Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening sentence Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 3:21-26 (NLT)
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Reflection: Romans 3:21-26 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
Nobody approaches God’s standard of righteousness. Bishop Moule: ‘The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of God’s glory; but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you are on the crest of an Alp; but you are as little able to touch the stars as they.’
Paul teaches three basic truths about justification: 1. Its source – the saving initiative from beginning to end belongs to God the Father; Grace is God loving, God stooping, God coming to the rescue, God giving himself generously in and through Jesus Christ. 2. Its ground – the death of God’s Son on the cross in our place effected a redemption of sinners; a propitiation of God’s wrath and a demonstration of his justice. 3. Its means – faith alone, altogether apart from works, is the heart of the gospel and unique to Christianity.
No other system, ideology or religion proclaims a free forgiveness and a new life to those who have done nothing to deserve it but a lot to deserve judgement instead…. Christianity is not in its essence a religion at all; it is a gospel, the gospel, good news that God’s grace has turned away his wrath, that God’s Son has died our death and borne our judgement, that God has mercy on the undeserving, and that there is nothing left for us to do, or even contribute. Faith’s only function is to receive what grace offers.
To stand on the rim of the abyss, to despair utterly of ever crossing over, is the indispensable ‘antechamber of faith’.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen