In response to the great exchange that has been accomplished for us in Christ, there is an exchange accomplished in us by the Spirit: unbelief gives way to faith, rebellion is exchanged for trust. Justification—our being declared righteous and constituted in a righteous relationship with God—is not made ours by works, ceremonial or otherwise, but by the exercise of faith in Christ.
When the wonder of the gospel breaks into your life, you feel as though you are the first person to discover its power and glory. Where has Christ been hidden all these years? He seems so fresh, so new, so full of grace. Then comes a second discovery—it is you who have been blind, but now you have experienced exactly the same as countless others before you. You compare notes. Sure enough, you are not the first! Thankfully you will not be the last.
Experience - Anything - Judge - Romans - Experience
If my own experience is anything by which to judge, discovering Romans can be a similar experience. I still remember, as a Christian teenager, the slow dawning of this thought in my mind: all Scripture is God-breathed and useful to me, but it also seems to have a shape and structure, a center and circumference. If that is so, then some biblical books may be foundational; these should be mastered first.
As I studied Romans, wrestling with some of its great truths, struggling with some of its tough passages (surely it is to them that 2 Peter 3:14–16 refers!), it became clear that countless feet had walked this way before. I had only just begun to join them in discovering the mind-renewing, life-changing power of what Paul calls “the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1; 15:16), “the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16; 15:19), and “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16; 16:25). Soon it became clear why Martin Luther called Romans...
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