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Wednesday, June 03 2020

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

Introduction

Have you ever thought of what life would be like without God’s immeasurable and unquantifiable grace? His salvation? Thank God for Jesus Christ, who provided the platform through which we can access this grace and gain access to the Father through faith in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Ephesians 2: 14 says “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,”. We will be continuing in our study on Justification by faith and its implications and eternal benefits for us as believers in Jesus Christ. Today’s study is a follow up on last week’s focus on Abraham, justified by faith.

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:1)
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" NLT

On the basis of justification through faith Paul makes the statement that we have peace with God. 'We' includes all who believe in Jesus Christ; 'have' indicates that right now, at this present moment of existence, and at every moment of existence, we possess peace with God. Because it is through faith and through Jesus Christ this present peace is not conditional on our goodness, not conditional on our degree of sanctification, not conditional on our present sinlessness. It is grounded in Christ. And what is this 'peace’? This peace with God is the removal of the enmity, alienation and hostility between us and God. It is the freedom from the necessity to strive to gain or maintain our acceptance with God. It is being able to live in his presence without fear of rejection, condemnation and punishment today or in the future. This is the subjective peace with God that issues from a firm grasp of the gospel.

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' (5:2)
"through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God." NLT 

The words 'through whom' indicate that Jesus Christ is always the mediator; that our relationship with God is always and only through Jesus Christ. This 'grace' this 'peace with God is never, even for a fleeting moment, gained through our own goodness and/or endeavors. 'We have gained access' that is, into the presence of God; this was previously barred to us because of our sin. Right now, at this existential moment, we have this access. 'By faith' - faith is always the present operating principle in our relationship with God. It is the only valid and effective operating principle by which we relate to God at any and every moment right through our lives. 'Into this grace' for a sinner to enter the presence of God, and live, is sheer grace. The complete salvation which was gained for us by the death of Jesus Christ is here compacted in this one word 'grace'. It is totally incongruous (out of place) with this definitive one-word summary of the Gospel to assume that we have to maintain our salvation by our own efforts. 'In which we now stand' Grace is also now, not only a description of the way God relates to the believer, but indicative of the sphere in which the believer now exists; the believer is in the arena, or the kingdom, of grace, not the arena or kingdom where law and performance rules.

Not only is there now peace with God, there is also confident joy. The word translated 'rejoice' is the same word translated with 'boast' or 'glory', depending on which translation you read, in 3:27 and 4:2. The salvation we have in Jesus Christ outlaws boasting or glorying or rejoicing in our own actions. Not only is there now peace, there is also certain hope. This 'hope' is not the uncertain, wishful thinking such as we express in 'I hope it doesn't rain' or 'I hope I get this position'. Biblical hope is a certain and fixed confidence and assurance.

So Paul is saying 'we rejoice in our certain expectation', 'we rejoice in our calm and confident assurance. Here is something to boast and glory about, here is something to be confidently, exuberantly happy about, here, if you wish, is something to brag about, to talk about all the time, because it is so sure, so certain, so guaranteed.

What is this 'glory of God' in which the Christian believer rejoices with strong and certain confidence? What is this 'glory of God' which apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ we would not and could not attain. It is that pure, untarnished knowledge of God in which there is no darkness and no doubt, where the fullness of his holiness and majesty are uncorrupted by our human misconceptions of his being.

Not Only So, But We Also Rejoice in Our Sufferings ... (5:3-5)
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." NLT

The unexpectedness of this statement surprises us. Why should Paul, in the middle of his lengthy explanation of the gospel truth of justification by faith, abruptly refer to suffering? It is a common human perception that suffering is a punishment for sin, that if something bad happens to me, then I must have done something bad to deserve it. We can see this quite easily in the frequently asked questions 'What have I done to deserve this?’ and 'Why do innocent children suffer?’ Suffering is clearly viewed as punishment, as an expression of the 'justice' that 'god', whoever or whatever 'god' is, is meting out on the inhabitants of earth. But Paul says that not only do we rejoice in our hope, but we also 'rejoice in our sufferings'.

