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.
“27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”
In verses 29-30, Paul again brings to the surface one of the central sub themes of the letter: the equality between Jew and Gentile before God. “Is God the God of Jews only?” The answer to this question would have been a resounding “NO.” Jews proudly confess that there is only one God. Paul’s point with this question is: then this God must be equally the God of Gentiles as well as Jews. Paul makes clear that all are on a level playing field when it comes to standing before God; all are equally guilty.
If this is the case, who and how will anyone be justified? God will justify both “the circumcised” (Jews) and “the uncircumcised” (Gentiles) on the same basis: through faith. This is the Good News that Paul wrote about in Romans 1:16-17 when he said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 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.’’’
You see, that is good news… the gospel. The good news is that the Lord Jesus Christ didn’t die for one race of mankind but for the whole world of sinners. And the offer of full and free salvation goes out to whoever will accept it, Jew or Gentile alike. We’re not left without any hope…our hope is in Christ alone!
As I think about this passage, I can’t help but think about the idea of having winners and losers. Paul made it clear that we’re all losers because we all sin, but his Jewish readers would have thought back to their privileged position as God’s chosen people and thought “We’re in and their out.” This got me to thinking about the times in my life that I’ve been rejected. One memory that comes to mind is when I was a kid. I grew up in the early seventies. I can remember as kids we played baseball and football at the park just down the road from my house. There were always two older kids that were captains; they would have us line up so they could pick their teams. I remember them starting with the best kids first. I didn’t have any problem with that because, honestly, I wasn’t the best athlete, but I wasn’t the worse either. I remember as they worked through their picks, I always hated being one of the two or three boys that were left. Sometimes I would be the last guy picked; it was demoralizing. There was a sense of shame that would come over me.
I don’t know if this is how the Gentiles would have felt around the Jews, but maybe there was an element of it among them that felt this way. I can’t help but think of the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus and said, “Even the dogs eat the scraps.”
It seems to me that anytime there is a prideful attitude in our own accomplishments there is the tendency to want to look down at folks who don’t measure up. If you keep playing out that line of thought, it leads to us really despising the other person.
The Gospel has a way of leveling the playing field. There may be individual differences in us–one can jump 30 feet while another can only jump 3–but when compared to the vastness of the universe and the billions of stars that are light years away from us, the best and worse among us all fall short of God’s glory!
To me, this is the wonder of the gospel; the gospel that is held out to all who believe. God in His grace and mercy has made a way for us back to Him, a way back to Him that only He could do.
Take some time now and think about all that God has been done for you.
*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 Application Study Bible.