A Reflection on Romans 5:3-11 N.A.B.
By: Larry TIn the second creation story of Genesis, God established moral and spiritual order by giving certain instructions to Adam and Eve; the presence of the tree of knowledge good and evil in the garden presented the possibility of acting contrary to the moral and spiritual order; the temptation to act contrary to God’s instructions is personified in the serpent; sin was symbolized by the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In the story Adam and Eve represent humanity. Their sin created enmity, or ill will, between all humanity and God, and human beings on their own were powerless to undo the effects of it.
It was not God who needed to make peace with humanity; it was humanity that needed to make peace with God. The process began when Jesus took upon himself human nature, lived among human beings, and suffered crucifixion. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) establishes the new moral and spiritual order for all humanity. It demands discipleship and can be understood and lived out only by following Jesus and accompanying him on his journey.
In his letter to the Romans (Romans 5:3-11 N.A.B.), Saint Paul expressed his firm belief that this is how God reconciled us to him and is proof of his love for us.
3Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, 4and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. 7Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. 8But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. 9How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. 10Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. – Romans 5:3-11 N.A.B.
Saint Paul was similarly convinced that the risen Lord continues to play an active role in the process of leading believers to salvation – something confirmed by the close connection in Paul’s thought between the Spirit and the impact of the risen Lord, who creates the righteousness that leads believers to life. He made this clear in his second letter to the Corinthians:
18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:18 R.S.V.
Concerning ill will with God, Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “Enmity with God is the source of all that poisons man; overcoming this enmity is the basic condition for peace in the world. Only the man who is reconciled with God can also be reconciled and in harmony with himself, and only the man who is reconciled with God and with himself can establish peace around him and throughout the world.”– Jesus of Nazareth, 2007
Will being in harmony with God make me a better husband? Will it make me a better parent? Grandparent? Co-worker? Better driver? Umm, well maybe better driver could be going too far! But will the world be a more peaceful place if I am reconciled with God? Is it possible for a mentally healthy person who is reconciled with God to be a bully, a spouse abuser, a rapist, a murderer, a drug dealer, or a suicide bomber?