Today’s reading is from the next two chapters – Romans 5-6!
Chapter 5 continues to discuss and emphasise how as sinners, we are to face judgement and to be punished by death; but because Jesus had died for us, our sins are no more and we are given eternal life! These couple of chapters really dig into what the gospel means, the implications of Salvation on our lives and how we should respond to it.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peacewith God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance — Romans 5:1-3
Beyond just summarising the gospel, this passage discusses how faith is ultimately what enables us to experience God’s grace and peace. Faith is something that must be maintained. It helps shape our lives, remind us of who God is and we are to persevere to really experience the love of God. It is our behaviour at times of suffering and hardship that our faith is really tested, that we really need the grace and that we can be sure that we are truly saved and loved by God. It is a lot easier to say you love and have faith in God at times of comfort, but when difficulty comes, we often make hasty decisions and try to use our own wisdom and abilities to resolve the issues in our lives.
In short, we are to glorify our God at all times – in comfort or in distress. Only then can we strengthen our faith and fully experience the goodness of God!
Chapter 6 expands on the implications of Jesus’ crucification and our following of God. There are metaphors used to depict our transformation through Christ.
For we know that our old selfwas crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — Romans 6:6
Firstly, though it was Jesus who was crucified on the cross, it is representative of our “old selves” being nailed onto the cross. At church, there was a period of time that this term “old self” was used frequently. The term goes beyond just our sin, but is – as the term is written – the us before coming to Christ. This encompasses our bad habits, personality traits and mentalities that are exchanged with holiness. There’s a Hillsong album titled “A Beautiful Exchange” – being a follower of God entails that we can constantly ‘exchange’ our sins, unholiness, sorrows, worries, etc. for righteousness, peace and joy to help us become more like Jesus. Our lives in Christ is like a continuous spiritual renewal!
Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. — Romans 6:19
Another metaphor is that we go from being a slave to sin to becoming an instrument to righteousness: from doing evil which ultimately leads us to death, to become living to uphold righteousness. In this verse, the comparison suggests that we should indulge in God’s work and righteousness in the same way that we submit to worldly ways. We should change our mentality: instead of sin dictating our behaviour and lives, we can be free and let righteousness guide us, as it leads to holiness and eternal life.