Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
Romans 3: 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
Man’s problem – sin. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
God’s solution – grace. And are Justified freely by His grace – God’s riches at Christ’s expense.
The way back to God – Jesus Christ. Through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
The price of our righteousness – The Cross. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement
The way we receive salvation – faith. Through faith in His blood
So Paul has explained HOW we are saved. In Romans 5 he begins to explain all the blessings which salvation brings to us – what does it MEAN to be saved?
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, says Paul,
Justified through faith. That is shorthand for saying, “We have been put right with God through his grace, on the grounds of the death of Christ and received by faith.”
We thought last week about what it means to have saving faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved by faith alone, not by good works, not by rituals, not by obeying commandments. And that saving faith means following the example of Abraham and believing God for the impossible! We are saved by faith alone, but saving faith is never alone, it is always expressed in actions of courageous obedience!
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, says Paul, here are the blessings of salvation: we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Three blessings which God’s gift of sharing His righteousness brings to us. Peace with God. The Hope of glory. And joy even in the midst of suffering.
PEACE WITH GOD
In other places the Bible talks about the peace OF God, the peace which God gives which passes all understanding, peace in the trials of life. But here Paul is talking about something even more important, even more wonderful. Peace WITH God. The end of hostility between God and man, the end of the alienation caused by sin. Peace with God, which implies all the positive qualities of the Jewish word shalom: peace, reconciliation, wholeness, union.
If you have sneaking doubts that God is looking down on you in judgment, or that God is still angry with you because you aren’t as good a Christian as you’d like to be, then you haven’t really grasped what it is to have peace WITH God. If you find it hard to pray because you don’t think God really cares about you or your problems, then you aren’t enjoying what God has already given you, peace with God.
That peace with God comes through the cross of Jesus Christ.
5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
Paul says again, we have been justified, made “just as if I’d never” sinned. We have been restored to a right relationship with God. Our sins have been forgiven. We have been made righteous. This is a single historical once for all event. We have been justified! So there is no more wrath, no more guilt, no more alienation, no more shame, no more death. We are AT PEACE WITH God.
Songs of Fellowship 229: I’M ACCEPTED, I’m forgiven,I am fathered by the true and living God.
I’m accepted, no condemnation,I am loved by the true and living God.
There’s no guilt or fear as I draw nearTo the Saviour and Creator of the world.
There is joy and peace As I release my worship to You, O Lord.
And this justification comes to us through Christ’s death on the cross.
Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus said, “no greater love has any man than this, than that He lay down his life for his friends.” If God loved us so much while we were still sinners, how much more will He love us now we are His children.
And this peace with God comes to us both through Christ’s cross and also through His resurrection. Both the sacrifice of the cross and the victory of the resurrection are essential elements of God’s way of salvation.
Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Jesus was delivered over, given up to death for our sins. Do you remember that word “given over” from Romans Chapter 1?
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts ….. 26 … God gave them over to shameful lusts. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind … .
Just as God gave sinners over to face the consequences of their sins, so Jesus was given over to death – to die in our place, for our sins. And then the Father raised His son to life again for our justification. The cross paid the penalty for sin so it would be possible for us to be forgiven. The resurrection then made that forgiveness a reality as we are raised to life with Christ. Jesus said in John 14:19, “Because I live, you will also live.” We receive that free gift of justification and eternal life as we put our trust in Christ and in God who raised Him from the dead. It is through faith that we know we now have peace with God! And not only peace with God but also,
THE HOPE OF GLORY
Romans 5:2 And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Here is the second blessing we receive as part of God’s wonderful gift of salvation. Peace with God. It has been said that man can live for 40 days without food, for three days without water, for several minutes without air but for only a few seconds without hope. Dostoevski said, “Hell is hopelessness.” The inscription above the entrance to Dante’s inferno read, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”
When you look at the pessimism and gloom of some Christians you would think that they were destined for hell and even at its door. In fact the opposite is true. True believers have every reason to be filled with hope. We have a hope which is steadfast and certain! And what a hope! Paul says, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” The Bible idea of hope is not some wishy washy optimism but a confident expectation. A better translation would be, “the happy certainty”. The happy certainty that one day God will take us to be with him and we will share His glory for eternity. THIS is our destiny as Christians. THIS is God’s wonderful plan and purpose for us – yes even for you and even for me!
This hope of sharing God’s glory comes to us through the cross of Christ, and we experience this hope as we follow Christ in the way of His cross.
Romans 5:2 And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
The sufferings or tribulations we face are the pressures of a godless hostile world on those who follow Christ. These teach us perseverance and build up our character. And instead of undermining our confidence in God, in fact these experiences of adversity and opposition strengthen our faith and build up our hope. Our hope comes also through the resurrection life of Christ in us. Jesus has died – but Christ has also risen! And He has shown us the path we must follow, through suffering to glory, through cross to resurrection. But be reassured, however tough life gets, God will not let go of us. We WILL share in His glory!
5 And hope does not disappoint us,Paul says. But how can we be sure? How can we be certain that in the end our hope will not turn out to be empty? Paul gives us three reasons why our hope of sharing the glory of God is not some naïve optimism but a happy certainty!
Reason 1: 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
The Holy Spirit is the seal, the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance, the foretaste of heaven. Signs of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives strengthen our hope. We are secure in our salvation, sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Once saved, always saved! Hope never disappoints us!
Reason 2: 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Since God loved us so much while we were still His enemies facing His wrath, how much more will God keep on loving us and keep us safe now that we are His children.
Reason 3 also came in verse9. We have been “justified by his blood.” Verse 1 “We have been justified through faith”, so now have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This gives us great assurance. We were saved through God’s gift, not through our own good works but by grace alone, received by faith alone. So it doesn’t make sense to say that we now have to keep on working hard to hang on to that salvation which we never earned or deserved. None of us is perfect. We all still sin. But God will never let us go. Hope does not disappoint us and hope never will disappoint us! Once saved and always saved! And Paul points us to yet another wonderful blessing which comes to us in the package of salvation. Peace with God, hope, and thirdly
Joy in our sufferings
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
Joy in the hope of glory, and joy even in the midst of suffering. C.S.Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” Excitement and enthusiasm are not excesses in the Christian life, but they are inevitable overflowing of our faith and our hope.
1 Peter 1: 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, … 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. … 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Peter, Paul and the rest of the apostles knew more about trials and suffering and persecution than we will ever knew. And they agree that the result is that believers are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
The joy will come through the cross as we follow Christ.
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
We are not weighed down by the trials of life. Rather we rejoice in the midst of them. There is a book on my shelves by Demos Shakarian, the founder of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship. It is called “The Happiest People on Earth”. And indeed that is what we should be!
Then our joy also comes to us through the resurrection of Christ. Michael Green called his book on the Resurrection, “The day death died.” We rejoice because we share in the blessings of Christ’s amazing resurrection.
Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
God’s gift of salvation is more than justification, much more than forgiveness. Being saved is much more than being reconciled to God, wonderful as that is. Salvation is eternal life, life in all its fullness as we share Christ’s resurrection life. So listen again to what Christ offers to all who trust in Him.
Peace with God. The Hope of glory. Joy, even in suffering. THESE are the blessings of God’s, grace received by faith. That is what it means to be saved!