Peace, peace all we are looking for is peace. We all realize the need for peace when it seems that all around us is hatred, hostility, enmity, conflict, and fighting. It isn’t just what is outside ourselves that drives this need. It is what lies within that leads us to cry out for peace. It is the anxiety and turmoil that is within. It is the anger, rage, malice, and bitterness, which find their way outwardly in what we say and what we do. We all realize the need, so the proper question isn’t: What’s wrong? The proper question is: What do we do about it? We live in consumerism therefore need sells. There are those who would be out of a so called “job” if the racial tensions came to an end. So instead of bringing a solution they bring more conflict. There are many such positions within society. With the internet everyone can enter into the conversation and give their two cents. With all the so called solutions that are postulated, if God is found wanting then there will be no peace. In other words, the sole solution is God. Therefore, any so called solution advanced that does not involve God it is right out. If the solution involves God and something else then it is not sufficient either. God is the sole solution. There can be no peace in our lives unless we are rightly related to God. And the answer to – what does it mean to be rightly related to God? – can only be found in the word of God, the Bible. And before there can be peace on the horizontal level there must first be peace on the vertical level.
Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is one of the most significant statements made in the Bible and it is one of the most significant statements for our time and any time for that matter. The words “having been justified” in the original language is an aorist passive participle emphasizing something that has already taken place and that the agent of the action is God Himself. In other words, we cannot justify ourselves. We cannot make ourselves right with God on our own. There is no DIY (do it yourself) when it comes to salvation. In chapter 4, Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit presented several irrefutable reasons why justification is by faith and faith alone: (1) Since justification is a gift, it cannot be earned by works (Romans 4:1-8). (2) Since Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, circumcision has no relationship to justification (Romans 4:9-12). (3) Since Abraham was justified centuries before the Law, justification is not based on the Law (Romans 4:13-17). (4) Abraham was justified because of his faith in God, not because of his works (Romans 4:18-25). In this statement, “having been justified through faith,” the apostle Paul is looking back to a time when these people believed. It occurred at the time of faith. This is a testimony to the fact that justification is what takes place instantaneously. It is something that takes place suddenly, instantly, in the moment that one looks to God and says, “I receive Your Son.” At that moment a believer is justified.
“Now then,” says the apostle Paul “having been justified through faith,” we turn to the experiential results (suggested by the connective “therefore”) of the believer’s justification – God’s declaring them righteous – on the basis of faith (Romans 3:21-4:25). The participial clause “since we have been justified (see 5:9) through faith” describes antecedent action to the main clause, “we have peace (echomen) with God.” The first result, the first benefit that accompanies salvation is “peace with God” (Romans 5:1). This peace is not a particular momentary feeling. There was a young pastor who visited a dear elderly saint who was on her deathbed. The young pastor asked: “Don’t you think that it would be wise for you to make peace with God?” “No,” she responded. That, of course startled the young pastor. He could not understand why she did not feel the need to make peace with God. She said, “young man, I do not have to make peace with God; Jesus Christ made peace with God in my behalf, so I already have peace with God.” She understood a very significant truth – our relationship with God depends on what Christ has accomplished for us, and we receive that gift through faith. If it depended on us, we would never have peace with God. If there is no peace with God then there is no subsequent peace that everyone is longing for. Without peace with God there is not internal nor external peace. Peace with God becomes the basis for all other forms or expressions of peace.
Some ungodly people seem to have peace in their hearts and do not appear to be disturbed by the fact that they will someday face God in judgment. Theirs, however, is a false peace, for without Christ a person is the enemy of God. Romans 5:10 reveals that before salvation all of us were enemies of God. Romans 8:7 says, “the carnal mind is enmity against God,” so this shows there is no possibility of peace for the person who has not trusted Christ as Savior. Ephesians 2:12-14 reveals that every person without Christ is really alienated from God, but through Christ we have peace because “He is our peace” (v. 14).
There is a distinction between peace with God and the peace of God. Peace with God, as stated in Romans 5:1, is the peace that Jesus Christ has made with God in our behalf. This is a settled matter that has taken place once for all. Some refer to this as a “judicial peace,” since it is what Jesus Christ has done and what has now been applied to the account of those who believe. The peace of God is a personal peace. This has to do more with emotions or attitude. One of the most significant steps to experiencing personal peace (peace of God) is to recognize that Jesus Christ has obtained judicial peace (peace with God) for us. Jesus spoke of personal peace when He said: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Because of one’s relationship with Jesus Christ, he/she can have this settled peace in his/ her heart. Jesus also spoke concerning peace when He said: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Were it not for what Christ did for all mankind when He died on the cross, we would all still be the enemies of God. But because of what He did, we have peace with God by exercising faith in Christ as personal Savior. This is where the world’s pursuit of peace must begin.