This is because our suffering is:

  • part and parcel of being a disciple of Jesus Christ: Mark 8:31-37,
  • an indication of our identification with Christ: John 15:18,
  • a means by which the genuineness of faith is proved: Luke 8:1-15,
  • a means by which God is glorified: 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 11:16-12:10,
  • a means by which God refines us: Hebrews 12:1-11.

We also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that;

  • 'suffering produces perseverance' that is, patience, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness.
  • 'perseverance produces character ... ' The Greek is 'dokime': the process of proving, the effect of proving, approval, tested character. The imagery is that of proving gold by testing it with fire. See James 1:3; 1 Peter 1:7; and Job 23:10.
  • character produces hope ... ' Confident certainty and expectation.
  • And hope does not disappoint us ... '

Hope does not make us ashamed, or put us to shame because God has poured out his love into our hearts ... ''This is the ground or foundation of our confidence, our hope. The verb is perfect tense: it happened in the past and the effects of that are continuing in the present. Note that this is not speaking of our love for God but of God's love poured into our hearts, so that we have experienced and still experience His love. By the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us ... 'It is God's Spirit within us, who testifies to the love of God for us, who assures us that we are now children of God - see Romans 8 and Galatians 4. God himself, by his Spirit, assures and comforts us (John 14:15).

When did God's justifying act in Christ occur (Romans 5:6-11)
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." NLT

'You see, at just the right time'. Paul's point here is that God saved us when we were totally unable to save ourselves, totally disqualified, totally cut off from him by our sin. He stresses this very strongly, because of our ever-present inclination to relate to God on the basis of our own merit and ability, and to assume that God relates to us on that same basis.

  • Christ died for us 'when we were still powerless ... ' God didn't wait for us to improve our behaviour and increase our merit before he took steps to save us. When Jesus died for us we were 'powerless'. This tells us of our utter inability to save ourselves
  • Christ died for those whom Paul calls 'the ungodly’. As Jesus said: 'I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners' (Matthew 9:13), and 'the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost' (Luke 19:10). At the bottom line no, one is 'godly', but it is only those who recognize that who know their need to reach out and take salvation as a free gift from the hand of Jesus.
  • Christ died for us 'while we were still sinners ... ' Not content with stating that Christ 'died for the ungodly' Paul says it again in different words, and again he emphasizes that it was 'while we were still' sinners ' not after we had achieved some degree of self-improvement, not after we had turned over a new leaf, not after we could show some evidence that we were serious about God and religion - no. While we were still sinners.
  • Christ died for us 'when we were God's enemies ... ' Not only were we powerless, ungodly and sinners, we were also God's enemies when he did this amazing thing for us. 'When we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son' (5:10). This is sheer, absolute love. Sheer, absolute grace. God planned it. God initiated it. God did it. For us. When we were his enemies. Let’s all take a cue from this and extend same grace to our “enemies”.

Conclusion 

How does Paul describe God's justifying act in Christ (Romans 5:6,8,9,10,11)
Paul describes God’s justifying acts by stating that Christ died for the ungodly and sinners... ' (5:6,8); 'We have been justified by his blood' (5:9) and ‘We were reconciled to him through the death of Christ ... ' (5:10).
As we have seen in Romans 3, and as we will see again powerfully taught and explained in chapter 6, the death of Christ is means by which salvation is obtained and provided. Again we see Paul using the word 'justified’ that is, legally acquitted; we see also the concept of reconciliation, which is very similar to the 'atonement' we found in 3:25. Paul's purpose here in 5:1-11 is to make sure we understand what the effective cause of our salvation is: it is nothing in us, for we were powerless, ungodly, sinners and enemies of God. The effective cause of our salvation is the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, an action, an event, embedded in the will of God, that cannot be undone by any lack of merit or deserving on our part. It is this death, this shed blood, by which we are justified, by which we are reconciled to God. Hallelujah!

This study is culled from https://godswordforyou.com/bible-studies/romans/174-study-ten-justification-by-faith-its-radical-and-liberating-implications-romans-51-11.html

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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