So What Da Problem Is?
If you just wanted to live a well-adjusted life down here, and act like that would be enough of a “life,” I could suggest the works of Aristotle or other philosophers who could guide you into a good moral life. Or you could go to the self-help section of your book store. ( I went into my book store once, and ask where the self-help section was, but got no help from the clerk because she said that would defeat the purpose!)
The problem is that not a one of my suggestions would satisfy anyone completely.
There is a gnawing of the soul, that we all had, when we were unbelievers, that cannot be healed with tips and techniques on how to live a better life. Imagine, if you will, falling off a cruise- liner. You do not know how to swim. At least you will not make it back to the boat or to the shore. It is just too far; it is just too, too far.
The crowd gathers about on the railing shouting, ” Move your arms and legs, start swimming!” All this while your panic level has reached terrifying proportions. You know you are helpless. Others have punched up Youtube tutorial videos; calling out instructions.
In the same way , the problem of life is not that we do not have enough good advice to live right; the problem is having the power to do good for very long and for the right reasons.
Christ throws out a life-preserver to us by His grace ( which means you do not deserve the help). A grace that saves us from eternal drowning based on what He has already done for us through His death on the cross, and verified by His resurrection. (He did something for you that you could not do for yourself.)
Then, with what He accomplished, we begin to live a very different and wonderful life. No longer trying to live life on our own, and then hoping to present that to God as “good enough.” But rather doing the good because He is alive in us, giving us power to do true goodness, reflecting His life and motives in us; through us.
Sunday we begin the book of Romans. Paul’s letter to the Romans is more systematic that his other letters. He sets out to prove that the gospel is no new innovation, but God’s plan from eternity past.
Here is a man who said he excelled far above all his contemporaries in righteous living; being a good man, and yet was still a prisoner to sin, and miserably lost and separated from God! (Romans 7). As far as “comparative righteousness” goes, there was none better than Paul. He could swim better than all others, but could never reach the safety of the shore. He knew the right thing to do, but it did not provide the power to really be a transformed person.
We are never judged for eternity based on how well we did compared to others. Hey, that was going to be my story ( before I reached out for that life-preserver who is Christ Himself) as I imagined standing before God and saying, ” Well I did my share of wrong, but I can show you many others who lived a worst life than me!” Talk about a statement that will melt faster than a snowball in hell!
The book of Romans has a lot of wonderful, applicable things to say. Please be with us for this study. I cannot stress enough how this study will clear up your thinking, and give you power to deal with many of your most pressing concerns.
And most importantly, you find out how much love this Savior has for you; how He has known you before you were ever born; how deeply He can transform you; and how worthy He is of all your praise! You find out that He is not a means to an end; He is the end and fullness of the meaning of this temporal/eternal life. When you are in love with the Savior, you do many good works; not to get saved or keep saved, but because you are saved already. JWP 2/23/18