The apostle Paul was a lawyer and trained orator, so it’s not surprising that he had an impressive vocabulary. But it can be off-putting; which is a shame, because it is the apostle Paul, more than any other New Testament writer, who teases out and explains the significance of what Jesus has done for us.
In the first chapters of his letter to the church in Rome, Paul has explained how people who don’t know anything about the God of the Bible are still guilty of ignoring their Maker: he says, there’s a lot you can know about God from the things he has made, so when you make up your own god, you insult the real one. Replacing God with something else is the definition of sin. But God has set out to restore the relationship between himself and all of humanity.
It all hinges on having faith in God. Faith in God means that we trust what he says.
God made a promise long ago, that because of Jesus, we will not die, but have eternal
life. How? “[Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for
our justification.” Justification simply means, Jesus proved that now we truly are in
the right with God. If we trust God’s promise, God will credit that to our account as
righteousness; it will be as though we had never sinned at all.
Now in Chapter 5 Paul spells out the implications of being justified. We don’t need
to be afraid of God any more, or to struggle to impress him; we are at peace with
him. We actually look forward to sharing his glory! We can accept and endure the
suffering we meet in this life, and we have received God’s Holy Spirit who lives in
us, transforms us, and assures us that we truly are God’s people.
In the light of all this, we cannot doubt that God loves us. So we have nothing to fear
now from God’s judgement, because Christ died for us to make us right with God.
Far from fearing God, now we can boast that we belong to him, because he has
reached out to us and mended our broken relationship.