Romans 5:1-6 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
I share a quote by Martin Luther, the 16th century monk and theologian who helped birth the reformation era, “In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text.”
Although we do not look at the entire chapter here, we focus on the first six verses that dwell on the glorious benefits we as believers receive. Paul repeatedly emphasises that we are justified by faith and only through Christ. Jesus is the way and we are to believe in Him to have eternal life.
Let’s look at those blessings we receive as believers
- Peace with God – As a result of the fall, we all inherited a fallen state. Our existent reality without God tends to lean towards that of selfish desires that are hostile to God (Romans 8:7 “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God.”). But because of Christ’s sacrifice, our status has changed into a new relationship with Him that has reconciled us to Him.
Colossians 1:21-22 says “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”
We gain not peace with the world around us but with the one who created us, for whom we are to live and breathe. We will have contention with the world because we do not belong to it but belong to Him. That peace can only come through our Lord Jesus. This peace that we gain is not a subjective feeling of having peace, but an objective status. A spiritual reconciliation with God, a restored relationship with him.
If we look at it a little deeper, it is more than just feeling ‘Now I am on good terms with God’. No, it goes beyond – your spirit should now be at peace with the things of God. You love and delight God’s word. Doing His will, spending time with Him, living in obedience to Him gives a settled, grounded and peaceful state to our inner self. Going against Him has quite the opposite effect, it creates a restlessness in us to want to restore that communication with the Spirit in us. Sin is something that we should not feel at peace with and repudiate as part of our lives. It doesn’t mean we are perfect and never sin but if God convicts us of sin in our lives, we strive in His strength to weed that out and change. We are not to turn a blind eye to sin in our lives which grieves Him.
Being at peace with God should also pour into being at peace with how God made us, who God made us to be and the purpose He has planned out for each one of us. There should ideally be no necessity for comparison and dissatisfaction. Not an easy thing to do but as we grow in our walk with God and be at peace with who and how He made us, Satan’s tricks of comparison and dissatisfaction will begin to have less of a hold on how we see ourselves.
- Gained access by faith–I love the wording here, it sure is a gain for us. We are no longer separated from His presence; we can call on His name anytime and anywhere. What a marvellous privilege to have and yet I feel we often fail to use that access enough. That access that allows us to pray and pour our hearts out to Him, is a privilege that is ours to use and many a times we give priority to other things that rob us of time over the most powerful thing we can do.
There are things that happen around us that make us feel helpless and hopeless. In those moments we are to remind ourselves that we have power – in Prayer. There is power in the name of Jesus. Use that Power. We pray to one who is all powerful and mighty, who has everything in His hands, who has the ability to work in more than one dimension and the wisdom to set right and turn all things for good. We are to follow our prayers with actions where possible but may the enormity and uncontrollable nature of a situation not dissuade us from getting on our knees. I am reminded of a quote by F.B Myers that said “The greatest tragedy in life is not in unanswered prayer but in unoffered prayer.”
May our life not be defined by unoffered prayer but be distinguished with prayer.
- Into His grace in which we now stand – we have access into his undeserved and unmerited grace and love. We stand on that grace. When I think of stand, I look at it in two ways, Firstly, because of what He has done for us, we have a standing in His kingdom as His children. Secondly, I feel a strength in that standing, we are not cowering in any way in His grace but our position is one which reflects strength because of Him in us, of standing strong against Satan’s schemes and lies, of standing firm against things that are displeasing to God and not succumbing to them. Of standing out as a light for Him in this world of darkness.
- Joy – we as His children get to rejoice. What do we rejoice in – the hope of the glory of God and in our sufferings.
Hope of the glory of God – Hope is the confident expectation of things to come. We have hope because of Him and what He has done for us.
What are we hoping for? We have hope in the second coming of our Lord, the blessed assurance of our future destiny, to see His glory, hope in the culmination of our salvation and the redemption of our bodies. These are such wonderful and glorious things to have hope for and we can gladly rejoice in it.
But we are to also rejoice in our sufferings, that is not the easiest thing to do but I do believe that as we walk daily with God and mature spiritually we understand more that we do not rejoice because of our suffering but we rejoice in them because we know that with God nothing can ever be meaningless and it is to build us up, deepen our trust, strengthen our faith and produce godly character in us.
Our hope is not unfounded optimism but is grounded in His love for us which He demonstrated on the cross, which was lavished on us despite our unworthiness. In verse 6, it says He died for us while we were powerless and ungodly.
I like the choice of words that describe our life without Him. I pray that our lives after we receive Him are defined by His power and Godly living.