Posts Tagged ‘peace’

We experienced the ‘Blizzard of the Century’ last week in Kansas City. Actually it was no big deal, because I remember snows like it when I was in 4th – 7th grades. But it was the most snow we had seen at one time since those years. The snow and low temperatures combined for peak demand and slow delivery of propane. I was greeted with a call on Friday that we were out of propane at church. We had a ‘failure to communicate’ experience with our new propane provider. Calling them twice, even speaking to the owner only confirmed our fears, there was no way to get propane to us on such short notice. They were backlogged over a week with other frantic customers. My calls to other propane providers confirmed the backlog.

A subdued (ha!) panic came upon me as I told Gary “This is a disaster! We’ll have to cancel church because the church will be too cold!” (Inwardly I was saying, how could this happen?) I remember Gary saying, “All we can do is pray!” and pray he did. However, my fleshly business man self went to work, trying to figure out a way out of this ‘disaster’. When I found out the Fellowship hall was heated with an electric furnace, I figured we could at least have church in the basement. All we need to do is cancel Sunday School, and all meet together for worship. Glory, the day is saved! So I hurriedly made a phone tree announcement about the change in the Sunday service. I was still ‘anxious’, but at least we had made the best of a bad situation. My ‘Jacob’ character had figured out what to do. (Jacob is a picture of the fleshly, business savvy Jew, trusting not in God but his own strength. I am a lot like Jacob).

Within a couple of hours of my phonetree call, I received the message that our propane supplier had juggled things and could get to us Saturday morning. That was great news, but now what would people think when they get another call saying everything was OK again. So I decided to wait until Saturday and MAKE SURE we had heat before calling. I made the call, Sunday came, and everything was OK.

Monday morning I read a devotion from a devotional book I have been reading since 1972, “Table in the Wilderness” by Watchman Nee. You would think I had learned this by now, but no, God constantly has to deal with my natural self! The verse focused upon was John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; MY PEACE I give unto you”. I was reminded that I have been given the deep undisturbed peace of God. No matter the chaos going on in this world, God always maintains His peace. He is sovereign, and His purpose is always accomplished. I was reminded of Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

By reacting to the lack of propane in my flesh, I threw the peace of God out the door! I ignored the ‘Peace Guards’ protecting my heart! God knew all along what was going on with our propane tank. Being empty wasn’t a ‘disaster’ to Him! He never lost His peace! Why did I?

Kenneth Wuest translates Philippians 4:7 this way: “the peace of God which surpasses all power of comprehension, shall mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.

When I focused on the ‘disaster’, I opened my heart to the enemies of God’s peace. I allowed the enemies of panic, worry, dread, pride, anxiety, and fear to assault my heart! God has placed His ‘Peace Guards’ as a protective garrison for my heart. His ‘Peace Guards’ are there to keep my heart from those sins which reflect a lack of trust in God! Yet with one phone call I knocked the sentries down and opened my heart up to fleshly emotions and fears that robbed me of my confidence in God!

I learned a valuable lesson! Call on the Peace Guard’s whenever we are confronted with a ‘disastrous’ situation. God never loses His cool! His ‘peace guards’ surround and garrison our heart so we don’t need to lose our cool either! Are God’s ‘Peace Guards’ stationed around your heart?


Our church is going through a series of studies and messages aimed at building a culture of peacemaking. A well-known fact of church life is that most Christians deal with conflict in a way that does not bring honor to Jesus Christ. Most mature churches and Christians wear battle scars from at least one serious conflict in the past. Our church experienced serious conflict two years before I came, and yet the effects are still being felt. God has led me to seek out how to use the Gospel of Peace to build a culture of peacemaking in our church, to develop a body of believers who do not run from conflict, but see it as an opportunity for the Gospel of Christ to become more powerful in our church and community. Ken Sande and his “” are the powerful resources we are using. I heartily recommend them. This post is the first of eight based upon the series of sermons used in that peacemaking series.

If you do a Google search and type in the word “peace” you will get 323 million sites which relate to “peace”. There are 232 million images relating to “peace”. That’s a lot of interest in peace. That’s a lot of advice on how to have peace.

People are much hungrier for peace than I imagined! As I glanced over many of the summaries, I learned that there are articles about the Peace Corps, peace prizes, peace poles, peace colleges, peace endowments, peace gardens, peace institutes, and peace protests. There are women for peace, Jews for peace, Buddhists for peace, religions for peace, musicals for peace, and children for peace. The list goes on and on … 323 million web sites and articles dedicated to peace!

