Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)My last point is, we have peace with God In Christ. We have peace with God In Christ.
Everything I’ve said up to now—you have been justified, you have been justified by faith, and you have peace with God—is applicable to you if and only if you are found in Jesus Christ. Let me take just a minute to review where we’ve been.
Speaking about our justification,
- Our justification is provided by Jesus Christ, who was a propitiatory sacrifice (a blood sacrifice) on the cross.
- On the cross, Jesus stood before the Father to take on the penalty we deserve. We’re sinners. We deserve death. He is the creator and law-giver, but he steps down and humbles himself to take the penalty we deserve.
- On the cross, Jesus granted us the benefit of his own righteousness, meaning the Father sees us in the light of the Son.
- On the cross Jesus justified his own practice of forgiving sin.
- It is faith in God’s promise that he will send a savior that takes hold of justification
- It is faith in Jesus Christ as that savior that receives salvation
- Faith receives salvation by looking to Jesus Christ
- We realize the importance of peace with God because we know Jesus Christ will be returning to judge the world
- We realize that peace with God comes by being united to Jesus Christ.
- We are united to him in his death, pictured in Baptism, so that just as Jesus was raised, we will live in new life (Rom 6.4)
- We have died with him, therefore we will also live with him (Rom 6.8)
- We are heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ (Rom 8.17)
- We are free from condemnation (Rom 8.1)
- We are free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8.2)
- We will suffer with him, we will also be glorified with him (Rom 8.17)
- Nothing can separated us from the Love of God (Rom 8.39)
- We are made into members—we are incorporated into the body of Christ (Rom 12.4-5)
If these are, in a sense, the benefits of being in Christ, the next question is “how do we get there?” How do we move from being outside of Christ to being in Christ?
The short answer is that we are united to Christ by faith. We have to realize our situation is hopeless. Apart from Jesus Christ we have no hope. But after we realize our situation is hopeless, then we can appeal to God for mercy. If we trust in the power and worth of Jesus atoning sacrifice for us on the cross, then he will help us. When we trust in Christ's promise and repent of our sins, He will completely pardon and forgive us. Repentance is turning our back on our sins and turning toward Jesus Christ. He will give us his Spirit and He will grant us new life. When we reach out to God for help, we can simply pray to him. He will help you. He will hear your prayer.
The last step is to unite with a local body of believers. If you come to faith in Jesus Christ, he unites you to his body, the church. If you are united to a universal body, you should be united to a local body. The church will help you along the way as you continue to believe, continue to repent, and continue to follow Christ.
Romans 5:1 says, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In the protestant reformation, Martin Luther stood up to an Emperor who controlled most of Europe, to the Pope, and to the entire Medieval Roman Catholic Church. He did it because he personally understood the value of the doctrine of Justification. I believe he understood the value of the doctrine of Justification because he experienced the resulting peace with God. You can have access to that peace as well today.
In a moment, we will have a time of response. I would encourage you, if you have questions, or you want to have peace with God as well, come up and talk to Pastor Greg or Pastor Kevin or to me at that time or after the service. We would be glad to help you work through these questions.
And if you do know that you are following Christ, that you are in Christ, then I would encourage you to pursue that peace with God you have access to. Pursue it by spending time in your Bible. Pursue it by regularly approaching God in prayer. Pursue it by being faithful in church membership and attendance. None of these earn favor with God, but they do help you engage in an active relationship with him. And it’s in the context of that relationship that you can grow in God’s grace.