What Justification Brings
Romans chapter 5 can be largely divided into two parts. In the first part—verses 1 to 11—Paul tells us the 6 results of our being justified through faith in Jesus.
Romans 5:1 starts like this. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith…” (Rom 5:1a)
Paul starts Romans 5 with ‘therefore.’ This word is often used when we talk about consequences following a cause. In Romans chapters 3-4, Paul mainly dealt with God’s righteousness and our justification. Now, Paul teaches us the changes our justification brings.
What Paul wants to tell us in this chapter is that justification makes a difference. It makes every difference—not only in where we’re heading—the kingdom of God—but also in how we act and feel in the present. Believing in Jesus and accepting Him in our lives is not something trivial. It’s the biggest and best decision of all the decisions we make on earth, one that changes everything in our lives.
In other words, if we truly believe that Jesus died for our sins, that He is the true Lord and Savior, that belief must be accompanied by certain perceivable changes in our lives. If we don’t experience these changes, we need to check whether we really have sincere faith or not.
That’s what Paul talked about in Romans chapter 5—the resulting benefits that inevitably come from the doctrine of justification by faith. So, what does justification bring us?
1) Peace with God
Let’s read Romans 5:1 together again.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”(Rm 5:1)
First, there is peace with God. This means that the state of hostility between God and us is now over. It means the recovery of our relationship with God. That’s the first consequence and blessing given to us as a result of justification.
Here, we need to focus on the word ‘peace’. According to the dictionary, ‘peace’ refers to℗ ‘a state in which there is no war or a war has ended.’ I think this definition does a great job of explaining the meaning of the peace we’ve come to have with God in Christ.
To dig deeper into the meaning of peace with God, we need to first think about what breaks that peace. The Bible calls it ‘sin.’ Paul defined sin as not placing God first in our hearts. This definitely breaks our relationship with God.
We can see this clearly in Genesis chapter 3. After God made Adam and Eve, He had a good, loving relationship with them. They walked with God in the garden of Eden and could hear His voice directly.
Sad to say, however, they started to listen to another voice—the voice of the serpent, which said, “when you eat from [the tree of knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gn 3:5)
They were eventually seduced by the serpent and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The reason this simple act was such a serious sin was that their motivation was to become like God. By doing so, they turned away from their true Lord. So, sin is to not acknowledge God as our Lord. It’s to not place Him first in our lives. It’s to reject Him as our master. Sin is when we dethrone God and put ourselves in His place
Isaiah once said,
“Your iniquities have separated you from your God. Your sins have hidden his face from you” (Is 59:2)
This was our spiritual status before we believed in Jesus. We were ungodly sinners and even enemies of God. Because of our sin, it was impossible for us to go before God.
The Most Holy Place and the Curtain
The most important place in the Old Testament that showed the separation between human beings and God was the Most Holy Place. It represented God’s presence. It was believed that God sat on the ark of the covenant placed inside.
The Most Holy Place was a sacred place that no one could enter. As I said last Sunday, only the high priest could enter it, and only on one day a year—the day of atonement. He would enter with bull’s blood to atone for his own sins first because even the high priest, who was a representative for all the Israelites, would die if he didn’t sacrifice a bull for his sins first.
The Most Holy Place where God’s presence was was blocked off by a thick curtain. This curtain represented the broken relationship between human beings and God. No one could go beyond the curtain to the Lord.
However, the curtain was eventually completely torn from top to bottom. You might remember when this happened. Mark 15:37-38 says,
“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”(Mk 15:37-38)
The curtain that had separated us from God was torn in two when Jesus breathed his last. This meant that the thick wall of sin between us and God was completely destroyed and that now we can go to the Lord and have a close relationship with Him again through Jesus.
Hebrews 10:19-20 said,
“…We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body” (Heb 10:19-20)
The New Way and Peace with God
By being crucified, Jesus created a way for us to have access to the Father in heaven. Jesus is the only way to God because only through Him can we receive forgiveness for our sins, be saved from eternal death, and have eternal life.
That’s why the Bible says that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life.” Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6).
This shows that the only way for us to go to the Father is through Jesus. When we believe in the death and the resurrection of Jesus and have faith in Him, His righteousness enters us and because of that we’re credited as righteous by God. In other words, we’re justified by faith in Jesus.
So, the most important change we experience when we believe in Jesus is that we have peace with God. We were once God’s enemies who sinned against Him, turned away from Him, drove Him out of our lives, and took His place as lord of our lives, but now we’ve become God’s beloved children and are able to have a peaceful relationship with Him without any hindrance.
This peace we have with God through Christ is completely different from any kind of peace we could ever experience in the world because it’s eternal and secure. That’s because the one who provides us with this peace is Jesus. That was what Paul said about the first blessing that follows our justification by faith.
So, the important question this leaves us with is, “How can we live out this peace with God?”. What we need to remember is that God not only calls us to have peace with Him, but also to deliver this peace to others. We’re called peacemakers.
In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Paul said, “…God reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2Co 5:18-20)
We’re reconciled with God through Christ. We have peace with God. However, that’s not the end. Along with this blessing, God also gave us the ministry of reconciliation. He has committed to us the message of reconciliation—the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God calls us to proclaim this message to those around us so that they might also come back to Him, be reconciled with Him through Christ, and have peace with Him. We can share this message when we have a close, peaceful relationship with God. That’s why Paul implores us to be reconciled to God.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Mt 5:9)
Being peacemakers doesn’t just mean that we have good relationships with others in the world. The biblical meaning of it is that we make and proclaim peace between God and people who don’t know Him yet. The reason peacemakers are called children of God is that this was what Jesus, the Son of God, mainly did in the world.
I hope that every one of us experiences this kind of true peace with God through Christ so that we can be peacemakers of God who proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and connect others with God.