If you examined these pages, you would discover an amazing assortment of formulas for finding peace. While some of these formulas are noble and inspirational, many are simplistic and superficial. Remember the song, “All we are saying is give peace a chance”.

Nearly all of them are based on human efforts to resolve conflict and get along with others. Although some of these efforts have encouraged temporary peace, few of them can report genuine, lasting results. And nearly all of them fail to address the ultimate reason there is so little peace in this world.

Therefore, most of these approaches are described all too well by God’s indictment in Jeremiah 6:14: “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

Fortunately, we don’t need to sort through 323 million pages on the internet to find the path to real peace. Through Holy Scripture, God has graciously and repeatedly described the one and only path to genuine, lasting peace. That path is beautifully described in Colossians 1:15-20:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

In this brief passage, God provides a more robust, promising, and exhilarating formula for real peace than do all the millions of articles, speeches, and books written by men since the world began. His answer to our hunger for peace may be summarized in five key principles.

1. Real peace is a Priority to God.

Consider who God sent to restore peace in a broken and conflicted world. He did not send an angel, mighty as they are. He did not raise up a mighty army to suppress conflict, enforce justice, and impose unity on the nations. Nor did he did send a delegation of gifted men to teach us how to find peace.

Peace is such a high priority to God that he did not send any secondary lieutenants to bring us this treasure. Instead, he sent his only Son, the most exalted and powerful ambassador who has ever walked the face of the earth. Listen again to Jesus’ credentials:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.

No Last Minute Thing

This was no casual or last minute assignment. As 1 Peter 1:20 tells us, Jesus was chosen for this task “before the creation of the world.” God’s priority for peace is emphasized by the fact that he planned for reconciliation even before the world and all our conflicts came into existence!

Since God has made peace one of his highest priorities, he calls us to do the same. He does not want us to treat estrangement from him or others as an insignificant matter. He expects us to make more than a token effort to seek peace with others. He teaches us never to delay going to someone who may have something against us. In fact, his priority for peace is so high that Jesus commands us to seek reconciliation with others even before we seek to worship God himself!

Consider Christ’s command in Matthew 5:23-24:

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

What more could God say to indicate how high a priority he places on peace? Peace between Christian brothers is so important that God doesn’t want your money nor your worship until you seek to make peace. Yet how many Christians worshiping each Sunday have family members they don’t even speak to any longer? Is there any wonder that Christians are often viewed with skepticism and derision.

God realized the importance of peace when He sent his most exalted ambassador to make peace on earth. And he commands us not to approach him to worship unless we have made every reasonable effort to seek peace with those around us. By his example and commands, God has placed peace at the top of his list of priorities. Let us do likewise!

2. Real peace is Expensive.

Consider the price that was paid to purchase our peace. The Son of God had to leave the glory of heaven, descend into a fallen and corrupt world, take on the form of a helpless baby, walk countless miles over deserts and dusty roads, submit to mocking, beating and torture, and shed his own life’s blood on the cross.

What price can we place on these services? As the only Son of God, Jesus’ life and blood was infinitely precious. If his atoning work could somehow be converted into pure gold, all the vaults in the world could not hold the resulting treasure.

Why would God be willing to pay such a high price for our salvation? He tells us over and over in Scripture: it is love that moved him to pay the supreme price for our peace and salvation. Remember what Jesus said in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

In his first letter, the apostle repeats and expands on this theme:

1 John 4:9-11 “9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”.

Note the response that God is looking for in us: if we understand and treasure the love that he has shown toward us, we will be eager to be a channel of that same love into the lives of others. If that love is flowing through our lives, we will be willing and even eager to pay whatever price is necessary to be reconciled with others, just as Christ paid an infinitely expensive price—his very life!—to be reconciled with us.

Ask yourself today, “Is the love of Jesus living in me? Am I as passionate about peace and reconciliation as he is? Will I pay the price required to spread peace and reconciliation with others, as God has with me?”

1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand.” Will you humble yourself, stop trying to prove your own righteousness, cast aside your lifelong tactics for resolving conflict, and follow God’s path for making peace, no matter how difficult it may be?

In Matthew 7:3-4, Jesus says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Will you stop dwelling on what others have done wrong and confess, in detail and with sincere sorrow, how you have contributed to a conflict or broken relationship?

In Philippians 2:3-4, the apostle Paul writes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Will you admit that others may understand a conflict situation more accurately than you do? And will you give as much effort to identifying and meeting their interests as you do your own?

