Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Law Abiding Citizens
Ancient teachers of the Law were passionate about maintaining the integrity of their faith. Unfortunately, the many guidelines and commentary, as useful as they were, became a stumbling block to walking with God. You can imagine the task of setting up guidelines for more than 600 laws.
Their guidelines & not the law eventually became the foundation for their teaching and the grid for assessing themselves and others. They inevitably became sin-conscious, since the Law couldn’t justify, because it was designed condemned infractions.
They ended up developing a culture of criticizing, condemning and complaining about those who weren’t living up to the standards of perfection. As a result, their best efforts to measure up became a lifestyle rooted in self-righteousness.
Living under Grace in Christ
The word justified in Romans 5:1 is dikaioō, a verb meaning to Justify, render innocent, and pronounce righteousness! Imagine that, the undeserved are gifted righteousness! That was incomprehensible to the well-meaning faithful living under the sacrificial system.
Those who were trained for generations to “do righteousness” as a way of life, were being told that the law they were trying to keep, was pointing to the Messiah who would keep it for them! Then, to believe that this Jesus they grew up with was that Messiah was too much to handle.
The apostles teaching Grace through Christ alone had the undeserved favor of God as their foundation for assessing themselves and others. So, they were naturally developing a culture of forgiving, empowering, and encouraging others to walk free of their lifestyle of sinning. As a result of their lifestyle of faith, they became righteousness-conscious!
God is saying you now have peace with Him. An amazing calm stabilizing your thoughts, and the peace of mind you find in Christ, is only a result of what took place within you. The peace you experience is the absence of your formally hostile disposition toward God.
You have “access by faith.” You who believed have been given a “pass” through faith “into this grace,” In which you now stand. Your mindset changes from an obligation to “do something” for acceptance, to an obligation to “believe something was done” for you.
This removes the burden of having to do something to be pleasing to God. Paul said: “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).
When In Christ, Edifying replaces Criticizing, Transformation replaces Condemnation, Complementing replaces Complaining. By grace, you delight in God, and are given the desires that are on His heart, and empowered to walk them out!
You have been accepted by believing, your works of righteousness are in response to God’s gracious gift. In other words, you’re not obeying God’s Word to gain acceptance, but as a result of having been accepted. Walk with God in that, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God, and Be Encouraged!-JSP
(1) Featured Image: Sola Fide – Faith Alone (Steven Lawson)