Summary: In this sermon we observe the blessings of justification by faith, the first of which is peace with God, and the second is standing in grace.
In the first four chapters of his letter to the Romans the apostle Paul explains how we come into a right relationship with God. The good news of God is that we can come into a right relationship with God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This is called justification by faith.
Now, as he begins chapter 5, the apostle Paul writes about the blessings of justification. Having explained how we receive justification, he now explains what justification gives us.
"1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
"6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:1-11)
Dr. James Montgomery Boice, in his commentary on Romans, and on which today’s sermon is based, says that “one of the most important principles of sound Bible interpretation is that not everything written in the Bible is for everybody.”
Old Bill’s hospital bed is surrounded by well-wishers, but it doesn’t look good. Suddenly, he motions frantically to the pastor for something to write on. The pastor lovingly hands him a pen and a piece of paper. Bill uses his last bit of energy to scribble a note, and then dies.
The pastor thinks it best not to look at the note right away, so he places it in his jacket pocket.
At Bill’s funeral, as the pastor is finishing his eulogy, he realizes he’s wearing the same jacket when Bill died.
“Bill handed me a note just before he died,” he says. “I haven’t looked at it, but knowing Bill, I’m sure there’s a word of inspiration in it for us all.”
Opening the note, he reads aloud, “Help! You’re standing on my oxygen hose!”
We acknowledge every day that messages are addressed to certain individuals and not to others. One of the tasks of a pastor is to make sure that he delivers the right message to the right person.