Paul begins this chapter with authoritative word “Therefore”, thus begins his summary of the preceding chapters. “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This peace that Paul speaks of is peace with God, this is not the common philosophy of a feeling of tranquility or absence of conflict with neighbors, but the sure knowledge that the things that have separated us from God have been satisfied, dealt with in a permanent way so that we are at peace with the Creator of the Universe.
Before we had peace with God, we are described as being enemies, strangers and hostile to God. Make note of this: man is the enemy of God not the reverse, God put to end the hostility I had towards Him – He reconciled me through the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to peace with God we also have “access by faith into this grace in which we stand”. Part of the peace we have with God is the privilege to approach the King of Kings, to approach His Throne of Grace with the concerns of our heart. We can do this with confidence, knowing that all the evil that separates us has been washed clean.
“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”. So now we boast in the hope of the glory of God, knowing that the purposes and plans of God will be accomplished and we will share in Christ’s glory. We also, “rejoice in our sufferings”, because we know that when our faith is tested by our present sufferings, it will develop endurance, and that will produce confidence and the assurance that our faith in the Creator God is not in vain, He will not fail. Because we can trust in His love for us, a love so great that Christ died for us while we were still steeped in our sin. We rejoice because we have been declared righteous and we are reconciled to God!
Important point from the JOY notes on rejoicing in our sufferings: “We are not talking here about people who suffer from clinical depression or bipolar disorder or some other medical condition that causes a state of depression. It is not sinful or unspiritual to be afflicted with a mental disorder. Paul directs his concern at those Christians who are capable of rejoicing if they would simply focus on their Christian hope instead of on thoughts of bitterness and self-pity”. We rejoice because we have been justified by faith, are now at peace with God and “we can draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith”.
Redemption, atonement and reconciliation are entirely the work of God, accomplished through the death of Jesus Christ. God has removed the enmity that stands between people and God and He restores His relationship with the people of God. This reminds us of the peaceful relationship Adam and Eve had with God in the garden before the fall.
Paul concludes this section of Romans by contrasting the first man Adam and Jesus Christ. Through Adam sin and death entered the world; it spread to all people – because all have sinned. Death reigned from Adam until Moses, many died through the sin of one man, Adam. But at just the right time, while we were helplessly mired in sin Christ came as the Savior for the ungodly. Adam brought death to all; Christ brings life to all; through one man, “the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ!”
“Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.” (The Message)