Don’t Forget – Men’s Fellowship Night is THIS Thursday, April 13th. Come at 6:15 and hear a great message – visit our website to learn more.
Romans is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes. ~ Martin Luther
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
~ Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Romans 1
Oh beloved, it is true.
Without righteousness, we will not see the Kingdom of Heaven. And because of this, we have a very definite problem. Because beloved, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves and with others, we will realize that we have none of this stuff. We know that we are designed to live in it, but we find ourselves very unable to be righteous on our own.
And this is some of the very best news that we could ever even hope to hear. For, even on our best days, we realize that our righteous actions may very well not have a righteous motive. And on our worst days, the spirit is oh-so-willing, but the flesh stays more weak than we know.
This is the entire point of the gospel. In case you did not know it, the word gospel is actually simple to understand. The word “gospel” simply means: Good news. And, since there is none good but Him, we find that the good news we are looking for is not something that is going to help us improve our behavior. Rather, the good news is that an Infinite Person has given us His very self to help solve the problem.
Can we see it?
This is why Paul was so excited to try and get to Rome and share this good news. Paul, like so many of us, had spent years – even decades – attempting to be good enough under the system of laws in which he was raised. He had even done a fairly good job at it. But he realized that it was not good enough.
Paul had studied the scriptures. He had lived out the law. And he saw how he fell short. Years prior, one glance and the blinding light of Jesus’ Presence on the road to Damascus had blinded Paul and knocked him off his horse to the ground. And from that moment forward, he had no doubts. He had been converted instantly.
The Romans were highly religious folks too. They had dozens of gods. They had a trust in their own system of laws and practices as well. The Pax Romana had actually begun to bring a little bit of light to dark corners of the world, and this actually inflamed the religiosity and self-serving sense that Rome had all the answers. However, what probably was creeping into the hearts and minds of the folks in the center of the empire, was that something was rotting from the inside of the empire.
And it is here that Paul drops a letter that has – quite literally – changed the entire world. Romans takes us on an epic tour of the failures of mankind, both corporately, and individually. But, instead of being a lament, it proclaims from the very beginning that The Good News of Jesus Christ has overwhelmed the problem!
So, are you feeling like your righteousness is falling short of the glory of G_d? It is, and each of us are in exactly the same situation. However, the glory of the story of the letter to the Romans, is that G_d has brought Himself to bear on the problem. His perfect right action, and His astoundingly Loving heart has drawn us towards Himself so firmly that we are being adopted into His very family.
Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to dive into the ocean of Romans. Care to join me?
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
‘Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
Bold shall I stand in thy great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am—
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.
~Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760)
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10