Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
Read Romans 5:1-5
How do we respond to the gospel in our lives? Romans 5:1-5 comes on the heels of Paul’s explanation of the gospel to the believers in Rome. This is possibly his clearest delineation of the gospel, breaking it down into four basic truths. (1) We as created beings are accountable to God, our Creator (Rom 1:20, Gen 1:26-27). (2) We have all rebelled against God and deserve judgment (Rom 2:9, 3:23). (3) To solve this problem of humanity’s sin God sent his son to be sacrificed taking the sin of the world on his shoulders (Rom 3:24). (4) To have access to this salvation you must repent and believe in Christ as Lord and savior of your life (Rom 3:22, Mark 1:15).
Now we come to chapter 5 and Paul states that because of the gospel (1) we have peace with God! No more looking over our shoulders wondering if God might send a lightening bolt! Because of the gospel (2) we have access to grace for our sins and hope for the future! There is forgiveness for the moment and hope that one day all will be made right and we will live as we were design; in harmony with God and man.
This is where Paul tells us how we can live not that we have the gospel; “we rejoice in our sufferings! (v.3)” Paul is telling us that we can/ought to live differently than the rest of the world. We do not suffer in vain but we suffer knowing that God is creating in us endurance that leads to character and finally hope. Finally, Paul tells us how this is true, “Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
After reading this I am convinced that I need to repent of my attitude towards hardship and to pursue joy within suffering. I am reminded here that there is an eternal perspective that gives hope to keep going. Next time something difficult comes into your life be it something drastic like health issues or the loss of a job or possibly something smaller like being cut off in traffic or not getting along at work, recall this passage and ask God for the grace to rejoice in the suffering!
Questions for Reflection: Ask questions like: What kind of suffering is in my life right now? How do I normally respond to suffering? What might I change today both practically and in my thought life to move towards joy in my suffering? Have I repented and believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
Today we are looking at God’s grace. As you read verses 1-3 you might notice that Paul doesn’t paint a particularly pretty picture of humanity; of us. Paul is saying that you and I were once just as bad as the rest of the world. We lived serving the passions of our bodies and our minds regardless of God’s design for life. He goes as far as to say that you and I were, by nature, children of wrath! This echoes Romans 3:23 and the reality that all of humanity all sinners to the core. This leaves out any room for us to achieve salvation, we are all in trouble at this point.
But the passage doesn’t end there! “But God.” I want to stop there and point out that It doesn’t say “But if you only do this” (i.e. read your bible enough, be nice to people, etc). No! It says “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us.” This is incredible news. God is merciful and he loves you! God desires for you and I to be saved from the punishment for our sins. He wanted this so much that he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us that we may be made alive! You and I were dead in sin (2:1)! But (there’s that marvelous word again) God did not leave us there but rather WHILE we were dead in our trespasses he made us alive in Christ.
Notice again that this is all God. Why save us? Because God desires to show you and I how incredibly gracious and kind he is to us in Christ! It is by grace alone that we are save for this very reason, that none may have a chance to boast but rather all glory might go to God our Father who loves us greatly!
All this time Paul has been leading up to this final truth. Paul has shown us that we needed Jesus Christ above all else and in our moment of greatest need God provided for us in His mercy. And he says all this to declare that we, You and I, are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works! Now don’t read this and forget the entire chapter before. It is by grace we have been saved but we were saved so that we might be God’s workmanship walking in the good works he has given us!
You and I were saved so that we might be apart of His work! God is bringing people to himself and wants us to be apart of this, sharing the gospel and living in the new life Christ has given us. Go out this week and consider what good works you might do because God has saved you!
Questions for Reflection: Am I trying to earn God’s grace? Ask questions like, what things am I doing in life right now that are still like I once was when I was dead in my sin? What sins/ sinful habits am I still entrenched in? Do I need to repent of acting as though I can save myself? What goods works does God have prepared for me in my life? Am I doing them?
Reflections written by Taylor Floyd