In Ephesians 4:32, Paul writes, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

What about the person who has deeply wronged you? Gossiped about you? Betrayed your trust? Failed to keep a commitment? Damaged your property or reputation? What price will you pay to encourage that person’s repentance and restore peace in your relationship? Will you let go of bitterness? Will you give up self-pity? Will you divest yourself of the desire to make that person suffer for the wrong he or she has done to you?

Weekend at the Tompkins Home

At Baptist Bible College, I was elected the Senior Class President. I was the first single student to do so in the 24 years of the college at that time. A married man would win because the majority of students were married. (Kind of strange today but common for Bible Schools at the time). As such, I was under much scrutiny and unfortunately there were people who resented the election results. Young single students were considered immature. After all, this was a coveted position, one which meant you could get a great job with a great church after graduation.

My Dad was teaching a adult  Sunday School class at Overland Park Baptist Temple, and Pastor Bob Perryman decided to have a contest to see which class could have the most people one Sunday in October, 1973 . The winner got to cut the tie of the loser. I believe the other class was taught by Ken Wohlgemuth. Dad asked me to pad his class by bringing up some friends from BBC. I had so many friends want to come that Dad had to rent a school bus. There were about 40 kids who came up for the weekend and stayed at our house. I still have people reminding me of how great a time they had.

My girlfriend (Lydia Langston) had to work later than the departure time of the bus, so I went to the assistant Dean of Students, Tom Sooter, to see if I could drive up separate from the group. (It had been a big deal to get permission for the group to go). He agreed to let me drive with Lydia as long as another girl drove with us (this was standard policy anyway – you always had to have a ‘chaperone’). So we all went to Overland Park, my Dad won the contest, we all had a super great time and I though everything was great!

The Tuesday following the trip, I got called into the dreaded “Discipline Committee” meeting. They said that I had not received permission to drive up apart from the others, and that because of my disobedience, I would have to speak before an assembly of all the Seniors and resign as President. I was in shock. Tom Sooter was in the meeting denying he had given me permission. Nothing I said mattered. I wanted to strangle him. I was filled with rage. Two days later at an assembly before 900 Seniors, I gave my resignation speech, explaining that I had failed to follow the rules of the college, and had made a serious error in judgment. It was short and to the point. You could see the suppressed smiles on the faces of the married students. I still remember the shocked expressions of my friends. I remember leaving without speaking to anyone and walking quickly to my room. In our room there was an unused closet that we had turned into a carpeted prayer closet. My roommates were in class, and so I spent the next two hours hunched over in our prayer closet, crying and crying and crying before my Heavenly Father. I had never been lower in all my life. My guts had been ripped from me, my heart had been taken and smashed into a million broken pieces. I cried until there were no more tears.

Jim rescues damsel (Lydia) at Halloween Party

God did something to me in that closet, in the midst of my tears and rantings, He tenderly took my heart and placed it in His hands. He assured me that He was at work, that this too was in His plan. He took a heart that was so angry and hurt and changed it into a heart filled with love, even joy and especially peace. I prayed for Tom Sooter. I forgave him as well as the discipline committee. I confessed to Him my sinfulness, my pride, my arrogance, and thanked him for using this to humble me, and to teach me to focus upon Him. God gave me such peace that I cannot describe it. He gave me strength to return to class and return to my job in the college cafeteria. He gave me strength to work with the new married President to carry out all the plans we had made for the Halloween Party a week later. (It was a GREAT one too!) Tom Sooter came into my office about five years later and apologized to me. I was able to tell him I had already forgiven him.

That one event had a profound effect upon my life and my relationship with God. It taught me to always seek Him fisrt in any conflict, and to seek to KNOW Him in that conflict. His purpose will be revealed as we humble ourselves to Him. His healing will prevail as we humble ourselves to Him. His Peace will prevail as we humble ourselves to Him. Jesus is the great mediator between God and man.

I could have allowed my pride to encase my heart. I could have become resentful and bitter at what had happened. I could have let myself become jaded toward God and those ‘religious authorities’ He had set over my life. I would not be in the ministry today if I had. I would not have a soft heart toward God and His word today if I had.

O brothers and sisters, Jesus paid a far greater price to secure your forgiveness from God! His love gladly overflowed in the supreme sacrifice. He now invites you to overflow with the same kind of love and glad sacrifice — not as a way to repay a debt, but as a way of joyfully reflecting and celebrating the love of Christ in your life.

3. Real peace requires an Ally.

I’m sure all of us would love to overflow with this kind of love and ability to make peace. But the price of peace is often far too expensive, isn’t it? When we have been deeply or repeatedly wronged, the cost of reconciliation exceeds our meager resources. We have too little love, humility, compassion and forgiveness to cover the damage caused by sin and conflict.

