by Pastor Doug Stratton — June 14, 2020

Romans 5: 1-11 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

CCI: We have peace with God and therefore we can live in God’s love. 

Introduction: Paul’s letter to the Romans has been called great summary of all Paul taught. It was probably among the last of Paul’s letter and while at times it sounds like a purely theological work, it was first a personal letter. In chapter 16 we are reminded of just how personal as he greets individuals in the church. For while Paul had never visited the church of Rome, he knew many of the people well. He was writing a pastoral letter to people he loved deeply. For the next few weeks I will be preaching from the personal letter.

The Letter is easily divided into 3 sections: What has God done? (1-8) – What about God’s People? (9-11) – So what does it mean? (12-16). And for the next few weeks we are going to look at what God has done and how God’s work impacts our lives. 

What we just read begins with the word “therefore…” wherever we find that word, we have to ask a very specific question, and in the letter to the Romans, it is even more important. The question is pretty straight forward. We must ask, what is it there for? And in this case, the answer is right in the next phrase – “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith…” To be justified means to stand before God “Just as If I’D never sinned.” It is about being made right. So right now, because of the work of Jesus, you and I can stand before God just as if we had never sinned. We stand clean before the one who created us. And that results in Peace with God, not something that we will hope for, but it is our reality right now. We HAVE peace with God. 

That is beautiful phrase and I invited Megan Shoop-Volz to share with us what Peace with God and the peace of God means to her. 

Q: There are a lot of frightening things going on in our world, threats to our health from the Coronavirus; threats to your person from some of the protesting against the LGBTQ community; and the brutality that so many black men, women and children experience in our society from law enforcement and from society in general. What does the Phrase “having been justified” mean to you in this context? 

Q: What does it mean to you to have peace with God?

Q: How does that peace with God impact your ability to live in love?

Paul’s message to us in this passage is a message a hope in the midst of difficult times. He does not promise there will be no trouble, rather he reminds us that when times of trial arise, God will use them to bring us to maturity. When we suffer, we learn to persevere, when we persevere, we develop character and with character comes hope, exactly what we need in these difficult times because God has poured love on upon us. 

Often we cry out, “But why Lord? Why now?” and we are reminded that when the time was right, God showed us love in its fullness. 

When is the time right? When do we live in God’s love? In 2 Corinthians 6 we read:

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” The time is now for us know God’s peace, the time is now to live in God’s love, the time is now to become to intimately connected to God, to one another and to our deepest self, that self that quickly lies to us. Now!

Now is the time for justice. Now is the time for peace. Now is the time for equality. Now is the time for us to serve one another. Now is the time step forward. Now is the time. 

We often think that we need to straighten out our lives before God can use us, but hear the good news, “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.” God did not wait for us to straighten up, God came to us in the midst of our sin because the time was right. 

Are you ready, Because of Jesus you stand before God just as if you had never sinned. Because of Jesus we have hope in world that is spinning out of control. Because of Jesus we are made right with God. And because of Jesus, we have peace.

If you attend a protest march you will hear the chant, No Justice No Peace. And they are right, until we live in a just society, there will be conflict. Until Justice flows like a river and righteousness like an overflowing stream, peace in this world will be a fleeting commodity. But I will tell you today that there is another chant and that one says, “Know Jesus – Know Peace.”

Now is the time, come to know Jesus who gave his life to show us how to live and how to die.

~ Pastor Doug