Summary: Believer’s can be Assured of their salvation, possessing Unwavering Faith because of: 1) The believer’s Peace with God (Romans 5:1), their 2) Standing in Grace (Romans 5:2a), and their 3) Hope of glory (Romans 5:2b-5a)
Over this past week, I had the privilege of leading a group of Vacation Bible School kids to focus on scripture and its realities. Although there weren’t any overt professions of faith, we know that God’s word can have a life changing effect on people, even children. But there are so many sources of difficulties for children, that this effect if often doubted or minimized. Teachers, parents, relatives, and even other kids can dismiss the faith of a child because they are a child. But the same work that can change an adult’s life, can equally impact, even a child.
One of Satan’s primary tactics against believers is that of making them doubt that salvation is secure forever or that it is real in their personal case. Perhaps for that reason, Paul describes one of the key parts of a Christian’s armor as “the helmet of salvation” (Eph. 6:17; cf 1 Thess. 5:8), provided to surround and protect a believers mind against doubt and insecurity concerning his redemption. This is both objective and subjective. First, salvation can be shown by the objective testimony of Scripture to be eternally secure for all the saved. The issue of eternal security, or “once saved, always saved,” has been hotly debated throughout much of church history. Everyone agrees that the truth or falsehood of that doctrine is of immense importance. But it is also crucial to the believer to recognize the evidence that one actually has that real salvation. Once security is established as a fact of salvation, then assurance must be maintained in the heart of the Christian subjectively.
In chapters 3 and 4 of Romans, Paul establishes unequivocally that salvation comes only on the basis of God’s grace working through a believers faith. The apostle has established the fact that faith has always been the only way to salvation. Abraham, the physical progenitor of all Jews and their supreme example of a man right with God, did not accomplish that relationship through his good works but only through his faith. The questions and objections Paul now addresses pertain to how salvation is maintained. “Granted that a person is made right with God only by ‘being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus’ ” (3:24; cf 4:24), some of Paul’s readers would say. “Under what conditions then is redemption preserved? If a person is saved only through his faith, apart from any good works they may achieve, does that mean such a person can henceforth live just as they please because of their right relationship with God is eternally secure? Or is salvation preserved by one’s good works?”
In developing his argument in the book of Romans against the destructive notion that believers must live in uncertainty about the completion of their salvation, Paul presents “links” in the chain of truth that binds a true believer eternally to their Savior and Lord, completely apart from any effort or merit on the believer’s part. Believer’s can be Assured of their salvation, possessing Unwavering Faith because of: 1) The believer’s Peace with God (Romans 5:1), their 2) Standing in Grace (Romans 5:2a), and their 3) Hope of glory (Romans 5:2b-5a)
Believer’s can be Assured of their salvation, possessing Unwavering Faith because of:
1) The Believer’s Peace with God (Romans 5:1)
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
The first link in the unbreakable chain that eternally binds believers to Christ is their peace with God. The term therefore connects Paul’s present argument with what he has already said. In fact, “since we have been justified by/through faith” (v. 1) summarizes the entire argument of chaps. 1–4. In chapter 1, the wrath of God is declared. In chapter 2 is the summary of deserving judgement because all have transgressed God’s law and are deserving of His wrath. In chapter 3, we see our inability to save ourselves from the wrath of God and in chapter 4, Abraham is illustrated as the example of one who was justified by faith alone, just as how everyone to repents of sin can be right with God. Now in chapter 5, we see how one can have assurance of faith. Faith does not focus on our faithfulness or trustworthiness, but on God’s. Those who have placed their trust in Christ can rest assured that their faith has been credited to them as righteousness (Rom 4:24). Their confidence is based on the fact that Christ was put to death for their sins and raised again that they might be declared just (Rom 4:25) (Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, pp. 132–133). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).
The verb translated we have is in the present tense, indicating something that is already possessed. Many of a believer’s blessings must await his resurrection and glorification, but peace with God is established the moment he places their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. By believing in Jesus Christ, the divine agent in God’s climactic act of deliverance, Paul and the Roman Christians—and Christians of all ages and places—have been declared innocent of all charges justly brought against those who “sin and fall short of God’s glory” (3:23). The peace that Paul is speaking about here is not subjective but objective. It is not a feeling but a fact. Apart from salvation through Jesus Christ, every human being is at enmity with God, spiritually at war with Him (see v 10; cf 8:7), regardless of what their feelings about God may be. God is the enemy of the sinner, and that enmity cannot end unless and until the sinner places their trust in Jesus Christ. But on the cross, Christ took upon Himself all the fury of God’s wrath that those who He would drawn unto Himself, deserve. And those who trust in Christ are no longer God’s enemies and no longer under His wrath, but are at peace with Him. The person who is justified by faith in Christ is at peace with God, regardless of how he may feel about it at any given moment. This involves the destruction of the fancied securities and the false peace that we manufacture, as when we say, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14; 8:11) (Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 219). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.)