Today’s Readings: Esther 6, Romans 1
Even though I may not know you, I know your biggest problem. It is not your stock portfolio, your micro-managing boss, your toddler’s temper-tantrum, or your cancer. It’s not that you don’t feel loved, don’t have a job, don’t have a baby, or don’t have plans for the weekend.
Our Ultimate Problem: God is righteous and we are not.
In the first two chapters of Romans (1:18-3:20), Paul is a prosecuting attorney. He argues that all of humanity is condemned because God is righteous and we are not. As a result, there is real guilt over every human heart because of sin and, since God is holy and cannot be in the presence of sin, there is real condemnation because of that sin.
As Paul writes,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth … Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. 1:18, 32, ESV.
God is angry at our unrighteousness. He hates the way that we suppress and manipulate the truth to justify ourselves. We are sinners in the hands of an angry God.
This is our problem.
Our Ultimate Hope: God gives to us what he demands from us.
But God did not leave us alone with our problem. He rescued us from his wrath. Through faith in Jesus, we are made righteous and able to live in his presence forever. This is what he longs for because he loves us. This is the gospel.
And Paul was not ashamed to preach it. His thesis reads:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 1:16-17, ESV.
The gospel is the power of God for salvation, which comes through faith in Jesus Christ. It is strong and merciful to save. It penetrates our hearts.
Our Daily Lives.
If we know and love and live on the essence of the gospel as a daily reality, we are filled with joy and hope. After all, if our ultimate problem has been miraculously solved, then what else remains?