But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
The first section of Romans states the need for the Gospel. But now, Paul says, God has provided a solution, His Son, Jesus Christ, His gift of redemption for us. God is for everyone, and the relationship between Himself and humans is restored on the basis of faith, not by following the law.
Buen Camino! I am writing while walking the way of the Camino Frances, the 500 mile pilgrim route from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. It is marked by frequent pointers – brass shells in pavements and cobbles, blue signs with yellow shells, stone mileposts, and often simply yellow arrows painted on the road, lampposts, walls or whatever is available. It’s hard to go wrong.
I have been struck by the wayside crosses, often ancient and worn, sometimes modern, some formed simply by pilgrims taking two sticks and weaving them into a fence, where there may be hundreds of others. Each cross represents a person or community for whom the cross has meaning as a symbol of the gift of grace through the redemption of Christ.
On the Camino, there is no distinction. Pilgrims come from all over the world, for many different reasons, and are welcomed by the local communities through which we pass. We walk the same path, carry the same loads, have the same needs for shelter, water, food, rest and companionship. The Camino is a microcosm of God’s kingdom, to which we all belong.
I have been following arrows all along the way. In a tiny chapel in the mountains near Astorga, I suddenly saw the arrows in a different light. An arrow in the floor points to the Lord’s Table and the Cross behind it, symbols of the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus: Jesus who says ‘Yo soy el Camino’ – I am the Way.
O God, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we walk in the love of your name… Be for us our companion on the walk, our guide at the crossroads, our breath in our weariness, our protection in danger, our shade in the heat, our light in the darkness, our consolation in our discouragements, and our strength in our intentions.