Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
We read in Romans 10:5-17 that God’s righteousness is perfect. That’s well and good. How is it carried out? Not by our striving to bring Christ down to us or to ascend to Christ. It’s brought to us by God’s word.
In the past few days I have had discussions with people who wanted to tell me that we all believe essentially the same thing, so we are all just fine. Our differences are pretty small. The problem is, the people who have tried to tell me this are all people who think their hope for the future is based on their good works being valued more than their bad works. Their righteousness outweighs their unrighteousness. Their failings aren’t all that big, after all.
There’s a profound problem in this line of argument. Before God’s perfect righteousness, all our works will fail. The New Testament describes salvation by grace of God, through the faith we place in Jesus as the savior. It is not built on any of our obedience. It has nothing to do with the quality of our prayers, the virtue of our repentance, or the fervency of our belief. It is certainly not a balancing act between good works and the failure to do good.
What’s needed then? How do we find God’s righteousness applied? Our passage tells us it is through the preaching of God’s word. The proclamation of Jesus’ righteousness, freely applied to all who believe, by his grace through faith, is the message which liberates us from all our human solutions. It is the message which brings redemption.
Through the ages, the Christian Church has appointed pastors and teachers, those who would devote their time and effort to understanding the free grace of God, bringing the message of mercy and redemption to all who would hear. It is a holy calling. It is indispensable. It is the work of every Christian pastor. Let’s rejoice in it on every occasion.
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