Whether a coach, a player or a businessperson, the importance of getting back to the basics is a critical component of doing well. This, too, is true for the believer. It is essential for the Christian to regularly get back to the basics of our faith to avoid drifting spiritually from the fundamental truths of Scripture. Paul lays out the basics of the faith in his letter to the Romans.
For instance, Paul, in Romans 1-4, provides us with a thorough discussion on justification. He answers the how and why of salvation. Justification (salvation) speaks of being made right with God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. In chapter 5, Paul turns his attention to another aspect of salvation, sanctification. Sanctification speaks of the continued work of salvation in a person’s life. When we are made right with God, He begins the work of making us Christlike. Specifically, in Romans 5, Paul explains what it means to have peace with God.
Paul, in Romans 5:1-5, declares that due to the believer being acquitted, they have certain hope since they have peace with God. Acquittal is a legal term meaning a declaration that someone is in the right. Due to sin, people are in the wrong before God. They have broken His laws, and they deserve punishment. The good news is that on the cross, Christ took humanity’s place. When a person puts their trust in Christ, they are declared to be in the right, acquitted, justified, saved. We have peace with God and can live in peace.
Further, Paul explains in Romans 5:6-11 that acquittal allows the believer to experience the result of God’s love that has brought peace with God. How great is God’s love that sustains our hope? God loves us so much that Christ died for us when we were without strength to do anything good, even when we were ungodly (v. 6) and unworthy sinners (v. 8). I like what Francis Schaffer wrote: “The gospel isn’t for ideal people. Ideal people do not exist. The gospel is for people like us.” Christ died for us while we were yet sinners while we were God’s enemies. “How much more,” then, in the present life, having accepted Christ as our Savior, and having a living Savior…how much more can we expect to have everything we need for our present life!
Then, in Romans 5:12-17, we discover that acquittal allows those trapped in sin to receive the gift of life that comes as we have peace with God. The bottom line is that all people are sinners because of the historical Fall of humanity in Adam. But the good news is what we can receive in Christ. This passage presents some essential truths. Death came to all people due to sin. This is bad news since al people have sinned. The good news is all people can be saved. There were two historical acts. Adam’s historical act, where all humanity became sinners, and, parallel to this, the historical act of Jesus, who came to save those who were lost. Paul contrasts two dynasties and the result of who reigns in each of them. In Adam, death reigns. In Christ, righteousness reigns.
Finally, in Romans 5:18-21, the good news is revealed that acquittal brings about the preferred results where grace reigns and the peace of God abounds. Paul compares and contrasts those in Adam (those under sin) with those in Christ (those who have been saved). What are the results of a transgression and an upright act? In Adam, we are condemned. In Christ, we are justified. What are the contrasting results of disobedience and obedience? In Adam, many were made sinners. In Christ, many were made righteous. What are the effects of transgression and grace? In Adam, sin increased. In Christ, grace increased. We read in Romans 5:21: “as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What are the contrasting results of the two reigns, sin, and grace? In Adam, death, sin reigns. In Christ, righteousness, grace reigns. In Adam, sin reigns and brings death, but in Christ, grace reigns, bringing righteousness and eternal life. The believer has peace with God. This, indeed, is good news.
I hope we all are found in Christ. This is available to each of us who receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. The good news is that in Christ, all of us can be acquitted and have peace with God. This living in peace with God ought to make a real difference in our daily living, which Paul addresses more closely in Romans 6-8. For now, I ask, won’t you choose Christ and, in doing so, live in peace with God? I pray, you will. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!