Romans 5:2

“Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.”


I had given her a book to read which layed out a Lutheran understanding of the Christian faith. She came from a Christian church which placed much emphasis on works, on gaining spiritual ground in this life which would translate into rewards in the next.  After finishing the book she came back to see me. Her comment? “You Lutherans have it too easy. Everything depends on grace.”

 This young woman is not alone in her assessment. Strange at may seem to those of us who have been nurtured in a church where grace is central, many Christians are suspicious of reliance on grace. One Christian has gone so far as to call the Lutheran Church a “grace cult”.

 When Paul wrote the Christians in Rome, whom he had never met, he anticipated their objections to his message of grace when he wrote, “What shall we say? That we sin all the more so grace will abound all the more”?  Paul must have run into this question a thousand times. 

 Paul knew full well that grace seems easy and bland, a cop out, only to those who do not fully appreciate the gravity of sin, who have not seriously tried to meet the demands of God’s law. God does not grade on the curve. Have you tried, really tried to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and you neighbor as yourself? How about striving for righteousnes, purity of heart?  

 Paul did and so did Martin Luther. And what happened? They pursued a ‘godly life’ with such fervor that it drove them to the wall. They came to see the towering righteousness of God as an impossible mountain to climb. 

 Now, it is “… through Him that we obtain access to this grace in which we stand.” Grace has not come to us at some bargain basement price. It is not a cheap remedy for a bland illness. Grace has come through Him, through the crucified and risen Jesus. Blood was shed. A death occurred. A funeral took place. Wonderul, beautiful Jesus was cast away like so much unwanted trash. That is the cost of grace.  

 Those who object to the sufficiency of grace have yet to appreciate the gravity of their sin and the greatness of Christ. But when these two meet, then we can truly rejoice and  proclaim from the rooftops, “Everything depends on grace!”


 “May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”






3 thoughts on “Romans 5:2

  1. As you’ve recommended Tullian Tchividjian’s words elsewhere and have chimed in with a few of your own thoughts here, let me give you a few considerations brother, and ask a couple of questions.

    The grace that justifies is the grace that both changes and empowers. Apparently Paul and John and the rest of the NT writers didn’t get that memo that we shouldn’t strive for holiness or discipline ourselves for the sake of godliness, or endeavor in all all things to keep God’s law and cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God and seek to please the Lord, not grieve Him (I trust you’re aware of such NT texts).

    It’s not a matter of denying grace, it’s a matter of defining grace. “What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” “Sin is lawlessness.” You can’t talk about being in a state of grace and not simultaneously talk about “no one born of God makes a practice of sinning.”

    The Law has no role in the sanctification of the believer? Oh, no says Tullian, we need both the law and the gospel as Christians – we need the law to remind us constantly that we can’t keep the law, for as Tullian says over and over: “It demands but does not enable compliance.” “We need the law to remind us everyday just how much we need the gospel every day.” Is that the ONLY purpose of the Law? Tullian even talks about the law reflecting the righteousness and character of God – but it is of no help to us, other than its designed work to condemn us, because it can’t equip us to comply with its demands.

    But this is to so miss the obvious:

    It commands what it can’t enable not only to prepare us for justification by faith alone – but also to prepare us for sanctification by the Spirit! That which fallen man cannot do, in Christ, by His Spirit he is now enabled to do – in a manner pleasing to God. The Law was given to drive us to a Savior and was given to drive us to the Spirit. This is the New covenant, sir, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jer. 31:34). “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezek. 37:27). You malign the believer that seeks to “pursue holiness”? You see not the use of the law of God, the perfect law of God that revives the soul (Ps. 19:7) as a guide for Christian obedience? What is disobedience sir? What standard do you define godliness by if not by the perfect standard of the word of truth? Is the passionate exaltation, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:8) merely the misguided triumph of an OT moralist?

    I would also reexamine your understanding of the distinction between the covenantal “writing of the law of God upon our hearts” and the remnant of the image of God in fallen man, “the work of the law written on their hearts” (Rom. 2:15). If you see no distinction, then it will be difficult to reason with you from the Scriptures.

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