5 Gospel Benefits
November 13, 2022 Speaker: Kit Johnson Series: Romans
Topic: Expository Passage: Romans 5:1-5
(Read Text) This passage is one of the biggest turning points in Romans. This is because Paul just finished his first major argument in Romans 1–4, and he sums up the central point by saying, “Therefore, having been justified by faith.” That’s the message of Romans 1–4. We cannot save ourselves, but God justifies those who believe on Christ. It’s great news that God graciously justifies sinners like us.
But the next section, Romans 5–8 is maybe even better. It’s certainly more impactful for those of us who are already saved. That’s because Romans 5–8 describe the benefits of the gospel for those who believe. They are full of encouragement, hope, practical instruction, conviction, and comfort. I love these chapters, and so will you.
They start with a bang in Romans 5:1–5 as Paul fires off 5 incredible benefits that flow from the gospel. I want to emphasize at the outset that appreciating these blessings is at the heart of growing into full Christian maturity.
One of Satan’s most sneaky, effective lies is to convince Christians that the gospel mostly about escaping torment in hell and punching my ticket to an eternal vacation with all my friends in a tropical resort. He’s diluted the gospel into a man-centered pursuit of pleasure. It distorts how many Christians view the Christian life, and it chains them to an immature faith that never realizes the full blessings of the gospel.
But Romans 5–8 stand in stark contrast to this piddly Christianity. The 5 benefits in our text begin the process of magnifying God’s grander vision of gospel living. The first benefit of the gospel is…
I. Peace with God (v. 1)
This benefit is incredible following Romans 1–4. Remember God’s warning to the nations in 1:18. There’s also God’s warning to the Jewish legalist in 2:4–5. We all deserve wrath, not kindness because everyone from the most religious to the most godless transgresses God’s perfect will. There should never be peace between a holy God and sinners like us.
But I now stand in Christ’s righteousness. But through his death and resurrection, Christ replaced my transgression with his perfect righteousness. Therefore, Christ also replaced God’s wrath with perfect peace. A violent storm has become a quiet calm. We should be so thankful that God’s placated his own wrath, and we have peace with God.
But oftentimes in our relationships “keeping the peace” simply means avoiding a fight. For example, at Thanksgiving you skirt around politics or family issues because you don’t want a fight. You may avoid a fight, but you don’t have unity.
Thankfully peace with God is much more than this. It also includes a personal relationship. Paul was a Jew. When Jews greet each other, they say, “shalom” or peace. It’s an expression of good will, a desire you would enjoy good things. It communicates friendship or brotherhood.
That’s what Paul has in mind. We are adopted into God’s family, and he looks at us with favor and desires our good. This is an important complement to justification. That’s because justification is all about justice. God as our judge, declares us righteous.
But most people don’t maintain an ongoing relationship with the judge. However, God is much more to us than a judge (8:15–17). We are adopted into God’s family. He is my Father. He loves me as his child, and he pursues my good.
It’s worth emphasizing that this God is so far beyond how many Christians see him. They really love themselves more than they do God; therefore, they imagine a God who isn’t truly wrathful toward sin and who is little more than a means to their personal happiness.
He’s not big, he’s not truly righteous, and he’s not sovereign either. Therefore, his love is not that amazing, and neither is the fact that we have peace with him through the gospel.
But when you see Romans 5:1 in the context of Romans 1–4 and with a true vision of God’s holiness, justice, and lordship, the idea that I am at peace with him through the costly sacrifice of his Son is simply incredible. If you are a Christian, you should be in awe and give thanks that you enjoy such a costly, precious peace with God. The second benefit of justification is…
II. Access to Grace (v. 2a)
The Greek term that is translated as “introduction” or “access”, prosagoga, is a fascinating term in this context. That’s because it conveys the idea of receiving access to royalty or someone of great significance. Just imagine how incredible it would be to secure a meeting with the President in the Oval Office. No matter what you think of the President, that would be an incredible honor and an overwhelming experience.
With that in mind, consider how amazing it is that Christ has obtained for every Christian the right to access God himself. Through Christ we have a relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords.
In particular, we have access to his grace. This is important because even after we are justified, we still need a lot of grace. If you don’t realize that, you’re doing something wrong, or you are delusional.
Specifically, we continue to sin, and we need the grace of forgiveness. We need grace just to believe the promises of God, and we need grace to do battle with sin and pursue godliness. And through Christ, we have at our fingertips all the grace we could ever need. It is as if God has given us a limitless gift card of grace.
And this grace is always available because we have unlimited access to God. The grammar indicates that Paul is not talking about a single appointment with our king or even a monthly appointment. No, we can approach the throne of grace anytime and receive the grace we need right now.
I love how Hebrews 4:15–16 put it, “For we do not have a high priest (i.e., Jesus) who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
God commands us to come. And he even commands us to come boldly. Why is that? It’s because we come through Christ, not because of anything in us. And God promises that when we come to him for grace, we will always find exactly what we need for that particular moment. God always gives more than enough grace for whatever each day holds.
