I’ve been leading a Bible study on Romans for the men of the congregation I serve and our community.
This week our topic was “The Depth of Morals” and was based on verses were Romans 2. These two verses made me stop and think.
23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
I was cut to the quick with these two verses. That’s me Paul is talking about! I had trouble sleeping last night thinking about these words and how they apply to parts of my life.
I tell people about God and sin and how God wants us to live in His Gospel light.
But while I tell them about this wonderful good news, I sometimes don’t do it myself!
Why? I certainly know better. I wouldn’t be living my life telling others about how God loves us and sent Jesus to die for our sins and transforms our hearts and lives unless I knew that to be true deep down in my heart.
But even though I know better, I still find myself sinning. I feel ashamed, beaten down, so much so that I can barely function at times.
Thankfully, these feelings don’t last too long. And the reason for that is because the Holy Spirit – while convicting me through Romans 2 and other verses – also builds me up with verses like:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3:23-25)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
This Good News – this Gospel – gives me new hope every time I’m beaten down by my sinfulness. I can live a new life. I can be a new man.
Every day, I have to remember, “I am baptized” and, as such, I am a child of the heavenly Father and I have Christ living in me!
Every day, I wake up and remember, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”
I can do this – and all things – through Christ who strengthens me!
Part of our Bible study was dedicated to a “what now?” discussion. What do we do with this information? How do we live a different life.
There were some great ideas like:
Read the Bible daily.
Attend a worship service weekly.
Like I said, great ideas that have a proven track record. However, there was one thing missing.
You see, all these great ideas are things that we can – and should – do.
I am convinced that in order to be truly transformed by the Holy Spirit working through Word and Sacrament, another person needs to walk along side me. I need a friend, a partner, a brother who will ask the tough questions:
How were you tempted today? Did you succumb to that temptation?
This brother would then pray with me and will pray for me every day. And I ask the same questions of him and do the same with him.
This is God’s plan. That a man or woman of God would have someone who is dedicated to them and they to them, being an instrument of the Holy Spirit to bring about fundamental transformation over a lifetime of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
David had his Jonathan.
Paul had his Silas.
Timothy had his Paul.
Who walks along side of you?