“Therefore since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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.” Romans 5:1-2
A great many people long to have peace with God. They long to have the assurance that their sins are forgiven and their pasts won’t come back to haunt them. Millions of North Americans long to have the chance to correct the mistakes they have made in their past and to be given a second whirl at making things right. Others live with deep regrets and sorrows over failed marriages, love that they rejected or friendships neglected. Others of us bemoan the lost opportunities in our careers and our lack of direction and motivation when we were young.
We all would love to have peace with our fellow man, with our past and most of all with God. So, the question is how do we have this peace with God? The answer is found in verse one, “therefore since we are justified by faith.” The result of being justified, when by faith we accept the death and resurrection of Jesus on our behalf, is that we have peace with God. I can’t earn right status with God, but I can accept His free gift of grace.
If God accepts me through faith in Jesus Christ’s atoning death then where does faith come from? It comes from outside of us and is built up in us as we learn to trust God. Romans 5:5 is another one of those verses that is worth memorizing. “And hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.”
Notice what is going on here in verse five. We have peace with God (reconciliation), because God justifies us through Jesus Christ, and the reality of God’s love is poured into our hearts through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. When you and I contemplate the wonders of the cross we are overwhelmed with love for God. It is the work of the Spirit to convict us of that love and bring us to the foot of the cross.
Another way of saying that we have peace with God is to say that we have reconciliation. No longer is there a separation between God and us. Douglas Moo in his commentary on Romans writes, “ peace moves beyond the largely negative signification of the word in secular Greek—“peace” as the cessation of hostilities—to a more positive nuance—the well being, prosperity, or salvation of the godly person. These are often expressly treated as the gifts of God, as in the well-known benediction. ‘The Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace,’ (Num. 6:26). But especially important for Paul’s usage is the OT prophets’ use of the term peace to characterize the salvation that God would bring to His people in the last days.” Romans, Moo, p. 299
The word peace defines our relationship with God. What is amazing about this relationship with God (reconciliation) is that it all happens while we are still “enemies” of God (see verse 10). As Moo so aptly puts it while, “we were weak, ungodly, sinners (v. 6-8) when God in His love brought us into a new relationship of peace with Him.” Romans Moo, p. 299
And that peace does not flow from you but comes through Jesus Christ. As the ultimate locus of God’s atoning work it is through Jesus that we receive justification, (Romans 3:25, 26). All that we are, all the gifts that God gives and our deliverance is all through Him. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.” Romans 5:11
Please, don’t be discouraged in your walk with Jesus because, regardless of where you are in your journey, God is with you and never abandons you. My picture of Jesus is of Him constantly stooping over picking people up and holding them until the pain stops and then continuing to walk with them on their spiritual journey. I don’t believe God is out to get me or wants to harm me in any way. He isn’t waiting to pour wrath out on me or scratch my name off the invitee list for Heaven. He is ever seeking and searching for the lost so that they can come home into the safety of His Kingdom.
We don’t and can’t earn justification. It is a pure gift of love that cost Jesus everything, but is given to us freely because of God’s great love for us. Being a follower of Jesus isn’t about going to Heaven, or being better, or never sinning, or avoiding being eternally lost. It is about loving Jesus with all our heart and mind. This is the good news that sets the beggars feet dancing and our hands to stretch to Heaven. We are saved, not of our own efforts, but through the grace of our loving, compassionate, forgiving, caring God.
No wonder so many revivals have started with the reading of Romans because I know just writing this simple post has made me want to worship and rejoice in the goodness of God. I want to yell it from the rooftops – God is love and He loves you!
* Please remember to pray for the thousands of Christians who are being persecuted for their faith – they need our support and prayers. Go to http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ for updates on persecution of Christians