Benefits of Justification, Romans 5:1-2

“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.” – Romans 5:1-2

Although these two verses are short, they are loaded with significance.

Paul’s opening “therefore” not only connects what he has written in the previous verses, but also summarizes his stance in chapters 1-4.

Peace

The following images come to mind when I think of “peace”. 41ea72419cad64621eb3c86e1169b96b

 

 

 

 

But the “peace” Paul refers to is a new relationship with God where hostility of sin is absent because it has been removed. It is both objective and external.

What are the benefits of justification?

Along with acquiring a new relationship with God when justified by faith (vs. 1-2), we are also blessed with the following:

  • Access to God. Ephesians 2:17-18 says, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him [Jesus] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” The curtain that sealed one’s view—and denied access except yearly by the high priest—was torn when Jesus died on the cross. This symbolized that all believers may come into God’s presence any time (Mark 15:38; Hebrews 10:19).
  • Hope of sharing the glory of God. We can look forward to our future because God promises to share His glory. In fact, His obedient children are currently reflecting His glory. “This grace in which we stand,” is the utmost privilege. Besides declaring us not guilty, God has also drawn us close to Himself. When we were enemies with Him, He made a way for us to not only be His friends, but also His children (John 15:15; Galatians 4:5).
So What?

Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ can confidently relax in the assurance that Christ paid the death penalty for their sins and are declared not guilty through His resurrection.

Do you have peace with God?

says, “For He [Jesus] himself is our peace . . .”  - Ephesians 2:14

“For He [Jesus] himself is our peace . . .” – Ephesians 2:14

The following link will take you to a short informational video about the Old Testament temple and the veil that separated God from people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDNHoijNO2I

 

Growing in Faith

We find God to be the One on whom we can depend to bring us to our destined goal, and One who already in Christ gives us rest for our souls.”

God doesn’t call us to a neurotic dependency on Christ, but rather a simple childlike trust. Rather than automated fulfillment of rules and rituals, He desires that we develop a fulfilling relationship with Him, rooted and ignited in faith (Romans 1:17).

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  – Hebrews 11:1

These two qualities—sure and certain—have a secure beginning and ending point.

Beginning Point of Faith

Receiving Christ as Lord is the seed that contains life with Christ. Our faith and salvation are not drummed up by self-determination. They are gifts from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary . . .
(Napa Valley Vineyard by Jim G., Flickr)

(Napa Valley Vineyard by Jim G., Flickr)

How does your faith grow?

Faith blossoms through the following:

  • Believe in Christ’s Perfect Character: Jesus doesn’t just save us the moment of our salvation, but continues saving us . . . freeing us from captivity to sin, ourselves, and Satan’s deception. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority,”  Colossians 2:6-9.
  • Meet Together: “Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching,” (Hebrews 10:25). We all struggle and falter at times. An infant doesn’t start out running . . . . Neither do we spiritually. When one falls down, let’s help each other up.
  • Abide in Christ: John 15:1-10 depicts a vineyard with Jesus as the true vine, God the Father as the gardener, and us as 7ced8b92bf7312392af52a495b28b9d8the branches. Jesus said, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (vs. 5). We remain in Christ by submitting to him through prayer and obedience. Our faithfulness to the will of God in this life will be examined in the next life (Daniel 7:10; Revelation 20:12).
  • Hear God’s Word: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ,” (Romans 10:17).

End Point of Faith

Lastly, believing in God’s promises anchors our hope in Him, resulting in life and peace.

Which promises of God have helped you lately?

Peace Through Christ

Whether we’re shopping for insurance, cars, clothes, or a house, we want the best bang for the the buck . . . the complete package.

The Apostle Paul wrote the New Testament book of Colossians not only to combat errors in the church, but also to show believers that everything we need is found in Jesus Christ.

One of the strongest statements about Christ is found in the following reference:

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Jesus—the express image of the invisible God—is equal with the Father. He is pre-existent, omnipotent, and eternal. He not only desires a relationship with us, but also deserves to be our highest priority. Jesus Christ, the fullness of God, is the power source for living the Christian life. He is our leader and the head of the church.

Jesus is the most comprehensive, perfect, and complete package “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

Unlike the most expensive car, clothing, or house, He offers us eternal life free of charge. Christ’s gift of salvation and forgiveness covers us now and throughout eternity. We don’t even have to meet a deductible to receive these benefits. This is by far the greatest, most gracious offer ever given.

Salvation by trusting in Christ’s work on the cross sounds too easy for many. But self-effort only leads to disappointment or pride, and then eventually eternal death. I love that Christ’s simple way can be understood by children. His provision is the only way that leads to abundant, eternal life.

Are you connected to Jesus Christ? Have you placed your trust in the One who lacks nothing? I believe this is the greatest decision a person will ever make . . . to accept and follow Jesus Christ, or reject His offer. Eternal life is at stake and the consequences are serious (John 3:15-18, 36).

