July 13, 2021

Religious Rituals and Faith

July 13, 2021


Song of Solomon 2:8-13; Genesis 29:1-14; Romans 3:1-8

OR Psalm 131; Jeremiah 28:10-17; Romans 3:1-8


In this larger section of Romans, Paul fleshes out a theology of sin and what it means to be sinful.  He tries to get at what it means to be righteous by exploring what it means to be unrighteous.  In this specific passage in chapter 3, Paul explores what role religious ritual, in particular, plays in our righteousness.  In the verses right before this, Paul explains that though religious rituals (circumcision in his example) are important, it is the deeper work of the Spirit and the deeper meaning of these rituals that is really most important.  If we attend worship, Sunday School, Bible study and mission events, but we are only showing up as if we are just checking off a checklist, then Paul argues, this is not true faithfulness.  If our heart is not in it, we are missing out on God’s true work.  BUT, Paul says, even if our heart is not in it, God is still faithful and will continue to work in us.  Though we are sinful, God will faithfully continue to work in and through us.  Of course, Paul challenges us to grow deeper in our faiths and move past being simply “Checklist Christians” that show up in body, but not in spirit, but how great it is to know that God works through us sinners no matter what.


  • Do you feel like you are a “Checklist Christian”?
  • How do you feel that God is using you even in the midst of your brokenness?


  • What religious rituals (like Sunday School, reading Scripture, etc) teach you about God?  


God, I confess that I often fall short of what it means to be a true disciple of Christ.  Many times, I am a “Checklist Christian” that shows up to church just to show up.  God, I pray that you continue to work in me when I fall short of your full call.  Thank you for loving me, a sinner, and using me, a sinner, for your good work even in the midst of my faults.  Amen.