I have been reading the Book of Romans for quite some time now and can hardly write anything succinct since it is so incredible. But today I am making the attempt. I am going to put into writing some very basic and encouraging things found in the book of Romans. The purpose, as always, is to encourage us to dive into the depths of God, His Word, and His love and plan for you. Don’t be satisfied with the spiritual status quo. Join me as we struggle to journey deeper into the heart of God. With that, here is the passage for today.
Let me say first of all that your faith in God is becoming known throughout the world. How I thank God through Jesus Christ for each one of you. 9 God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by telling others the Good News about his Son.
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes — Jews first and also Gentiles. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” NLT
This group of scriptures is, first of all, a challenge for me. Whether I am wondering about my own impact on the world or thinking of you all, I hope that faith in Jesus Christ is on the rise due to our faith in action. It is so good to know that God is patient beyond our own comprehension of the word. If it were up to us, we would all beat ourselves down or let Satan do it. One way we can assure God working through us is evident in the second sentence – “thank.” The more thankful we are for God, His work and His people around us, the more likely we are to be focused on and moving in the Holy Spirit’s power.
Verse nine makes me happy as I think of how often you and I pray for and with one another. I think of our times together on Thursday nights as well as Sunday sharing praise and prayers together. I think of phone calls and voicemails and emails of concerns and praises. We should all take great heart in knowing our ministries together are under girded with prayer and support for one another.
Read the last half of verse nine again followed by 16-17. What a flow of salvific thought! The thought that we, imperfect and incompetent sometimes, can be trusted to pour our whole hearts to love God. And that we are trusted by God to share the Good News of salvation. Now, I don’t know about each of you and your level of boldness in sharing the message of forgiveness. You may remember that often in services I pray that God the Holy Spirit would give us boldness to speak about God’s love with others. These prayers are not just vain repetition or wishful thinking for others. Actually those prayers are that God would first move in me! After 20 years in “professional” ministry and 28 years as a Christian, it is still difficult to start the conversation that leads to the real Good News.
The motivation and excitement of God’s plan to save people, however, is the last verse and its’ potential impact on my friends and their families – “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.” Many people we have contact and influence with believe that their own good works will get them to heaven. That’s not only impossible, it is improbable. But, the Good News that tells us how God makes us righteous is the best news of all. It is the only “free” gift that I know of with no strings attached. Be encouraged and encourage one another – the Good News is also the Best News of all.