Raised For Our Justification: Grace Not Works
This Sunday we begin our celebration of the resurrection of Christ which will culminate on Easter Sunday. In order to inspire our worship of the Risen Christ, we'll focus on what the resurrection accomplished for us, justification. Paul says, "It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Romans 4:24b-25).
Paul's argument is that God's purpose is our justification, or declaring us righteous, so that He could accept us and give us life with Him. The reason is that righteousness is required for fellowship with God, something mankind lost when he rebelled against God. Not only that but only the righteous enjoy the eternal life that God created mankind to experience.
So because God is merciful, and because of his love for his son, He provides a path for us to be reconciled to Him and to receive the life-giving renewal of resurrected life. The path is provided through the life of His Son who was sacrificed for our sins and then raised so that we could be declared righteous.
For the Romans, and for all mankind, the path to reconciliation and renewal is not the law of God, or more specifically through our obedience to God. Paul's argument is that the promise of grace came before the law, which means it precedes the law and the precedents of the law. The law of God has a specific function, but it cannot reconcile us to God and give us life. Just like Abraham believed the promise of God and the power of God to give life to what is dead, the path to reconciliation and renewal is walked by faith in God's grace and power to bring life to the spiritual dead and depraved.
So come Sunday, and let's begin to prepare our hearts to celebrate the Risen Christ on Easter morning. Come and consider the implications of life based on grace not works.