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Summary: Justification by faith in Christ carries greater blessings that one could ever imagine.

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Introduction:

Receiving a compliment from someone you know is a pleasant experience. It is a pleasant one not just because of the compliment per se, but the greater effects it brings to the receiver.

In the same manner, to be judicially declared righteous in the sight of God by virtue of union with Christ carries with it greater blessings one could ever imagine.

The Apostle Paul after explaining God's way of declaring believing sinner righteous in His sight (Rom 3:21-31), and illustrating it in the lives of Abraham (Rom 4:1-25), goes on to indicate the blessings involved of having been declared righteous before God.

Body:

I. Peace with God (v. 1)

The passage begins with an adverb "therefore". This is only suggests that Paul's discussion here is the outcome of his previous discussion. In other words, Paul sets the stage to enumerate the greater blessings accompanied in being declared righteous in God's sight, a doctrinal concept he has been explaining in the previous chapter of his epistle to the Romans.

The first from his list of blessing involved in justification by faith is peace-peace with God. The Apostle Paul was so unequivocal to declare that this kind of peace is with God, not "from" or "in" God. Therefore, this kind of peace is not psychological or internal state, rather a relational one.

The New Testament calls this concept of being at peace with God reconciliation (cf. Rom 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:18; Col 1:20-22). The word reconciliation is the English equivalent of the Greek word, katallage, which actually derived from the verb, katallaso, which means, “to exchange, reestablish, restore relationship, to make things right, to remove enmity.” When applied to believers’ relation to God, it simply means that the enmity between man and God which is caused by sin has been removed through the death of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are no longer enemies of God but, through Christ, in favor of Him as stipulated in verse 2. To be in favor with God is to approach God freely without any fear of being rejected by Him.

II. Joy (vv. 2-3, 11)

The Apostle Paul mentions three elements of joy in this passage:

The first is the “hope of the glory of God”. That is, our confident expectation of the realization of God’s glory.

The second is “in our suffering”. If this statement seems surprising and strange for some of us, it would be proper to remind us that affliction and suffering are but natural experience of Christians (cf. Acts 14:22; Jas 1:2). Besides, Paul tells us that we are to rejoice in our suffering for it manufactures Christian virtues (vv. 4-5).

And the third one is “in God” Himself. The Apostle Paul is saying that we rejoice in God because in the first place it was Him who gave His Son so that through Him we receive reconciliation. For without the gift of His Son there would be no reconciliation.

Men and women alike pursue joy in every (wrong) avenue imaginable. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found.

Not in Unbelief – Voltaire, a foremost unbeliever, wrote, “I wish I had never been born.”

Not in Money – Jay Gould, an American millionaire when he was about to die, said, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”

Not in Pleasure – Lord Byron, 18th century English poet who lived a life of pleasure, wrote poetically, “The worm, the canker, the grief are mine alone.”

Not in Position or Fame – Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. Yet he wrote, “Youth is a mistake; manhood is a struggle; old age a regret.”

Not in Military Glory – Alexander the Great, after conquering the then-known world, wept in his tent and said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”

Where then is the true joy found? The simple answer is in Christ alone!

III. Hope

The third item in Paul’s list is hope (v. 2).

Interpreters of the Bible are divided as to the exact meaning of this phrase. Some believe it refers to the literal unveiling of God’s glory at the end times which is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. While others hold on the restoration of God-given glory in the believers (cf. Rom 8:18-25). But it would not presumptuous to say it may be both. For both are intimately connected. When God literally appears in glory we will also appear in glory –the glory which was lost because of sin but is restored through our union with Christ.

This hope is what fuels our faith at the present to face suffering and persevere up to the end. Such hope is not unfounded optimism like the story of a man who was sentence to death but obtained a delay of execution by assuring the king he would teach his majesty’s horse to fly within a year --- in the condition that if he failed he would be put to death at the end of the year. The man hoped that within a year a king may die, or he may die, or the horse may die. In a year, who knows? Maybe the horse will learn to fly!

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