Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Monday, January 09, 2023

2023.01.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 5:2

Read Romans 5:2

Questions from the Scripture text: What else do we have through Him (Romans 5:2)? What is the mechanism through which we have this access? To what do we have this access? What do those who have this access also do? In what do they rejoice? In what is this hope? 

What is the condition of being justified like? Romans 5:2 looks forward to the sermon in this week’s midweek meeting. In this verse of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the condition of being justified is not only a condition of peace and servitude, but now a condition of strength, joy, and hope.

A condition of strength. “through Whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” As we come into the section of the letter that argues the theology of the believer as God’s slave for righteousness (chapter 6), the Spirit brings us there through the wonderful doctrine of union with Christ. We are not just under Christ as Lord; we are in Christ as Jesus, as Savior. So it is through Him, within Him, by means of Him that “we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”

We are not brought by faith into a service that we can perform by works. Even our working, even our service, can be done only by God’s own strength. That is to say, we stand not by the flesh but by grace: by God’s strength in the place of our weakness (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9). Standing, strength for standing, comes only in Jesus, by a mechanism of faith. By the knowledge that Jesus is God’s strength for us, by the awareness that He is carrying us. 

A condition of joy. “through Whom also we […] rejoice.” Jesus doesn’t just make us servants and make Himself our strength for that service. Jesus makes us happy servants. Here is a good test for whether I am actually a servant of Christ or am merely flattering myself that I am a servant of Christ: am I glad? Do I have joy? Jesus came that His joy might be in us (cf. John 15:11, John 17:13). Through Jesus we have access to grace, and through Jesus we rejoice! It is possible to have an accurate knowledge of justification without having an experiential knowledge of justification; those who are justified in Jesus are made servants in Jesus and are made joyful in Jesus!

A condition of hope. “in hope of the glory of God.” It is the truth of God’s glory that the sinner has suppressed in unrighteousness (cf. Romans 1:18–21). It is the blessedness of the Creator’s glory that the sinner has exchanged in order to seek blessedness in creatures instead (cf. Romans 1:25). It is against the glory of God that all have sinned, and it is the enjoyment of the glory of God that all have forfeited by that sin (cf. Romans 3:23). But for the believer, Jesus has reversed all of this. Through Him, we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” 

This New Testament word ‘hope’ is not a wishful desire. Though we have grown accustomed to using the word that way in English, the word here doesn’t mean something wishful but something that is absolutely certain. It means the ability to enjoy already something that is not yet seen (cf. Romans 8:24; Hebrews 11:1). To put it succinctly: if we already have the righteousness of God, then we can already enjoy the certainty of God’s glory. 

The more that we experience a joy that profound, the less that light and momentary pleasures will succeed in compelling us to serve them instead of serving Christ.

By what strength have you been trying to stand? What is the source of your joy? What is the quality of your joy? For what do you hope? How surely do you hope?

Sample prayer:  Lord God, thank You for this righteous standing into which You have brought us in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Grant unto us to know also the glorious condition into which You have brought us. Give us Your own strength, joy, and hope in Christ, in Whose Name, we ask it AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace” 

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