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(Part 13)


October 15, 2013
Today’s reading: Romans 1:16-25

Salvation has been won for humankind by Jesus on the cross. His disciples are to proclaim this truth, so that those who believe might experience the salvation already won for them. The gospel “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16b). As such, those who profess to be Jesus’ disciples should boldly and confidently proclaim the gospel to all, as their very lives depend upon it. Like Paul, each Christian should say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel.” (Rom 1:16a).

Unfortunately, many Christians seem to be not ashamed of everything else but the gospel. In today’s world that is one-third Christian, there is “every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” (Rom 1:18b). Many Christians today are shameless in displaying their bodies, in stealing from public coffers, in embracing reproductive health, in being impious at every turn. They have turned away from the truth of God’s law and God’s revelation. They live the lie of secular humanism, consumerism, modernism and hedonism.

Lie instead of truth leads to self-worship rather than worship of God. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator” (rom 1:25a). Man has become a god unto himself. Human achievements and strength are extolled, devoid of any recognition of dependence upon God. Such attitudes have dire consequences. “Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies.” (Rom 1:24). The body that is a temple of the Holy Spirit has been degraded into an instrument of lust and deviant sex. The natural union of a man and a woman in marriage has been redefined to include same-sex unions. The laws of God have been mutilated by the secular laws of man.

Moving away from worship of God and the truth of being a creature of God leads to ever-deepening darkness. The mind and reasoning are twisted. Indeed, “for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.” (Rom 1:21). Then the inevitable happens. “While claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:22).

This is the sorry situation of the world today. Humankind is a creation of God and is designed to worship Him, but has strayed away from that truth. They exchanged the truth for the lie, they worshiped self rather than God, they became fools rather than wise. The consequence is disastrous. “The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” (Rom 1:18).

But until Jesus returns once again, all is not yet lost. Jesus had come precisely to save sinners. Sinners can repent of their sin and turn to the righteousness of God. And “it is written, ‘The one who is righteous by faith will live.’” (Rom 1:17b). What needs to happen is for them to turn to faith in Jesus. They need to meet Christ and to know Christ, so that they can live Christ.

Who is to tell them about Jesus? That is you. Do not be ashamed of the gospel, knowing how critical the gospel is for the very salvation of people, oftentimes those closest to you. The gospel is the power of God. It is the power of the cross. It is the power of Pentecost. Those who proclaim the gospel are empowered to witness to Christ. Be not ashamed of your testimony. Be not afraid of the hardships. Be not timid but rather steadfast in the strength that comes from God.

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