“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God”
Notice that we have peace with God and not the peace of God. What is the difference?
Peace with God is objective. It means there is no hostility between God and us. The peace of God is subjective. It is the feeling of peacefulness that may ebb and flow.
Think about it like peace between 2 nations that are at peace with each other. The peace countryside of at the top of quiet mountain is the feeling “the peace of” that country, but the lack of war between 2 nations is peace with each other.
What it means to have peace “with” God is that He is no longer hostile towards us.
Do you see how Romans 5:1, the first verse of the second main section, answers Roman 1:18, the first verse of the first main section?
Peace with God is the opposite of being under the wrath of God. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ than this means God is not angry with you and has already been poured out on Jesus. There is no wrath against you.
You must believe that God is not and never will be angry with you. Otherwise you will not be able to receive the next blessing in Romans 5:2. “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.”
Access is only used 2 other times in the NT and both times it is by Paul in Ephesians and both times it has to do with prayer.
Is Your Prayer Life Lacking?
It is hard to pray if you think God is angry with you. If you think God is angry with you when you sin, then you will not go to him in prayer nearly as often as you would if you knew that he was not angry with you.
If you do not have much of a prayer life, the problem might be because you do not understand justification by faith alone. There are a lot of devotional writings that make us feel guilty about our prayerlessness and they are not helping you.
Guilt very well maybe the cause of your prayerlessness. You do not need any more guilt. If you want to boost your prayer life then get a book on justification. Read Romans! Study and know that the anger of God is forever turned away from you and that the throne room of grace is forever opened to you. You can boldly draw near and pray to a father who loves you infinitely more than you even love your own children.
How did Jesus teach about prayer?
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)
HOW MUCH MORE DOES THE FATHER LOVE YOU?
Our desires to prayer will grow as our understanding of the love of the father grows and as we understand that we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We are standing in grace.
The word stand is written in the future tense, meaning there is a past action with an on-going present reality. We were justified by his grace and because of that past action we can now confidently and enduringly stand in his grace.
What then is the result of such wonderful truths?
“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
The word rejoice is the same word used in Romans 3:27.
There is a boasting that is excluded by justification, but there is another kind of boasting that is enabled by justification.
The boasting that is excluded is any boasting in our works, but the boasting that is enable is a boasting in the confident hope of Christ’s work. When you boast in Jesus’ work it is not arrogant and it glorifies God.
Do you rejoice like that?
If you don’t, then go back to the fountain of justification until the joy of your salvation is restored. The peace and joy mentioned here in verse 1 and 2 are the first fruits of justification.
This peace and joy are not dependent on our sanctification. Paul does not say “We have been justified by faith, so let’s get to work on killing sin.” NO, NO, NO, NO!
He says, we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God and we have permanent access into his grace. So we rejoice!
This peace and joy is the fuel that feeds our sanctification. To tell people to focus on their sanctification after they have been justified so that then they will be filled with peace and joy is to undo what Paul is saying here. That gets it all wrong.
So let us rejoice and then we will see small steps towards holiness as confirmation that we have already begun to be glorified.
This post comes from a sermon by Mike Shea and the audio can be found here.