Grace to Stand

At the risk of sounding clichéd and trite, justification by faith in Christ is wonderfully good news for every believer. Of course, if it does seem like a cliché to you or me then perhaps we don’t really understand it! But the more we live our lives in his grace, as we get to know God and we know ourselves better, then I would expect waves of wonder at such a grace to continually wash over us all through our lives.

There are some wonderful facts that are now true of those who believe and are justified by faith. Buried in a pile of them is Paul’s assertion that,

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand (Romans 5:2 ESV)

Some comments about this:

  1. this grace – at first I thought that Paul is referring to the general atmosphere of God’s fatherly favour towards us by which he makes his promises (4:16). However, John Murray argues that he is thinking of the particular grace of justification because of the emphatic demonstrative pronoun (this grace). I still tend to think Paul meant the former, though I don’t think anything is lost by focusing on the grace of justification.
  2. we haveobtained access – God’s fatherly favour given once in the past, to which we have continuing access, never revoked.
  3. in which we stand – brings added emphasis to the continuing reality for the believer. Our lives continue in a state of grace. We continue to know, as my former pastor used to say, the continuing smile of God on our lives in which he continues to be at work.
  4. through him – all of this depends on the mediatorial work of Jesus Christ. It is not just that we gain access initially through our Mediator, but that our continuing state as we live depends on his continuing mediation, reconciling us to God and God to us. 

This is a great encouragement to us. Sometimes what seems most real to us – there is plenty to worry about in our lives – seems to be the most significant. Yet, Paul helps us as now justified people to see differently and to see the true reality: we are in a state of grace through Christ, and it is the most secure place to be.

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Grace to Stand

A Taste of Heaven

I should have posted this a couple of days ago, but just to say we had a great day on Sunday.

Apart from preaching in Romans 4 on the righteousness that is by faith, which was great enough, we had an enquiry from someone who wants to be baptised and we set a date to start Christianity Explored with some people eager to find out more.

On top of all that we had some people back to our home for lunch – eleven crammed around our dinner table to share a yummy meal. Everyone shared in the prep, eating and clearing up. Lots of laughter and fun. The meal finished with scripture, prayer and doxology. Then rest and chat.

Last Sunday, the Lord’s Day, was one of those tastes of heaven.

A Taste of Heaven

Some links I liked today

I have just caught up on the ‘Jesus’ Wife’ story, but here are some links:

  • Simon Gathercole on the ‘Jesus’ Wife’ fragment, here.
  • Michael Kruger, here.
  • Michael Kruger on the rear side of the so-called ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’, here. (And there are some other links here too.)

Interesting way to divide the Psalms by Adrian Reynolds. All very Christ-the-King centred.

People Prospering under Ol’ Fashioned Preaching. Drawing on the examples of Haggai and Zechariah: why preaching matters.

Bearing in mind all the usual reservations about Doug Wilson, one cannot be affected by this 10-year-old talk on the Offence of the Gospel and the need for Christians with spines.

Aside