Justified, at Peace with Hope
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and 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. – Romans 5:1-5 ESV
What does the term “justified” mean to you?
Simply put, to justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God. Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous, based on Christ’s righteousness being imputed to the accounts of those who receive.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
Righteousness is used frequently in the bible, but recently we read one of the most defining sections about righteousness, and it is worth reviewing.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Romans 3:21-26 ESV
In military terms, what does it mean when we say to countries are in peace with each other?
They are not opposing each other. They are getting along. This is the meaning of the use of the term peace in this context. In chapter 3 we learned that we are sinners, far from God’s perfection. We acknowledged that if we are doing we want and playing our own god, we are actually opposing God. Going against his will.
By Jesus taking our sins to justify us we are surrendered to God, we are at peace with him. Not opposing him. We are united with God. The only way we can be unified with God is by our faith in Jesus and his unmatched feat of taking all our transgressions and making us right with God; allowing for our relationship with God to be possible.
In verse 2 it declares that through him, Jesus, we have been given access to God. We have been given the opportunity to have a relationship with God, directly. As Jesus declared on the cross, the curtain has been torn.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. – Matthew 27:51 ESV
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, – Hebrews 10:19 ESV
With this great gift, we are provided the opportunity to go into the presence of God directly. We do not need to have a pastor, rabbi or priest to intercede for us. We can have a personal relationship with the creator of all time. We are then accepted by God when we accept and believe in Jesus with faith.
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. – Ephesians 2:18 ESV
in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. – Ephesians 3:12 ESV
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, – Hebrews 10:19-20 ESV
For Christ also suffered nonce for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death pin the flesh but made alive qin the spirit, – 1 Peter 3:18
What or how do you describe your “hope”?
Do you find any hope in God? Or your future? Are you joyful about that hope?
Verse 2 concludes with the statement “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God”. Many of us recognize that we are fortunate enough to have the ability to be reconciled with God, but the question may be are we really joyful, do we rejoice or boast about our hope. The facts that we are forgiven with what we have done is simplified but the struggle is with our daily walk and our future. We tend to put ourselves in the hot seat to perform perfectly and earn our salvation. Many walk around on eggshells and with a panic or anxiety of what might happen next. There is no real joy or happiness, let alone boasting or rejoicing.
More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. – Romans 5:11 ESV
but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. – Hebrews 3:6 ESV
Do you have confidence in your salvation? Do you fear losing your relationship with God?
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. – Romans 12:12 ESV
If we do not fully understand our hope how can we really rejoice and be excited about it. We end up treating it like a retirement or 401k plan. Where we like the idea, and if it happens, cool. If not, oh well. I sure hope we don’t think of our salvation the same as that!
We can begin to form a firm foundation that we have a great hope in what Jesus has done, can do and will do, but then verse 3 throws us for a loop.
we rejoice in our sufferings
Wow! Really? We can grasp the idea of having a hope in God to possibly boast about, but rejoice in our struggles? This just seems dysfunctional, an illusion, psychotic.
So the broader question may be, Why hope? Is there any good reason to have hope? Or is it just something we should do because some guy over 2000 years ago told us to? That same guy, Paul, does provide some insight besides just the instruction, in two different situations.
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul takes on the challenge that all hope is lost because Jesus has been crucified. He is working hard to ensure that the believers understand their hope is not lost, but in the future.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV
“Hope” in this case is also cross referenced to 1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, – 1 Peter 1:3 ESV
Do you ever consider yourself a “living hope” or an “example of hope”?
Why not? Do you have anything to be hopeful for?
Paul provides his second reminder in Colossians chapter 1, where he clarifies one more time how we were lost, and how we have been given hope by Jesus.
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, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven… – Colossians 1:21-23 ESV
We must remember not to shift the focal point of our hope off of the Gospel and onto something in this world, or something we do. There is hope because of grace that overflows for the ungodly (us) and because of good news that Christ died for sinners (us).
In our daily walk we can feel unworthy, and question how we can have hope with all that we have done and all that we continue to not stop doing? We must fully embrace that verse from 1 Peter. He says that we have been born again to a living hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We must allow ourselves to understand that we are not who we used to be if we have surrendered to Christ. You are a new creation. Don’t limit what Jesus can do by what you have done!
For those raised in the church, you may question your beliefs. You may ask…
“Is this faith I was raised in really mine? Do I own and believe these truths for myself or am I merely a product of an environment that had a belief system that I have never really embraced?”
It is a difficult situation to be in, but also a very important question to answer. We must remember that our parents, Sunday school teachers, pastors or friends will not be character witnesses for us on judgement day.
