May 14, 2023

The Benefits of Justification by Faith Alone (Romans 5:1-2)

The Benefits of Justification by Faith Alone (Romans 5:1-2)

Sermon Manuscript

Today, we break into a new chapter of this wonderful epistle to the Romans. My hope is for you to have a geography of Romans and it’s why I continue each week to offer you an outline of what we have covered.

  1. Section #1: Romans 1:1-17 is the prologue of the book.
  2. Section #2: Romans 1:18-3:20 is the presentation of the universal jurisdiction of the Law. Namely, the Law was not merely authoritative over the Jews but also over the Gentiles. Paul tells us in Romans 3:9-12:

“for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”

That is to say, all people are guilty of sin, we do not seek to be saved, and our central need as humans is for God to save us, atone for our sins, and make us righteous. Paul declares that this “righteousness of God” has been revealed in Christ and that we can receive that righteousness by faith. Romans 3:21-22 says:

“But now apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe…”

  1. Section #3: Romans 3:21-5:21 is a multi-dimensional defense of the doctrine of justification by faith alone and by leveraging the testimony of the Old Testament. Ultimately, Paul demonstrates that God has always saved people (whether in the Old Testament or New Testament) by grace through faith. We also learned that the true children of Abraham are not by blood but by faith. That is, we, as Christians, will inherit the substance of the promises made to Abraham.Last week, we closed chapter four, discussing God’s purpose for documenting Abraham’s conversion. And how the righteousness credited to Abraham will be credited to us through our faith in Jesus. The text closed by telling us that Jesus was “delivered over for our transgressions and was raised for our justification.” That is, God (the Trinity) predestined the cross to pay for the transgressions of His people that God might maintain perfect justice, and then God raised Christ vindicating and validating Him as a perfect, sinless sacrifice who secured our justification to be reconciled with God forever.

Today, we enter chapter five, which marks a shift from defending justification by faith alone to demonstrating the benefits that come with it. In other words, if chapter four was focused on establishing the doctrine of justification on the evidence of the Old Testament Scriptures, chapter five is focused on exploring the spiritual implications of that doctrine for believers.

In other words, Paul’s aim is to show that this doctrine’s beauty doesn’t simply end with reconciliation to God but also has tremendous immediate blessings of perseverance in suffering, the development of godly character, and eternal hope.

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

  • He starts with “Therefore,” which is a synonym for “As a result.” Paul is showing how his statement here in 5:1 connects with his argument from the previous chapter.
  • Then Paul shows the connection between justification by faith and having peace with God through Christ.
    • Too often, we forget that outside of Christ, there is no peace with God. There is only wrath.
    • In Romans 1:18, Paul said, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
    • Romans 2:5 says of those who refuse to repent, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
    • John 3:36 Jesus says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
    • Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
    • There is this unbiblical idea in the church that everyone is a child of God and they preach that Jesus loves you. There is not one example of any prophet or Apostle using that language in the whole Bible.
    • No, the way the Apostles approach evangelism is by telling people the bad news—that they have no peace with God—in order that the Good news might be received.
    • Ultimately, any person who has not come to Christ has no real peace. They may have superficial peace or false peace because of their ignorance of God’s wrath upon them, but they do not have true peace—and we must be willing to tell them so.
    • Charles Spurgeon once said, “Outside of Christ, there is no peace with God. There is only a fearful expectation of judgment and a raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”
    • John Piper adds, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. And yet that is precisely where we are without Christ.”
  • What Paul is teaching is that through Christ, God’s wrath towards sinners is taken away. The cross, where our sins were justly punished, has made us no longer objects of wrath but objects of love. In other words, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross has propitiated the wrath of God for us and provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him.
    • The word propitiation literally means: To appease the wrath of God by blood sacrifice. It’s a Christian word first used to communicate the work of the cross.
    • 1 John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (we’re not universalists)
    • Colossians 1:19-22 “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him…
    • I. Packer wrote in his book Concise Theology, “Reconciliation is the restoration of friendship and peace between two parties. This has been achieved for us by the blood of Christ. We were enemies of God, and now we are reconciled to Him through the cross.”

2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

  • Paul tells us that the benefits do not stop at peace through reconciliation but Christ also gives us access to a standing of grace.
  • In other words, peace is a privilege of grace, but grace encompasses further benefits. In grace, we stand in everlasting favor.
  • Robert Haldane says of this passage:
    • “As it is, by Christ they enter into the state of grace, so by Him they stand in it, accepted before God, secured, according to his everlasting covenant, that they shall not be cast down, but that they are fixed in this state of perfect acceptance, conferred by sovereign grace, brought into it by unchangeable love, and kept in it by the power of a faithful God.”
  • So, through Christ, we have obtained access standing of grace. It’s a relocation from judgment and wrath to grace and hope. Namely, outside of Christ, we stood before the throne of judgement. In Christ, we stand before the throne of grace.
    • This isn’t a state, it’s a standing. They are different. A state fluctuates. We are not in a state of grace but a standing of grace that is firm.
    • Our standing is no longer “enemy of God and child of wrath” but as “sons and daughters of God and children of love.” Through Christ, our standing has changed.
      • Galatians 4:4-7 says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
  • He goes on to make the point that our justification, peace, and standing in God’s grace should cause us to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
    • Now, no Christian gets to boast outside of Christ because we know that salvation is completely of God. Psalm 3:8 says, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”
    • But Christians are to be a rejoicing people. We are permitted to glory in the Lord.
    • 2 Cor. 10:17 says, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
    • And we have every reason to rejoice.
      • We were lost and astray, and the Good Shepherd has found us.
      • We were dead in sin and God made us alive.
      • We were children of wrath and have been adopted by the King
  • Ultimately, Paul is teaching us that we have no reason to conceal the hope that we have in our standing before God and the spiritual blessings we have received through Christ.
    • Luke 10:20 says, “but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
    • The result of the Gospel is joy. It’s not conditional joy, it’s unconditional joy. It’s the type of joy that cannot be quenched even by the most difficult circumstances.
      • We are people of hope because we stand on promises that are upheld by an unfailing God.
      • We aren’t promised a future eternal life; we have it now. We aren’t promised future forgiveness of sins; we have it now. We aren’t promised a future favor; we have it now.
    • What makes all this so remarkable is that these promises are not resting upon our ability to obey or our ability or to keep our faith strong. No, they are resting on the finished work and unchanging person of Jesus Christ.
    • As Christians, we work from hope, not for hope.
    • Ultimately, the location of our hope and the source of our joy is not resting upon the instability of our own works, but on the unfailing work of Christ, who has promised to sustain us.
      • Philippians 1:6 – “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
      • Jude 24-25 – “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Ultimately, through Christ, our standing has changed in every way. We are reconciled, we are objects of peace, and we have standing in God’s grace, and this should cause us to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “If we could only grasp the riches that are ours in Christ, we would never be discouraged or downcast again. We would have a constant sense of joy and peace, knowing that we have been adopted into God’s family and that our eternal inheritance is secure. We would be filled with gratitude and praise, and our hearts would overflow with love for our Savior.”