Assurance of Hope
August 7, 2022 | Assurance of Hope| Romans 5:1-5
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I want to start by asking the simple question, without answering out loud, who here has ever struggled with doubt in their salvation? We all struggle with doubt, especially in hard times, but also, we go through different seasons of doubt and struggle with our faith in Christ. These times or seasons of doubt lead us to do things like question our salvation.
Can I lose my salvation?
Is there an assurance of my hope?
What happens if I sin, do I lose my salvation?
Does struggle equal a lack of faith in my life?
Am I responsible for keeping and holding on to my salvation?
These are questions that I have struggled with at one point or another in my life, so I want you to know you are not alone. That as we walk through this sin-sick world it is important to remember the foundation of our hope. This is why Paul gives Christians the Assurance of hope only found in Jesus.
Romans 5:1-11/ 1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Three truths from our text…
The Reality of Being Justified by Faith
VS 1. We know and are sure that salvation comes through faith in Jesus alone. We have been justified (which means to render righteous) by faith is a summary from Chapter 3:21 to the end of Chapter 4. That only faith in Jesus not in our works or the law may we be saved. That’s why in Chapter 4 Paul reminds us that salvation has never been about our work, but our faith in Christ. Since Abraham, it was his faith in God that was counted as righteousness and not any of his works. God tells us this not just for Abraham’s good but for ours as well, Chapter 4:23-24. In verse one our verdict is rendered, and it is a ringing and, more importantly, eternal affirmation to us in our legal standing with God through faith that we have been justified. That once and for all we have been declared righteous, not by works or the law but by faith.
This raises a question that has been debated for centuries in the church. The question of once saved always saved? Do I have any part in keeping my salvation? To answer that question directly though of if one is truly saved are they always saved, yes! Paul states it like this in Ephesians 1:13-14-In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Still, there are some that believe that is grace that saves you, but you keep your salvation by works. One of the more well-known historical groups that teach this is the Salvation Army. We are all familiar with the Salvation Army and what they do especially around the Christmas season. This statement is right off their website. It says quote “WE believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.” In other words, keeping your salvation depends upon your obedience and the Holy Spirit can’t guarantee anything. This is a serious statement, or claim, to be making. That we are all in mortal danger or living on the edge of losing our salvation. That we could be on the brink of damnation once again. This idea would have you saved or justified by grace to then only put you back under the yoke of the Law. And if we are under the yoke of the Law there is no peace with God, therefore never an assurance of salvation. But Paul tells up clearly in VS 1 that we have peace with God. This is not just a subjective peace or feelings based on our circumstances. This is not peace through the power of positive thinking but a real objective peace. Objective peace is outside all other factors. It is outside of the way you feel, your circumstances, or any other outside source. The only source for present peace is God. This isn’t about the subjective, our feelings, or our circumstances giving us peace, but the objective peace that only can be found through justification by faith in Jesus leading us into a new relationship with God. Justification through faith has established a new permeant relationship with a Just and Holy God. What then was our previous relationship with God? We were enemies with God! We were the enemy of God VS 10 says-For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God. The issue is not our feelings or attitude, but our relationship status with God. We are either an enemy of God or a son of God. John 3:18 Jesus tells us that the one who believes (is justified) is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already (not justified)-why because they have not believed in the only name that can justify them. [John 3:16 is Justification]
The sinner by nature is a child of wrath Ephesians 2 says, it is theirs and our nature to hate God. Jesus in John 8 tells us that the devil is their father. In Ephesians 2 they and we were once under the prince of the air the spirit is working in the sons of disobedience, and in 1 John 5:19, the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one. So, people are driven in the hate of God by satan, and their rejection and hatred are what it means to be fallen. This sin nature in man is so powerful, that even after salvation it always remains a force in our life that we must battle with. This is the battle of the flesh that Paul talks about in Chapter 7 VS 14-15 which says “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
This is why we must be Justified because until like Paul says we take possession of our inheritance sin will always be a temptation for us. And this sin or temptation of sin must not be taken lightly. I would like to take a second and give you a few verses about of God’s anger at sin so that we may better understand the hope we have in Christ. A hope that could only come through Justification in Christ.
Exodus 22:24 and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
Deut 32:21 See, the LORD your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience
Revelation 14:10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
Psalms 7:11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.
This is the reality of man’s relationship with God without the peace that Justification gives the believer. To put it lightly those that refuse to believe in Christ are on the wrong side of God.
