“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:7
Yesterday we considered the amazing call to identity ourselves as saints of the Lord through Jesus Christ. While this may have been a challenging concept, it is an important one and critical to the next aspect of Paul’s letter. Not only does he call you a saint, but also your brothers and sisters in Christ, even the ones that disagree with you, challenge you, or make you want to run and hide. Just as God has done a mighty work in your life through the blood of Jesus Christ, so he has done a mighty work in all those who have put their trust in the redemptive work of his Son.
You are loved by God, imputed with the righteousness of Christ, and called to live as his saint (remember the definition from yesterday – saint means holy and set apart). It is imperative that you understand this identity for yourself but also important that you understand it for your brothers and sisters in Christ. This understanding of identities leads to grace and peace on this earth.
These days, so many Christians find their identities in their ministries, their sexual identity, or their denomination. For example, I am a pastor or a Christian education director, a heterosexual or homosexual, a Baptist, Lutheran, or an Episcopalian. These things may be what you do, who you love, or how you worship; however, they are not your identity! When you are in Christ, he alone is your identity.
Recognizing that identity in Christ for you and for others makes the way for grace-filled and peaceful Christian fellowship. While you may not agree on many things in this world, saints can whole-heartedly agree that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John14: 6). His cross and resurrection are what unite us, and that cross and resurrection are far greater than any earthly divisions.
As this Advent season draws to a close, will you choose to celebrate the greatest gift ever given – Jesus Christ who came to make the way for you to be reconciled to the Father and to your brothers and sisters? Maybe today is the day to bring his grace to your relationships, to be reconciled, and to choose the peaceful way forward.
What is God’s call for you to be an instrument of his grace and peace in the world today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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