How Can We Have Peace With God? #232

Hello friends and welcome to another wild, weird and surreal pandemic weekend. Two short episodes for the weekend, and the first one is pure gospel. Our readings for the day are 1 Samuel 4 and 5, Jeremiah 43, Psalms 19 and Romans 5. I am very surprised that Romans 5 isn’t one of the more well known Bible passages out there, as it is absolutely FULL of wonderful gospel nuggets of gold. Consider these short and power-packed passages:

  • Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.
  • For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.
  • But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift which comes through the grace of the one man Jesus Christ overflowed to the many.
  • If by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
  • So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is justification leading to life for everyone.
  • For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
  • But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more
  • just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So there is so much meaty and nutritious gospel goodness in this one chapter, that I hardly know what to focus on! Let’s read the chapter as a whole, and then discuss it in depth.

What a glorious chapter – it’s like Paul has challenged himself to repeat the good news in as many ways as possible in one small section of his letter. Let’s turn to our old friend John Piper for some great insights out of Romans 5:

Because of justification we now have peace with God; and 5) through this peace with God we have entered into a sphere and power of grace which keeps us standing until we inherit the glory of God.

Let’s take these one at a time and see how they help us exult in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” How are we to understand this peace with God? The picture I think Paul has in his mind is brought into sharper focus in verse 10: “If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” What this shows is that the picture in Paul’s mind is that there is enmity between us and God. God is angry at us for our sin (Romans 1:18) and we are hostile to God in rebellion against his authority (Romans 8:7–8). Romans 1:18 says, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” God’s anger at our ungodliness is our main problem in life. If God is resolved to pour out his wrath on us we are in a terrifying position.

Imagine the power of God behind his wrath! When you look up into the sky on a clear night you can see what is called the Milky Way, the name of our galaxy. It has about 200 billion stars in it, they say. You can see maybe a 40-millionth of them on a good night. The disk of the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across (about six hundred thousand trillion miles) and 2, 000 light years thick. Our sun will take about 200,000 years to make a circuit. And besides our galaxy there are, some estimate, 50 million other galaxies.

Now, the God we are talking about here in Romans made this universe with a mere command. He simply spoke and all the galaxies came into being. And he holds them in being by the word of his power. This God is so great that any attempt to portray his greatness falls infinitely far short. But what we can see and feel is this: that if such a great God is angry at us, and has such indescribable power to back up his anger, then we are in the worst of all possible conditions. Nothing could be worse than to be opposed by the wrath of infinite power.

And that is our situation. God is revealing his wrath against our ungodliness now and will bring it to a climax in the last day of judgment (Romans 2:4). Our only hope is if God may provide a way of reconciliation. Verse 10 says that he has: “We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son.” This happened because Christ bore our sins and fulfilled our righteousness. Now by faith we are united to Christ, so his righteousness is imputed or credited to us. And the result is peace. God is no longer angry with us. We are reconciled. There is no condemnation…

Christ died for our sins and fulfilled a perfect righteousness;2) we saw it and believed;3) we were justified by this faith; the righteousness of Christ was imputed to us;4) the enmity between God and us was taken away and there was peace;5) we entered through that peace into a sphere and reign of grace where the infinite power of God no longer works against us, but for us, so that the promise is guaranteed—grace will reign unto eternal life (Romans 5:21), the justified will be glorified (Romans 8:30) and therefore 6) “we exult in the hope of the glory of God.”

This the most urgent news for all the nations of the world. Without it, they are under the wrath of God, just as you are this morning if you don’t trust Christ. So, for your own sake and for the sake of the nations, believe in Christ, receive peace with God, enter into the sway of omnipotent grace, and exult in the hope of the glory of God.

John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (1990–1999) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2007).

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