Meditations on Romans 5:1

Transcript of Midweek Meditations podcast episode aired on Wednesday, 17th June 2020.

Peace. How unreal does it seem in our present day. COVID-19. Black Lives Matter. Political unrest in various parts of the world. When you think about what’s going on, it can seem like a dream. What about your own life? Do you know peace? Maybe you feel peace seems illusive, out of reach, for you.

Yet, our God is a God of peace. We see this throughout various parts of the Scriptures. But, especially in Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In every single one of his letters, Paul greets his recipients with the peace of God.

What is this peace though? Let’s take a look as we meditate on the words of Romans 5:1—

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

Romans 5:1 (NIV)

Paul picks up two key things about the peace that comes from God: 1) peace is a result of our justification by faith; and, 2) peace comes through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Peace and justification

What is justification? Justification is a declaration of innocence, freedom, and righteousness. For the Christian, justification is the declaration that we’re innocent from our sins. Free from the judgment and wrath of God. Restored into right relationship with God.

What’s precious about this justification though is that we’re justified by faith. We’re not justified by our character, our achievements, our works or any other merit. We’re justified by faith. What is faith?

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Faith is a total dependence on God and his work on our behalf. Obedience to the commandments and law of God cannot bring us peace, they only bring us a heavy burden. Only faith in what God has done to justify us from sin can bring us peace.

We can have peace because we no longer need to prove ourselves to God. If we don’t need to prove ourselves to God, we also don’t need to prove ourselves to people. We’re no longer burdened by the commandments or laws of God. So we’re also no longer burdened by the expectations of people. We can find peace in God, and we find this peace “through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Peace through Jesus

What’s more, this peace is guaranteed. It’s guaranteed through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus guarantees our peace. As Paul will go on to say later:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Jesus didn’t die for us when we put our faith in God, no he died for us “while we were still sinners.” Understand this, as a sinner, you’re an enemy of God. But he dies for you, his enemy. What a precious truth!

This peace doesn’t come at your expense, you didn’t lose a war against God, and now you need to submit to him. No, the Almighty God gives you peace by giving his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He draws you near to him, not to crush you, but to free you. To free you from sin and death through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This grace, this mercy, this love—this is our source of peace. To know that no matter what happens in life—no panemic, no social or political instability, no sickness or even, death itself—nothing can separate us from the love of God. The love of God demonstrated through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ gives us peace.

As we pray, let me share with you a prayer from one of the early Church Fathers, John Chrysostom:

Prayer

In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

For peace from on high, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

For the peace of the whole world, for the good estate of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

For this holy house, and for those who with faith, reverence and godly fear enter therein, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

For [pastors and ministers of the gospel], and for the congregations committed to their charge, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

For our country, for all its people, and for those who are entrusted with civil authority, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

For this city, and for all the cities and countries, and for those who in faith dwell therein, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Amen.

Slavonic Liturgy of John Chrysostom. A Slavonic version of John Chrysostom’s shortened version of St. Basil’s Liturgy.

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