Summary: This sermon reveals a part of who we are and what we have in Christ, your identity in Christ by relating what you receive as a result of receiving the righteousness of Christ including Peace with God, Access to Grace and Hope in God’s glory.
Based on what Paul has just taught about – justification by faith alone and the crediting of righteousness to our lives, there are benefits of your having believed in Jesus Christ. The “therefore” connects Chapter 5 with what Paul has just written. In fact, “since we have been justified through faith,” summarizes the entire argument of Chapters 1 – 4. Those who have placed their trust in Christ can rest assured that as a result of their faith righteousness has been credited to you. The basis of your confidence is on the fact that Christ was put to death for your sins and raised to life that you may receive His righteousness.
The KJV translates this first phrase, “Therefore, being justified by faith” which is an aorist passive participle. We might render it as the NIV does, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith.” The aorist tense indicates action at a specific point in time and the passive mode of action means that the subject has received the action. In addition, the Greek word for justified, “dikaioo” ending in two omicrons generally means to bring out that which a person IS. In this case it means to bring out that a person is righteous. Our justification simultaneously performs a miracle in us, changing our character. The righteousness which characterizes God is dispensed spiritually and miraculously into you and me.
Therefore, you experience results of your faith. There are benefits of believing which make the victorious living of the Christ life possible for you and me. The important thing is that you come to understand all the benefits of believing that are yours. Let me see if I can illustrate the importance of this in a true story.
There was a man in west Texas who owned several hundred acres of land upon which he raised sheep and goats. He was barely eking out an existence when the depression hit our country and we sank into a financial crisis. The rancher himself was fast becoming a pauper. He couldn’t even pay the taxes on his land and the bank was about to foreclose on the property. Just before the foreclosure an oil company signed an agreement with him to allow them to do exploratory drilling on his land. They moved their rigs onto his ranch and sank long shafts deep into the soil and rocks. They struck oil and in a matter of a few days the sheep rancher was transformed from a pauper to a millionaire.
Now, the question is, was his previous poverty necessary? Before answering, think about this: when did he actually own the oil? No, his preceding poverty wasn’t necessary because he actually owned the oil from the moment he got the deed to the land! The actual reality was that he was a millionaire all along. But all he experienced was that he was a pauper because he had not appropriated what which was genuinely his. My point is, most Christians are living like “spiritual paupers” when in actual reality we have limitless riches in Christ. It’s here that Paul begins to teach us about the benefits of believing. One of those benefits is:
I. WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD verse 1
Peace here refers to a “state of union” or status so to speak, between God and a believer. They are no longer at war or strife but have been brought together in relationship. This is an objective state of peace with God that comes as a result of having been granted a right standing with Him. Peace means we have a new relationship with God. We are no longer hostile toward God or alienated from God nor are we enemies of God as Colossians 1:21-22 indicates. Rather we are one with God in spirit and we are at peace with God. This new relationship is described as peace by Paul in Ephesians 2:14-15.
To have peace with God means to be in a relationship with God in which all the hostility caused by sin has been removed. It’s to exist no longer under the wrath of God. Peace is also the joyful experience of those who live in harmony with God, with other people and themselves. This peace as an objective state also has an impact on our psychological state as well. When we are at peace with God and we understand the benefits of that which we have in Christ, feelings of peace, oneness, security, contentment and more will flow continuously in your life. And of course, this peace is possible through “our Lord Jesus Christ.” He is your peace! Another benefit of believing is:
II. WE HAVE ACCESS TO GRACE verse 2a
We stand in a position and experience the condition of grace because of our faith in Jesus Christ. I hear God saying two things here. One has to do with our introduction into this grace in which we stand. The Good News Bible translation gives us this sense, “He has brought us by faith into this experience of God’s grace.” Another translation says, “we have obtained our introduction into this grace.” The picture here is that of a person being brought into the presence of someone of high standing. It refers to one’s introduction into a relationship. And indeed through our spiritual union by faith in Christ we have been ushered into the very presence of the gracious, kind, loving God.