This is why real peace requires an ally. We cannot, on our own, fully pay the high price of reconciliation. We cannot wash away another person’s sins. We cannot cleanse our own hearts from bitterness and self-righteousness. We cannot forgive as God has forgiven us.

But there is One who can do all these things, and he is eager to come to our side, bear the full cost of sin, and give us all the support and resources we need to restore peace with those around us. Only as I sought the comfort of the Holy Spirit as I prayed was I able to forgive and experience the Peace of God in the midst of such a traumatic experience.

Colossians  1:19-20 promises that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

God would not be pleased to reconcile two people to himself, but leave them at odds with each other. His reconciliation is all-encompassing. Therefore, he is eager to come alongside each of his children and become our ally in pursuing peace with others.

As Philippians 2:13 promises, “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

You have an ally who is eager to see you make peace with others. And this ally is not distant or passive. He is near you, and he is ready to place all of his resources at your disposal. As Ephesians 1:18-20 indicates, our Savior wants you to “know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

Your ally is ready to come to your aid. Seek his counsel; bank on his limitless resources; trust that he will never leave your side as you seek peace with others.

4. Real peace is found only at the Cross.

The world offers many formulas for peace. Americans spend millions of hours and billions of dollars every year in bookstores, at seminars, in counselors’ offices, or in courtrooms, searching for ways to resolve conflict and regain some measure of peace.[1]

Most of this effort is utterly wasted, because real peace is found only at the cross.

Colossians 1:20 teaches that it was at the cross that Jesus shed his blood to pay for our sins, purchase our peace, and reconcile us to God. This gift can be found nowhere else in the world. In fact, Jesus promises that we can find peace in Him, becasue only He has overcome the world!

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

As Acts 4:12 proclaims, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” It is at the cross alone that the gospel of Christ is revealed: Jesus has freed us from the penalty of sin and given us the ability to break free from the sinful attitudes and habits that foster conflict and obstruct reconciliation.

As you kneel at the foot of the cross, you will find inspiration, grace, and power to make peace with others. I know this to be true, for I have experienced it several times in my life.

As Ken Sande writes in The Peacemaker,

Take hold of the liberating promises of the gospel. Trust that Jesus has forgiven your sins, and confess them freely. Believe that he is using the pressures of conflict to help you to grow, and cooperate with him. Depend on his assurance that he always watching over you, and stop fearing what others might do to you. Know that he delights to display his sanctifying power in your life, and attempt to do things that you could never accomplish in your own strength, such as forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply.[2]

It is wise and helpful to learn and practice the peacemaking principles and skills that we are all studying in our Sunday school classes. But those principles and skills will produce only superficial results if they are not inspired and guided by what Jesus did for us at Calvary.

Genuine, lasting peace is found only at the cross!

5. Real peace has Eternal consequences.

The fifth principle that we can draw from our text today is that real peace has eternal consequences. When Jesus shed his blood on the cross, he opened the door for us to be fully reconciled to God, to enter the halls of heaven, and to enjoy the Father’s love forever. As Jesus promised in John 6:47, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”

Inherent in this gift of peace is the privilege and responsibility of sharing the message of eternal life with others.

As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

If you have received peace, reconciliation, and eternal life through Jesus, he calls you to share this gift with others. Although words alone will sometimes be enough to draw others to the Savior, Jesus taught that our most persuasive testimony is communicated by how we love one another.

In John 13:34-35, he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The love that is most eye-catching and persuasive to the world is NOT the love that we show to those who love us. As Jesus taught in Luke 6:27-36, anyone can love those who love them.

What marks us as sons and daughters of God is our love for those who are in conflict with us.

“If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Luke 6:33-37

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9

When we love and forgive those who have deeply hurt us, or humbly confess our own wrongs, we are demonstrating the reality and reconciling power of Christ in our lives. In doing so we are giving others a taste of the peace and reconciliation they can find in Jesus. Thus God may use our witness as peacemakers to lead others to trust in Christ and find eternal peace through him.

The world is hungry for peace! Not the superficial, temporary peace that millions of confused and misleading voices speak of day after day, but the deep, genuine, and lasting peace that God secured for us through the death and resurrection of his Son.

Every time you experience a conflict, you have the opportunity to show others how to find real peace. May God grant you grace to do so in a way that points clearly to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Challenge: Think of someone in your life with whom you need to make peace.  Throughout this study, commit to prayer the steps you need to take to go to that person.

