If a reader of this great letter stopped in the 4th chapter he would know of his need to be saved and he would know of the means of his salvation, but he wouldn’t know of the blessed benefits of it. Paul has two purposes in the first 11 verses speaking of the blessings of our salvation:
- To say how wonderful, it is to be a Christian
- To speak of our endless blessings as Christians
In doing this in the first 11 verses of chapter 5 Paul uses the word for “rejoice” three times which serves as the outline:
- Vs. 1-2 Rejoicing in the hope of glory
- Vs. 3-5 Rejoicing in present sufferings
- Vs. 6-11 Rejoicing in God
That reminds me of the story of Yokoi, a Japanese sergeant. On Jan 24, 1972,after 28 years of hiding in the jungles of Guam, local farmers discovered Yokoi, who was unaware that World War II had ended. He was still fighting a war on a 200-square-mile island that had again become a U.S. possession. Yokoi was left behind by the retreating Japanese forces, went into hiding and for the next three decades waited for the return of the Japanese with his next orders. Finally in 1972, he was discharged and sent home to Japan, where he became a national hero, married, and returned to Guam for his honeymoon. What does this story have to do with Romans 5 and us today? Well, there are far too many Christians today living in the jungles of their former life fighting battles with God when they should have embraced as Savior. Yokoi could have enjoyed life experienced peace, started a family but instead he stayed put not realizing that his country was no longer at war. Saint’s the war is over we have peace with God the treaty has been signed in His blood.
Vs. 1-2 Rejoicing in the hope of glory
Vs. 1-2 There are five ways based upon these verses we can tell that we are rejoicing in the hope of glory.
- First, we lose our fear of God: By that I don’t mean our worship or reverence but rather our fear and doubt of His love. We will begin not to see him as our judge or as a principal that has announced that he needs to see us after school but as our loving Father.
- Second, we lose our fear of death: When we come into the understanding of the unmerited love of God towards us, death no longer has a sting in fact we strangely look forward to as we don’t see it as the ending of all the things but rather the beginning of everything! We’re not afraid of what lies beyond this life as we anticipate the glory of being in the presence of the One who loved us so that He laid down His life to ensure that those who trust on Him will be where He is.
- Third, we have a peace with God: “Peace with God” doesn’t mean “tranquility of mind” it means a “cessation of hostility”. It is NOT the peace of God it is peace with God. It isn’t that we have first ceased being hostile towards God it is that He has ceased to be righteously hostile towards us. This peace brings us instantly into His presence no matter what the circumstance or how little we deserve it. The Bible doesn’t say we have peace with the devil, the world, the flesh, or sin. Life is still a battle for the Christian, but it is no longer a battle against God it’s a battle against our former life.
- Forth, we have access to the King: The access isn’t just into a standing of grace, but into the very courts of heaven. The Jew was kept from God by the veil in the Holy of Holies and gentiles were kept out of the temple area under punishment of death. But Jesus’ work on the cross has torn the veil from top to bottom and destroyed the barrier keeping gentiles from access to God. “The idea is that of introduction to the presence of a king”. This is more than an audience with one’s king; it is into the chamber with our best friend the King with all assurances that he considers us so. Our “access” and “standing” are such as they cannot be revoked. “We are not brought to God for the purpose of an interview, but to remain with him; to be in his household; to behold his face and walk in the light of his countenance.” The basis of this friendship isn’t predicated upon us being holy and working so hard that the King has no choice but to regard us as His friends. We are not in His courts because we have been loyal subjects! He has pulled us vagabonds off the streets of the world where we lived in rebellion to His rule and chose to live in the squalor that our flesh was convinced was riches. And even as the Kings friends we are motley crew of ill-mannered misfits who far too often take for granted our Kings lovingkindness towards us. The king is the One who has lavished His love upon us ill-respective of our consistent miss-behavior. His unmerited favor washes over us every moment of the day. How do we thank Him? Far too much of the time by bragging to our fellow misfits that the reason for His love and favor towards us is because of some small penance of work that we have done to manipulate Him to do what He was already going to do!
- Fifth, we have hope of the glory of God: Peace with God” dealt with our past no longer holding our sins against us. And “Access to God” takes care of our present as we can come into His throne of grace any time we would like. Ah but “Hope with God” takes care of our future as one day we shall not only behold His glory we shall share His glory. It is not our glory or glory that is manifested by our works; NO, it is undeserved glory that has clothed because of His grace. (Rom. 8:17) Everyone who has put their faith in Jesus and none in themselves has come to a place of complete assurance, continual acceptance, and confident anticipation.
