2 August 2013Romans 5:1-11
“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to [God’s] grace in which we stand; and we boast in sharing the glory of God ... God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (vv. 1-2, 5)
Paul writing to the young church in Rome summarised what salvation through Christ meant, giving Roman Christians guidance as they strove to form a new Christian community, and work out what it meant to live together as the body of Christ in Rome.
Notice he spoke of salvation in the plural. The gift of salvation is to be shared and worked out by the whole community together. Collectively they were restored to being a God-like people through faith, and through trust in the way of and person of Christ. This enabled them to find peace (verse 1); the hope of sharing in the glory and lustre of God (verse 2); but it also brought suffering (verses 3-5). However suffering would build their character and would not disappointor damage their well being because God's love had been poured into their hearts through the Holy Spirit (verse 5).
This is a vision of the Christian community as a sign and foretaste of God's kingdom breaking into the world there and then, and also now. This is a vision of a community choosing life and love, and putting behind the ways of death and false love.
In verse 6 Paul writes about that while they were still in their ungodly, messed up ways as a people together, God had showed great love by dying for them. Jesus died for them before there was any evidence that they would be able to live as a Godly community, as a life-giving, rather than as a life taking people. The Romans were invited to believe together in Jesus, put to death their old ways, and through the power of the Holy Spirit pass over to living out the heavenly, kingdom ways of God.
- What difference does it make to how you live out your Christian life if you think of salvation as a gift shared rather than individual?
- In what ways is or might your church be a sign and foretaste of God's kingdom breaking into your community?
- In what ways has your faith brought suffering to you personally or together with your church?