(a) Security in Christ
Having spent ch4 examining Justification by Faith Paul begins ch5 with the word “therefore”. He is remaining with the same general theme of justification yet he now has words for these people based upon the doctrine he has been expounding. The apostle now expounds the results or the effects of justification. Essentially he is now dealing with the matter of assurance. Those who are justified can be sure of their salvation because they are secure in Christ. In verses 1 and 2 he looks at the ground of Christian assurance.
Paul is not here describing the peace of God. He discusses this elsewhere in Philippians 4:6-7. The peace of God is a state of the mind and soul. The peace of God is emotional serenity when faced with life’s challenges. The peace of God is an important outcome of justification also, but that is not what Paul had in mind here. Rather, the apostle is referring to peace with God. This is the state of grace which the Christian enjoys in Christ. It essentially means that the war between man and God is over. Once we were rebels fighting with God and facing his terrible wrath forever. All that has changed as we enjoy a state of peace with our Creator. The peace of God is impossible if we do not first experience peace with God.
The justified person also enjoys access through Christ. The word access basically means, to be introduced. Christ has introduced us to the Father and we therefore stand before God in grace. Esther did what mortals feared to so in coming before the King uninvited. As the King, pleased with her uncommon beauty, reached out his sceptre she was assured that she could stand boldly in his presence. With Christ’s welcome we stand before God and we will not be turned away.
We stand in this blessed place through Christ. The word never is wonderfully descriptive of this blessing that is ours. We will never hunger (John 6:35), we will never thirst (John 4:14), we will never perish (John 10:28) and we will never fall (2nd Peter 1:10).
We stand in this grace because of Christ. Our union with him guarantees our continual acceptance by God, Ephesians 2:6.
This should wonderfully encourage us to pray and hold onto God as the other instances of the word “access” teaches us so to do, Ephesians 2:18, 3:12.
The Christian has a continued cause of joy and happiness, the glory that we will one day enjoy. From Christ’s great prayer in John 17 we learn that the Christian will become complete when we see the Lord, John 17:1,4-5,24. This is not merely our entrance into heaven when we die but the glorification of the old body at the resurrection. The word hope in the New Testament describes not a vague optimism but a sure and certain expectation; Acts 2:26-27, 1 1 Corinthians 13:13, 2 Corinthians 1:7, Colossians 1:5, Colossians 1:27, Titus 1:2, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 6:19-20, 1 Peter 1:3. We are called upon to rejoice in the future glory that awaits us:
“The Christian should speak of nothing boastingly so far as concerns himself; but he has no reason to conceal his sense of his high destination as a son of God and an heir of glory” (Robert Haldane).
This is a glory which Paul will come back to later in the epistle (Romans 8:18, 21, 23,24). This glory, however, while it is revealed in us, belongs to God. It is the glory of God we rejoice in, not the glory of man:
“When we ask how the goal of the believer’s hope can be called the ‘glory of God’ another strand of New Testament teaching is taken into account, namely, that the believer is to be conformed into the image of the glory that shall be revealed – ‘we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2)…The glory of God is their (the saints) chief end and they long for and hasten unto that day when with undimmed vision they will behold the glory of God in its fullest exhibition and vindication” (John Murray).
This is a subject worth rejoicing in – the sure and certain hope of the Gospel.