Access to Grace
- Verse 1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.” Did you catch that? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you have peace with God. You are declared innocent in the eyes because of your faith in Jesus Christ. You have been acquitted of your charges of sin. You are now at peace with God.
- It is not the peace from God which results in a quiet and fulfilled heart. It is a declaration that the war I have been engaged in against God is over and He and I are at peace with each other. I am no longer at war with God in my being. I am no longer fighting and resisting Him.
- Douglas Moo writes in his commentary on Romans, “we must recognize that Paul conceives this ‘peace with God’ or ‘reconciliation’ as created out of a situation of hostility; while it was while we were ‘enemies’ of God that he reconciled us. We were weak, ungodly, sinners when God in his love brought us into a new relationship of peace with him.”[i]
- Verse 2 the Apostle Paul writes, “Through him (Jesus), we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Because of have faith in Jesus Christ believers now have access to the glorious grace in which we stand. This is the perk of justification. Because of our position as sons and daughters of Christ, we now have the special privilege of standing firm in God’s grace.
- Timothy Keller writes in his commentary of Romans, “Access to grace means we are given a favorable position from which to develop a personal relationship. In Christ, we are ushered into the royal throne room, and we stand – remain- there. Wherever we go in the world, we are always in the heavenly throne room.”[ii] We have eternal access to God, wherever we are.
- In these first two verses Paul tells us that faith in Jesus Christ does two specific things. First, it puts us at peace with God. Second, it gives us access to stand in the grace and glory of God. This means that we are secure in Christ. Jesus is our ally and he is our access to God’s glory.
- What should our response to all of this be? Rejoicing! We may enter the presence of God whenever we desire, and we have the certainty that one day we will share in God’s future redemption.
Rejoice in Sufferings
- The Apostle Paul continues, “More than that (obtaining access to God) we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” Here he is saying since we are at peace with God, and since we have access into his grace, the end result is hope.
- Hope in the Bible is not synonymous to crossing your fingers and wishing for the best. The Bible defines hope as having absolute assurance that something will happen even though it is still future. It simply means being certain a future event will happen.
- In the Christians case our hope is in the future glory that God has promised us. None of us here on earth have received our future glory, we will have to wait. But we can live in certainty that God’s promise to those who trust in Jesus Christ alone will inherit an eternal glory that He has prepared for His children.
- When we see our trials and sufferings through the lens of hope then it all makes sense. Look throughout the Old and New Testament at the men and women of faith who endured hardships, trials and suffering and were able to rejoice in these times. They were able to endure because their hope was in the promise of God’s future glory.
Dead to Sin… Alive in Christ
- Rhetorical Question…Since God shows us kindness through forgiveness… should we sin more so God can forgive us more? NO!
- Paul was referring to men who actually believed that God enjoyed showing grace so much that they felt they should sin more, so God had more opportunities to show grace.
- Paul tells us if we are dead to sin, then why would we want to go back to it? Sin is ever present in our lives, but because we have been justified we have been freed from sin. We are no longer slaves to sin. Because of Jesus we can say “NO” to sin.
- Our old ways of living (sin) have been crucified and buried so we no longer need to be slaves to sin. So, if we are dead to sin we are now alive in Christ. He defeated death and sin once and for all then we also must consider ourselves dead to sin. It no longer has its shackles around us.
- Since it has no dominion over us, we cannot let sin reign in our lives. We should no longer open ourselves to sinful living.
Slaves to Righteousness
- Through Jesus we are set free from the captivity of sin. Because of Jesus we are no longer slaves to sin, but now slaves to righteousness. We are slaves to God and slaves to doing what is right.
- “But now that you have set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification (my sermon today) and its end, eternal life.”
- Each one of us is born into sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Thus we are all sinners and our wage or the penalty is death. Since the wages of sin is death, and all of us are born into sin, then the natural conclusion is we are all dead. The Apostle Paul tells in Ephesians 2:1. “We are dead in our sins and trespasses.” Before you or I came to saving faith in Jesus Christ we walked in the deadness of our sins, oblivious to our wicked ways. We were in fact mindless dead people walking.
- We were subject to the world and walked in the ways of the world. We were in bondage to sin, the world system and followed the ways of the Prince of the Powers of the air…Satan. We are reminded here that we ALL once lived according to this way or maybe some of you are still living according to the flesh (which is not living at all).
- If the story ended here it would be a sad story indeed. However, we come face to face with one of the biggest “buts” we have ever seen. “BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We deserve death, hell and punishment, BUT because of Jesus we are offered life in return. This my friends is grace.
- Have you ever wondered why you experience certain struggles, trials and suffering in your life? Have you ever asked God, “why is THIS happening to me? I don’t deserve this.”?
- Is there any area of suffering or disappointment in your life which you are seeing punishment from God, instead of God working to bring you close to him?
- Read for next week Romans 7
[i] Moo, Douglas: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996, p. 297
[ii] Keller, Timothy: Romans 1 – 7 For You. Purcellville, VA: The Good Book Company, 2014, p. 110