Dear church,

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10 about the availability of the salvation of God. He makes a bold statement about how salvation is available now to God’s chosen people – Israel – as well as to the Gentiles who had never known God before.

Paul in particular is writing about his Jewish brothers and sisters who had been following God’s law for so long believing it would lead them to righteousness. The Israelites were striving to obtain life by following the law – not realizing Christ already had replaced God’s law.

The important thing now is not obedience to the law of God but faith in Jesus Christ.

Sometimes, a person can get the idea he or she can deliver himself or herself from a bad eternal faith. Or perhaps we can get the impression we can earn our way into heaven by doing good things with our lives.

Paul silences that notion.

Even for Israel, whom God chose thousands of years ago to be his treasured possession and who received the Ten Commandments and the very promises of God, could not accomplish salvation by sheer force of will or obedience to the Law. It was impossible.

Righteousness – right standing with God – isn’t based on works. It is based on faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is available to all.

For Israel, it wasn’t a matter of climbing up into heaven to find their Messiah to save them. And it wasn’t a matter of digging their Messiah out of the grave. We have to understand what Paul is saying here: This business of righteousness belongs to God not to men and women. Rather than trying to climb to heaven or plunge into hell to locate our Savior, we accept that he both came to us from heaven and that he already has risen from the grave. We don’t try to do what he already has done.

“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”

Salvation is available.

This is important because many things in life are unavailable to us. We grasp, and we grab, and we cannot attain some things. The world has been lurching in search of a solution to both pandemic and political crises but to no avail. The solution is out of reach.

In our own lives, we stare sometimes at medical charts and wonder about a future that may not be attainable. We puzzle over our pocketbooks and question what tomorrow may look like. We consider family members who have been disagreeable in the past and who show no signs of changing – a goalpost that is much too far away for us.

The solution to those problems is unavailable. And it can leave us helpless and hopeless and rather depressed.

But the word that is near us, that is in our hearts and in our mouths, is a word of good news that has power to squash all other concerns in life and make us abound with joy without end. Salvation is available.

We don’t have to pry our Savior out of heaven or dig him out of the ground. He already has descended, and he already has risen. In our very hands, we have the truth – a truth that can fill our hearts, chart our course, and stir us to share.

It is a salvation that is available to us and one that we can make available to others.

Chris

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