Title: Four Benefits to Justification
Text: Romans 5.1-3
Introduction: The Major Prophets warned of false prophets who declared: Peace, Peace, when there was no peace. Indeed, peace has been the cry of many a philosopher and preacher since the dawn of humanity.
This past week Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, shared with us in his Daily Briefing, a story about Vladimir Putin and his State of the Union Address. Dr. Mohler states that the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism was supposed to bring a time of peace. The United States would be the only Super Power and the result would bring about World Peace.
In Validmir Putin’s address he mentioned a weapon that Russia has which can be launched and fly indefinitely because it is nuclear powered weapon. Furthermore, it can overcome any American defense. It will launch fear in the heart of every American and American ally.
Before you get too concerned about Putin’s hyperbolic language, I think you should seriously consider the size of such a temporary weapon. The reality of its existence is pretty far fetched. I refer you to Mohler’s Briefing for a full description and explanation.
Mohler’s purpose in mentioning this was to emphasize for us that the hopes and dreams of those who thought Peace would come with the end of the Cold War would probably be disappointed. Those cries for peace, of course, never came and Putin’s inflammatory speech this past week presents evidence again that peace isn’t likely to come.
WW1 was to be the war to end all wars. It was suppose to usher in a time of world peace.
In 1795, Immanuel Kant issued a philosophy sketch entitled: Perpetual Peace. Kant stated that this era of Perpetual Peace would bring about a society that needs no armies or assassins. Enlightenment would usher in this era when all would see how foolish armies are. We would be too smart for all of that nonsense.
But as you already know, the enlightenment and the fall of communism didn’t bring the peace for which people have longed. The Prophets were right: outside of God, there is no hope. There is no hope for peace; there is no hope for joy; there is no hope in life. Outside of God, there is no hope.
Paul, though, offers us a different storyline than the world tells. He tells us of a peace, a hope and a joy that remain. Look with me in Romans 4.23, as we pick up to our passage:
23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Peace with God Through Faith
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,
Paul is saying here: Peace, Hope, Joy, and Grace… it is available to you through Jesus Christ, who shed his blood on the Cross and bore the penalty for our sins. God raised him three days later and by faith in him, you can be justified before God.
And this Justification by faith leads to many different blessing, four of which we find in this passage: Peace, Grace, Hope and Joy. We’ll look at all four this morning, but 1st, let’s talk about…
I. Peace (1)
exp.: rd v 1; 5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. James tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God. But, here, the opposite is true: through Christ, we now have peace. This idea of peace is reiterated down in verse 10 where it says we were reconciled to God through Christ.
Peace in OT prophecy mostly dealt with the eschatological peace (that means the end times) promised by God to his people through Isaiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Haggai, Zechariah. I’m sure you’re very aware of this. Does this sound familiar? 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
This promised peace is understood by Christians in the same manner. There will be a peace that comes when Christ returns. When the end comes, it will come suddenly. Psalm 2 hints at this when we read: Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” In Revelation we read of how they gather on the other side of the river to make war and then Jesus shows up and it’s over. There is no war – Jesus just shows up! Then, there is peace.
But, as believers, we don’t have to wait for that day. Yes, there is a very real sense that Paul is talking about that eschatological peace of when Christ returns and we spend eternity with him. But, there is a peace that the believer receives now. Jesus told us in John 14 that he would give us His peace. 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.
Paul mentions this peace quite often. In his letter to the to the Philippians (4): 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That’s right now.
ill.: Please don’t confuse peace with the removal of difficulty. If you’re a non-believer here this morning, let me do my best to explain to you what we believers have come to understand. Jesus said: 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
app.: Life still attacks us. The affects of sin still touch our world. We experience heartache and heartbreak; we know the pain of loss and illness. We see and experience death, divorce and disaster. The difference is that now, even in spite of struggle, we know peace. It is a felted thing. It is a very real thing.
t.s.: The first benefit Paul teaches us about is peace. And, 2ndly he says we have access to…
II. Grace (2a)
exp.: rd v 2a; 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand… lit.: through him we have (just like in v1) been brought to. “Obtained access” is a compound word. One part of the word means to lead and the other part of the word means to or toward. Some scholar say this word means to be led into the presence of royalty. You don’t just go stand before a King. You must be led into his presence.
This word appears 3x’s in the NT; all by Paul. It’s used here and in Ephesians (2.18; 3.12). In both of these other verses it sounds as if we’re been granted access to the very throne room of heaven. By faith and through Christ’s saving work, we now have been escorted into the very presence of God – having an audience with him. We’ve been escorted into this grace in which we now stand. This, too, has a double meaning.
Consider this passage: 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Consider the actions of God on our behalf:
- Made us alive together with Christ. This is obviously speaking from a spiritual standpoint.
- Raised us up with him (again, speaking spiritually)
- Seated us with him in the heavenly places (spiritually).
I don’t know how to explain the very real sense that you and I, as believers now, we’re sitting here this morning (in God’s Grace), but we’ve also been raised with Christ and we’re seated with him in the heavenly places (at the same time). Just as Christ died – we, too were dead in our trespasses and sins (that is, we were dead spiritually speaking). God quickened our dead spirits and breathed life into us. And, having been resurrected spiritually with Him, we were then seated with him in the heavenlies.
For the Christian, this is a present reality. But this is also a very real promise in the eschatological sense. Physical death is a very real possibility for you and me. There is the very real possibility that Christ could return before that happens. But in either occurrence, the believer knows that we will be ushered into the very presence of God.
