14-15It doesn't matter if people are civilized and educated, or if they are uncivilized and uneducated. I must tell the good news to everyone. That's why I am eager to visit all of you in Rome.
16 I am proud of the good news! It is God's powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. 17 The good news tells how God accepts everyone who has faith, but only those who have faith. It is just as the Scriptures say, “The people God accepts because of their faith will live.”
When the risen Christ confronted Saul/Paul on the Damascus road, Paul’s whole life was radically changed. He turned from flushing out Christians in Damascus to kill them, to joining with them in worshipping their God whom he now knew. He turned from hate and rage to love and peace. If he was tireless in his persecution of Christians before his conversion he was doubly tireless now as he exerted himself to take the good news to every corner of the Mediterranean world. We have read earlier this week of his unflinching, unflagging commitment to the mission that Jesus had assigned to him. He loved the Lord who had saved him and he would endure anything to spread the good news.
And that included taking it to the great capital city of the empire. Never mind that the emperor insisted that all his subjects bow down to him as Lord. Paul knew that Jesus Christ loved him and gave himself for him, and that Jesus, not Caesar, was Lord.
But things kept happening to disrupt Paul’s travel plans. So he wrote this letter, explaining the good news, and we have in our hands perhaps the most life-changing document ever written.
At the heart of it is an exploration of “righteousness,” a word that covers a wide range of ideas from justice, acquittal, “rightness,” and unimaginable beauty and goodness. We see it in the love of Jesus Christ. Good-bye guilt, shame, hate, despair, self-loathing and our futile attempts at changing ourselves by our own efforts. If we meet Jesus Christ and put our trust in him, he will give us forgiveness, freedom and a new life. It is a gift.
He will live in us and we, just like Paul, will be transformed.
Written by Rob Longley and Annabel Robinson.
Lord Jesus, thank you for what you did in Paul’s life and what you have done in mine. Thank you for the transformation that the Holy Spirit brings. Lead me as I commit myself to sharing the good news with the people you bring into my life. Amen.
Although Robert studied at the Alberta College of Art in the early 1980’s, in about 1987 he stopped painting. In the summer of 2010, God told him that he needed to get serious with his art. God is his source of life, inspiration and motivation. His heart’s desire is to worship God through art. Robert believes the purpose for his art is to paint images that will always point back to God.