“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4. and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5. 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” (Rom. 5:1-5). Most Christians have heard of Rom. 5:3-5 and will remember the words, but far fewer are familiar with v.1-2. The first three words of v.3 suggest that it is a continuation of the preceding two verses, so it is worth looking at closely. Today, we will look at “we have peace with God.”
We know that Paul begins chapter five with a reminder that he is speaking to Christians because of his use of past tense when referring to their justification. The following sentence will also clearly illustrate that point, “Christ was the atonement for the sins of everyone, thereby becoming the propitiation and ensuring the believer’s redemption to be justified as righteous and be sanctified.” Those who have been previously justified find themselves at peace with God, but were we not at peace with Him before that? Jam. 4:4 states, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Obviously, we were not.
We are never truly at peace with our enemies. Even a truce is there for the breaking, and any period of peace will be uneasy at best. We are a fallen people who, by nature, war against God. The devil loves that and will use whatever he can to further the conflict. In his mission to separate us from the love of God, war really works in his favor. When we finally decide to put Christ on in baptism and are justified, we enter into a peace accord with the sovereign God. Peace was also the gift Jesus left not only to His disciples but to us as well. John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Moreover, when we are no longer at war, we no longer need to be afraid, and life becomes stress-free and easy.
Unfortunately, there is a widespread belief nowadays that God is a God of peace, incapable of wrath, and would never wage war against humanity. That frees mankind from the accountability of his actions since there is no consequence for any kind of behavior. But that is simply not the case. He is a just God and will meter out the punishment we deserve without reservation. He is not weak-minded and does not allow us to get away with sin just because of His love for us. It is an uncomfortable truth, for sure, but God hates sin and will not tolerate sinners, “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers” (Psa. 5:4-5). While the context of v.5 is more “an aversion to” that actual hatred, I think we can all agree that if we are not justified before Him, we are at war with the Creator of heaven and earth. And that is not a good situation to be in because there is no way to win, period.
Take care to make sure you understand where you are with God and then if need be, take the proper steps to ensure that you are at peace with Him. Just remember that it is God who offered us peace first by offering up His Son to give us an opportunity to stand before Him a new creature. That is the extent of God’s love for us. 2 Cor. 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Also, be mindful that the peace came to us through Jesus Christ. The perfect was the sacrifice for the imperfect so that the wrath of God would be appeased and we could live in peace with our Creator God. Why would we not seek that peace with all our hearts? PE