When we live with the wisdom that makes the most of our short time, then we will prioritize and invest in the only two things that last forever: the Word of God and the souls of people. Acting wisely means being aware of the preciousness of time and the brief moment we have to accomplish our role in it.
Jews in Jesus’ day had a hard time understanding how Gentiles could be saved. Gentiles were so bad. They were the historic oppressors. They had perverse sexual practices and no concept of family. They were violent and cruel and godless. This is why it was such a shock to Jews when the Apostle Paul said, “Yup, salvation is theirs, too.”
You and I are not facing the same kinds of persecution the Apostle John was when Jesus appeared to him in a prison cell on the island of Patmos. And yet, we have more in common with John than we’d like. We can see storm clouds rising on the horizon of our lives. And if we don’t see those storm clouds now, it’s only a matter of time.
The gospel, you see, shows us something about God that creation could never show us: Our God is a faithful, pursuing Father who wouldn’t let us go even after we rejected him. When it came time to pour out his judgment, he poured it out first on himself, and he will release us from our punishment if we will accept that and trust it.
Paul is saying in Romans 1 that none of us wants to embrace the truth about a glorious, all-powerful, holy, ruling God. We want to make the rules. We want to take God’s glory for ourselves and use our lives to direct others’ attention toward us, not toward him.
Like the Colossians, we typically express a “Jesus and …” mentality by thinking that in order to be happy and secure, we need other things in addition to obedience to Jesus. We don’t reject Jesus, of course. But to really make life work, we think we need other things as well. And the primary place we express this “Jesus and …” mentality is in relation to money.