WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE GET RIGHT WITH GOD
I. THEY HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (v. 1).
II. THEY HAVE ACCESS TO GOD (v. 2a).
III. THEY HAVE A GLORIOUS HOPE (v. 2b).
IV. THEY HAVE A DEVELOPING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (vv. 3-4).
V. THEY HAVE GOD’S LOVE WITHIN (vv. 5-8).
VI. THEY HAVE DELIVERANCE FROM FUTURE WRATH (vv. 9-10).
VII. THEY HAVE ‘ATONEMENT’ WITH GOD (v. 11).
Many legalist of Paul’s day may have asked the question, “If justification/salvation is by grace through faith alone, then, how can they remain saved without keeping the law?” Is it not flabbergasting how people do not understand that the law condemns? It offers us no hope at all. Yet, there are those, even professing Christians, who believe that the keeping of our salvation is by the works of the law.
Now we must understand that the person who is justified by grace through faith is now free to obey and keep the law to the honor of Jesus Christ. Where once we were bound by sin, we knew nothing else, now in Christ we can freely choose to obey and follow Jesus.
Did you know that sinful, unredeemed people are at war with God? Early in the Romans letter Paul shows us the war all sinful people have declared against the all powerful, all knowing, and all present God (Rom. 1:18-32). Continuing in that state of war brings utter disaster and destruction. It does not need to end that way.
In these first eleven verses of chapter five we will see some of the fruit of justification or “What Happens When People Get Right With God”.
JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD (v. 1).
These people are precious in God’s eyes and He is glorious in their eyes. They are no longer at war with God. They are at peace with Him.
The person who is right with God desires to please God. They are no longer seeking to rule and reign their own lives, and the lives of others, bur are rather seeking God’s rule and reign in all things.
The person who is at peace with God also seeks peace with his brothers and sisters in Christ. He does not sow seeds of discord, and if he sins he asks God’s forgiveness, and the forgiveness of those he/she has wronged. No individual who is at peace with God can hate others – especially a brother or sister in the family of Jesus.
The people who are right with God no longer kick, bite, scream, and fuss against the direction of God or the Word of God. They recognize God has placed a man as the leader of the local church, and that he is the one who leads them to follow God’s direction. The justified individual follows God’s leadership He has called to their church. The fight against God’s leadership is sure evidence that there is no ‘peace with God’.
Those who are in this peace relationship with God love Him. They adore, admire, worship, praise, and live for Him from that love. They want others to know Him and have this peace relationship also.
Can justified people, can Christians lose this peace? YES!!! Can they lose the justification? NO!!! Christians, because of worldly influences, lack of prayer, lack of Bible study, and lack of spending personal time with God can again be at war with Him. God will not, however, let it continue without discipline and correction. If you can fight against God, and not experience His chastisement you are not His child (Heb. 12:8).
JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD (v. 2a).
In the Old Testament there are many pictures of Jesus and God’s glorious salvation. There are also pictures of man’s way to God being blocked. One of those pictures is the veil of the tabernacle and the Temple. The veil being between the holy place and the most holy place where the Ark of the Covenant was placed which was a picture of the abiding presence of God.
The priests were at work daily in the holy place. They placed the ‘shewbread’ on the table, and would eat it at the required time; they kept the menorah lit for light, they offered up prayers for the people at the altar of incense. They could not enter the most holy place; through the curtain, but once a year on the ‘Day of Atonement’; and then, only the high priest could do so, but not without blood.
The veil was thick and heavy. I have heard that it was as much as six inches to one foot thick. It speaks of man’s inability to approach a holy God.
On the day Jesus died on the cross, that veil was torn from the very top to the bottom by the hand of God; showing that by way of His Son Jesus we can have access to God (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). How important do you think this access is to God? It was important enough to God that the only means to open the way was for Him to sacrifice His only Son. How important is this access to you? Is it important enough to give up the condemnation of sin? Is it important enough for you to give your whole self to Him? Is it important enough to consider your life, but only a garbage heap without Jesus?
JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE A GLORIOUS HOPE (v. 2b).
Those who have peace with God are also people who have a hope that is established upon the promises of God. This hope is not ‘Wishful thinking’. It is substantial, and the evidence is the fulfillment of promises God has made and kept. He does not break His promises.
This is a glorious hope. God promises glory – His glory – to all those who will trust in Him, and to those who trust in Him.
JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE A DEVELOPING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (vv. 3-4).
For the person who has peace with God they are also at peace with their circumstances. When we rest in God we can ‘Glory in tribulations’. That does not mean that we enjoy our troubles and sorrows, but that we, by faith, are trusting God to do what is best for our lives.
