Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 2/3/2008

Yesterday I preached the first part of a message on Faith, Peace, Hope and Love, taken from Romans 5:1-5.

Romans 5:1-5 – “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 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. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.”

The main idea of the message was that these four qualities are connected. They are like links in a chain or building blocks one upon the other. Faith is the foundation of peace, hope and love. Peace is the result of faith and a necessary condition for hope and love. Hope grows out of peace and provides the environment where God’s love may flourish in our hearts. And love is the fulfillment of hope. Love is the ultimate goal, the greatest thing of all. Here is a brief summary of the message:

I. Faith is the foundation of peace, hope and love.

To be “justified” means “to be declared innocent.” It is the opposite of the word “condemned,” which means “to be declared guilty.” Faith means trust, assurance or belief, a deep and abiding conviction. We are justified not by works, but through faith. We can never be justified or declared innocent in God’s sight by our works for one very simple reason. We are not innocent! We are guilty, guilty as charged. If we ask God to look at our works and declare us innocent, we are in effect asking God to lie. God cannot possibly declare us innocent on the basis of our own righteousness.

If you ever struggle with self-righteousness, just try the following experiment for a day. Pretend that a T.V. monitor is hooked up to your brain, and that every thought you have all day is broadcast live on the internet. That’s right. Your brain is on YouTube. Everyone can see exactly what you’re thinking, all day long. Would you like your thoughts broadcast on the internet for a day? I know I wouldn’t. How about every day?

We can never be justified by God according to our own righteousness, because we are not righteous. God sees the record of your deeds, the logbook of your words, the visual and soundtrack of your mind, all day, every day. That’s why justification must be through faith, not by works. Rather, it is by faith that we receive a righteousness from God that replaces our own unrighteousness.

And so faith comes first in the chain. Without faith, you cannot have peace. And without peace, you cannot have hope or love. Knowing God’s love in your life is the greatest thing, but along with peace and hope it rests first of all squarely on the firm foundation of faith.

II. Peace is the result of faith and a necessary condition for hope and love.

After faith, comes peace. Peace is the result of faith, and the necessary condition for hope and love. Notice that Paul says peace is a present condition. Since we have been justified, we have peace now. It is our present possession.

This “peace with God” is different from the “peace of God.” The “peace of God” is a subjective feeling that we experience when we obey the command to present our requests to God (Philippians 4:6-7). “Peace with God” is not a subjective feeling, but rather an objective fact based on our justification. We experience the “peace of God” intermittently depending on whether or not we are bringing our requests to the Lord. But once you have been justified by faith, your “peace with God” never changes.

Peace with God means relationship with God. The walls have been torn down, the obstacles cleared out of the way, and where once there was separation, there now is relationship. What is the obstacle that stands between us and God? There is basically one major obstacle, and that obstacle is sin. And so until the problem of sin is dealt with, we do not have peace with God.

And how do we deal with the problem of sin? There is only one way, and that is to be justified, to be declared innocent by God through faith in his son Jesus Christ. Faith leads to peace; justification leads to relationship with God.

Why is it that justification actually leads to relationship? It doesn’t have to be that way. Think about a human judge for a minute. A human judge feels no personal hostility towards you if he declares you guilty, and he feels no friendship towards you if he declares you innocent. He simply makes a legal declaration. It is wonderful to be declared innocent, but that doesn’t lead to automatic friendship with the judge.

In our case, God is not only your judge. He is also the offended party. And yet God still wants to restore you to relationship with himself. Why does justification lead to relationship? Because God wants it to. It is for the purpose of relationship that God justifies us and declares us righteous, so that the offense may be removed, our hostility disarmed, and we may find peace with God our Judge and our Savior. This is God’s whole purpose in justification. 1 Peter 3:18 puts it this way: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

CONCLUSION: We will talk more about the next two words in the sequence, hope and love, next week. But for right now, let me just ask you the question. Do you have this peace with God that we have been talking about this morning? Are in relationship with God? You can only answer that question “yes” if you are trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Peace with God is the result of faith in Jesus Christ. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

Note: To read the complete message, go to the Sermons tab at the top of the blog.

Leave a Reply