John gives us a peek of this in Revelation 4. Isaiah 25.6-9
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
ill.: I was reading Friday about the American Embassy being moved to Jerusalem and being operational before the 70th birthday of Israel on May 14th. 70th birthday. That’s a generation. Some could argue 100 years is a generation. But even so, it is close. It is possible that I could live that long. Some of you younger people, should Christ tarry that long, will live to see it. But somewhere in between, I expect Christ to return.
app.: You and I, as believers, we’ve been invited into the holiest place to fellowship with God through the work of Christ.
t.s.: We have peace, we have obtained access into this grace in which we now stand; 3rd, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
III. Hope (2b-3)
exp.: rd 2b; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Hope. We’ll see Hope as a theme repeated in the rest of Romans. And, just as the previous two benefits were seen in both present and end times contexts, we see the same here with Hope. I think, we see it even clearer. Rd 2b-3a; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings… sufferings, being the present state. Do you see them both here? Verse 2 describes what I call the eschatological or end times hope… the hope of glory. And verse three describes the hope we have in our present sufferings.
It hadn’t always been that way: For those who scorned God’s Glory and fell short of God’s glory now have the hope of God’s glory.
- Those who scorned God’s glory in Romans 1.23: 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
- And fell short of God’s glory Romans 3.23: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- Now have the hope of God’s glory in 5.2.
Hope is a curious thing. It makes all the difference in the world. Talk to someone who has no hope and you’ll see what I mean.
ill.: I am amazed at how folks live life in ignorance of anything beyond the here and now. Then, something tragic happens and their lives are thrown into turmoil. They don’t know how to cope.
My sister never really had to struggle. My father didn’t want her to struggle. When he died, her life was thrown into confusion and turmoil. With the help of doctors, she turned to prescription medication. As the months and years went by, her doses became stronger and more potent. She turned to other drugs for help. I lost my sister 3 years ago this week.
app.: I’m not talking to you today as a man who doesn’t know what this means. I do. I’ve seen it – way too many times. And, I’ve lived it. I’m reminded of 1 Thessalonians 4.13 where Paul talks about the Christian and how the Christian grieves differently than a non-Christian. He said: 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. It isn’t that grief doesn’t hit us, but that when we’re in a storm of life, we have hope – a hope that the world doesn’t know about and really can’t understand.
t.s.: The world cannot grasp the Peace, the Grace, the Hope and the fourth benefit of justification:
IV. Joy (2-3)
exp.: I get this 4th benefit from these same verses: Rd 2b-3a; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings… Now, if you’re sitting here today and you’ve never accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior before, you’re probably thinking that these Christians have lost their minds! How in the world can someone have joy in the midst of suffering? These people must have lost their minds!
I think there is some confusion on the part of those looking in from the outside. I’m not sure, but I think the confusion comes from understanding the difference between happiness and joy. Christians have joy, but they aren’t always happy. Don’t confuse the two. Happiness is fleeting. Happiness is not a constant. It rises and falls with the ebb and flow of life.
ill.: I was not ‘happy’ when my sister died. But I still had joy. Joy, on the other hand, abides. I think sometimes that non-believers wonder about Christians – like they’re faking their happiness. Maybe some are. Maybe some young Christians don’t themselves understand the difference. But the difference is tremendous.
app.:To clarify it even further, I think it would be fair to say that happiness is an emotion. Joy runs much deeper. There is a ‘contentment’ or a satisfaction that Joy exudes which happiness can never attain. Happiness is determined by your surroundings and circumstances. Joy isn’t affected by outside forces. Don’t get me wrong; happiness is a good thing. But, it is something totally different than joy.
t.s.: this joy we have – it sticks with us in good times and in bad. We have it because we know that where we are now is not where we’re going to be.
Conclusion: I want to spend some more time on this idea of joy in suffering next week. So, we’ll pick up in v3 on the next Sunday morning. For now, let me conclude with the idea that these four seem to have a “now and a not yet” feel about them. What I mean by that statement is that we, as believers who’ve been justified by God the Father through Jesus his Son, we have peace, grace, hope and joy right now.
- This isn’t the peace, grace, hope and joy Immanuel Kant was predicting.
- These are four benefits of justification that aren’t contingent on outside variables and factors.
- They don’t rise and fall with the weather or with struggles.
- They don’t come in and go out with illnesses or bad news.
- They are a constant.
And, secondly, they are something that we will experience in all of their fullest measure on the final day when Christ returns.
Do you have that assurance? Do you know what it means to be joyful in all things? To hope in all things? If you don’t, I’d like to share with you how you can.
In a moment we’ll be dismissed. We’re going to gather around the coffee and cookie table back there. Come and talk with me about this. Maybe you’d say there is another decision on your heart. Let’s talk that out…
Friday I watched Billy Graham’s funeral on the Internet. I was deeply moved by the stories that were told about him. I think none moved me more than the youngest daughter who told her father’s love. Even in her worst times, when she had rejected his advice and counsel, he was waiting for her when she returned.
I know Billy Graham’s family wasn’t perfect and he sure wasn’t a perfect father. But, there is a father who is perfect – our heavenly father. He’s waiting and watching for you this morning. Let me introduce you to him. If you’ve not spoken to him in sometime, let me help you with that this morning.
We’ll have a moment of silence and then I’ll dismiss us with a word of prayer.