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Again... wow.. Paul's writings in Romans are so convicting and true. So many verses in today's readings bring out so much. One verse that stood out to me was 16 - "The day will surely come when God, by Jesus Christ, will judge everyone's secret life. This is my message." This is powerful to consider. Do you have a secret life? Do you realize that Jesus will judge your secret life? So, really, is there such a thing as a secret life after all? It will all surely come out into the Light and be judged. Do you have skeletons in your closet? Will you confess those skeletons/sins to God right now and repent of them immediately?
Paul's writings in Romans 3 verses 7 & 8 today are so powerful for us to remember always: ""But," some might still argue, "how can God judge and condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?" If you follow that kind of thinking, however, you might as well say that the more we sin the better it is! Those who say such things deserve to be condemned, yet some slander me by saying this is what I preach!" Have you ever thought in any way along the lines of "well, it doesn't really matter if I sin?" This is such risky thinking. Let me highly encourage you to read the Bible to see what it says about sin and in particular these early chapters in Romans. In reading these chapters in Romans do you see the risk, and really the stupidity, in continuing in unchecked sin?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Romans titled "No Excuse for the Jews" is at this link.
Today in Romans chapter 3 verses 22 through 24 we read – “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Please take a moment to re-read these verses and meditate upon them. How do they speak to you? Do you believe that humans are righteous on our own? (One way to consider this is to imagine what a city would look like without a police force, for example – think we would just naturally be good and kind and righteous to each other? Or might there be crime and maybe even anarchy and survival of the fittest – ala Lord of the Flies. . . ) Do you believe God is righteous? Do you believe we can be made righteous before God through faith in Jesus? Have you sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? Are you justified freely by God’s grace and through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ?
I want to focus a bit more on verse 24 because I think this is one of the most important concepts for us to understand: we "are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Justified. That's an important word to understand! Per the NIV Study Bible, Paul uses the Greek verb for justified 27 times, mostly in the letters of Romans and Galatians. The term describes what happens when people believe in Jesus as their Savior. God declares them to not be guilty and credits (or imputes) righteousness to them. Jesus' righteousness is credited to believers as their own, with a few key characteristics that we read in verse 24 (look at this verse above again): 1. It is freely given as a gift, 2. by God's grace, 3. through the redemptive act of Jesus on the Cross, where He paid the price for our sins and redeemed us, 4. and through faith. Got all this? :) Have you been justified with the free gift of grace and faith through Christ's redemption? If not, today will you dive into the river of everlasting justification through faith in our Lord Jesus? Please jump into the river of faith!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Romans 3 titled "Some Bad News, And Good News" is at this link.
We have great writings by Paul today in Romans how we are declared righteous before God! Verse 4 is powerful - "When people work, their wages are not a gift. Workers earn what they receive. But people are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their work." Our right relationship with Jesus is a gift. We do not work to earn it. It is given to us as a gift. Our right relationship with God is not because of our work - but because of Jesus' work on our behalf on the cross. Have you accepted the gift? If not, will you accept Jesus' invitation to receive this free gift today?
Paul's writings about Abraham's faith are wonderful in today's readings. Verses 9 & 10 stands out: "Well, what about Abraham? We have been saying he was declared righteous by God because of his faith. But how did his faith help him? Was he declared righteous only after he had been circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? The answer is that God accepted him first, and then he was circumcised later!" These verses are an example of Abraham being accepted into a right relationship with God through faith - not works (circumcision in this case). I do believe our good works are desired and appreciated by God - he wants us to ultimately live holy & loving lives where we love God and love people. But, faith in Jesus and acceptance by God comes first, then our good works for the Kingdom come as fruits of our faith. Abraham was an example of this as we read in verse 3 - "For the Scriptures tell us, "Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous."" Below is an portrait of Abraham being called by God by artist Guy Rowe:
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Romans titled "An Old Testament Illustration of Justification by Faith" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings in Romans reminds me of Jeremy Camp's song "Let it Fade:"
Will you let your old life fade? Click here for your new life now!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23 TNIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you realize that you have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Pray that you have or will put your faith in Jesus to take the punishment for your sins on the Cross. Pray that you have repented of your sins and are born again through a saving faith in Jesus.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
p.s. #2 - Download a schedule of our Chronological Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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