That doesn’t mean he promises an easy path. He knows we need tough resistance to truly be sanctified. So, life is filled with fears and uncertainties that threaten our faith. Holiness is hard. We are surrounded by many temptations. Your sin nature is powerful and persistent and so is the devil.
We don’t know what challenges may be ahead, but we know that God will supply more than enough grace for whatever temptations or trials are coming. Access to grace is a wonderful blessing of the gospel. Praise God that we have constant access to the glorious throne of grace.
So, make sure that you take advantage of this access. Do you regularly confess your sins, crying out for mercy? Do you pray like someone who is in desperate battle against sin and who needs God’s help to be victorious? Do you bring every worry and every care to the Lord and ask him for grace to keep faith and glorify him through it?
We have an incredible gift at our fingertips, but so often we don’t take advantage of it because we don’t sense our need of grace. Let’s be reminded today of our desperate need for help and of the incredible access we have been given. And let’s pursue for this grace through a robust life of prayer, meditation, and worship.
III. Hope of Glory (v. 2b)
Explanation: This is a statement that we could easily misunderstand. In particular, the “glory of God” normally refers to God’s glory. But that can’t be what Paul means here because it doesn’t fit the context. Rather, the hope Paul has in mind is that one-day believers will share in God’s glory when we are fully transformed into the image of Christ. We will be glorified.
Romans 3–4 have already emphasized the fact in Christ we are justified, we are legally righteous before God. But a big emphasis of Romans 5–8 is that God is in the process of making every genuine Christian practically righteous as well. He is progressively transforming us into the image of Christ, and someday he will finish the process. We will be glorified, and we will enjoy perfect fellowship with God for all eternity.
This is our great “hope.” Even better, this is not the kind of hope that may or may not come to fruition, such as when you hope that your team will win a game or that you will get a promotion. No, this hope is certain because God promises to complete the process (8:29–30). Just as certainly as we have already been foreknown, predestined, called, and justified, we will be glorified. Every believer will day be made perfect.
Therefore, Paul says we “exult” in this hope. You could also say we “boast” in this hope. The verb describes confident excitement or even boasting about something you know is going to happen. Think of a bride waking up on her wedding day and screaming, “I’m getting married today!” She knows it’s coming, she can taste it, and she’s excited.
In the same way, we should not wake up in the morning wondering if sin will ultimately get the victory. Yes, we should be very skeptical of our flesh, but we should be very certain of the promise of God. Glorification is coming, and it is something to be excited about.
Praise the Lord that our battle with sin will end, and someday we will worship in God’s presence with a perfect, undivided heart. What a day that will be!
So, don’t get discouraged when you endure tough days of defeat. Don’t despair, don’t grow numb to your sin, and certainly don’t quit. You will win, so keep fighting. So, v. 2 ends on an incredible high. We rejoice in our coming hope of glorification. But then the passage takes a surprising turn with vv. 3–4. Not only can Christians exult in hope of glory; we also…
IV. Hope in Tribulation (vv. 3–4)
Notice that Paul uses the same verb for the last benefit of v. 2 and this benefit in v. 3. It’s surprising because glory and tribulations are not similar. But Paul wants us to draw a tight connection between exulting in glory and exulting in tribulation, and he means to be provocative.
He wants to get our attention so that we ask, “How in the world can you say that we should exult in tribulation?” The answer is that through the grace we receive in the gospel, trials are no longer merely bad things that make us miserable. Instead, they are a means of grace. Paul first notes that…
Tribulation produces perseverance. I love the Greek term for perseverance. Hupomona is a compound word consisting of hupo, which means “under” and meno which means “remain.” So, it literally means “remain under,” and it pictures endurance as remaining under a heavy load.
Isn’t that how it feels to persevere through suffering? You feel like the pressures of life are crushing you. Or it feels like you are standing against an avalanche as you get pounded with one challenge after another.
Sadly, many unbelievers are crushed by the hardships of life. They lose hope, and they spiral into all sorts of destructive and sinful behaviors.
However, trials don’t crush God’s people because we don’t face them alone (8:35–39). Through Christ, we can conquer all these tribulations, and anything else Satan devises. Therefore, rather than crushing us, trials make us stronger. The Holy Spirit uses them to develop endurance or strength. As a result…
Perseverance produces proven character. “Proven character” pictures something that passes a difficult test. Think of a soldier who hasn’t just played war games and done simulations; he’s faced heavy combat and thrived in it. He’s proven he can handle the pressure.
Similarly, God uses tribulation to test our character and to assure us that we can overcome the next challenge. Every victory gives you a little more confidence that you will win the next time.
For example, you are faced with a family crisis or cancer, and it’s intimidating. You wonder, “How will I ever get through this?” But if you’ve walked with the Lord for long, you can look back at your life and remember how God has sustained you through past trials.
Because you overcame in the past, you know God is sufficient and that by his grace you have the character to overcome again. That history is so encouraging. As you face new challenges, never forget God’s sustaining grace in the past. Finally…
Character inspires hope. Remember that hope in context is hope of glorification. So how do trials produce hope? The answer is that when a believer overcomes affliction, it shows that God’s grace is alive in him, sustaining and strengthening him, because there is no other explanation for how we became stronger instead of being crushed.