Three, nothing mystical about the number, nothing hidden in the number, nor a simplistic numeric solution to life, like 6 steps to holiness or three steps to a better life now. This isn’t a click your heels together and utter three magic statements. No, these are just three statements which occur within the context of an amazing letter written to the church in Rome. Three statements which can result in a life altering effect, if they are prayerfully taken to heart.
If you do not want to be convicted, if you do not want your life to be confronted, challenged or your heart and life stirred and shaken up, then I suggest that you do not read any further. If, however, you are open to confrontation, conviction, and three statements that will challenge you and take you out of your comfort zone, then by all means proceed at your own risk.
In Romans chapter 1 verses 14-16 Paul made three statements, three significant statements about himself and that should be life altering to the rest of us. First, he said, “I am a debtor” (v. 14). This is not a statement that we would want to say about ourselves in this day and age. We do everything to be sure that we are not in debt to anyone or anything. Debt is one of those bad four letter words. We want to be free from many things, even things like obligation to others. We don’t want to feel like we have to do something, especially when it comes to others. And we definitely don’t like obligations that we can never get out from under. But here we are. Paul says “I am a debtor.” We see from the verse to whom he is a debtor, and that is people, unbelievers to be specific. From this statement we see that Paul was conscious of a spiritual obligation. He realized he had an obligation because he had seen the truth concerning Jesus Christ. Those of us who have been reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ have a ministry of reconciliation – we have an obligation to take the message, the gospel, to others (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). For any of us to receive the gospel is to incur debt. “Obligation to Him who died produces obligation to those for whom He died” (Morris).
Second, Paul stated, “I am ready” (v. 15). It’s one thing to sense an obligation and even to be willing, but it is another thing to be ready. Readiness involves a mental attitude – putting ourselves at God’s disposal to do His will. Not only this but there is an element of eagerness involved in this term. It is an eager preparedness to be used by God for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The hindrance was not going to be found in him, as far as he was concerned he was perfectly ready to proclaim the divine gospel. At the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny, Lord Clyde, then known as Sir Colin Campbell, when asked how long it would take him to get ready to start for India, is said to have replied, “I am ready now” (Quoted by C. Neil, Romans, 20). If someone asked: How long will it take you to get ready? What will your answer be?
The third and final statement, Paul said, “I am not ashamed” (v. 16). He is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a clear and strong reference to the great doctrines which the Holy Spirit, through Paul, established by irrefutable logic in the succeeding chapters of Romans. The verb that Paul uses here (“to be ashamed”) denotes a reluctance to do something because of fear of humiliation or embarrassment: to be ashamed, be afraid to, lack courage to stand up for. Perhaps there is the specific concern that one's expectations may prove false. But Paul starts this statement with the negative particle “not” indicating that he was in no way fearful to proclaim the gospel about Christ Jesus in public or otherwise. He is in no way fearful that the expectations of the gospel will in any way prove false. “The reason why Paul is not overcome by the temptation to be ashamed of the gospel, but, on the contrary, exults in it and lives to proclaim it, is that he knows that this apparently weak and foolish message is really, in spite of all appearances, power, and not just one power over against another, but the supreme power, the almighty power of God Himself directed toward the salvation of men, God's almighty saving power” (Cranfield, p. 87). Even if it meant going to the metropolitan world and power of Rome to proclaim the message of a crucified Savior and a message which pronounced ‘the whole world guilty before God.’
Three simple statements, “I am a debtor,” “I am ready,” “I am not ashamed,” yet not so simple.
“And, in the same way also, the Spirit continually gives a helping hand with regard to our weakness; for the thing, what we should pray for according to what is necessary in the nature of the case, we do not know with absolute knowledge; but the Spirit Himself comes to our rescue interceding with groanings inexpressible.” (my rendition)
In the epistle of Romans the apostle Paul, as he does in other epistles, deals with doctrinal and practical issues: the doctrinal beginning at 1:1 and ending at 11:36, concluding with statements on the majesty and glory of God and His plan. Then starting with 12:1, he moves to the behavioral implications flowing out of the doctrinal section. The apostle Paul moves methodically through various – yet interconnected – topics: Sin (1:1-3:20); Salvation (3:21-5:21); Sanctification (6:1-8:39); Sovereignty (9:1-11:36); and finally Service (12:1-16:27).
In the section on Sanctification (6:1-8:39) the apostle deals with:
 The basis of sanctification – dead to sin and alive to Christ (6:1-4),
 The attitudes of mind and action for sanctification (6:5-23),
 The conflict in sanctification (7:1-25),
 The power for sanctification (8:1-17),
 The goal of sanctification (8:18-27), and finally
 The certainty of sanctification (8:28-39) – ending with a hymnic expression of security (vv. 31-39).
Starting in 8:1, he reveals several things about sanctification and the Spirit:
 The Spirit delivers from the power of the flesh (8:1-11);
 The Spirit establishes Sonship (8:12-17);
 The Spirit assures future glory (8:18-30).
It is in this final section that I desire to look at verse 26:
Here we see that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. “Weakness” (a*sqevneia) is from alpha-negative (a*) which negates the second part of the word and “sthenos” (sqevno") meaning “strength.” It reflects a state of incapacity, frailty, weakness, or impotence. Literally it is used of a physical ailment: sickness, disease, infirmity, or of physical inability: weakness the opposite of “dunamis” duvnami" (might, strength). Here the apostle Paul gives us the type of weakness he is speaking of and it is that which pertains to prayer. One of our weaknesses in the process of sanctification is in the area of prayer. It is not merely knowing how to pray but what to pray for (cf. translation above). We often think that we know what we need spiritually but in reality we are not always the best judges of that.
The apostle goes on to say that the Holy Spirit “helps” our weakness. “Helps” is a rather lengthy word in the Greek (sunantilambavnetai). It consists of two prepositions and a verb. The verb is “lambanō” (lambavnw) meaning “to take, to lay hold of.” The first preposition “syn” (sun) means “together with” and the second “anti” (ajntiv) means at its root “face to face.” So the Holy Spirit lays hold of (lambavnw) our weakness as regards to prayer in the process of our sanctification and together with (suvn) us carries the burden face to face (ajntiv) with us. Reflect with me on an illustration of the imagery expressed in the term. When I was younger I lifted weights to build up my strength and to keep in shape. One day my father needed help moving a piano and asked for a helping hand. So we together laid hold of the piano at opposite ends facing one another – each carrying our part of the burden – and moved the piano.
What is awesome in this truth from the text is that the Holy Spirit continually lends a helping hand. We are not in the process alone. The indwelling Holy Spirit is always ready in time of need, not removing the weakness nor removing the responsibility of our part, but giving a helping hand in the process.
Romans 5:1 states: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, …”
In a world in which people are looking for assurances, the believer has some clear assurances and they need to know what they are for they are crucial to life and victory in that life. Those who have placed their trust in Christ can rest assured that their faith has been credited to them as righteousness (Rom. 4:24). Their confidence is based on the fact that Christ was put to death for their sins and raised again that they might be declared just (Rom. 4:25). And having been justified through faith in Christ there are a great many blessings which come as a consequence, and the understanding of these blessings are vital for the living of the Christian life.
The last word in chapter 4 of Romans is “justification” which means simply to declare and treat as righteous before God. Having declared that Jesus Christ “was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25), Paul turns his attention to the wonderful blessings that accompany justification. Many benefits follow justification; in fact all blessings in the Christian life follow after a person is justified by faith in Christ.
When a person is justified, he or she has everything God has to give. This does not mean that the person is immediately a spiritually mature Christian, but all the resources of God are available to that individual the moment he or she is justified by faith. Therefore, justification is not only the first or initial blessing, but justification carries with it every other blessing of the Christian life, and when a man or woman is justified, he or she has everything that God has to give. The key is to recognize that we are “in Christ;” therefore, He makes everything available to us that we need in order to live a victorious Christian life.
There are two expressions in Romans 5:1-11 which are key phrases: “We have” (Romans 5:1), which emphasizes the present; and “we shall be” (Romans 5:9), which emphasizes the future, and both expressions follow a similar statement “since we have been justified” (5:1, 9). In Romans 5:1-11 the expression “we have” and similar phrases appear several times. All these words serve as the clue to seeing all that a person possesses because of justification through faith in Christ. Two times the expression “we shall be” occurs, which shows the future benefits that result from salvation.