What do people think about God when they look at your life? Take a moment to ponder that for a moment. Whether we are Jew or Gentile, how we live matters to God.
Paul is rattling some cages here of his Jewish contemporaries. Paul, also a Jew, focuses on making sure these Jews in Rome did not think they had a “free pass” just because they were Jews. Jews were God’s chosen people, but that wasn’t enough.
We all have, from time to time, wanted to be the judge. I don’t think anyone I know can say that they didn’t give a disapproving look a time or two, or avoid a certain person because of “their” sin. We need to remember our role, and it’s NOT to judge others.
This was a great passage to convict us of that very truth. If we only look in the mirror, we soon see our own imperfections and weaknesses. I don’t want to condemn myself for judging someone else’s issues. What’s the point? We know who is in charge and who will be the final judge. Why do we think we should even open our mouth?
It’s no surprise that God hates sin. Sin would be those acts, deeds, and thoughts that keep us separated from God. Satan will do anything to deceive us and make us believe we are not sinful. Remember Eve and the serpent? We need to be so sure of God and his desires for us that we can sniff out the evil one when we are weak and vulnerable.
It is certainly Good News to know that Jesus Christ is Lord. Our Lord is also our friend. He laid down his life for us. Paul has been consumed with sharing this truth since his fateful day on the road to Damascus. He has now devoted himself to making sure everyone knows of the love of Jesus.
He seems particularly drawn to the Christians in Rome. It’s not known for sure who started the church, or what the demographic of Jew and Gentile was at the time. Do we really need to know? What we do see are Paul’s actions. What is he doing? Praying for them, encouraging them, and now teaching them.
I feel a little like Paul today. Shouldn’t we feel like Paul every day? What do I mean by that? We, too, are chosen by God to proclaim the Good News about Jesus! As we read through the book of Romans, keep in mind who Paul’s audience is. From what I understand, some of the believers in Rome may have come to faith during the original Pentecost (Acts 2). Paul had never been to Rome, nor had any of the other disciples. Paul’s letter is a way of introducing himself to this growing church.
As we read through this book together, let’s rexamine our own relationship with Jesus and other believers. How committed are we to the gospel? Are we ready to be bold like Paul? What are the lessons we need to hear? The book of Romans is full of faith principles, and it will be good for us to review the “basics”. Maybe we’ll hear things for the first time because we are now ready to hear them.