Friend of God: Name Dropping

Friend of God

Daily Reading: (Romans 5:11):

“Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

We have the opportunity every day in our lives to boast about the victory Jesus has given us. We boast about different stuff all the time. Just look at bumper stickers, “my kids is an honor student”, “I ran 26.2 miles”, “I am an alumni of XYZ University”. Social media is full of places we have been, the food we ate, and things we have experienced that we are proud of and want to share with the world. There is something within us to want to share the wonderful things we have been a part of, and here Paul is saying we can and should boast in the greatest thing to ever happen to us, we are now reconciled to God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What is crazy is God didn’t give this great gift to His best friends, God gave the gift that was the life of His son, to His enemies. Enemies? That’s strong language but it is what we were apart from Jesus,“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life” (Romans 5:10)!

That is why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, because this is what I did for you. When someone is persecuting you, causing you trouble, we have the Holy Spirit who gives us love, joy, peace, etc… This person who is not acting like a friend, but more like an enemy, I can pray for them, they are the perfect candidate for someone who needs Jesus. This is where miracles take place. God loves them too and wishes for them to have their lives forever changed by the Gospel.

So, we use to be enemies with God (Romans 5:10) but being reconciled to Him through Jesus, we are now friends of God and part of His family. We are friends and even family of the One who made the Universe.

We have now received the reconciliation. The word “received” means that this reconciliation is a gift that we receive by grace through Christ. Reconciliation is special in that it is not like most other gifts. Let’s say it is your birthday and your significant other buys you a lantern. A lantern is a practical yet fairly lame gift. Most people don’t ask for a lantern for their birthday, you might even question how well they know you or have been paying attention to you over the year. But if your power goes out you might be thankful for the lantern. Then when the power is restored, you put the lantern away, and then forget about it entirely until the power goes out again. Then you feel thankful again for the gift again.

This is different from what Paul means by receiving the gift of reconciliation. He means receiving it in such a way that what is in the package makes you rejoice all the time. And what is in the gift, is God reconciled. The gift of reconciliation is God offering us Himself so that we might rejoice in Him.

James 2:23 says: And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. ‘And he was called the friend of God. In John 15:15 Jesus said, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Jesus made us righteous through His sacrifice on the cross and our faith in Him. We now are friends of God (John 15:15, James 2:23).

What we should be doing is name-dropping about who we are friends with. God is my friend. God is my Father. It changes our perspective on things. Paul is so confident in his relationship with God, that he says to other believers who gave to him to help him while in prison “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). I am friends with God, He has abundantly blessed and abundantly supplied me in Jesus.

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Peace with God

Peace with God

Daily Reading: (Romans 5:1-2):

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”

Before we received salvation through Christ we were not at peace with God and it was impossible for peace to be with us. Sin had separated us from a holy and righteous God.

Right away the first word in the first verse that we encounter is a therefore- which gives us the clue that Paul is mid-thought. “Therefore” in verse 1 speaks to what Paul was referencing in chapter 4- so our peace with God and our understanding in it- insight is gained as we read chapter four.

Romans 4:3: “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Righteousness or right standing with God was based upon faith for Abraham not law-based living as this is reinforced in verse 13. The point is that peace with God does not come from law-based living. Peace with God is a free gift that comes through faith by God’s grace (Romans 4:13-15a).

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have… (echo) to have and to hold. So no one and nothing can take from us (eirēnē) peace with God (Romans 5:1). Peace with God is different from “peace be with you” in that our relationship with God (salvation) does not change but the peace we receive can waver.

Paul says faith in Jesus led to peace with God and also that you were put in and established firmly in His grace. Our response should be rejoicing or boasting in our family name- that we belong to Jesus (Romans 5:2). We have hope despite what we see, despite what we feel, because we have been justified by faith and we have and hold the very peace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

 

 

#The One Who Meets Our Need

Daily Reading: (Romans 5:6-8):

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“You can’t get any closer than being in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22). You don’t get any closer than Christ being in you (Colossians 1:27). You don’t get closer than being united with Jesus (Romans 6:5) and you don’t get closer than being one in Spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)[1]

There is only one thing that brought us close to God and Ephesians 2:14 tells us that it was the blood of Christ that brought us close to God. That is wonderful but there was also the problem about the wages of sin which is death but through the resurrection of Jesus we can be guaranteed that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Because He didn’t stay in the tomb. Jesus rose on the third day.

