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The Benefits of Justification

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Sermon Type:  Expository

Title:   Benefits of Justification

Passage:  Romans 5:1-11

 

Subject Compliment:  Justification’s benefits are only obtainable through Jesus Christ.

 

Proposition:  We must live righteously because of the benefits of justification.

Introduction

Illustration:  Most everyone has been through the process of finding a new job. Sometimes you are just looking for some work during the summers between college semesters, other times you are looking for a job that will provide for the family and keep you secure for a while. When you go to the interview, you get asked some questions. Then you have some questions when you are there as well, such as, how much is the pay, what are the days and hours, and what are the benefits.  The benefits that you are looking for are health and dental insurance, holidays, paid vacation time, ect.  Most of the time, job is considered “good” when the benefits are good. When a person comes to know Christ as their savior, they receive some benefits. These benefits are incomparable! No job can have as good benefits as the ones Christ gives. 

In chapters 1-4 Paul explains the truth about salvation: salvation is only received through faith. Paul’s main argument in these chapters was that man must be justified by faith. Because of God’s righteousness, anyone, Jew and Gentile could be justified by faith. Not only could anyone be justified, but they would also experience the blessings of justification. These blessings of justification are described in Roman 5:1-11. These blessings are crucial to understanding the full effects of justification. The importance of understanding this passage is best described in the words of D. M. Lloyd- Jones, “This fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans not only introduces a new section, but is in many ways the key to understanding the remainder of the letter.”[1]

 Introductory Issues: Placement

Much debate has been had concerning the placement of Romans 5. The debate is centered on placing this chapter with either 1:18-4:25 or 6-8; both sides present good arguments. Some have even argued that chapter 5 is a transitional chapter that is connects one section to the other.

John Murray writes, “At the beginning of this chapter [5] we have the intimations of climatic and triumphant conclusion.”[2] He places chapter 5 with the prior section making it the climax and conclusion of 1:18-4:25. This is especially attractive for those that see the theme of justification prominent in chapters 1-5 with sanctification prominent in 6-8. Chapter 5 does fit in with the previous chapters. It sums up the thoughts on justification and gives the results of being a justified person.

“A more convincing analysis establishes the major break between chapters 4 and 5, so that chapters 1-4 are one major section and chapters 5-8 are another.”[3] Much of Schreiner’s conclusion rests on the idea of a major shift in themes taking place. There is an obvious shift indeed in the themes that Paul addresses. The theme shifts from “justification by faith to anyone who believes” to “hope of the believer.” Even the language that Paul used changes, Paul begins in 5:1 to use the first person plural, “we.” The evidence for making a transition at 5:1 is very convincing. There is no doubt that there is a major transition taking place. 

“Actually it makes relatively little difference which course we follow, because these verses are essentially a transitional passage containing ideas from the previous part of the argument…as well as those which pave the way for what is to follow.”[4] Some have concluded that Romans 5:1-11 is a bridge connecting the two sections.[5] The passage does seem to be transitional in nature. It is obvious with οὖν (therefore) that Paul is connecting 5:1-11 with the prior passage. Romans 5:1-11 is the summation and conclusion to 1:18-4:25, but as well, it is the introduction to the following section. Viewing 5:1-11 as a transitional section may seem like a weak stance, but it makes the most sense. Paul is writing a letter that explains theme of the Gospel to the Romans, not a highly systematic theology. To make the divisions so ridged does not give Paul the credit of writing an excellent transitional section that bridges the content of 1:18-4:25 and 5:12-8. 

Introductory Issues: Textual Variance

Before looking at the benefits of justification, one must recognize that there is some debate on the Greek words e[comen (we have) or e[cwmen (let us have) in 5:1. “Support for the subjunctive e[cwmen (echomen, "let us have") among the uncials includes B  aA C D E K L, in addition to cursives, versions, and patristic citations. Support for the indicative e[comen (echomen, "we have") is provided by correctors of B  aFGP, besides cursives, versions, and patristic citations.”[6] The debate is over one Greek letter: a short “o” (omicron) or a long “o” (omega). Some have suggested that this could have been a simple dictation error when copied in Greek.[7] This is very possible. The subjunctive form has the most external evidence since it is the form used in the two most important Alexandrian uncials. This would give the passage a tone of exhortation to cease from sin so that one can have “peace with God.”[8] To fit with the overall context of the passage, many commentators have understood it to be in the indicative case. This interpretation would encourage believers to enjoy the benefits that they have in justification. The indicative is not without external support.[9] For the most part, there is an agreement that the indicative, “we have,” is the stronger position.

