Romans 5:1-5

Thursday Evening Bible Study

June 26, 2008


We have seen Paul present the case that man is not made right before God through his own deeds or the keeping of the law, but simply through faith.  Our salvation is not a matter of something we’ve earned or accomplished because of our good works or by the keeping of the Law, it is a “grace”, a free, undeserved, gift from God.  All we do is trust Him to receive it.

As his main illustration, Paul has used Abraham, who was not declared righteous because of his actions, but because of his faith.  Paul based this truth on Genesis 15:6, which he quotes when he writes,

(Rom 4:3 NKJV)  For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

5:1-5 Faith glories in trouble

:1  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Therefore – Paul is now going to tell us why it’s such a big deal to be “justified” with God.

justifieddikaioo – to render righteous; to declare one to be righteous

This is the word we saw used so much through chapter 3 & 4 where Paul was making his argument about how a person becomes “righteous” in God’s eyes.

We saw that it does not happen from keeping the Law, it happens through faith, just like Abraham found.

peaceeirene – a state of national tranquility; peace between individuals, i.e. harmony

Before we become “justified”, we have a big problem.

Our sin puts us at odds with God.  We are His enemies. James writes,

(James 4:4 NKJV)  Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.


Enjoy the peace

If we’re not careful, we can fall under the lie that says we must work hard to please God.
Johnny Miller writes, “When I was a teenager, I became fascinated, appalled, and grieved by the literature of the Holocaust … One scene that haunts me is a picture from Auschwitz. Above the entryway to the concentration camp were the words, Arbeit macht frei. The same thing stood above the camp at Dachau. It means, “work makes free”—work will liberate you and give you freedom. It was a lie—a false hope. The Nazis made the people believe hard work would equal liberation, but the promised “liberation” was horrifying suffering and even death. Arbeit macht frei. One reason that phrase haunts me is because it is the spiritual lie of this age. It is a satanic lie. It’s a religious lie. It is a false hope—an impossible dream for many people in the world. They believe their good works will be great enough to outweigh their bad works, allowing them to stand before God in eternity and say, “You owe me the right to enter into your heaven.”  It is the hope of every false religion—arbeit macht frei.”

From Johnny V. Miller's sermon, "The Great Rescue," (4-14-07)

The truth is, we are at peace with God – we have His “pleasure” – only because of what Jesus did for us.  We receive God’s approval only by trusting Him, having faith that Jesus died for us.
Oh that we could just learn to enjoy the peace we have with God.

:2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand,

accessprosagoge – (“toward” + “to lead”) a moving to; approach; “privilege of approach” to a person of high rank

we have – the verb is a “perfect” tense, we obtained access in the past, and the results continue on into the present.

we stand – the verb is also a “perfect” tense, we were able to stand in the past, and we are still standing in the grace of God.

We could translate this:  “through Jesus Christ we have gained access to God in the past, and still enjoy that access, and we gained the gift or grace of this access through our faith, and we not only have stood in this access, but are still standing in it.”


Special access

It’s kind of a cool thing to go to special places where not everyone is allowed to go.
Have you ever had a chance to spend some time with a famous person you respected?  Ever been in a restaurant when a movie star, rock star, or surfing legend (huh?) walked in and sat down?
Last year on our vacation we did the special “VIP” tour of Universal Studios.  It costs a bit more, but you are taken into places in the studio that the rest of the guests don’t get to go.  You see some of the workshops where props are made.  You go to a soundstage where they do the sound effects for movies and TV.  You get to go through the warehouse where props are stored – like a giant Costco with aisles of toasters, combat weapons, fake shovels, dinnerware, furniture, statues, etc.
A few years ago I was invited to be with a group of pastors and sit on the stage at the Harvest Crusade.  Before the Crusade starts, you’re down in the “green room” hanging out with the musicians and pastors.  You stand in a circle before going out and get to pray for the Crusade with Greg Laurie and Chuck Smith.  It’s quite an amazing thing to watch the event from the stage, sitting with people like Dennis Agajanian, and Crystal Lewis.  But the most awesome thing is to watch the thousands come out of the stands to accept Christ.  An unreal, amazing experience.
We have the most amazing thing available to us as Christians.
We have “access” to the most important person in the Universe.  We have access to the most carefully guarded and screened place ever.
We have access to God.  We are allowed into the throne room of the Almighty.
(Heb 4:16 NKJV)  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
This comes because you have “peace” with God by believing in Jesus Christ.
So what will you do with this special “access” to God?

