Daily Readings and Thought for January 28th. “JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE AS A GIFT”


 Is it hard to understand what Paul means when he uses the word “grace”?  And what about the word “justified”?  His letter to the Romans explains this to us.  Although this is a primarily a simple concept, it is also very profound.  Paul was brought up as a Pharisee and as a leading exponent of Jewish Law was among those who thought that in keeping the Law, with the interpretations and qualifications they put on the Law that had come through Moses, one was approved by God and had ‘earned’ the right for salvation.  A major theme of his letter to the Romans which we are now reading is to make the point that this way of thinking was all wrong.  Believers are “justified” – that is seen in God’s eyes to be in a right position before him – because of their faith – in him, a faith which is then shown by how they live their lives in loving appreciative service to him and, as a result, toward one another.  Paul writes, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” [Ch. 3 v.21-22]   Whether you are a Jew or not, and most Romans weren’t, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus … to be received by faith.” [v.23-25]

Read those words of Paul again, they mean that, for us, it is vital that we believe the sacrifice of Jesus really happened – and as a result the keeping of the Law came to an end, being fulfilled by the death of Jesus. But we must not view this as a sort of mechanical process, but we must really feel greatly humbled by this event which God brought about. Grace means a forgiveness we have done nothing to deserve.   If we do not really believe in faith from our hearts, then this gift of grace will not be seen by God as being truly accepted by us.

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