The most beautiful thing about salvation is grace. Though we do not deserve to be forgiven of our sin, God gave it to us anyway. In Romans 6:14 it says we are not only forgiven of sin, it is no longer a master over us: For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. While we are by no means perfect, we have an ability to turn to the Holy Spirit for protection and guidance through the draw of this world. We must remember we do not stand alone. God is with us always.
It is hard to think of suffering as a time to rejoice, but Paul says just that in Romans 5:3-4, 3 Not Only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. When we suffer for a righteous cause, it is an opportunity to bring us closer to God. It is also a opportunity to learn and to grow in our faith. Through suffering we are reminded of our need for God, which prepares us for greatest challenges in life.
Grace is a free gift, it is not something we work for. In Romans 4:4 Paul says, Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. If we had to work for our salvation, there would be no need for grace from God.
True righteousness comes from one place; faith in Jesus Christ. Paul states this plainly in Romans 3:22, This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference. This righteousness is available to all and any who choose to have faith and believe. There is no difference who they are or where they came from.
It is not enough to just know the truth. If we are not transformed into a new person, then we miss the power of the Gospel. In Romans 2:13 Paul says, For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Obeying the Law is not what saves us, but when we are truly changed by the power of God, we are made righteous and it reflects from everything we are.
God’s power is shown most clearly through the sacrifice of Christ for our eternal salvation. In Romans 1:16 Paul addresses the Romans, I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. God loved us so much, despite our sin, He gave us a way to be with Him for eternity. We must never be ashamed of the gift He freely gave.
Most of us, especially Americans, feel life is not successful unless we get a lot out of it. In today’s reading Paul feels what he puts into life is far more important than what he gets out of it. In Acts 20:24 he says, However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. This life is temporary and we will get very little out of it unless what we put into it is our focus. Nothing is as fulfilling as doing the will of God and knowing it has an eternal impact.
As we come to the end of the second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul gives them some final instructions in 2 Corinthians 13:11, Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Notice how Paul tells them to “Aim” for perfection. He does not say “BE” perfect. God does not want our perfection, He wants a heart that aims for it. In the process we must realize we are weak and God is the only source of power that can give us the strength we need. We will never be perfect on this side of eternity, but we must never stop striving for it. It is through our striving we seek His strength and His perfect plan for our lives.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul recounts what God says to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God’s power is like light entering a dark room. The darker the room, the more brilliant the light. Our weakness magnifies God’s strength. In the end, it is important for us to remember it is all for His glory. Thank God I am not expected to be perfect.