“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” —Romans 5:1
Justification by faith FLOWS FROM THE CROSS of Jesus Christ. All that we have flows from the Cross. In other words, the great blessings of God are from above not below; they flow from the Cross because the blessings are spiritual, not carnal; they are heavenly, not earthly. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32). The gospel writer makes it clear in the very next verse that the Lord was speaking His death upon the Cross: “This He said, signifying what death He should die” (John 12:33).
There are many things that can be said concerning this statement of our Lord; however, please pay particular attention to the Lord’s interesting use of words, “lifted up from the earth.” When Christ was crucified, His feet were more than likely at about eye level for most of the people witnessing His death. Therefore, they would have been looking up at Him. He was “lifted… from the earth.” He was not upon the earth. When the spiritual truth of our atonement in Christ is revealed, it FLOWS to us from heaven for its origin is found in heaven. We do not find justification by faith in earth; it is a grace of God. Nor do we find the blessings that flow from justification in earthly or temporal things. The blessings from God are eternal unto His great glory through Jesus Christ.
In Part Two of John Bunyan’s classic allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress, while Christiana, the wife of Christian, makes her pilgrimage to the Celestial City, she is taken to a room of a house where she sees a man with a “muck-rake” raking straw, sticks, and dust from the muck, always looking down, and never looking up; all the while One stood above him holding a celestial crown in his hand over his head desiring to exchange the crown for his rake. Now, in order to fully appreciate this allegorical picture, you need to understand that in John Bunyan’s day, “muck” was what they called dried dung or manure; yet, here is this man, raking through the filth to find “wood, hay, [and] stubble.”
There is someone in Mr. Bunyan’s story called Interpreter, and he tells Christiana that the muck-rake is the carnal mind and that the things of heaven are merely a fable to these men. Christiana prays, “O deliver me from this muck-rake.” Interpreter says [my paraphrase], “That prayer has been cast aside for so long that it’s almost rusty. ‘Don’t give me riches,’ is a rare prayer heard from only one in ten thousand requests. Wood, hay, and stubble are the things many seek as most valuable.”
Even if you’re not as familiar with the story of The Pilgrim’s Progress, I’m certain that anyone with the Spirit of Christ can detect that men will not find blessings in the world. Why not? Because the crown of Christ is the glory of God. Romans 5:2 says that those justified by grace through faith “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Romans 5 tells us that all we have, truly, are heavenly blessings; and those blessings FLOW FROM THE CROSS of Jesus Christ. That is, they flow from the truth of Christ’s sufficient, substitutionary atonement. Now certainly, we do dwell upon this corrupt planet and live in earthen vessels; and our heavenly Father does most certainly bless us with those things that are needed to participate in a life that is not yet eternally glorious; nevertheless, any temporal blessing is just that, temporal; and it is never the priority. Those blessings, too, flow from the Cross of Jesus Christ unto believers. What eternal blessings, therefore, does Romans 5 express to us. Here is a brief list:
1. We have PEACE with God according to our opening scripture portion, Romans 5:1.
2. We have ACCESS TO GOD by faith according to Romans 5:2, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…”
3. We have JOY according to Romans 5:2, “…and rejoice in hope of the glory of God;” and also according to Romans 5:11, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ…”
4. We are told in Romans 5:4 that we have HOPE, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope…”
5. Scripture tells us that we also have GOD’S LOVE within us according to Romans 5:5, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts…”
6. Not only do we have God’s love within us but we also have GOD HIMSELF, “…hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).
7. When we are justified by God’s grace through faith we also experience GOD’S LOVE TOWARD US, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
8. By the blessed grace that flows from the Cross we additionally have JUSTIFICATION BY CHRIST’S BLOOD: “… being now justified by His blood…” (Romans 5:9).
9. Moreover, we have been SAVED FROM GOD’S WRATH by the grace that flows from the Cross: “Much more then… we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9).
10. Finally, we have RECONCILIATION TO GOD: “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. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
As believers, truly, all that we have FLOWS from the Cross of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we rejoice in justification through faith in Jesus Christ!
LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.
Read the previous article in this series, “Strengthened in Faith” (Romans 4:19-22).