Tuesday 06 June 2017

Bible Book:

“Since we are justified by faith…” (v. 1)

Romans 5:1-5 Tuesday 6 June 2017

Psalm: Psalm 33


"To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints" (Romans1:7)

Having addressed his letter in this way, in today's passage Paulexplores how that calling is expressed in Christian formation. Itbegins with justification - being put right with God - thoroughfaith (verse 1). This right relationship with God brings anew-found peace. Further, along with this sense of acceptance,Christ is also the gateway to God's grace in which the believer (orsaint) is to dwell. Paul's call to 'boast' can, at first, readingseem vainglorious (verse 2) and positively perverse (verse 3). Heis, however, in both cases referring not to boasting about self,but rather about God's great power in Christ. It is a believer'shope to share in God's glory eternally through the saving work ofChrist (verse 2) and not through any human action. To callsuffering 'character forming' can sound callous but Paul's point inverse 3 is similar again. It is not that suffering is meritoriousor desirable in itself, but rather that when suffering comes,Christian endurance is not a trust on one's own limited humanresources but rather a reliance on the work of God achieved throughJesus' suffering and death. Such dependence can produce furthergrowth in Christ-like character and deeper understanding of thehope to share eternally in God's glory through the saving work ofChrist. Furthermore, the indwelling Holy Spirit is God's pledge ofthat glory for which the believer hopes (verse 5) and love, theprimary fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), flows into the hearts ofJesus' followers as a result.

Paul's reasoning is closely argued and detailed theologicalideas are packed into just five verses and less than one hundredwords! Effectively he is contending that faith in Christ brings aright relationship with God. And a right relationship brings peaceand grace, a state for the saint (or believer) to dwell in, and thehope of sharing in God's glory, a truth for the saint to declare or"boast in" (v. 3). This hope causes the saint to boast not inself-dependence but in God who works through Christ. It is the Lordwho is to be depended on and whose Spirit fills the saint's heartwith love.

To Ponder

  • To what extent can we ever reclaim the biblical use of the word'saint' to describe flawed human believers? Or does it have toomuch baggage now?
  • How far is it possible to 'boast' about the God we have faithin without sounding like it is us that have 'all the answers'?
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