The Bible in a Year – 21 October

If this is your first viewing, please see my Introduction before reading this.

21 October. Romans chapters 4 to 7

After a long explanation in the first four chapters of what makes Christian faith so special (see yesterday’s reading), Paul sums up like this, and here I quote the Good News Bible which uses simpler language: “Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (5:1)

Peace is not a word that Paul uses often, but it is an important one, as is the [Holy] Spirit – another word that Paul introduces in chapter 5 for the first time in this letter. Many of us long for a sense of peace in our lives.  Not only because we live in such a complicated, pressurised world these days.  But because even if we count ourselves as ordinary decent people, there is still that nagging sense of guilt, of things we have done badly and ways we could have been better people.  We feel we need to be “put right”.  Now the good news is, God can deal with all that.  How? This is where the idea of the Trinity can begin to make sense.

The word Trinity does not appear anywhere in the Bible, as it is a concept developed by Christians several generations later, and still forms the basis of belief of most (but not all) Christian churches.  The relationship between the father (creator), son and spirit can the thought of like this:

Through the death of Jesus, who in his love took away our guilt on the cross, and with the gift of the Holy Spirit who brings us the benefits of Jesus rising from the dead, we can approach God the Father with confidence.  As Saint Paul puts it at the end of this short passage, “God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us” (5:5, GNB). So if Jesus brought a new way of being right with God (as I explained yesterday), the Spirit brings a new way of being at peace with God.

(based on part of a sermon preached on Trinity Sunday 2013 at Christ Church, East Greenwich).