‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him’ (Rom 8:28). What a promise! Yet, the promise here is not that ‘all things’ will be good – but that in ‘all things’ God would do what is good.
Hope is a funny word. It’s such a positive thing, and yet it can seem so fragile.
Psychologists tell us that hope is crucial for healthy functioning. People without hope die, while people with hope thrive. We all want something to look forward to; something to live for; a ‘destination’ in life.
And yet, who can predict the future? Life can often seem like little more than a wrecking yard of dashed hopes. What do we really have to live for? Can anyone have any certainty about what’s to come?
The fantastic message of the Bible’s letter to the Romans is that we can! – and not just a vague sense of wishful thinking, but real, grounded, impregnable confidence! – not just for now, but for all eternity!
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:2-6)
This is a call to do evangelism, that is, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
From time to time there is a little bit of discussion among Christian folk about what Paul means here. Is every Christian called to be an ‘evangelist’?
‘Faith’ is the Christian calling. And one could ask: ‘How do I know my faith is real?’ or ‘Does doubt mean I have a shallow faith?’. Yet, you don’t need to be Christian to have questions about ‘faith’: ‘How do I get faith?’ or ‘What does faith achieve?’.
This talk, the second in a series on ‘Faith’, looks how faith comes to a person.
The Apostle Paul in Romans argues that a Christian cannot rightly call themselves a disciple unless they both believe and confess that ‘Jesus is Lord’.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:9-13)