Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rambling through Romans (27): 5:6-11


While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people. It isn’t often that someone will die for a righteous person, though maybe someone might dare to die for a good person. But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. So, now that we have been made righteous by his blood, we can be even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. 10 If we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son while we were still enemies, now that we have been reconciled, how much more certain is it that we will be saved by his life? 11 And not only that: we even take pride in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, the one through whom we now have a restored relationship with God.
 

Weak, ungodly – that’s how we were in our autonomy, our “damned” independence from God.  Yet even then Christ died for us.  We weren’t righteous, and far from good (the kind of person someone might actually die for!).  But while we were doing our best to break away from him, God’s love overtook us anyway in the death of his Son.

Having been reconciled with God through Christ’s ultimate act of love, we realize that he has saved us from God’s wrath too!  Luke Johnson tells us what God’s “wrath” is:

“. . . it is precisely the sort of expression that would have been instantly grasped by Paul’s first hearers but seems puzzling and off-putting to present-day readers.

 The ‘wrath of God’ (orge tou theou) is not a psychological category but a symbol (widely used in Torah) for the retribution that comes to humans as a result of their willful turning away from God; indeed, it is a concept that derives precisely from the prophetic warnings against idolatry (see Isa 51:7; Jer 6:11; 25:25; Hos 13:11; Zeph 1:15).

Although it plays a thematic role in Romans (2:5, 8; 3:5; 4:15; 5:9; 9:22; 12:19), it is used elsewhere by Paul as well for the eschatological (‘final’) threat that looms over those who oppose God. 

God’s wrath is therefore the symbol for the destruction that humans bring on themselves by rebelling against the truth. For those alienated from the ground of their own being, even God’s mercy appears as ‘anger.’ It is a retribution that results, not at the whim of an angry despot but as the necessary consequences of a self-distorted existence.” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/11/is-the-wrath-of-god-wrath/#ixzz3KCLX5Yfy)

It is from “the necessary consequences of a self-distorted existence” that Christ has saved us through his death.

If God was pleased for us to be reconciled to him even when we were “spitting in his face,” is it any wonder that since Christ now lives he will take us up into his life and we will experience salvation to the fullest?

Though boasting is not usually a good thing (because we usually boast about what we have accomplished), but this thing God has done for us in Christ, this unbelievably goodness he has graciously sent our way, we can and will boast in that.  Forever!

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