What is the context of our hope? What is it we are actually hoping for?
The return of Jesus as illustrated in Titus.
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, – Titus 2:13
The redemption of our bodies:
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. – Romans 8:23
The consumption of our righteousness
For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. – Galatians 5:5
We live in hope. We wait to see our Lord face to face. We wait to have whole and healthy bodies which don’t get sick any more. And we wait to have whole and healthy souls which don’t sin any more.
Between justification at conversion and inheritance of glory, we face tribulations.Suffering, troubles, difficulties, problems, trials. How are we to respond to such things in life? As Paul describes it, we are to understand them as gracious, God designed, help for our faith and hope. Not only experience them, but be elated and jubilant about them.
In verse 3 Paul ties our excitement about our hope to the trials of life. Note his words…
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, – Romans 5:3 ESV
Different translations say it different ways but they are all indicating that the same excitement and anticipation we have in God’s glory should be viewed when we face tribulations. Let us also remember who is giving us this message. This is not just some educated man or someone with some theory to just tell us what to do. It is easy to say, the author suffered more than any of us and is declaring the tribulations he and us face are to be exulted. On verse that many quote is out of 2 Corinthians, chapter 12.
And He (Jesus) has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB
Gladly, happily boast about the trials and tribulations. Really? When was the last time you were excited about going through a trial? Now there are many different approaches to the term tribulations. Some may classify it in different degrees. Ranging from a baseball team losing, losing a lawsuit, going through a divorce or even death or terminal illness. Things But what Paul is talking about is much broader than that. Check out the next verse in 2 Corinthians:
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV
It is as simple as insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties. That pretty much sums it up. The full gamut. The are to be happy, exult in and be joyful about the full range of opposition in life.
Any test that can comes into our life that makes it harder or cause you to doubt the goodness, power or wisdom of God can be classified as a tribulation. And in those we are to be excited and joyful about them. What does that look like in real life? Well, how about when I have a misunderstanding with my wife? When I am treated unfairly by others. When I get cut-off in traffic. Do I believe that I am in the midst of increasing my character? Am I happy about the opportunity for continued change? “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” as it says in Romans 12:2
Here is something many people do not like to hear. It is normal to have troubles and trials as a Christian. If you are not facing troubles and trials there is something not right in your life. You are not living. I can declare this because of my own experiences. I thought for many years that it was immature to go through trials that I should be able to life a trial-free life. I worked diligently to minimize trials, I racked my brains and became a perfectionist and control freak, but I will tell you, it did not remove the trials in my life. It did not make it even easier. It made it worse. I was miserable.
After Paul made his first missionary trip he made a profound statement, which we live out.
We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God – Acts 14:22 NIV
How has life been this week? What are some trials you went through this week? What pissed you off? What made you act out of character?
To rejoice in sufferings is not humanly possible. So how can we be happy about tribulations and trials? Well, Paul told us when he started verse 3, it refers to verse 2. It is by His grace that we can do it. Not by our power. We know this. Many times we even declare “I can’t do this”. That is right, we can’t, but he can. I know I have cried out many times “this is not fair!”, and that is true for the non-Christian. But if we are saved by faith and received his grace, it is fair. It is actually very simple. When we are faced with tribulations we know who can handle it. We know who can provide us hope through faith.
Check out Paul’s example of this when he writes to the Corinthians about the people in Phillipi (Macedonia).
1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 ESV
Do you see how they did it? “the grace of God” with “abundance of joy”. That is not natural. That is supernatural! Do you see it was through severe test of affliction and extreme poverty. When was the last time you were in those conditions? Notice it did not say that all that went away when they received grace from God. No! They had abundance of joy and overflowing with a wealth of generosity.
The world is not impressed when things are going well for the Christians. The world begins to take notice when things don’t seem reasonable. When things are obviously different in our life. It causes one to challenge their own thinking.
What kind of testimony would you
Grace does not produce excitement and joy about facing tribulations magically, but through “truth”.
you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free – John 8:32
The combination truth and grace. The truth of God is revealed to the mind with grace opening the heart to embrace the truth and exult in it in the midst of tribulations.
What is the truth that grace uses to create people that exult in tribulation?
It is right there in verse 3…
but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know
What we know is the cascading truth that each of us have lived out in our lives multiple times.
- Tribulation brings about perseverance
- Perseverance brings about proven character
- Proven character brings about hope
- The hope we receive will not disappoint us
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. – Romans 5:5 NLT
There is that statement again, “we know”
In conclusion, don’t count it strange when the afflictions come. They will come. But rejoice and exult in the love of God to use them to temper the steel of your faith and confirm in your heart that you are indeed the child of God through faith.