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The joy of our salvation

This week's Carnival of Beauty topic is The Beauty of Romans. I cannot touch on all the beauties of the book of Romans in one blog post, but I am going to share what some of the highlights are for me. Please write about what you enjoy about Romans in the comments section. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Romans shows the full extent of human sinfulness. Some of the syptoms of this are recorded in Romans 1:28 - 32. They include idolatry, disobedience to parents, unforgiveness, violence, hatred toward God, backbiting, inventing evil, immorality, and approval of those who practice evil. I appreciate this list because it shows each person their nature. Even those who have lived so called "good lives" are guilty of some of these things that bring the judgement of God.

It is God's mercy to show us what sin is, because without understanding sin we cannot see our need for a saviour. We need to see our own hopeless bondage to sin before we can recognise that in this state we can do nothing to save ourselves. Romans shows us the condition of all humanity: "For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (3:22-23). The only solution is also the same for all humanity: "being justified freely by His grace through the redemptiont hat is in Christ Jesus" (3:24).

I also enjoy the way Romans explains the benefits of our salvation. We have peace and reconciliation with God, and true freedom. Romans reminds us that we are now God's children: "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16). Romans teaches us the depth of God's love. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (8:32). This salvation is not a trying, joy-suppressing event. Instead, it is the doorway to benefits and joys we could never have otherwise experienced.

Romans also teaches us how to respond to our salvation. I particularly enjoy the focus on loving one another. In the first chapter, Paul emulates the Christian spirit in his longing to see other Christians. Much of the joy of our Christian life should come from our fellowship with others. It is tragic when people leave the church, and even Christianity, over poor relationships with other believers. Many people who have left Christianity cite the church as their key reason. Loving and edifying each other is to be a priority, so that the opposite is the case. People should be reluctant to leave the church, because they love it so much!

In chapter 14 of Romans, we are taught that our Christian fellowship is so important that we are not to allow disputable matters to come between us. I don't believe this means we are not to come to conculsions on a wide variety of matters. It also does not mean we cannot discuss different Biblical ideas and convictions in order to encourage others to consider them. "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope".

However, in presenting what we believe the Bible says about a matter we are to maintain love for our brothers and sisters. Our priority is to "glorify God" (15:6) and receive one another in love (15:7), not to dispute and argue. We must never loose sight of our fellowship in the gospel. I am not sure exactly which matters are disputable and which are not, but I do know that if someone has been saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) I am to receive that person as a brother or sister in Christ.

One of my memory passages also conveys the beauty of how we are to live as Christians. It challenges me every time I review and consider it. I'll leave you with its convicting words. Romans 12:9-13:

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in dilligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

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