Romans 5:1-11 (VOICE) Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. 2 Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory. 3 And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, 4 which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. 5 And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. 6 When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. 7 Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. 8 But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us. 9 As a result, the blood of Jesus has made us right with God now, and certainly we will be rescued by Him from God’s wrath in the future. 10 If we were in the heat of combat with God when His Son reconciled us by laying down His life, then how much more will we be saved by Jesus’ resurrection life? 11 In fact, we stand now reconciled and at peace with God. That’s why we celebrate in God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed.
While certainly not actually important, especially comparatively, one of the things that I am missing most as a result of our current COVID-19 situation is the summer movie season. I have always loved movies in general, and especially the experience of going to the movies. The summer blockbuster season offers one of the few times when everyone in our family, with our wide spread of ages and interests, can do something together that we all truly enjoy.
Most summer blockbusters, and almost all of the biggest movies in history (in terms of box office receipts) fall into the action category. This kind of story – think the Marvel Avengers films – does well because it appeals to a wide variety of audiences. One thing these stories don’t usually do, however, is surprise us. What I mean is that, while we might not know how it is going to happen, we all walk into the theater knowing that the hero is going to struggle at first, suffer a setback, but eventually win (and usually secure a connection to the love interest in the process).
At first thought, we might think this is an impediment to making these stories successful, and if they unfold too predictably it can be, but I think it often serves to make the stories more appealing. Because we know that, in the end, all will be right and the ‘good guys’ will have won, we can fully enjoy the ride. The same thing happens in most situation comedies as well, we can laugh at the terrible predicament the characters have gotten themselves into, because we know that it will all be resolved shortly.
This idea applies directly to Paul’s message from Romans that is our passage for today. The idea of ‘celebrating’ our suffering is not that we enjoy it, but that – because of Jesus – we know that it is only temporary, and, in movie terms, we know who wins in the end.
Because we can place our trust in the one that has already won the ultimate and final victory, we know that our hope is not in vain. We can learn and grow in the midst of difficult situations and circumstances, because they are only for a time, our victory – in Jesus – is already assured.
The knowledge of the ‘radical grace’ that we have in and through Jesus Christ allows us to be confident of how our ‘story’ ends and invites us to ‘celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory’, a hope that we know is not in vein.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer : Lord, you are the great story teller, and you have written us into the story of your mission and ministry in this world, making us part of the greatest story ever told. Help us to live in light of the good end that you have already written for us. Amen.