“For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God—all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God. (Romans 5:10-11)
Doesn’t this version capture the warmth of Paul’s enthusiasm about our new life in the risen Christ? “Restored to friendship… rejoicing in our wonderful new relationship.” And the rejoicing comes out of the restoring, of course.
But both come out of “the death of his son” and the “deliverance from eternal punishment.” Christ came once for all time, at the end of the age, to remove the power of sin forever by his sacrificial death for us. “And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died only once as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.” (Hebrews 9:26-28)
And it’s a done deal, as they say. The long winter is over.
Imagine a broken friendship – you have wronged someone badly but you just don’t know how to put it right – and out of the blue the invitation to visit comes. And the long coldness is done, and the relationship is repaired, better than ever.
So what do I do? How do I respond to this verse? There’s only three things expected of me. One, that I relax in God’s love. No straining, stressing, fussing or arguing allowed. Two, that I rejoice “in this wonderful new relationship.” Three, that I receive what God has for me “all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.”