“Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
One of the most infamous photographs from WWII was taken of Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of England, and Adolph Hitler. The two had just negotiated a treaty. Chamberlain said, “We have achieved peace in our time.” Right then, however, Hitler was planning an all-out assault on Eastern Europe. I guess peace was going to have to wait, but such is always the case when it comes to man.
In our text from Romans Paul writes about similar concepts of war and peace. Except in this case he is not talking about man vs. man. This is man vs. God.
Back in chapter one, Paul said, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans. 1:18). Man is at enmity with God because even though the Lord has clearly revealed Himself to mankind, human beings reject their creator. They suppress what can be known about God and then live for themselves. Naturally, this infuriates God. It kindles His good and just anger against us. When the Lord looks upon our sin, He is anything but at peace with us. He is full of wrath and vengeance. Because of this, there will soon come, “the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” On that day, “He will render to each one according to his works” (Romans. 2:5-6). “For those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth…there will be wrath and fury” (Romans 2:8). This is not a peaceful situation. Yet it is the exact dilemma all men face.
But, God in His love has removed man’s offense through the cross of Christ. Everyone who trusts in Jesus can now be, “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:24-25). Christ’s death has appeased God’s wrath and anger against us. Now, all who trust in Christ are justified by His grace. To be justified means our sins are forgiven and we are declared legally righteous in the sight of God. This is achieved by faith alone in Jesus Christ, apart from works.
Now, we can understand Paul more clearly when he says, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.” Our justification means our sins are forgiven; consequently, this means we are at peace with God. The hostility is over because the war crimes have been dealt with judicially. The peace treaty has been signed with the blood of God’s Son (Colossians 1:19). The war is over!
Friend, I wonder if you when you read Romans 5:1 you thought the peace Paul spoke of was some kind inner tranquility. That’s what most people believe. But you can clearly see that Paul speaks of something much more profound. This peace is the kind that two countries pursue after being at war. Except in this scenario it is not two rival nations. It is God and man.
This means it is an eternal peace. Unlike Hitler and Chamberlain, the peace God offers will last forever. Those who trust in Christ will spend eternity with the “God of peace” (Hebrews 13:20). So let us give thanks to God, because though mankind will never accomplish this feat, God has won the victory through Jesus, “the Prince of Peace.”