by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1 Lincolnton, NC January 24, 2006
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;
2 through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
I. The Fruits of Justification.
A. We have peace with God.
1. Matthew 12:37 sets "justification" in opposition to "condemnation".
2. In the body of texts which use the word translated "justify" we note a variation of meaning.
a. There is a sense in which "justify" means "to be proven to be true/correct" as opposed to being shown to be in error (Matthew 11:19; Luke 10:29; Luke 16:15 and Romans 3:4).
b. There is also the sense in which "justify" means "to free from the dominion of a person or principle of operation" (Romans 5:9; 6:7 and Galatians 3:24).
c. There is also the sense in which "justify" means "to treat as guiltless" (the great majority of the cases in the New Testament).
3. The possession of "peace" with God involves the sense that "justification" involves a determination by God that He will no longer move in animosity toward us in the direction of condemnation.
a. Man's greatest "outward" problem is his participation in Death and his destiny in the Second Death. His "inward" problem is his deep-seated self-absorbtion that creates "enemies" of those who stand in the way of the accomplishment of his goals and frustrate the effectiveness of his plans. His self-deification without love or knowledge puts him on a collision course with every other "God/god" (the True Lover and Omniscient One as well as all those "others" who have deified themselves). This is the root and reality of the absence of "peace" -- or, to say it another way, this is why there is so much conflict in the experience of the creation. On this basis, we can understand why some who wrote out the copies of Paul's letter used the hortative ("Let us have peace") form of the verb "have" (since it sounds no different in pronunciation than the indicative ("we have peace")). But, Paul is not exhorting in this paragraph, he is declaring.
b. God's determination to move in the realms of "peace" in respect to us does not say much, if anything, about whether we move in the realms of "peace" in respect to Him. He is perfectly capable of turning everything into a means of good (Romans 8:28) whether it was intended to be such by other "actors" on the stage of goal-chasing, or not. Thus, He does not need our pursuit of "peace" with Him to accomplish His goals. We need Him to pursue peace with us in order for our goals to be fulfilled, but He does not need our cooperation. Thus, Paul is focused, not upon exhorting us to press for peace, but upon informing us that we have it on the basis of justification, not on the basis of the transformation of our value-systems or mindsets. If we only have peace once the love is "right" and the understanding is "correct", we will never have it in this life.
4. That we have peace with God is absolutely crucial for us as a starting place for any progress that we might make in the direction of true maturity. It is only when we no longer have to protect ourselves from the Power Over Us (God) that we are free to release our death-grip on what we think is "Life" and the various means we attempt to use to experience it. The declaration that "we have peace with God" is intended to set us free from all manner of ultimate threat. There is no final threat to those for whom God works all things unto good. That is not to say that there are no possible "losses" that endure for all of eternity and are never regained (1 Corinthians 3:15 - "...he shall suffer loss..."), but it is to say that those losses do not qualify as "threat". The difference between acceptance and rejection is the difference between "Life" and "Death"; all of the variations in potential within "Life" are simply distinctions in the degree of "Life" that can be experienced by a creature.
5. This "peace" we have is "through" our Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the effective Agent of the possession (by way of the redemption payment) as well as the Overseer of our own further development in the experience of "Life" -- He is Lord over us.