by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2 Lincolnton, NC January 31, 2006
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:
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 (see notes for January 24(191)).
B. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
1. Both the peace and the access that we have are through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
2. There are two "possessions" involved. The word "have" is the same in both claims of the apostle, but the time relations are different.
a. "Peace" is seen as an "on-going" present reality.
1) "Peace" is the presence of "good intentions" as opposed to "inimical intentions".
2) The resolution of the Justice issues by Jesus has settled the issue of God's intentions toward us, and, consequently, our intentions toward Him (though our intentions toward Him seem to be in a rather constant state of flux as we bounce between competition with Him and cooperation with Him). It is a great benefit that He is "intentionally" fixed even when we are not.
b. "Access" is seen as a past grant that has on-going results into the present...we stand in possession of "access" to grace.
1) "Access" is used three times by Paul. It is twice used in Ephesians with the present tense of "have", so it is noteworthy that here in Romans he deliberately switches to the perfect tense.
2) The meaning of "access" has been debated as to whether it means that we have permission to "enter", or that we have one who "introduces" us to the One we are approaching.
a) In general, it seems that the idea of entering into the presence of the Father is in view in either case. This corresponds to the urging of the author of Hebrews when he says in 4:13 that we ought to "come boldly to the throne of grace" when we are in need of mercy and grace because of some difficulty.
b) That Paul has deliberately put the initial event in the past (by use of the perfect tense) seems to indicate that he is looking at the point when we were given "access to God" through our Lord. This "access" being conceived of as the privilege of being dealt with by God in grace (as opposed to justice) when we are in some "tribulation".
3. There is one "means": faith.
a. Jesus our Lord is the "effective Agent" through whom we possess.
b. Faith is the "effective means" by which we possess. The point here is that there is no return to any kind of "work" principle involved in our access to grace. For Paul, it is either by faith or by work, but not by any mixture of the two.
4. There is a final result: we have taken our stand in grace.
a. There are two consequences of this result.
1) We "exult upon hope of the glory of God".
a) The issue of "exulting" is an issue of "spiritual satisfaction". The term is used to indicate an extremely pleased "spirit" that normally expresses itself in this condition by "boasting". Those who have confidence in their abilities to have success "boast" when the "success" comes. Their "boasting" is the sense of spirit-satisfaction that arises out of the "look what I have done" mentality. But, for Paul, "boasting" in this setting is not "look what I have done", but "look what I have". It signals the same "spiritual exuberance", but on a different foundation.
b) For Paul, "exulting" is not primarily about "how I got to this point", but "that I am at this point". The "how" is not insignificant (its significance is seen in the pains Paul took to make sure that his readers do not think it was their labors which did the producing), but the focus of Paul is upon the sense of possession of an enormous treasure.
c) The "treasure" is "the glory of God". We have become partakers of the divine nature and, consequently, we have entered into the experience of all that comes by reason of the expression of that nature. But, the entrance is significantly restricted at this particular point (while we are in this world and yet in this flesh) so that we "exult upon hope". Hope exists when the fruit is not yet experienced.
d) The "exulting" is real, but also significantly restricted by the difference between "hope" and "realization". There is spiritual satisfaction on the basis of hope. But, there is far greater spiritual satisfaction when the realization of the hope has entered into our present experience. The difference is revealed by the difference between having confidence in the promise of a son and being present when the son is actually born into history.
2) We "exult in the presence of trouble".
a) The direct implication here is that "trouble" is an on-going fact of life.
b) The point is that this on-going fact of life is not effective in undercutting our experience of satisfaction.
i. This is not to say that it makes no difference, for it surely does. Otherwise it would be insignificant that we have access to grace.
ii. But it is to say that there is no final difference: there is no "trouble" that can breach the walls of the grace in which we have taken our stand so as to bleed out that grace and leave us orphans.
b. These consequences pretty much address all of the issues of our lives.
1) As long as we are in this world, we are going to have a lesser experience of the impact of the glory of God.
2) But, as long as we are confident of the final outcome, the current experience is not overwhelming. And, since the final outcome is determined by grace and not by law, we have no cause to fear that it will not be what we hope because we have dropped the ball along the way. God has not dropped the ball, and grace has made us heirs of His faithful power.