What is Required?
Sunday’s passage from Romans is another confusing one, but there is a critical and very encouraging lesson for us!
Moses, in the minds of Paul’s readers, was the lawgiver, so what he says carries a lot of weight. Basically, Moses says that if anyone “does these things,” that is, “obey the law,” that person will have life. But — and this is a big ‘but’ — having read the first nine chapters of this letter, we know that Paul is very clear that no one can “do these things” well enough. We always fall short somewhere. So if we try to “live” by doing these things — obeying the law — we will fall short, and we will miss “life.”
On the other hand Paul want for us the righteousness that comes from faith. Faith does not require that we pursue righteousness up to heaven, or down to the abyss. We don’t need to struggle and go off hunting to find righteousness, hoping against hope that we will find it and be good enough.
Faith, rather, is to be found “on your lips and in your heart.” Why? “Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Nothing more is required.
Circumcision? Not required. Getting the whole law just right? Are you kidding me? Joining the perfect church? Forget about it.
All that is required is that trust that Jesus is the one whom God as raised from the dead and trust Him as Lord of our lives. We don’t have to get all the other stuff just right.
Relax. It’s not complicated. You don’t have to trust in yourself. Trust in Jesus!
This column appeared in the St. John’s Weekly eNews for August 13, 2017. Click here for the complete issue. Click here to get the eNews in your inbox every Thursday afternoon.