By Brooke Holt
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
This weekend I listened to a podcast entitled Freedom from Striving (Brilliant Perspectives by Graham Cooke). Throughout the podcast, Cooke passionately taught that as Christians we have been set free – free from the law, free from sin, free from Satan, and free from the need to perform. Cooke pointed out that in being set free, a Christian no longer needs to work hard to please God. Christ brought that freedom through his life and death. God wants us to enjoy our relationship with him. In fact, a Christian who enjoys God for who he is will enjoy doing what God wants him or her to do.
Cooke seems well aligned with Paul. Paul deeply desired for his readers to understand what Jesus had done for them. Through the cross of Christ, the followers of Jesus were justified. Jesus met every requirement necessary for them to have a relationship with the Godhead. There were no barriers, just grace. Paul wanted every person to stand in that grace, and from that place to “rejoice in the hope of glory” (verse 2).
It appears Paul was trying to create an image for his readers – the image of being surrounded by God’s grace. Grace was above them, below them, beside them to the right and to the left. The one who has put his or her trust in Jesus cannot escape this grace. Instead, a wall of covering and protection and the assurance of God’s presence and love envelops them.
And just beyond the love is the glory of God. Even the most faithful of Christians finds this temporal life challenging. Yet, the best awaits – the ultimate gift of salvation and justification is spending eternity in the presence of God. In his presence is full glory, a glory that will be shared by all his people.
No striving can earn God’s salvation, justification, love, or glory. Instead, it is an act of receiving – receiving what Jesus has done for you. Only in Christ are you justified; in Christ, you have peace with God; in Christ, you receive the fullness of grace; and in Christ, you experience the hope of glory.
Will you let go of the striving and rest in the gift of grace? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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