We Have Hope Because of Christ Our Hope
User’s Guide to Sunday, June 18
The second reading today from St. Paul to the Romans speaks to important truths that we should know:
“For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. ... But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
The full reading calls us: helpless, ungodly, unjust and sinners. This was our condition before Christ. St. Paul says elsewhere, “You were dead in your sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Psalm 14 observed that among the children of men: “they are all alike, corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one.” (Psalm 14:2). And Isaiah observes that even “our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:4).
This was our state before Jesus and our state apart from him. It was only the pure mercy and grace of God that could set us free. It is a pure gift of God.
“How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.”
Notice that little word “now.”
Since Christ has come, it is now possible for us be delivered.
The text says we are “justified.” In St. Paul’s use of this word, it is always more than some legal declaration — it is a relational justice. We are justified by baptism into Christ’s death and by being made a member of his Body. We enter into a life-changing transformative relationship with the Lord.
The text says that Jesus accomplishes this “by his blood.” Jesus was obedient even unto death on a cross, and his shed blood washes away our sins and restores us to the Father. The text adds further that we are saved from the “wrath.” The wrath is our experience of our inability to be in God’s presence in a sinful state. Jesus makes it possible for us endure the heat and light of God’s majesty!
The text says, “once reconciled, will we are saved by his life.”
We are called to life in the sense that Jesus’ life replaces our own. Increasingly, through the work of Jesus’ saving grace, our life is conformed to his.
We begin to love what he loves and who he loves.
We see our priorities and thoughts change. Note, too, that eternal life does not simply refer to the length of life, but to the fullness of life. In Jesus’ life we begin to live more fully, more richly, as the days go by. One day in heaven we will experience this fully, but even now, our life begins to change.
“Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Notice that our boast is in what God has done for us. Scripture says elsewhere: This presupposes that we know what God has done for us and are seeing our life changed.
Do you notice? Are you excited about what the Lord is doing in your life? Is there a joy and a peace within you? Are you glad to be forgiven and reconciled? Do you have a testimony to give? Do you boast of what God has done for you?
“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Is there a hope in you that others can notice?