The question that is often asked in reference to closeness to God comes from the text in James 4:8 that appears to tell us that we have a need to come near to God.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

The paramount question to ask is “who is James writing to here”? The answer is right in the text itself. Sinners. You might think, “well, I sin.”  Just because we all sin, our action does not determine our identity and it will not change your relationship with God.

Paul addresses churches like the one at Corinth who were sinning a lot and addresses them as saints. Saints is who they are regardless of what they do. When you understand who you are in Christ, your behavior follows. Stop living in the gutter, when Christ paid for your entrance into the palace. The enemy wants you to believe that who you are is a sinner so you will continue in sin. Christ died to give you your new identity, don’t believe you are who you used to be, believe who Christ has made you to be.

God must judge sin. The reason Jesus was sent to die was to show God’s righteousness. Why did God’s righteousness need to be shown? We see this answered for us in Romans 3:25, “because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” In other words when God passes over sins—when He forgives you or me—it looks as though He is not acting righteously. It would be a horrendous unrighteousness if God were to simply sweep the sin of the world under the rug of the universe. What Christ did when he died was to vindicate the righteousness of God in the salvation of sinners. If Christ hadn’t died in our place, the righteousness of God could only be vindicated in one way—by our eternal condemnation.

The proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners (not when we got it all right) [if that was the case, we wouldn’t need a Savior] while we were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8). Doesn’t that speak of God loving us when we sin or were sinning. God doesn’t want you to sin because He loves you and it harms you. However, your sin doesn’t change the way He thinks of you. The love of men is frail and weak but your Father’s love endures forever (Psalm 136). The real question is not whether God will always love you but whether you know and enjoy His love (1 Cor. 13:4, 7-8, Psalm 136).

 

 

 

 

[1] Andrew Farley. Twisted Scripture ebook location 2395.

 

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Daily Reading: (Romans 5:1-5) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

We have already been given new birth born into a living hope (1 Peter 1:3) and then God will use specific things to produce even more hope in our lives (Romans 5:2-5).

Romans 5:1 with the use of therefore connects the reader to Romans chapter four with the theme being Abraham justified by faith. Abraham’s faith was his confidence in the reliability of God’s Word (Romans 4:17), and Abrahams hope was his strong confidence in the fulfillment of Gods promise (Romans 4:18).

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations”. Against all earthly hope, against the facts as we know them, the failures, and the feelings, Abraham in hope believed… how?  Romans 4:20 reveals the answer: “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God”. The Hebrew word for glory is kabod. Glory is mentioned 376 times in the Bible and it means heavy in weight. Abraham gave more weight to what God had said than what he saw and experienced in the moment.

Now, that the groundwork has been laid, we can connect back to the therefore in verse one. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have”, the Greek word for have is (echo)- to have and to hold. This mean no one and nothing can take from us (eirēnē)- “peace with God” the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.

When we bring this together, Paul is saying that we have hope despite what we see, despite what we feel because we have been justified by faith and we have and hold the very peace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

We boast or rejoice in an expectation of good, a confident expectation of salvation, the thing hoped for- the glory of God (Romans 5:2).

We have a confident expectation (elpis) of good God will bring about (hope) because we have been through affliction, distress (thlipsis) before- and in that enduring time (hypomonē) it produces tried character (dokimē) that believes God will bring good out of it again (elpis) [Romans 5:3-4].

What produces more hope in our lives are the trials and the tribulations that come.  Hope- the expectation of good is only possible in a situation that is pressing (thlipsis) (Romans 5:3-4).