"I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." - Romans 1:16
It seems counter-intuitive to us that the Gospel should be the source of power for salvation. Our natural instinct is to think that the preaching and teaching of God’s Law should motivate people to “straighten up and fly right.”
The Law, after all, has both the carrot and the stick: it tells us what blessings will come to us if we obey it and it threatens us with all the curses and trouble that will fall on us if we don’t; and it’s all true.
But the Law, as necessary as it is and as beautiful as it is, points out our sin, reminds us of our guilt, and leaves us feeling condemned, miserable and ultimately frustrated. It doesn’t give us the power to change our life or our way of thinking, or deliver us from our sinful habits, addictions, and perversions.
The Gospel, the good news of God’s forgiveness in Christ Jesus solely because of His great love, mercy and grace, re-creates us, changes our hearts, and makes us children of God, as we believe it and receive what it offers. It applies God’s power to our hearts and saves us.
We can’t make Christians out of people - even our own children - by trying to make them hear and even obey God’s Law. The love of God must warm their hearts with His forgiveness in Christ; then the chains of sin fall away.
Lord, keep my heart and mind focused on Your Gospel, in my own life and in the way I approach others. Let Your forgiveness, mercy and grace be the defining characteristic of my life. Let that be what people remember about me, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
Pastor Dan Giles