“God is faithful to complete the work of new life that he begins in us.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 31, 2021
(God) gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Romans 4:17
In a single sentence, I believe St. Paul captures the heart of the gospel, both in its promise of salvation and in the ongoing hope of transformation into Christ’s likeness.
When we look to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we see the hope of new life. We see the powers of sin and death bound and defeated. We see a victory that is cosmic in its significance. God has not only secured the hope of new life for you and for me but has fulfilled his first promises to Abraham, that through him he will bring his goodness and blessing to the whole of creation (Genesis 15). As St. Paul says later in this letter to the Romans, the whole of creation “waits with eager longing” (Romans 8:19) and “groans as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22). The good news of the gospel is good news for the entire world! And as the entire world suffers from the reality of sin and death, so too does the world cry out for the hope of new life.
The invitation of the gospel begins with new life in Christ and grows eternally into a life conformed to his image and likeness. The beauty of this promise is that God is faithful to complete the work of new life that he begins in us (Philippians 1:6). This means that you and I are never finished products. There is no room for the faithful Christian to accept a fatalistic view of life, believing that things must always stay as they are or dismissing hope for substantial change and growth.
Our scripture reading today reminds us that God “calls into existence things that don’t exist.” This is the very nature of God, speaking into existence creation itself. Yet the God who brought order out of chaos continues to order our lives, teaching us daily what it means to delight in God’s will and walk in his ways. And the hope of the gospel is that, by the Spirit at work within you, God wants to grow you in ways that may feel impossible! He wants to give you new gifts of the Spirit that don’t yet exist in your life.
May we be the kind of people who believe the promises of God and have the faith that God will do in us and the world what he said he will do: give life to the dead and bring forth things that don’t yet exist!
Father, thank you that you are faithful to your promises and that you continue to lead us and teach us what it means to be conformed to your likeness. Amen.
Trusting that God is faithful to hear and give his Spirit to those who ask, what gift of the Spirit can you begin to ask for in prayer?
Sarah Reeves: Faithful
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