Monday, December 30, 2013

"Good news ... for those who need it!"

Day #1: Daily Bible Reading Plan - Sunday, December 29th
 (We're starting on Sunday because that's the day the plan begins ... )

Scripture Reading:  Romans 1-2 ...

Romans is written to "all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints" (1:7).  Paul immediately explains the purpose of his letter and of his entire ministry in Chapter 1, verses 1-4, where  he says that he is "set apart for the gospel of God ... regarding His Son ... Jesus Christ our Lord."  Then he says that the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel is "to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith" (1:5).  He speaks personally to his readers and says, "You also are among those who are called to belong to Christ(1:6).

This sets the context for the entire letter to the Romans and reveals why you and I need to hear his words - God's words, too.  He states it clearly in 1:16-17:  "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, ... for in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last ..."  Think about that, the Gospel is the "power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes!"  Eternal life rests in hearing and understanding and believing this message!!  Romans is about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in Chapters 3-8 Paul is going to give the longest and clearest explanation of the message of the Gospel found anywhere in God's Word.

As you read these first two chapters you will discover Paul laying the groundwork for WHY people - ALL people - need to hear the Gospel and respond to it by repenting of sin (desiring to turn from it and live in obedience to God), and living by faith in Jesus (trusting that your sin is forgiven and loving God because He first loved you!).  The popular idea today that God loves everybody and forgives everybody and ultimately gives life to everybody is crushed in these chapters.  Sin is sin, whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, and God's wrath will fall on the religious and the non-religious apart from faith in Jesus.

The only sure and certain hope is the inward work of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel (2:29).  That's why the Gospel is such good news!  And that's why you need to read and understand God's Word.  Only HE can change your heart and only He can continue the work He has begun in you who believe. And the instrument HE has chosen to use is His Word.

Pray that God will give you the desire to read His Word and the wisdom to understand it.  He will hear your prayer!

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