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A Matter of...

Daily Reading: Romans 14

Scripture Focus: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14.17)

Devotional Thought: Are we Christians because of what we do or what we believe? Yes!

In Romans 14, Paul found himself answering that question again, in a fresh way. There were some Christians who thought that others should have the same scruples as them. They insisted that all Christians maintain strict adherence to dietary regulations and eat only vegetables. Their reasoning was that meat may have been offered to idols before being purchased. There were other Christians who ate whatever they wanted, giving no thought to whether the meat had been used in idolatrous worship. Then there were the new and vulnerable Christians who didn't know what to do. Both sides spoke passionately about what they believed. Who was right?

Paul insisted that salvation does not come by adherence to dietary rules. Nor is it 'maintained' by dietary rules. Instead, we should base our confidence on "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Paul was confident that the Holy Spirit is a better arbiter of our spiritual vitality than is our diet, or any other code.

So, are we Christians because of what we do or what we believe? Both - in the sense that our faith informs our actions and our actions indicate our faith. When we are following a new Reality, living a new life, the Holy Spirit gives us the righteousness of Christ, the peace that passes understanding, and the joy of the Lord as our strength.

Prayer: Lord, help me to know that it is not by my own performance that I am saved. Help me to trust in the work of Christ and then to live holy because of what he has done. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 22.1-5

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

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