Fortieth Day of Lent

Scripture: Romans 5:12-21 

This day between the cross and Jesus' resurrection, when His first followers cowered in uncertain grief, we can easily overlook in our longing for the celebration of Easter Sunday. Who enjoys a waiting room?

But this is where we live, in the liminal space, the borderlands of these last days, the overlap of God's kingdom that is already come and not yet fully here. As Van Morrison sings, “I'm a dweller on the threshold / And I'm waiting at the door / And I'm standing in the darkness / I don't want to wait no more.” Death has already been defeated, but we find brokenness wherever we look. The Spirit who raised Jesus is alive and on the move, within and among us, but we find injustice, greed and loneliness everywhere. Sometimes all we can do is to join the creation in painful groaning and pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and “Let your kingdom come.”

How do we wait with integrity, with intention and faithfulness to our King? And how might we join God in His work of redemption while living at the threshold? These questions are alive for me in coming to our text from Romans 5. I must confess that I am tempted to live in my head as I read Paul's legal expressions and over the top hyperbole in the passage. His sweeping comparisons of Adam and Jesus feel somehow foreign and I can let that unfamiliarity distract me from Paul's passion for his Lord and his invitation to my heart.

Verse 15 calls me to “just think what God's gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do.” Verse 17 asks, “can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?” Perhaps by fixing my eyes on God's loving gift of life, by setting my mind on what He is up to. I can contemplate, day-dream and meditate on God's unfolding redemption. I can grab hold of Jesus ʻwith both hands', be fully engaged with longing for and seeking the kingdom of the One who provides everything.

Verse 20 reminds us that sin and death “doesn't have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace.” Verse 21 declares that, “because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah,” God's grace “invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.” May we RSVP to that invitation now and each day, relying on Jesus and His aggressive grace to live the kind of lives right now that embody His beautiful kingdom yet to come.

Steve Waldschmidt
College Park Covenant Church
Saskatoon, SK