One of the advantages of observing Lent is the opportunity to strip away what might be hindering our Christian walk and to focus on what really matters: our relationship with Jesus and the immense sacrifice He made to reconcile us to the Father.
Although I love the comforting words of Romans 8, the beauty of Romans 10 is how it demystifies the “what” and “who” of salvation. We are saved by grace through faith, manifested in our verbal confession (saying it is so) that Jesus is Lord of our lives. The God of the universe offers this salvation to anyone–no prerequisites–who calls on Him. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)
Who could ask for anything more?
But very often, we make our salvation far more complicated than it needs to be. Think about how in the Old Testament, the Jewish leaders piled on, in addition to the Ten Commandments, more than 600 rules that needed to be adhered to. Or consider several present-day denominations that enforce a strict code of behavior and dress that goes way beyond what is described in the New Testament.
I love Jesus for making things plain and simple for us. We come to Him in our sin-stained condition. He does not discriminate in pouring out His love on us. In the words of the old hymn, “whosoever will may come.” To use current language, he is an equal-opportunity God. All are invited to His table.
My prayer for this Lenten period is that we, like the children Jesus encouraged us to emulate, would come to Him anew, accepting afresh the gift of salvation He freely offers. Regardless of who or what we are, we have the assurance that the Son of God will throw no “shade” on us. Rather, He calls us to a life in which, as we serve and honor Him, gladly sharing the Good News of the gift of salvation, we will “shine . . . like stars in the sky.” (Phil 2:15).