Wednesday 14 March 2012

Bible Book:

"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 1)

Romans 5:1-11 Wednesday 14 March 2012


Chapter 5 opens with a great statement which demonstrates how alofty theological theme like justification has a down-to-earthoutworking in the life of the Christian. Justification may besomething we find difficult to understand, peace is something weall know about. Those who are justified, says Paul, are at peacewith God. Earlier in this letter (2:17, 23; 3:27; 4:2) boasting is ruled out as having no groundsfor the Christian, as for Abraham.

Here, however, we find Paul gives three grounds for boasting, notin human achievements, but in what God has done. Firstly believersboast "in our hope of sharing the glory of God" (v. 2) - somethingwhich is entirely God's free gift through the justification Godoffers through faith by grace.

Secondly, Paul claims, Christians can boast about sufferings (verse3). For Paul, the cross is the heart of the gospel, and ultimateallegiance to the gospel can be measured less by achievements andmore by identification with Christ's suffering. Perhaps he ismaking a point to some of his fellow-preachers and critics who seehis repeated disasters as a sign of failure (2Corinthians 11:21-33). Suffering reflects the path taken byJesus, but Paul also claims (in verses 3-5) that suffering haspositive results in the life of the Christian, producing endurance,which in turn produces character, and character bears fruit ashope, which does not disappoint, because God's infinite resourcesof love are available and will meet every eventuality.

The proof of that love is, of course, the death of Christ "for us"(v. 8), offered despite the fact that no one is worthy of it. Itmay seem strange that Paul would go so far as to describe himself,and other Jews, as "ungodly" (v. 6); he does so to emphasise theabsolute necessity of God's atoning act in Christ. Salvation is bygrace, he constantly reminds his readers, not out of merit. Thissalvation and this justification will save the sinner from thewrath of God, from whatever consequences sin inevitably brings.Because, in Christ, God has reconciled humanity, restored a brokenrelationship, and that is the third ground for boasting.

To Ponder

Is peace with God a reality to you? If not, whatmight there be in this passage which can help you discover thepeace Paul writes about?

How, in your life, has suffering producedendurance, character, and hope? Does this mean that suffering isGod's plan for us? Why?

How do you feel about Paul's description of allthose for whom Christ died as "ungodly" (v. 6)?

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