Summary: Every door has two sides. Jesus has introduced us to the warm side.
In his commentary on Paul’s letter to the Romans, Dr. Francis Schaeffer points out that chapters 1-4 tell us why we must be saved, and tell us how we can be saved. Then chapters 5-8 of Romans assume that we are now Christians, and in them, Paul explains what the Christian life is all about.
So I want to begin by drawing your attention to the tense of the first two phrases of chapter 5, and their significance.
First, see that Paul says, “Therefore, HAVING BEEN justified by faith...”
The King James translation says, “...being justified...”. Now, that is not necessarily wrong, but it is an unfortunate rendering in that it can give the idea of justification being a process, and confuse it with progressive sanctification.
Justification , or our position of right standing with God, is an historical event. What I mean by that is, our justification (or the way to be right with God) was provided for us on the cross of Christ. He shed His blood and died, taking the penalty for sin upon Himself and making our justification possible...available.
Then the moment each one of us believed, historically, at that precise moment in time, we were declared by God to be right with Him through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Our justification was complete at that moment. Believers, each one of you who has believed in the atoning work of Christ on the cross of Calvary and appropriated that work to yourself through faith, ...you were every bit as saved at the moment you believed, as you are now; as you will be in eternity.
Christ’s finished work is just that...finished. It is not something He IS DOING, but something He HAS DONE.
So Paul is saying, HAVING BEEN (past tense) justified by faith, we HAVE (present/progressive tense) peace with God.
Now that peace with God is not to be confused with the peace OF God. We, because we are still in the flesh and by the Spirit war against our sin nature, often have times when we do not have the peace OF God. our own sin interrupts it; our weak prayer life interrupts it; the circumstances of the individual day can interrupt our sense of God’s peace.
But Paul is talking about peace WITH God. That is to say, God, entirely of His own volition, has reached out to rebellious man, and has MADE peace, through the sacrifice of His only Son.
As Paul wrote in Colossians 1:20, “...and through Him (Christ) to reconcile all things to Himself, HAVING MADE PEACE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS...”
And II Corinthians 5:20-21, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
As I approach the phrase that we will focus most sharply on today, I want to point out this term, “through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Paul’s emphasis throughout chapters 5-8, is that all that we have from God, all that we are and are becoming in Him, is THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Nothing is of ourselves; nothing gained by our own merit; nothing held back because of our lack of deserving.