This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on May 29 2015.
How do you relate to God? I have heard it said that Christians can either relate to God like a ‘son’, or like a ‘servant’. Sons (and daughters) can relate to God as a Father and therefore with a comfortable confidence. Servants on the other hand must relate to him a Master. Their relationship is based not on their status, but on their performance. Because of this they will be either spiritually depressed because they feel they aren’t good enough and think they need to be, or spiritually proud because they think they’ve made it and that God likes them because of how awesome they are.
Paul mentions three results of our justification in Christ in Romans 5:1-2. The second of these is that through Jesus we have ‘obtained access. . . into this grace in which we stand’. Grace is a gift of God’s favour to us. We haven’t earned it, but Jesus has earned it on our behalf and through him we may possess it. The interesting thing about how Paul describes this is that it is something we ‘stand’ upon. Servants must stand upon their own performance for their confidence. This is not solid ground. But sons and daughters can stand confidently on what Jesus has earned for them. This status is secure – not precarious like (e.g.) the favour that a politician as a servant of the public must maintain with the electorate.
So what do you stand upon? Do you feel that you must continuously justify your right to be approved of by God? Then remember that it is Jesus who justifies, and if you are his, then he has justified you, and you have permission – and are expected – to stand confidently before God the Father in that.