The point of Romans is that we have peace with God. We are welcome in the presence of God. What we need is not the faith to be saved from Hell. That is such a negative perspective. We have been totally accepted, totally loved and that love and acceptance has been totally been freely given to me by God. The last part of Romans 8 makes it clear that the responsibility for the the entire reality belongs to God and the joy of living in God’s love is ours for the taking
That is the point of the crucifixion/resurrection story. There is no need to accept Christ as our savior, or to accept any belief system or political view. I have peace with God. That peace is a done deal. God is my forever home and always has been. My problem is not that I do not have a home in God, my problem is that my shame makes me feel like I am not worthy of living there so I wander about in the cold.
Let me illustrate what I mean. Carolyn was my assistant when I was President of Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. She was and is a wonderful woman. We got along beautifully. However, suppose we did not get along. Suppose I was a critical, mean impossible boss and made her life miserable every day.
Suppose a wonderful person met Carolyn, recruited her, gave her a fine salary and wonderful benefits. She gleefully accepted her new position. However, there was just one problem. In order to get to her wonderful new job, she had to walk by my office on her way to her new job.
Each morning, as she walked by, I would say to her, “Carolyn come right in here. I have a ton of work for you to do.” She had been coming into my office for decades. Everyone she knew said “You should stay safe and keep coming to George’s office and doing his bidding despite the difficulties of working for him.
The people around her might say things like “This new boss is too good to be true and we all know that things that seem to good to be true are very likely not to be true”. But if she was to enjoy the benefits of a wonderful, generous and joyful job today, she would need to believe that she had been made the recipient of an impossibly good reality and begin to act on it today and every day afterwards.
In order to enjoy her new job, Carolyn would have to ignore all the negative outer and inner voices, walk past my office, ignore me and accept and act on the reality of her new job. In a similar way, I must learn to accept and act on the incredible thing God has done for me.