Posted April 21, 2014
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
Here, we continue from where we left off last week. Verse 8 stated, “...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In these next two verses that follow, Paul continues to build His case. R. Kent Hughes said, “In verses 9, 10 Paul uses an argument that the rabbis called kal wahomer, which means ‘light and heavy’—an argument from the lighter to the heavier. We call it today in legal terms an a fortiori argument. We say, ‘If it was true in one place, it will be true in another.’ Paul’s arguments in verses 9, 10 are virtually identical and hinge on the term ‘much more.’” Paul reminds us that if Christ died for us, how much more will we be saved from His wrath and by His life! What an appropriate time (the week after Easter) to remember not only the death of Christ’s powerful effect in our lives, but also His resurrection life! These two verses point us back to what we are saved by as well as what we are saved from.
We are not saved by our own blood, sweat, & tears (self-righteousness), but rather Christ’s blood, sweat, & tears (His righteousness and work for us on the cross). We desperately needed a Savior to come do for us what we could not do for ourselves. What did His blood purchase for us? In verse 9, we see that it is by His blood that we are justified. Justification is the “legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.” In verse 10, we see that not only did His blood justify, but also His death reconciled us to God. The implication is that without Jesus’ blood, we are not in good standing with God legally or relationally! This leads us to the next point.
The text makes it clear: We are saved from God’s wrath; God’s wrath is a real thing! Often people associate wrath with the Old Testament, and grace with the New Testament. However, a quick survey of the New Testament reveals just the opposite (John 3:36, Romans 1:18, Colossians 3:6, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, Hebrews 3:11, etc.). Wayne Grudem said, “It may surprise us to find how frequently the Bible talks about the wrath of God. Yet if God loves all that is right and good, and all that conforms to his moral character, then it should not be surprising that he would hate everything that is opposed to his moral character. God’s wrath directed against sin is therefore closely related to God’s holiness and justice. God’s wrath may be defined as follows: God’s wrath means that he intensely hates all sin.” God’s wrath isn’t simply God flying off the handle and losing His heavenly cool. Rather, it’s the outworking of God’s justice in retributive action against sin. In “Knowing God”, JI Packer commented, “The essence of God’s action in wrath is to give men what they choose, in all its implications: nothing more, and equally nothing less.” Reflection on the the truth that those who are saved by the blood of Christ are no longer under His wrath should simultaneously lead us to worship as well as propel us into evangelism and sharing the good news of Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him!
Song, recording, & production by Philip Waggoner.
Artwork by Branderson.