Summary: Read how Paul shows us how God brings us into His gracious Presence and what that presence does to us spiritually.
June 6, 2004 Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 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. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.
When President Bush recently came to town for the Brown vs. Board 50th Anniversary, I thought it would be kind of interesting to actually see him in person. But then I thought about what a hassle it would be to go. I’d have to get a ticket, drive to the event, and then wait in line and sit around for hours just to see him speak for a half an hour or so. It would be just as easy just to watch the highlights on the ten o’clock news. So I personally decided to opt out of the event.
Not everyone is like me, however. Some people will go to all lengths necessary to just to get an up close look at their favorite stars. My brother once climbed through an exhaust system to get right above a rock group called “R.E.M.” in the middle of their concert. Some will write letters and stand outside hotels screaming for hours just to get their superstar to look outside. Others will pay exorbitant amounts of money to go to a fund raiser and spend more personal time with someone they admire. I don’t know about you, but as for me, either I’m getting cheaper, lazier, or less enamored with people, but there’s not too many people in this world I would pay fifty dollars to listen to or even watch on TV.
There are Three Persons that are worth going to see. The Sons of Korah once wrote in Psalm 42, As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Ps 42:1-2) The most important Being they wanted to meet was the One at the Top - the Triune God Almighty. God is almighty, all knowing, and all seeing. God’s Word says, “nothing is impossible with God.” Why wouldn’t we want to seek Him first - have access to God? Today we’ll see how that is possible as Paul shows you that -
You Have Total Access to God’s Grace
I. By the justification of Christ through faith
How do you access God? Let’s look at the world’s approach. A popular catch phrase in today’s Christianity talks about “experiencing God.” The way they attempt to do access God revolves around the mood. When Dr. James Dobson recently attended an event in Colorado Springs he said, “The Spirit was definitely present.” How did he know? The music was real upbeat. There were a lot of people there. The speakers were very moving. This is the popular way of trying to get access to God in mainline Christianity. If all of these conditions are met, if it sounds powerful, if it speaks to their heart, if it leads them to do things they’ve never done before, then they conclude that the Spirit was “present.” In their eyes - they can get God to approach them by setting the right mood and bringing the right people.
On the other side of the spectrum of Christianity, in the Catholic camp - people are afraid to even try to approach God or get Him to approach them. They are told to pray to the saints - who can then pray for them. Even when they die they do not feel ready to access God - but feel assigned to go to a place called purgatory where they can be properly prepared to meet him.
Outside of Christianity, you’ll see people doing really crazy things to try and access God. Remember when that Heaven’s Gate cult all ate poisoned Jell-O in the hopes they would catch God who was coming through town on the Hale-Bopp comet? Or think about the whole motivation of the suicidal Muslims - who think that by committing a suicide with a bomb and killing Westerners they will earn a place in heaven with black-eyed virgins. Their version of access to God means killing themselves - because they have the wrong God.
Others just try and ignore the whole concept of getting access to God. They tell themselves that when they die they’ll just become plant food or be recycled into a butterfly. They try and make this life so pleasurable that they won’t even think about what will happen in the future. What they ignore is the fact they will have to meet God.