Three Possessions of the Justified

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Romans 5:1-2 ESV

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 

Introduction

justified-in-christThe word ‘justified’ is a strange word to people in our time. Many have not used it or perhaps even heard it. Even to Christians, it might seem like some kind of religious techno-babble or words that you are simply expected to assent to. Since we are popping into the middle of the Apostle Paul’s presentation of justification by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is helpful to say what this word means. To justify is to declare someone right with God. To justify affects the legal standing of the person who is justified. He or she is no longer condemned but is right with God. Justification is the great blessing of the gospel or good news of Christ Jesus. Paul has demonstrated this in the previous section (3:21-4:25)

As we begin our brief look at 5:1-11 of this great letter, we must notice the connecting word “therefore”. What has the apostle proved to this point? He has demonstrated from the Scriptures that justification is by grace alone through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Since this is true, here is what is true of every justified person. In our text we read of three possessions or benefits of those who are justified.

 

Exposition

I.          The justified have peace with God.

A.        This speaks of a great, new relationship with God. We have a new position before the Holy God. We are no longer condemned but in a place of great favor, since God’s peace is the fullness of blessedness. God now acts for our benefit, for our greatest good (Rm 8:28).

1.         As sinners… And we must recall what sin means: to reject God as God, to refuse to love him, and to rebel against him and his will. As sinners before we were justified, we were enemies of God and under his wrath (Jn 3:36; Rm 1:18; Eph 2:3; Col 1:21; 2 Th 1:8-9). We must never forget or downplay what we were apart from Jesus Christ.

2.         After we are declared right with God, we are at peace with him. We are no longer his enemies and condemned, but we are his people, whom he desires to bless with every blessing. We can now rest about our relationship with the living God. He is satisfied with us, and so we can relax about our standing before him. No longer do we fear death (Heb 2:14-15).

B.        This new relationship is achieved through Christ’s mediation: “through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Paul’s focus on Christ is very noticeable in chapters five through eight (5:1, 11, 21; 6:23; 7:25; 8:39). The only way to be saved, to be forgiven, justified, and to gain eternal life is through Christ.

1.         He accomplished redemption for us once for all (Rm 5:9; 4:25; etc.).

2.         He continues to intercede for us (1 Jn 2:1; Heb 7:25).

 

II.        The justified have access to grace.

We are securely in the place of all blessing and kindness and goodness from Almighty God.

A.        The meaning of “access”

1.         This speaks of our continuing means of approach to God. For example, people have to join clubs to gain access to the benefits that the club offers. To go to a fitness club and exercise on a regular basis, you must be a member. I have a free membership at one such club, which I enjoy because of my relationship to my son. So as believers in Christ, we have free and permanent access to God through Jesus Christ (Eph 2:18; 3:12).

2.         Paul writes about this access using the perfect tense, which in the Greek language of that day meant something that happened with continuing effects. We always have access. This means that our standing before God (declared right with him) is permanent.

B.        When we are justified, we live in the realm of grace.

1.         Grace is now the state or realm in which the believer lives. Before God, we stand in the place where grace reigns (5:21). We are no longer under the tyranny of sin. We don’t live in the realm of law, but of grace (6:14). Law and works are natural to unsaved people. And so they try to get access to God through rules or rituals or a combination of both. But those in Christ are in a new realm where grace is “characteristic or dominant” (Moo). This is one of the most difficult points to get people to grasp. A Christian stands in the realm of grace.

2.         The grace of justification is very secure for those who have truly believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. We stand by God’s grace, not by our works. The great word was spoken by the Lord Jesus on the cross, “It is finished”. Now we can rest in the presence of God. We are God’s temple (2 Cor 6) in the realm of grace. The Spirit moves in us powerfully, as we will see in the following verses.

 

III.       The justified rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

A.        Meaning of ‘boast’ or ‘glory’ – this might seem like a strange idea, but it is important in this passage

1.         It means to be joyfully confident of; it is the certain exuberance of those declared right with God.

Illustration: The hymn “Come We that Love the Lord”

2.         When you understand the reality of justification, you become a joyfully exuberant person. A joyful confidence enters in which those who are still condemned cannot understand. Last year we went to Tower Hill in London and soberly reflected on those condemned and executed there by the English monarchs. That is how those who do not know the Lord live—with the dreadful fear of the chopping block. But once freely pardoned, you may stand confidently, fearing no condemnation and judgment.

B.        What is this “hope of the glory of God”? (cf. 1 Pt 5:1, 4; 2 Tm 2:10) – Please remember that ‘hope’ means ‘confident expectation’.

1.         It is the revelation of God’s glory (Mt 16:27; 24:30; 25:31; Jn 17:22-24; Jude 24; Ti 2:13; 1 Pt 4:13).

2.         It is the final conforming of God’s children into his likeness (Rm 8:17-21, 29-30; 2 Cor 3:18; Ph 3:21; Col 3:4; 2 Th 2:14).

 

Application:

1.         The Christian possesses what the world cannot find—peace with God.

[1]       People make many attempts to either drown out this need (pursuit of pleasure and/or possessions, substance abuse) or to try to satisfy it (religion). All such empty attempts for peace with God fail because they are mere human effort.

[2]       However, since every true believer in Jesus has peace with God, we have an obligation to live as those who have this great peace. Why should you live as if God has done nothing for you? He has given you peace with him, hasn’t he? But perhaps your problem is that you have never experienced the justifying grace in your soul. You must have peace with God, and not simply try to act like you do. That kind of peace will not help you when you’ve just been told you’re having a heart attack. You need peace with God in times like that! The way for real peace is to turn to God through Christ. Do you know what this means?

2.         Are you using your access to God as he intends that you do? God promises a rich welcome to all who come to him in faith (cf. Heb 4:14-16; 10:19-22). Listen to the words of John Newton. “You are coming to a King; large petitions therefore bring; for his grace and power are such; none can ever ask too much.”

3.         Justification is the basis for joy in the believer’s life.

[1]       No other experience is needed, whether it is a supposed “sacrament” or “baptism of the Spirit”, a “second work of grace”, “laying it all on the altar” a “dedication”, a “rededication” or whatever other ritual or mystical experience someone invents.

Quote: “As soon as a man believes the Gospel of Christ, he ought to imitate the faith of Abraham, and give glory to God, resting securely on the sure foundation which is the basis of hope; and he never can acquire a different title to glory, that of which he is in possession the moment when he believes, although as he grows in grace, he perceives it more distinctly” (Haldane).

[2]       Are you satisfied with all that God has given you in Jesus Christ? He will graciously give us A-L-L things (8:32). Is that sufficient for you?

~ Dave

 

Pastor Dave Frampton

The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teachers and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.

 

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