Daily Readings – Exodus 35-36, Psalm 29, Romans 3
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
I love Romans. It is so incredibly rich all of the way through.
You can tell early in Romans that Paul is speaking to an audience of intellectual skeptics. He is speaking to the type of crowd that is always ready with the next, “Yeah, but what about…” trying to poke holes in every facet of the gospel.
As marketplace missionaries, I think we can all relate to that!
The letters from Paul to the various churches provides us with so much amazing ammo if we truly seek to win over the hearts and minds of people within out sphere of influence to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
You can almost hear the peppering of questions from the Romans that prompted this portion of the letter.
“But Paul, I am a pretty good guy! I love my wife and kids. I generally try to do the right thing. Shouldn’t that be enough? Why is it necessary to have faith in Jesus? Why would a loving God put in this extra step? Why would a loving God not allow good people into Heaven based on not believing in Jesus? Isn’t that a bit narrow? If all that is required to have salvation is faith in Jesus, why did God ever lay out all of his laws in the first place?”
Paul responds simply and powerfully. The law gives us the ability to look in the mirror and become conscious of our sin. It gives us the chance to say, “Darn, I guess I do have some shortcomings. I guess Paul was right when he said that we have all fallen short of the glory of God.”
Without God laying out how he wants us to live in painstaking detail, we would all be left with that vague notion that “I am a pretty good guy. Isn’t that enough?”
The law is there is for us. But thankfully, so is Jesus.
The law convicts us in the fact that we could never earn salvation because there will always be an area in our lives where we fall short. The law points us to the fact that faith in Jesus is our only true hope. And that hope is given freely so that none of us could say that we earned it. It is given freely to all to show God’s love and righteousness. That is incredibly good news!
I love this portion of Romans because it not only speaks powerfully the fundamental truth of the gospel, but it also gives us a blueprint for how we should approach evangelism with skeptics.
I love being able to share Christ with folks that are struggling in their life and already know they are missing something. So many of them are ready and willing to hear the truth. I love planting seeds in this fertile soil that Jesus talked about in Matthew. I struggle, however, having the desire to go after the intellectual skeptic. I am nervous chasing after the person I know is going to try to pick my argument apart. I have complete confidence in my own faith, but will I be able to articulate it well to them? Will I be able to answer their questions effectively enough to win them over? What if they ask tough questions I am not equipped to answer?
It is so easy to head down that path of “What if…?” and never reach out to the Romans in our own lives.
God wants us to be brave. God wants us to exam our own faith, spend time in his word, and dive deeper into his truth each and every day to not only continue our own transformation, but also to equip us with knowledge for the Romans.
That being said, it is hard to ever feel fully equipped. It is easy to rationalize not talking to the skeptic “until I am more ready”.
We worship a God who is big enough to prepare the heart of a skeptic if it is his will that they be reached at this moment in time. We worship a God that wants to help us with our words if we would just have faith the size of a mustard seed that he will be there to help us if we want to share the story of his amazing love.
Paul states the gospel in a beautifully simple way today. It is something we should all commit to memory when dealing with the skeptics in our lives.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
We have all fallen short and will continue to do so. God loves us so much and wanted every single one of us in Heaven with him so badly that he sent his only son and gave the gift of redemption freely away. We don’t have to earn it through striving, but rather through submitting and accepting of the free gift.
That is incredibly good news and news worth sharing!
Thought to ponder
What has held me back from speaking with boldness to the “Romans” in my own life? Who is one person God is calling me to share his love with?
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