Rejoicing in our Justification - Romans 5:1-11 (Baptism Sunday)
We have probably all had the experience of reading or hearing something that seems too good to be true. Something that leaves us going through our day a bit stunned and yet excited. On the other hand, we can be guilty of reading truly amazing things and not thinking much of them at all. Far too often this is true of Gospel realities.
On a day when we have the joy of witnessing a baptism, it seems appropriate to spend time considering some of the incredible realities that are ours through faith in Christ. In Romans 5:1-11 we have a list of things that are true of us as a result of our justification. It’s passage that many of us are familiar with, but it’s a passage that should never cease to leave us amazed by the grace that we have been shown.
Before we consider the results or benefits of justification, we first need to know what justification is. Put simply, justification is the act of God’s free grace in which He declares a guilty sinner to be counted as righteous on account of the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross. It’s an act of God’s grace that is received through faith.
The Results of our Justification (5:1-5, 9-11)
- We have peace with God (5:1, 10-11) – After spending the first three chapters of Romans proving the guilt of all men and our natural position as enemies of God, Paul makes this amazing statement: All those who are justified through faith are at peace with God. Those who were once enemies have been brought near.
- We stand in grace (5:2a) In verse 2 Paul speaks of a very specific grace – the grace of justification. Through faith we stand in this grace of right standing before God and as a result we are brought into fellowship with Him (Ephesians 2:17-19; Hebrews 10:19-22).
- We have hope in the glory of God (5:2b)
- The hope of glory seen – As those who are justified we have this hope, that one day we will see God in all His glory. It’s a day we should long for, and that should sustain us as we wait (Rom. 8:18).
- The hope of glory received – In other passages we learn that on the day when we see the glory of God we will be changed (glorified). It’s possible that Paul has this in mind as part of the hope of the glory of God (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12).
- In this we rejoice – As we look forward to the coming glory, this is a reason to rejoice and to have joy in God.
- We have joy in suffering (5:3-5) – As those who are justified before God we have this assurance, that all our suffering has a purpose. It’s not pleasant, but it’s purposeful, and in this we can rejoice (Rom. 8:28).
- We have the gift of the Holy Spirit (Who communicates the love of God to us) (5:5) When we believe, God sends His Holy Spirit to take up residence in our hearts. The Spirit is the embodiment of the love of God and helps us to experience the love of God (Romans 8:15-16).
- We have the assurance of deliverance from the future wrath of God (5:9) – In verse 1 we learned that we are at peace with God. Because of this reality we can know that on the day of final judgment we will be spared from the wrath of God.
- We have reason to rejoice in God (5:11) – It’s because of the work of Christ and our justification that we are able to rejoice and have joy in God – a joy that should impact the way we live and respond to God and to the world around us (Psalm 13:5-6; Philippians 4:4-7)
The Means of Justification (5:6-8)
- The love of God and the death of Christ (5:6, 8) – While we are inclined to think that we can earn God’s favor, Paul makes it clear that we are not justified by what we do. We are saved because God loves us and sent His Son to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.
- An illustrative comparison (5:7-8) - To help us consider how remarkable God’s love is Paul provides a comparative illustration. While some would die for the righteous or the good, Jesus died for sinners and enemies (1 John 4:9-10).
- An undeserved gift received by faith (5:1) – Justification and the resulting benefits are a gift of God’s grace to be received through faith – and faith itself is a gift from God (Romans 3:21-26). We are born, according to Romans 5:1-11 as weak, ungodly, sinners and enemies, and yet if we repent and put our faith in Christ, we can be brought into right standing with God. This is a reality that should never cease to amaze us and one that should compel us to live for Christ and share the hope of His salvation with all who will hear.