Have you ever had the feeling that you were missing out on something in the Christian life? You listen to other believers who talk about God with such intimacy, and who describe emotional experiences that you’ve never experienced yourself. You see others accomplishing great things for the kingdom as God works powerfully through them, while you feel like you’re doing well to open your Bible once a day and spend a few minutes in prayer.
If we’re not careful, we can miss what God is doing in us, for us, and through us, while we’re busy looking for something else. Romans 5:1-11 reminds me that this is a walk of faith and that while God promised us many things, He did not tell us to compare ourselves with others or look for special experiences to validate that faith.
I see four clear evidences of a person who has truly experienced salvation in these verses.
PEACE – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (5:1)
Romans 5 describes “justification” and “reconciliation.” When we repent of our sins and place our faith in Jesus for salvation, God justifies us (declares us righteous, having imputed Christ’s righteousness to our account and imputed our sin to Christ’s account, which is dealt with by the cross). As a result, we are reconciled to God: we are brought back into fellowship, returned to our “pre-sin” status in which Adam & Eve were originally created. This brings a peace to our soul and we are “at peace” with God.
GRACE – Through whom [Jesus] also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand. (5:2a)
Don’t you love that picture? Faith introduces us to grace. We are not only brought into the family of God by grace (given access to it), but we also stand in grace. We plant our feet in it. We stay in it. We establish our lives in it. We abide in it. We continue in it. We live confidently and joyfully because we remain in God’s good graces, and we extend grace to those around us.
HOPE – We exult in hope of the glory of God. (5:2)
We hope to see and experience God’s glory through our tribulations. Tribulations lead to perseverance which leads to proven character which leads to hope. God is glorified because as a justified, reconciled person we walk in the peace of God (unexplainable), trusting God’s grace to sustain us, and giving us hope for the end result – glory for God as He is magnified and glory for us when we get home. Because we have hope, we see hope for others.
LOVE – And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (5:5)
When God saves us, He comes to take up residence in us. Our spirit is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. We know we are loved, and we are able to love others. God’s love never lets us down; our hopes are never disappointed in Him. As we are filled by the Spirit (continually, daily, as we yield to His influence and surrender our heart, mind, and will to Him), we are filled up to overflowing with the love of God, the God who demonstrated His love by dying for us while we were still sinners.
Are you at peace, or is your heart anxious and troubled?
Are you walking in grace, or demanding perfection from yourself and others?
Are you filled with hope for the future? For tomorrow? For your eternity? Or do things look hopeless?
Do you know you are loved? Does the Spirit of God indwell you, enabling you to love others?
Peace. Grace. Hope. Love. Everything we could ever want or need. All available through faith in Christ.
Why do we look for other experiences or gifts or evidences? What else does God need to prove to us? Let us walk in the peace, grace, hope, and love He has already given us, and be people of true faith.