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New Beginnings

When your plans fail, remember God has a bigger plan in mind.
Speaker: Ray David Glenn | September 10, 2017 | Series: Grace Abounding

Watch as Ray David unpacks Romans 1:1-7 and points us to the abounding grace of the Gospel.

New Beginnings

New beginnings can be really exciting. They hold all kinds of potential and promise, because you don’t know what’s in store. New beginnings can also be troubling because the outcome is uncertain. You don’t know what the future holds. 

In some ways of the context of Romans is all about new beginnings. The Apostle Paul had a very clear, distinct moment of new beginning. One day the risen Christ appeared to him face to face and Paul was given a new vocation and calling to bring the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. 

Paul wrote Romans in order to establish a missionary outpost, so that he could then take the Gospel to Spain. 

The Gospel, in the Simplist Terms

The great Karl Barth was asked what was the greatest theological truth that he knew, and he replied, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” In the simplest terms, that’s the Gospel that Paul wanted to take the ends of the Earth to Spain.

Nicky Gumble’s conversion came about when He realized two things; there is a God, and He likes me. How would you state the Gospel in the most basic possible terms? There is a God, and He likes me is pretty good.

Gospel Beginnings

The Gospel begins with the belief that there is a God – a God who is in charge of history. He makes promises and He keeps them. He is actively at work in the creative order that He made. 

Sometimes we make right choices and sometimes we make wrong ones, but He’s the God who is so supremely in control that He is never handcuffed by our folly. Every time we make a bad decision, He finds a way to rescue it and redeem it for His purposes. God takes even your worst and promises to turn it into something good.

The starting point of the Gospel is that there is a God who’s active and in charge. He has made a promise and He’s delivering on it. 

He Reveals Himself

What’s God like? The scriptures teach that God is not primarily known through our deductions and assumptions, instead He is the God who reveals Himself. He wants to be known. He reveals Himself through His Word and ultimately in Jesus. 

We create a God in our own image who wouldn’t do anything we wouldn’t do, but the God revealed in scriptures is more holy, righteous, gracious and merciful than we could ever imagine or create.

He Likes You

The existence of an all-powerful God in itself is not good news – it is terrifying, because we know that we fall short. But He is not a capricious God – He’s a God who shows His character and nature in the fact that He condescends and comes to us in His Son in the person of Jesus. He doesn’t rule and lord over us, instead Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. He is not only the God who exists – He is the God who likes you and you see that ultimately through His Son. He likes you so much that He solved your greatest problem – the problem of death. He loves and likes you so much that He calls you to be with Him. 

Birthed out of an Unsuccessful Journey

Paul’s story doesn’t go the way he planned. He goes to Rome and he’s beheaded there. We might look at this and think that in this story there is nothing but loss and failure. Paul started out intending to go to Spain with Gospel, He never made it that far, but in the process He wrote Romans. This speaks to us in our new endeavors. Sometimes our plans end up seeming like failures, but God has a bigger plan in mind. Paul never made it to Spain, but in God’s sovereign plan, he wrote Romans, which has been called the Everest of the new testament. Romans has sparked the conversions of countless people including St. Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther and John Calvin. They were converted because Paul never made it to Spain, but wrote Romans. The ripple effect of Paul’s unsuccessful journey to Spain is the glory of this letter that we call Romans.

Victorious, Even in Failure

Even when your endeavors and plans fail, remember that God is using them for His purpose and for His good. When your plans fail remember that perhaps the God of the Universe is working out something bigger. This is seen most clearly on the cross. In the moment when the Son of God was hanging dying, everyone looked at it and thought what a loss, and yet it was precisely the plan of God before the foundation of the World. In that loss and failure, God would reverse the fallout of the fall and remove the curse. It was in that moment that appeared like failure and loss where Christ was victorious over everything.

The Gospel of Grace

Our prayer is that your heart would be converted to the Gospel of Grace as we work our way through Romans. Tim Keller said that, “Revival occurs when those who think they already know the gospel discover they do not really or fully know it.” Let the truth of the Gospel of grace warm your heart. God exists and He really likes you.

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About the Author

Ray David Glenn
Ray David is the rector (Anglican talk for senior pastor) here at St. George's. He lives in Burlington with his wife Monica and kids.

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  • About the Author

    Ray David Glenn
    Ray David is the rector (Anglican talk for senior pastor) here at St. George's. He lives in Burlington with his wife Monica and kids.
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