No Jesus, No Peace; Know Jesus, Know Peace—Romans 5:1

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Romans 5:1)

Occasionally while I am driving I will see the old bumper sticker, "No Jesus, No Peace; Know Jesus, Know peace" and it makes me smile. In the midst of this tumultuous time, many people are looking and longing for peace. However, just like the truth written on the bumper sticker, unless you know Jesus, as your Savior, peace is an elusive thing.

Previously through our study in chapter four, we see that through faith we can obtain the righteousness that God ascribes to by believing in Jesus and putting our total faith in him. Through his death and resurrection on the cross he has offered us total redemption and justification through his blood shed for us. Being justified before him, brings us to a state before God, whereby it is as if we had never sinned. This is great news because Romans 6:23 say, "for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord" Our sin brought with it, death and separation from God, however Jesus' redemptive work on the cross paid for sin once for all as he stood in the gap for us. ( Colossians 2:13-15, Hebrews 9:28, II Corinthians 5:21 ) If our sins are paid for then it is as if we had never sinned, so being justified before God brings us peace.

The amazing thing about this verse in Romans 5:1, is that it show how incredible God grace is and how much he loves us. While we were still sinners and enemies of God because of our sin, he sent Jesus to die for us and extended the offering of peace to us. Many Christian do no understand that we are at complete peace before God. He is not angry with us, he is not mad at us, our sin is not an issue with him... the truth is, he loved us so much he did everything possible to restore us unto himself, he stopped at nothing.

Many people go through life trying to fill the void, emptiness and longing for peace with everything else but what can truly satisfy. Jesus told his disciples in the book of John, "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." (John 16:33) It was imperative that they knew how to have peace, because all around them was trouble. Jesus is called the prince of peace. So even in a world where we lack peace and trouble surrounds us at every turn, by knowing Jesus we have peace, not only heart peace, but we have peace with God because we have been justified by him.

The only way to access this peace, is by faith in Jesus. Today I pray that as you read this, you make Jesus your Lord and savior and experience true peace before him. Knowing that you are at harmony with God will also bring heart peace into your life to enjoy always. Amen!

Hoping in the Glory of God—Romans 5:2

"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" (Romans 5:2)

I recently celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary. To commemorate this momentous occasion my husband and I spent the weekend downtown Chicago. During the course of our time there, my husband surprised me with tickets to the Broadway Show, Mary Poppins at the famous Cadillac Palace. The tickets had been paid for long before we arrived at the theatre, but having the tickets with us is what granted us admission to see the show that night.

In the same way, our faith is like those tickets. Our faith is what grants us access to God. While it is true that the admission has been paid for by Jesus, we still need faith as the entrance pass to the Father. By firmly relying on Jesus as our savior, we are justified through faith and have peace with God. Our faith is the conduit for that justification to take place.

Our faith grants us access into the grace of God. Grace is unmerited, undeserved favor and kindness. God's grace is bestowed upon us based solely upon what Jesus did for us and it is based upon us accepting that payment for our sin and relying on him for salvation. The payment has been made and our faith is the ticket granting us access to the grace of God.

When we stand in this grace through faith, then we can be fully assured before Him. Because of this, we hope in the glory of God. Hope is an amazing thing and a necessary for Christians. Because of what God did for us, we can hope in the midst of trial and tribulations because we know that we have not been left as orphans. We have a promise from God that He will return for us very soon. Knowing this, we hope for that which is to come.

Chapter five of Romans, starts out reminding us several important things. First we have been justified by faith, because of it, we have peace with God. Our justification and the resulting peace only comes by believing in Jesus, when we totally rely on him, then we stand in grace before God, which is a place of favor and mercy. Knowing that this is our position before God, brings us hope in seeing his return very soon. This hope gives us strength to live a life worthy of him. Today, I praise God that he has done all of this based solely upon his love for us. Our future is bright because we are called children of God.

Perseverance, Character and Hope... The Byproduct of Faith—Romans 5:3-4

"...Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope..." (Romans 5:3-4)

I love being around optimistic people, perhaps because I am a ‘glass half full' kind of girl. I love when people can see the silver lining in the midst of situations despite circumstances or obstacles. But the more I know people, the more I realize that this characteristic is a precious commodity.

However, Paul reminds us, as Christians we can rejoice in the midst of any circumstance because of where our hope is placed. Hope is the highway that gets our faith from point A to point B. Hope is what keeps us moving and rejoicing through whatever circumstances life throws our way. So how do we have hope to see our faith realized?

