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.
“21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—26 He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
Paul devoted the first part of his letter to the Romans to show his readers that all human beings of every race and rank, of every creed and culture, Jew and Gentile, the immoral and the moralizing, the religious and the irreligious, are without any exception sinful, guilty, inexcusable and speechless before God.
If we are honest with ourselves, we would have to agree with Paul that all of humanity is in a pretty dire predicament. It’s amazing to me how easily this 2,000-year-old letter could be describing the current state of affairs for us in 2017. This is true because in Romans 1:18– 3:20 Paul honestly described the condition of the human heart without Christ…the truth is, for them and us, there was no ray of light, no flicker of hope, no prospect of rescue. We are hopelessly lost.
But here is the good news…we are not left without hope! Now we come to the heart of the letter to the Romans when Paul answers the question, “According to the gospel, how can ungodly sinners be justified by a holy God?”
Martin Luther called this passage “the chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible.” Other theologians have said this passage is the center and heart of the letter and some have suggested it may be “possibly the most important single paragraph ever written.” And why? Because Paul is giving us the most wonderful news ever—there is a way to be declared not guilty—it’s by trusting in Jesus Christ to take away our sins.
Trusting Christ means that we’re putting our confidence in Him to forgive our sins, to make us right with God, and to empower us to live the way He taught us to live. This is the gospel and the gospel is the heart of Christianity!
I like how John Stott put it when describing Christianity. He said Christianity is “the gospel, good news that God’s grace has turned away His wrath, that God’s Son has died our death and borne our judgment, that God has mercy on the undeserving, and that there is nothing left for us to do, or even contribute. Faith’s only function is to receive what grace offers.” Through Christ alone, we have been made right with God.
*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.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians. NIV Life Application Study Bible.