How does that give hope? Well, the fact is that we don’t really know what trials and temptations are ahead of us. You don’t know when a health crisis may strike your family or when Satan will assault your faith. And we may worry that something will come along that will derail our faith and cause us to turn away from Christ. How can I be sure that I will persevere?
Thankfully our faith is not ultimately in ourselves. Christ will hold me fast. And if you have been a Christian for any length of time, you can remember how God sustained you in the past.
A loved one was dying, and your heart was hurting. You questioned the goodness of God or even his very existence. But God gave grace, and you made it. God held your faith fast. Through that experience the truth of Scripture moved beyond a story in an ancient book to your experience. You experienced grace.
As a result, you do not know what is ahead, but you know that God’s grace will sustain you. And you know that it won’t last forever. Someday God will receive you into glory! You have hope.
Maybe you are in the fire today. It feels like your world is crashing, and your faith is hanging by a thread. Please, don’t get so focused on getting out of the trial that you miss God’s glorious purpose. Your trial is not meaningless or hopeless. God is sovereignly at work to form Christ in you.
Then, remember how God sustained you in the past, and trust that he will do it again. Then, even through the heartache, rejoice in how God is moving you toward glory. He is making you into the image of Christ! It will be worth all the pain. And once you have endured, don’t forget to look back and see what God did and to glory in the grace you received.
I doubt many of us wake up in the morning thanking God that we can “exult in tribulations,” but we really should. Our pain is never wasted because it’s part of God’s sovereign, good purpose, and because God’s grace is always sufficient to mold suffering into holiness. So, we can rejoice in trials. This is an awesome benefit of our salvation. Praise God for the incredible grace that is ours. Verse 5 mentions a fifth benefit.
V. The Witness of the Spirit.
Paul opens this verse by saying that the great hope he mentioned in v. 4 will not be met with disappointment.
Have you ever boasted about something that ended up not happening? Sports fans do this all the time. I am a Bears fan, and when I lived in Detroit, the kids in my youth group would talk big every time the Bears and Lions were getting ready to play about how the Lions were going to crush the Bears. But most of the time the Bears would win, and they would walk into church Sunday night with their tale between their legs. You could say that their boasting was brought to shame because they placed their confidence in the Lions, but the Lions did not come through.
Paul just said that Christians boast confidently in our future glorification. We build our whole lives on this hope and make all sorts of sacrifices because of it. But how do we know that our hope will not be brought to shame? The answer is that the “love of God…”
We need to think carefully about what Paul means. Specifically, Paul is not saying that the Holy Spirit gives us the love of God. We are justified, so we already have it. Instead, he causes Christians to know and believe that God loves us and to feel that love. He creates personal faith in and application of what the gospel teaches.
This is an awesome ministry of the Spirit because my faith is weak. But God has not left us alone to believe what he has said. No, the same Spirit who creates saving faith continues to strengthen our faith that God’s promises are true and that they apply to us.
This does not mean that we never experience doubt. When we don’t feed on the Word and obey the Word, we are likely to doubt. But when we come to God’s Word with a hungry heart, the Spirit helps me believe, “God is love, and God loves me.”
The Word is important. A lot of people who struggle with doubt do so because they focus on how they feel. “Do I feel like God loves me?” Maybe they are even looking to feel this ministry of the Spirit. But when we do that, we are essentially challenging God to prove himself to us, and God doesn’t take challenges. Rather, he honors submission. Just read the Bible believing it is true, and the Spirit will honor your submission.
And notice that the Spirit doesn’t answer with a whisper. Instead, he cause the love of God to be poured out in our hearts.” The idea behind “poured out” is the idea of overflowing. Think of a dam, that is barely holding back a massive amount of water. When the dam breaks, it pours out immense volumes of water.
God’s love is just as mighty, but we don’t always grasp it. Sometimes we even question his love and the goodness of his will. And if left to ourselves, we would not believe or fully appreciate it. But God has not left us alone. The Spirit helps us know the love of God. Praise the Lord for his incredible grace!
This passage calls us to rejoice in 5 incredible blessings of justification by faith. God’s grace doesn’t stop flowing when you are born again. Instead, it is only beginning. You have peace with God. You have access to the throne of grace. You have a certain hope of glory. You have a certain hope in suffering. And the Holy Spirit is helping you know the love of God. So, give thanks for each of these blessings. Then take advantage of them. Don’t be content with the trite Christianity I mentioned in my introduction. Instead, sink your teeth deeply into these glorious truths. Anchor your soul in the character and promises of God. And enjoy a deep relationship with him.
And if you are not saved, see what Christ offers. Christianity is much more than a ticket out of hell or a key to a better life. You can know God in the gospel if you will be justified by faith. Please receive him today.
More in Romans
March 19, 2023Bewildered by Legalism
March 12, 2023The “I” of Romans 7
March 5, 2023The Holy and Helpless Law