The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
17. Reconciled and Confident
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 man, though for a good man 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.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when 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! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
The "right time"
Paul has established in the previous five verses that since we have peace with God and have been brought into relationship with him, we now find meaning and hope through our suffering. God has poured his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and we will not be disappointed. Now Paul recaps again the process of salvation that has given us this peace and hope.
1. "At just the right time," Paul says, "Christ died for the ungodly." What does this phrase, "the right time," suggest about God's sovereignty, the kingdom of God, and the establishment of the church? (see Mark 1:14-15; Galatians 4;4-5; Ephesians 1:9-10; Matthew 24:36-37)
2. How do these texts stand in contrast to what many of us learned regarding how Christ's return is determined?
3. Paul contrasts God's commitment to humanity with normal human loyalty by pointing out that only rarely would any person be willing to die for another, and then only if that other were remarkably worthy. What is remarkable about Jesus' saving of us? (see John 3:16; 15:13; Romans 3:10-12; Ephesians 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 3:16; 4:10)
4. What is "God's wrath" from which we will be saved? (see Romans 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; John 3:36; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; Hebrews 10:30-31; Revelation 19:11, 15)
5. "Reconcile" means "to put an end to hostility." Whose, God's or man's, is the hostility that must end, and who bears the enmity for the other when we are in our natural state, God or man? (see Colossians 1:20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
6. Notice the parallel in verses 9-10: verse 9 says we have been justified by his blood and shall be saved. Verse 10 says we have been reconciled through his Son's death and shall be saved. Justification and reconciliation are closely related; Jesus accomplished both by his death. Now that we are justified and reconciled, we can be saved. This salvation is accomplished through Jesus' resurrection life. How is Jesus' life, not just his death, linked to our salvation? (see Romans 8:27; 34; Hebrews 7:25)
7. Of what do Jesus' death and life make us sure? (see Romans 8:33-39; John 10:27-29; 6:39-40; Philippians 1:3-6)
8. Why is it so significant that through Jesus Christ we now rejoice in God? (see John 1:12-13; Romans 8:15-17; Ephesians 2:3-10; Hebrews 10:19-22)
9. What hostility or personal "rights" are you still rationalizing in yourself, unwilling to give them up?
10. You were saved in your sins, but God spends the rest of your life with him transforming you. Of what sins or habitual behavior is God making you aware, asking you to give them up and to trust him instead?
11. Of what truths about your life and your experience is God reminding you, perhaps traumatic or shameful things you had forgotten or want to forget, causing you to "know" them so he can heal your heart?
12. Ask God to help you know what you need to know and to embrace the
truth about yourself and your life. Thank him for already making your salvation
secure and for his sovereign timing that knows exactly when you are ready
to know and to heal from the wounds in your life. Ask him to make your heart
willing to know the truth and to relinquish your coping mechanisms to him.
Ask God to guard you heart and your mind in Jesus and to fill your heart
with his peace and his joy. Praise God for his commitment to transform you
and to heal your heart.
Copyright (c) 2003 Graphics Studio, Redlands,
CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted December 17, 2003.