What do the Romans have to do with the truth, you might be thinking? Well, I'm a non-religious Christian who follows -- no, relies on the teachings of Paul in Romans. You see, I was raised as a Roman Catholic and had not read the bible until eight years ago. I was shocked!
Religion ( at least the Christian religion I am familiar with ) is based solely in law and tells me I can win favor with God by my performance, yet Paul writes in Romans 3 ( living bible ): No one is good--no one in all the world is innocent. No one has ever really followed God's paths, or even truly wanted to. Every one has turned away; all have gone wrong...Now do you see it? No one can be made right in God's eyes by doing what the law commands...Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious ideal; yet now God declares us "not guilty" of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.
If this concept is new to you than take a look at Romans 7( living bible ): Paul writes, I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can't. I do what I don't want to do --what I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking...No matter which way I turn I can't make myself do right. I want to but I can't. When I want to do good, I don't; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.
Take heart, this conflict that Paul is talking about is evidence that he is saved, not that he is condemned. Lets look at Romans 8 ( living bible ): So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus...We aren't saved from sin's grasp by knowing the commandments of God, because we can't and don't keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own son... and destroyed sin's control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins...We are saved by trusting...Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has forgiven us and given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No! For he is the one who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven.
It is quite natural if, at this time, you're thinking: Well, I can just go and do anything I want. As long as I'm saved anyway, etc.. It was my first thought when I found the TRUTH. But the real deal is this: once I know the truth and realize that I have been given a free gift ( the exact opposite of what I deserve ) then out of gratitude, and because I have been changed by God, I don't want to go out and do what ever I want. What I want is what God wants me to do. Now, because I'm free from worrying about my own salivation I am able to love others as Jesus wants us to. God knows this (after all, he is God) and wants the best for us and the best thing for us is to love others.
I'll leave you with this from Romans 10 ( living bible ): For salvation that comes from trusting Christ--which is what we preach--is already within easy reach of each us; in fact, it is as near as our hearts and mouths. For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord, and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
God is good, Christ is pure. Jesus saved me from a hell on earth and he is my Lord.
Christopher J. Whyte