“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
To be “justified” means to be declared righteous or free from guilt. “Grace” is God’s unmerited favor—mankind could never “earn” nor bring about his own righteousness; so, it took a “redeemer.” To “redeem” means to purchase back that which was lost. “Redemption” means deliverance from the guilt of our sins.
Paul explains in this verse the process by which a person may approach God freely—God had to extend His grace, a Christian must be declared free from his past sins (justified by the redeemer), and he or she must be “in Christ” for the redemption to happen.
Paul here succinctly reminds the Romans that being justified by the grace of God in no way detracts from the redemptive plan that He put into effect by the sacrifice of Jesus. To say it another way: We are under a system of grace that contains the “redemptive” law of Christ. By submitting to that law, we then have redemption.
“All your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia,
Out of the ivory palaces, by which they made you glad” (Psalm 45:8).
Making reference to wedding garments, the psalmist selects some of the herbs of that time to describe a treatment given to the garments the bridegroom would wear. These herbs are special and precious and evidently used only on special occasions.
“Myrrh” is used both as a perfume as well as for medicine and for embalming. “Aloes” was a bitter herb used in embalming, but it also could be used for perfuming garments. The bitterness would represent the many sorrows Jesus suffered. “Cassia” is a spicy perfume with an odor like cinnamon, but it also could be used for medicine.
This passage is actually a metaphor describing Jesus, the bridegroom, who left his “ivory palace” to come to “a world of woe” to live, suffer, and sacrifice Himself for His bride, the church. The classic church hymn, Ivory Palaces, is based on this verse.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6.2).
When we “bear” the “burdens” of another person, we assist him or her in dealing with whatever life has thrown into his pathway, be they physical, emotional, psychological, or sometimes even financial.
The comprehensive “law of Christ” is contained in Jesus’ command in John 13 to “love one another” just as He loved us. So, His law actually includes all of the commandments He has given us in the New Testament. We prove our love for Him by keeping His laws, including the one Paul designates to the Christians in Galatia.
As followers of Jesus, we share a common direction as well as a sense of community that should supersede all other relationships we have in this world. It is only natural, then, that we should share a burden that may develop in the life of a brother or sister in Christ.
The truth is we sometimes need help, even though we may not know how to ask for it. We need someone there for us when life gets messy or when it seems to swirl out of our control. No help is better than that of a fellow Christian who can give us assistance in seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).
While writing to encourage all Christians who would receive this letter, the Apostle Peter pens this epistle to present a picture of the living hope that each person listening to God has in his heart.
The “righteous” are those who live the life prescribed in the new covenant, that is, according to God’s instruction—those “who do evil” are the ones who neglect to do so. God listens to the prayers of the obedient, but He does not listen to the prayers of the disobedient.
While the message is tersely stated, it should not be lost on us: For us to have the assurance that God has His “eyes” on us and that He listens to our prayers, we must be diligent in following the instructions He has given—both in our initial obedience to the gospel and in our continuing relationship with Him—in our worship, in our everyday lives, and in our moral code.