At Peace with God (Romans 5)
Don’t we all want peace?
In Romans 5, Paul talks about peace, specifically peace with God. He points back to the first four chapters, saying, “We have been justified.” That term is a legal term. Basically, it means to receive a verdict of righteous, of good, even though we are not. We are guilty. We are receiving justification by God because of Jesus Christ, because he paid the penalty we deserve. Because of that, we are justified. Paul says, “Listen. Because we are justified through faith, we have PEACE.”
In Paul’s letters, he refers to peace 50 times. Here’s the kind of peace he’s talking about: the Greek word he uses, eirene, means the opposite of war, reconciliation. Let’s read the Romans 5 passage again with this in mind.
Romans 5:1-2 says “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.”
You hear this word, gospel, often said in church. And we have an idea of what it means, but originally, the gospel referred to a messenger who came from a far distant land announcing that a victory had been won, that a war had been finished and victory was for the people. Over time and now, the word gospel is used for the message itself. Specifically, gospel refers to the message that Jesus, through his blood, has ended our war with God. The absence of war. We’re no longer at war with God, now we have peace.
You might think, “Well, I’m not at war with God. I don’t feel that.”
Well, you might be, because maybe you’re not trusting God. Maybe you’re not close to God and you feel that distance. You’re trying to find peace and you can’t find it. Maybe you’re rebelling. Maybe you’re going the wrong way. All of these are against God – at war, essentially.
Paul says because we’ve been justified, we are at peace with God. Here’s a simple illustration of what this means. My husband and I have been married for 12 years, and once in a while we fight. Here’s the thing – sometimes Jim is wrong, and I have to tell him that (wink wink). But seriously, we get into this tiff. We get into this situation, and I get really frustrated with him. He tells me I’m wrong. I’m telling him that he’s wrong, and we get so aggravated.
I’m Puerto Rican, so when I get angry I talk faster and louder. He says I get smarter when we fight, but in reality it’s that he doesn’t know what I’m saying, I’m talking so fast and maybe in Spanish. Ultimately, the tension gets so bad we have to separate. We have to go to different rooms. I sometimes go take the dog for a walk to kind of regroup. We just have to separate for a minute to think. Has this ever happened to you?
Now all of a sudden we’re not so cozy with each other anymore. We’re not saying nice things to each other and being lovey and batting our eyes or anything like that.
We’re not being nice or loving, because we’re not in communion. We’re at war with each other. What happens is eventually we have a conversation with cooler mindsets and we make up. We kiss and make up, and it’s so good. It’s so good to kiss and make up, because when we do that we’re back at peace.
Now, once Jim and I are at peace, we can do nice things for each other.
We can say nice things to each other. We can be together and enjoy life together, because we’re at peace with each other again. We can be in the same room. We can be on the same couch really close to each other. He made me tea this morning. Wasn’t that nice? We’re at peace with each other today.
It makes sense to us – we know how this works in marriage, or in relationship with your employer, or a family member or friend. Sometimes we’re not at peace with other people. The same thing happens with us and God. Sometimes we’re not at peace with God.
Paul is reminding us, here is my paraphrase, “You have been made to be at peace with God. Done. You are at peace with God. No longer does his wrath come toward your evil, because he now sees the righteousness of Jesus.”
So we approach the throne of God with confidence. We can get all cozy, up close to God and have conversations and communion with him, because we’re at peace with our heavenly Father. One of the benefits of being justified through our faith in Jesus Christ is that we finally have that peace we seek, the peace that surpasses all understanding, peace with our heavenly Father.
So, my dear sister or my dear brother, in Paul’s words, may “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.”
Think about your peace with God. If you don’t feel it, ask God to help you feel at peace with him and use Romans 5 as a devotional reading.
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