If you haven’t seen Billy Graham’s second video in My Hope America series, I encourage you to watch the following 30 minute presentation. If you have questions about receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior, or about Christianity, please ask in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer. 🙂 Have a great week!

Goodbye 2013

This marks my last post of 2013. Thank you for visiting my baby blog, which is now one-year old. I am grateful for you! I’ve been encouraged from reading many of your posts and by your likes, follows, and comments.

025I hope you’re finding time to connect with family and friends this Christmas season, and have pondered God’s great love for us through the gift of His son, Jesus Christ.

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Dad & Mom

I also thank and credit God for His provision, guidance and abundant blessings this past year. He has blessed me with a wonderful husband, kids, and extended family.

During a recent snow ridden trip to visit extended family, God protected my immediate family from a head-on collision when another driver passed too close into our lane. We also came across a car—loaded with people—that spun off the road. Their front tires clung to level ground while their back tires angled down an icy embankment. We were glad—as were they—to help transport them to a nearby phone.

During our whirlwind—but worthwhile—weekend family visit, we found ourselves in the hospital three times. In the face of cancer and a fractured hip from a fall, both Eric’s mom and grandma were visible testaments to God’s peace. We’re thankful for God’s healing hand as both Eric’s mom and grandma recover from surgery.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  –Isaiah 43:2

How has God provided and guided you this past year?

Blessings

K.D.

Humpty, Hubby and Me

Several years ago I discovered a cracked egg in my fridge—plastered in scotch tape. Like the king’s horses and men who tried piecing Humpty back together again, my son tried repairing our cracked egg. 🙂

cracked egg_1This picture came to mind as I reflected on a much more serious incident that happened to my husband last winter.

Several of you already know this story. But it’s a good reminder to me of the following: We—like egg shells—are fragile; our time here is short, take advantage of God given opportunities; God is the One who holds us together and gives us our every breath (Acts 17:28; Colossians 1:17); we need each other; and, God works powerfully through the prayers of His people (James 5:16).

After fighting a cold nine days, Eric came down with the stomach flu. This set the stage for the “perfect storm.” I was shocked how quickly his breathing became labored. After driving him to the ER, the doctor confirmed a bad case of pneumonia on his left lung.

“He will need to stay in the hospital on antibiotics for a day or two,” the doctor said.

But our two days turned into 10 long days. (I realize that sounds short compared to what some people have gone through, but with both of us being active and healthy, this completely caught us off guard.)

Although the doctor did everything by the book, the medicine wasn’t reaching the infected areas. In fact, the bacteria spread to the other lung and into his blood.

Not a good sign.

After the fourth day, my hopeful outlook began to dim. “I won’t mince words,” the doctor said, “this is one of the worst cases I’ve seen.”

Watching my once healthy husband struggle to breathe—even with an oxygen mask—unnerved me. “If he doesn’t improve by tomorrow morning,” the doctor said, “we’ll need to move him to a larger hospital and connect him to a ventilator.”

Another bad sign. That would disable him from breathing exercises, which the nurses stressed as extremely important for his lungs to get back in shape.

The next morning, Sunday, I needed a break from the hospital. I went to church with my Mom and my sister’s family. At the end of the service, the pastor opened the altar for prayer. I didn’t want to go down because I knew I’d lose it. I’m pretty private (believe it or not). But when I set my pride aside—and yes, lost it—God met me there. His Holy Spirit comforted me with His peace.

I didn’t know what God had in mind for Eric. Lord, are you really calling him home to heaven now? I prayed. His rapid downhill condition indicated yes. But he’s not even 40! Although I knew we would meet again in heaven, the thought of raising our three kids alone and being without him increased my anxiety.

But the Holy Spirit prompted me to trust and wait upon God (Isaiah 64:4-5). During that time, I daily battled to replace my fear and anxiety with His peace and comfort through reliance on Him. I’m thankful He loves us unconditionally, through all the doubts and fears. In fact, He shines brightest during our darkest moments. I’m also thankful for the support from family and friends.

Although I don’t remember the outcome of my son’s taped egg, I’m grateful to share: God has completely restored Eric back to health. He doesn’t even have signs of scarring, which the doctor had predicted.

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June 2013

I credit God’s intervening hand to the many people who prayed for Eric—many who don’t even know him, yet faithfully lifted him to God’s throne room. I can’t predict how or when God moves and works, but I know He hears our prayers (1 Peter 3:12). He chooses to move through our requests that align with His will and purposes.

Whatever difficult circumstance(s) you might be facing, don’t give up. God wants you to come to Him right where you are, even in the middle of your mess. “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. . . . Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 30:18) Nothing is too difficult for Him.

Have a great week!

~ K.D.

*This article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC at http://bit.ly/1dW0z7p.