The Road Through Romans: The Takers

100_5431Romans 1:5 reads,”Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.”

You know so many people view Christianity as an inherited religion. They believe they are Christians because their mother or their father was a Christian, or because their “Gramma was Catholic”.

THAT IS SO WRONG!

Christianity is not an inherited trait! It is a conscious decision. You don’t catch Christianity by being in close proximity to other Christians, like you catch a cold. You don’t get Christianity from your parents like you got your blue eyes or curly hair. Christianity is a personal decision to  receive the promises of God through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and in the resurrection.

Paul says “Through him we received”.  Now that translation may be a little deceiving, because in our culture we consider receiving something as a passive activity. We receive the mail and we receive gifts. We don’t do anything to earn the mail. It just shows up in our mailbox. We don’t do anything to receive a Christmas present. We wake up Christmas morning and it is under the tree.

Well in one sense that is what Paul meant when he said “we received”, but the word in the Greek has a deeper meaning. Receiving as Paul meant it was an active verb not a passive word. The word is “lambanō” and it means, “to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it”.

Jerry Harris, one of the elders in our church likes to teach it this way, “You can receive a gift but before it really becomes yours you have to open it up.”

I would go a step further and say if a gift is really to become yours you have to use it for its intended purpose. It’s like this. Let’s say you get a new shirt at Christmas. Even if you unwrap it, and  then take it out of the box, if you then hang it in your closet never to be worn is that shirt really yours?

This is what many people are doing with their Christianity. They were there when it was offered. They accepted the gift. But then they took it and hid it away never to be seen except on special occasions. They are like the servant who received one talent in the parable Jesus told.

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Ma. 25:24-30

Can I encourage you, if your Christianity is in the closet today take it out, dust it off and start living it in real time. Anything else is a big waste of faith.

If you have missed any of our discussions on the Book of Romans they can be found on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.

 

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