Knowing Our Part

5 Jan

I am continuing in Romans for the new year.  I am up to Chapter 10 and I am always amazed as I read through the text again, especially when I read it in the Message.  The words of Paul strike me again and again that we get it wrong when we think we can “make our religion,” rather than surrendering to God.    Instead, as Paul says, we do it exactly backwards (my mom has another way of saying that!)

10 1-3 Believe me, friends, all I want for Israel is what’s best for Israel: salvation, nothing less. I want it with all my heart and pray to God for it all the time. I readily admit that the Jews are impressively energetic regarding God—but they are doing everything exactly backward. They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is. Right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily hawk their wares. After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.

4-10 The earlier revelation was intended simply to get us ready for the Messiah, who then puts everything right for those who trust him to do it. Moses wrote that anyone who insists on using the law code to live right before God soon discovers it’s not so easy—every detail of life regulated by fine print! But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story—no precarious climb up to heaven to recruit the Messiah, no dangerous descent into hell to rescue the Messiah. So what exactly was Moses saying?

The word that saves is right here,
    as near as the tongue in your mouth,
    as close as the heart in your chest.

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

Trusting God to guide each day, each moment; and trusting God over and over again each day . . . that’s salvation.   John Wesley saw it as a process.  It is no wonder it understood it as a daily, eternal revealing of our lives after he read Paul.

I think we have a hard time surrendering to God.  It would be better if we were like the boy on his knees, knowing our part is to mess things up and it is God’s part to forgiving, again, and again, and again and set us on a good path again.

Surrendering to God means knowing that we are NOT God.  That we are not capable of anything on our own, but with God all things are possible.   It is a wonderful sense of humility and release that comes in letting go of all of the details and plans and pride; to know God sees us as we are, forgives us what we have done, and lets us begin again – healed – new – open to the possibilities that the day came bring to let God’s light (not our light) shine through us.

It’s a great way to being 2016.



One Response to “Knowing Our Part”

  1. Phyllis Terwilliger January 5, 2016 at 3:37 pm #


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