Pauline E-Mail – 1

November 22, 1996
by Charles Scobie

Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.

Paul's letters are among the most influential ever written even if by today's standards they were certainly snail mail. In another sense, however, they might be regarded as E-mail, for the leading themes of Paul's letters all seem to begin with E.

Paul's message, for example, was fundamentally evangelical. That's a word that has various connotations, and a word that makes some people feel uneasy. Gospel or evangel (from the Greek euangelion), let's remember, means good news.

Against the background of the bad news about human nature and human society (evidence of which fills our newspapers and the TV news every night), the good news according to Paul is that we are justified or accepted back into a right relationship with God "as a gift" (Romans 3:24). Normally we're pretty suspicious of free gifts: when I get a printed letter in the mail which begins, "Dear Mr. SCOBIE of SACKVILLE, you are in the final round to win one million dollars," it goes straight into the wastepaper basket. But the Gospel proclaims that in Christ God offers us his grace as a gift, to be received through faith. That is the basic conviction which transformed Paul's life and which can transform our lives also.

Prayer: Help us to realize, O God, that while by ourselves we can never earn or merit your salvation, nevertheless that salvation is freely offered to us as a gift. May we claim the free gift of your grace through faith so that our whole lives may thereby be transformed. Amen.

About the author:

Charles Scobie
Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada

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