Justification Explained

To appreciate fully the benefits of justification, justification itself should be understood. Wayne Grudem’s definition of justification is excellent: An instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.[10] God does the work of justification. Some may think that since it is “by faith,” that they somehow have a roll in the justification process, but that is false. Romans 3:24 clearly teaches that men are justified freely by God’s grace. It is a gift. No man can obtain or experience justification aside from the marvelous power of God. Justification in and of itself is a gift and a benefit, but God, because of his amazing grace, gives the justified even more benefits.

I.  Peace with God  v. 1

Having peace with God is the first benefit of justification seen in chapter 5. This peace is not the feeling of peace or tranquility in life, but it is peace that is linked to reconciliation. The peace that is described here can be understood better if seen through the eyes of the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Micah, and Haggai all wrote about having peace with God or of the peace that God brings.[11] Peace is the way God describes his goodness to his people. This peace is not an inward feeling of the peace of God (Phil. 4:7), but an outward state of ones relationship with God. This peace is available to both Jew and Gentile equally. Anyone that is justified by faith in Jesus Christ has peace with God.

 

Ill/App: The world will never have peace.  There will always be wars and rumors of wars. Even as recently as this last week, we see that North Korea wants no part of peace. They have an objective in mind. Fortunately for a believe we can have peace with our God. We don’t have to worry about being enemies with Christ after we have been Justified. He is our ally; we can trust him to be true to us in every matter.

II.  Access to Grace   v.  2

Through Christ, those who are justified have the benefit of access to grace. Some of the confusion associated with this benefit is in the word προσαγωγὴν. There are only a few references to this word in the New Testament so the meaning of this word is difficult to determine. Leon Morris believes that προσαγωγὴν should be translated as “introduction” rather than access. “Introduction” more accurately depicts Christ’s action as the “introducer” of man to salvation. Morris sees the translation, “access,” as putting too much emphasis on the strength of man.[12] Moo on the other hand, believes that “the attention is more on the believer’s continuing ability to enjoy the presence of Christ.”[13] It makes more sense to understand “access” that ability Christ gives to the justified to come intimately close to him and his grace. For most Jews and Gentiles, access directly to God was unheard of; only the High Priest could enter Holy of Holies once a year and access God directly. Now, through Christ, all those that have been justified have unlimited access to standing in grace.

This grace that all the justified have through Christ is different from normal grace. This grace is closely related to God. As James Smart keenly writes, “Access to this grace is access to God. Grace is not something apart from God, but is giving himself to us in his graciousness.”[14] This is the grace that gave the believer new status in Christ.

 

Ill/App: We have access to Gods grace. Does that mean we should sin that grace may abound as Romans 6:1 says?  NO!  It means that we should draw closer to our savior because we have direct access to him.  There is NO

III.  Hope of the Glory of God   v.  2b- 5

Romans 5:2b states the third benefit of salvation: “hope in the glory of God.” The word “καυχωμεθα,” begins this section. The word means “we boast, exult, jubilation, or rejoice.” This exulting is what those who are justified are to do because they have the hope of the glory of God. This exulting in the hope of God’s glory is the major theme of the paragraph. Those who are justified already have peace with God and access to God, but now the justified have something to look forward to: future glorification. Believers already are righteous in God’s site, yet the full promises of salvation have not taken place. The justified will be restored to moral perfection and the glory that Adam lost will be restored.[15] The hope that Paul speaks of is sometimes misunderstood to be uncertain hope, but Paul is really talking about a settled hope in Christ.

