Romans 5:1-2 ESV
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Justified by Faith
To be justified is to be made righteous (approved by God, conformed to his standard and to his will). And the way in which we are made righteous is by faith in Jesus Christ and because of what he did for us in dying on that cross so that we could die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And it is by making righteousness our practice (1 Pet 2:24; 1 Jn 3:7).
And what is faith? It literally means to be persuaded. And Jesus said that no one can come to him unless God the Father first draws him to the Lord, i.e., unless he is persuaded by God to come to Christ (Jn 6:44). So, this faith is not of ourselves. It comes from God and it does God’s will (Eph 2:8-10).
So, what are we persuaded to? What does it mean to come to Christ?
Well, Jesus said it means that we deny self, that we take up our cross daily (daily die to sin) and that we follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity, but if we die with Christ to our old lives of sin, we have eternal life (Luke 9:23-26).
We have peace (God’s gift of spiritual wholeness) with God through Jesus Christ our Lord (owner-master). And wholeness means completeness, entirety, and unity, i.e., that the entirety of our being (our nature) is now to be conformed to God’s standard of holiness and to his will for our lives.
Through Him we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And God’s grace trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we await our Lord’s soon return (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Rom 8:1-7; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Eph 4:17-24).
God’s grace delivers us from our slavery (our bondage, addiction) to sin so that we can now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. For, we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness, which then leads to sanctification, which then ends in eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23).
Romans 5:3-5 ESV
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
What kinds of sufferings?
All human beings suffer because we all live in flesh bodies. We get hurt. We stub our toes. We break an arm or a leg. We fall down. We run into things. We have accidents. We get sick. Loved ones die or they dessert us. People kill one another. And people sin against one another in various ways.
Our cities are hit with tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and some with volcanic eruptions. A pipeline bursts. A blackout occurs. The stock market crashes and food and supplies are scarce on shelves. Restrictions take place which limit our movements, and the world is not the same.
And for those who are following Jesus Christ in surrender to his will for their lives, who are going where he sends them, are saying what he commands, and who are doing what he says, they also face suffering, which is the suffering of rejection, abandonment, false accusations, and persecution.
For when we take a stand for truth and righteousness, and we speak the words of God (from his written word), and we call out sin and wickedness, and we call for repentance and obedience to God, and when we call for surrender to His will, many people will not like us.
Even many people who call themselves Christians will not like us because we are not going along with the marketing schemes of humans, and we are not accepting the social gospel or the cheap grace gospel, and we are not accepting social Christianity, which does not submit to Christ as Lord.
We defend the innocent and the helpless and we call out the wicked and the vile who use and abuse others for their own advantage. We love the things God loves and we hate the things he hates, and that is just too serious for many “Christians” who want Jesus and their selfish lives, too.
So, we will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for doing and saying the kinds of things Jesus and his New Testament apostles did and said. But we are to rejoice in our sufferings, for they will produce in us endurance, character, and hope.
So, even though people will come against us, and they may even say all kinds of evil things against us or plot evil against us, we must keep standing on the truth on the hope that people will be brought to genuine salvation and that they will have the hope of eternal life with God.
And God is going to use all this for his glory. Even if temporarily, we face the kinds of sufferings Jesus and the New Testament apostles faced, we can be confident in knowing that we did what was right, not that we do everything right, but that when we suffer for doing right, we can be assured that God will use it in people’s lives, and for our good.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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