‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom 5:1).
What joy these words should give the believer! ‘We have been justified.’ No ifs or buts. It’s happened, and we can enjoy the incredible blessings that flow– in this verse it’s peace with God.
Can you believe that peace with God is even possible? Can you believe that we can have such assurance we already have it? Consider the story behind the ‘therefore’ in our verse. From 1:18 – 3:20 the sinfulness of humanity was on full display. There was no hiding from it. We rejected God, suppressed the truth he existed, though it was plain from the fact of creation. We were judged by God’s law, our mouths ‘stopped’ because there was no excuse or defence. God’s wrath was against us. There was no escape, no possibility for peace.
And then those beautiful words appear: ‘but now’ (3:21). This is a complete U-turn on a dime. Where there was once hopelessness, now there is a righteousness through Jesus Christ for all who believe – a gift of utter grace. Were there was once hostility and condemnation, there is now justification through the death of Christ, received through faith, and peace as a result.
There is nothing more to be done. Christ achieved it all at the cross, bearing our guilt and shame, dying our death, diverting the fierce wrath of God that was rightfully ours onto himself. How could we possibly add anything to something so marvellous? What else would we want to rely on? Our good works? Our baptism? Our church attendance? Surely not! Only the grace of God will do. Because of God’s grace, we have been justified. No ifs or buts. And so, we have peace with God.