Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, & Prayer.
Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.
There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.
Romans 3:3, “True, some [people] are unfaithful; but just because they are unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? (NLT)”
Romans 3:22, “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. (NLT)”
Paul continues the history of salvation by focusing his attention on the relationship of the Jews with God, the law and with non-Believers. God’s chosen people were unfaithful. They did not live up to the covenant He made with them. They did not share the good news with the rest of the world. They knew right things, but they didn’t do right things. It’s a classic case of hypocrisy.
It leads to a natural question, “What good is a promise I am unwilling or unable to keep?” More than that, “If God’s people can’t or won’t follow His Word, what good are His promises?”
Paul also makes clear that the Jews are not alone. We stand right there with them in this hypocrisy. Romans 2:10-12, ““No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” Like Eve in the garden, non-Believers are deceived into disobeying God. Like Adam, the Jewish people knowingly choose disobedience. Either way, through deception or deliberate choice the affect is the same. Regardless of God’s desires we have broken our relationship with Him.
But God has made a way for this relationship to be restored.
How faithful are you? James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good but does not do it, to him it is sin.”
I believe faithfulness gives us a front row seat to all the promises of God. Faithfulness in our marriage opens the door for the fairy-tale ending of happily-ever-after. Faithfulness to our children allows us the privilege of seeing them grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. Faithfulness in our career and finances allows us to grow success and satisfaction even when the economy is uncertain and taxes out of control. Faithfulness to others creates friends that stick closer than a brother.
The essence of faithfulness is our ability to hold on: to hold on when circumstances are unfortunate, to hold on when things don’t go our way, to keep moving forward when the odds are stacked against us, to hold on through the disappointment and even when we don’t see how this can possibly work out to our favor.
When we hold on our faithfulness gives us a front row seat to all the promises of God. But this passage makes it clear – most of us don’t hold on. We’ve been unfaithful. Most of us don’t have a front row seat to all the promises of God. We sit in the nosebleed section watching from a distance, wondering if these tickets were worth the price of admission privately thinking we should have just stayed home and watched the game on television publicly giving people reason to doubt whether our participation in this whole God-thing has any real value.
That’s one reason this passage is encouraging. God is faithful even though we are not. He has given us the law to light our way. He has given us Jesus to make a way. He has kept His promises and will not fail to hold on to me and you no matter how we kick and scream and reject and rebel – if only we would put our trust in Him.
Thank you for keeping Your promises to me even though I don’t keep my promises to You. Thank You for making the effort to restore and repair our relationship with one another. When someone hurts me or breaks a promise to me help me remember the way you have responded to me even though I was unfaithful. Grow in me the capacity for forgiveness and the gift of repentance. Please give me the strength, courage, wisdom and endurance to hold on. When my faith is tested let me be found faithful.
Let my life give others reason to have confidence in You.
I love you, in Jesus name –
There’s so much more in this chapter…what did God speak to you?