[1] See cost estimates at, Resources, Key Articles, “The High Cost of Conflict Among Christians.”

[2] The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, p. 32

Paul Harvey told about a 3-year-old boy who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, “Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask.” She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.” So he sat back down.

They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items they ended up back in the cookie aisle. “Mom, can I please have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down & be quiet.”

Finally, they were approaching the checkout lane. The little boy sensed that this may be his last chance. So just before they got to the line, he stood up on the seat of the cart & shouted in his loudest voice, “In the name of Jesus, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?” And everybody round about just laughed. Some even applauded.

And, according to Paul Harvey, due to the generosity of the other shoppers, the little boy & his mother left with 23 boxes of chocolate chip cookies.

In this note, we are going to discover all the boxes of chocolate chip cookies God gives us through His Son, Jesus Christ!

Let’s read Romans 5:1-11 in the Phillips translation, and perhaps we can get a glimpse of all we have through Jesus Christ:

“Since then it is by faith that we are justified, let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace, and here we take our stand, in happy certainty of the glorious things he has for us in the future. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys – we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us. And we can see that it was while we were powerless to help ourselves that Christ died for sinful men. In human experience it is a rare thing for one man to give his life for another, even if the latter be a good man, though there have been a few who have had the courage to do it. Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us. Moreover, if he did that for us while we were sinners, now that we are men justified by the shedding of his blood, what reason have we to fear the wrath of God? If, while we were his enemies, Christ reconciled us to God by dying for us, surely now that we are reconciled we may be perfectly certain of our salvation through his living in us. Nor, I am sure, is this a matter of bare salvation – we may hold our heads high in the light of God’s love because of the reconciliation which Christ has made.

Don’t Overlook the Excitement of Paul. The New Living Translation reveals it in verse 11:

“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”

We have a WONDERFUL NEW RELATIONSHIP with God through Jesus!

Martin Luther wrote…In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text!

W E Vine observes that the fifth chapter shows what we have THROUGH CHRIST, while the sixth shows us what we are IN CHRIST. “THROUGH CHRIST” is the keynote of chapter five. Chapter 5 unfolds the subjects of the effects of the death and resurrection of Christ…(as Paul so richly described in Romans 3:21-25). (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson

Romans is a book of supernatural logic which is knitted together with a fine thread of “therefore’s” (term of conclusion)…

  • Therefore of giving over – Ro 1:24
  • Therefore of condemnation Ro 3:20
  • Therefore of justification – Ro 5:1
  • Therefore of no condemnation – Ro 8:1
  • Therefore of dedication – Ro 12:1

Paul reveals the main thrust of Romans in chapter 1, verses 16-17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the means of our DAILY salvation, whereby the righteousness of God becomes our righteousness!

The Power of God is on Display

Paul began Romans with the Power of God on display, the power to bring sinful man into a right and righteous relationship with God! Romans 5 reveals that this is all TROUGH Jesus Christ and how marvelous the benefits of that Right Relationship are! The result of Chapter 5 is that God now puts His Children of Faith on Display!

The word “therefore” reaches back to the contents of chapter four — therefore being justified (made righteous-the righteousness of God), not by works (1-8), not by rituals (9-12), not by obedience to the law (13-25), but by faith (our belief in the truth of God), we have peace. Your works, your rituals, even your following the law will never bring peace to your heart and soul.

All that follows from the 5th chapter, 1st verse to the end of the 8th chapter describes the fruit or results of justification, the inheritance of those who are justified. Having been justified by faith, that which Paul now discusses, chapters 6, 7 and 8, shall be true of us.

We must fully understand and envision what Christ has done for us if we are to live the Christian life that Paul will detail in Romans 6,7 and 8!

THEREFORE (Through Faith in Jesus Christ):

I. The Reality of Justification by Faith

To begin with, Paul sees justification as an accomplished work, “Therefore being justified,” or “since we are justified.” Justification is not hypothetical, not just a vague possibility, but a present reality for him who trusts in JESUS CHRIST. Justification is:

1. A legal declaration of righteousness. It isn’t that a sinner is merely made to ‘feel’ righteous in a subjective way. Rather, God “declares” the sinner to be objectively righteous in a forensic or judicial sense — regardless of his or her feelings.

2. A genuine righteousness.

  • God doesn’t simply decide to overlook the sinner’s sinfulness and “pretend” that he or she is righteous when that really isn’t the case;
  • He doesn’t simply “cover up” the sinner with the righteousness of Jesus in such a way as to conceal his or her real condition of sinfulness from His eyes — as though simply covering him or her with a “righteousness” coating.
  • When God justifies a sinner, He declares that sinner to be made really, genuinely, completely righteous, because that sinner is “in Christ.”

