The Blessings of Justification by Faith Part 1 – Romans 5:1-2
Pastor Mark Hardy April 29, 2012
During the Civil War, a young soldier in the Union Army lost his father and older brother in the battle of Gettysburg. The soldier decided to go to Washington, D.C. to see President Lincoln to ask for an exemption from military service so he could return home to care for his mother and sister on the farm. Having received a military furlough to plead his case, when he arrived at the White House to see the president he was repeatedly turned away by the guards on duty.
Disheartened, the young soldier left and while sitting on a park bench not far from the White House, a little boy came up to him and inquired why he was so sad. The soldier related how his father and brother were killed in the war, his mother and sister needed his help at home, and the guards wouldn’t allow him to see the president.
The boy then motioned to the soldier to follow him. When they approached the guarded entrance at the White House, the soldiers came to attention, stepped back, and opened the door for the boy. They then proceeded to the Oval Office, walking past generals and high-ranking officials who didn’t try to stop them. When they reached the Oval Office where the president was working the boy didn’t even knock but went right in and led the soldier in with him. There behind the desk was Abraham Lincoln and his Secretary of State looking over battle plans that were laid out on his desk.
The president looked up at the boy and then at the soldier and said, “Good afternoon, Todd. Can you introduce me to your friend?” Robert “Todd” Lincoln, the son of the president, introduced the soldier to his father and said, “Father, this soldier needs to talk to you.” The soldier then pled his case before the president, who right then gave him the exemption that he desired.
The saying, “It’s not what you know that matters but who you know” was definitely true in this situation. Just as the soldier gained access to the president only through the president’s son, so sinners can gain access to God only through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is one of the things that we will be looking at this morning.
Having established the need for justification or salvation because of the sinfulness of all mankind (1:18-3:20); the way of justification by faith alone in the atoning death of Jesus Christ as God’s only remedy for man’s sin (3:21-31); and then illustrating justification by faith alone in the supreme example of Abraham (4:1-25); Paul now describes the results of justification by faith in the lives of believers in chapters 5-8. Turn in your Bible to Romans 5.
In Romans 5:1-11 we can see nine blessings given to every believer that are either a present or future reality. This morning we will be looking at only the first four blessings.
The first blessing given to every believer is this:
I. Personal Peace with God
A. Look at v. 1: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The word “Therefore” (oun) here links together chapter 4, which closes with the word “justification” and chapter 5, which begins with “having been justified by faith.”
2. The phrase “having been justified” (dikaiothentes—aorist passive participle) looks back to a completed action in the past where a believing sinner is declared righteous by God and clothed in the righteousness of Christ and that has continuing results.
3. At the moment of salvation, instantaneously every new believer comes to possess both present and future blessings. This is why Paul says, “having been justified by faith we have…”
4. The word “we” refers to all believers, Jew and Gentile alike, and Paul includes himself.
B. Notice again the first blessing—“…we have peace with God.”
1. Why do people need “peace with God?” As we have already seen in 1:18-3:20, man’s sinfulness and moral guilt before a perfectly holy God leaves him presently condemned and under the wrath of God (Ps. 7:11; Jn. 3:36; Rom. 1:18).
2. No one is merely “neutral” before God. For as “children of Satan” (Jn. 8:44), unbeliever are enemies of God and there exists between them a state of enmity, hostility, and antagonism.
3. Romans 8:7 says, “…the mind set on the flesh (i.e. unbeliever) is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.”
4. Alva J. McClain gives the following illustration, “If a man rebels against the American government and flees to another country, even though he is a refugee in that country, there exists a state of enmity between him and the American government. It does not matter how tranquil this man may feel in this foreign refuge, he is not at peace with the American government. If he comes back to the United States, the government will immediately initiate action against him.” (pg. 124)
5. This is the way it is between the unbeliever and God. They are in a state of war until a state of peace is declared. This is what “peace with God” entails.
6. Now “peace with God” is not a subjective feeling of peace. An unbeliever can feel at peace in his heart about his relationship with God but still not have “peace with God.”
7. True “peace with God” is an objective fact or state of peace flowing from the sinner being reconciled to God. Reconciliation is the most immediate result of justification.
8. C.E.B. Cranfield says, “…justification and reconciliation, though distinguishable, are inseparable. Whereas between a human judge and the person who appears before him there may be no really personal meeting at all, no personal hostility if the accused be found guilty, no establishment of friendship if the accused is acquitted, between God and the sinner there is a personal relationship, and God’s justification involves a real self-engagement to the sinner on His part. He does not confer the status of righteousness upon us without at the same time giving himself to us in friendship and establishing peace between himself and us.” (pg. 258)
9. Therefore, the basic meaning of “peace with God” is to be reconciled to God, which we will see in v. 10. The word “with” (pros) is the same intimacy that the eternal Christ had with God the Father in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
10. When a believer has “peace with God” his war with God is over and he is no longer the object of His displeasure and wrath. He is in the present state of peace and friendship with God as His very own child, which is permanent and irrevocable (Jn. 15:15; Gal. 4:5).
