Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Chapters 1-4 describe the righteousness of God, the sin of humankind, how both the Jews and Gentiles have fall short, and examples of a relationship built upon faith. Then Paul pivots with a different attitude. The main theme of is joyfully describing the life of Christian community, specifically walking in grace.
Our reading from tells us that Jesus gave his followers the same power and authority he had. Remember last week’s passage from ? Jesus sent them out to make disciples. Are you ready?
describe the righteousness of God, the sin of humankind, how both the Jews and Gentiles fall short, and examples of a right relationship built upon faith. Then Paul pivots with a different attitude. The main theme of is joyfully describing the life of Christian community, specifically walking in grace. He describes a progression from the chaos and disappointments of chapters 1-3 to a community in 4-8.
The main theme of is the life of Christian community, specifically walking in grace. Chapters 1-4 describe the righteousness of God, the sin of humankind, how both the Jews and Gentiles have fall short, and examples of a relationship built upon faith.
describe restored peace with God through Jesus Christ by faith and he calls it “this grace in which we stand.” Grace means “gift, favor, or goodwill,” which we do not deserve. This grace is complete and we continue to stand in it. then describe how we have been reconciled to God. Our relationship has been restored. Through Christ, by faith, our lives are in a trajectory from chaos to community; from chaos to a restored relationship with God. But to what end?
Look at the early church. Everything was chaotic. Jesus had been crucified. The disciples were scared and confused. Then, there is the resurrection and everyone was ecstatic, but then Jesus ascends to heaven and tells them to wait. Why? To be empowered as his witnesses. Then, Pentecost happened. And in the midst of all the excitement, Peter shares a word from God and the Church grows from 120 to 3,000. Now what?
We are a sent people. An apostolic people. We must deal with the struggles of our journeys in life with all of its twists, turns, dangers, and trials. All of these transform us. We are made holy … we are shaped into a more mature and effective baptized community. Paul tells us that we should be exulting in the hope we have in Christ. Exult means to “feel triumphant elation” (Oxford English Dictionary) or “to boast, rejoice, brag, or be proud of” (BDAG). Not only that, we should exult in the difficult process of being shaped into that mature community.
describes this process: tribulation brings perseverance; perseverance brings character; and character brings a hope, in and through the Holy Spirit, that does not disappoint. Remember, this hope is not just for you to enjoy. We are not just called to dwell. We are called to go.
Our reading from tells us that Jesus gave his followers the same power and authority he had. Remember last week’s passage from ? Jesus sent them out to make disciples. Are you making disciples?
God has a plan for your life. Everything that has happened until now, God has allowed. Why? So that you can use those experiences to help others. His planned trajectory for your life is to take you from chaos to community; from having concern only for yourself to having a passion for God and others by living a life of radical hospitality.
Sarah laughed when God told her and Abraham about the trajectory he had for them. You may hear this call to discipleship and think, “I’m not smart enough. I do not know the Bible well enough. I am not close enough to God. He cannot use me.”
Listen, every man and woman God chose to use throughout the Bible are men and women that had no place doing what they did. They were not powerful. They were not good enough. Yet, they responded. They allowed God to take them from the chaotic mess in which they found themselves into a relationship with God and from there lead others into relationship with him. Think about it: Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Moses, Gideon, Samson, Deborah, David, Esther, Ruth, each one of the prophets, Peter, James, John, Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan woman, Paul, Aquilla and Priscilla.
The psalmist in acknowledged his past crises and shortcomings and he did not let those hold him back. He offered praise to God for his current salvation and vowed to continue praising God . . . to continue in the trajectory God had in store for him.
Will you respond to the call of Jesus like Sarah, or will you respond like the psalmist?