Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Rom. 1:16-17, “16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
Paul uses the term “righteousness of God” nine times in all of his letters; eight of them are in Romans. Clearly this phrase is important for understanding this letter. It means that God gives a new “legal” status to people who put their faith in the gospel. That sounds rather cold, but it means that God’s righteousness has been added to your own account. You have been declared “not guilty” and have moved into a right relationship with God. It is a legal term, but it has personal, relational implications.
Sometimes this has been illustrated by a courtroom scene. A judge declares the defendant “guilty” then removes his robe comes down to the courtroom floor and pays the penalty of the crime himself. Thus, the “righteousness of God” is both the cause of despair for the unrepentant sinner and cause for joy for the one who puts his faith in Christ.
Some people are afraid of “doctrine.” It’s considered boring, intellectual stuff that is good for seminary and theological arguments, but has no bearing on life. Doctrine is simply a word used to describe what God has revealed about Himself and life’s most important questions in His word. The doctrine of “justification by faith” is the most important truth anyone can understand. It has implications and application for all of our lives.
Do you have problems with other people in your life…family, neighbors, co-workers? Do you have struggles with fear, anxiety, or depression? What about ongoing sin patterns? All of these “horizontal” struggles (human problems) are rooted in a “vertical” problem…separation from God.
Separation from God because of sin is the cause of problems within ourselves, with others, and even with the natural world that wars against us through sickness, storm, and death. The solution to separation is peace with God through Jesus Christ…justification by faith. This is a three part process: we have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved. We have been made right with God through faith; this is already done by God and is once for all. We are being made into the image of Christ over time as we make ongoing choices to walk with Him by faith. This transformation will ultimately be complete when this life is over and God completes what He started in us.
God has taken care of the horizontal problem…you have peace with God through faith in Christ. You have opportunity today to cooperate with God in further reversing the curse of sin in and around you. This is a big day…get ready for it!
From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.