Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Justification and grace...

[Bible study on Romans - post 7]


I think the Lord is telling me that it's time to resume my study of Romans. I'm not sure exactly how and when it slipped my mind. But these last few weeks, the subjects of justification and sanctification keep returning to my spirit.

If you want to see what I covered last year, there's a list of posts here.

We covered how righteousness comes through faith, and we left off at the end of Romans 4 with this statement:
"Jesus Christ...was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification."

What exactly is justification?  I wondered that many times for many years. It always seemed to be one of those terms that I was pretty sure I knew... if only someone could identify which of the things I knew about that it was referring to!

That's exactly what Paul does in the first verse of chapter 5:
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
And we see instantly that Paul has just summarized chapters 2-4 of Romans.  In other words... everything that Paul just walked us through in chapters two, three, and four ... how the Law showed us what sin was, but how God says we are righteous because of what we believe (if we do believe)... all of that is what justification is, and peace with God is what it results in.

My interpretation of this verse is this: "Now we have established that it is by faith that we are justified (or made righteous), Because of this, we have peace with God."

Peace with God. No longer are we an enemy of God. (And an enemy is exactly what we became when humanity sided with sin against Him.)

But peace isn't the only thing that comes in this package called justification. 
5:2 - through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
He says that through Jesus we get something else. Something more than just justification. 

Grace.

But what is grace? 

The Greek word that is usually translated into "grace" is "charis." It is a form of "chairō." Take a look at these definitions, and consider that this is where we now stand with God:
1) to rejoice, be glad
2) to rejoice exceedingly
3) to be well, thrive
4) good will, loving-kindness, favour
5) acceptance
Those things are pretty amazing, when we think about them existing between God and us.

But when we look through the Bible, we find that when a person has found grace with God, they get even more. For not only are they accepted by God, but His power starts to flow. God changes things. When His grace is there, then things on earth are affected by God, for His purposes.

-- Luke 2:40 says that when Jesus was a child growing, the grace of God was upon him.
-- John 1 starts out summing up how Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, and verse 14 t says that He is "full of grace and truth."
-- Ephesians 2:8 says that it is by grace we have been saved.

But 2 Corinthians 12:9 has, perhaps, the most clear picture of the completeness of grace. For here is where Paul was talking about his trouble - his thorn in the flesh. He knew that God was able to take it away, and he begged God to do that. But God said,
My grace is sufficient for you. For My power is perfected in weakness.
So we see that grace is not God handing His power to us. It's His power taking over us. Taking over our weakness. Making us complete. Doing the glorious things He desires in lives that would be broken without Him.

So Romans 5:2 is saying that it is through Jesus that we "have our introduction" into this grace... that we move from that place of sin as an enemy of God into this place where we find acceptance and favor. This place where our brokenness is overwhelmed by a God who completes us. This place where we now stand because his power fills us and raises us and strengthens us.

This is why Paul finishes the verse with this:
...and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Because our hope... everything that is worth exulting in... is wrapped up and contained in Him. Because He and everything He has done for us is glorious.

Amen!

Go to the index of posts on Romans.

1 comments:

  • Erica Pennington says:
    Monday, June 03, 2013

    Your posts are always an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts

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