Access is something that concerns many of us much of the time. People want to have access to good jobs and a comfortable style of living. Others strive to have access to positions of power or prestige, ease or happiness. Whenever we try to Google something, we hope to gain access to the answers to life's persistent questions. St. Paul in today's text declares that we have obtained access to grace because we are justified by faith and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This latter claim is deep theology. Yet it is a comforting word to the lonely and distressed. It is uplifting to know we have access to grace and to God. It is also a challenge to see if God has access to us. We often boast in our own merits or status. But Paul points out that we should really boast in our sufferings, because suffering leads to endurance and character, which in turn leads to hope that does not disappoint. Talk about access!
Forbid it, Lord, that we should boast, save in the death of Christ our God. All the vain things that charm us most, we sacrifice them to his blood. Amen.
Romans 5:1-11 (NRSV)
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.
8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.
10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.