We have hope when our faith is resting firmly in Jesus. Then it doesn't matter when suffering or persecution comes our way, because hope lets us rejoice in the midst of it. James chapter one says something similar, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." ( James 1:2-3 ). Both Paul and James knew that a byproduct of suffering at the hand of this world was perseverance.

The King James Bible interprets preservation as patience in both passages. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit and necessary for Christians. Unlike the world's definition of patience, it is not a passive word, but rather a strong active word. The heart of patience denotes endurance, consistency and perseverance no matter what happens.

Patience allows our faith to mature and produce hope. Hope gets us through to the end goal, which is the glory of God. As Christians we should always be optimistic looking forward to Jesus' return for us. Jesus said, "in this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." ( John 16:33 ) He knew the hope to which he was calling us, and this blessed hope is what we await patiently for enduring and conquering in his name until his return. Praise God that this kind of hope does not disappoint!

Hope is the Catalyst of Faith—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" (Romans 5:5)

Tonight at my small group, we were discussing the importance of hope. Several examples were use of how hope carried a person through a tough situation. The hope stemmed from believing a certain thing then that belief moved them towards that goal. In the end, we agreed that hope was the necessary vehicle to achieve desired results. Hope is a must!

Hoping in the promises of God will never disappoint us because God is faithful to deliver on the promises spoken in his word. Abraham's hope, activated his faith and became the catalyst to receive the fulfillment of the promise. In the same way, our hope can trigger our faith into action. For without faith we will never realize victory. Without hope for the victory we will never initiate our faith in the first place. The two work together hand in hand.

Hope is a crucial thing. Paul is reassuring us that we are hoping in something that won't disappoint us. He is basing this solely on God's love for us. Chapter five in the book of Romans delivers an amazing expose on God's love for us. That is evident in the first couple of verses by the fact that God has given us his Holy Spirit, deposited into our hearts testifying to this very fact. The Holy Spirit confirms with our spirit that we are his own. Knowing this should settle once for all any question about the depth of God's love for us.

Because God loves us and has demonstrated his love to us through his Son Jesus, we know that nothing stands in the way of relationship with Him. Through faith in Jesus we are completely justified by his grace. Today I praise God that he has given us this blessed hope and that hope is based on who he is. Just as the scriptures say, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." ( Romans 10:11 )

The Villain, the Hero and the Victory—Romans 5:6

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly"(Romans 5:6)

Have you ever watched an nail biting action movie? Hollywood does a great job of evoking emotions from us while we watch our heroes save the day. Just when all looks lost and it looks like the villain will win, we always have hope because we know at the last moment the champion comes to rescue and restore.

In our story about God's love for us, our hero is Jesus. The Bible tells us that 'while we still powerless, Christ die for the ungodly' ( Romans 5:6 ). Why were we powerless? If you remember back to the garden of Eden, Satan took Adams authority from him by deceiving him. God had given Adam dominion over all the earth and he told him to subdue it. At the Fall, Satan became the legal owner of that power and dominion. Since that time, mankind was held ransom under his control, powerless to break free of it.

This is an amazing verse, because it says that at the right, perfect time Christ came to take back all power and authority. Mankind was week, feeble and unable to obtain freedom from the control of Satan's kingdom. We were in essence, enemies of God. Slaves to sin and born under the Law. But at the perfect time, God demonstrated his great love for us and sent Jesus. Born under the curse of the Law so he could redeem us from the law. He delivered us from the dominion of Satan and ushered us into the kingdom of heaven. ( Galatians 4:4 )

Not only were we powerless to get free but we were enemies of God. Sin had corrupted and the result was evident in the hearts of mankind. Paul is writing about God's great love for us. His grace and mercy is the reason that he came to redeem us. He did this while we were still sinning and powerless to change. It was based on nothing that we did, or could ever do to obtain it. Instead it was solely based upon his intense love for us.

Just like our movie heroes always sweep in to save the day, destroying the enemy and getting the girl, in the same way, Jesus had complete victory that day on the cross. The difference is that he came to save us while we were his enemies and powerless to help ourselves. But because of his great love for us, he removed all barriers, demonstrating his grace and mercy in the process. Today, know that you don't need to do anything except believe and accept this free gift that has already been purchased for you. When you do, then know that you are righteous before him and he now considers you a friend and his heir.

Juli Camarin

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