Read Romans 5:1-11
Last week we looked at what it means to be justified by faith alone. What does the word justified mean? What does it mean to be justified by faith alone? In chapter five of Romans we see what comes of justification by faith alone. By this I mean the benefits of being justified by God not by works but by faith alone. What does the word benefits mean?
When you think of the word benefits, a lot of ideas probably come to your mind, for example you have benefits from being in a certain family. If you family is well connected, has lots of money, or power, at some point you will be able to tap into those connections, money, or power. Additionally if you are like me you may have benefits that come from being friends with certain people. A benefit from being in a friendship with a certain person may help you gain understanding about a certain subject, they may enable you to do certain things that you would not be able to do on your own. Benefits are good things that a person can reap on account of being a part of something. In the case with justification, there are benefits that God grants to the people he justifies.
God grants four benefits, the first of which is peace with God. What is peace? When you think of the word peace, many ideas may come to your mind, like the opposite of war, no conflict, a surfer holding up a peace sign and saying “peace man”. While our society helps understand the concept it is best understood in these terms. Peace is having no conflict with a person, there may have been conflict in the past but it has since been resolved, there may be conflict in the future and that will break the peace, but in the current situation there is no conflict between two or more people. When we look at Romans 5:1, we see that the first benefit of justification with God is peace with Him. Paul teaches us that before we have been saved by the blood of Christ that we were at war with God. We were at war with Him because of our sin, but because of Jesus sacrifice we now have peace with God.
This peace with God enables all the other benefits which we see from 5:1-11, the next of which is hope in our sufferings, in verses 2-5. What is hope? How do you find hope? What is suffering? Why do you or others suffer? When I think of the concept of hope, I always think of Batman. Batman gave hope the city of Gotham, when all the city was in chaos He showed a light in the darkness to bring hope and peace to its citizens. Justification likewise gives us hope, hope in the midst of our suffering. It is weird for us to think that suffering is a benefit, but think of this because of being a follower of Christ you now the honor of representing Him on Earth and because not everyone loves Jesus, you now get to share his Word which may make you have present sufferings. Now even though this benefit may not seem as great as the others, in the midst of our suffering for Christ, God gives us hope. That hope is the certain hope of heaven. Hope that can only come when we have died, that because of Jesus life, death, and resurrection, if you have Christ as your savior, you will go to heaven. A place where there is no more pain, no more sorrow, perfect peace, and perfect communion with God, the one who loves you more than anyone can. This is the hope that can only come from being justified all other hope pales in comparison.
The last benefit which we see in this chapter is that that of the certainty of salvation, found in verses 6-11. What is certainty? How can you be certain of something? Why? How can you prove certainty? Certainty is a hard concept to give an example to. There are not many things that we can have certainty about, since all earthly things have the ability to fail. Yet above all else we can have certainty when it comes to the promises of God. When God promises to do something He will always fulfill that promise. That certainty we have with God’s promises is part of this benefit, that because God promised salvation to all who confess their sin and have Jesus as their savior, which justification comes from, you can have certainty of your salvation. Many people today teach that you can lose your salvation. They teach that your salvation can be lost if you continuously keep sinning. These people are wrong on two accounts. If you habitually keep sinning without remorse or want of confession then you are not saved to begin with and do not have any salvation to loose. You must first confess and be justified for any salvation to occur. Secondly they teach that your salvation is your own, that you somehow had any part in being justified before God.
Last week we learned that we are only justified by faith alone, and that this justification cannot be bought and any type of work fails to attain it, justification can only be granted by God, because of Jesus life, death, and resurrection. We cannot attain justification because of our complete and utter depravity of sin. Therefore if we cannot attain justification on our own, needing it to be given to us by God, then it is not ours in the first place and we cannot lose it. Our justification is kept by the work of Christ. If we think that we can lose our justification by something that we can do, we are saying that Jesus sacrifice was not good enough, that the love that God has for Man is not sufficient for our sin. Because God is perfect in his love and because Jesus’s sacrifice was perfect than nothing that we can do, can make us loose our salvation, for it was not ours to begin with. To me this is the greatest part of this chapter, knowing that God’s perfect love and works are greater than anything I can do try to loose, what cannot be lost. As we look into the rest of this chapter I hope you will think about the benefits of justification and how what once seemed like a academic subject is so practical and important to our daily lives that we must understand it to truly understand the depth of what God has done for us.