Reading: Romans 3:21-31
Reflection: Jesus’ way is not a meritocracy. God does not hand out
rewards to those who are good and curses to those who are bad.
This is the clear message of today’s reading from Romans. We have
all sinned, so if anything depended on our goodness, we would all
be doomed. There is not a single person who has ever, or could
ever, do enough to deserve God’s favour. As Richard Rohr says,
God loves us not because we are good, but because God is good.
And it is because God is good that God made a way for us to be in
right relationship with God and with one another that does not
depend on law, but on love. Jesus demonstrated this new way of
relating when he willingly gave his life instead of retaliating against
our evil, and when he spoke forgiveness over his executioners. But,
more than that, by giving us his life through the Holy Spirit, Jesus
has made it possible for us to live this new way of love as well. This
is a gift of pure and amazing grace.
We make a mistake, though, if we think that this gift of grace is a
purely individual thing, or if we think it invites us to live however we
please with no concern for consequences. We may not be able to
earn grace, but if we receive God’s gift of grace we will definitely be
changed. We will discover that we are called into community with
others who have also received God’s grace, and we are to share
grace with them – even when they hurt or offend us. We will also
discover that God’s grace changes our hearts and we begin striving
to live in a way that brings justice, grace, love, peace and joy to
others. This is why Paul says that it is only when we have faith that
we truly fulfil the law. God’s gracious invitation frees us from
legalistic religion, but it captures us with a new way of living that
seeks to serve and love all others indiscriminately.
How can you embrace God’s gracious gift today? And how can it
change your heart so you live and love a little more like Jesus?
Practice for Today: When we think of all that God has done and
made possible for us in Jesus, there is really only one appropriate
response – thanksgiving. And, as we give thanks, we dive deeper
into God’s grace and love, and we are changed a little more to be
like Jesus. Give thanks today for God’s grace in Christ.
Prayer for Today: For your amazing grace, and the power
to live as a gracious, loving person, I thank you, O God.