Romans 10:5-15 (ESV)
The Message of Salvation to All
5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Each summer throughout my years during high school, I had a job as a life guard. My job was to be alert and keep everyone safe. I was sent to lakes, rivers, and pools. We didn't require people to prove they could swim, or follow rules. We had all types of swimmers, young, old, boys, girls, tall, short, beginners and advanced swimmers. The variety of ways that people can get into trouble is endless and there are always a few surprising ways. You just can't trust people to do the right thing all the time. The swimmers had faith that the life guards would, as the title implies, guard their life. On occasion I did enter the water and pull someone to safety. I never heard the words, "Help, save me!” What I experienced was that the person in trouble was already in over their head, under water, unable to cry for help.
In today’s reading from Romans, Paul draws a contrast between righteousness based on law and the righteousness that comes through faith. To be saved by keeping the law, you must keep it perfectly. 0nly Jesus is perfect. To be saved by faith, you trust in what God has done in sending his Son to die for your sins and raising Him from the dead. God knows that we are imperfect and cannot keep the law. Salvation is not by keeping the law, but by faith in Christ.
As a life guard, it would have been much easier to spot those in need of my help if they would have screamed out, "Help, save me!” Those are the exact words that God is waiting to hear. He knows when you are in over your head, he knows that you are imperfect, he knows that everyone is worthy to be saved. When you put your faith in God you have a "life" guard who will never disappoint you.
Dear God, thank you! Thank you for knowing that I am not perfect and for loving me anyway. I want you to know that I put my faith in you to be my "life guard. Help, save me! Amen.
Written by Ruthie Steen Disciple at St. John’s Lutheran Church