Romans 5:1. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 begins a list of six benefits of our justification. Today, let’s explore the first one: Since we have been justified by faith…#1) we have peace with God.
“Peace for our time.” These were the ironic words of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain after negotiating the Munich Agreement with Hitler and Nazi Germany. Less than a year later Hitler would invade Poland and launch World War II.
Is there really such a thing as peace for our time? When the angels declared “peace on earth good will to men” at the birth of Christ, was that some sort of joke? In the past 2000 years have we seen peace on earth? We can’t even find peace on Facebook much less all over earth. We live in a culture of conflict. Division. Internally we are crying out for help. Suicide rates are up, anti-depressants are flowing, and stress is destroying an entire generation.
The answer is of course no. There is still conflict every day. Huge conflicts and small conflicts, all raging around us. I was talking to a friend today who was describing his life at work and at home. He said he felt as if he was drowning. I asked if either work or home offered a rest from the other. Sadly he said no. Both places are war zones for him.
Jesus said he offers a peace that is different from what the world offers.
John 14:27. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
He promised to leave peace with us. To give us peace. But how is that possible? How do you leave peace? The answer isn’t a subjective feeling, or aroma therapy, or a massage, or relaxation techniques. The answer is a person. Christ left the Spirit with us. He left us his own life in the person of the Spirit. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Christ is our peace. It is an internal peace, yes, but it is an objective peace.
It is peace with God.
The indwelling life of Christ guarantees this eternal peace with the King of the Universe. Your Creator. How? The answer is back in Romans 4:25 – Christ died for our trespasses and was raised for our justification. Christ’s forgiveness and new life have silenced the law. We have peace with God BECAUSE we have been declared righteous (past tense with ongoing result). Without this imputed righteousness we are God’s natural enemy. We stand opposed to him and his glory.
But now the war is over. God has nothing against you. No secret list. No hidden grudges. God will never ever judge your sin again. He already did that through Christ on the cross. Again PAST TENSE.
This peace with God is NOT an ongoing process. Christ is not negotiating peace daily. Your church attendance, penance, communion, or any other religious behavior do not “keep the peace” between you and God. You cannot gain more peace with God.
Nor, again, is this the subjective “peace of God,” that feeling of peace we experience by our union with Christ. That too is a real thing, but not what Paul is talking about here. Here Paul is talking about “peace WITH God.” An objective reality (William Newell, Romans verse-by-verse).
“To live is Christ” is the end of all conflict between you and God. It is shalom. Real whole life peace and flourishing. God will never ever be against you, always for you. God will never ever destroy you, only your sin. God will never ever be grieved by you, only rejoice over you.
Are you enjoying your peace with God? Do you know for sure that you have been justified by faith and have this peace? How does union with Christ by the indwelling Spirit guarantee that we have this peace? (Hint: does Christ have peace with God?)