They are the BIG questions of life. Who am I? Why am I here? Where did I come from? What am I supposed to be doing? Does anything truly matter? Where am I going? What’s most important? Is there anything beyond the funeral home and cemetery? What difference does my life really make? Is there any purpose behind it all?
Do you know the answers to those questions? Are the answers actually shaping the way you choose to live, day by day? Are you a help to those who are struggling around you because they don’t yet have the answers to those questions? Are you teaching your children the answers, with your mouth and by your manner of life?
Those are tall tasks. But the next time you’re looking for a perspective-refresher or something worth easily sharing with those who are seeking, I hope you’ll remember the first paragraph of Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ… (Rom 1:1-6)
Did you hear that? What does your Creator want to “bring about” in your life? Let’s let Romans 1:1-6 answer that question.
- God set apart certain men as apostles to make “good news” known.
- The holy Scriptures are full of prophecies that point to the coming of God’s own Son.
- Jesus was a fleshly descendant of David, the great king of Israel.
- Even greater than that, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.
- If Jesus has in fact been raised from the dead, he is both Christ and Lord.
- Paul and others like him received grace and apostleship, sent by the resurrected Son of God as ambassadors with a message that everyone needs to hear.
- Those ambassadors shared this message–the “good news” of God–in order to bring about “the obedience of faith” in men and women of all nations.
- When ordinary people respond to the call of the gospel, they are reconciled to their Creator, made to belong to Jesus Christ, and the name of God is glorified.
Think about those biggest questions of life we started with. Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? Does anything truly matter? Where am I going? What’s most important? Is there any purpose behind it all? Is there some way we could take those six verses from Romans 1 and boil them down to one simple answer? What does your Creator want to “bring about” in your life and the lives of everyone you know?
The obedience of faith, for the sake of his name.
It’s how the letter of Paul to the Romans is introduced and the way it concludes.
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Rom 16:25-27)
“To the only wise God be glory forevermore.” That’s the point of the universe. In the past, I haven’t always respected the point. Neither have you. But through Jesus, God’s own Son, there is good news. My cosmic treason can be forgiven. Over the course of thousands of years, my Creator gradually revealed a mystery–a plan that has now been disclosed and made known to all. The gospel of Jesus Christ is “the power of God” (Rom 1:16) to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.
What does your Creator want to “bring about” in your life and the lives of everyone you know? The obedience of faith, for the sake of his name. That’s why the Sun rose this morning. That’s why oxygen fills your lungs. That’s why you had the time you’ve already spent today. That’s why you have some measure of time stretching before you. The obedience of faith, for the sake of his name.
The biggest questions of life, answered in one God-breathed sentence. It’s all right there in Romans 1:1-6, one of the greatest sentences ever written.