God’s Judgment and the Law
In today’s scripture, Paul writes to the Roman church, specifically those who feel chosen because they follow the law outwardly to the letter. Paul’s purpose here is cautionary to the Roman Jews, but it applies equally to us in the church today: “For it is not the hearers [only] of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who are justified” (v. 13).
Part of the purpose of Paul’s letter is to explain justification, i.e., being declared righteous before God. This righteousness comes from Christ’s act on the cross and our faith in it. It is the perfection of our relationship with Jesus, and Paul explains that ALL of us, both Jew and Gentile, are justified by our faith. “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). None of us is saved by works alone, but by faith. From and through our faith come good works that are apparent to others, NOT the other way around.
As I settle into this Lenten season, this scripture is a good reminder for me to search my heart, not just my outward actions, just as God does, and ask myself what God sees in my deep recesses. Am I practicing what I preach (as mother, wife, friend)? As Paul asks, “You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?” (v. 21). Do I expect more from others than from myself? Am I hiding behind rituals, but not taking Christ’s truth into my heart and basing my daily actions on His teachings?
Stepping Out in Lent – As we prepare for Easter, let us search ourselves and ask if God’s law is written on our hearts, not simply shown in our striving to have our outward actions look good.
Author – Amy Hart is an accidental entrepreneur, starting an art business with her daughter, Maddie. She’s wife to Chris and also mom to Charlie. Her heart loves St. Peter’s and the good works done in its ministries, and she feels blessed to call it home since 2012.