Romans 5:1-11 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. NIV
Today we are going to continue this Romans series, and if you remember where Ken and I went last week we were talking about what happens when this Christianity thing gets real. How there actually is more to it than just what we get from God. It’s more than just going to God to get the things we couldn’t seem to get before we met Him. That’s not it, let’s look back at the scripture that Ken really focused in on last week in his portion of the Easter talk…
Romans 3:31 But by shifting our focus from what we do to what God does, don’t we cancel out all our careful keeping of the rules and ways God commanded? Not at all. What happens, in fact, is that by putting that entire way of life in its proper place, we confirm it. (MSG)
That’s the difference between Christianity being a huge disappointment and Christianity being a complete life change. It’s the difference between struggling to live out a set of rules verse experiencing the freedom in God’s grace. This is the big trap for so many of us, we make it about us…about what we get from God, and about what we do and don’t do for Him…and that was a big deal for us to break down last week for you.
I find this letter of Paul’s so incredible. He makes a point to introduce this idea of focus and where it should be, and he does it before he introduces the concept that we are studying today. Because as you will see as we walk through this talk, you can’t engage the challenges this world brings, without the focus of your life shifting off of you and onto God. Without that being done, you will not accomplish what Paul is writing about here in Chapter 5.
So we have made the shift, the focus is no longer on us but is now on God, and then Paul goes after something here in Romans 5:1-11. You will see the focus now on God and not us, we can talk about what we have and what we do…in this chunk of scripture Paul shows us that we have peace with God and we have three things to rejoice in, and some I will tell you are easier than others. For the one tough thing to rejoice in, I also believe he gives us a goal to focus on, so that we can indeed stay focused and rejoice in that one too.
We Have Peace.
The first thing we see in verses 1 and 2 is that we have peace with God because of what Jesus did for us.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand…
Now I think this is so cool for us to see, this whole letter just keeps building and building on itself. Remember when this letter started we were talking about the wrath of God because of our sin. We as people turned our backs on Him…we sinned, we forgot how to be human and God allowed us to go. I think it’s easy for us to read that scripture and think of the peace we have inside us because of God’s love, but this particular time Paul is talking about the actual peace between us and God. Peace with God…not peace in God. Let’s read that again in the Message version…
Romans 5:1-2 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us — set us right with him, make us fit for him — we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. 2 And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. (MSG)
So we have peace with God because of what Jesus did for us. He has set us right with God. We through Jesus are in right standing with God. Boy oh boy is that a sermon in itself…but we have to keep moving here! So we learn right off the get go here in Chapter 5 that through Jesus we have peace with God. The wrath is gone, Jesus took it, and because of that God sees Jesus in you and me…which is awesome.
Then Paul explains 3 things that you and I need to rejoice in.
God’s Glory (vs 2)
Our sufferings (vs 3)
Our relationship with Him (vs 11)
So when we look at this list I see two things worth rejoicing in and one that makes me scratch my head a little bit here! Remember that old Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the other…one of these things isn’t the same!” Yeah, it is different but maybe the most important of the three and we will explain that to you today.
We are to rejoice in God’s glory.
Romans 5:2 …and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
This isn’t hard to rejoice in at all, in fact it is the Good News that we talk about all the time here at MRC! We get to look forward to heaven, to sharing in God’s glory because of Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. This is an incredible gift…making us right in God’s sight. Check this out in the Message version…
Romans 5:2 …We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand — out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. (MSG)
This is awesome, and absolutely something to rejoice in…so now we look at the second thing that Paul wants us to rejoice in…
We are to rejoice in our sufferings.
Romans 5:3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials…NLT
Um, yeah thanks Paul…I like the first one, and the last one a lot, but why would we ever rejoice in our sufferings!?!?!? I know for me personally I’m always so excited to deal with problems and trials in my life. They are such a treat! But Paul says we are to rejoice in them, and remember if we have made the shift in focus, centering our lives on God we can and we will be able to come through these tough times better for them. We won’t think God hates us, we won’t worry about control, we will stay focused on Him and no He has a plan even if we don’t understand it. Paul explains here that trials and challenges actually help us grow, mature, and become the kind of people God wants us to be. Now before we go any further, does it shock you that you will walk through difficult times in your life? Did you think because you were on Jesus’ team now life would work out just fine? That is not what Jesus told you…
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” NIV
Jesus doesn’t tell you that you will have a life with no challenges but what He does make sure we know is that we can have peace because he has overcome the world…so we are walking through these tough times with Him! We don’t get a trial free life, we get to walk through trials with God.
