Thursday, June 26, 2008

Romans 5: 1-11

Our passage today begins with the word, “Therefore,” pointing backwards to everything Paul has said so far in Romans. Therefore--in light of our sinfulness, the consequences it has for our lives, and our inability to make things right again on our own. Therefore-- in light of the fact that God forgives and redeems us, offering us the free gift of salvation not because we deserve it, earn it, or have worked hard for it, but simply because of the sheer goodness of His grace. Therefore, in light of all this, we enjoy the benefits listed in the following verses from living the life of faith.

One of those benefits is peace with God. And when we have peace with God, we trust Him completely. We are totally free from any fear of or reservations about God we might have. Nothing—nothing!—stands between us, so that we can go to him for anything and everything, and He pours his love into our hearts. That’s a winning combination that let’s us face whatever life throws at us and find a way through it where we come out better than when we went in.

Think about that a moment. Do you believe it?I’m not being simplistic or naïve here. Life can be, and sometimes is, incredibly difficult and painful. Some situations are so heart breaking we just can’t imagine anything good about them at all. I don’t see any way around that.But the promise of these verses is that in spite of all that, God will bring us through—scarred, maybe, a bit battered and beat-up perhaps—but not beaten. He will bring us through. Even more than that, God will be at work in us through hard times, using them to develop our character so that we are more like Him. And that, of course, fills us with great hope.

Sometimes the Bible faces us with hard questions and great challenges for living. But today, I think these verses are simply meant to encourage us. As trite as it may sound, whatever you and I are going through, God is still in control, is still at work, and is still achieving His good purpose in your life and in mine.

Take heart, dear friends. Take heart.

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