"For merely listening to the law doesn't make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight." - Romans 2:13 NLT
Thoughts for Today
Paul wrote the second chapter of Romans to Jewish readers who believed they had a special relationship to God because they knew and approved of the Law of God. Many believed this relationship made them above the Law, and they were not careful in their lifestyle. They excused behaviors that were wrong and trusted in their supposed privileged position to shield them from the consequences of their guilt.
It is never enough just to know and approve what is right. It is never enough to be a church member or to be born into a Christian family. Nothing has any meaning without a relationship with God that is alive and based on personal faith in Christ. In today's scripture, Paul is speaking to religious people who lack a living relationship with God.
Religious people are prone to rationalization. They have a strong belief system, but when their beliefs and behaviors conflict, they may resolve the internal conflict by excusing themselves. Many people are pro-life, but when it comes to an unwanted pregnancy in their own home, some are able to rationalize a pro-choice decision. Many oppose pornography and yet will allow themselves to indulge in secret. Nobody is above rationalizing and excusing sinful behaviors and attitudes.
Consider this …
People can rationalize sins like cheating on their taxes, lying, or having an affair. "Everyone does it." "I deserve it." "It does not really hurt anyone." "I'll only do it this one time."
Perhaps you have fallen into this rationalization trap. You know the Word. You say you believe it. And yet when it comes right down to your personal circumstances, you find a way to rationalize behavior that it condemns. Hypocrisy?
Faith in Christ sets us free from sin. We cannot earn our way to heaven--Jesus is the only way. Following Jesus means building a personal relationship with Him. It isn't enough to know what the Bible says. God calls us into a relationship that causes us to want to please Him. We will all stumble and fall along the way, but a close walk with the Lord should cause us to repent and get back on the right path. Knowing and speaking the Word isn't enough--we must live it.
Father, forgive me for reading your Word and then going my own way. I pray that your Word will become a living part of me and that I will live to please You. I pray that my relationship with you will grow stronger.
In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …Completely Free! A Group Study of Romans 1-8 by Dan Strickland. Everyone struggles from time-to-time, but we can have confidence that in Christ we are completely free from sin's slavery, from condemnation, and from fear of failure. This group study of Romans 1-8 and 12 helps Christians break out of the dull routine of a stagnant spiritual life. Applying the truths found in Romans can transform any believer into a person eager to follow God's will. This study can also serve as a powerful evangelistic tool by explaining the message of salvation as presented in Romans. Suggested uses include home Bible studies, cell groups, Sunday school classes, support groups and personal enrichment.
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