So Paul explains that these tough times produce 3 awesome qualities in our lives that matter greatly.
Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Perseverance-this means that we have staying power. This is an awesome trait for a person to have. It takes a certain person to stick with something regardless of what is going on around them. Regardless of what people say or think or do. I can think of a lot of people who inspire me, and it is often because of their ability to stay the course.
Have you ever heard the term “fair weather fan?” Well we don’t really respect someone who just goes to the winning team all the time do we? I have a lot of family in New York, and they drive me crazy because if the Yankees are winning they put theirYankee hats on, but if they Yankees are losing and the Mets are winning they just simply switch to their Mets hats! It doesn’t work that way does it? I love giving them a hard time about that, especially as a Pirates fan who watched 20 consecutive losing seasons happen in recent history but I digress!
Well there are “Fair Weather Christians” too…and Jesus describes them amazing well here…
Mark 4:16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. NIV
This is a big deal, it will take the shift in focus to walk through the tough times, but perseverance, that patient endurance is an awesome quality, and it begins to really produce something special in our lives.
Romans 5:3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us…
Character-I think this is the most important quality we can have. And not enough people have it. They aren’t willing to put the work in to earn it. Character takes time, it is something that is earned and strengthened through the challenges of your life. People around someone who has character, well, they just know they have it. Character eliminates the “fair weather Christian” because this person is battle tested they have walked through a lot and have been strengthened through enduring the tough times and they are better for those experiences. The last thing Paul describes is Hope.
Romans 5:4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Hope-Our Christian life begins with the hope in the promise of God in Jesus and the gospel. Our hope grows when we experience tough times because we realize that God is in it with us.
As I read down through this idea of rejoicing in our suffering I couldn’t help but wonder if Paul wasn’t picturing a long marathon type race. Picturing the hard work the runner would have to do to just have the kind of fitness and endurance levels to even finish the race let alone do it in the fastest time. They would need perseverance to endure those hard early morning workouts. Maybe even staying to do more work while all their friends would be doing other things. They would earn the fitness level needed to run that race…which is very much like the character needed to endure life. You can’t just lace up the laces and be a champion runner, that isn’t given to you(although when you are standing on the podium some will say how lucky you really are!) I kept thinking the most important thing that marathon runner needs is a goal. Something to focus on no matter what else is happening. Something out in front of him that he can see, so when they are sore, or tired, or ready to give up they have that goal out in front of them…and I believe that is what Paul is giving you and I…that is what hope is. For a marathon runner it’s the finish line, for you and I it is hope. He then lays it out for us, giving us something to picture in our minds so that we can stay the course even when things get tough…
Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. NIV
This is our inspiration, this will get you through, this is what happens when our focus can stay on God and not us. When you are tired and you feel like you can’t keep going. When you feel alone and you just don’t get why you are stuck where you are…you come here, and you read of hope in Romans 5:5-11 and you will find courage and strength and passion in what Jesus did for us! We also see in verse 11 the last thing we can rejoice in…
We rejoice in our friendship with God.
Romans 5:11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God — all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God. NLT
So because of Jesus we are now able to walk in a friendship with God. Which is a beautiful thing, and something that each and every one of us can engage each and every day of our lives. Because of Jesus you don’t need a middle man, or priest to pray to God for you. You have the freedom to engage God on your own. You can stand in amazing worship, rejoicing in the fact that because of Jesus you are now able to be connected with the God of the universe. That is a beautiful thing. Paul would say that through Jesus the door is wide open…
Romans 5:2…We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. (MSG)
That is such an awesome concept. There is no division between us and God. Jesus took care of it for us. When we can allow the focus to shift off of us and onto God, we can rejoice in the good times and the bad times, and we can walk in such joy because Jesus, set all things right for us, allowing us to be in a loving personal relationship with God.
If you are struggling right now in a challenging time of your life, please go over the hope that comes in Him. Read Romans 5:5-11 over and over and remember what all Jesus has done for you.
If you are struggling to understand what a personal relationship with God can look like, well we would love to talk to you about what that can look like.
So as you leave here today remember we want to run this race we call life well…that will take work, that will take pain at times, but in the end as we stay focused on God it will all be worth it.