I knew a man named Ed. He is now home with the Lord in heaven. When I met Ed for the first time, he was very depressed. His wife had passed away one year earlier, and he was still mourning her death, spending a long time at her grave side every day.
I shared the gospel with Ed. He was part of a religious system that promoted a heavy dosage of guilt. I told Ed about God’s forgiveness. He had a hard time accepting that. Ed was a combat veteran, and although he never shared the things that haunted him from his past, he felt that he had done things that were too bad to be forgiven.
When Ed came to understand and embrace God’s forgiveness his life changed. He changed from being depressed to being an encourager of others. He embraced his new family of Christian brothers and sisters, and became one of the most delightful members of our church.
GUILT can rule your life. It causes us to think that we can never measure up.
Psychology tells you “forgive yourself,” but there is something much more powerful than self forgiveness. We can overcome the guilt from our sinful past when we understand the complete depth of God’s forgiveness. When a sinner comes to Christ for salvation, God declares that sinner as righteous on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice for sin. This theological truth is called Justification in the Bible. It is the theme of Romans 5.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1, ESV)
Today we will discover FIVE BLESSINGS of JUSTIFICATION in Romans 5:1-11
1. Peace with God. 5:1
2. Access to God. 5:2
3. Hope of God. 5:2 (“we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God”)
4. Purpose in Sufferings 5:3 (“we also rejoice in our sufferings. . .”)
5. Escape from Eternal Punishment 5:9-11
It is this LAST blessing that often focus on. But God has given us so much more!
I. Peace With God. Romans 5:1
Where can you find peace?
22 million Americans take psychotropic drugs, like Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft!
Source: Ashley Pettus, “Psychiatry by Prescription,” Harvard Mag July 2006
That’s 10% of the adult population of the US!
Romans 5:1 tells us about peace WITH God. This refers to the relationship that we have with God. Through Christ, we are changed from the position of being God’s enemies because of our sin, to the position of being united with God because of Christ.
(Romans 5:10) “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
(Colossians 1:21) “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.”
There are different kinds of PEACE
One kind can be described as inner tranquility. This is the Buddhist “Zen.” It is achieved through meditation.
Another kind of peace is the simple absence of hostilities. Enemies turn from WAR to PEACE. In this kind of peace, the fighting stops but hatred and anger continue.
The kind of peace described in Romans 5:1 is more profound than either of the two types of peace. This peace produces reconciliation, when FORMER ENEMIES become FRIENDS.
Lt. John Julius Guthrie of Portsmouth, Virginia.
Weeks prior to the beginning of the US Civil War.. . . USS Saratoga. On patrol, West Coast of Africa. Searching for slave trading ships.
Just at the mouth of the Congo, a report reached Saratoga that a large ship loaded with slaves was hidden up river. It soon was learned that the ship was none other than the Nightingale, one of the most notorious slavers of them all.
Guthrie captured the Nightingale and her cargo of 900 slaves. After the slaves were released at Liberia, the Saratoga, with her prize, the Nightingale, in tow, headed back for the United States.
Arrived in New York on Aug. 25, 1861. This was the last slave ship captured by the U.S. Navy.
The Civil War had begun. Southern sailors like Guthrie had to make a choice.
Guthrie accepted a commission as a captain in the Confederate Navy and served until the end of the war. Survived the war. After Reconstruction, he was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant as general superintendent of the life-saving stations on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Virginia in 1875.
On Nov. 25, 1877, during a terrible storm, USS Huron became stranded off Kitty Hawk.
Capt. John Julius Guthrie drowned fighting to save the lives of his former enemies.
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT © 6/7/ 1996
Peace WITH GOD means that we are now Friends of God.
No more alienation
No more enemies
This defines our RELATIONSHIP with Him.
“It’’s not in the history of civilization for peace ever to reign.. . . I doubt that we’ll ever have a time when the world will actually be at peace.” General Tommy Franks. Interview, “Cigar Aficionado,” December 2003.
But WE have PEACE with God! It is GIVEN by JESUS
(John 14:27)”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
II. Access To God. Romans 5:2
We have been ushered into a relationship previously impossible.
Access to the FATHER is through JESUS CHRIST
(Ephesians 2:18) “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
(Ephesians 3:12) “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”
Once we were SEPARATED
The JEWS were separated from God’s presence by the TEMPLE VEIL
The GENTILES were separated from God’s presence by the COURTYARD WALL.
Christ TORE THE VEIL. (Luke 23:45) “And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.”
Christ BROKE DOWN the WALL. (Ephesians 2:14) “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;”
III. The Hope of God. Romans 5:2, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
Boasting in our accomplishments is foolish. 2 Corinthians 11:16-21
But our boasting is in CHRIST. (Galatians 6:14) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
(Jeremiah 9:23-24) “This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.”
IV. Purpose in Sufferings 5:3 (“we also rejoice in our sufferings. . .”)
One of the blessings of Justification is that we can now understand the reason for the trials and difficulties of life. We can REJOICE and SUFFERING
Romans 5:2 talks about “Rejoice in hope of the glory of God” – our FUTURE HOPE
5:3 describes “Rejoice in our sufferings” – our PRESENT REALITY
“Rejoice” = boasting. Glory. (Galatians 6:14) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
“Suffering” = θλίψεσιs “Distress brought about by outward circumstances” (BAGD).
PRESSURE. Used of the body’s pulse.
2 Corinthians 1:8″We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.”
Sources of our Suffering…….
A. Physical affliction.
1. (Psalm 119:67) “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.”
2. (Psalm 119:71) “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”
3. Paul’s “Thorn in the flesh” 2 Corinthians 12:7.
B. The hurtful accusations of others. (Matthew 5:11-12) ““Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
C. Circumstances of life. (2 Corinthians 4:17) “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Small or large
Accidental or self inflicted
Short term or ongoing
Persecution for Christ’s sake. (1 Peter 2:20) But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.”
(Acts 5:41) “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”
Finally, through justification, Christ takes away the certain penalty for our sin. We are no longer condemned to hell as sinners, but rather we are promised that we will spend eternity with the Father in heaven.
V. Escape from Eternal Punishment 5:9-11 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:9–11, ESV)
God has given us MORE THAN FORGIVENESS.
Our GUILT is GONE
A song from Mercy Me describes this kind of forgiveness
No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
Do you have PEACE WITH GOD?