Vs. 3-5 Rejoicing in present sufferings
Vs. 3-4 Paul anticipates the fact that such a claim wouldn’t match the personal experience due to persecution, so he says, “I know we have many tribulations now, but we glory in those also.” The word “tribulation” does not refer to minor inconveniences, but to real hardships. It comes from a word that describes the crushing of olives under heavy rocks to extract the oil. Such hardships were not unfamiliar to Paul as he had lived a life full of tribulation. Paul had discovered that such “stresses” produce “endurance”. Then Paul says, “Perseverance produced, character; and character, hope”. Our declaration of value apart from works doesn’t mean that we will no longer experience the trials of living in this world. In Fact, remember that Jesus promised His disciples in John 16:33 “That in this life you will have tribulation” the promise is that “we can be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world.” These trials work for us not against us and no amount of stress can separate us from the love of God they will only cause us to drawn closer to his love. Trials only build our godly character of patience, which proves our character and leads us to hope.
Vs. 5 There is often a mindset in Christians who see their self-worth and value based upon work that such “stresses” are either “undeserving” or “a direct result of our failure” but Paul offers a different view they are to strengthen our “Hope”. Stresses cause us to reevaluate the motive behind our works and to abandon everything except resting in the “Love of God” which He has already poured out towards and continues to pour out towards us. God’s love isn’t given to us in a trickle, it is poured out in our hearts. This love is ours by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. As such the lack of awareness of God’s love can be credited to a failure to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit and to walk in the Spirit.
For 7 wonderful years I lived in the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. The symbol for the area is the 250-year-old Lone Cypress found on the 17-mile drive. This tree has been painted, sculpted and as I can attest made into jewelry. The secret to its admired beauty is the wind that constantly blows as it produces an outward beauty as well as an inward strength. The root system of the Cypress goes deeper than any other tree in the state even deeper than the mighty redwood. Dear ones if we want to be reflecting the beauty of the Lord He will need to sink our roots down deep and the winds of tribulation are certain to do just that. God puts us in fixes to fix us!
Vs. 6-11 Rejoicing in God
Vs. 6-11 The greatness of God’s love is seen in its giving to the undeserving, those without strength, the ungodly, to sinners. God’s grace displayed in Jesus is so strong that it not only changes our status from sinner to saint it changes our state as we cannot stay acting like a sinner we must begin to act as a saint! Paul declares three spiritual blessings that assure us that we cannot be lost.
- Vs. 6-8 God’s love within: There are many times that the “due time” seems to be way over do! But God’s timing is always perfect as Jesus died at the due time when we recognized that we were sinners who needed a Savior. We may have to wait for the hope to be fulfilled but our waiting isn’t absent of His presence it’s saturated in the presence of His love. He reminds us that since He has acted towards us in love while we were still practicing sin how much more confident can we be that He will continue to act towards us in love while we are now called His beloved children? Spurgeon said, “You will say”:
- “Oh, I am one of the worst in the world.” But Christ died for the worst in the world.
- “Oh, I have no power to be better.” But Christ died for those that were without strength.
- “Oh, my case condemns itself.” But Christ died for those that legally are condemned.
- “Oh, my case is hopeless.” But Christ died for the hopeless. He is the hope of the hopeless. He is the Savior not of those partly lost, but of the wholly lost.
- Vs. 9-10 Salvation from future wrath: Since God chose to save us while we were against Him we can again be confident that He will continue to save us while we are His children. Yes there is “wrath to come” but we who have received the covering of His Son’s blood shall escape this wrath. And since His death accomplished so much for us we can expect that His life will also accomplish great things on our behalf as we are told that now Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father ever living to make intercession on our behalf defending us against the accuser of the brethren. The one who died for us has become the executor of His will as we are assured of every spiritual blessing in heavenly places and are accounted as His inheritance!
- Vs. 11 Reconciliation with God: The word “reconciliation” means to be brought back into fellowship with God as Jesus has become the “peace child” to places us back into His family. If God does this much for His enemies, how much more will He do for His friends! This reconciliation isn’t only helpful when we die; it touches our life right now.