“Through Christ, GOD has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what GOD has done for them, so that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His Name.
And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by GOD and are called to be His Own holy people.
May GOD our FATHER and the Lord Jesus Christ give you Grace and Peace.” – Romans 1:5-7 NLT (http://bible.com/116/rom.1.5-7.NLT)
These words were written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome. The church probably consisted of a very diverse crowd, from senator to slave, from wealthy to poor, of Jew and Gentile. Paul was an expert on Jewish law, and he often spoke directly to his people, the Jews, because they were the ones Jesus chose to be the leaders of His church on earth. Paul recognized that because the Jews had been responsible for Jesus being sentenced to die, and because of their persecution of His followers, they needed to be the ones who showed the world the Messiah story. When we submit to Jesus Christ and His authority, we received a measure of peace unlike anything we have ever known. Love so AMAZING it cannot be described in words, and many many people have tried. The first step is submission, and that is so stinkin’ hard for us stubborn, hardheaded humans! Imagine how hard it must have been to the Jewish leaders to accept such a radical change. They had to believe that this man of the common people was their promised Messiah and their King. He was born in a barn, for goodness sake…. a barn for the birthplace of their Messiah? A common man, not a scholar or a Jewish teacher of the law.
Can you imagine? Would we, as Americans, accept a 30-ish homeless man to be our leader? I think not.
And yet, it was the truth that the disciples of Jesus were preaching to the world. It was the truth, and Paul literally had his eyes opened to it. Paul went from hunting down and persecuting, and even killing, followers of Christ to being a believer overnight. Submitted to Jesus, Paul took on the gigantic task of teaching the Gospel to the known world… how committed, and how submitted, are you? I was a Christian for many years before I submitted myself to Him, and the difference is amazing. “Called to Grace and Peace” barely scratches the surface. Besides those, when completely submitted you recognize the blessings around you so much easier. Little irritations become just that – little. Big irritations become much smaller, and often lose their ability to irritate at all. That’s the Peace we received from submitting to Jesus. Grace becomes easier to give to those who wrong us, because we have received His Grace in our own lives.
Simple? Extremely. Difficult? Extremely. Is it WELL with your soul?
- When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
- Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
- My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
- For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
- But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
- And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
- (By Horatio G. Spafford, 1873 – and still perfect for today!)