In yesterday’s reading from the book of Romans, Paul made the point that Abraham — the “spiritual father” of all believers — never had to earn his way into heaven. It was God’s gift to him. Paul even quotes a passage from Genesis to show that this was nothing new or shocking: “What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness’” (Romans 4:3, NIV).
As Paul continues to teach the Romans in the next chapter of his letter, he returns to the theme of being declared righteous by faith. In this section he wants to teach the Romans (and us!) about the tremendous benefits of being justified by faith.
First, he tells us, those who have been justified by faith already have the kind of supernatural, inner peace that everyone else is still seeking. We no longer have to keep stressing and striving to find peace. Peace with God is the root and the trunk from which every other kind of peace is merely a branch — be it emotional peace, financial peace, marital peace, or any other kind of peace we might be looking to find.
Second, those who have been justified by faith have been given protective “grace boots” to wear. When we stand in these “grace boots” the mud and muck of sin can no longer touch us. The guilt and shame of the wrong things we still do — even as Christ-followers who sincerely and deeply want to quit sinning — are unable to cause us to slip or fall. Jesus has taken that guilt and shame on his own shoulders. That is the very reason he was crucified for us!
And finally, those who have been justified by faith have an unassailable hope that carries us through all our pain and suffering. We know that the glory of God — the glory of heaven! — awaits us one day. So when we go through tough times here on earth, we become tougher. For the believer, sufferings only serve to produce a more positive person filled with perseverance and character.
Peace. Grace. Hope.
This is what most people are constantly seeking — and often fail to find.
But Jesus has them for us. And they all come together with his gift of justification by faith. And that makes justification by faith the gift that keeps on giving!
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Saturday, July 18, is Amos 6:1 – 7:17, Romans 4:16 – 5:11 and Psalm 86:11-17.
Lord, thank you for giving me such beautiful gifts. You have declared me innocent of all sin. You have given me the Holy Spirit and his power to cling to you in faith. And by faith in Jesus, you also give me peace, grace and hope. What more could I ever ask for? What more could I ever need?
Header image based on "Muddy Shoes" by Andy Wright, CC By 2.0