Monday, May 01, 2017

Romans 5:1-11

Some jottings from The Revd Dr Lee Gatiss exposition at Bible by the Beach:

Romans 1-3 uses lots of forensic / legal terminology: justice, punishment, justification etc.
And also OT passages and imagery - propitiation, sacrifice, Law etc.
Ch 5-8 more personal, relational, universal
Perhaps this is the spiritual gift Paul means to impart to the largely Gentile Roman church?
The way Paul means to express the gospel to the Gentiles in Spain?

Big idea: Those who have faith also have hope because of God's love

(1) We have hope because God's love transforms our suffering

Suffering, struggles, trouble, opposition, persecution, difficulty, stresses and strains are all part of the normal Christian life and not a sign that God doesn't love us

Indeed, amazingly, we can rejoice / boast / glory even in suffering as God uses it to produce perseverance, endurance, character and hope

cf. Yoda - Fear is the path to the dark side - hate leads to suffering etc. - for Paul suffering leads to hope! The light is stronger than the darkness

Our suffering is not meaningless tragedy to be avoided at all costs but God uses it for our good. The cross shows us God's power to bring good out of evil.

Christopher Ash: "the Christian life is not a miserable one, crawling along in pain but happy to have an entrance ticket to the new creation in our pockets; it is a tough life, but one in which God is daily at work in us to change us and prepare us for glory." (Teaching Romans, vol 1, p215, PT / Christian Focus)

No pressure, no resilience. Our hope muscles need to be exercised to be built up.

Basil of Caesarea (Homily 16) "Tribulations are like certain foods and exercises for athletes which lead the contestant on to the inheritance of glory" (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Romans p129)

Suffering is not the ultimate, not the end. It trains and refines us. It will not defeat us in the end.

So Chumbawumba theology: when we get knocked down we get up again!

Paul has shown that my biggest problem is the wrath of God and that puts my other problems into perspective.

Jesus has saved us and he will save us so we can trust him to take care of us in between

Suffering is not a disaster but a doorway.

"Through many dangers, toils and snares..."

(2) We also have hope because God's love is not like our love

The way we were: alienated, enemies, at war with God, ungodly (v6), sinners (v9), facing God's wrath (v9)

But now we are justified (vv1 & 9), reconciled (vv10 and 11), at peace with God (v1) enjoying access to him (v2) and hope (v2)

Calvin: "peace means tranquillity of conscience, which arises from this, — that it feels itself to be reconciled to God. This the Pharisee has not, who swells with false confidence in his own works; nor the stupid sinner, who is not disquieted, because he is inebriated with the sweetness of vices". Commentary on Romans

God's love defeats our hate

We gory in the hope of glory (v2)

The amazing memorial at to self-sacrifice at  St Botolph's Aldersgate

Jesus' willing self-sacrifice so amazing as it was not for a friend or family member or even a stranger or foreigner but for an enemy

Not like Saving Private Ryan, Captain Miller, "Earn this! Earn it!"; Ryan burdened with this every day thinking, was it enough? I hoped I earned it.

The Christian not motivated by guilt constantly thinking, could I not do more?

We can never earn or merit or repay Jesus. He doesn't want us to try! He loves us and has done it all.

If Christ died for his enemies, imagine what he will do for his friends.

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