S (Scripture): Romans 1:16 I’m not ashamed of the gospel: it is God’s own power for salvation to all who have faith in God, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 God’s righteousness is being revealed in the gospel, from faithfulness for faith, as it is written, The righteous person will live by faith.
O (Observation): Paul speaks of the Gospel to the followers of Jesus in Rome. He is clear: the Gospel is God’s saving power. Not adherence to Law alone, but receiving grace through Jesus Christ. The Law was meant to guide God’s people, not be a litmus test for whether or not God loved God’s people. The Law was never a litmus test to decipher who should be loved and who should be considered an outsider (and thus treated as less than human).
The gift of The Law (which includes the Gospel – God’s saving power) was given to the Jews first. And so as the first recipients of God’s saving power, Paul does not deny access to the Gospel for the Jews. Instead, Paul adds into the list of recipients, the Gentiles who have faith in God.
And Paul clarifies: God’s righteousness comes to us through the gospel, instilling in us faith. This faith is what makes us righteous. Not adherence to The Law. Not being a good person. Not being perfect in prayer or praise. No! Faith comes from God giving us the gospel.
Nothing in us is good or holy, apart from God’s saving grace. Only the gospel saves. Whoever believes this is made righteous.
A (Application): Last night, as I led Ash Wednesday services, I was reminded of our mortality and frailty. I was reminded that my finiteness cannot compare to God’s vastness. As we surrender our lives, through the gift of baptism, we surrender our earthly frame to God’s saving power.
In our weakness, there is Christ. In our sadness, there is joy, for there is Christ. We spend a lot of time covering up our weakness to make us strong.
Instead, let us expose the frailty of our lives to God to let God lead us into healing. We can do this by sharing in faithful community. By prayer and fasting.
Let God care for you in the midst of your brokenness. Let God love you and re-shape you this Lenten season.
P (Prayer): God, you give your gospel gift to all humanity. Help us to let down our guard and embrace it. Amen.