Over the past weeks we’ve been exploring the central theme of Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome – the amazing gift of the grace of God, the undeserved, unearned, life-changing reality that we have been declared righteous despite the obvious evidence to the contrary, and that we have been named as beloved children of God, joint heirs with Christ, not through our good works, not through our religious observance, not through our correct doctrine, but as a gift of grace received by faith.
So after all his talk of grace taking the place of law in control of our destinies, of this amazing free gift of righteousness received by the act of faith that is receiving, after all the talk of freedom from addiction to sin, and of the struggles that we still experience in taking hold of the reality of that freedom; after declaring over and again that there is nothing we can do to earn our place before God, suddenly Paul changes tack.
“Brothers and sisters, we are debtors”
There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
It’s fairly common to see the book of Romans as divided into two main halves, with the first eight chapters being dedicated to Paul’s proclamation of salvation as a gift of grace, received by faith. So as we move into chapter eight, we move with the declaration “therefore” to the conclusion that he has been step by step building towards.
So over the opening chapters of the book of Romans, Paul has been steadily building up his case for the amazing central truth of the gospel – that it is through Jesus Christ, through the gift of grace, that we have standing before God.