It’s not even limited to office hours M-F.  God is available to you 24/7.

:2  and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

rejoicekauchaomai – to glory; to glory on account of a thing; to glory in a thing

The verb is a present tense, we are currently and continually rejoicing.

in hope of the glory of God

(Rom 5:2 NLT)  …we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.


A glorious future

We have the coolest things in our future.
(Rom 8:28-32 NKJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. {29} For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. {30} Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. {31} What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? {32} He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

God has a purpose to be making us to be more and more like Jesus.  He has justified us, He will also “glorify” us – we will have “glory”, we will shine like Jesus.

(John 14:1-3 NKJV)  "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. {2} "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Jesus wanted to comfort His disciples about their future.  Their future was going to be with Jesus.  Jesus was preparing the way ahead for us when He died, rose, and ascended into heaven.

(1 John 3:1-3 NKJV)  Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. {2} Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. {3} And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

We aren’t exactly sure what it’s all going to be like, though we do have glimpses of heaven from the Scriptures.  We do know that we will be like Jesus.  When we look at Jesus in His glorified body, that’s a hint of what’s up ahead for us – stuff like glowing in the dark, disappearing into nowhere, walking through walls, even flying.  Cool!

(1 Cor 15:50-54 NKJV)  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. {51} Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; {52} in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. {54} So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

For some of us, we won’t be experiencing death.  For believers who are alive at the time of the Rapture, we will be instantly changed into our new, glorified bodies.

(Rev 21:1-5 NKJV)  Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. {2} Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. {3} And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. {4} "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." {5} Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."

This is just one of the peeks at life in “forever”.  We will dwell with God.  No more tears.  No more death.  No more pain.

This is stuff we need to “rejoice” in.  This is stuff that should make us giddy, happy, blessed.
We can count on these things happening to us because of what Jesus has done for us.  We don’t even have to wonder about them because Jesus proved that He can do this when He Himself rose from the dead.
This is our future.  Anybody want to shout “Woo-Hoo!!!!”?

:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations,

glorykauchaomai to glory (whether with reason or without); to glory on account of a thing; to glory in a thing; this is the same word that was translated “rejoice” in verse 2.  He’s going to talk about another reason to be rejoicing, to be happy.

The verb is also a present tense, we are currently and continually rejoicing.

In verse 2 we are reminded about the things in our future we should be rejoicing about.

In this verse we are reminded about the things in our present that we should be rejoicing about.

tribulationthlipsis – a pressing, pressing together, pressure; oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress

It is the word used to describe the “Great Tribulation” coming on the earth before Jesus comes back (Mat. 24:21).

It is used to describe the time of famine that made Jacob’s family go down to Egypt. (Acts 7:11)

Ac 7:11 "Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance.

It is used to describe the first persecution the early church went through after Stephen was stoned (Acts 11:19)

Ac 11:19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.

James (1:27) uses the word to describe the difficult life that widows and orphans had.

Jas 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, [and] to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

It is the word Jesus used to describe the troubles that can make shallow Christians fall away.

Mt 13:21 "yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.


Tough times aren’t all bad

It’s one thing to shout “Woo-Hoo” about heaven, but shouting for joy for the tough times?  It sounds like somebody is a little twisted, like the person who wrote this ad:
LOST DOG with 3 legs, blind in left eye, missing right ear, tail broken and recently castrated. Answers to the name of “Lucky.”

-- Barbara Johnson, Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy, Word, 1990, p.1.

Our tendency is to run from anything that begins to hint at being trouble.  We think of “tribulation” or “pressure” as being bad.
It’s not necessarily bad.
Our word “tribulation” comes from the Latin “tribulum

In the pictures of the ancient Roman method of threshing grain, one man is always seen stirring up the cut stalks while another rides over them in a crude cart equipped with rollers instead of wheels. Sharp stones and rough bits of iron were attached to these cylinders to help separate the husks from the grain.  This simple cart was called a tribulum -- from which we get our word "tribulation."  When great affliction comes to us, we often think of ourselves as being torn to pieces under the cruel pressures of adverse circumstances. Yet as no thresher ever yoked up his tribulum for the mere purpose of tearing up the stalks of grain but instead to be able to separate the grain from the chaff, , our loving Savior never puts us under the pressure of sorrow and disappointment without having something useful in mind.

