The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Romans 3:21-26 Paul sums up the status of affairs. Gentiles, who do not have God’s Law, normally recognize enough of it to be aware they are lawbreakers and are guilty. Jews, who do have God’s Law, ignore it, at least to some extent. They are also guilty. Nobody has lived a truly righteous life before God. So what will they do?
Jesus is provided as an effectual sacrifice for sin. Jews and Gentiles alike are justified by believing Jesus, that he is the savior he said he was, and that he accomplished salvation. That salvation is sufficient for everyone in the world. Everyone is called to this belief, the Christian faith.
There’s a little tension in this passage. After all, it says clearly that all those sinning are being made righteous by Jesus. But it is also clear that the righteousness of Jesus is applied to those believing him. What of those who don’t believe? Jesus’ death is still adequate. But it is not received apart from trust in him.
Just the same, we don’t want to be stopped at this point. While there’s tension involved, the point which Paul intends to make is that in these days, at this time, Jesus is the one who has made atonement and should be believed on. This is no theoretical argument. It’s vital. It’s practical. Everyone is called to believe Jesus. We don’t have a debate about the extent of the atonement or about effectual calling. Not at all. We are called to come, believe on Jesus, and live. That’s exactly the same call which Christians of every age have made. Come, believe on Jesus, and live. His atonement is sufficient for you.
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