Series: The Justified
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Becky De Oliveira
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 5:1-11 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: I hope that you have been on this journey with us from the very start of Romans (Chapter 1) and not just arrived in the middle of the book. However, if this your first time reading the Daily Walk—and maybe even your first experience with the Book of Romans—let me draw your attention to this insight shared by John Stott in his commentary Message to Romans. He points out that Paul starts off Chapter 1 with the personal pronoun “I,” moves to “you” in Chapter 2, switches to “they” in Chapter 3, and begins to use “us” toward end of Chapter 4. He goes on to say:
. . . and then Paul begins Chapter 5 with a sequence of “we” affirmations: “we have peace with God,” “we have gained access … into grace,” “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” “we also rejoice in our sufferings,” “we shall be saved,” and “we also rejoice in God.” By these magnificent statements of faith the apostle identifies himself with all who have been justified by faith, whether Jewish or Gentile, and expresses the solidarity of the people of God, the new community of Messiah Jesus. (p.169)
It is this “new community” that Paul discusses from Chapter 5 through to Chapter 8that captures my attention. A few weeks ago, when I was preaching on Chapter 4, I explained that I believe Paul metaphorically reaches the peak of the mountain in this chapter, as he declares how faithful God is. He then leaps across to the summit of an even greater mountain. Paul recognized that, as a result of God’s faithfulness, we now have a new life wrapped up in the miracle of the incarnation. We are able to live in a new way. We are able to connect with each other in a new way. This, of course, sounds great until you have a fight with your child or experience a little road rage or just wonder why something as trivial as burning your toast has you on edge. Not to fret—Paul will unpack all of this over the next few chapters. For now, he simply wants to keep our eyes focused on the possibility that we can be new creations as a result of all God has done. That exceptional potential is within our grasp every single moment of each day. It creates a new way of thinking about ourselves and those around us. It is living with the power of grace and redemption. As the prophet Isaiah puts it, “Behold, I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV).
Recalibrate: When you gave your life to Jesus—either through prayer or baptism—did you sense you were joining a new community?
Respond: Offer a prayer of thanks for God’s faithfulness
Research: Read Philippians Chapter 4 and explore the “peace of God” that is mentioned there and compare that with the “peace with God” Paul mentions in Romans 5:1. What are the similarities and differences?
Remember: “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5, ESV).
Japhet is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and was co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, he served in the South England Conference for nine years—as a pastor and later as conference youth director—before moving to the United States in 2006. He is married to Becky and they have two sons, Joshua (18) and Jonah (14).
The text tells us that Jesus died for the ungodly and that it would be hard for most people to think about dying for someone else—even for a really good person. Most of us would die for our children without a second thought, however. Take a few moments to put into words why it is that you would do anything to save your child. Tell them that just like you would do anything to keep them safe, the Bible tells us that Jesus did the same for us and still does!
Pretend that you have a big pool in your backyard, but you don’t know how to swim. Your parents told you not to walk around near the deep end but you go over there anyway. All of a sudden, you trip and fall into the water! You are so scared because you can’t swim. What do you think your parents would do? They would jump in and save you, wouldn’t they? The Bible tells us that Jesus does the same thing for us. Sin is kind of like falling into the deep end when you can’t swim, but Jesus died for us so that we can live!
I’ve often felt that I’d like a chance to start over and be a new version of myself. College felt like the perfect opportunity to do just that—I could reinvent myself in a new place where few people knew me or had preconceived ideas about me. In some ways this certainly worked, and I shed certain bad habits I’d had during this period of my life and did indeed become a “new me.” But since then, I’ve continued to look for ways to start fresh. Do you relate to this need to be a new you? How can a relationship with Jesus help you to feel like a new creation each day?