C. But notice the only way a sinner can have “peace with God” at the end of v. 1—“…we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1. Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. We read in 1 Timothy 2:5-6, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all…”
2. As our Substitute, on the cross Jesus Christ satisfied the perfect justice of God the Father by taking upon Himself God’s holy wrath against sin and paying in full the penalty for sin that we deserved.
3. Ephesians 2:13-14 states, “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace…”
4. Colossians 1:19-20 says a similar thing, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross…”
5. Now although “peace with God” is objective peace between God and us, when we as believers truly understand what God has done for us in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, take God at His Word, and believe it, we are freed from the torturous struggle of doubting our salvation and will also experience a subjective peace of mind.
6. Do you have “peace with God” this morning?
7. The second blessing given to every believer is this:
II. Privileged Access to Grace
A. Look at v. 2: through whom (.i.e. Jesus Christ) we also have obtained by faith our introduction into this grace… (Stop there)
1. If you, like the soldier we looked at, tried to meet with the president of the United States, you would find out very quickly how inaccessible he is. Imagine how inaccessible the God of the universe is!
2. During Old Testament times, even God’s chosen people, the Jews, were restricted in how close they could come to God’s presence in the Temple. The Gentiles were kept out by a wall in the Temple with a warning on it that any Gentile who went beyond it would be killed.
3. Only once a year and very briefly (Ex. 28:35), the Jewish high priest could pass through the veil in the Temple that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence was manifested, to make sacrifice for the people.
4. But Jesus Christ ended all of that. Matthew 27:51 says that the moment Jesus died, “…the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
5. This signified that a new and living way (Heb. 10:19-22) into God’s presence was now open to any person, Jew or Gentile, who put their trust in Christ. The fact that the veil was torn “from top to bottom” showed that no man had torn the veil, but that God had done it.
6. Therefore, it is through Christ that the barrier into God’s holy presence is forever removed. We see this in the word “introduction” (prosagogen) in Romans 5:2, which also is translated “access.”
7. This word actually means both, for introduction is fundamental to the access that is gained by it. It pictures someone bringing another person before a king to be presented to him, resulting in access.
8. This is exactly what Jesus Christ has done for believers. Just as the little boy, Todd Lincoln, introduced the soldier to his father and provided him access, God the Son has introduced us to God the Father and provided us privileged access into His presence that is continual.
9. For the word “obtained” here is in the perfect tense in the Greek, indicating that Christ has achieved a completed and continuous access for us.
B. But notice that “our introduction by faith [is] into this grace…”
1. Why does Paul say that we have access to grace instead of access to God? When he says “this grace” he is referring to the state or realm which Christ’s redeeming work transfers the believer.
2. Douglas Moo said, “While this state of grace includes our justification as a key element, the notion goes beyond justification to all that is conveyed to us by God in Christ.” (pg. 301)
3. All that we as believers are and have access to come by God’s grace. But God’s grace is not separate from God Himself.
4. Leon Morris states that this “…uncommon way of using ‘grace’….is closely connected with God….‘Access to this grace’ is access to God. Grace is not something apart from God, but is God giving himself to us in his graciousness.” (pg. 219)
5. Therefore, through Jesus Christ we have privileged access to God and His grace. We see this elsewhere in Scripture:
• Ephesians 2:18: For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
• Ephesians 3:12: In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
• 1 Peter 3:18: For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.
6. What a privilege every believer has to direct access to God and His grace anytime and anywhere. Jesus said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
7. And Hebrews 4:16 calls us to, “…draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
8. Are you availing yourself to it daily or are you trying to go it alone?
9. The third blessing given to every believer is this:
III. Continual Standing in Grace
A. Look again at v. 2: through whom we also have obtained by faith our introduction into this grace in which we stand…” (Stop there)
1. And age-old question that has been asked repeatedly in the Scriptures is, “How is it possible for a sinner to stand before God?”
2. The psalmist submitted in Psalm 130:3, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”
3. Asaph said about God in Psalm 76:7, “You, even You, are to be feared; and who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry?”
4. The prophet Nahum questioned in Nahum 1:6, “Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire and the rocks are broken up by Him.”
