“Including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. … So, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” - Romans 1:6-7, 15
I can recall a discussion I had with a minister several years ago. He asked me what was one of the key verses of the Bible for ministry. I told him John 14:6 where Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” His response was something along the lines of, “yeah, but we need to move past that.” For him it was a given that Christians would know something so basic. By extension, pastors today neglect to preach the Gospel to their congregation believing that since they are already Christians, they no longer need to hear the Gospel.
But when we read the Bible, we can see that it is important for Christians to hear the Gospel over and over. Paul had this same thought in mind when he wrote his letter to the Romans. He was writing to those who were in Rome that were already Christians (Romans 1:6), but he was still “eager to preach the Gospel” to them (Romans 1:15).
Paul was saying even Christians need to hear the Gospel. But why? Our hearts are drawn to the law with the help from the Holy Spirit which tells us what we are to do or not to do. We like knowing the benefits of obeying and punishment for being disobedient. That is how the world works. The world rewards those who work hard and well and punishes those who do the minimum.
But the Gospel is something already done, specifically that Christ lived a perfect life, was crucified, died, buried, and raised for our justification. Because of that truth, we are made righteous before God (Romans 4:23-25). The difference between the law and the Gospel is that we cannot obey or disobey the Gospel. It is already complete. As a result, when we believe the Gospel there is nothing, we can do to change our standing with God since it is dependent on Jesus' completed work (Hebrews 10:14). This is good news, and we need to be reminded of this often so that we praise God for what He has done instead of trying to earn His favor.
It is important that we remember the law and follow what it commands us to do, but our obedience flows from the joy and comfort we have because of the Gospel, not to earn anything. Let us remind ourselves this every day.
Prayer of the day:
Dear heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for the grace You have given to us through Jesus’ obedience. We are thankful that we cannot add or take away from His completed work. Please help us to read Your word daily so that we can preach the Gospel to ourselves every day. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!