Day 3: A letter to Rome

Today we’re going to have a read for ourselves some of Paul’s letter to the Romans that we watched the video about yesterday. Here’s Romans 3:19-24:

Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For ‘no human being will be justified in his sight’ by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

With the context of this passage which we heard about in the video, what is the main thing you take from it?

When we read about ‘the law’ in the bible and think of obscure rules and practices from the Old Testament, it’s easy to dismiss these as out of date and irrelevant. But Paul makes an important point here. If you take ‘the law’ as being the principles which we might think God wants us to live by, you need something to act as a base line for what is good and what is evil.

Clever theologian William Barclay puts it better than I can:

“What then is the use of the law? It is that it makes a man aware of sin. It is only when a man knows the law and tries to satisfy it that he realizes he can never satisfy it. The law is designed to show a man his own weakness and his own sinfulness.”

If you want to read more of what Barclay has to say on this passage, click through to his commentary on this passage.

The text then takes a refreshing turn; once we’ve acknowledged the rather depressing fact that it’s fairly impossible to live a life free from sin and that we will always “fall short” of God’s will for us, Paul reminds us of the whole purpose of Christ becoming man and being sacrificed on the cross.

The gift from God of our redemption from sin is the single most important part of today’s reading. It’s far more important than any of the arguments between the different groups of Jews and Christians in the days of Paul (which resulted in him writing this letter). It’s far more important than any of the laws and rules of any religious text. God’s true will for us is to love him and love those around us in a peaceful family of people from all backgrounds and cultures.

Something to ponder on: how close is your life today to what you think God would want it to be? How important is God’s love and forgiveness to you?

Missing the fun of the house party already? Don’t forget we’ve got the first CU Sunday of the term this afternoon. Come along to St Michael’s Church Hall in Elm Bank Gardens, Barnes at 3:30pm for a chance to catch up with your dorm and everyone else again! See you there!