Results of Being Made Right with God

(Rom. 5:1-6:23)

Part One
Results of Being Made Right with God

Todayís lesson falls in the overall outline of Romans in the following way:

Theme: The Faithfulness and Righteousness of God (1:16-17)

I. The Need for God's Righteousness (1:18-3:20)

    General Statement Explaining Why Man Needs Godís Righteous Activity (1:18a)
    The Gentile Need for Godís Righteous Activity (1:18-32)
    The Jewish Need for Godís Righteous Activity (2:1-3:20)
II. Godís Gracious Provision of Righteousness (3:21-8:39)
    The Method of God Making Us Right with Himself (3:21-31)
    Abraham: OT Proof that God Makes Us Right With Him By Faith (4:1-25)
    Results of Being Made Right with God (5:1-6:23)
        (1) A Proper Relationship of Peace with God (5:1-2)
        (2) A Proper Understanding of Suffering (5:3-5)
        (3) Assurance in Judgment (5:6-11)

        (4) A New Race of Mankind (5:12-21)
        A Rejection of Lawlessness (6:1-23)
    Experiencing Godís Righteousness Daily (7:1-8:39)
        (1) The Way Not to Experience Godís Righteousness (7:1-25)
        (2) The Way to Experience Godís Righteousness (8:1-39)

(1) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (2) through whom also we have received our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

In the previous section Paul has laid out his gospel and has shown that it is not a new innovation but rather the way God has always used to bring people into a right relationship with Him, even the OT saints who lived under the Law. Now he turns his attention to showing us the results of having been made right with Him.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have _______________ with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    By "peace" Paul (nor the rest of the NT writers) does not mean a feeling. By "peace" he means the state of our relationship with God. No matter what the outward circumstances may seem to indicate, no matter what our feelings are telling us, we are in a favorable, blessed relationship with God. Many times the feeling of peace follows upon coming into this right relationship with God; however, that is not always the case. Because Satan cannot destroy the external peace which exists between us and God through Jesus, he nevertheless continually tries to destroy the inner peace which comes through being made right with God. Always distinguish between God's attitude towards you AND your attitude towards yourself, Satan's attitude towards you, other people's attitude towards you.

    Now it is difficult for us to separate peace from feelings. Consider though these 2 scenarios and tell me in which one are the people blessed? In the first scenario rich people are partying on a cruise ship like life is never going to end. All is wonderful. The date though is April 14, 1912 and the ship is the Titanic. In the second scenario a poor starving man sits freezing in the cold. He doesn't realize, but in just a moment he is going to find a lottery ticket which has been thrown away and which has just won the tri-state jackpot of over $100m. The man in the second scenario is blessed even though he doesn't feel it, whereas the people in the first scenario are cursed even though they don't feel it. Blessedness and peace have ultimately nothing to do with feeling but rather with reality.

    To understand more fully the peace God gives us, we need to realize that the peace Jesus gives us is based upon His resurrection. On the night of His resurrection Jesus twice confers upon His disciples peace; seven days later He does the same (John 20:19-26). Although "peace" (shalom) was the customary Jewish greeting ("hello"), it means more than just "hello" here. Because of Jesus' resurrection we have peace. Jesus' resurrection gives us a preview of our resurrection. Because we are identified with Him (one with Him), we shall rise from the dead just as He rose from the dead. The troubles you and I experience are not the period at the end of the sentence of our lives. The resurrection is. When it is all said and done, we shall rise from the dead. In other words, it really is going to be OK, it is really going to work out in the end. That should give us a real sense of peace in the here and now.

According to Paul we have to be introduced into this grace which saves us. In other words, we cannot just go up and take this grace by ourselves. Someone has to introduce us into this grace. Who introduces us (5:2)?

