When in Rome–Week 4

Our Road to Romans has been a twisty turn of hills and valleys. And like any road trip there are highs and lows to the journey. I remember road trips to my grandparents home. The lows of car sickness, bickering parents and a bit of homesickness for a forgotten toy. But, there were the highs of the trip. The excitement of the journey, the anticipation of hugs, Dixie cups, cheerios, sweets from the pie shop my grandparents frequented. The best part? Grandma’s rice crispy treats made especially for us, to make us feel wanted, like we belonged.

This month we have taken what I call a crash course into the book of Romans. First, the Bad News was delivered in such a way that made me catch my breath like a bug on a collision course with the windshield of life. “God abandoned them to their sinful desires.” Talk about some bad news! We were stuck on the side of the road with a blown out tire saturated in a sinful and broken world. But, we do not have to stay stagnant in the wreckage that is the bad news. A New Way to be Right explained that we have roadside assistance! We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus. When we looked at The Struggle and the Victory we came to understand we are no longer bound to the law but we are free by the grace of Jesus. God sets out before us a roadmap to navigate the perils of human life. But, who exactly did God invite along on the journey through the twisty turn of those hills and valleys? Who exactly belongs?

Romans 3:2 tells us the Jews were entrusted with the very word of God. And yet, both the Jews and Gentiles are all under the power of sin- no one is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:12) We are all subject to the penalty of sin, sin touches us all. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God but the good news for us is that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. We don’t have to do any work for ourselves, it has already been done on the cross by Jesus. Our salvation rests simply in Jesus not by any works that we have accomplished. The journey heavenbound will accept our passports regardless of our bloodline.

Therefore, when we consider our own wondrous opportunity to be called children of God regardless of our Gentile status we can accept our inclusion with grateful hearts. The price of belonging to God costs nothing. We are saved by faith in Jesus and that really truly is the good news. We as Gentiles inherit the rich blessings of the Father when we were grafted into the family of God. The invitation to belong is irrevocable. Out of Two- the Jews and Gentiles we become united through our faith in Jesus and become one people, people invited to belong.

Dea Braaten