In chapter 5 of Romans, Paul further unfolds the reality of the gospel:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Receiving justification, or having a right standing before God, isn’t a mere religious concept. Justification through Jesus Christ brings in several practical results.
First, we have peace with God. Note the emphasis of the verb “have” which is a possession of an objective reality. Bible does not say that you will “feel peaceful with God”. Instead, it says you will “have peace with God.” An unjustified man has no peace with God, regardless of how he feels temporarily. Regardless of his knowledge, he is an enemy of God because he is unable to be on the same side with God.
God’s declaration that we are sinners is a declaration of war. We often don’t have a full understanding of the significance of God’s declaration that we are sinners. We feel that it may be just like a father scolding his children for their wrongdoing. “Well, I’m sorry and even feel bad, but it’s OK. Nothing serious.” But without salvation through Jesus Christ, one does not have that kind of a standing before God to be merely scolded by God as His children. God’s declaration that you are a sinner means that you are an enemy of God.
To be more exact, God declared war on sin, not on sinful people. But a sinful man is bound with the sin through a bondage which is unbreakable by human efforts. Therefore, unless separate from sin, we are in the war zone against God. It is the most horrible to be an enemy of an almighty God. It is the most horrible to be condemned by an infallible and perfectly righteous Judge.
But through Jesus Christ, one is now declared righteous by virtue of the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ. The declaration of righteousness is the effective separation from sin, the separation that we desperately need. As a result, “Mercy and the truth are met together; righteous and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85.10)
Second, not only do we have peace with God, we further have access to God. Often we may feel that it is the best there is to have an amicable relationship with God, like one lives in peace with a neighbor but never has anything to do with him. But a wonderful aspect of a believer’s life is that not only is his sin forgiven, he now has a direct and close relationship with God, his Maker.
Being able to access directly to God maybe comparable to what happens in the old days to a poor man who was suddenly granted access to the king through the favor of somebody else. As matter-of-fact, it is far better than that. It is as if when the poor man comes close to the king, he unexpectedly finds that he is not only a onetime guest invited to be in the king’s presence but actually a lost son of the king. A truly saved person can testify for this unspeakable joy of realizing how different his new life is.
Third, you receive hope. A child of God starts to see in his life a glorious hope because the new life, being from heaven and given by the Lord Jesus, has an inborn ability to set his eyes and hope on the eternity with God. In the eternity, God unfolds His glorious purpose, which is leading His children into the eternal glory of Jesus Christ.
My friend, you see, God’s salvation takes care of your past, present and future. The peace with God takes care of your past regardless what you have done and what you have inherited; the access to God takes care of your present to give you a solid ground to stand for your practical daily life; and the hope in glory takes care of your future to give you an eternal meaning to your life. With the past, the present and the eternal future all taken care of, what more do you still lack?
But my friend, do you have your past, present and future taken care of? If not, let Jesus do that for you. You need him, because only he is willing and only he is able.
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly… God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5.6.