    The idea of introduction is strange to most of us who live ordinary lives; however, if you functioned within the realm of presidents, queens, kings, etc. you would understand the way this works. You just cannot enter into the presence of the Queen of England. She has ministers and advisers whom she trusts. If you desire to have an audience with her, you must know somebody who has an "in" with her. Only they can get you an audience with her. In the same way, you must have somebody on the "in" with God, if you are going to be in His presence. The only person who can make that introduction for you is Jesus. That is why Jesus says, "I am THE way . . ." (John 14:6). (The early church took this so seriously that it called itself the Way long before it called itself Christianity.) In other words, the following statement is especially true of Christianity: it is not WHAT you know that matters, it is WHO you know!

"And we exult in _________ of the glory of God."
    Many misunderstand what Christianity means by "hope." Hope in Christianity is not mere wishful thinking. Rather it is a confident expectation of something that is going to definitely happen. It is called "hope" because it has not happened yet; it is still in the future. But it is as good as done!

    Moreover, although right now we do receive benefits of being right with God, we need to realize that we are only experiencing a taste of those benefits. The greater part of what we are going to receive will come only later when Christ returns. Think for a moment though about how wonderful at times it is to be a Christian. Since this is only a taste, try to imagine now how much more wonderful it will be when Christ returns.

(3) And not only this but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, (4) and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope; (5) and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This passage immediately informs us that we are not yet receiving the full benefits of being right with God because suffering is not one of the benefits God has for us. Suffering though does not mean that we are not right with God. Sometimes we suffer because we sin; however, we live in world characterized by suffering. God has taken suffering and changed it so that now it has a positive effects upon believers. In fact, it is in the arena of evil and suffering that Christianity has made its greatest impact and contribution. There are no Jobs in the NT.

Christianity has to deal with the problem of suffering; C.S. Lewis claims that the existence of evil and suffering is the greatest challenge Christianity has to address. Suffering is such an important part of existence that Buddhism was created in large measure to explain why we suffer and how to get rid of suffering. The Christian is faced with the argument, "If God is so loving, why does He allow certain things to happen?" For example, 18th-century Europe was devastated emotionally and spiritually by the earthquake which ravaged Lisbon, Portugal on All Saints Day, 1755. This earthquake and the feeble Christian response to it led to skepticism throughout Europe, e.g. Voltaire. Paul provides us with the Christian response.

(Just one final note. Paul is dealing here with suffering that concerns the person who is living out of his right relationship with God. He is not speaking about the discipline that you and I receive whenever we sin. Look to 1 Cor. 3:10-17 for such a discussion.)

When Paul says that we exult in our tribulations, does he mean that we should want to suffer? What does he mean?

    Christianity does not turn us into masochists. It turns us into real men and women of God. Our real joy comes about because we now understand the purpose of God allowing us to suffer.

    Note though that a radical difference exists between the way the OT deals with suffering and the way the NT does. When you read Job, you are surprised that James compliments him for being a patient man. Patient? He moans and groans and gripes for ~35 chapters. When David suffers persecution, he asks God to wipe off His enemies from the face of the earth. How though do Paul and Silas respond to suffering? They sing praises (Acts 16:25). When the early Christians were scourged for their faith, they praised God for being counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Jesus. What changed the attitude towards suffering in the Bible? The fact that God the Son not only suffered but that His sufferings led to resurrection. If God suffered, who are we not to suffer (2 Thess. 1:5, 6)? Moreover, if we respond positively to suffering, we will experience a real taste of the resurrection spiritually right now.

What does tribulation bring about (5:3)? ___________________ What does perseverance bring about (5:4)? ___________________ What does proven character bring about (5:4)? ___________________.

    Tribulation has behind it the idea of stress or affliction. It puts pressure upon the man. Whereas we normally don't like pressure in a spiritual way, we don't mind it in a physical way. The weight lifter subjects his body to pressure from heavy weights. As he perseveres under the weights, his muscles get stronger and stronger. The more pressure, the stronger the body. The word perseveres literally means "to remain under." God knows that the only way you can develop your spiritual body is by applying pressure to it. Since we don't voluntarily apply pressure to our spiritual bodies, God has to apply it.

