“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 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.” —Romans 5:1-11
Justification by faith FLOURISHES BY THE CROSS of Jesus Christ. All that we will become matures by God’s grace because it comes by the truth of the Cross. Therefore being justified by faith… “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and 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 5:3-5, ESV).
The word “experience” in the KJV can be translated “tested character.” The NASB calls it “proven character.” The joy in our hope of the glory of God increases as we grow in grace. I have often taught in the past that hope is a certainty that doesn’t know “when;” but it is also a certainty that hasn’t been fully realized or hasn’t been ultimately fulfilled. Hope’s ultimate fulfillment is in the return of Christ, as it is written in 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” Until that day, through the truth of justification by grace through faith, God is working all things together for good… that we may be conformed to the image of Christ by God’s sovereign will and decree (Romans 8:28-29). Every persevering trial, tribulation and situation that we face works in us to build your character and mine as Christian believers because it is based upon the Cross of Christ (justification) and built up in the Cross of Christ (sanctification). Again, as Romans 1:17 tells us, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” That God’s righteousness through his crucified Son is revealed from “faith to faith” means that saving faith is not still. Justification by faith is not stagnant; it grows. The Christian life is strengthened with each trial it endures (see Romans 4:20). Where does it flourish? In what ways does it grow?
We have PEACE because we are justified by faith in Christ crucified (Romans 5:1). It is peace that grows beyond our intellects, as we are told by the apostle elsewhere: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
We have ACCESS INTO THIS GRACE because we are justified by faith in Christ crucified (Romans 5:2); yet, we are not merely in God’s presence, for we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:10, 11), as we are also encouraged by the Spirit through the New Testament writings: “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
We have JOY because we are justified by faith in Christ crucified (Romans 5:2, 11). It is joy that increases beyond the frailty of our emotions, as we are reminded by Peter in his first general epistle: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).
We have the LOVE OF GOD and THE FULLNESS OF THE INDWELLING SPIRIT because we are justified by faith in Christ crucified (Romans 5:5). It is a love that matures beyond our learning and it is a relationship with the indwelling God unto overflowing, as we are told by the Spirit of God through Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:17-21).
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Read the previous article in this series, “Justification is Focused on the Atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).