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A Wonderful Relationship

A Wonderful Relationship!
Romans 5:1-11


May you truly comprehend that the grace, the incredible gifts of God’s mercy and peace bring you confidently into His presence, a place of joy, full of love! For that is His great desire for you!

Theologians as Mechanics

Back in the days of my youth, I had a number of friends who loved their cars. They spent endless hours working on them – make them look incredible, toying with their engines to insure the highest production of horsepower, working over the tires and rims, fine tuning every part of the vehicle.

I of course, having the same level of mechanical ability as the stick shift, didn’t spend all my time fixing my car (though I would gladly let my friends play with my vega.) But I enjoyed something my friends never did - I drove my car everywhere, to the beach, to the mountains, to the Cape, all over New England!… for cars may be fun to work on, but they were meant to be driven!

As a theologian, someone trained in playing “under the hood” of the Bible, I often make the same mistake the friends of my youth made with their cars. I get so involved, and love so much the intricacies of theology, the incredible word pictures found in the original languages! Then there are the great works on the doctrine of justification, the great discussions of how people are saved and made holy; and the 300 plus prophecies – most a century before the crucifixion, that described Good Friday, and Easter and Pentecost and our baptisms, then we have the great discussions on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and Confession and Absolution! I get so into grasping their significance, that I forget why it is all there…

This period – from Ash Wednesday to Easter, one of the original 40 day journeys, is one where we calm down, we take a breath, and we realize that all the discussion about the means of grace and how it all works out – that’s working on the engine…

And what we need to be doing.. is taking a drive more often.

So let’s do that today – think back to being a little younger than teen years, and let’s take a drive with God, and enjoy His company, and the view seen at His side.

Buckled in= Made Right With God

We start by realizing we are in the car, all buckled in safe – that is what as a theologian I would call being “justified by faith”, but in our translation today, it explains it, as it will do a lot of heavy theology, by the phrase, “we have been made RIGHT with God.” It all starts here – trusting in God’s work to mend, to repair that which we have done that is wrong, self-centered, unloving,

Imagine we are back in the 1960’s, and the family has a new shining car. While waiting for everyone else to finish getting ready, you, as a child, go out and play, but fall in the mud. At first you are a bit afraid, but then – hey you are a kid, and it is MUD! So you begin to play. Life is like that – we may do something sinful at first accidently, but sometimes you know – we enjoy it! Heck a young child may think everything is perfect while covered with mud, but to mom and dad? Same for us, when we are covered in the muck of sin.

Along comes our Father, knowing we will enjoy the ride more even than the mud, and the destination is something we can only imagine. He gets down, cleans us all up, dresses us in fresh clothes – and makes everything right. So we can go with Him, so we can enjoy being a family, and the journey. He takes care of it all, and makes it all right,

We have had our lives made right, cleansed by the power of God in our baptism! As the journey of our lives gets under way, because of Christ, it is a peace-filled journey. Not a sense of peace because of a lack of conflict, or a lack of trauma, but the kind of peace that is found in the midst of the stress, in the midst of trauma, in the midst of life, because if God can clean the muck off of us, enough that He can tell us we are perfectly clean in His sight, then nothing else can really affect us.

Stand in place of underserved privilege Looking confidently and joyfully to sharing God’s glory

There is something really special about a long car trip with friends, or with family. While our hearts our set on the destination, the trip can be incredible. So it is described in verse 2 of Romans 5, Because of the work of Jesus, the work we find ourselves trusting in, we look together to our destination – and what a destination.

“We confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing in God’s glory!”

We have two friends, who have recently entered into that glory, a glory Paul will describe to another church as being more beautiful than anything anyone has ever seen, more incredible than anything ever heard, and more awesome than anything our minds can imagine! That is what Shirley and Warren are now exalting in, finding themselves in the presence of God with the angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven – from the Lingos and the Meiers, and Clyde and Armando – so many who have gone before into that glory!

That is why we can endure so much, and develop a character that is solid and proven. Not because of our own strength, but because we journey through life with our Lord! We don’t hope for sharing in that glory like we hope to win the lottery, but like we look forward with hope to sharing in the Lord’s supper in a few moments – we know it is coming – that incredible experience of knowing the depth to which the Father will go to cleanse us.

There is so much to say about this passage! Good thing our adult Bible study after the service will discuss it more!

Know dearly God loves us

But it all boils down to verse 5 and 10, the incredible love of God, and His desire to restore, to create a new the relationship, the friendship He created us to have, with Him.

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

What an incredible blessing to have, to realize the completeness, the fullness, or as Paul says, the depth, width, breadth and love of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!. This isn’t just theology, this is an intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe – who fills our hearts with His love, His compassion.

You know, sometimes I think that dealing with this from pure theology allows us to distance ourselves, like the Israelites at Sinai, who asked God to speak through Moses, so incredible was the glory and honor and power of God. Paul’s phrase here – “utterly helpless” is the translation of the from which we get anesthesia - yet God lovingly comes and brings us back to life, making everything right, and filling us with His Spirit.

Friendship restored

Again, its hard to focus on the end when the means are so incredible! We could talk for hours, just on what happens when we abide in the Spirit! How it changes us, how it gives us hope.

But the bottom line of Christianity, the result of everything God does, is seen in the last two verses.

9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Friends with God, part of a wonderful renewed relationship. That is what this is all about – walking, or driving ( and let Him do the driving and navigating btw!) with Him through the journey of life, a life that is abundant and eternal. Taking time to get out of the car occasionally, to see the sweeping panoramas that He has created, to rejoice in His plan – but as the family of God, continuing to journey home, picking up friends on the way, offering any a ride, and sharing in the joy.

This is our life, a life filled with His peace, a peace that passes all understanding, as we walk in a wonderful re-newed relationship, with Jesus. AMEN?


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