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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.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Romans 16:20 – The dignity of the gracious Saviour

This statement tells us a lot about what Paul thought of Jesus. Here are four brief comments. One is that Paul thought that the Romans needed this spiritual experience in order to face what was coming their way. The second is that Paul knew this grace was available for all of them, and not just for a special few among them. The third is that Paul knew that this grace was suitable for all of them, whoever they were and whatever they were going through. And the fourth is that we can deduce that Paul believed that the grace of Jesus could be effective in all of them, no matter their sins and failures
Why does Paul not say, ‘The grace of God the Son be with you’? Of course, he may not have had a special reason for not doing so. Nevertheless, we can ask why he uses this description of Jesus. I would suggest that Paul’s reason is connected to how we think about the second person of the Trinity. In giving this name to him, Paul is urging us to remember that Jesus is the mediator between God and man. I think we tend to forget this role of the Son, that he became a man in order to provide us with the blessings and benefits of salvation that God planned to give to us.
In order to be the mediator Jesus has to be able to represent the two parties involved – God and man. As the Son of God, a divine person possessing all the attributes of God and always fully cognisant of the plans of God, he can represent God perfectly. Moreover, he is a real man, fully able to represent his people at the same time as he represents God, and to do so perfectly. While he had never lived in Rome, he knows what it was like to live in Rome and what divine help was needed by the believers in Rome from God.
We can say more about Jesus as mediator through this statement by Paul because it includes the title ‘Lord’, which is a reminder to us of the position Jesus now enjoys in heaven. Forty days after his resurrection, he ascended to heaven and took his place at the right hand of God and was given the title ‘Lord’. Of course, in his person as the Son of God he was always Lord. Yet when he became man, his lordship was hidden from the eyes of people and most people who saw him had no idea who he was. But the great day of his coronation came when acknowledgement was made in the highest location that the One who had suffered on the cross for sinners has been highly exalted and given the name, ‘Lord.’

This means that whenever we repeat this benediction we are making a great confession. We affirm with great joy that he is the appointed king of the universe, the one who has all power in heaven and on earth. And not only are we affirming his status, we are also affirming his competence to fulfil the spiritual needs of his people wherever they are.

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