Called to Belong to Jesus—Romans 1:5-6
"Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ"
It’s so true: You can’t give what you don’t have.
I’ve learned and relearned this truth over the years. For instance, I recently taught at church, and each time I’ve done this I’ve felt unqualified, unskilled, and woke up wondering, what in the world do I have to say? At those times, I was especially concerned about the people who are searching, who need Jesus, and who need hope for the next week. I was humbled as I felt like I had nothing to give.
God extends grace to us in every moment and is at work in our stories even before we realize it
However, early Sunday morning, the Lord reminded me of this exact verse from Romans, “…we’ve received grace…to call…to obedience.” You can’t give what you don’t have. It is God’s grace working in my life and through my experiences that enables me to open the Word of God uniquely in those moments. He’s been present in my life from the beginning, has given me grace, and now is using my story to support and encourage his church.
I think that is what Paul is saying in this verse. While in the midst of actively hunting Christians, Paul had an encounter with Jesus that radically changed him. Because of this experience, he received both grace and something to say about this encounter that gave hope to those looking for hope. From this experience, Paul knew that sharing how God was at work through his story, would produce faith in others to believe that God works in all stories and in all lives.
Then the Apostle Paul offers an invitation that is beautiful because it includes everyone—you, too, my readers: “…and you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” God extends grace to us in every moment and is at work in our stories even before we realize it.
Today, I echo this sentiment that you are all among those invited into Christ’s family. I pray that you will take a moment to recognize this grace and respond accordingly. May you find fulfilment in belonging to Jesus and may you pause to celebrate His work in your life.
Original article published May 4, 2009.