Devotional: Justified By Faith

Romans 5:1-8
5:1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
5:2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
5:3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
5:4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5:5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
5:7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.
5:8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

No one said it was going to be easy, this thing called faith.
No one said it would be easy, but yet there is something that we hold on to, come back to, search for, long for, and strive to find.

Faith in God is something that humanity has struggled with for millennia. Israel means the one who struggles with God
Israel as a nation struggled with the notion of one God alone, the struggled with listening to God’s voice or God’s messengers to fulfill the teachings and commands.

The disciples throughout the Gospels never fully comprehended the ministry of Christ; they could not connect the dots between the words proclaimed and the ministry given to their everyday life. The letters we find in the New Testament shows us quarreling between factions within the early church; we read about factions forming on who was more right and who was the true and proper way.

One of my favorite professors in seminary once said, “I know the church is of God because people have been messing it up for 2000 plus years and it’s still with us.”

On top of that, throughout history humanity has found ways to gain power by any means necessary. Some use might and brute force; others use coercion or even their own religion’s teachings to force people into submission for their own gain.
Humanity has longed for peace not only between warring nations but in our own hearts, minds, and souls.

Discord, unease, the stress of life, disharmony and disunity not to mention the problems of the world some too great for our minds to fully comprehend and formulate a reasonable answer or even possible solution.

Paul reminds the church in Rome that the feeling of despair about the world, the unease we have about life, all of the worries of our own heart and minds are by a byproduct of the faith we have in God through Jesus the Christ.

This faith opens our eyes to what is happening in our world, in our nation or in our backyard. It calls us to view things differently and with fresh eyes. We begin to see the world through a new lens one that is shaped and guided by the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. We are called as followers of Christ to see the world as Jesus would see it, to see humanity as Jesus see them, to give as Jesus would give, to love who Jesus would love (and that’s everyone).

Paul reminds the Roman church that what awaits them is peace, reconciliation, hope, and mercy.
This is the hope and the faith that we have! The hope and the faith and we are called to embody and proclaim!
There must be more to this life than merely existing. The journey with God calls us to make this love, joy, peace, goodness, empathy, and patience known and shown in the world today.

This is the best ‘witness’ one can have. This is the fulfillment of the journey and our faith.
It is something that will never have a finish line per se but this should not mean we don’t stop continuing striving for the realm of God to be in our midst.

This week let us look for ways that God is calling us to view the world differently, to see our neighbors differently, to open our hearts to the moving of the Spirit. Faith can be a difficult journey but throughout our walk with God, we can find along the way the strength to continue.

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