Calvary Road Baptist Church

THEREFORE BEING JUSTIFIED”

Romans 5.1-5

How many of you folks presently work on a job that has its own vocabulary of jargon? I mean, you work on a job that uses certain words that are strange and unusual to anyone who doesn’t work on that type of job. Anyone like that? Those of you who work with computers, those of you who work in the world of finance, those of you who work in construction, those of you who work in hospitals, those of you who work in communications, those of you who work in manufacturing, and of course those of you who have experience in the military know whereof I speak. Each and every sub-grouping of individuals, even teens, have their own special words that are used to communicate with others in the group.

If you use jargon as a way to quickly and efficiently communicate with others who have those words in common with you, there is nothing wrong with jargon. But I have noticed that some people use jargon for the express purpose of restricting communication, for the purpose of intentionally excluding people from conversations. This type of exclusivity results in cliquish behavior and is oftentimes cruel and unjust towards those who are not of the “in” crowd. And it’s oftentimes used by people who want to act like they are better than others, but who have no detectable reason for actually thinking they are better than others.

I speak of jargon because we who are Christians have a jargon all our own, as do other sub-groupings of people. And there are even groups of Christians within Christendom who use jargon that is different from other groups in Christendom. In Paul’s day the same was certainly true. The early Christians used words and phrases in ways that were somewhat unique in their broader culture. And perhaps among the most important of the Christian jargon words of Paul’s day was the word “justification.” That is why, I suppose, Paul spent the first four chapters of his letter to the Romans explaining to Christian readers just exactly what he meant by the term “justification.”1

As any good communicator does, Paul wanted to make sure that he and his readers were agreed in their understanding of some of the most important words and concepts in Christianity. And in the process of fully defining “justification” as a word in the context of standing before God, he also sharply focused it as a doctrine. Having accomplished that feat in the first four chapters of his letter to the Romans, Paul now begins another major section of this large letter in which he explains the consequences of, the benefits of, this thing called justification.

Please turn to Romans 5.1-5 at this time. Once you have arrived at that passage, I invite you to stand and read along silently while I read aloud:

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Having spent a considerable portion of his letter telling folks how much justification is needed, just what it is, and the best Biblical illustration and explanation of the means by which one comes to be justified, Paul now begins to tell his readers what happens to the person who has been justified. In this message we will shed some light on the three things possessed by the Apostle Paul and his party as a result of their having been justified by faith. Assume that you have been justified. That being true, there are three things you have:

First, WE WHO ARE JUSTIFIED HAVE PEACE (5.1)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

There are two important relations to peace that we who are Christians need to be very clear about:

First, we need to be very clear about the meaning of peace. When Christianity began to spread with the inclusion of Gentiles into the early Christian community there also occurred something akin to a cultural clash. Remember, though most believers throughout history have been Gentiles, it’s the Jewish Bible that the apostles preached and built upon as the Holy Spirit led them to write inspired Scripture. So when Paul communicates to these Roman Christian readers about “peace” a decision had to be made about what Paul meant by “peace.” Did he refer simply to the absence of hostilities, such as the Greeks meant when they used the word “peace”? Or did he mean not just the absence of hostilities but also the establishing of genuine goodwill, as the Jewish concept of “peace” was understood? I think we can all agree that the message of the New Testament shows that the Hebrew concept of “peace” is clearly what Paul had in mind. When a sinner is justified in the sight of God by means of faith, far more takes place than just the dismissal of charges and the establishing of a truce or cease-fire between God and that individual. No. When justification takes place there comes to now exist genuine goodwill between God and the believer. It is important to point out that Paul is not dealing with feelings. When a man is justified, whether he is aware by his feelings or not, there has been established good relations and a good relationship with God that will endure the tests of time and eternity. An emotional sense of well being associated with peace with God arises from an appreciation of this new relationship.

Along with this, we need to be very clear about the Mediator of peace. Paul says that we “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He is pointing out that our Lord Jesus is the person Who has brought together both God and man for the purpose of effecting a reconciliation. This is not a state of affairs worked up by the sinner or worked out by the sinner from within. Justification is the consequence of the outside of you work done by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary on your behalf. It is not something the Lord Jesus does to you so much as what the Lord Jesus Christ does for you that results in peace with God. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul recognized, was the daysman Job longed for in Job 9.33, who could stand between both man and God and bring the two together. Being man with His hand on the shoulder of man, and being God with His hand on the shoulder of God, the God-Man is the Mediator between God and man whose reconciling work results in genuine peace with God for man.

