Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 39, Ezekiel 17:1-10, and Romans 2:1-16
St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, partly to invite himself to preach, and partly to help them with some doctrine. His main point in today’s passage is that God will judge people in direct proportion to the amount of light they have. Those who have never heard of Jesus or the Mosaic Law will still have to answer for their sins, but God takes into account the fact that they did not know the truth. Those who have heard and have chosen to disregard it, however, will be in hot water.
This doesn’t mean that we should never tell anyone about Jesus, for fear that they won’t accept him and then face the consequences. Jesus specifically told us to go out to the whole world and spread the good news. People who die never having heard of God still die. Paul argues that while they are apart from the law, and will be judged apart from the law, they are still judged.
The discussion fits in with the larger theme of the book, which is that the Mosaic Law is impossible to follow completely, and breaking one little bit is the same as breaking all of it – a lawbreaker is a lawbreaker, no matter how bad their crime was. Of course, we know that God told the Israelites as part of the law itself to let the punishment fit the crime (in other words, the death penalty cannot be handed out for jaywalking). But what God does is not up to us and our ideas of justice. This author, for instance, abhors the concept of eternal conscious torment (the usual Protestant view of hell). However, if that is the way God has chosen to handle it, then that is God’s business and not ours. The point is that while we would like to think that God sets the punishment to be equal with the crime, so to speak, we in reality don’t quite know. The best solution, in any case, is to follow Jesus. That’s where we find life. We don’t have to worry about what will happen at the end if we’re following Jesus, because Jesus has already taken care of it.
How is your walk with Jesus going? Are you taking Jesus to those around you? Write your own prayer.