Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rambling through Romans (24): 5:1-4(2)

5 Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. 3 But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance produces character, and character produces hope. 5 This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
 

Are we saved by our faith?  This is a frequent question in some circles at least.  A careful reading of Romans 5:2 spells out Paul’s understanding.  Faith grants us “access,” but access to what?  Into “this grace” (read salvation).  And how did we arrive in “this grace”?  “Through him,” this in Jesus Christ.

Or to put it backwards:  Jesus Christ has achieved salvation for all humanity (see later in this chapter).  “This grace” is ours through him.  By faith we make accept this grace and live in it.  Salvation is Jesus’ work and he does it well!  We are all saved in him.  Faith is our response to salvation Christ has already won for us.

So, no, we are not “saved” by our faith.  Faith responds to the salvation already won for us by him.  It’s ours whether we ever respond to it or not.  And that’s because salvation has been won for us and apart from us by Jesus.

And because Christ has already won our (and the whole world’s) salvation, “we boast in the hope of God’s glory.”  Our boast is not in ourselves but in him.  And we are bold to make this our witness to the world because he has already achieved it.

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