5. The prophet Malachi asked in Malachi 3:2, “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.”
6. At the opening of the sixth seal judgment in Revelation 6:16-17, men everywhere will say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
7. God Himself questioned Job in Job 41:10, “Who then is he that can stand before Me?” The obvious answer to all of these questions is “No one!”
8. The psalmist said just that in Psalm 1:5, “…the wicked will not stand in the judgment…”
9. Therefore, all unbelievers have absolutely no standing before a holy and just God when it comes to giving a defense for their sinful actions and entering into His presence.
B. However, through Jesus Christ those who believe in Him have a continual standing in grace.
1. The word “stand” (estekamen) here in v. 2 carries the idea of permanence, of standing firm and immovable. It is also in the perfect tense, indicating that Christ has achieved a completed and continuous standing for us in His grace.
2. Therefore, as believers we do not fall in and out of God’s grace, but stand firmly in it. Paul proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…”
3. All that we need—whether it is spiritual strength, help, forgiveness, whatever, it all comes from God’s grace in which we stand. Never forget that it is God’s grace that not only saves us, but also keeps us saved.
4. Therefore, we are eternally secure in God and His grace in Christ our refuge. For we are promised in Jude 24, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”
5. The fourth blessing given to every believer is this:
IV. Joyful Hope of Glory
A. Look at the end of v. 2, “…and we exult in the hope of the glory of God.”
1. The word “exult” (kauchometha) here doesn’t refer to prideful boasting before others, but boasting in the sense of joyful jubilation and rejoicing in the Lord alone (1 Cor. 1:31; 2 Cor. 10:17; Gal. 6:14; Phil. 3:3).
2. And notice that here we can rejoice right now because we have the hope of God’s promise for our future. The word “hope” (elpidi) doesn’t mean that we are uncertain about something and hope it will happen, but rather we have confident expectation that what God has promised will happen and so we wait patiently and trust Him for its certain fulfillment.
B. And what is it that we as believers have joyful hope in that God has promised to give us? Look again what Paul says, “…the hope of the glory of God.” What is that?
1. Mankind was created to be the image and glory of God (Gen. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 11:7; Jam. 3:9). Therefore, the “glory of God” here is the perfect moral image of God-like-ness, which is perfectly seen in the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
2. Speaking about Christ, Hebrews 1:3 says, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature…” (Jn. 1:14; 2:11).
3. Although people still retain the image of God after the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden, as we saw in Romans 3:23 “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” which is the perfect moral image of Jesus Christ.
4. Therefore, God’s purpose in redemption is to make believers into “little Christ’s.” This is why we are commanded in Ephesians 4:24 to “…put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
5. Right now God is primarily concerned about our growth in Christlike character, which can be broadly defined as holy love (1 Tim. 1:5). Paul talks about this Christlikeness in Ephesians 4:13, saying, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Col. 1:28)
6. This is an on-going process, for 2 Corinthians 3:18 states, “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
7. But here in Romans 5:2 as a result of justification by faith God promises that one day in the future we will be perfectly like Jesus Christ. The “glory of God” or Christlikeness is the end for which God created us, and it is through the redemptive work of Christ that this end is achieved.
8. We see this especially in Romans 8:17-18 where we read that we as the children of God are “…heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I (i.e. Paul) consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Verse 21) “That the creation itself also be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Verses 29-30) “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
9. Notice that this is an unbroken chain—those whom God foreknew (or predetermined) He glorified. What security of salvation this gives every believer; no one slips between the cracks!
10. We see a similar thing in Philippians 1:6 where Paul states, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The beginning, the process, and the goal of our justification are all guaranteed by God.
11. Paul then goes on to say in 2 Thessalonians 2:14, “It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And in Colossians 3:4, “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Jn. 17:22)
12. What a day that will be when Jesus Christ will be glorified in His glorified people (2 Thess. 1:10). Therefore, we as believers rejoice now in the confident hope of our glorification of becoming perfectly like Jesus Christ in body and soul is guaranteed.
13. And once again how is all of this possible? Only through Jesus Christ, of whom Colossians 1:27 declares “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
In closing, because of all that Jesus Christ has done in providing for believers personal peace with God, privileged access to God, continual standing in grace, and joyful hope of glory, we are never in danger of losing our salvation.
The reality of these wonderful blessings should not only fill our souls with peace, but also motivate us to continually praise God for all He has done and live pure and holy lives to Him. For 1 John 3:2-3 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
These blessings of justification by faith should not only assure us as believers in the security of our salvation in Christ, but also have a radical affect on our daily Christian lives. May we all commit ourselves afresh in dependence on God and His grace to become more like Christ now, which we one day will perfectly be!