3. An imputation of righteousness.

  • To “impute” something means to ‘attribute’ it or ‘credit’ it to something or someone else.
  • If, for example, I had a ‘zero’ balance in my checking account, I would draw some money out of my savings account and have it “imputed” or “credited” or “attributed” to my checking account.
  • The only way that the checking account could have cash value is if it is “imputed” into it from another account.
  • When God justifies a sinner, he or she is not made “righteous” on the basis of anything that they do — nor on the basis of anything God enables them to do.
  • God completely “imputes” genuine righteousness to them — “attributing” it to them, or “crediting” it to their account.

4. A righteousness through faith as opposed to works.

  • Sinners are not “justified” on the basis of their faith — or on the basis of any other work they could do, for that matter.
  • They’re declared righteous before God on the basis of two things: that their sins were placed onto Jesus when He died on the cross; and that His perfect obedience and righteousness imputed to them — He became sin for them (and died in their place); and they became the righteousness of God in Him.
  • Faith isn’t the cause of justification;
  • Faith is the means by which the sinner comes into possession of that imputed righteousness.

As it says of Abraham in Gen. 15:6, when God made the promise to him that, even though he was childless, he would one day have as many children as the stars in heaven, “Then he believed the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness

Paul reinforces the proof of justification with three strong propositions:

  • Verse 6, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
  • Verse 8, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Verse 10, “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”

II. The Results of Justification by Faith

1.  Peace with God

Romans 5:1 (KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

A sign in front of a church said, “If life is a puzzle, look here for the missing peace” and spelled that last word p-e-a-c-e!

“It means to be in a relationship w/God in which all hostility caused by sin has been removed!”(Shepherds Notes, p 33)

ἔχωμεν- let us have (Word Studies)= let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Peace (eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”.

  • “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” (Ephes. 2:14-15).
  • “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20).
  • harmonized relationship between God and man (Vine’s).

D L Moody..A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do; all we have to do is to enter into it

2.  Continuous Access to God’s Grace (place of privilege)

Romans 5:2a (KJV) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…

It is only through Christ that we have access into this grace. The word “access” (prosagōgēn) means to bring to, to move to, to introduce, to present. The thought is that of being in a royal court and being presented and introduced to the King of kings. Jesus Christ is the One who throws open the door into God’s presence. He is the One who presents us to God, the Sovereign Majesty of the universe. POSB

It can refer to one’s “introduction” into a relationship or it can refer to “ongoing access” in an existing relationship. Paul’s use of the same term in Ephesians 2:18; 3:12 seems to suggest that what is in view in Romans 5:2 is continued access to God, and not so much on the initial introduction into the relationship.

A. Wonderful Grace

He hasn’t merely reconciled us to Himself and then left it up to us to keep ourselves in that state. He has placed us “in Christ”; and in Him, we have been made “the righteousness of God” And being in that state of righteousness, it’s only by His grace that we stay that way!

B. Continuous Access

  • Through Jesus Christ His Son, we “have obtained (place of continuous access to God).
  • We are not left to ourselves to keep from wandering in and out of God’s favor all the time. We’ve been introduced to a state of favor before Him through Christ; and in Christ, it’s in this state of favor that, by being in Christ, we forever “stand”!
  • Paul wrote to the Galatian church about this very issue.
    • The Christians in Galatia were fearful that, even though they were brought into God’s favor by His grace, they needed to keep the old Jewish ceremonies of the Old Testament in order to stay in God’s favor.
    • Paul wrote to them very strongly and urged them not to place themselves under those rules and ceremonies.
    • “Are you so foolish?”, he asked them; “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).
    • “It was for freedom that Christ set you free,” he reminded them; “therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (5:1).

3.  Hope of the Glory of God

Romans 5:2b (KJV) …and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

We have a Whole New Outlook.

We now share together with Christ in His glory. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).That prospect comes from being “in Christ”. Jesus Himself prayed to the Father, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (John 17:22-23). It’s not called a “hope” because we merely hope it will happen. Paul’s meaning is that it’s a “hope” in the sense of a certain expectation;

Romans 8:29-30, “whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

Those whom God has justified will also be glorified!

I heard about an old, saintly Christian gentleman who said, “I may not be much to look at right now; but one day, I’m goin’ on parade!!”

