Monday 6 May 2024


This morning I want to turn to Paul’s Letter to the Romans, in Chapter 10.

The Bible states,   Salvation is for everyone  who believes in Christ. Salvation is the subject of this chapter.

Paul, was specially and uniquely called by God to be an Apostle to the Gentiles, but he never forgot his own Jewish people.  This Letter was directed to the Jews who were carrying a mistaken belief, but its teaching is equally applicable to us, as all Paul’s Letters are. When Paul speaks, God is speaking through him, and the wonderful thing is we have those very words spoken all those many years ago in our Bibles these days.

Paul’s greatest desire was to make people Christians, a noble cause and one we could wish all preachers to-day to adopt.  He was concerned the Jews were being misled to follow the wrong way to salvation, which can only be achieved by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord.

Paul desperately wanted his fellow Jews to turn  from zealous obedience to the Jewish law, and follow

Jesus Christ. But for showing such zeal to the law, meant a personal commitment.  He knew the Jews were zealous for God, but the zeal was misguided, He wanted the Jews to be saved, therefore he needed to lead them to Jesus.

The Jewish law, might to non-Jews appear to be cruel. The Sabbath law was a prime example. A man was only allowed to walk a limited distance; no lifting a package over a stated weight; no cooking; help could be given to an ill person only to prevent getting worse, but not to make better; no poking a house fire; or have a light. These would only be fully carried out y strict orthodox Jews, and some such people still do.  Whilst these restrictions may be beyond us, and some people may treat with mockery, which would indeed be offensive, and rather such devotion coupled with sincere  religious belief, should be admired.

The Jew believed such obedience placed him in a right relationship with God. To answer this, Pail stated Christ had  ended the law, meaning the end of legislation. The relationship between God and man, has no longer a credit or debtor side, Christ lived and brought His message, man was no longer faced with the task of satisfying God’s justice he can only fund God’s love

Verses 6/8 show the contrast between the righteousness based on faith and that which comes from the law, now fulfilled in Christ. At one time there was just a written set of Law,  but God caused his Son to go through a cruel death, before bringing Him from the realm of the dead.

The Jews believed that all that was necessary for salvation was to keep the Ten Commandments, but no one can keep the Commandments for it is like a chain, if you break one link it all falls apart, and the Bible states if you break one you break the lot, and we have all, without exception broken at least one.  Therefore, one cannot be saved by the Commandments.

The word ‘saved’ does cause an emotional response with a lot of people, as it conjures up an image of being approached by a Charismatic Christian, asking are you saved brother (sister).

 God sent Jesus to supplant the Law, and make it possible for all people to be saved if they accepted Christ as having died on the Cross to obtain forgiveness for the sins they committed.

Coming to the heart of this passage, verse 9 states, ‘if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved’. The whole Christian message is on the lips, and in the heart

Confession that Jesus is Lord, and singing the hymn, is not an intellectual title or a casual statement, it means much more.  You have to believe fully in your heart this is so, and have no doubt that God raised Him physically from the dead; that is the heart of the Christian message.  So when you do believe, and are prepared to confess with your mouth, God accepts you as righteous.

Think what heaven would be like if you had to earn your way there. People would be trying to outbid each other, and probably boasting how important they had been in the world.

There is so much reluctance to believe and accept, that a man who died on a Cross 2,000 years ago in a land on the other side of the world was raised from the dead.  More so, that people actually believe he lives on by His Spirit in their lives today and influences their way of life. Even some clergy fail to accept the facts of both His birth and physical resurrection

Belief demands commitment and faith, and trust, which is not given by the majority, and it is that lack of faith that Paul writes about in his Letter.

The Bible states, ‘by grace you have been saved through faith, it is not your own doing, it is the gift of God and not by your own works.’  We are in fact at the doctrine of justification by faith; ‘by grace you have been saved through faith, it is not your own doing, it is the gift of God and not by your own works.’  God in great mercy is ready to pardon all who accept that Jesus died on the Cross as a penalty payment for all our individual sins, and God raised Him from the dead.  If we confess that we believe this God grants us His righteousness.

Why do we need God’s grace?; because all men and all women are by nature spiritually dead and separated from God.  Grace is the unmerited favour of God.    Grace saves us through faith; nothing more, nothing less. than salvation is by grace.” Something in us always wants to add to God’s free grace. It’s humbling to admit that we can do nothing to earn our deliverance from sin. Grace must be free or else it is not grace at all. Three words; grace, saved, and faith.

Grace is the source, Faith is the means, and Salvation freely given and received by faith alone is the result. We are saved by grace through faith:

Something in us always wants to add to God’s free grace. It’s humbling to admit that we can do nothing to earn our deliverance from sin. Imagine what heaven would be like if we had to earn our way there. People would be trying to outbid each other and probably boasting how important they had been in the world.

When I was being inducted into a new parish by the Rural Dean, who was a real traditional English gentleman (and there’s not many of us about), he introduced me to a man, and mentioned some of the position he had held in his Church, and the man was really indignant because some obscure committee was omitted.  There really are people who join the Church for egotistic reasons.     Heaven would be just like that if you had to earn your way there. But it won’t be like that, when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the full price for your salvation. God alone gets the glory in your salvation. Jesus did all the work when he died on the cross.

Some people think they are too good to be saved. That is, they may have such a high opinion of themselves that they think they don’t need God’s grace. They may admit they are sinners but they don’t admit they are spiritually dead. They may think they’re sick because of sin, but not truly dead. God’s grace cannot help you until you are desperate to receive it.

