Summary: God says, “Upon the fabric of human suffering, I have superimposed my Biblical pattern, and if you will understand what I am trying to do, the result will be something beautiful if you just don’t mess it up.”
Today I want to talk about, “A Foretaste of Glory Divine.” Romans, 5:1-5 is really like a breath of fresh air. Many of you know Paul Long. His wife, Teddy, was buried just one week ago. She learned she had cancer last August. She was quite a fighter, but she went downhill pretty fast the last few weeks. Just a few hours before Teddy lost the ability to communicate with her family, they gathered around her bed in the bedroom at their home, and they read Romans 5:1-5. After having read it, it gave Ted the assurance and the confidence that it was okay to go to sleep in the arms of Jesus. It gave to that family the strength and dignity they needed to face the next few hours. They know what a powerful passage of scripture this is. If you are not aware of it, this is one of the greatest passages in all of the word of God.
“Therefore, since we have been [past tense] justified through faith, we have [present tense] peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ, 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. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.”
I. GOD'S PARDON FOR MY SIN
This is a very personal passage of scripture, and if you are listening to me today, and you are a born again believer, I just want to share with you three great blessings God has given to every one of us. First of all, I want you to notice God’s pardon for my sin. We read about that in verse 1. “Therefore, since we have been” (past tense) “justified, we have peace with God.” We all have this “sin” problem. That’s what he has taken the first four chapters to teach us, that we are all sinners by nature and by choice. But, God in his great love and grace has said, “Listen, I know you are a sinner, but I am willing to pardon, to forgive your sin.”
1. My past – justified!
Notice a couple of things in this verse. My past and your past, if you are a Christian, the word is justified. That is something that has already happened. That phrase, “we have been justified,” speaks of the point in the past, in time and space, where you put your faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. You heard Steve Breed talk about when he was nine years old. That was the point at which he was justified. From that point onward, God looked at him and looked at every sinner who has been saved and said, “You are justified.” You say, “Well, now, that’s a Bible word. I still don’t completely comprehend it.”
Do you remember back in the dark ages before we had computers? Remember before word processors, we had these old things called typewriters? Kids, you will see them in museums these days. On typewriters you had to justify the margins by counting the spaces. Today, the computers just set the margins and they justify the text automatically, but back then we had to count the spaces to justify the margins. What did that mean? That meant the margins were even, straight. So, when God, who is holy, looks at us who are sinful, and he says, “Okay, you are straight with me. Your sinfulness and my holiness have reached an agreement.” That’s what the word justified means. It means God looks at you and says, “Hey, you’re not guilty anymore.”
I heard an interesting story about a man who bought a Rolls Royce automobile in England. He ferried it across the English Channel, and he started on a tour of Europe. He drove all around Europe and the drove down into Italy. He was in a little town outside Rome when, of all things in a Rolls Royce, the engine blew! Well, he got on the telephone and called Rolls Royce, and said, “Well, the engine on my car blew. What are you going to do about it?” They said, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it.” They put two mechanics on a jet, flew them first class and shipped a brand new Rolls Royce engine to Rome. Those guys went out there and within twenty-four hours had replaced his engine, and he was on his way again. A few weeks after that, he got to thinking, “I wonder if I owe them any money, because I’m not sure about the warranty or anything like that.”