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“From birth to age 18, a girl needs good parents.
From 18 to 35, she needs good looks.
From 35 to 55, she needs a good personality.
From 55 on, she needs good cash.” – Sophie Tucker
Sophie Tucker accurately assessed that we tend to measure our worth by three things: 1) physical beauty, 2) intelligence and 3) athletic ability. We learn early where we fall on the scale. As we age, our looks fade, our minds become confused and our bodies fall apart, we need “good cash” to see us through.
It may feel like the Apostle Paul is piling on as he spends the first four chapters of Romans telling us we will never measure up to the holiness of God; we can’t keep the law, we are slaves to sin; and left to ourselves, there is nothing we can do about it.
But then in Romans 5:1-11 Paul gives us a reason to rejoice — not just rejoice, but to be ecstatically happy. Because Paul’s point in Romans 5 is — thanks to the grace of God and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — we will be better than “good enough”, we will be perfect — guaranteed.
It’s a hope that will not disappoint you. You can do nothing to stop it. You can’t mess it up and it will be better than your wildest imagination.
Romans 5 is a wrap-up of the first half of Romans. Paul has argued for justification by faith as opposed to works of the law two ways:
1) No one — neither the pagan, the moral nor the religious — can keep the law perfectly as required by a Holy God. Thus there’s no way we can justify ourselves by keeping the law; (Romans 1-3)
2) But in Jesus God revealed another way to justification: trust in Jesus (Romans 3:21-4). Jesus paid our debt to justice, satisfying God’s wrath so that God could forgive us. This justification is granted to those who believe.
Paul spent a lot of verses telling us that justification changed our legal status and we are no longer under God’s wrath. Now he’s going to demonstrate that this change in legal status has a profound impact on our daily lives. Chapter 5 answers the question “we’re justified by faith, — so what?”
Why should we care? What practical personal importance is it that we’re justified? Is this all theological argument? Or does it mean anything to me, on a day-to day level?