Scripture

Romans 5:1-5

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Reflection

Remember with me today the affirmations we highlighted from the opening week of this series.

In Christ and Christ alone, we have hope.
In Christ and Christ alone, we have peace.
In Christ and Christ alone we find life to the full.
In Christ and Christ alone, there is unending joy.

Hear these same convictions echoed in the opening verse of the fifth chapter of Romans.
“Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Think of the word justified as being “brought back into alignment.” Through Christ, we have been given the gift of a restored relationship with God.

We will look at another aspect of this same passage in our First 15 tomorrow, but today I want you to think about your own experience of having broken or damaged relationships healed and restored in your life.
Restoration is hard work. It takes time. It requires our patience, but there are also breakthroughs we often experience along the way. Sometimes that happens in that initial conversation when former friends break through their silence and realize how motivated they both really are to express hurt but also to extend grace.

Our experiences are varied, but I want to invite you today to think about the emotional and spiritual weight that is removed from our shoulders when real reconciliation occurs. In many ways, the deeper the pain we have experienced, the greater the refreshment we experience when healing comes.

Today, as you continue adding to your list of, “all of the things God has blessed you with, all of the things that make life wonderful,” I want to encourage you to think about how your life has been enriched by the blessing of being justified through faith, given peace with God and experiencing reconciliation with others.

And if you are really brave… perhaps you are looking for the extra credit portion of today’s First 15, consider if God is calling you to pursue reconciliation in a currently broken relationship. If God is prodding you in that way, I bet you already know it. Even if today you feel like you’re not ready to take that step, take a moment to talk to God about that and commit to continuing that conversation with God.

Prayer

Continue today praying through Psalm 103 as your opening prayer. Remember, this practice is simply reading through the Psalm as your prayer for the day. Try reading it through slowly out loud and let the meaning of the message find it’s way into your heart and life today.

Psalm 103

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.