Day 25

The Message of Christ

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 10:1-21, Isaiah 52:7, Joel 2:32, Galatians 3:7-14

BY Missy Fuller

Scripture Reading: Romans 10:1-21, Isaiah 52:7, Joel 2:32, Galatians 3:7-14

I sat on the plush, cream-colored sofa, helping my mentor fold laundry while her two-year-old played on the floor. I was a senior in college, involved in campus ministry and leading a Bible study, and I enthusiastically updated her on both endeavors. I’d begun telling yet another story when she calmly interrupted me with a simple, matter-of-fact statement: “You believe in a works-based gospel.”

We’d known each other a while, and her statement stunned me. Was she serious?

I quickly brushed it off in the moment. But later that week, I found myself kneeling by the side of my bed, soaking my plaid, purple bedspread with tears. She was right.

There I was, wallowing in my sin, wanting desperately to be back in the loving arms of my Savior. I had asked for forgiveness, but the relief wasn’t coming. As I poured my guilty conscience onto the pages of my journal, I was struck by one word: time.

That’s what I thought I needed: time. I didn’t really want forgiveness. I wanted time—enough time to fill my life up with the right things, the good things, to settle the score. It was salvation by works at its worst.

All my striving, all my desire to put time between myself and my mistakes, it was another attempt to earn my salvation through my own effort. Rather than trusting the work of Christ on the cross for my righteousness, I had become dependent on my own actions to save me.

I was living exactly like the Israelites Paul describes in Romans 10:

Since they are ignorant of the righteousness of God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness (v. 3).

After Christ’s death and resurrection, Israel was still working hard to keep the Law of Moses in order to gain righteousness. They were working to save themselves, forgetting that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (v. 4).

The law, our works, the right things—they were never supposed to save us. God had planned our salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ all along. Christ is the only perfect fulfillment, the only victory we have over sin and death. His perfect life allows us to be justified through our faith alone. Faith and nothing else, just Jesusthis is the message of Christ.

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (v. 13).

As I knelt beside my bed that day, I realized Jesus truly was all I needed. His sacrifice covered me then, despite all my striving, and it covers me today. I need His righteousness, not my own. He is enough.

Friends, no matter what our past, present, or future holds, the only work that can save us is the work Christ completed on the cross. May we call on His name.

One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation (v. 10).


Post Comments (46)

46 thoughts on "The Message of Christ"

  1. churchmouse says:

    I welcome summer every year by carefully painting my toes a different color, just for fun (and my three year old granddaughter thinks it’s awesome). But there’s another reason-nail polish improves the look. My toes, well actually my feet, are not the most attractive. In fact, I think most feet, as I’ve observed at the beach, are not very appealing lol. So Isaiah 52:7 made me chuckle this morning. Want beautiful feet? Forget about the nail polish. Beautiful feet are those that go about their day proclaiming the good news of salvation through Jesus. So as I touch up my toenail polish this morning, I’ll pray for God to direct my steps and open my mouth to speak of Him today. Sweet friends, let’s color our world with the gospel! It extends far beyond the summer season.

    1. ssbbaker says:

      I love that image! Lord, help us women to remember that beautiful feet are those that go about their day speaking of you, praising you, thanking you. I pray that would be us today!

      1. Jessica McCann says:

        This was beautiful and so sweet. Thanks for the encouragement Churchmouse

    2. Cynthia says:

      Going for a pedicure today and will pray for an opportunity to share the Good News with the nail tech. Joining you in coloring our world with the Gospel!

    3. Nicole says:

      Love this, churchmouse! I will be following in your footsteps (no pun intended) and praying for God to direct my steps as well. May God bless you!

    4. Meme says:

      Love this image!

  2. Christina says:

    1. There is a zeal for God that does not result in salvation.
    2. The righteousness that is faith-based is founded on belief, confession, and calling on Jesus.
    3. One must hear the truth to have faith in the truth.
    4. Not all who hear the truth will believe the truth or obey it.
    5. God has always used methods to save His people and glorify Himself that do not make sense in human terms.
    6. One of our goals as Christ-believers and confessors should be to be the blessed feet of Jesus that brings the Good News to those who have not heard, or who need to hear again in order to believe.
    7. Working of our own accord to please God by doing enough good cannot save us, because we can never keep the entire law. The only righteousness that pleases Him is the righteousness that keeps the entire law. But Christ took that impossible feat from us by becoming a curse in our place. And our acceptance of the fact that we cannot please God on our own, and acknowledgement of our need of Jesus provides us not only His accomplished righteousness, but also the Holy Spirit to seal us as belonging to the Father and to live through us rightly where we tend to choose not to.

  3. Anne says:

    I recently listened to a teacher speak about our rewards in heaven and how they will be based on what we have done with Gpds blessings while here on earth. His comments that all believers will go to heaven but not all will be rewarded or in high regard with God. This is confusing to me….Anyone have some insight to share here? Thank you Missy for your devotion today.