God has promises for us when we’re in “tribulation”:
Jesus promises us peace:

Joh 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Tribulation cannot separate us from the love of Christ:

Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [Shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

God has comfort for us, and wants us to give comfort to others in it:

2Co 1:4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I know that when most of us are going through a tough time, if we think about asking for prayer we usually are asking that people would pray that the tough time would be over quick.
I wonder if we ought to change some of our prayer requests.

Maybe we should be asking:  “God help me to learn what you want me to learn in this tough time”.

:3 knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

produceskatergazomai – to perform, accomplish, achieve; bring about, result in; present tense – right now it is producing this work of perseverance.

perseverancehupomone (“under” + “to remain”) – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings; a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

James says almost the same thing:

(James 1:2-8 NKJV)  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, {3} knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

James uses the same words for “produces” and “patience” (perseverance).
This is one of the products of a difficult time – endurance, patience, perseverance.
An athlete doesn’t build endurance without “tribulation”, without having an exercise program of workouts.  Think of it as “stamina”.
When you are out of shape and haven’t exercised in awhile, you have to slowly build up your stamina.

Wilma didn’t get much of a head start in life.  A bout with polio left her left leg crooked and her foot twisted inward so she had to wear leg braces.  After seven years of painful therapy, she could walk without her braces.  At age 12 Wilma tried out for a girls’ basketball team, but didn’t make it. Determined, she practiced with a girlfriend and two boys every day. The next year she made the team.  When a college track coach saw her during a game, he talked her into letting him train her as a runner. By age 14 she had outrun the fastest sprinters in the United States. In 1956 Wilma made the U.S. Olympic team, but showed poorly.  That bitter disappointment motivated her to work harder for the 1960 Olympics in Rome—and there Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals, the most a woman had ever won.

{4} But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Patience (endurance, stamina) is part of what makes you mature, grown up.
(James 1:4 NLT)  …for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

{5} If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. {6} But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. {7} For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; {8} he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

One of the keys to learning to get through the “tribulation” or the “trial” is learning to ask God for wisdom.  Ask God for the answers, for the direction that you need to keep going.
Ask in faith – expect that God is going to answer those questions.

The writer or Hebrews also talks about “training” and difficult times:

(Heb 12:11 NLT)  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening--it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Take your difficult time as “training”.  Learn to embrace it, not run away.


Rejoice in tough times

These are reasons to learn to “rejoice” or “exult” in our difficulty.
Some people talk about the runner’s “high”.
We get a “high” because God is building our stamina.

:4 and perseverance, character;

characterdokime – proving, trial; approved, tried character; a proof, a specimen of tried worth; NAS has “proven worth”

Trials produce endurance.  Endurance produces “character”


Enduring shows who you are

It has been said,
“You can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things:  a rainy holiday, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Corrie Ten Boom was a young Christian girl imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.  Her difficulty revealed the deep character that God was building in her.  She writes,
It was Christmas, 1944.  Betsie had died.  I was in a hospital barracks in Ravensbruck.  Dark it was in my heart, and darkness was around me.  There were Christmas trees in the street between the barracks. Why, I don’t know.  They were the saddest Christmas trees I ever saw in my life.  I am sure it was with the purpose of blaspheming that they had thrown dead bodies of prisoners under the Christmas trees.  I tried to talk to the people around me about Christmas, but they mocked, ridiculed, and sneered at whatever I said.  At last I was quiet.  It was in the middle of the night that I suddenly heard a child crying and calling, “Mommy!  Come to Oelie, Oelie feels so alone.”  I went to her and saw a child not so young, but feebleminded.  “Oelie, Mommy cannot come, but do you know who is willing to come to you?  That is Jesus.”  The girl was lying on a bed next to the window, not far from my bed.  Although Oelie was completely emaciated from lack of food, she had a sweet face, beautiful eyes, and wavy hair.  It was so touching to hear her call for her mother.  Oelie had been operated on and the incision on her back was covered by a bandage of toilet paper.  That night I told this poor child about Jesus.  How He came into the world as a little baby—how He came to save us from our sins.  “The Lord Jesus loves Oelie and has borne her punishment on the cross.  Now Oelie may go to heaven, and Jesus is there right now.  He is getting a little house ready for Oelie.”  Later I asked her what she remembered of what I had told her.  “What is the little house like?” I asked.  “It is very beautiful.  There are no wicked people as in Ravensbruck—only good people and angels.  And Oelie will see Jesus there.”  Then Oelie folded her hands; together we gave thanks.  Then I knew why I had to spend this Christmas in Ravensbruck -- 1944.

