Are You at Peace with God?

Scripture:  Romans 5:1-11

A bold little girl approached a man one time on a street corner and asked, “Sir, have you been saved?”  The man looked down at her with a smile and said, “Yes, young lady, I have been saved.  Beyond that, I am being saved, and one day I will be saved.”  That man had a broad understanding of what it means to be saved and at peace with God.  Salvation is in three time periods:  past, present and future.  As Christians we have been saved from the penalty of sin.  We are being saved from the power of sin.  One day we will be saved from the presence of sin.  In our passage for this morning, Paul describes our salvation in detail.  In verses 1-2 we see the past tense of our salvation.  In verses 3-5 we see the present tense of our salvation.  In verses 6-11 we see the future tense of our salvation.  There are three ways we can have peace with God.

First of all, we can have peace with God through grace for the past.  All of us, if we are honest, will admit we have had issues with sin in our past.  Every single of one of us has a rebellious streak that goes to the bone.  We have a heart problem, not with our physical heart, but with our emotional heart, with who we peacwithGodare.  The problem of our heart is the heart of our problem.  Isaiah 59:2 says, “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”  There is a great gulf now that exists between God and man.  When Jesus came, he died and spilled his own blood to deal with our sin.  Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”  He then came back to life on the third day after he was buried.  We have two things given to us because of Jesus’ blood that we did not have previously.  They deal with the sin in our past.  First, we have acceptance with God.  Verse 1 of our passage says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The Bible tells us that each one us has been at odds with God.  Have we ever been at odds with someone else?  There is tension when we are together, there is an uneasiness, we just know things aren’t right.  Each one of us has been at that place with God in our past.  Romans 8:7 says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”  Because of what Jesus has done for us however, we have peace.  What a wonderful thing it is to have the tension eliminated, to bring down the walls and to be reconciled with someone with whom we have been at odds.  We can’t bring down the offense of our sin against God, but Jesus can.  Having peace with God is a fantastic thing.  All of us have something we have done in our past that we wish we hadn’t done, and something we certainly don’t want to advertise.  We may doubt that God could forgive such a thing, and as a result we are tense and troubled.  Our passage tells us however, he does forgive us.  Verse 1 again says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We are justified.  That means we are made “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned.  We can have peace with God over our past, knowing that He accepts us through Jesus.  Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  Notice the word “perfect”?  No one or nothing else will give us perfect peace – only God gives it perfectly.  We will never have peace with God until we make our peace with Jesus Christ.  People today are looking for peace everywhere.  Some look for it in pills.  Drugs won’t last.  Some look for it in possessions.  Possessions can be taken or lose their appeal.  Some look for it in position.  The higher we go the less peace we will find in the elevation.  Some look for it in prestige.  Others can think highly of us and we can still be troubled.  Some look for peace in power.  Some look for peace in popularity.  We can be surrounded by friends and still be extremely lonely.  A little bit of peace can be found in all these things, but it will not last.  It is not perfect peace.  Actually peace isn’t something we find, it is something we receive.  It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that we can have peace with God and perfect acceptance.  Then, we not only have acceptance with God despite our past, we also have access to God.  Verse 2 of our passage tells us, “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.”  The word “access” here could be literally translated, “Entrance to the king through the favor of another.”  We enjoy not only the peace of God because of Jesus, but the presence of God as well.  I would say most people today believe in God.  Many of those people also know a few things about God.  There are few people however, who know God.  The story is told of a little boy years ago who was standing outside Buckingham Palace in London.  He wanted to talk to the King.  As he walked towards the gate, one of the guards very rudely shoved him away and told him to leave.  The little boy began crying, giving up all hope that he would ever be able to see his king.  About that time a well dressed young man approached and saw the boy crying.  He said, “What’s wrong?”  After the little boy explained his story, the young man said, “Son, you just hold my hand, walk with me and don’t even pay any attention to those soldiers.”  The little boy took the young man’s hand, and to his amazement he watched as the guards snapped to attention.  The stepped to the side and allowed the two to enter together.  The little boy was led along carpeted hallways, opened doors, until finally he approached the throne room of the king himself.  He stood there face-to-face with his king, who was seated on a throne.  He couldn’t hardly believe it, much less understand it.  The young man spoke and said, “Father, I have brought a friend to see you.”  This little boy had taken the hand of the Prince of Wales, the son of the King.  Alone he had no chance of access, but with the son of the king by his side, he was ushered into the presence of royalty.  We have access to God if we have placed our hand in the hand of Jesus, God’s son.  We can have peace with God through grace for the past.

Second, we can have peace with God through growth for the present.  Verse 3 says, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  Did we hear what Paul just said?  He said we rejoice in sufferings.  How in the world can we rejoice in sufferings?  God often uses suffering to refine us, to strengthen us.  1 Peter 1:6-7 tells us, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  When we suffer, we usually have a different focus than God has.  We are concerned about what is happening to us, while God is concerned about what is happening in us.  We need to understand that despite the troubles we have, God is always with us.  We will never be closer to God than we are in the middle of the storm.  Despite the waves crashing around us and the winds howling over us, we have a deep sense of peace from our God.  Charles Spurgeon once said, “The refiner is never far from the furnace when his gold is in the fire.”  Most of us learned in school how the oyster produces a pearl.  The pearl is actually a product of suffering.  A little piece of foreign matter enters the oyster.  The oyster responds by secreting a little solution to cover the object, whatever it is.  It secrets more and more solution, making layer after layer, until finally a pearl is formed.  Layer after layer of glory was placed upon the grief, and a beautiful, precious thing was the result.  So when trouble comes into our lives, God allows us to secret his grace, and the result is something that glorifies Him and inspires others.  We can have peace with God through growth for the present.

Then, we can have peace with God through glory for the future.  It is one thing to be saved, it is another thing to be sure.  It is still another thing to be secure.  I am all three — saved, sure, and secure.  There are at least three things that give us peace regarding our future glory.  The first thing is the love of the Father.  Verse 6 of our passage says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”  The Father loved us enough to allow Jesus to die for us, even when we were weak.  Verses 7-8 of our passage tell us, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  In other words, when we were too weak, when we were too worthless, when we were too wicked, God gave his Son to die for us.  Jesus with one hand took hold of a holy God.  With the other hand took hold of sinful man.  And with the blood of His cross He made peace and reconciled God and man.  The word translated “show” in verse 8 could also be translated “prove.”  The second thing that gives us peace regarding our future glory is the life of the Son.  Verses 9-11 say, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”  Paul is basically saying here if God loved us to send his son to die for us when were enemies, how much more will he love us now that we are sons and daughters?  Because of Jesus, we are no longer headed towards a prison, but towards a palace.  Jesus is constantly praying for us to His Father.  The third thing that gives us peace regarding our future glory is the leading of the Spirit.  Verse 5 of our passage says, “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.”  The Holy Spirit lives in us forever once we are saved.  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 tells us, “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  The word “seal” here means a sign of ownership.  God has marked us, he has stamped us as his own by giving us the Holy Spirit.  Then, the word “guarantee” is also used.  It is a translation of the Greek word “arra-bone,” which means an initial payment obligating one to make future payments.”  The Holy Spirit living in our lives is like God’s deposit, guaranteeing that He means business when it comes to securing our future.  This leading and presence of the Spirit means God owns us.  He will complete the transaction he has started in our conversion.  Our future is secure, so as a result we can have peace regarding it.  Are you at peace with God regarding your salvation?  Are you at peace with God regarding your service?

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