Romans Devotional

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Day 55 - Word and Deed

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Reading: Romans 15:14 -33

Reflective Thoughts

Word and Deed

A division has existed within American Christianity since the end of the 19th century. Certain leaders began to question Scriptural authority. Others reacted, and pulled away from the mainstream, holding fast to their traditional understanding of Scripture. Waves of these scuffles continue up until today. The accusations of one camp toward the other go something like this: "Liberals don't care about truth-they have reduced Christianity to serving social needs." "Conservatives don't care about needy people-they are only concerned about themselves and their doctrine."

If these accusations are true, the Apostle Paul disagrees with both. After 14 and a half chapters of what would become key doctrinal teachings, he gives the Roman believers the big proverbial "therefore." Their obedience is in both word--what they say and believe and deed--what they do (v.14). Paul's teaching was inclusive of both spiritual truth and material fruit (v. 27). How is the Word affecting your word (what you say and believe) today? Will it produce in you good things for others?

Day 54 - Unity

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Reading: Romans 15:8-13

Reflective Thoughts

Unity

We think highly of unity. People have called for it to win wars and declare peace. John Dickinson wrote "By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall" in a Revolutionary War song back in the 1770s. Sonny and Cher sang some of the same lyrics in a song about the brotherhood of humanity in the 1970s. In the church, we tend to think of unity in terms of people who are just like us. But Jesus has something wholly different in mind. He prayed about unity this way: "... that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21).

His prayer for unity is not generational or cultural. Both the Jews (the circumcision) and the Gentiles were saved through Him. Unity is not even based on our relationships with one another. Close friendships and allied theology does not equal spiritual oneness. Unity is first based on relationship with Christ. We don't need to be multicultural or cross-generational or theological experts to love one another. We need to be experts in our own relationship with Jesus. How is yours today?

 

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