“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.””
Romans 1:16-17 NLT
Paul wrote in our verses today that “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith”. It’s all about faith. We know that we cannot put the Gospel under the spotlight of a human machine, to inspect its constituent parts. To disinter how it is made. We cannot undertake a human experiment to prove that there is a life after death. We pilgrims believe the Good News. Unreservedly. We know intuitively that it is true. And although we sometimes may have doubts and wonder in amazement how something so good could be true, we always fall back on our faith in the One who said it will happen.
Even when we receive a negative response to our attempts in sharing the Gospel, there is no shame in trying. When we tell someone about the Good News of Jesus, we are venturing into another dimension, where values are different. A spiritual message to a natural person will fail to connect, most of the time. To someone struggling to survive in their natural life, particularly in today’s climate of increasing interest rates, food cost inflation, inability to see a GP, and so on, the thought about where we end up after death to them perhaps seems somehow irrelevant. So we need to remember that the Good News is more than a few words. The Apostle James wrote, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” (James 2:14-16).
Our faith in God transforms the way we disseminate the Good News. We do not communicate a few dusty and lifeless sentences in the hope that, somehow, they will acquire life in the telling. We have the Holy Spirit within us, cheering us on, bringing our faith and enthusiasm into the light of day, transforming the devil’s gloom with the glorious light of the Gospel. Bringing hope into the lives of the hopeless. Our words will be dripping with the very Words of God Himself, as we, in faith, simply share our own stories of how we met our wonderful Saviour, Jesus. We need to remember the work of the Holy Spirit in the sharing of the Good News. We read in John 16:8, “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment“. We do the sharing. The Holy Spirit brings conviction to the hearer. Also, we must not be afraid of bringing relevant Scriptures into stories. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires“. And if the person with whom we are sharing has practical needs, part of our sharing is to help them in any way we can.
Paul finishes these verses in Romans 1 with a reference to Habakkuk 2:4. The prophet Habakkuk was disturbed by his observation that God was going to use the cruel Babylonians to judge the Israelites. He cries out, “O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal— surely you do not plan to wipe us out? O Lord, our Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us, to punish us for our many sins“. (Habakkuk 1:12). And God replied to him, “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God“. (Habakkuk 2:4). In the end, we pilgrims live in the light of God’s righteousness, as we continue close to the One who gave us the Good News. We live a life that will never end.
Dear Father God. On our knees we worship You today. Deeply grateful for all You have done for us. Amen.