    1. Bobbie says:

      The Scriptures lay out a careful distinction between works for salvation and works because of our salvation.
      Once we are saved through faith by the blood of Christ, we exhibit this by our confession and how we live. An example might be following the Lord in baptism, working in some type of outreach ministry or just plain being a good citizen.
      We love our enemies, we are kind-hearted, we don’t lie, cheat or steal, etc. We live out the fruits of the Spirit and serve others. Why? Not to gain favor or salvation but it is what Jesus did.
      As for rewards in heaven, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 addresses this. Dr Charles Ryrie writes, “The works discussed here have nothing to do with earning salvation. The rewards (or loss of them) pertains only to Christians.”
      1 John 2:3 “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep his commandments.” This whole chapter addresses our obedience not FOR salvation but BECAUSE of salvation.
      Hope this helps! Blessings to you!

    2. Heather says:

      Hi Anne,
      Thanks for your question! We have recently had an in depth study of this very thing, God rewards you in Heaven, for eternity, for what you have overcomed here on Earth. It’s more than you overcoming “things” or sin and more about intimacy with Him. The main teaching comes from Revelation 2-3. If you are interested in going deeper with this here is a link to all sessions in the class:

      I also was confused about this and had many questions. I know I’m no scholar on this matter (nowhere close) but I do feel like I have gained revelation through this teaching. Praying He will bring revelation and understanding to you, for He can turn the hard things into easy and doesn’t bring confusion.

      1. Anne says:

        Thanks so much both of you.

  4. Caitie says:

    This is a theme I’ve been hearing repeatedly lately, and I think Jesus wants me to start getting into my head! Although I know that works cannot save me, my mind always says “But if you loved God enough, your actions would show it better. They would be a better reflection of the relationship you have with him.” And I DO think that love/actions can (and should) pour out of you when you have a relationship with Him. But I think I need to remember that while those actions are good and important, the amount of them is not related to the “strength” of my salvation through Jesus. If that makes sense? As a previous poster said, this is a topic that takes regular examination for me!

    1. Christina says:

      Me, too, Caitie! I often begin to think that my life does not reflect my belief in Jesus enough, that I’m exhibiting a lazy faith. I will plunge with zeal into finding good things to do in order for my life to reflect my faith. I even seek to temper my works with slowing down (not pushing full steam ahead into every good opportunity that presents itself) and finding out just what the Spirit is guiding me to do, since I know that nothing done without the Spirit’s guiding and power can please God. But then in the midst of the excitement and fervor of all the work, I get blindsided with depression. I’m not sure I’d ever look at depression as God’s gift of lovingly turning me back to His work in my life and not my own, but I will have to say it is quite a source of self-examination, for sure! Thanks for sharing this today!

  5. LivingJoyfully says:

    I have struggled and continue to struggle against the sense that what I do changes how God sees me. Season after season I hit moments where I realize “I’m doing it again.” Thank you, Jesus, for seeing fit to open salvation to ALL who call on your name. Thank you that you know me and remind me to quit trying to be good enough for you.

    The struggle is real, but Jesus offers us freedom. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” v.10

  6. This is a message that my sweet Savior has been repeating to me in so many ways – stop striving. Stop striving to be good enough to deserve your salvation. People talk about how your perception of your earthly father can taint your perception of your heavenly one. For me, I think it my earthly boss. I strive so hard to please, to succeed, to have awesome results so that he is happy that it has messed with how I perceive my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I don’t have to be perfect for Him to be pleased with me. In fact, I can’t do anything to make Him love me more or less.

    I’m realizing also as I type this that I’ve got some confession to do about who I’m trying to please more – my boss or my Lord.

    Thank you #SRT for these moments of sharing and reflection.

  7. "Other" Karen says:

    It is so easy to start doing good works for the right reasons (for God’s glory, thankfulness) , only to slide into works righteousness when I start seeing results (“I did it”). Such a struggle! It requires regular examination of the heart through prayer.

    1. Emily B. says:

      You explained the struggle perfectly. That’s something I feel from time to time, too. I have to examine my motives and why I feel led to whatever it is I’m doing–is it for God’s glory, or is it for my own? Thank you for your post!

    2. ssbbaker says:

      The switch to “I did it” it something I totally resonate with, and I think it happens most when I’m in situations where I’m OK if God doesn’t “show up.”
      I recently got into grad school, and I was SO at the Lord’s mercy when I was waiting for acceptance letters and figuring out how to write my applications. Now that I’m in, and everyone is congratulating me, I’m of the attitude that “I did it.” When truly, this is all the Lord’s work. I pray we can both (all) regularly examine our hearts through prayer to see this for the lie that it is.
      Thanks, “other” Karen for your insight!

  8. Kari says:

    This was so powerful Missy!!! Beautifully written

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