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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Romans 16:20 – The determination of the gracious Saviour

It may help us understand this benediction better if we think briefly about another verse that describes the grace of Jesus. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8:9: ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.’ That verse indicates that the purpose of Jesus’ death (his poverty) was so that we could share his riches.
While many details can be deduced from this verse, two are of relevance for us as we consider Paul’s benediction about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first is the intensity of his desire that his people become rich. We can measure a person’s intensity for something by the lengths to which he will go to attain it. A person who wants to win an Olympic medal will focus his attention on being ready for the attempt. The heart of Jesus was focussed on liberating his people from sin and its consequences, which he did by suffering on the cross as their substitute when he bore the wrath of God against their sins. We should always admire the intensity of Jesus as he went to the cross.
The second detail from this verse to observe is the generosity of Jesus. We can estimate whether or not a person is generous man by comparing his givings to his resources. A multi-millionaire who gives £10 to a beggar is not being generous. A generous person does not give out of his resources but according to his resources. Jesus does not merely give out of his resources, but he makes his people rich according to his estimation. The obvious deduction we can make is that grace will be given in abundance.

There is another detail that we must remember as we think about this connection to the grace of Jesus and it is mentioned by Peter in 2 Peter 3:18: ‘But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ Peter indicates the exclusiveness of the grace of Jesus as the location of Christian progress – we cannot develop in a spiritual way anywhere else. And Peter also highlights the similarity between growing in grace and growing in knowledge of Jesus. His words tell us that experiencing the grace of Jesus will involve getting to know Jesus better.

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