Romans 5:1–11 (NRSV)
5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. 9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
“Oh, my!” my maternal Grandma Klemm would exclaim in her spontaneously breathy yet forceful near-whisper. She might have done exactly that having just read out loud—always out loud—this Romans 5 text as her nightly bedtime chapter of Scripture. Here the apostle Paul once again seems almost unable to hold himself back or corral his words. He piles up one rhetorical flourish after another so that readers are hardly given a moment to breathe in deeply the weight of each succeeding claim.
“For while we were still weak … while we were still sinners … while we were still enemies …” “Oh, my!” No scarcity of strength, no travesty of trust, no ungodliness of life can prevent this God’s abundance of love and wideness of mercy and depth of bodily communion with us.
“Oh, my!” Is it possible that we, too, stand with this Paul, flagrantly boasting of his situation of peace with this God in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit?
Thank you for blessing us and calling us to be yours, Lord Jesus Christ. You have made us your beloved, no matter where we live. Amen.