Sunday, 22 March 2015

Freedom in Relationship - Rom 5:6 - 11

In our first look we considered big words that can be understood in legal terms. Using those terms alone risks understanding God only as some keeper of an abstract law, reducing life only to a question of right or wrong.

Yet we know that love is defined by much more than simply sticking to rights or wrongs. Love wants for the other person, love gives of yourself for the other person, love will stick by the other person even through difficulty. All those attributes are difficult to measure, but we know them to be real.

We also know the opposite of love, when there is no response, going against you, offending, becoming distant. Such things spoil a relationship. Furthermore, the spoiling effect can permeate wider - affecting others around us to. Break relationship in one direction and things start deteriorating in other ways too.

Its serious stuff: so serious that God came in Jesus Christ to die on a cross to sort it out, to restore relationship. Paul was not over-stating the case when in v10 he said previously we were enemies of God.

True love cannot sit idly by when wrong is done and simply ignore it. True love will react, wanting to remove that which was wrong to be able to embrace again. God is described as having an intense anger: this is not the opposite of love but an expression of it.

In the death of Christ on the cross wrong is shown for exactly what it is, but also in that death the wrong can be removed. Jesus being made alive again shows that it can be overcome, that there is life beyond it. Love therefore rightly expresses anger against the wrong, but also does something about it to enable reconciliation - restored relationship.

By responding to Jesus, by having our lives somehow hidden in Him, means that God will see Jesus rather than our wrongdoing - even in the very end when God brings things to their completion (which implies a final removal of anything that is still bad), we shall be saved!

The cross of Christ therefore enables us to be friends with God, embraced by His love. From the moment we look to Jesus on the cross and surrender our lives to Him, this reality kicks in and becomes the basis by which we live. Hence the Key Qn:

[UP] How much can you say “I am a friend of God”?
Challenge: Approach God with freedom and confidence (see also Eph 3:12)

Such freedom and confidence is God's loving desire for us. Coming to Christ will change the way we relate to God, and this in turn will change the way we relate to others: from spoiling to inviting others to discover too.

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