I have decided that I will get a little more devotional in writing for a while. No particular pattern, but I will attempt to stay on a "Gospel" theme.
I decided to start with Paul, and just 5 verses into Romans and what a verse. So much packed into one verse.
- Through Him I did not do it, it was done through Christ. He did what not even Moses (the law) and Samuel (the priesthood, man) could do, He stood before God and God took notice. (Jeremiah 15:1-2) I must forever recognize my dependence on Christ alone.
- and for his name's sake I am not at the center of God's world, He is at the center of His world, and for that I am so thankful. Imagine putting the imperfect and making it the cause of all that God does. That would make his actions imperfect. But He is at the center of all that He does, and all He does is right. And when I put Him at the center of all that I do, then I am right. This is not legalism, putting obedience or law at the center, but putting Him at the center, worshipping Him, loving Him, responding to Him.
- we have received grace We have been gifted by God to know Him and to love him. Another word for grace is favor. The same word the angels spoke to Mary when they told her she would be the mother of the Christ. As Christians, we are also highly favored by God, that He has revealed Himself to us through His Son. This is an honor that we do not deserve, but one which we must respond to. When we see that the favor of God rests upons us, should we not also respond as Mary did, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 2:38)
- and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles With grace comes responsibility. When Mary saw the favor that God had given her, she also accepted the task He placed before her with a humble, obedient attitude. When Saul met the Lord on the road to Damascus, his life was forever changed by the recognition of God's grace and favor. God does not save us to a life of ease and comfort, He does not save us for our own sake, but does it for His sake. And the lives that we then must live should also be for His sake. (Isaiah 43:25) Perhaps this is the reason Jesus told His disciples the importance of counting the cost of discipleship. (Matthew 16:24) The thought of picking up a cross surely must have been vile and digusting to His audience. But what better way to get the message of humility and acceptance of a task across that to make it a task that is so burdensome one could not take it on without dependance on God?
- to the obedience that comes from faith. Not just obedience, or not obedience for the sake of obedience, but the obedience from faith that God has placed his grace and favor upon us, and we respond out of reverence and awe rather than a sense of obligation and duty.