Understand that while peace with God is not something you necessarily feel emotionally, it is something that produces emotional feelings when you contemplate and meditate on the peace with God that comes to exist when you are justified by faith.

Second, WE WHO ARE JUSTIFIED HAVE GRACE (5.2a)

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand”

What does Paul mean by “this grace”? When he referred to “the grace of God bestowed on the Churches of Macedonia” in Second Corinthians 8.1, he meant the ministry of giving God had given to those Macedonians despite their poverty. When he said “I do not frustrate the grace of God” in Galatians 2.21, he referred to the ministry God had graciously given to him as an apostle, a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But what about here? When he writes “we” is he talking about himself and his co-workers in the ministry, or does he refer to all believers?

Obviously, all believers have peace with God. But do all believers have grace? Let’s take note of two things to gain confidence that all believers have grace:

First, the access all believers have to grace. The phrase “by whom” refers back to the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever access we have to God has been secured and maintained for us by the Lord Jesus Christ and only by Him. He is the unique Savior of sinful sinners’ souls. Not Mary. Not any saint. “By whom” can only and must refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the living God. Because of Jesus Christ, then, “we have access” to this grace. “We have” translates a verb that contains the idea of not only having been given, but also presently having as a result of having been given.2 So, we who have come to faith in Christ were given and do presently have access to this grace. That glorious blessing obviously applies to every believer, though it is a privilege that no Old Testament saint could have imagined. Think of it! We who have trusted Christ can access and draw upon God’s grace, His divine enablement, any time we want to. The question for you is, do you? Do you avail yourself the grace of God by use of the various means He have provided you, such as prayer, such as reading and studying God’s Word, such as the grace of giving, and such as gathering for worship and service with other Christians?

Next, the standing all believers have in grace. Also because of Jesus Christ, Paul goes on to write “wherein we stand.” All Christians have peace with God. All Christians have access to God’s wonderful grace. But do all Christians stand in this grace? We know from Galatians 5.4 that Christians can “fall from grace.” Therefore, do all Christians stand in this grace? I think not. I think all Christians can avail themselves of God’s grace, because they always have access to God’s grace. What Christian cannot pray? What Christian cannot read and study the Bible? What Christian cannot give? What Christian cannot routinely gather for worship? But I do not think that all Christians actually have grace as Paul refers to it here, because they do not stand where God wants them to stand, they do not make use of the means of grace God has provided. Had the Macedonians not given when God gave them the grace to give from their poverty, I think it could be said that they “did not stand in this grace,” which is to say they did not avail themselves of the grace God had made available to be used to glorify Him. And had Paul “fallen from grace” it would not have meant that he lost his salvation, but that he did not stand in the grace God had given him to live for Christ by preaching a strong and uncompromised Gospel. When you are saved you have peace with God. And when you are saved you have grace from God. And you can acquire more grace any time you want it, so long as you use His divine enablement for His glory. But if you will not stand in that which you have access to you’ll find yourself without the grace that’s needed to live the life you could live and ought to live. Choose not to pray, choose not to read your Bible or study it, choose not to gather with the saints, choose not to give or to serve, and you will soon enough find yourself no longer like the Sea of Galilee which takes from the North and gives to the South and blossoms with life, but increasingly like the Dead Sea which takes and takes but does not give and is quite barren.

Finally, WE WHO ARE JUSTIFIED HAVE HOPE

When you are saved you are given hope. And what is hope? It is the confident expectation of future blessing based upon the promises of God. And what happens to you as a result of that hope? Two things are found in the lives of those trusting Christ because of the hope we are given:

First, we rejoice because of our destiny:

and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Do you realize, Christian, that someday you will stand in the very presence of your glorified and exalted Savior, Jesus Christ? Someday your future expectations will be realized and you will experience what ancient Job anticipated in hope, in Job 19.26:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

How can that not excite you? How can that not make you tremble with delight? How can that not stir you up a bit? Different people express themselves in different ways, but the one thing that will happen to the child of God who realizes that he will someday stand in the presence of God’s glory is . . . he will rejoice. Do you not rejoice, Christian? Do you not ever rejoice? Then something is wrong. People who know that that which is unattainable will be experienced by them someday rejoice. Look at your destiny, brother, sister, and you will rejoice. That is, you will express by rejoicing the joy that wells up in your bosom by the indwelling Spirit of God. Why so? You will begin now to celebrate your cause for rejoicing then. Look at young couples anticipating marriage. Do they not begin to celebrate what they are anticipating as they approach their wedding day? Of course they do. They get giddy with excitement. And what about young couples anticipating the arrival of their first child? Do they not begin to celebrate the arrival of that beloved child even before his arrival? Of course they do. And is the realization not always better than the anticipation? Of course it is. Christians do the same thing, beloved. We begin to celebrate heaven and the presence of our glorious God Almighty and Savior Jesus Christ before we actually get there. It’s called rejoicing in hope. And we know that the realization will most definitely be better than the anticipation. It always is. Unless, of course, you have no hope because you have no grace because you have no faith.

