Once again God continues to remind me of how much I try to earn my righteousness and perform for his approval. Today Romans 5:9-10 cut right to the heart of how false this is...
Since, therefore, nwe have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from othe wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
The Romans, just like me, we're tempted to despair of the hope in being saved because of their own sin and outward trials. Paul, correcting their false thinking, and now mine, illustrates how the historical event of Jesus dying on the cross in the past provides an unshakable foundation to trust that our eternal future is secure.
This is an aspect of the Gospel that often times does not integrate into my soul, probably because I'm so often caught up in spiritual striving. Especially the part about being reconciled to God while I was still his enemy, and he mine. Piper points out that the reconciliation was God's--not ours. Although God was my enemy and against me, he sought reconciliation by means of his son's death on the cross.
It's so frustrating for me to acknowledge how little I live this out, but encouraging to think about what kind of transformation could happen if I were to soften my heart to this Gospel reality. When I think about my calling and role on staff, it's pretty much boiled down to this--participating in God's reconciliation of his enemies by presenting and displaying Christ. Ministry effectiveness seems to be very much connected to how what degree a movement is progressing in being itself reconciling and reconciling others to God through Jesus. How simple that is :)
You can read Piper's sermon on Romans 5:9-11 here...