23 September – Additional Notes
ROMANS 5: HOPE WON’T DISAPPOINT!
I’m not sure what you thought of Romans Chapter 5 when you read it, but I saw the chapter divided in five ways: between v1-2; v3-5; v6-8; v9-11 and v12-27. So if I could pick out a Breadcrumb today, I think v1-2 stands out for me. This is what I’m calling the Divine Portal into the last and greatest dimension – the place we’ve wondered could exist but, since it’s seemingly impossible to get there, we’ve chosen to write off as fairy tale…until now.
Scientists at CERN are hard at work as we speak. With the world largest machine, they’re trying to make a man-made portal (gateway) into a dimension believed to contain “the God particle” – the source, the power, the structure behind everything we see. But as far back as the Book of Genesis, we’re told that the way back to the source of the created order is sealed off:
“After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” [Genesis 3:24]
With that said though – and because of His infinite love for those He made on His own image – the very next book, the Book of Exodus, tells how Father God has given us a guide.[a] Not only is He designated to show us the way through to the place prepared for us by our Maker, He holds the Creator’s Name within Himself – He’s the portal.[b]
Through Him, I now have gained access by faith into this grace in which I now stand[c], and now I too can boast in this HOPE, to the Glory of God. [v2] Most Believers will hope in the Day when God’s Glory is revealed – or becomes visible. We can sing lovely songs, read about the promises that are still to come, and have great hope. But this chapter goes beyond that. Mature Believers will also take HOPE even in what they might suffer while they wait for the global predictions in our Creator’s Epic Storyline. Now, this may sound all well and good, but who ever heard of anyone rejoicing in their suffering?
If I want to be more than “a fair weather believer”, I need at some point to learn what it is to trust Father God in confusion and hard times, and rejoice in my suffering because: “tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance, a proven character; and character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” [v4-5]
In real life, though, what’s that mean?
When a private tornado ripped through every part of his life, Job – in the first chapter of the Book of Job – shaved his head and tore his robes. Yet he still managed to worship.[d] We also experienced a similar thing when our lovely son met his Maker in 2009. It was very strange but, in our greatest darkness, we encountered another uncanny “portal” inside which, we experienced a paradox of grief and praise. I wrote about this in my second book Mysterious? …Expect the Unexpected… In that quiet place, at the storms core, we looked up and, eight years on, we can still say that HOPE has not disappointed us. [v5]
But with a new academic year beginning, CERN gears up for even greater experiments while on-looking scientists worry about opening a dimension that we can’t control. What could happen if a dark matter portal is opened up, and what could come out of it, if their experiments succeed? So the rest of today’s chapter is the technical side of how we can withstand coming face-to-face with “the God particle” – the Lord God Almighty Himself – without our flesh, eyes and tongues rotting where we stand.[e]
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” [v6-8]
The way – this portal – has been opened, providing access home to the One who made us – or, accurately translated: “we have obtained our introduction” to Father God by faith. So having been justified by His sacrifice for us, how much more shall we be saved from our Maker’s wrath through Him! [v9] Having been reconciled to our Father God, through the death of His Son, how much more after having been reconciled, shall we now be saved through His risen LIFE! [v10] This is the HOPE that won’t disappoint!
So, it stands to reason that, if the many died by the trespass of the one man, Adam, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! [v15] If, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned throughout human experience, how much more will those who receive the Creator’s abundant provision of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, reign in LIFE through the one man, Jesus Christ! [v17] Amen to the God who opened the way back to Himself, long before we ever believed we needed it!
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Exodus 23:21
[b] John 14:2-3
[c] Zechariah 3:7 (Context: full chapter)
[d] Job 1:20-21
[e] Zechariah 14:12