4.  Rejoicing in Trials

Romans 5:3-5a (KJV) 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation(thilipsis-pressure) worketh patience(endurance, constancy); 4 And patience, experience(dokimos-approved); and experience, hope: 5 And hope(elpis-anticipate with confidence) maketh not ashamed…

Tribulation = word that means to “squeeze” or “press” something; Picture of pressing circumstances or distressing hardships. “It describes distress that is brought on by outward circumstances.” Look at the way God uses the “pressure times” in the life of someone that He has declared “righteous” before Him.

A. Tribulations produce “perseverance” or “patient endurance”.

  • Endurance-constancy
  • They produce the quality of learning to trust in God and wait upon Him, relying upon His strength in the knowledge that He has nothing in mind for us but our good.
  • The capacity to endure calmly, confidently, & w/o complaint.” (J. Sidlow Baxter, Awake My Heart, p. 180)
  • Tribulation is a thorny tree, but it yields sweet fruit.
  • A guitar string only fulfills its purpose when it is removed from its old package, stretched as tight as it will go, & then plucked!
  • When a storm comes at sea, a ship turns to face the tempest. If the vessel allows the storm to hit its side, it will capsize. If it turns its back to the storm, the storm will drive it wherever the wind blows. Only in facing the storm is the ship safe.

God is not punishing us.

  • All our punishment has already gone onto Christ, and He took our punishment for us.
  • And what’s more, His righteousness before God was placed to our account.
  • What a difference between the man who crosses the finish line and the one who drops out of the race ten yards from the tape, between the fighter who fights until the bell rings and the one who throws in the towel

We are Justified with God, so there’s nothing left to think about our troubles and trials but as things that our sovereign God permits to come upon us in order to make us grow into the glorious image of Christ that He has predestined us “in Him” to be.

B. Perseverance produces “proven character.” (Reveals what we really are inside.)

  • Dokimos-approved coinage, approved soldier

The difficult times of life don’t make us into anything different — they just show us to be what we really are. If someone comes out of their trials a bitter person, it’s because, deep within, they were already bitter in the first place — and the circumstance simply proved their true character. If someone comes out of their trials with a sense of confidence in God, giving praise to Him for what He has done, it’s because God developed perseverance in them through the exercise of their faith in Him — and the circumstance simply proved their true character.

C. Proven character produces “hope”.

  • Confident Anticipation that it will be worth it all!
  • This “hope” is the praise we’ll receive from Jesus for having been faithful to Him — even while undergoing a time of trial; His “Well done!”
  • This is a hope that “does not disappoint”, as it says in verse 5, “because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
  • It’s a hope that already has a guarantee of victory to it because He already loves us! All this, because He has declared us righteous in Christ!!
    • The present in no way jeopardizes the future (5:5).
    • Paul’s emphasis here is that in light of justification and the indwelling Spirit, God can actually use our difficult experiences in life to work a deeper hope in us—i.e., a deeper longing for him and desire to experience him.

5.  Confidence in God’s Love for us

Romans 5:5b-8 (KJV) 5 … the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

A.God Loves us the Same as His Son

“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that you sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (17:25-26).

In fact, Jesus even prayed that the extent of God’s great love for us would become clearly known; “… that the world may know,” He prayed, “that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (John 17:23).
How can we help but gasp when we read that — that the Father loves us as much as He loves His own Son Jesus!!

Billy Graham said: “When we preach atonement, it is atonement planned by love, provided by love, given by love, finished by love, necessitated because of love. – When we preach the resurrection of Christ, we are preaching the miracle of love. When we preach the return of Christ, we are preaching the fulfillment of love.”

B. The Love of God is the Hope of the Weak and Powerless

Hope always burns brightly in those whose character has been developed through overcoming trials.

  • Paul is not talking about the objective love of God shown to us in the cross (3:25; 5:8), but rather the subjective apprehension (i.e., in our hearts) of God’s love. For Paul this is primarily an emotional experience with a force greater than the doubt inflicted through trials (cf. Phil 4:6-7).
  • Hope is not the tuition we pay as we enroll in the school of adversity. Rather, it is the diploma awarded to those who by the grace of God do well on the tests.

Priest and poet George Herbert wrote in The Temple (1593-1633), “He who lives in hope dances without music.”

How do we experience this great love as displayed by Jesus? We experience it as the Holy Spirit makes it known in our hearts. He literally “shed’ the love of God into our lives. As we place our faith in the blood of Jesus, the Love of God flows into our hearts and lives.!

