I believe one of the saddest jokes around is directly related to the church. You know, the one about leaving, that says, “Let’s make like a Baptist church, and split!” You might, perhaps, chuckle, but the truth this little remark holds is extremely alarming, especially to me, since I’m affiliated with a Baptist church at the moment.
I encourage you to read Romans 8:17-27, as that’s the basis of what’s to follow. Also, if you’ve read some of my past devotionals, where I’ve desired to unpack the rich and glorious contents of Romans 8, you’ll remember that we who claim Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior are His eternally, and we’re freed to engage in the “glorious pursuit” of Him because of the unwavering promise of the opening verse…
This is, perhaps, one of the most important and timely pieces I’ve ever written. Now, that might sound like fluffy hyperbole employed only get more likes and more readers, but it isn’t. Let me reassure you, that’s not the intent of this being composed. I believe that Christendom, as a whole, is at a crucial juncture.
So much of what we know and think about the Christian life is, frankly, wrong. We’ve grown up too ingratiated and too inundated by the performance-driven society in which we live, that it’s hard — nigh impossible — for us to escape its mighty grip. As such, the way we view God’s dealings with us, His Words to us, and His Will for us, are so backwards and perverted from that which they were originally intended.
One of the hardest life-lessons to learn, and, consequently, one of the most difficult truths to fully apprehend, is God’s unflinching favor. As humans, hearing of something (or Someone) that is unflinching, unwavering, unremitting, is so foreign; the steadfast grace of God transcends finite intellect.
It may strike you as odd or strange to find that the notion of “faith” isn’t directly defined anywhere in Scripture. Yes, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews quickly defines faith in the chapter 1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). But even there the definition is a functional one, not a philosophical one.
I firmly believe that one of the greatest travesties a Christ-follower can commit is losing his sense of awe and wonder at the grace of God. Most, if not all, true believers in Christ will affirm that they’re saved by grace through faith, and that this salvation is wholly outside of them (Eph. 2:7-9). But our hearts are naturally wicked and prone to wander…
For the redeemed person, our entire life rests upon our “looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:2): from everything, in everything, and for everything. That “look” unto the Savior, Redeemer, and Deliverer must come to define every facet of our lives. Everything that we are and everything that we hope to be is found in Him.
There are so many misconceptions about the Bible, but there’s one truth about it that’s inescapable, and must be realized and readily admitted before any serious study of it can ensue: that is, the Bible isn’t about you! Yes, the Bible is for you, but it’s not about you. The Bible is all about Jesus.
Romans 8 is one passage of Scripture that seems inescapable for me, of late. Perhaps it’s the wonder and beauty of the apostle’s words that build and build, forming a wonderful crescendo that culminates in verses 35-39. But really, Romans 8 should be inescapable for all of us, seeing as it encompasses the whole of the Christian life.