One of Webster’s definitions of the word “peace” is “a state of tranquillity or quiet.” Another related definition is “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” And some people assume that is what Paul means in Romans 5:1.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (5:1)
But Paul starts with “Therefore”. He is connecting this to all his teaching on the gospel, Christ’s imputed righteousness by faith. And I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the connection that God sacrificed His Son so I could avoid “oppressive emotions.” I think the problem being resolved is much greater than that.
The verse also has a mirror in Romans 8:1:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
If there is “therefore now no” condemnation, then at one time, there must have BEEN condemnation.
And I think it’s the same in chapter 5. If “therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace,” then at one time we must have been at war.
At war… with God. That’s not a very comforting thought. And most of us don’t feel that way. Well, yes, we know that Jesus died for our sins, but we weren’t at war with God. We love God. We have tried our best, and just fallen a little short. But I don’t think that’s an accurate picture of our situation.
Let’s say you are a wife. I know that may not be true for you. You may be single. You may be a man. But for the ease of the illustration, let’s say you are a wife.
If you are a wife, how many affairs is it okay for your husband to have? 10? 5? 1? I believe the answer we are looking for is NONE.
If your husband chooses to give his love and affection to another even just one time, are you at peace or at war?
You are at war. And Jesus is much more deserving of our loyalty and love than any wife could ever be. Every time we choose something else over God is an act of war. Every sin, every failure, an act of war.
So our justification by faith is a huge deal. It is not just accomplishing peace of mind; it is putting us on the same team as the almighty God of the universe.