    The greatest Christian study on suffering was conducted by C. S. Lewis in the last century. He said that he was not sure that God wanted us to be happy. Instead what God desires is that we grow up! Too often we view the world as our nursery filled with toys for our enjoyment. God injects pain into the nursery to get us out of that mindset so that we can grow, mature, and love. The child does not love; it is the mature adult who is capable of loving and of being loved.

Next, Paul says that perseverance brings about "proven character." The idea behind this is "the test." You take a certain object and run tests on it to determine if it is fit or if it needs to be junked. The Christian will respond rightly to pressure (tribulation) and then will pass the test, that is, "be approved."

Finally, this proven character leads to hope. There is a radical difference between the seasoned Christian and the new Christian. Many times the new Christian throws his hands up in despair whenever something goes wrong. The seasoned Christian though who has gone through many trying situations not only perseveres but also has hope, has confidence that things are going to turn out OK if not now, at least in the future because God has always come through for him/her in the past. Many of the most radiant Christians are not those who have had an easy life but are those who have suffered horribly and who have clung to God during those dark times.

Verse 5 informs us of the basis of our hope; it tells us why we should have confidence as we look to the future. "And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through _______ ____________ ______________ who has been given to us" (5:5).

    The word "hope" always refers to the future. The Holy Spirit is the One who makes our blessed future real. He will radically transform the universe to be a suitable dwelling place for God and His children. He will raise us from the dead in order to transform our bodies to be like Christ's body. He will finish changing us internally so that spiritually we will be like Christ.

    The fact that the Holy Spirit came to live in us the moment we became right with God proves that our future is going to be wonderful. His presence in us right now is the downpayment of the future payments God has for us. Whenever you make a downpayment, you are not making the final payment. What you are doing is you are guaranteeing that future and final payments are forthcoming. In the same way God's putting the Holy Spirit in us guarantees that future and final payments are forthcoming. Because of the Holy Spirit living within us, it's not a matter of "if," only of "when."

(6) For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ die for the ungodly. (7) For one will hardly die for a righteous man though perhaps for the good man one will die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (10) For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (11) And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

It is so hard at times for us to think that things are really OK between us and God. Some many factors fight against our peace: our overly sensitive consciences, Satan, "friends," etc. The kind of love God has for us and the way He demonstrated it should convince us though that God does love us and that we are in a positive relationship with Him.

According to verse 6 what was true about us when Christ did die for us?

In verse 7 what kind of person will most people NOT die for? (Add the prefix self- to understand what Paul means here.) What kind of person will some be willing to die for?

What kind of person does Christ die for (5:8)? According to Paul what motivates Christ to die for this kind of person?

Paul's logic is this: if Christ died for us when we were His enemies, we should have complete confidence in the future because we are now His friends, that is, reconciled to Him. In other words, our future judgment is going to be positive because of what He did for us while we were even His enemies.

So, does Christ wave a wand over us at the time of judgment and make everything alright? There is zero indication that that is what is going to happen. Rather Paul speaks of that time as a time of fire, a time when everything is tested and basically purified. According to Paul some are going to come through this with flying colors. Others are going to find the ordeal quite different from what they had expected . . . to say the least. They all came through the ordeal, but the ordeal was much more pleasant for some than for others.

Here is Paul's description of this event:

    "According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire" (1 Cor. 3:10-15).
Friends, in order for heaven to be heaven, those of us who will be there must be changed completely to be like Jesus. Change always involves the will; in fact, the first thing Paul encourages us to do in the area of ethics is to yield our wills to God (Rom. 12:1-2). The cool thing is that God is patient, in fact so patient that Paul is able to write: "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6). It may take a long time, but as the Creator of time He has all the time in the world to accomplish His purposes.