How to have Peace with God
Hope and Peace
Hope and Peace
“Therefore” links this passage to last weeks message, in fact, “since we have been justified through faith” offers us a summery of the entirety of Paul’s arguments over the first four chapters. For those of us who have placed our trust in Christ, we can rest assured that our faith has been credited to us as righteousness, which we read last week in . Our confidence is based upon the fact that Christ was put to death for our sins and raised again so that we can be declared just before God. The first consequence of being declared just before God is that we have peace with Him.
Peace has a very rich meaning. It speaks of the relationship that exists between God and those who have turned to Christ in faith . The way that Paul uses the word peace as it relates to God doesn’t denote a state of inner tranquility. It is instead external and objective. To have peace with God means that one is in a relationship with Him in which all the hostility caused by sin has been removed, it is to exist no longer under God’s wrath. However, we do not need to remove all psychological connotations from the term, peace with God is also a joyful experience of living in harmony with God, other people and oneself. This kind of peace is made possible only through the redemptive activity of Jesus Christ. Paul loved to dwell on the full title, “our Lord Jesus Christ”, Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah or Christ. He is God or Lord, and He is ours (go big here!) Through Him we are ushered into the presence of God the Father. By our faith we have gained access into the relationship in which we know find ourselves (). Rejoice in our hope of sharing in the “Glory of God.”
Not only should we rejoice in the of the glory of God, we should rejoice in our sufferings. , a believers joy is not just something that we hope to experience in the future. No, it is a present reality, even in times of trials and distress. Our joy is not a determination to make the best out of bad situations, no our suffering is a source of joy because its purpose is to build character in the believer. Paul argues that suffering produces endurance and results in a strength of character. There are some translations that say, “endurance brings proof that you have withstood the test.” Thus, it is the coming through a time difficulty that produces hope. Our confidence in God’s ability and willingness to bring us through difficult times leads to an ever brighter hope for that which lies beyond. Hope is not superficial optimism but the confident assurance of that which will surely come to pass. It distinguishes those who have kept the faith in times of severe testing.
Hope does not disappoint. It does not let the believer down. The reason is simple. God floods our hearts with His love through the Holy Spirit, who He has given us. Hope is rewarded with a fresh awareness of the incomprehensible love of God. A personal experience of God’s love comes as a result of Christ’s death. Christ died at just the right time, at the decisive moment. It was not just the right time in the sweep of history but it was the right time in the sense that we were powerless to break the chains of sin. We were unable to help ourselves. Bound by sin and destined for an eternity staring the wrath of God in the face, no amount of human struggle could free us from condemnation. It was for us the right time for Christ’s atoning death. Now it is a unusual thing for people to give up their lives even for an upright person. Life is precious, and the yearning to live is strong. Never the less, occasionally we hear of heroic acts of persons giving up their lives for loved ones, or the greater good. The remarkable thing about the death of Christ is that it took place, “while we were still sinners. God did not wait until we had performed well enough to merit His love (which we never could) before he acted in love on our part. Christ died for us while we were alienated from Him and cared not for His attention or affection.
Turn with me to . God is the Father, who, having forgiven his wayward, rebellious son, watched daily for His return. The proof of God’s love for His people is the gift of his only son. , The cross defines what scripture means by “love.” Love is the voluntary placing of the welfare of others ahead of one’s own. Love is action, not sentiment. Love is the mightiest force in the world. God is love, () and that determines the goal toward which all redemptive history moves.
For, it is by the shedding of Christ’s blood that we are declared righteous. That being true, it is far more certain that we are saved from wrath by Him. When talking about wrath the verb is future tense which makes the wrath in question eschatological (relating to the end times).
We were reconciled to God by the death of Christ while we were enemies and facing the eschatological wrath. Standing at the heart of God’s redemptive plans stands one solitary figure-Jesus Christ, His Son, our Savior. His death, burial, and resurrection makes possible the forgiveness of sin and the entering into an eternal relationship of joy with God the Father.