New Sermon Series: Hope (Romans 5:1-11)

We start a new series this Sunday called Hope, which is based on a verse-by-verse walk through of a very hope-filled passage in Romans (5:1-11).  Each week brings another installment of a sentence fragment which locks together to make a powerful statement of our faith:

God wins, even when we suffer.  Because Jesus died for us, we are now reconciled with God.

As it turns out, we need every part of this in order to gain perspective for living the Resurrection life.

  • God wins.  There was a battle.  There is a battle.  And that battle is for our soul.  The cross means victory over all, including our own sin.  The tomb is empty!  The fight is over, the battle is won.  The last enemy to die is death.
  • …even when we suffer.  We’re often surprised by our suffering, expecting that God would never want us to experience difficulty.  It’s not that simple, nor should we expect anything less when one of the central tenets of the Christian faith is to take up our cross daily and follow Christ.  Reality check: crosses aren’t fun.  Suffering has a function, though — once it’s redeemed and used to aid in our spiritual formation.
  • Because Jesus died for us… This is both past tense and present reality, and it’s all based on extravagant, relentless, and seemingly wasteful love.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  As I realize my own brokenness, I understand the love of Jesus more and more.  His death is an egregious deed with an outlandish conclusion. I’ve died to self and am now alive in Him.  Why?  Because He loves me.
  • …we are now reconciled with God.  Reconciled is a word that we don’t use all too often, but it certainly belongs here.  It has two meanings worth considering.  Reconciled: to bring into agreement or harmony.  We are born into sin, out of agreement and certainly discordant with the ways of the Holy One.  Also, Reconciled: to be resigned to something not desired.  On our own, we don’t want to be reconciled to God, which only demonstrates His power and prevenient grace — and it’s all because of the life/death/resurrection of our Brother Jesus.

God wins, even when we suffer.  Because Jesus died for us, we are now reconciled with God.

We need the whole sentence, otherwise our perspective is incomplete.  I’m often mixed up in seeing only part of the fragment and not the whole thing, and I encounter the same in my fellow sojourners.  It shows up when we say if God really loves me, why is He allowing this suffering? or how could a loving God not automatically save us or Jesus couldn’t love me after what I’ve done and on and on.  Nonsense.  Hogwash.  But more importantly: hopeless.

Followers of Jesus are people of dogged hope and peculiar objectivity.  Romans 5:1-11 explains a bit about why.  I’m so very very very excited about this series on hope.

Here’s audio of Romans 5:1-11, which I use for my own meditation and memorization.  Great words, but just an okay read 🙂

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