  • There is a saying among Italian sculptors, who often miss the chisel and hit their own hands with the hammer: “When the blood flows out, the mastery enters.”
  • It was so with Jesus. It was his death on Calvary that made him the master of our souls. “There is power in the blood.”

6.  A Living Salvation

Romans 5:9-10 (KJV) 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

A. Saved by His Life: we will also be completely saved from sin and death by Christ’s resurrection life and our union with him

Salvation is not a one time thing that happens by our faith in a past action. Salvation is an ongoing process which is undertaken by our LIVING SAVIOR! His live becomes our life! His righteousness becomes our righteousness! Our Salvation will be consummated when our physical bodies are resurrected! Then we can truly say, “O death, where is your sting?”

If He so loved us when we were still sinners — which is the far greater thing; then now that we’ve been declared righteous by Him out of His love for us, He will surely spare us from His wrath against sin — which is the lessor thing. Just as God is gracious and ready to forgive, He is also just and is fully prepared to pour out His wrath on sinners that will not receive His merciful offer, but who continue to defiantly rebel against Him.

B. There Will be A Judgment

He declares His own character to Moses in this way: “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty upunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (Exodus 34:6-7).

This gives us cause to stop and remember that while He is always and ever ready to forgive any sinner that cries out to Him, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”; He still remains a holy God and will not put up with sin. To those who will not turn from their sins and receive His gracious offer of “justification by faith”, there remains this warning of His wrath.

7.  Friendship with God

Romans 5:11 (KJV) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

A. Our New Life in our Living Savior allows us to offer praise to God

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

B. Our New Life in our Living Savior allows us to Rejoice in our Relationship with God

Revelation 7:15-17; “… they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

C. Our New Life in our Living Savior allows us to enjoy the experience of ever-satisfying, ever-thrilling, ever-expanding fellowship with Him for all eternity.

  • John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
  • John 17:3 (ESV) And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
  • John 15:14-15 (ESV) 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

The Three Phases of Redemption

In these short eleven verses, Paul gives us the three phases of our redemption:

1. Justification, (freedom from guilt, imputation of righteousness);
2. Sanctification, the operation of righteousness and grace received when justified, which results in Christian growth
3. Glorification – the resurrection of our glorified body to dwell with God for all eternity

  • Justification, the beginning of the Christian experience;
  • Sanctification, the development of the Christian experience;
  • Glorification, the consummation of the Christian experience.

The Pit and the Pendulum

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a horrifying story set in a dungeon during the Spanish Inquisition.He takes us beneath a castle into a horrible dark, rat-infested dungeon. There we find an unnamed man who has been tried and found guilty.The stench of death and human feces is overpowering. He can hear tha rats scampering all around him. He tries to search the dungeon to see if there is a way of escape, but it’s too dark. He stumbles around and nearly falls into a huge pit in the center of the cell. He is knocked unconscious. When he wakes up, he realizes that he is strapped into a torture device that houses a swinging, razor-sharp pendulum. The pendulum gradually lowers closer and closer to his heart. The man goes mad as he watches the pendulum grow near.

He uses his free hand to wipe the remains of his last meal onto the strap that sits between his body and the pendulum. This attracts the rats, and they chew through the strap, freeing him. As soon as he stands, the pendulum is raised and the iron walls— which have been heated to a dangerous level—close in on him. The hero is forced closer to the pit’s opening. Just before he falls, General Lasalle’s French army arrives and rescues him.

Our enemy Satan has thrown mankind into a dark miserable dungeon of sin. He makes us godless, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless, worthless and powerless. He binds us with our sins, he tortures us, and he is constantly pushing us into the pit of his Hell.

We are absolutely powerless to escape, to try to save ourselves. The walls are closing in, and all seems lost,

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. For… God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners…Romans 5:6-8 (NLT)

God has given us so much, so that we can have so much!

III. The Life of Jesus is our Salvation

1 John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Because He Lives and through our faith in Him, we know we have:

  1. Peace with God
  2. Continuous Access to God’s Grace
  3. Hope of the Glory of God
  4. Rejoicing in Trials
  5. Confidence in God’s Love for us.
  6. A Living Salvation
  7. Friendship with God

Are you content to hear the swooshing of the pendulum blade as it inches closer and closer to your heart? Do you enjoy the rats of sin? Do you enjoy the stench of death and decay? God wants you to enjoy Him, to enjoy His Love, His peace, His grace, His friendship. And it is all freely given to you through His Son, Jesus Christ! It is all yours by believing in God’s Word! Believe God, and it will be counted to you as Righteousness!