Paul then makes an interesting statement and declares that believers glory or rejoice in tribulation. This does not seem like a logical conclusion: after the justified have received these glorious benefits, they are supposed to rejoice in tribulation. At first, it seems like Paul is making a difficult statement but if understood correctly, Paul’s reasoning makes perfect sense. There is a logical progression presented in 5:3-5. If believers rejoice in suffering, then their handling the suffering correctly will produce endurance. Endurance will produce character and character will produce hope. This hope that is produced is not a casual “wishful thinking,” but it is a determined, fixed anticipation to the glory of God that is to come. John Murray so aptly says that this produced hope is “well grounded and secure… What is it that gives solidity to this hope and guarantees its validity? It is the love of God to believers, a love that suffers no fluctuation or reverse.”[16] An immovable force secures the hope of the justified: the love of God. This hope nurtures confidence in the believer that Christ has secured their eternal situation.

Ill/App: There is a man in our church in Wisconsin that has had a lung disease for the past couple years. Things were looking very grim. He needed a lung transplant badly, but he could not get one for the longest time.  He even said he did not want one, but then he put his name down on the list.  He handled his trial with patience and endurance.  Everyone in the community knows this man and saw his testimony during this time.  He did get his lung transplant, and now he is much better.  His testimony through the tough times has given him numerous opportunities to share the gospel now that he is recovered.  Through the whole thing, John had his thoughts focused on the Hope of the glory of God.  His situation was made bearable because he knew that He was justified and had the Hope of the glory of God.  He can boast in the Glory of God.

Trials are tough to go through, but when handled correctly, the results are sweet!

IV.  The Love of Christ    v. 6-8

The fourth benefit of being justified by faith is seen in 5:6-8. This benefit was already mentioned in connection with the hope of the Glory of God. These verses are in close connection with the previous thought connected by “γὰρ” (for). Not only did Christ anchor that hope with his love, but his love also is the very grounds for having any hope. Christ died for man “while we were still weak.” Christ loved man and died for him before man made any attempt to love Christ. Man was in a very helpless position; there was absolutely no way that man deserved Christ love but Christ still gave his life for them. “Paul thereby stresses that God’s love came to us when we were utterly helpless.”[17] Christ love is a total contrast to the sacrificial love that man shows towards another. Man will not die for too many people, usually not even a righteous person. Christ on the other hand, died for everyone. He made no distinction as to who he would die for. Christ’s love is amazing. It has been poured out in our hearts to us through the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit in and of itself is a benefit of salvation mentioned in other places). There is no way that man can obtain this love except for the grace of God.

Illustration:  An old woman, hearing of some preachers who dwelt on the doctrine of predestination, said: “Ah, I have long settled that point, for if God had not chosen me before I was born. I am sure He would have seen nothing in me to have chosen me afterward.”  -- Christ loved us so much that he chose us before the beginning of the world. He loves us even though we are very unlovable.   

Appl: Because of Christ’s love we are justified.  We should live thankful for his undying love.

V.  Saved from Wrath  v. 9

Romans 5:9 contains the fifth benefit of justification. Paul uses similar language in 5:9 as he did in 5:1. Instead of saying that justification was by faith, he writes that it was by Christ blood. This is because Paul just finished the section (5:6-8) that explained Christ’s death and the love that he showed in his death. The benefit here is salvation from the wrath that is to come. This is a magnificent benefit considering the hopelessness that was presented in 1:18-3:20. God’s wrath was upon every person, but then Christ died for man. Christ himself saves the justified from wrath. Paul again uses this “already-not yet” concept.[18] Those who are justified are currently saved from wrath, but the wrath of God is still going to be poured out in the last day. The justified will as well be saved from the wrath of God in the last day. C. E. B. Cranfield explains this concept best:

The point made in the former of these two sentences [Rom. 5:9-10] is that, since God has already done the really difficult thing, that is, justified ungodly sinners, we may be absolutely confident that He will do what is by comparison very easy, namely, save His wrath at the last those who are already righteous in His sight.[19]

Ill:  Me taking a spanking for my brother Ryan.  NO WAY!  Saving him from the wrath of my parents. 

App:  What a joy we have that we are saved from the wrath of God. We must live righteously because of the benefits of justification.

