Romansby David Cook
Paul uses the word “therefore” on three occasions in his letter to the Romans to signal a pause in his argument and to apply his teaching to the lives of his readers.
Having established that righteousness is both God’s requirement and God’s provision (3:21–26) and that this is nothing new, as demonstrated in the experience of Abraham (chapter 4), Paul comes to his first conclusion in 5:1: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith . . .”
God’s provision of righteousness through faith has three benefits:
Paul goes on to show how God’s love proves the certainty of that future. His love is seen in the gift of the Holy Spirit (5:5) and the gift of His Son (5:6–8). Righteousness that is provided by God shows itself in our lives as a concern for practical holiness. It is union with Jesus which brings about justification and which produces sanctification, the necessary fruit of that new life (6:14).
The battle against the old sinful nature, outlined in chapter 7, leaves Paul with two questions: Will he be condemned by his own lack of holiness? And does God leave us under-resourced in this battle against the sinful nature? The first of these is answered by the next “therefore” in 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Our poor performance will not condemn us because of what Christ has done. The old covenant law of Moses condemned us because none of us could keep it (v. 3), but God sent His Son to fulfil the righteous requirement of the Law and to become a sin offering in our place (vv. 3–4). We dread no condemnation now, not because of our record, but because of Jesus’ work.
Paul outlines God’s purpose to preserve a remnant people for himself, made up of both Jews and non-Jews. This remnant belongs to God because of the sovereign exercise of His mercy (9:14–15; 11:25–27). In response to these mercies of God, Paul comes to his last “therefore”. In Romans 12:1, we read: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice . . .” This, he says, is the fitting response to what God has done in adding us to His remnant people.
How often do you take time to reflect on God’s mercy in your life and your response to it? What are the blessings of God’s mercies in your life? Give thanks.