Peace with God
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. NKJV
In these first two verses of Chapter 5 Paul gives us a summary of what he is going to talk about in the next four chapters. These first two verses are so fundamental to our understanding of our relationship with God that we dare not pass over them likely. The uniqueness of the Christian message is seen; peace with God.
A. It is very important for us to understand what Paul means when he says therefore
B. Paul is not simply moving on to another part of the book.
1. What he is doing is he is continuing his thoughts from the previous section.
2. On the basis of our justification by the resurrection of Christ.
3. On the basis of our sins being removed by the sacrifice of Jesus.
4. Therefore there is a result.
5. If we remove what we’ve seen in chapters 1 through four then there is no therefore.
II. Having been justified by faith
A. The basis of the therefore is justification by faith.
1. Paul went to all the trouble to establish this concept in order to build on it.
2. Notice it is having been justified by faith.
3. It all has to do with completed action.
4. It is not something that were hoping for, or trying for, but something that is finished.
5. Remember to be justified means to be declared righteous in God’s sight.
III. We have peace with God
A. What does he mean when he says peace with God?
1. He does not mean the peace of God.
2. In Philippians 4:7 Paul says “in nothing be anxious but in all things with prayer and supplication and thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
3. The peace with God here does not mean that we are able to handle all the trials and troubles that come our way.
4. It does not mean that we are at peace with others or have a peaceful attitude.
5. It means that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness unrighteousness of men has been taking care of.
6. It means that there’s nothing between us and God, that it has all been taken care of through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
7. It means that the man has nothing against God. Romans 8:7 says the carnal mind is enmity against God.
8. Most people have a God of their own making. The moment we realized the truth about God we are troubled and disturbed by our natural enmity to him reveals itself.
9. There was formerly at a barrier, there was a state of enmity, there was a state of war and antagonism; but being justified by faith, all that has gone, and a condition of peace is established between God and the man who believes that God raised Jesus from the dead, who was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. Lloyd-Jones
10. What does this mean experimentally or inexperienced? The first answer is that a man who has peace with God is a man whose mind is at rest about his relationship with God.
IV. Through our Lord Jesus Christ
A. This is without doubt the most important phrase in this passage.
1. Many people have the idea that God is at peace with everyone.
2. This is reflected in the idea that you don’t need Jesus.
3. Many people do not pray in the name of Jesus they think that they are all right with God as they are.
4. They’ve taken the words of that great hymn, Just As I Am to mean that God really doesn’t care about sin, or the way we live.
B. The Bible is replete with passages that show that acceptance before God is only through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved.
2. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the father except through me.
3. The idea that you can get to God and be accepted by him on your own is not a Christian teaching.
4. It’s not that God loves the sinner just as he is, but rather that God loves him in spite of how he lives.
5. But God’s love for us is all about change.
6. God loves us way too much to leave us living a destructive and sinful life.
C. So are standing before God is through Jesus Christ alone.
1. It’s not on the basis of our works.
2. Is not on the basis of all our baptism.
3. It is not on the basis of our giving, church membership, church attendance, or any other thing.
4. Are exceptions before God is totally, 100%, based on the work of Jesus Christ.
V. Through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand
A. Our only access to God is through Jesus Christ.
1. There was a soldier in the Union army, a young man who had lost his older brother and his father in the war. He went to Washington, D.C., to see President Lincoln to ask for an exemption from military service so he could go back and help his sister and mother with the spring planting on the farm. When he arrived in Washington, after having received a furlough from the military to go and plead his case, he went to the White House, approached the doors, and asked to see the president. However, he was told, "You can't see the president! Don't you know there's a war on? The president's a very busy man. Now go away, son! Get back out there and fight the Rebs like you're supposed to." So he left, very disheartened, and was sitting on a little park bench not far from the White House when a little boy came up to him. The lad said, "Soldier, you look unhappy. What's wrong?" The soldier looked at this young boy and began to spill his heart out to this young lad about his situation, about his father and his brother having died in the war, and how he was the only male left in the family and was needed desperately back at the farm for the Spring planting.
The little boy took the soldier by the hand and led him around to the back of the White House. They went through the back door, past the guards, past all the generals and the high ranking government officials until they got to the president's office itself. The little boy didn't even knock on the door but just opened it and walked in. There was President Lincoln with his secretary of state, looking over battle plans on the desk. President Lincoln looked up and said, "What can I do for you, Todd?"
And Todd said, "Daddy, this soldier needs to talk to you." And right then and there the soldier had a chance to plead his case to President Lincoln, and he was exempted from military service due to the hardship he was under.
Such is the case with our ascended Lord. We have access to the Father through the Son. It is the Son who brings us to the Father's throne and says, "Daddy, here is someone who wants to talk to You."
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 72-73.
2. We do not have access to God because of who we are or what we’ve done but because of our relationship with God the son.
VI. And rejoice in the hope of the glory of God
A. Your Paul looks beyond the initial act of justification to our final glorification.
1. You see God’s purpose is to not just make us better people down here.
2. His purpose is to take us to heaven.
3. The only way the God can take is to heaven is if we are perfect.
B. And for the Christian that is our hope.
1. Christians feel like pilgrims.
2. We know that this world is not our final home.
3. As we look around us we see that this world is unrepairable.
4. And although Christian should be good citizens and work for the common good and for peace, yet we know that this world will never be perfect as long as men are in control.
C. Paul’s purpose in the next section of the book is to show us that justification will lead to glorification.
1. Because all of this is in the hands of God there is no doubt.
2. Paul begins Chapter 8 with these words, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
3. He ends Chapter 8 with verses that I use at funerals quite often.
4. What shall separate us from the love of Christ, shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword.
5. The whole idea is that those that God justifies he will glorify. It’s certain.
The Christian is never fearful of his relationship with God. Because of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ we stand before God as though we had never sinned.
We have access to God not because we have altogether but because Jesus Christ makes a way possible. Do you have that excess today? Do you have the confidence that in Christ Jesus you have access to God? You might answer that question by asking yourself whether you avail yourself of that are not. Who would have ready access to the king but never use it?