequences of death and separation from God, it does not leave us there! The chapters that we are reading today pound into us the reality that none of us, absolutely no one in all of humanity through all of history, has to stay in the place of loneliness and darkness that sin put us in. They Holy Spirit’s job is to minister to our hearts, alleviating guilt and bringing us closer to God. Then Paul mentions that God has extended his plan and covenant from Israel to all of humanity (what a glorious truth!) in chapter 9.
Then comes THE truth that separates Christianity from any other faith the world over: there is nothing we do to earn righteousness (favour in God’s sight), all we have to do is believe, have faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul makes it very clear that when we try to earn righteousness through being good enough or working hard enough to gain God’s affection, we actually show disregard for God’s grace and love. We throw it back in his face.
Let this thought carry you through the rest of your day: there is nothing you can do that will make God love your more and there is nothing you can do that will cause God to love you less. God’s love for us is full tilt all the time. The only thing that changes is how we respond to that love.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Romans 11-13