by Holly Reimer
Romans 5:12-19
Reflection—v. 16 ‘but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.’

God’s gift of grace is not part of a transaction, wherein we are to offer God a sacrifice, some flowers, or buy God something, as recompense for our wrongdoings. There is nothing I can do that will make me worthy. Only God can justify us, and God does, through Christ Jesus. This is the free gift that this passage speaks of and what we experience in our lives with Jesus Christ. I am going to make mistakes and mess up. The justification that God offers comes even after I do all of the things that I believe should have excluded me. We live with a lot of shame and self-loathing, in part because we are told that who we are and what we do supersedes our belovedness. ‘If only they really knew’ is what I so often tell myself in moments of self-loathing and negative self-talk. God knows, and God loves! For the things that we can’t do on our own and for ourselves, God says, ‘Here, take my hand.’ This is the true grace and love we get to experience in Christ Jesus. God does not desire us to live in shame, crushed by guilt or self-loathing. God’s free gift (yep, really free!) is more than anything we have ever experienced on this earth.

Prayer: Help us, O Lord, live into the free gift of your love and mercy that brings us closer to you.

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