"Give my greetings to Apelles, a good man whom Christ approves." Romans 16:10b (NLT)
This section of Romans is filled with greetings and well wishes. As I read through it today, the above verse jumped off the page at me. There are many compliments we seek to garner in our lives, however, it seems as though there may be no higher compliment than what Paul is offering Apelles. How great would it be is I was know first and foremost as a good man who Christ approves.
Then I thought about it, what does it mean to be good, and what does it take for Christ to approve. The danger here is we enter into the difficult discussion of works and faith. Our relationship with Christ is not based on what actions we take, yet faith without works is dead (Thanks James). It is by grace through faith that we establish a salvation relationship with Jesus. Is that the only requirement to be a good person whom Christ approves?
In this passage, which looks simple at it's outset, we see a message telling us, it matters how we live our day-to-day lives. Rooted in Christ, we must live the life Christ showed us how to live. Being good is not measured in earthly standards, rather in against the teachings of God. Being approved by Christ, is not about the actions of our lives, it is about the condition of our hearts. I guess to sum it up the passage urges us that right actions and right motivation are what Christ approves, not just actions, not just words, and not just beliefs. It is our entire life working in concert with God. This constitutes a good person whom Christ approves.