16-17It's news I'm most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God's powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God's way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: "The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives."
Paul starts his letter to the Romans with the idea of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. Why does he start there? Simply to start at a place of "proof" - proof of the authority of Christ as the Son of God. He was emphasizing that this one that the Jews had come to know as the Son of Man was more - he was the one and only begotten Son of God.
Paul also emphasizes the calling, or mission, we each have in Christ. It is simply the privilege to proclaim the truth about Christ. We do this "proclamation" from a position of authority - because of the resurrection of Christ. When we proclaim Christ with this type of authority, God received glory and praise.
Sharing what God has done in our lives is one way of blessing each other. As we share the power of Christ to transform a life, we are blessing each other with new hope, challenging the faith of the other, and opening up the truth of God's authority to that individual. The gospel message is powerful - it saves all those that believe it. The most awesome part of the gospel message is the constant message of God making us "right" in his sight. His power to transform is evident in every message contained within scripture.
The truth about God is known to us instinctively - we are created with a certain innate ability to "know" God. When we reject this knowledge, we are placing ourselves under judgment - in a place where we are without hope and living far below the potential God has for us. We can see God in all that is made (creation) and we have absolutely no excuse for our rejection of him, his authority, or his power.
Paul opens this letter to the Roman church with a reminder that God is not going to somehow interject himself into our lives. His power and authority are available to all who will receive it - but it must be received. We can continue in our shameful deeds and determine to do them regardless of what God says or reveals about his love for us. When we do this, we are deliberately choosing to reject him. Rejection or acceptance of the authority of God in our lives is a simple matter of choice.
Deception is not accidental - it stems from our choices. When we refuse to acknowledge the authority and power of God in our lives, we are choosing to live in deception. God will not supersede our choices - he will abandon us to our shameful choices. It would be outside of God's intense love for us for him to violate our free will. It grieves him that we choose to live apart from him, but he will not cross that boundary of free will.
So, right standing with God is a matter of choice. Choice is a matter of our free will. Although God possesses all authority to "make us" act anyway he would life, he will not violate our free will. If we make the choice to embrace the love of God, we are also embracing his authority. With his authority come his power - the ability to live above wrong choices. So, the starting point is in making the first choice - choosing to accept the power, authority, and love of Christ. If you have not reached that starting point in your life, it is available to you by simply asking God to reveal his Son in you.