A second thing that happens to us is that we rejoice because of our maturity (5.3-5):

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Christians don’t hoot and holler and shout “Hallelujah” just when things are slow and easy. We rejoice when things are rough, as well. You see, the word “rejoice” in verse 2 is the same word as “glory” in verse 3. Thus, we rejoice as we ponder our future in heaven, but we also rejoice while we are experiencing trials and tribulations. This might explain Paul and Silas rejoicing in the Philippian dungeon in Acts 16.25. We who are somewhat more seasoned know that the process Paul writes about in verses 3 and 4 paradoxically produces hope. Unsaved people don’t understand it at all, but we who are believers come to understand it. Trouble down here causes the Christian to look up. Amen? And we look up in hope. And it’s not wishful thinking hope, either. We won’t be disappointed and ashamed. We are confident that trouble down here will be amply rewarded up there. And how do we know this? Follow me, now. When I trusted Christ and He saved me, the Father gave me His Spirit to live inside me. And just as the Lord Jesus Christ worked between me and the Father to bring about peace, the Spirit of God works also in me to bring about love. This is not my love for God. And this is not my love for others. What hope would that give? No. My hope is reinforced by the overwhelming love that God has for me, that was “shed abroad,” or elsewhere translated “poured out,” into our hearts who believe in Christ. That absolute conviction of God’s unqualified love for me through the trials and tribulations of life solidifies my hope of future glory. And what happens when I have the hope that is produced by the conviction that God loves me? I rejoice. He loves me! He loves me! Is that not the legacy of those heroes of the Christian faith who were slaves in the South before the Civil War? Amidst the horrors of their suffering those men and women, dear saints of God, produced what is tragically being rapidly lost by younger generations, the Negro spirituals in which singers gloried in tribulation and testified by song the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost which was given unto them. Who would be so bold as to deny them?

If you are not justified by faith in Christ you do not have peace with God, you do not have grace from God, and you do not have hope in God. However, if you are a believer who loves and serves God like you ought to you have peace with God, you have the grace of God, and you have hope in God. Those things accompany the faith one has in the Lord Jesus Christ.

But what happens when you are a Christian who has failed to stand in this grace and who has failed to look up in the trials and difficulties of life through the eyes of faith? Do you have peace with God? Oh, yes. No doubt about that. Do you have grace? Well, you were given grace to do right, but if you abandoned right living you don’t have grace any longer for living. You could easily have it again, since you have access to grace always. How about hope? Do you dwell on your destiny? If you do, Christian, you will rejoice. Do you see the result of tribulations with maturity? If you do, Christian, you will rejoice. You see, people with hope rejoice.

Those of us who are justified have so much to be thankful for. And if we properly live this new life Christ has made possible for us we’ll have even more to be thankful for. Peace with God. Grace from God. Hope in God. That is what Paul had and claimed every other Christian had, as well. That’s what you can have should you trust Jesus Christ to the salvation of your eternal and undying soul.

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1 “Augustine spoke with great authority without having any facility in the original languages. His native tongue was Latin. The Koine Greek of the NT had been out of vogue for more than a century. When he tried to explain the meaning of the Greek verb dikaioo, he said it meant ‘to make righteous.’” writes David R. Anderson, Free Grace Soteriology - Revised Edition, edited by James S. Reitman, (Grace Theology Press, 2012), page 96. In Nicene And Post-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5, page 102 Augustine writes, ‘For what else does the phrase ‘being justified’ signify than ‘being made righteous,’ by Him, of course, who justifies the ungodly man, that he may become a godly one instead?’ Augustine was mistaken and the ramifications of his error are felt by the Roman Catholic Church to this day. Dikaioo does not mean to make righteous. To justify is to declare righteous. This is born out by such Greek language authorities as Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), pages 352 and 359, Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 249, and Gerhard Kittel, Editor, Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament, Vol II, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964), pages 214-219. Crucial to understanding justification to being an event and not a process is recognizing that it refers to a righteousness that is imputed not infused and is therefore instantaneous, being based on the finished work of Jesus Christ by the instrumental means of faith.

2 Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 359.

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