Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. (Romans 3:23-25)
The apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, sought to communicate God’s all encompassing embrace in his letter to the Roman church. It was not only to Paul’s own people, the Jews, that God showed God’s love, but “to Greek and to barbarians” in whom Paul says he owes a gratitude of debt (1:14). However, Paul tells his readers that the only way that he comprehended this love is through God’s own gift of grace in his life. If we read through Paul’s technical language and pharisaical legalese, we find him saying something very passionate.
All his life, Paul felt that he had to defend his existence through his work. He was a good student of theology, an outstanding Rabbi and enforcer of the Law of Moses. However, this was all to cover up for his need to be right with God. Paul finally saw that he could not live up to his own standards, much less any standard set forth through the Law. Self-righteous became a sin. Rather, it was God who sought to give him grace, freely and undeservedly. This was the method that God used to bring the world together. Paul saw this through the sacrificial gift of God’s Son and the mercy that was bestowed to Paul who was at one time a persecutor of Christians. How can we come to see God’s loving embrace in our lives? How can this turn our hearts to see God’s love in the lives of all people?
Lord, help me love others as you loved me,in my sin and my need,to find all I am in you. Hold me together, with the world you have made. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Phuc Luu - Theologian, Philosopher, Lover