How can a Christian be unthankful, and be at peace with God? That is why Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thes. 5:18). Only the person who is right with God can be at peace with God, even during times of sorrow and tribulation.
“Tribulation” is the mans God uses to build a patient Christian. One Christian lady who saw her son dying, in anger cried out, “God you do not know what it is like to lose a son”, but she had no sooner finished the statement when she clasped her hands over her mouth realizing it was God who saw His perfect, sinless Son die.
Jone Eareckson Tada in her book co-authored by Steven Estes wrote, “The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God” From the book “WHEN GOD WEEPS” pg. 137.
If you are a Christian we need to realize that the words of John MacArthur, “God will do whatever it takes to make us holy” is true. You can yield yourself to God and be at peace in every trial, or you can continue the warfare with God and lose.
Patience is a characteristic we all need. God is certainly patient. He is patient to let sin run its course (Gen. 15:16; 2 Peter 3:9; Rom. 11:25). The Scriptures of the last sentence show two examples of God’s patience and the other words of His patience. Jesus was patient as He walked among us on earth. It was a quality, a characteristic of His Father. It must be a character trait of those who believe Him also.
The character we have shows our experiences and how we have responded to them. If during trials and tribulations you grow cold hard, and bitter; you will be cold, hard and bitter toward those who are joyful; especially toward those who are trusting and serving the Lord. If, on the other hand, you yielded to God, and was thankful during those troubled times you will be patient and kind to others, and will love those who are trusting and serving the Lord.
There is a vast difference between the former and latter person in the above paragraph. The former has no hope, but is resting in his own strength, doomed to failure. The latter has every hope in God, His Word, and is certain of eternity with God.
JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE GOD’S LOVE WITHIN (vv. 5-8).
With our hope in God there is no reason to be ashamed. Having peace with God we are unashamed to tell others of His grace. We are unashamed to let others see the love of God in us.
The love of God is seen as sacrificial. God was willing to give the very best in order to redeem us. If we have that type of love we too will do, and give our very best to see others justified by faith. Only the love of God could send His Son to die for His enemies.
God does not desire man to remain His enemy. He demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die. “While we were yet sinners [God’s enemies], Christ died for us.”
The person who is at peace with God will express that love toward others in the likeness of Christ.
JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE DELIVERANCE FROM FUTURE WRATH (vv. 9-10).
The justified person who is in right fellowship with God need not fear the wrath of God. If a justified person is not in a right fellowship with God they probably will fear the future wrath. That ought to be a warning signal to them of their broken fellowship.
The future wrath of God is withheld from all who believe as in the example of Abraham. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for our justification. In God’s eyes, because of faith in Christ, He sees only the righteousness of His Son.
The wrath of God awaits all who are unbelieving; all those who reject God’s grace and trust their own morality, goodness and sense of decency. The enemy of God is one who aserts his own efforts over the goodness of God and thumbs his/her nose and says, “If God cannot accept me on my terms then, phooey on Him.” There is no bargaining with God. The unbeliever comes out the loser.
Unredeemed people hate God, or they would believe Him.
God, in His love, reconciles us to Himself. It is the “Goodness of God” that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4b). We are reconciled to God by the death of Jesus on the cross. Our sins kept us from the presence of God. We were deserving of eternal judgment. God must judge sin. He judged sin while Jesus was dying on that cruel, old wooden cross. Because sin is judged God can now accept us on the merit of the work of Jesus Christ.
If we are reconciled by the death of Jesus, then, certainly we are kept through all eternity because Jesus lives. He lives never to die again. If Jesus cannot keep us, then, His death and living is powerless and vain.
JUSTIFIED PEOPLE HAVE ATONEMENT WITH GOD (v. 11).
Christians should be the most joyous people on earth. We have reason to rejoice. That reason is Jesus died to save us. That salvation means we have been brought to a place where we can know God personally.
“Atonement” is also reconciliation. To reconcile is to bring two opposing parties together. God did this for us, because He is the only One who was able to do so. He was the offended party, and He is the One who opens the way for reconciliation.
That ‘atonement’ was not without price. Because God is holy, righteous, and just He could not simply declare us righteous, and be righteous Himself. Sin’s debt had to be paid, and be paid in full. The only wages for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). In order to pay that debt in full and defeat the power of sin was for a sinless person to die. That sinless man was Jesus. He died as our sin, received our judgment, was buried, and rose again, thus defeating sin’s power to hold anyone again.
The only way of salvation is God’s way. Agree with God and eternity will agree with you.
AT – ONE – MENT = By the grace of God we are at peace with God through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The peace of God is peace with God.
-Tim A. Blankenship