“We are all justified as a gift by God’s grace through the redemption which is made possible by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)
Perhaps no six verses in the New Testament pack as much theology into them as these six verses. They speak about the Law, righteousness, sin, faith, justification, grace, Christ, and redemption. And smack in the middle of it all lies this remarkable statement in verse 24.
Richard Rohr recently wrote: “Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity; Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.”
I like that. Christ revealed the Father to us in unparalleled ways. He also created the way to the Father. Before His death, burial, and resurrection, humanity had no achievable way to be right with God (justified). Christ’s obedience on the Cross made our redemption a reality.
And it’s all because of grace.
Christ comes, because of grace. He dies on our behalf, because of grace. We receive redemption, because of grace. He models grace and imparts grace.
If there is a central word to the central text of the Bible, it is grace.
Is grace the central word of our own lives? Beyond the gift that we have received, is grace also what we model and impart?
Grace is the second mile, the undeserved gift, the unilateral forgiveness, the unwarranted effort to make others right with both ourselves and God. Sometimes grace gets spurned; sometimes it transforms a life. The gift of grace can never be forced on someone; simply offered.
Grace is never for the worthy and the deserving. It means little to the successful, the healthy, and the self-sufficient. It flourishes most in places of hurt, pain, rejection, and brokenness. In the darkness, it surprises and it blesses. It heals and it renews.
Perhaps on this Lenten day we’ll have an opportunity to re-position grace at the center of our own lives, and the lives of those around us. Conflict gives grace an opportunity to shine. Suffering provides grace a place to gently glow. Pain produces a space where it might rise up.
Grace in thought; grace in word; grace in action.
The gift from God can become a gift between us; only because of Christ Jesus.