WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD
By John C. Carpenter
 
Immediately after referring to Jesus Our Lord being delivered [unto death] for our offences, and raised again [resurrected from the dead] for our justification (Rom 4:25), the apostle Paul wrote to those in Rome,Therefore being justified by faith, we [as a result of being justified] have peace with God our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace [offered by God] wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:1-2). Paul later added, God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies [hated God, hostile towards God, a foe of God],we were reconciled [to put together parts to make a whole, to restore our relationship] to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Rom 5:8-10). In these verses, the apostle Paul explains that, when the unbelieving sinner, who is described as the enemy of God, comes to faith in Christ, the believer is therefore "justified," or rendered innocent, just, and righteous, in God's view. Once the believer is justified, the believer is therefore at peace [no longer separated, reconciled] with God, and once the believer is at peace with God, the believer can therefore have access to God. When the believer has access to God, the believer is saved from God's wrath and given the free gift of eternal life.
 
SIN ENTERED INTO THE WORLD, AND DEATH BY SIN
 
After the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden (Gen 2:8), He put Adam, whom He had formed, into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it (Gen 2:15). Then, using one of Adam's ribs, God created the first woman (Gen 2:21-25), who was called Eve (Gen 3:20). After the serpent, who was more subtle then any beast of the field, tempted the woman (Gen 3:1-5), Scriptures instruct us And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened [they suddenly became aware of the truth], and they knew [understood] that they were naked [totally revealed; God had seen everything they did]; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons [and thereby tried to cover their sin before God] (Gen 3:6-7). Eve sinned, and Adam went along with her. Adam and Eve had not only been disobedient to God's instructions, and had broken God's commandment (Gen 2:17), but they now were aware that God knew all about their disobedience. They knew that God had seen it all. Now, for the first time, Adam and Eve both felt guilt and shame (Gen 3:10) for their disobedience to and rebellion against God. The apostle Paul summarized to those in Rome what had happened in the Garden of Eden when he wrote, Wherefore, as by [because of the behavior of] one man [Adam] sin [disobedience and rebellion] entered into the world, and death by [would be the consequence of this] sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all [are now considered by God to] have sinned (Rom 5:12). Paul later added,For as by one man's disobedience [sin] many were made sinners... (Rom 5:19). Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, God now considers that all [human beings] have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), and that ...There is none righteous [right or Holy before God], no, not one (Rom 3:10). Holy Scriptures describe these sinners as "aliens" (Eph 2:12) and the "enemy" of God (Acts 13:10; James 4:4; Rom 5:10). Sin destroyed the relationship that God had with man, and as a result there was now a gulf, a separation, between God and man. Because of sin, God became unresponsive to man. Isaiah explained, your iniquities have separated [divided, severed]between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear (Isa 59:2). Sin not only separated man from God, but sin also brought guilt, For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend [trip, err, sin] in one point, he is guilty[liable to the penalty] of all (James 2:10). The penalty that all sinners are liable for is death, For the wages of sin is death... (Rom 6:23). The apostle James explained the dynamics of sin and death when he wrote, ...when lust [longing to please self] hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin [behavior that is offensive or displeasing to God]: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).
 
THEREFORE BEING JUSTIFIED BY FAITH
 
Although man was now separated from God, and deserving of death, God still loved man and desired to restore His relationship with man. God responded to the sin of Adam and Eve, and all mankind, by making it clear that there was one, and only one, remedy that could make man righteous before God, and thereby bring reconciliation and restoration of the relationship between man and God. From the very beginning of time, God the Father gave us the remedy when He said, ...Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good [things that please God] and evil [things that are displeasing to God]: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take [accept, seize, take up] also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever (Gen 3:22). God's only remedy for sin, God's only means for making man right before God, God's only means of reconciliation and restoration, was for man to accept the tree of life. The tree of life referred to here is, of course, a type or representation of Jesus Christ who was to later come to earth [Matt 13:32; Acts 5:30; 1 Pet 2:24; Rev 2:7; Rev 22:14), and the salvation that would later be provided only through acceptance of and faith in Christ. Only this tree of life could bring eternal life. Not even the Old Covenant Law could bring eternal life. The Law, which Israel was required to faithfully keep in order to have life, was itself only ...a shadow [likeness, representative]of good things [salvation through Christ] to come, and not the very image [actual manifestation] of the things... (Heb 10:1). Paul explained that Christ was delivered [unto death] for [to pay the penalty for] our offences [sins], and was raised again [brought back to life] for our justification [acquittal, innocence] (Rom 4:25). The prophet Isaiah referred to God's offer of justification and reconciliation through Christ when he prophesied, For he [Jesus Christ] shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement [correction, rebuke]of our peace [shalowm; i.e., wholeness, welfare] was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray[strayed from God]; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the [this] iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledgeshall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear [the penalty for] their iniquities (Isa 53:2-11). Through His sin offering, suffering, death, and resurrection, Christ was to "justify many" who have gone astray. The apostle Paul also mentioned God's plan for justification when he wrote, But now the righteousness of God without [apart from having to keep] the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even [specifically] the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (Rom 3:21-26). Paul summarized his point by writing that man is justified by faith [in Jesus Christ] without [apart from having to keep] the deeds of the law (Rom 3:28). Paul also wrote those in Galatia, Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [teacher and leader whose purpose and function was] to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by [because of our] faith [in Christ] (Gal 3:24). He also plainly said, ...no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith (Gal 3:11).
 
WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD
 
The apostle Paul explained that because believers are justified by faith [in Christ], we have peace [set at one again] with God through[because of the death and resurrection of] our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1). In this verse, the word "peace" is the Greek word "eirene," which in context means "to join, set at one again." The "peace" referred to in this verse does not refer to earthly tranquility and cooperation between men, but to the rejoining of God and man, to the restoration of the spiritual relationship between God and man. Paul echoed this concept when he wrote, "he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor 6:17). Christ clearly explained that it was not worldly peace between men that He was bringing when he said to His disciples, Think not that I am come to send peace [tranquility and cooperation] on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword [a sharp instrument which divides]. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household (Mat 10:34-36). Christ came to bring division between men, but peace between God and men. Having peace with God means that the individual is no longer alien to, or an enemy of, God. Paul explained that, God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Rom 5:8-10). Christ's own disciples obviously knew of Christ's reconciliation and restoration ministry when they asked Him, ...Lord, wilt thou at this time restore [reconstitute] again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6). The apostle Paul clearly referred to the believer's reconciliation to God when he wrote to those in Ephesus, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us [and God]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace [between God and man]; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby (Eph 2:13-16). Referring to the work of Christ, Paul also wrote those in Colossae,...he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his [God's] sight (Col 1:18-22). Paul even carried the message of reconciliation to those in Corinth when he wrote, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit [witness, testify], that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:17.19). In the letter to the Hebrews, the author of the book wrote of Christ, Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Heb 2:17). Referring to the reconciliatory work of Christ, the apostle Peter wrote to the five Roman provinces in Asia Minor, For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring[reconcile] us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Pet 3:18). Paul taught that believers were to be joined to God when he instructed believers to speak the truth in love so that they, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body [of Christ should be] fitly joined [to render close-jointed] together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Eph 4:15-16). Holy Scriptures consistently and abundantly clarify that one of the major works of Christ is reconciliation of believers to God the Father. Without this work of reconciliation, believers could not possibly ...come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16).
 
WE HAVE ACCESS BY FAITH
 
Because the believer in Christ is at peace with God, the believer can have access to God. Christ plainly taught that no man can have access to God the Father except through Him. Jesus said, ...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh [has access] unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). Paul taught those in Rome, Therefore being justified by faith, we [believers in Christ] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access[admission] by [because of our] faith into this grace [offered by God] wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:1-2). Referring specifically to the reconciliation available through faith in Christ, the apostle Paul wrote to those in Ephesus,But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh [near to God] by the blood of Christ (Eph 2:13), and through him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph 2:18). Referring to his own ministry of teaching and bringing God's reconciliation through Christ to the Gentiles, Paul later included, For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposedin Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by [because of] the faith of [we have in] him (Eph 3:1-12).
 
WE SHALL BE SAVED BY HIS LIFE
 
Because the believer has been justified, reconciled to God, and has access to God the Father, the believer will also be saved from God's wrath of destruction and live eternally with Him. The apostle Paul wrote, God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from [God's] wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his [giving of His own] life (Rom 5:10). While we were foreigners, aliens, strangers, enemies, and sinners, Christ died for us and thereby not only justified us with His blood and reconciled us to God the Father, but also saved us from God's wrath, and granted us eternal life. The apostle John clarified the necessity of faith in Christ when he wrote, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath [anger, vengeance] of God abideth on him (John 3:36). The individual who does not believe on Christ shall experience the anger and vengeance of God. The apostle Paul also mentioned God's wrath when he wrote to those in Rome,For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith [in Christ]. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold [resist] the truth [that Christ is the Son of God] in unrighteousness; Because that [truth that Christ is the Son of God] which may be known of God is manifest in [among] them [on earth]; for God hath showed it [this truth] unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his [Christ's] eternal power and Godhead; so that they [who refuse to believe on Christ] are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God [in the form of Christ on earth],they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened(Rom 1:16-21). Clearly, according to Paul, those who resist or refuse the truth that Christ is the Son of God shall see the wrath of God. Paul clarified the outcome of our faith in and love for Christ when he wrote to those in Thessalonica, For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation [from God's wrath] by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake [physically living] or sleep [physically deceased], we should [at the return of Christ] live together [eternally] with him (1 Th 5:9-10). Because of Christ's death and resurrection, the believer shall not only be saved from God's wrath of destruction, but shall also be preserved unto eternal life. Jesus explained, And as Moses lifted up [elevated; i.e., crucified] the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up [crucified]: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish [be destroyed, die], but have everlasting life (John 3:14-16). Jesus explained, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (John 10:27-28). Speaking to His Father in heaven, Jesus said, this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3). Paul explained God's salvation of grace manifested through the death of Christ when he wrote, For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Christ] shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 5:19-21). Paul explained the believer's inheritance when he wrote, ye have received the Spirit of adoption [as sons and daughters of God], whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also [eternally] glorified together (Rom 8:14-17). Paul wrote to Ephesian believers, Now therefore [because of Christ's death and resurrection] ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens [eternally] with the saints, and of the household of God (Eph 2:19). According to God's merciful plan, faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ brings righteousness, righteousness brings peace with God, peace with God brings access to God, and access to God not only brings salvation from God's wrath, but eternal life as well.  AMEN.
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"Be still, and
know that I am
God: I will be
exalted among
the heathen, I
will be exalted
in the earth.
The LORD of
hosts is with
us; the God of
Jacob is our
refuge. Selah"
(Psa 46:10-11)



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