I've been around the biblical story my whole life. I feel fortunate to say that, blessed and thankful to have grown up in a home where the Bible was treasured and taught.
My parents had me quoting Scripture before I could even read — I was singing “Jesus Loves Me” before I knew if I loved Him back. And that early exposure to the Gospel has had a profound impact on my life.
But I've learned that those gifts given to me during childhood — which included a passion for the story God is telling in Christ — need to be continuously nurtured. If I'm not paying attention, the Gospel's greatness slips out of view, and I forget just how beautiful it is.
The thing is: I don't want to forget how good the Good News really is. I need the Gospel now more than I ever knew I needed it as a kid. It is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). And as it settles more deeply into my heart, I'm changed.
Nothing clears the air and puts the Good News in perspective like Paul's letter to the Romans. Whenever my memory of the Gospel's greatness needs to be refreshed, it's one of my first stops. It's the place I go when I need to be reminded that the greatest gifts are not the ones we earn, but the ones that are lavished upon us even though we may not deserve them.
Again and again, God has used Romans to bring me back to four fundamental truths:
- Salvation always eludes those who think they can earn it, but to those who receive it for what it is — a gift freely given to all who believe — it changes everything.
- Hope and help for the human race have arrived in the person of Jesus Christ — we don't need to look anywhere else. Salvation, and all that comes with it, is found in Him.
- God's purposes for creation will ultimately prevail. We can rest assured that nothing thwarts His will, and nothing can separate us from Him. His love is unbreakable.
- Seeing the Gospel clearly matters more than anything else for who we become and what becomes of us. When we lose sight of the big picture, of what matters, Romans pulls us back into the landscape of grace.
When you find yourself forgetting just how good the Good News really is, read Paul's letter to the Romans. Take it a chapter at a time, or even a verse at a time. Let the Gospel wash over you. There's no other story like it, written or told.