Romans 5:1-5. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
In yesterday’s reading we saw that we are declared justified by the grace of God. His righteousness is imputed to us through our union with Christ. It is not earned or deserved. This is what makes gospel Christianity different from every other religion. And the effects of this grace are enormous in our daily lives. What are those effects? Welcome to Romans 5.
1. We have peace with God.
The indwelling life of Christ guarantees eternal peace with the King of the Universe. How? Because we have been declared righteous. This is not the peace of God – the very real feeling of peace that we experience in Christ. This is peace with God. The negotiated end of conflict between you and your Creator. This is not a peace treaty that is being re-negotiated daily. Our church attendance, penance, communion, or any other religious behavior do not “keep the peace” between us and God. We simply cannot gain more peace with God.
Christian, 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.
2. We have access into the grace in which we stand.
Justification has forever placed us into God’s grace. His unmerited favor. His one-way love. Grace was not a one-time thing. We do not begin with grace and then graduate to good works or law. We stand in grace. It is not a one-time audience with the King. It is living in the palace. It is living in the same standing as Jesus himself.
This reality of standing in grace should produce the balanced response of both complete humility (I am nothing without grace) and complete confidence (by grace I have all that is Christ’s). It’s knowing you don’t actually measure up and yet you are fully received.
3. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Glory. Weightiness. Value. Meaning. Significance. Purpose. Beauty. Glory is something, anything, that impacts or changes the world around it for the good. We were all made by God to experience and share in the glory of God. But, as you know, we all fall short of his glory.
The promise of Romans 5:1-2 is that the justification of Christ has made a return to the fullness of God’s glory possible for us. This is our hope. A hope already realized in our union with Christ. God’s glory lives within us! The glory of perfect goodness, purity, righteousness, holiness, love and grace. The glory of Jesus and his life and death. A glory we will share in forever.
There will never be a feeling of inadequacy again. No doubting of our eternal purpose. No dulling of our sense of wonder. No smoldering of the flame of love. No quenching of the Spirit. Ever.
4. We rejoice in our suffering.
We were all feeling so good after those first three, but then BOOM, Paul drops this little bomb on us. Because we are justified we have peace with God, access to constant grace, and hope of glory…Oh, and did I mention that we will suffer? Oh, and did I mention that we should rejoice in that suffering?
Union with the life of Christ is union with the suffering of Christ. There is no way around this. Jesus is asking us to daily take up our cross and follow. To crucify the flesh and its selfish desires. To put off the old man. And to put on the New Man, Jesus Christ, by receiving his grace moment by moment each day.
Receiving grace in suffering is the hope of glory. One day all of our sorrow and all of our sin will be met with the overwhelming grace of the presence of Jesus and we will be transformed once and for all by his glorious love. But for now walking in suffering with faith by grace is the proof of our righteousness in Christ. Receiving grace in suffering proves our faith is true, that Christ’s righteousness is real, and that God has shone his glory over us.
“To live is Christ” means we are justified by God’s grace. Which in turn means we have peace with God, access into grace, the hope of glory, and even joy in suffering. Now Jesus can get to work building in the endurance, character, hope, and love needed to declare his greatness to the world around us.
Have you seen peace, grace, hope, and joy in suffering growing in your life?
You in Christ
How does knowing that we are justified by grace alone cause these things to grow in our hearts? Your heart?
Christ in you
What suffering can you rejoice in today? How can it purify your faith and love?
Playlist: Grace and Faith.