Our Sunday School teacher was stressing Paul’s approach to the Romans by focusing on Romans 1:16-17. In verse 16, Paul was saying he wasn’t ashamed of the gospel which is the most important message. He said the gospel is “the power of God for salvation for those who believe....” Unfortunately there are many who may claim to be Christians who have not made the personal choice to believe and cannot identify the moment when they surrendered their lives to God, through faith in Christ. (I remember my moment when I was 15 years old.)
In verse 17 Paul notes that “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”” Righteousness is right standing. God demands holiness...righteousness. God created man in His own image, as a righteous being, so He could fellowship with man.
This is the progression of man’s relationship with God:
Man was created righteous with free will.
Satan deceived woman and man resulting in the fall of man.
Because of God’s great love for man, instead of destroying man, God provided the Law to bring man back to right standing.
Man was unable to live fully by the law so man still was not in right standing with God.
Because of God’s great love for man, God provided a way to bring man back to right standing.
Through God’s grace, Jesus was born to shed His blood to bring man back to right standing.
Faith enables man to accept the gift of righteousness. Romans 10:10.
God provides forgiveness as the doorway to return to righteousness.
Accepting Jesus as our savior we are given justification. Romans 4:25. Christ’s blood covers our sins so it is just as if we had never sinned. God sees us as innocent.
Man receives mercy - no punishment and instead is returned to right standing.
Man, through faith in Christ, receives salvation - the protection from God’s wrath. Romans 5:15.
Man receives a reward - robes of righteousness.
(After confession and salvation, man moves through a process of sanctification although he can never become fully holy by his own efforts. We are not suddenly right but our faith allows God to see us as right.)
God is the only one who makes us holy (Leviticus). Man cannot bring himself back to right standing but righteousness is God's gift to man if we will only believe and receive.
Christianity is not a religion but a relationship.
Pastor’s message was titled: The Gospel Gives Wholeness in God. Man is a triune creature similar to God as a triune God. Paul gives a blessing to the Thessalonians saying “ May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Man must come into alignment with God's will. We perceive by the spirit, respond in our soul (mind, will and emotion), through bodily action. Every level of our physical relationship must come under the shadow of the cross. Faith for salvation is the faith you stand on for all areas of your life. Have you yielded spirit, soul and body to Jesus?
This morning we sang this old favorite hymn with the new chorus mix.
The words are beautiful and so true for me!Verses for Today:
22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
I am so thankful that God provides grace and mercy which I need every day. Help me to share the gospel, boldly, as Paul exhorted in letters to Romans and Thessalonians.