Romans 5: Reconciliation with God

This entry is part 121 of 123 in the series 365 Key Chapters of the Bible

Paul often begins his epistles with the phrase “grace and peace to you” (see 1 Corinthians 1:3). While we may be tempted to skim over these greetings, they reveal an important concept: The grace of God brings about peace with God—apart from His gracious work, we would not be able to have peace with Him.

The Work of Christ

As we come to understand the work of Jesus Christ, we can see that it has many facets. For example, on one level His life ought to be a moral example for us. We see the way He lived and how He died for us, and we ought to act out of that same love for others in our lives. Another aspect of His work is that of Christus Victor—He has defeated Satan through His life and death and has conquered the grave. Neither of these aspects by themselves are enough, however, to understand Christ’s work.

In Romans 5, Paul focuses on the aspect of penal substitution, which is how we are reconciled to God. Because we cannot achieve the righteousness that God requires, we stood in need of someone to achieve that righteousness for us. Jesus Christ, the God-man, is the only One who could do so. He paid our debt to bring us near to God.

We cannot understand this mystery fully—when we finally come to dwell in the presence of God, we will continue to unpack the beauty and the glory of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Reconciliation with God

Sin had entered the world through Adam, and we were in his line, the line of death. But Jesus, who is the second Adam, has brought us into His line instead. With undiminished deity, He took on humanity in order to reconcile us to God.

Because Jesus Christ has reconciled us with God, we are being transformed even in this present darkness. We are declared righteous, and we are still growing in righteousness. These are not two opposite ideas; rather, they focus on the truth of our life in this soul-forming world. Our position is in Christ in the heavenly places, and we grow in our practice of that identity.

This teaching is based on Ken’s Handbook to Scripture

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