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.
“15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey— whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As we think about how God deals with people, there is one great fact that we should never forget: In Christ, God deals with people on the basis of grace.
So before we go any future, I want us to understand what is meant when the word grace is used. “Grace” is God’s unmerited favor. It’s not something that can be earned; God Himself freely gives it. People can know this in their heads, but knowing it in their hearts can be a hard thing sometimes.
Grace is a hard thing to get our heads wrapped around at times. Wonder if that’s true? Look at how much more willing you are to cut yourself a break, than you are others. I’m not pointing fingers, because we all have a tendency to do it. Let me give you an example… You’re driving down Kellogg and someone cuts you off. As you hit your brakes and without even thinking, you yell “Idiot!” You find yourself gripping the wheel tighter and your jaw tightens up. You have no idea why the person cut in front of you, but you’re sure he’s an idiot. Then, before you can exit off of Kellogg, you change lanes and cut someone else off. They lay on the horn and run up on you; you can see them yelling at you in the rear view mirror. To which you think, “Sorry, I didn’t see you; you were in my blind spot.” As you mumble to yourself, “Come on man, cut me some slack. I didn’t mean to; lighten up.”
I know this is a simple and petty example, but I think it does illustrates how in our desire to see justice done, we fail to see the many different ways we’ve fallen short. Rather than demanding justice, we cry out for mercy. My point with this story is this: we’ve all fallen short; we’re all guilty before God. Rather than focus on all the ways people are falling short and all the ways we’re doing things right, we should focus on the grace that God so graciously pours out on us. Grace—God’s unmerited favor—is freely offered to us. In accepting it, we put to death the old way of life and embark on a new life with the King. Grace is a constant theme throughout the Bible and it culminates in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus. Grace gives us a blessing we don’t deserve. Grace is God choosing to bless us rather than curse us as our sin deserves. It is His benevolence to the undeserving.
Grace doesn’t even stop once we’ve been saved; it continues for the rest of our lives working within and upon us. Here are just a few of the ways God’s grace is working in our lives:
- Grace justifies us before a holy God.
• Grace provides us access to God to communicate and fellowship with Him.
• Grace wins for us a new relationship of intimacy with God.
• Grace disciplines and trains us to live in a way that honors God.
• Grace grants us immeasurable spiritual riches.
• Grace helps us in our every need.
• Grace is the reason behind our every deliverance.
• Grace preserves us and comforts, encourages, and strengthens us.
Take some time now and reflect on God’s grace toward you personally. What are the ways He’s made His grace known to you? What impact has it had on you?
Now think about how you can personally extend God’s grace to others. Who is that one person?
*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. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.