Monday 03 February 2014

Bible Book:

Romans 3:21-31 Monday 3 February 2014


Paul used Jewish religious imagery to explain the differenceJesus made, and how the salvation Jesus offered was for all.

The nature of God (ie the righteousness of God: justice, love,mercy) had previously been shown through the God-given practices ofthe law (which helped Jews love God and their neighbour) and thewords of the prophets. It was now definitively shown in JesusChrist for those who had faith in Jesus and believed.

It was possible for both Gentile (non Jew) andJew to have faith and believe in Jesus Christ, and receivesalvation. This was because all had sinned and notlived true to their glorious God-given nature. Glory describesGod's transcendent presence, splendour and beauty, and humans aretruly beautiful when reflecting this glory.

Humans were justified (ie regained their righteousness,beautiful, glorious nature) as a gift from God through Christ. Paulused the image of sacrifice to illuminate this. In the system ofsacrifices, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest went throughthe veil into the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifice for theunwitting and unknown sins (hidden injustice, wrong communityrelationships) of the Jewish people. (For known sins people had tomake restitution with the injured party before making a sacrificeto God.)

Paul suggested Jesus was the sacrifice offered for the sins ofthe people. When an animal was sacrificed, it was believed theoffering of the life would bring life to the worshipper. Jesus'sacrifice brought life to those who believed and found themselvesvitally connected to God through Jesus.

It meant that no one was able to achieve salvation by their ownefforts, by obeying the law or trying to live a good life. Trustingin their own ability could only get them so far, but did not dealwith hidden un-godlike individual and community attitudes. Theyneeded to keep the spirit of the law and more! Therefore, salvationwas thrown open to everyone; the only condition was that of faithin Jesus Christ.

To Ponder

  • In what ways do you or your church community try to saveyourselves and how far does it work? And in what ways does it notwork?
  • What might it mean to throw open the offer of salvation toeveryone, without expecting them to find it your way?
  • John Newton's hymn "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds"(Singing the Faith322) says Jesus "soothes our sorrows, heals ourwounds and drives away our fear, ... 'tis manna to the hungry soul,and to the weary, rest". What is Jesus to you?
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