Rejoicing Grounded In God’s Love Revealed In Christ

22 Nov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to ponder as we think about what it is that we’re thankful for today (an excerpt taken from a message I will be giving on Romans 5):

The first section of Romans 5 is marked by a call to rejoice; to rejoice in our justification and reconciliation with God.  Peace has been established, and hope given to many.  But the question that arises is: What gives us confidence that this is, in fact, true, and not merely another false hope?

This question is answered by verses 5-8:

Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Our rejoicing is based upon the wonderful truths Paul has laid out in the first four verses, and the first four chapters of Romans.  And these truths are proved—and secured—by God’s love revealed in the work of Jesus Christ in His life, death, and resurrection.

What He did was counterintuitive.  Paul makes the argument that perhaps someone would die for a person who is good.  I’d like to think that I would die for my wife.  Maybe you would die for your children.  “But,” Paul says, “Who dies for weak, ungodly, sinful people?”  The answer: Jesus Christ.  And He did.

As Paul later says in Romans 8, “If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:31-32)”  If God, in His love, gave His Son to die a terrible, yet atoning, death on a cross, He, too, will graciously give us all the things promised to us. In this way, we can begin to comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of God.[1]  We see that everything we believe in and hope for finds its root in the love of God, most supremely revealed in the redemptive work of Jesus.  Apart from Him and what He has done, we have nothing to believe in, and are hopeless.

So how does this influence the ways in which you treat others?  Christians?  Non-Christians?  Those who have wronged you?  The Gospel calls us to a counterintuitive lifestyle.  Finally, when do you find yourself rejoicing?  Do you rejoice merely in the good times, or in the bad as well?  And what is it that fuels your rejoicing?


[1] Eph. 3:18-19

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