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Friday, October 6, 2017

“Martin Luther: Justified by Faith”

Romans 5:1-11

Paul is here summarizing the substance of the previous two chapters where he laid out the content of his fundamental teaching on justification by faith.  Paul here begins with the affirmation that justification by faith brings us peace with God.  How is this?  As long as we believe that we do something to earn salvation or in some way save ourselves, then the pressure is on us to be faithful, righteous or spiritual, however we want to express it.  Knowing that God has done everything for us takes away that pressure.  God’s grace, his undeserved favor and goodness, gives us an assurance we can never have any other way.

We have never been righteous.  We need to face the fact that we are “ungodly,” “enemies” of God.  The justification or righteousness that we receive through faith in Christ is never completely ours.  If it were, we would no longer have to depend on Christ.  People who are in themselves just and righteous do not need a Savior.  Jesus says as much when he states, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to salvation” (Matt. 9:13).  However, as Paul made clear earlier, no one, Jew or Gentile, is righteous or just before God.  God however did not abandon, much less reject us, in our sin.  He came to us.  He sent Jesus Christ to be “sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Cor. 5:21).

We cannot boast of keeping God’s law because all of us fail to keep it (Rom. 3:27).  Rather we are able to boast of the hope that we have in Christ.  We boast in him, not in ourselves.  Paul amazingly speaks of boasting in our suffering.  Our suffering produces hope in us.  In suffering we are not able to depend on ourselves.   We depend on God whose love is poured into our hearts.  That love is the basis of our justification, our salvation and our eternal hope.  And all of this is a gift.  God has done “much more” than we could ever hope or imagine.  In him we are secure.  We truly have peace.

Merciful and gracious God I praise you for the fact that you sent Christ to be my savior when I was “ungodly.”  I cannot thank you enough, Lord.  Continue to pour you love into my heart.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.