Introduction: I want to keep the train moving. “As for me and my house,” “Faith (faithfulness) to follow and today “Access Granted”.
In listing these blessings, Paul accomplished two purposes. First, he told how wonderful it is to be a Christian. Our justification is not simply a guarantee of heaven, as thrilling as that is, but it is also the source of tremendous blessings that we enjoy here and now.
His second purpose was to assure his readers that justification is a lasting thing. His Jewish readers in particular would ask, “Can this spiritual experience last if it does not require obedience to the Law? What about the trials and sufferings of life? What about the coming judgment?” When God declared us righteous in Jesus Christ, He gave to us seven spiritual blessings that assure us that we cannot be lost.
7 Spiritual Blessings Granted
- Peace with God ( 1).
The unsaved person is at “enmity with God” (Rom. 5:10; 8:7) because he cannot obey God’s Law or fulfill God’s will. Two verses from Isaiah make the matter clear
“There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked” (Isa 48:22); “And the work of righteousness shall be peace” (Isa 32:17). Condemnation means that God declares us sinners, which is a declaration of war. Justification means that God declares us righteous, which is a declaration of peace, made possible by Christ’s death on the cross. Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Ps 85:10). “Because the Law worketh wrath” (Rom 4:15), nobody condemned by the Law can enjoy peace with God. But when you are justified by faith, you are declared righteous, and the Law cannot condemn you or declare war!
2. Access to God ( 2 a).
The Jew was kept from God’s presence by the veil in the temple; and the Gentile was kept out by a wall in the temple with a warning on it that any Gentile who went beyond would be Wed.
But when Jesus died, He tore the veil (Luke 23:45) and broke down the wall (Eph 2:14). In Christ, believing Jews and Gentiles have access to God (Eph 2:18; Heb 10:19-25); and they can draw on the inexhaustible riches of the grace of God (Eph 1:7; 2:4; 3:8). We stand “in grace” and not “in Law.” Justification has to do with our standing, sanctification has to do with our state. The child of a king can enter his father’s presence no matter how the child looks. The word “access” here means “entrance to the king through the favor of another.”
3. Glorious hope ( 2 b).
“Peace with God” takes care of the past He will no longer hold our sins against us. “Access to God” takes care of the present: we can come to Him at any time for the help we need. “Hope of the glory of God” takes care of the future: one day we shall share in His glory! The word “rejoice” can be translated “boast,” not only in Rom 5:2, but also in Rom 5:3 and 11 (“joy”). When we were sinners, there was nothing to boast about (Rom 3:27), because we fell short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
But in Christ we boast in His righteousness and glory! Paul will amplify this in Rom 8:18-30.
4. Christian character ( 3-4).
Justification is no escape from the trials of life. ‘In this world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). But for the believer, trials work for him and not against him. No amount of suffering can separate us from the Lord (Rom 8:35-39); instead, trials bring us closer to the Lord and make us more like the Lord. Suffering builds Christian character. The word “experience” in Rom 5:4 means “character that has been proved.” The sequence is: tribulation patience – proven character – hope. Our English word “tribulation” comes from a Latin word tribulum. In Paul’s day, a tribulum was a heavy piece of timber with spikes in it, used for threshing the grain. The tribulum was drawn over the gram and it separated the wheat from the chaff. As we go through tribulations, and depend on God’s grace, the trials only purify us and help to get rid of the chaff.
5. God’s love within ( 5-8).
“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick” (Prov 13:12). But as we wait for this hope to be fulfilled, the love of God is “poured out into our hearts” (literal translation).
- Note how the first three of the “fruit of the Spirit” are experienced: love (Rom 5:5), joy (Rom 5:2), and peace (Rom 5:1). Before we were saved, God proved His love by sending Christ to die for us. Now that we are His children, surely He will love us more. It is the inner experience of this love through the Spirit that sustains us as we go through tribulations.
Faith (Rom 5:1), hope (Rom 5:2), and love (Rom 5:5) all combine to give the believer patience in the trials of life. And patience makes it possible for the believer to grow in character and become a mature child of God (James 1:1-4).
6. Salvation from future wrath ( 9-10).
Paul argued from the lesser to the greater. If God saved us when we were enemies, surely He will keep on saving us now that we are His children. There is a “wrath to come,” but no true believer will experience it (1 Thess 1:9-10; 5:8-10). Paul further argued that if Christ’s death accomplished so much for us, how much more will He do for us in His life as He intercedes for us in heaven! “Saved by His life’ refers to Rom 4:25: “raised again for [on account of] our justification.” Because He lives, we are eternally saved (Heb 7:23-25).
A will is of no effect until the death of the one who wrote it. Then an executor takes over and sees to it that the will is obeyed and the inheritance distributed. But suppose the executor is unscrupulous and wants to get the inheritance for himself? He may figure out many devious ways to circumvent the law and steal the inheritance.
Jesus Christ wrote us into His will, and He wrote the will with His blood. “This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). He died so that the will would be in force; but then He arose from the dead and returned to heaven that He might enforce the will Himself and distribute the inheritance. Thus, we are “saved by His life.”
7. Reconciliation with God ( 11).
The word atonement means “reconciliation, brought back into fellowship with God.” The term is mentioned also in Rom 5:10. In Rom 1:18-32, Paul explained how men declared war on God and, because of this, deserved to be condemned eternally. But God did not declare war on man. Instead, He sent His Son as the Peacemaker (Eph 2:11-18) that men might be reconciled to God.
Conclusion: A review of these seven blessings of justification shows how certain our salvation is in Christ – Totally apart from Law, and purely by grace, we have a salvation that takes care of the past, the present and the future. Christ died for us; Christ lives for us; Christ is coming for us! Hallelujah, what a Savior!