The resulting Peace with God
So, it is in this context we can now discover what peace with God means. It means the war is over! God no longer is our enemy promising wrath, judgment, and hell. Peace with God is the reality that the believer finds themselves in that only comes out of our Justification through the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus on the cross became my sin and your sin to become the full payment of our sin. Jesus fully satisfied the blood debt that you and I owed to no longer be seen as enemies of God. Jesus yelled it is finished because there is nothing else that could be done in order to Justify my debt and your debt. Paul says it like this in Colossians 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Peace with God is the reality that the believer finds themselves in that only comes out of our Justification through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Peace between the sinner and God. Peace between me and God. Peace between you and God. All of God’s wrath, anger, and judgment was spent on Jesus, bringing forth a new relationship between those that have been Justified by faith, in Christ, and God. Instead of being the enemies of God, we are now the sons of God, the beloved of God. All sin that would have kept us from God has now been Justified. Don’t miss what verse one is telling us, that Jesus is the Justifier of our new peace with God. Jesus tells us in John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Only through Him can we be justified and then rest in the peace of God. This is what Jesus leaves us with an objective peace that then produces a subjective peace in the of the storm. I think of Peter in the middle of the storm who was able to walk in peace with his eyes fixed on Jesus, but when he looked at the world, he lost his peace and began to sink. But glory to God, Jesus didn’t let him sink because Peter’s ability to have peace in the middle of the storm didn’t rest on himself. See Peter doubted for just a second, but Jesus held him secure.
Psalms 37:23-24 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. What a promise that the believer is no longer under condemnation but correction.
As we walk in this new status, we wear the Gospel of Peace on our feet EPH 6:15 says. Not that this gospel gives you peace of mind but rather Justification through Christ allows you to walk in the assurance of the Gospel. This is why Paul tells us in EPH 2:14 that He is our peace. So, the Gospel of our peace is because God is fully satisfied with the work of Christ, who paid in full the penalty for our sins. The payment is a permeant payment, which leads to a permeant peace with God. If God was not satisfied with Christ’s payment on the cross, then there could never be a permeant peace. Believer, take assurance that His work on the cross never needs to be repeated.
The Radical Access to God
Now that we are Justified and at peace with God through Jesus, we have been given access by faith in grace in which we stand. Don’t let this word access pass you by. Remember to the Jew what a concept the word access really is. God only gave His Holy Spirit to a few men and could take it away from them, remember how it drove King Saul mad to have the Holy Spirit removed from him? The Jew didn’t have access to God as we do, God resided to them in the Temple and just in the temple but the Holy of Holies. As a gentile, we could only go as far as the court of the gentile. A Jewish woman could only go as far as the court on women. As a Jewish man could only be a short way closer. Only once a year was the high priest allowed to enter the Holy of Holies and for a very short time. Jesus not only gave us peace between us and God, but He has also given us access to God. Remember Mathew 27:51 then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split
No longer is our access to the Father limited to one man once a year, but through the covering of the blood of Jesus those that have a desire can have access to him.
This access in Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we can draw near with confidence to a throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in a time of need.
What a blessing that in times like these of doubt, worry, fear, panic, and hopelessness we have gained access to the throne of God where He pours out mercy, grace, and hope. That we are able to abide in grace, and more over the grace we stand in is not shaky or unsteady ground, but a firm foundation.
1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received in which you stand
This firm ground of grace we stand on as a result of our justification through Jesus we now have an everlasting hope to rejoice in. We rejoice because our hope isn’t defined by our present circumstances but by our promise of Justification at the last day, that is why we have joy, we now live engulfed in grace and if we live in grace, it assumes sin. Therefore, we don’t have to live in fear that our peace with God will ever be broken if we are not righteous enough or good enough. In other words, if I could lose my salvation I would. If my salvation both present and future depended on me I will completely and utterly lose it, and at best I would fall in and out of salvation. This is why salvation is completely tied to my faith in Jesus’ FINISHED work on the cross.
Therefore, we don’t have to live in fear that our peace with God will ever be broken if we are not righteous enough or good enough.
This is the hope I exult into the glory of God, that I may not boast in myself. Paul adds furthermore that not only now can we boast in the Glory of the Father through the Son, but we can exult Him in the storms that come our way. That we can know these tribulations produce the evidence of our assurance in hope. And this hope will never disappoint or put us to shame, why because you're good enough, you earned it, you came to church, you gave money to the church? No, it’s because the love that God has poured out on us because we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit through Justification by faith in Jesus. Peter tells us that we are to rejoice in these times of trials and tribulations and find them more precious than gold.
1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In this context, we can understand why trials and tribulations may come our way. We understand why Paul later in 8:28 tells that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Jesus never promised us that following Him would be easy, but He did give us a guarantee of our hope.
So, can you have assurance of your salvation?
...because you have been justified by faith through Jesus and are now at peace with God. Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more Romans 5:20. That in times of doubt and fear you now have access to His throne where mercy and grace flow, and being Justified by Christ you have an everlasting hope. A hope that is fixed to a cross and an empty tomb lest any man should boast. A hope that will never put you to shame.