Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Morning Devotion Romans 1:16-17

Rom 1:16-17 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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."
It is beyond me to try and explain these verses for the power of God is already in them so they do an incredible job on their own saying what needs to be said. What I want to examine in my daily walk are these thoughts:

Am I ashamed of the gospel? Most Christians would be quick to say no and if you spend any time at all on Facebook or social media you can see all sorts of biblical posts from Christians who claim to be unashamed of the gospel. Is that enough though? Is that what Paul meant? I am unashamed to post bible verses on the Internet? I am unashamed to forward an email? Hardly. While doing that can be a good thing, it is not in itself proof that you are not ashamed of the gospel. Unfortunately many of the people who share those posts are not even walking in obedience to the gospel! They go to church on Sunday morning yet live like the world for the rest of the week but think that somehow sharing those verses makes them right with God. They are not.

Being unashamed of the gospel means more than simply saying you believe it. It means living it, sharing it, and being willing to die for it. It means taking time with the lost and the hurting while confronting those who are opposed to it and trying to stop it. It means that the gospel is the reason you get up each morning and the purpose for your entire existence. How can you be saved from utter destruction in hell and not let that affect every aspect of your life?! Which brings me to the next point.

Do I live as if the gospel is the power of God? Note that it doesn't say it brings the power of God, displays it, or offers it. It IS the power of God. Wow! That power, the ultimate power of God was given to me and brought me from death to life. Do I live like that is true? Do I desire to share that truth with others? If not, how can I say I truly believe it is the power of God?

Do I believe salvation is for everyone who believes? Again, this is something we quickly say yes to, but do we live that out? Are drug addicts welcome in your morning service? Would you bring an adult with an intellectual or physical disability to your church? Better yet, would you spend time with them outside of church? Do you think that your drunken relative is beyond salvation and so have given up praying for them? What about the atheist friend who is hounding you all the time about your faith? Are you praying for their salvation or just arguing with them? Trying to prove yourself right will not bring them to salvation. Proving that the gospel is the power of God will.

Do I live by faith? I am not sure what faith to faith means. Every time I read that passage I ponder it and wonder. Commentaries also say they are not sure. What I do know is that my relationship with God is based upon faith alone in Christ. It is through His power, not any work, thought, or effort of my own. So I ask myself, am I living by that faith on a daily basis?

We know that while faith without works saves us, true faith will result in works. I think the key to finding out if your works are trying to earn you salvation or are simply a result of what you have already done is your motivation. Are you trying to prove you are a good Christian when you do something? Do you go to church so other people will see and appreciate you? Do you seek and want recognition for the work you do? If so, those are signs that you are not living by faith. Living by faith means working for the gospel because you are in total awe that you are even in His presence. The fact that God saved you is so humbling that you want to give back and share with others. It is out of love and gratitude that you serve. You don't care who sees or notices. You don't get mad when you are not recognized. You just do it, regardless. Day in and day out, week after week, because you know it is the power of God and that alone is sufficient!

So this week examine yourself in all of these areas. Are you ashamed of the gospel or are you aware that it is the power of God? Do you believe it enough to share it with everyone, even those less desirable? Is your Christian walk done through faith or are you hoping somehow to earn faith? Be careful because faith cannot be earned. That is the beauty of it! I could never do enough to earn the power of God! I thank the Lord that He offers it freely!!  In the movie God's Not Dead there is a line that has stuck with me. "It's simple but its not easy." That is an excellent description of the Christian life. It's simple!! Just believe!! However, living that out is not so easy. Belief with the head is one thing but when it permeates the heart you will find it very complicated at times, but it is so worth it! Do you believe? If so, live like it!!

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