BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES/Justification by faith means peace with God
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 1:00 PM
We're going to look at Romans 5:1-2 this week. Throughout Romans 1 through 4 Paul has shown that God's promises are obtained by faith, and now he is going to show the consequences of that truth for the believer.
Thus far, Paul has been showing us the righteousness that we need in order to stand before God, to fellowship with God, to be accepted by God is provided to us in the gospel; and it's received by faith. And he's explained how that works and is seen in the pages of the Old Testament, all the way back in the dealings of God with Abraham.
I. Justification results in our experience of the peace of God.
In the very first words of verse 1, Paul sums up his whole argument thus far in one phrase: "Therefore, having been justified by faith."
There are a lot of "peaces" on the market out there. There are a lot of folks that are looking for "tranquility." Paul means a specific kind, namely the cessation of hostility between God and man.
The peace being talked about here is real and objective, it is not merely perceived and subjective. It is not merely a change of feelings, that Paul is talking about, it is a change in God's relationship to us. Peace with God means an objective change in God's relationship to us.
Peace with God denotes a relationship to God. Peace of mind may flow from it, and often does flow from it. But the peace of God is itself a new relationship with God and not merely a state of mind. This peace is absolute because it's divine. Nobody can take it away from you, because nobody gave it to you; God gave it to you. It can't be changed by circumstances. It is a new relationship. The alienation which was there before has been dealt with, and Paul says it has been dealt with through Jesus Christ.
This peace is accomplished with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through His mediation, His person, His work. We deserve condemnation. We had no way of making reparations, yet God made the reparations in the person of His Son. Because of Christ, we're no longer God's enemies; we're not simply His friends now: we're His children.
II. Justification results in communion with God.
Justification brings peace with God, but it also results in communion with God. Even in this present age through Christ we have gained access into personal fellowship with God.
By faith in Christ and through His redemptive work, we have been given introduction and access to the very presence of God.
Paul is saying that we now have the privilege of going into the throne room of the one true God and pouring out the desires of our hearts in accordance with His will and fellowshipping with Him. We have communion with God.
As Moses was bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan, it's very clear that for Moses, Canaan wasn't the big show. God was the big show. Canaan was nice, but what Moses really wanted was to see the face of God. Moses wanted intimate access into the fellowship. Moses desired God above all else, even above Canaan.
Moses never got Canaan, but he got God. I wonder whether God in His goodness decided not to give Canaan to Moses, because it would have been very disappointing. But God was not. It's not just Moses who gets God. It's all those who are justified by faith, who have access into the very presence of God.
III. Justification means a certain future hope of glorification.
Don't miss how Paul continually says "we" in this chapter. It's actually begun in immediately prior in Romans 4:24-25 where Paul has been talking about what is ours. What better way for Paul to make the point that the promises of God in Genesis 12, 15, and 17 to Abraham belong to you if you trust in God through Jesus Christ.
We have peace with God, access into this grace in which we stand. We have this certain hope of future glory. Those promises are for you, not just for Abraham. When you are studying Genesis 12 and following, you're not just studying interesting Bible history, you are studying God's word of promise to you.
What does Paul mean that we "rejoice" in hope of the glory of God? Paul assures us that the future glory is one that we will share in the consummation. We will participate in the glory of God's own glory in the end. The lost glory of God's image will be restored to us in full, so that we are once again what God made us to be, without any imperfection, absolutely righteous, absolutely splendid.
Remember that the entire New Testament emphasizes that in the consummation God's own glory is going to be manifested. In the consummation God Himself is going to display His glory. In this world God's glory has been veiled. Our sin and the fallen world have blinded our eyes as to how glorious He is. Even Jesus Christ to a certain extent is veiled to our eyes in this world, though he is the manifestation of the glory of God: when He came, "His own received Him not." But then God's glory will be open for all to see.
In the Garden, Satan tempted Eve and Adam to believe that God was not good, that God was not truthful, and that God was cheating them out of the fullness of life. And you remember Job. Satan tried to get job to discount the glory of God. Satan desires God's people to think that God is not worth living for.
In the end the glory of God is going to be revealed. And everyone who has trusted in Jesus Christ will know that God was worth living for, and that His glory is beyond all question and all description.
But there is a problem is for the unbeliever. Because when that glory is revealed, it will be too late for all those who have not trusted on God in Jesus Christ. It will be too late for all those who are not justified. And so now is the time, now is the day of your salvation, now is the day to cast your hope on the Lord.