Friday Focus

Confess and Believe - by Virgil Stripes Romans 10:5-13 (ESV) For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

In the Old Testament Scriptures we are taught to obey the Law, for by obedience to the Law, we will be right with God. But in reality, this is hardly even possible, let alone likely. So are we lost in our sins? No, there are prophecies that at some point in the future (from the Old Testament), God will write His law on peoples’ hearts. In Habakkuk, it is stated that the righteous would live by faith. Now we have the New Testament. The Scriptures that fulfill the prophecies. Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. He fulfilled all the requirements of the Law, that we may live in Grace and forgiveness. We can now live in righteousness by faith in Him.

That is what this passage from Romans teaches us. Paul was talking in Chapter 9 about his desire to bring the Jews into faith in Jesus, and even went so far that he said that he almost wished he could be condemned in order that his fellow Jews could come to faith. Wow. That is love and commitment. What we can learn from his dedication, is that God’s desire for us brought Jesus to earth to pay for our sins, and give us freedom. Paul had a sense of that too. He wanted the Jews to come to know such love and forgiveness that he had experienced.

So let us look for ways to bring the good news to our neighbors, and friends, and families. Let us be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel. As we enjoy our weekend, let us focus on sharing God’s love in some way with those with whom we come into contact. Let us Confess Christ not just in our speech, but in our actions.

Photo is of hand carved crosses on the walls of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem by Crusaders hundreds of years ago.

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