Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
January 24, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<190> Thesis: Because Jesus did, and does, what is necessary for our "Life", we exist in a state of peace with God. Introduction: This evening we are beginning a new chapter in our studies of Romans. We have spent a great deal of time considering the mechanics of "justification before God". One of the most emphatic claims that Paul made is that justification can not be tied to our performance in any objective way. It rests, objectively, upon Jesus Christ alone. The natural corollary to that claim is that, on the subjective side of the coin, we are justified when we "believe" that God's offer to justify us on the basis of Christ's obedience alone is a legitimate offer and we "receive" it as the means to an end that we genuinely desire. That "end" is relational harmony with God. As we begin our consideration of Romans 5, it is interesting that Paul specifically addresses that "end". He declares that justification results in our possession of peace with God. There is, apparently, a theological tension that continues to "survive" even after Paul has cut our standing before God loose from all of both our failures and our successes. It seems to me that there is no point to the declaration that we have "peace with God" unless there is some question that remains. So, what is that "remaining question"? Does it not have to be the question of the reality of our "faith"? We are sure that Paul has established the fact that "faith" puts us "right" with God. That is what Romans 4 is all about. But, what often lingers is the question of whether what I am calling "faith", as it concerns my heart and mind, is what Paul calls "faith". We all know that we do not "love" as we ought, nor do we "think" as we ought. So, how do we know that we have "believed" in the biblical sense of the word? There are three answers to that question. First, there is the answer we addressed some weeks ago when we saw that Abraham's "faith", which allowed the conception of Isaac, did not keep him from deceiving the king of Gerar (Genesis 20). This part of the answer is this: we do not determine the legitimacy of our "faith" by the consistency of our behavior. Second, there is the answer which the text before us addresses first: do we have any "hope" that we will participate in the glory of God? It is inconceivable that we can have any "faith" in what Jesus did for us if we do not, as a consequence, have any "hope" that we shall enter into the result of His actions. And, third, there is the answer which the text introduces second: there is a real ministry of the Holy Spirit Who has been given to those who believe (Romans 5:5). This evening we are going to zero in on the declaration of Paul regarding what happens when we believe. He says we come into possession of "peace" with God. This evening we want to consider what that means in regard to "faith".