Summary: What sin did by separating you from God – Jesus undid and made us one again with God, our Creator. It’s not just the ceasing of hostilities, like a cease fire. We join His family, become His children. Find out how to get an "All Access" pass to the thron
To hear an audio verson of this message go to: www.LivingWatersWeb.com
Do you ever go to concerts? Sometimes before or after the show you see these guys and gals walking around with T-shirt carrying the logo of the band’s tour, and a whole bunch of ID cards around their neck. If you look closely at one of those badges it will say: "All Access." It means they can go wherever they want back stage. They get to rub elbows with the star and see how the show is put on from behind the scenes.
I’ve always wanted to have one of those passes – and now I do – not for some famous rock star, but backstage with the star of all time – the "bright and morning star" – the God who lives in "unapproachable light" – let’s take a look how.
5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 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.
These are some of the most comforting words ever written. It’s like Paul has been building up through chapters 1 – 4 this big case of why we are sinners separated from God and why faith in Jesus apart from our own rightness is the only way back.
Now he says "therefore." Because of this justification – what is the result? Peace. Peace through Jesus. You’ve seen the bumper sticker: "No Jesus N-O? No peace. Know Jesus K-N-O-W, know peace." This word "peace" is interesting – amazing really. It is the Greek word eirene. It means "to set at one again."
What sin did by separating you from God – and just how Paul gets into later in the chapter – Jesus undid and made us one again with God, our Creator. It’s not just the ceasing of hostilities, like a cease fire. We join His family, become His children.
Paul says we have "access" into His grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God on us. This verse is another of many in the book of Romans that ought to be on the "must memorize" list.
The result of Jesus’ death is justification, peace with God, and access to His favor – but its more – "we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." What is that? It’s the hope that His wonderful character, so pure, perfect, real – will be ours as well. 1 John 3:2 says "But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." Not only did He save us from wrath, not only did He grant us a place in His family, at His side – but He is changing us - 2 Corinthians 3:18
"18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
So how does this happen? Partly through difficulties. What? Paul says
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
What? Rejoice in sufferings? Are you kidding? No, we get upset with suffering, we get angry at suffering, we rail against suffering – but rejoice? Yes. Why?
because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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
If you lie on your back all your life watching TV your muscles will atrophy and you’ll get fat and probably die at a young age. But if you put your muscles under stress by exercising, they will grow strong. It is exactly the same way spiritually. The more we experience suffering – the stronger the Lord makes us. I know that seems weird – but look at the fourfold progression Paul lays out: suffering, perseverance, character, and hope.
God teaches us through difficult times to rely on Him. The more we rely on Him to get us through the more we develop perseverance – a fancy word for "endurance." I started lifting weights a few months ago – I started out at a smaller weight for 10 repetitions – but the more I lifted the more weight I can keep up for longer periods of time. It happens because as I put resistance to the weight. Muscles grow when you put tension between fibers for a certain amount of time. Once I get comfortable with a weight I have to work harder to get muscles to grow more.
That’s how it is with suffering – it seems like the last trial is worse than the one before – and the tension grows. Suffering can do two things – it can drive us from God or drive us to Him. Peter writes: "Cast your care on Him for He cares for You." The Lord doesn’t want to see how we can suffer, but how much we can cast our cares and difficulties on Him and trust in Him.