Romans 4: 24-25 Big Theological Words 1 Justification August 2-9, 2015
Romans 4: 16-25 (NRSV)
It will be reckoned to us who believe in him
who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
who was handed over to death
for our trespasses and was raised
for our justification.
Being the Church in Christ: Wisdom from Pastor Paul
(The Brentwood Sermon Series for 2015)
Throughout 2015, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church will be considering how to be the church in Jesus Christ, guided by the wisdom of Pastor Paul. We invite you to listen for what the Spirit is saying in the text, then question how those insights might change the ways you see things and act in the world. Share your thoughts during the week on the meaning the Spirit creates for you in this text by posting a comment on our website – www.brentwoodpc.ca.
A Provocative Pondering
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us provoke one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together … (Hebrews 10:23-25a)
The Greek work is dikaiosyne. Most Bible translations render it justification. Tons of ink have been spread, churches have split, and actual blood has been shed over what that idea really means for the followers of Jesus Christ.
It is central to Paul’s understanding of the mission and ministries of the church, so it can’t be ignored.
In the Old Testament, the word refers largely to those who do God’s will by keeping the law. In other words, those who are faithful to the covenant – being a blessing to all creation in gratitude for God’s presence and power in their lives. This is the true glory or energy that God intended through his companionship and friendship with all of humanity.
But, as we have heard Paul say earlier in Romans, all have sinned and fallen short of that glory – all but One. In Jesus Christ, who took our sin on himself, all have been justified or set right with God. The covenant has been restored and those who accept and adhere to that reality will live in the joy and generosity of Jesus Christ.
Again, as always with Paul, this is something God has done for us, so that we can be the blessings he created us to be. Refuse to accept this gift and you will be far less than you are created and called to be. Accept it and God is able to open up possibilities for blessing that you never imagined.
That’s our choice, breath by breath, one conversation after another – accept God’s gift and live in God’s glory as a blessing to the whole of creation. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!