Live By Faith, Not Sight
Sovereign Lord, as the new year unfolds, open my mind that I may know and reflect on Your truths.
Read Romans 1:14-17
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Are there times when you have felt “ashamed of the Gospel” (16)? If so, reflect on how the “power of God” can give you renewed confidence.
Rome was a cosmopolitan hub in the ancient world, so people from different ethnic and educational backgrounds would be listening to the reading of Paul’s letter. He wants them to know that they are all included in the scope of the Gospel. In other places his message had been received and reinforced by people from diverse backgrounds (14), so he is eager that this be repeated in Rome (15). His reference to the “foolish” might well be tongue-in-cheek, however, for that is how non-Greeks were often labeled in the prevailing culture. In fact, Paul goes on implicitly to warn against intellectual snobbery.
Paul himself is a learned man and, whatever erudite Greek skeptics might think, he is not ashamed of the Gospel. Unlike intellectual theories or human arguments, the gospel rests on God’s power. It brings salvation to those who believe the good news about Christ. It is a power made available to all–Jew and Gentile–not through intellect but through faith. Faith rooted in Christ is the heart of the Gospel and the context in which righteous people live their lives.
How encouraging this must have sounded to those who had encountered the scorn of skeptics and unbelievers. Paul’s emphasis on faith helps us to remember that, ultimately, all intellectual theories rest on faith or belief. Anselm expressed this when he wrote: Credo ut intelligam–“I believe in order to understand.” Since reason relies on faith, and not the other way around, the urgent need is for that faith to be properly anchored in the truth and power of the Gospel. This is surely worth remembering in our own age, when atheism and cynicism are given such a high profile. Derision from the scornful does not matter when we know that true knowledge and wisdom begin with God.
In this new year, resolve to give serious thought to the Gospel. Read a book on apologetics which can strengthen your faith. Check with your pastor about possible options.
Lord, I think of the leading skeptics and atheists who influence our culture. My prayer is that Your power may break into their lives and lead them to Your truth.