Paul has a way of bringing complex concepts down to easily understandable tidbits. Of utmost importance is “what must a man do to be saved.” As I read through chapter 1, the following resonated within me:
6 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes – Jews first and also Gentiles. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
That’s the Good News – our faith in God is what saves us. Salvation is more than just believing in God. Even the demons believe in God and they shudder in terror. They, however, do not trust in God to do anything for them. So also, you can believe in God and not be saved. You must also trust Him and His plan – the gospel of Jesus Christ, who came to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
How many times have we all heard someone say they’re pretty sure they’re going to heaven because they believe in God? It’s not our belief in God that saves us – it’s God Himself, through Jesus, and we have to come to a point in our lives where we truly believe in that and have faith in what God did (and continues to do). In other words, it’s more than just believing that God exists.
Now, you can also believe in Santa Claus, but he won’t do anything for you. Your faith in him will be rewarded with emptyness and disappointment. Like those who trust in anything besides the one true God, Santa-Clausians will be left empty and disappointed. However, belief and faith in Christ will be rewarded with an intimate relationship with God, our Creator and King.
So, what do we do with that? Paul goes on in this chapter to describe the evil and wicked things that people do who have turned their back on God – even though they, like everyone else, has known of God instinctively all their lives. Look what he writes:
19 For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. 20 From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.
There’s no excuse. The signs are everywhere. Yet, there are those who choose to turn their backs and follow their own ways and ideas.
That’s where we are to come in. We need to tell these people the Good News. We need to live our lives as examples so God can draw them unto Himself. It’s not complicated – we simply have to tell them what God has done for us.
Pray about who God would have you talk to this week. Start small and see if God won’t amaze you and work through you.