 

VI.  Joy in God   v. 11

This is the sixth and final benefit of justification in Romans 5:1-11. Verse 11 is a masterful conclusion to a long list of benefits that come from justification. This verse summarizes many of the key ideas found in this passage: “boasting/rejoicing” (vv. 2-3); the present experience of reconciliation with God (vv. 1b, 10); and, most of all, the fact that this boasting, and this reconciliation, are through Christ (vv. 1, 2, 6-8, 9).[20] Now, those who are justified can boast because they know God because they are in Christ Jesus. Outside of Jesus Christ, no one has the ability to claim God. The justified are the only people that can claim God because they have received reconciliation. Joy or boasting in God is only a natural reaction after one realizes the benefits that God has given them through Christ by reconciliation. We can rejoice in God because through Christ, he gave us reconciliation.

Ill/App: Do we really live rejoicing in Christ? Are your Christian friends the most joyful people that you know?  Are you joyful and rejoicing in what Christ has done?

Conclusion

3. There are six benefits of justification, and they are the following: peace with God (v. 1), access to God (v. 2a), hope of the glory of God (v. 2b-5), the love of Christ (v. 6-8), saved from wrath (v. 9), joy in God (v. 11).

Romans 5:1-11 is critical to understanding the benefits that a believer has through justification. Few other passages in the New Testament explain the glory of justification as this passage. Those that are justified can take joy in their position in Christ and can be confident that these blessings are being fulfilled in Christ. Believers have no reason but to glory in their benefits of justification. 


----

[1] D. M. Lloyd- Jones, Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 5 Assurance, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1971) p. 1

[2] John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997) p. 158. Murray does not really expound on his reasoning for putting chapter 5 with the previous chapters. Leon Morris (Romans, p 217) is another proponent of this view. 

[3] Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1998) p. 245-249. Schreiner makes a great case for making the division at 5:1. Douglas Moo (Romans p. 290-295) presents an excellent argument as well.

[4]  D. B. Garlington, “The Obedience of Faith in the Letter to the Romans,” WTJ 55:1 (Spring 1993): p. 90.

[5] H. Boer, Black, Sanders, and P. M. McDonald all hold this view.

[6] Everett F. Harrison, Romans: The Expositors Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Pradis Version 5.01 Zondervan, 2002)

[7] C.E.B. Cranfield, Roman, A Shorter Commentary, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985) p. 101

[8] Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996) p. 295 fn.

[9] “However, the discovery of a vellum fragment of part of Romans in 1950 has altered the situation considerably. It supports the text of B everywhere (through some thirty verses) except at 5:1. The Wyman fragment, designated 0220, is dated by W.H.P. Hatch in the latter part of the third century, whereas B dates from the first third of the fourth century. He writes, "This evidence for echomen is probably pre-Hesychian. Therefore the argument for the indicative is greatly strengthened, and the claim of the subjunctive to be the correct reading is correspondingly weakened" – Taken from Everett F. Harrison, Romans: The Expositors Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Pradis Version 5.01 Zondervan, 2002) in the “Romans 5 Notes” section.

[10] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, (Leicester, England and Grand Rapids, Michigan: 1994 and 2000) p. 1246

[11] Isa. 54:10; Ezek. 34:25; 37:26; Mic. 5:4-5; Hag. 2:9.

[12] Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans and Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press 1988) p. 219 The NASB follows what Morris is saying by translating προσαγωγὴν as “introduction,” but the majority of English translations (NIV, KJV, ESV) translate it as access.

[13] Moo, “The Epistle to the Romans,” p. 300

[14] James D. Smart, Doorway to a New Age: a study of Paul’s letter to the Romans. (New York: United Methodist Church, 1972) p. 76

[15] Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1998) p. 254

[16] Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, p. 164-165

[17] Moo, “The Epistle to the Romans,” p. 306

[18] IBID, p. 311  Thomas Schreiner as well presents the “already-not yet” concept in convincing fashion.

[19] Cranfield, Roman, A Shorter Commentary, p. 107-108

[20] Moo, “The Epistle to the Romans,” p. 312-313

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