I  have been told countless times, all one has to do is to be good, be kind and honest, and you will go to heaven; no need to go to Church, sing hymns and read the Bible.  They will learn to regret this belief.

Salvation is never gained by earning it, or by trying to be good, or by the good outweighing the bad, but simply by acknowledging that Jesus Christ has done it all on your behalf.

There was a series on television in which a young police constable is partnered on duty by an attractive young police woman who is fond of him, but he does not respond. His Sergeant tells him he should make a decision and respond, as one day he will regret not doing so; and then says, ‘the two saddest words in the English language are, if only..’  There are so many people who will one day appear before the Lord and say, ‘if only’.

Jesus himself warned that on the Day of Judgment many will claim to have been His followers, but He will say to them, ‘depart from me. I never knew you.’ Millions have not the slightest idea of what it really meant to be a Christian.


People have been attending church for years, listening to the Bible being read, singing praise to the Lord, and have been very religious, yet have never come to the time when they have acknowledged Jesus as Lord, yet the Bible calls on us to do so.

    We have to admit, the fundamental fact that we live in an evil world, and we all become tainted and lost, but by the grace of God He gives us an opportunity to come to Christ and be saved. The majority of people do not consider they need saving as they think their lives are already safe.  The thought they are sinners is mortally wounding, as one Vicar discovered when he put a notice outside his church saying this Church is here for sinners; half his congregation were absent the next week.  Sin is not just murder, theft and immorality; it includes pride, jealousy, envy, anger and hatred.

Look at God’s promise in verse 11. “As the Scripture says, anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame You may be disappointed in your friends and loved ones. Husbands and wives are disappointed with each other from time to time. Children are disappointed in parents, and parents are sometimes disappointed with their children. Friends leave us, family members forget us, and business partners double cross us. But no one who trusts in Jesus will ever be disappointed.

Paul draws out a further implication in verse 12: “For there is no difference between Jew nor gentile.” The Bible states, ‘God has no favourites’. No group or race or culture has a special claim on God’s grace.

A question often asked is what about those who have never heard of Jesus. If someone is in such a remote place where the Bible has not been taught, they will be judged by how they responded to their conscience, for everyone has a sense of what is right and what is wrong.  However, if it is a case of just not bothering to listen or find out, then the responsibility will be on them.

 No Christian can possibly believe Jesus would allow some poor soul deprived of teaching, to be rejected.

  Paul  asks, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?" So there has to be belief. That means the mind has to be engaged -- Behind the belief, Paul says, is a message, something heard. "How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?"  This is why it is so vitally necessary for preachers to stop prevaricating and dodging the only reason for their presence, which is to preaching the message God gave us.

Behind the message, of course, is the messenger.   The message has to be communicated and the way that God chooses is through the preaching of the Word and the praying of Christians, the yearning of their hearts over those who are not yet saved.

People are touched by God by various means, perhaps through a poster, a friend, an occurrence in one’s life, but the principal way is through the preaching of the Bible. This I believe is where we are failing badly, right across the Church. 

The Bible calls on us to preach the Word; in other words, the Scriptures, with sound doctrine, not adding, subtracting or amending what God caused His writers to state in the Bible. Yet at this very pulpit I have twice heard it said by ordained Ministers that you shouldn’t take the bible literally. This in complete negation of ordination vows.

We in the Churches must make a greater effort to concentrate on the fundamentals of the faith.  There is too much a willingness to amend Bible teaching to be popular, or ally with society’s standards and beliefs; avoid being called narrow minded or bigoted, and take every opportunity of doing so.

On Easter Sunday one year, a service was held in one of our great Cathedrals, and  was televised, offering a wonderful opportunity of getting the message out across the whole country, but instead there was a sermon which completely wasted the chance by an address on climate change, an which seems to obsess a lot of people.

Regularly Church leaders are eager to write to the press on a variety of matters social and political.  A Bishop wrote asking for everybody to fast one day of the week in prayer for climate change; this at a time when the Church attendances are falling.

As people have a cause to believe in with an eternal future at issue, one might have thought that would have been a prime issue for him to concentrate his mind on.

There is however a marked reluctance to speak out on moral and ethical matters, when the Church should be giving a lead to the country.   

The Bible states that it is God who adds to the number of people attending a Church.  In the book of Acts, He did so because the people were devoted to the teaching of the Apostles.  Therefore, we should be sure that all preaching and teaching will be that given by the Apostles and left for our learning in the New Testament

There are plenty of people who do not fully understand the

Essential teaching of the Apostles, the full necessity of knowing the finer points of the gospel, for one reason; they

Have never been told.

As a very young man, I had never heard salvation fully explained.  It was across the world to East Africa, before I heard salvation preached.

Over the years since the birth of the Church, men and women have travelled the world to tell others of this very special message.

There is an urgent need for such message to be preached without fear or favour.  I have been at Churches where the men and women, with brilliant minds, were ready to risk their lives for the faith, by going on missions to unknown places, at the same time making great financial sacrifices to do so.  Likewise, there are those of us who gave up careers and position to serve Christ in His Church, and have never  regretted having done so.             

We have to be as forthright and determined to preach our faith as we see the preachers of Islam doing so in respect of their faith.  You will never hear a Muslim cleric challenging anything in their Holy book.

In the absence of any person at national level with the charisma to inspire, each local Church has to be its own evangelist and I pray that the teaching you hear here will be that passed down from the Apostles.

. Never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Preach it, believe it, tell it to someone else this week. Amen.

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