Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
- We have been justified by faith.
- We have peace with God.
- We have peace with God because we have been justified.
- We have peace with God through Jesus.
- Jesus is our Lord.
- Through Jesus we have obtained access to God’s grace.
- We obtained access to God’s grace through faith.
- We stand in the grace of God.
- We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
- We rejoice in our sufferings.
- Suffering produces endurance.
- We know that suffering produces endurance.
- Endurance produces character.
- Character produces hope.
- Hope does not put us to shame.
- God’s love has been poured into our hearts.
- God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit has been given to us.
- Christ died for us when we were weak
- We were weak.
- Christ died for us at the right time.
- Christ died for the ungodly.
- Someone might die for a righteous person or one who deserves it.
- Someone might die for a good person.
- Christ died for us when we did not deserve it.
- We have been justified by Christ’s blood.
- We will be saved from the wrath of God by Christ.
- We were enemies of God.
- While we were God’s enemies Christ reconciled us to God by His death.
- Jesus is the Son of God.
- Now that we have been reconciled to God we will be saved by Jesus’ life.
- Now that we have been reconciled to God we rejoice in God.
- We rejoice in God through Jesus Christ.
- We received reconciliation to God.
What a contrast! Think back to chapters one, two and the first half of three. Paul outlined our utter depravity and God’s justified wrath. He showed how we were depraved by our very nature. He stated how God’s anger boiled against us. Then comes chapter 4 with hope and now this passage where we are now at peace with God. Why? Because of the sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ. WOW!
In Chapter 4 Paul boldly and clearly teaches we cannot earn our justification. Therefore in the first 3 chapters you are doomed to hell and there is nothing you can do about it. But there is good news, or gospel. We are justified by trusting in the righteousness of Christ. We rely on the righteousness of Jesus to be imputed to us. We do not earn it. We do not deserve it. We simply have faith in, or trust in the fact that Christ suffered our punishment for us. So what is the result of this justification by faith? We are at peace with God. There is no wrath directed towards us. We have been reconciled to Him.
Our reconciliation comes through faith not works. The poor sinner who tries to turn away God’s wrath is in constant turmoil trying to be good enough, righteous enough, religious enough. Which we saw in the previous chapter we cannot be good enough because everything we do is polluted with sin so even our good works are not good. Therefore, the poor sinner always trembles before a holy God. While those of us who are justified by faith, are at peace with God and recline in His bosom.
This reconciliation was bought by Jesus Christ. We had nothing to do with it. Our reconciliation depends totally and completely on Christ. We are by nature depraved and deserving the wrath of God. But Christ, through His blood, allows us to stand in the presence of God and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. This gift is transmitted or received through faith not by works. We can be at rest and be assured of this because it does not rely on us. God has promised it.
We can rejoice in the hope of the glory of God as we look forward to a future life. But not only that we can rejoice in the sufferings we have now. Why? Because we know that what we suffer will result in good. Paul, in saying that we rejoice in our suffering, is not to be understood to say that the Christian does not dread suffering. Nor that Christians do not feel sorrow and grief when troubles occur. Rather Paul is saying the Christian trusts God and knows that good results. The Christian understands that whatever comes their way is given to them for good from the hand of an indulgent Father.
Paul uses a string of causes and effects to demonstrate this. Suffering produces endurance. This is not a natural thing. When men suffer they blame God and curse His name. But the Christian rejoices because God has sent him trouble to strengthen him.
Suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character. My wife says I am already a character, so I do not need any more suffering. That is not what Paul is saying. The New King James Version translates character as experience. The NASB translates character as proven character which may be a better translation. The Greek word here means, “a proof, a specimen of tried worth.” The same Greek word in Philippians 2:22 is translated “proven worth,” “But you know Timothy’s proven worth”. So Paul is saying that enduring suffering produces a tried and proven character. Because we have been tried and proven by God’s grace we have hope of our salvation. We will not be disappointed. Our salvation is gradually advanced. The sufferings we endure cannot make us miserable. They serve to promote our happiness.
At right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why didn’t Jesus come and die during Abraham’s time? Or why didn’t he come in the time of Moses. The most accurate and truthful answer is we do not know. But we know He came at the right time, a time set by God. But the amazing part is that he came at all. We were weak in out sin. We were ungodly. Even so Christ came and died for us. It is rare that someone would die for a righteous person, though it sometimes happens. But for an evil man no one willing dies. Yet while we were in active rebellion against the King and Ruler of the universe, He died for us. Paul is not mentioning this for make us grateful. Rather, he mentions this to strengthen the trust and confidence we have in the promise of God. For if he justified us. How much more can we trust that he will save us from the wrath of God?
From what does Christ save us? From our sins? No, our sins are things we have done. They are in the past. They cannot harm us. He saves us from the consequences of our sins. He saves us from the wrath of God. This is completely contrary to our culture today which says God love us and therefore there is no wrath in God towards us. But God hates sin. We are sinful and the justice of God requires God’s wrath towards us. This does not make since to us. If God is angry and directs His wrath towards us then why would He send His son to die for us? God did it for His purpose. He wanted to redeem us. We certainly did not earn or deserve it. But for His good pleasure Christ died for us. We are the beneficiaries of His love not because we are good, but because of His mercy. Once we have been justified by having Christ’s righteousness imputed to us are then reconciled to God. We then rejoice through Jesus Christ because we have been reconciled by Christ to God.
This commentary was difficult for me to write. Why, because I did not what you to miss out on this great gift. So I was continually tempted to rely on my nature. We need to do something. I kept trying to write what you had to do to receive this gift from God; you had to work at not working. That is not the message of this passage. The message of this passage is be at peace, rest in Christ. He has done it all. We have received a great gift. We have received the gift of Christ’s righteousness. And since we have been made righteous, we no longer are subject to God’s wrath but to His love as the Father loves the Son.