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16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

How are we to respond to the promises of God? His promises are not automatically at work in every life that hears them. Some respond correctly, while others respond improperly. Some enjoy the benefits of God's promises, whereas others do not. In these two verses, we are given the fundamental response to all that pertains to the gospel of grace. That response is faith. This would certainly include living by the promises of God. 

BEHIND ALL clouds is the clear pure ether of God's love. We are not dismayed by the storms that sweep the earth's surface, for beneath them are unfathomed depths of stillness. God sees His way through them, and is using them to fulfil His great purpose. Difficulties are nothing to Him. He weighs the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance. He is our Father, and we need not fear. The world is full of tumult. The floods have lifted up their voice, but above the noise of many waters, the Lord on high is mighty; and He must reign till He hath put all enemies beneath His feet.

Paul was unashamed of the gospel due to its effective character. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation." The good news about Jesus Christ is essentially the grace of God proclaimed to man: "the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). This grace is God's power poured out unto the saving of souls. This power is experienced by all who place their faith in the gospel, whether Jew or Gentile: "for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." The gospel is effective, because it holds forth God's righteousness to sinful man, if he is willing to trust in the Lord. "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." 

Our Lord Himself declared that there is great blessing in having a passion for righteous living. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Mat 5:6). The blessing is God's pledge to satisfy that heart which yearns for righteousness. "For they shall be filled" (Mat 5:6).

The Lord even adds gracious encouragements to righteousness, so we will be strengthened to pursue His Holy will in this matter. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 5:10). Persecutions can remind us that we are headed for heaven. Persecutions can bring us heavenly measures of sustaining grace along the way.

Are you storm-tossed and facing loss? Are you bewildered with uncertainty at the turn of events that have reordered you otherwise well-ordered world? Is your faith being tested, and your doubts exposed? Does it feel to you like the Lord is sleeping in the boat, oblivious to your peril? Are you second-guessing yourself, and thinking maybe you deserve this because you didn’t pray hard enough, go to church more often, tithe better…..etc.

Hold on there beloved. Yes, your boat is in the middle of a storm, but Jesus is in the middle of your boat!

The fact remains — HE IS WITH YOU NOW! And together you will make it to the other side.

That much is unambiguous! You’ll just have to learn to live by faith.

May this New Year bring new light and new hope! May the almighty God strengthen your bond with family, friends and community this New Year. Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year!

 

Blessings

Pastor Mark

 

#WOTD