The promise…

To us (part 1)

So if believing in God’s promises is the key to our relationship with God being ‘set to rights’ – what promises did God make that he wants us to believe in?

Paul answers that in Romans 4:24, that we’re “credited with righteousness” – our relationship with God is set to rights – for “believing in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,” because in that is God’s promise to us, verse 25, that “Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” 

The promise for us, then, is justification, and being credited with righteousness for believing it. And true to God’s nature, it’s a legally binding promise too, because “justification” here is a legal term – so imagine a court case where someone, who is anything but righteous, is hauled before the judge for a verdict. And the judge replies, “This person believes that Jesus was delivered over to death for his sins, so before God he is legally declared justified, case dismissed.”

So the man entered the court with a ton of evidence that, before God, he deserved to die. But he left the court with a clean slate, none of his past life held against him, his non-existent relationship with God restored, and as a free man given a fresh new life to live. 

Which is what the judge picks up on next, because he says to the man (now credited with righteousness, his relationship with God set to rights) – “You realize there’s more to justification, right? You did well believing that Jesus’ death gave you a fresh start, but do you realize – and believe – what Jesus was raised back to life for too?”  

“Because,” the judge continues, “how are you going to live a good life in future? I’m sure you’d agree that having your case dismissed today didn’t suddenly make you a righteous person. You’ve got a long way to go before you’re anywhere close to becoming as righteous as Christ. But if you believe Christ was raised back to life to help you become like him, and he’s as totally committed to doing that for you as he was to Abram in his old age having a son, that too will be credited to you as righteousness. That will probably be harder for you to believe, though – but God strengthened Abram’s belief in his promise, and he’ll strengthen your faith too”…(more on this tomorrow)   

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