Summary: God can use life’s pressures to mold us or we can let Satan use the difficulties to destroy us.
Grace, Peace and Pressure
Romans 5: 1-5
A. What does it take for you to be at peace?
1. You make enough to pay your bills and have some left over for pleasurable activities?
2. No one in the family is arguing?
3. Your employment is secure from all outward appearances?
4. Your health appears intact?
B. How do you deal with life’s pressures?
1. Get angry and lash out at any who may have caused the pressure?
2. Grow bitter because life has handed you a raw deal?
3. Walk away and quit?
4. Turn to substances you think will help you handle the pressure?
C. Paul will deal with some difficult subjects in the next four chapters.
1. To adequately understand them, we must realize the two sided reality of the Christian life-peace and pressure.
2. We are in a spiritual battle every day.
3. While we are complete in Christ, we are also in the process of growing-we cannot nor should we remain babes in the faith.
4. Though we reign with Christ, we are still his slaves and are responsible for doing the bidding of our Master.
5. Though we have the presence of Christ in us through his Spirit, we still face the pressure to sin.
I. Grace By Faith Leads To Peace (vv. 1-2)
A. Because of what Christ has done-and through our faith in him, we are now at peace with God.
1. Paul has already dealt at length with faith. It is said that when attempting to translate the word “faith” for the Chamula people of Southern Mexico it was discovered there was no single word in their language to translate that word.
2. Translators crossed a major hurdle when they translated it as follows: “taking seriously what God has obligated himself to do.”
3. We can read this into verse one-“Therefore, since we have taken seriously what God has obligated himself to do, we have peace with God.”
4. The process of justification brings us into the peaceful condition Paul will now speak about.
5. As mentioned in the introduction of this lesson, we often feel certain things have to take place or that we have to possess certain items for peace to be experienced.
6. Spiritual peace, however, has nothing to do with our circumstances or what we might own.
7. Biblical peace is peace beyond our understanding (Philippians 4:7) and possessed regardless of or in spite of the circumstances.
8. The Greek word for peace (eirene, [i ray’ nay]) means there is no more hostility between us and God.
9. Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, references this peace that surpasses our understanding.
10. It is a peace that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. In other words, this peace God gives will keep us focused and will wart off anxiety and worry no matter how intense our circumstances appear.
11. It is preceded by bringing our prayers and supplications to God, for only as we share our concerns with him will he in turn give us that peace.
12. As we bring those things that appear unpeaceful to God, we acknowledge our lack of control over the circumstances and express our trust in him to carry us through the difficulty we are currently experiencing.
B. There is a greater peace than peace in troubling circumstances.
1. This superior peace has nothing to do with our circumstances.
2. In fact, we can only have peace in our circumstances when it is preceded by peace with God.
3. We have peace with God first because of what Christ has done at Calvary but second because we have accepted that gift by faith.
4. Jesus brings peace because he is the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
5. This peace results from knowing our sins have been forgiven, that we are no longer under condemnation and that we will never have to face God as our judge because we are a part of his family and a joint heir with his Son.
6. One characteristic of Hebrew writing is its poetic repetition which allows a person to see an already revealed truth from a different angle.
7. So it is with the matter of grace. Not only does God justify and reconcile us to himself through our faith in Christ, but our faith also ushers us into the grace in which we stand. That is, Christ ushers us into the presence of God.
8. We might imagine an opportunity to visit the President in the Oval Office. We approach a closed door-all the while knowing the most important man in the free world is behind that door sitting at his desk. We cannot go in there, however, by ourselves. One of his cabinet members opens the door, ushers us in, and introduces us to him.