Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 2:12-16 (NLT)
When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. And this is the message I proclaim — that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.
Reflection: Romans 2:12-16 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
It seems that Paul is envisaging a debate in which three parties are involved: our hearts (on which the requirements of the law have been written), our consciences (prodding and reproving us), and our thoughts (usually accusing us, but sometimes excusing us).
God’s judgement will include the hidden areas of our lives: God will judge men’s secrets. Scripture tells us repeatedly that God knows our hearts. In consequence, there will be no possibility of a miscarriage of justice on the last day. For all the facts will be known, including those which at present are not, for example, our motives.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was quite correct to write from prison, ‘I don’t think it is Christian to want to get to the New Testament too soon or too directly.’ What he meant is that, until the law has done its work of exposing and condemning our sin, we are not ready to hear the gospel of justification.
That God has written his law on our hearts by creation means that we have some knowledge of it; when he writes his law on our hearts in the new creation he also gives us a love for it and the power to obey it.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen