Monday, January 26, 2009

Romans 2 -- What Really Matters

Romans 2 is a direct continuation of Romans 1, again the artificial numbering system can let us down. Many people read Romans 1, myself included, with great gusto ready to go out there and convict all those people who are making God angry. We finish reading Romans 1, close the book and head for the door. Before you get to the door, go back to the book and read through Romans 2. We are the people listed in Romans 1 and the people listed in Romans 1 are us.

The list of does and don't is not what matters most. A life that has truly been transformed by God is what matters most. Paul has some harsh words for his fellow Jews regarding the law, and doing all the right activities with out the right heart. There is no need to be Jewish to fall pray to this. The only requirement is to have a pulse. Actions are easier because they can be measures and checked off a list. The condition of the heart can only be known by One, and the condition of the heart is what really matters.

Isaiah convicts the people of God, Israel, for drawing close to God with their mouths but having their hearts far from God. That conviction applies to my life all too often, and I am guessing I am not alone. It is much easier to use words to engage a pursuit to rid the world of sinful evil doers who are bent on bringing the wrath of God upon humanity. The more difficult role is to allow God to be God, and allow our hearts to be shaped and molded by the very hand and work of God. We should be encouraging each other to steer clear of sin, and to highlight when it appears we might not be living up to the call of God in our lives. Still conviction alone belongs to the Holy Spirit.

This does not mean we allow anything, the libertine position. It means we should find a middle ground between there and legalism. That middle ground is found on the battleground of our own heart. Fighting against judgment and untransformed living, yielding to the work and breath of God offered through grace to all. That is what really matters.

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