I began my study today from the end of chapter 4. I try to remember the context of a previous chapter before reading a new one. I also try to ensure that not much time passes between my study of chapters. (I wasn’t able to study for a day or two this week and so needed to refresh my memory of the scriptural context.)
In Chapter 4:18, Paul writes:
“[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be.”
There is a prayer that springs in your heart when all hope seems lost. There is a place of humility and helplessness where you cast yourself at the feet of Jesus to beg him to help you. In that moment, something flickers within you – hope. I find myself praying for Nigeria lately and I can only hope in view of all that is happening around me. I use Abraham’s story as my motivation.
Now in the last 3 or 4 verses of Chapter 4, Paul helps us understand that a guilty conscience over sin has no place in a Christian’s life. I will quote the last verse: “Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].”
This verse is the springboard to Chapter 5.
In American Law, there is a concept called Double Jeopardy. Essentially it means once you have been tried for and acquitted of a crime, you cannot be tried for the same crime anymore. Therefore you can walk with your head held high without fear of a future conviction or arrest. You are free! This is the picture Paul tries to paint in the opening verses of Chapter 5. The notion that God is using the circumstances of your life to punish you for sin is fallacious. As a Christian, you are completely forgiven and free. If you know how to appeal to your loving Father, he can even help you escape the so-called “natural consequences” of your actions. That’s the depth of his magnanimity and love. Stop trying to pay for sins that have already been paid for with your guilt. I quote verses 1 & 2:
“Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.” (You should also read verses 9 & 10.)
Verses 4 & 5 encourage me to document my testimonials – instances where God brought me through difficult circumstances. Anytime I remember, I will be filled with joy and hope knowing he will deliver me from my present circumstances too. I think that’s why I created a FAITH section on my blog, to document my God Walk.
If you’d like to learn about my God Walk, you should read this.