Summary: Having been justified by faith in Jesus Christ one begins a new relationship with God. And if one has this new relationship then by God's grace they can mature in the love of God through the Holy Spirit in all the circumstances of life.
ROMANS 5: 1-5
The Sources of OUR HOPE
Chapter five calls us to rejoice in what faith can do. Luther said, "In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text" (Epistle to the Romans, p. 72). It is like a mountain pass from which one revels in scenery after having labored through the inclines and switchbacks of argumentation in the earlier chapters. The view cannot be fully appreciated without the effort it took to get there. [James Edward. New International Biblical Com. Romans. Peabody, Mass: Hendricks Publishing, 1992. p 132.]
Chapter five begins another transition point in the book of Romans. Having set out God's way of justifying sinners and establishing it on the basis of Old Testament precedent, Paul now turns his attention to some of the marvelous consequences of justification by faith. Men and women who were formerly in a state of rebellion against God, by transferring their trust to the Lord Jesus Christ's substitutionary death and justifying resurrection (4:25) are moved into a right standing with God. This new relationship is one of peace with God and access to God. And if one has this relationship then by God's grace they can mature in the love of God through the Holy Spirit in all the circumstances of life (CIT).
I. The New Relationship, 1-2.
II. The New Understanding, 3-4.
III. The New Outpouring, 5.
THE NEW RELATIONSHIP
In verse one the desperate situation of repentant sinners is transformed through justification by faith into one of peace with God. "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Justification ( , to set right), is appropriated by faith in the Lord's substitutionary death and His bodily resurrection (which proved the sufficiency of His blood atonement). The antecedent of "we have peace" is "having been justified by faith." If one has not been justified by faith they have no peace with God. Faith in Jesus Christ makes possible a relationship with God. Before a person is justified by faith, they are at enmity with God. Their hostility may be expressed in apathy to God's purpose, in flagrant defiance (Rom. 1:32), or it may take the form of impenitence or hard-heartedness in the midst of religious services as was the Jewish case just described (Rom. 3: 19-20).
In this context the basic meaning of peace is reconciliation with God. Peace with God comes when a person's arrogance yields to a grateful acceptance of God's gracious way of making sinful people right with Himself. This brings about the removal of divine wrath (5:9-11) from the sinner and His restoration to divine favor. This new relationship involves more than an inward feeling of peace of mind (subjective peace). It is the changing of a person's status before God from enmity (wrath) to peace (objective peace). Feelings of peace are derived from this changed status; they do not determine it.
[Feelings Aside] A man came to his pastor and said, "I FELT SAVED at the meeting yesterday. Now it has all gone, and I don't feel saved at all today. It is as dark as night." The pastor replied, "I'm so glad." The man looked at the pastor with astonishment and said, "What do you mean?"
Yesterday God let you feel saved. Today He sees you are resting on your emotion instead of the fact of Christ's death and resurrection. He has taken your feelings away in order to turn you to Christ. You have lost your feelings but you have not lost Christ. Have you ever passed through a railway tunnel?" "Yes, often." "Because it was dark did you get melancholy and depressed?" "Of course not." And did you after a while, again come into the light?" "I just have right now!" he exclaimed. I am saved whether I feel like it or not.
Immature Christians sometimes tend to be tossed between emotional highs and lows. They need to realize that their feelings at any given time have no effect upon the death that Jesus Christ has already died for their sins. Our salvation does not depend upon our feelings, rather it is based upon His finish work on the cross, a historical fact.
Rock guitarist JIMI HENDRIX led a promiscuous life, indulging in drugs and behaving outrageously on and off the stage. At the end of a concert in 1970, Jimi smashed his guitar. According to Robert McGee and Donald Sapaugh in Search for Peace, the audience screamed and applauded, but suddenly the frenzied applause stopped. Jimi had fallen on his knees and was staying in that position motionless. He broke the stillness by asking, "If you know real peace, I want to visit with you backstage." But apparently nobody responded to his startling invitation. Several days later he died from an overdose of drugs. Peace, real peace, eluded Jimi Hendrix.