The Lifeline

I’m thinking about lifelines today. My friend Kerrie is in the bed nearby, with her port connected to a tube which will give her chemotherapy. The chemo is going to save Kerrie’s life.

You could call it a lifeline. It’s not unlike the spiritual lifeline that I’ve found in the book of Romans.

Now, I agree with you. Romans is a tough book. Paul doesn’t leave much room to guess about his meaning. Try this for instance:

“For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the Jewish ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people.”

The whole point of the book of Romans is to answer that one question: How does one make one’s heart RIGHT WITH GOD?

In chapter after chapter, Paul will make sure that we understand how it does NOT happen. In chapter two, he makes it clear that being right with God is not about outward things, but rather about inward things.

We don’t impress God by our outward appearance. He doesn’t care if we are circumcised. He doesn’t care if we’ve been to First Communion, or to Confirmation. God is only concerned by out inward condition. The true Jew, and the true believer are ones whose heart have been made right with God.

In chapter 3 he tells us how this transformation occurs:

“We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all fall short God’s gracious standard.”

And later, “He has freed us by taking away our sins.”

So, here is the problem.

We want to be right with God. So we try to “act right” enough to get him to approve of us. The problem is that we can’t possibly be good enough.

So, he provided a way. That way is Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has taken away all of our sins. And in Christ he has made our inward selves right with him.

It’s so simple that even the lowliest of us can understand it. But it’s so difficult that only the courageous will grab hold of the lifeline there.

Have you? Have you grabbed onto the lifeline of Jesus Christ?

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