-- Corrie's Christmas Memories

Spurgeon writes,

“When the green leaves decorate the trees and the season is fair, one cannot readily find the birds' nests, but when the winter strips the trees, anyone with half an eye may see them. In the same way the Christian may scarcely be discerned amid the press of business and prosperity; his hidden life is concealed amid the thick and throng of the things of earth. But let affliction come, a general sickness, or severe losses in the family, and you shall see the Christian man plainly enough in the gracious patience by which he rises superior to trial. The sick bed reveals the man; the burning house, the sinking ship, the panic on the exchange--all these make manifest the hidden ones. In many a true believer, true piety is like a drum which nobody hears of unless it be beaten.”

One of the blessings of your trial is that people are going to see that “inner life”, they’re going to see your true character.

:4 and character, hope.

hopeelpis – expectation; expectation of good, hope; joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation

As we endure trials, we learn that some things in life can be counted on, others can’t.  I can’t depend upon people.  I can’t depend upon circumstances.  I can always depend upon the Lord.

We learn as the Psalmist did:

(Psa 46:1-2 NKJV)  God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. {2} Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Learning to endure trials ultimately produces hope in a God who loves me.

:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

disappointkataischuno (“according to” + “shame”) – to dishonor, disgrace; to put to shame; one is said to be put to shame whom some hope has deceived

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence

poured outekcheo – to pour out, shed forth; to bestow or distribute largely; perfect tense – has been poured out and we still see the effects today

Part of the work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives is to remind us how much God loves us.

We’re not disappointed by having hope in God because of what the Holy Spirit does – pouring out the love of God

The love of God is tied to the importance of hope.

I’m going to have a hard time having hope if I question God’s love for me.

God’s love for me keeps me strong in hope.

Hope is keeps us going.


Once upon a time, certain strong laborers were sent forth by the great King to level a primeval forest, to plow it, to sow it, and to bring to him the harvest. They were stout-hearted and strong, and willing enough for labor, and much they needed all their strength and more. One stalwart laborer was named Industry—consecrated work was his. His brother Patience, with muscles of steel, went with him, and tired not in the longest days under the heaviest labors. To help them they had Zeal, clothed with ardent and indomitable energy. Side by side there stood his kinsman Self-denial. These went forth to their labor, and they took with them, to cheer their toils, their well-beloved sister Hope; and well it was they did, for they needed the music of her consolation before the work was done, for the forest trees were huge and demanded many sturdy blows of the axe before they would fall upon the ground. One by one the giant forest kings were overthrown, but the labor was immense and incessant. At night when they went to their rest, the day’s work always seemed so light, for as they crossed the threshold, Patience, wiping the sweat from his brow, would be encouraged, and Self-denial would be strengthened by hearing the sweet voice of Hope within singing, “God will bless us; God, even our own God, will bless us.” They felled the lofty trees to the music of that strain; they cleared the acres one by one, they tore from their sockets the huge roots, they delved the soil, they sowed the corn and waited for the harvest, often much discouraged, but they still held to their work as by silver chains and golden fetters by the sweet sound of the voice that chanted so constantly, “God, even our own God, will bless us.” They never could refrain from service, for Hope could never refrain from song. They were ashamed to be discouraged, they were shocked to be despairing, for still the voice rang clearly out at noon and eventide, “God will bless us; God, even our own God, will bless us.” You know the parable, you recognize the voice. May you hear it in your souls today!

-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon