[We] rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:2-5

Paul’s letter to the Roman church presents the gospel in a courtroom setting with God as Judge. He first demonstrates the guilt of all humanity, charging that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) but through the death of Christ, God has made provision for all who believe to be “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (v. 24). To be justified, then, is to be legally declared righteous by God.

Luke’s gospel speaks of religious hypocrites “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others” (Luke 18:9). But Jesus told them a parable about a man who went to the temple and humbly prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” Jesus said “this man went down to his house justified” because he humbly acknowledged his sin before God. Those who justify their own behaviour and minimise the seriousness of their sin before a holy God never humble themselves before Him and seek His forgiveness; but those who do so are justified freely by His grace.

Paul then lays out the glorious benefits for those who have been justified by faith in the Lord Jesus. First, there is peace with God (Romans 5:1). This is not merely an inner feeling but an objective reality since Christ bore the wrath of God on the cross and on that basis, God can remain just while declaring righteous those who believe (Romans 3:26).

Second, justified believers have access to God, and are “no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” (Ephesians 2:18-19).

Third, justified believers rejoice in hope of the glory of God. They can face the trials and challenges of this life because of their confident expectation that they will participate in the glorious future promised by the Lord Jesus when He said He is going to prepare a place for us that where He is we might be also (John 14:1-3). He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His redeemed people as both a seal and down payment (Ephesians 1:13-14), guaranteeing that our hope in Him will never be disappointed.


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