Monday, September 14, 2020

“Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” —Romans 5:11

Sometimes learning the way of Jesus means taking a concept we understand in one way and giving it a radically different (or sometimes just much bigger) meaning. This happened, for example, when Jesus talked about our “neighbors” and our “enemies.” Jesus said that, if we’re really going to experience life on his terms, we’re going to need to think differently about how we relate to people we might previously not have considered neighbors, or might previously even have considered enemies.

The good news of what Jesus has done for us means that our lives are going to be different. In the verse from today’s Daily Texts, the apostle Paul laid out what boasting means in a Jesus-is-risen world. Earlier in his letter to Christians in Rome, Paul had talked about other potential grounds for boasting. For example, a Jew might boast in the wisdom of the law given by God to his people Israel. In our own lives, we can think of boasting about our accomplishments or our character.

But Paul understood that boasting in ourselves, in our own traits, or in our own accomplishments was ultimately empty boasting. When we truly grasp what God has done for us—when we let it sink deep into our bones that God has deemed us worthy of salvation at great cost—then we truly have reason to boast.

For followers of Jesus, boasting is never about what we have done. It is always and only about what has been done for us and for every other person in the world. And that is such a more powerful and secure source of boasting. It doesn’t rely on how we’re doing on any given day. It doesn’t rely on continued success or excellence. It relies only on the firm foundation of what God has already done. And so we boast—with gratitude and humility and joy—in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have been reconciled to God and to one another.

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