At the risk of sounding clichéd and trite, justification by faith in Christ is wonderfully good news for every believer. Of course, if it does seem like a cliché to you or me then perhaps we don’t really understand it! But the more we live our lives in his grace, as we get to know God and we know ourselves better, then I would expect waves of wonder at such a grace to continually wash over us all through our lives.
There are some wonderful facts that are now true of those who believe and are justified by faith. Buried in a pile of them is Paul’s assertion that,
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand (Romans 5:2 ESV)
Some comments about this:
- this grace – at first I thought that Paul is referring to the general atmosphere of God’s fatherly favour towards us by which he makes his promises (4:16). However, John Murray argues that he is thinking of the particular grace of justification because of the emphatic demonstrative pronoun (this grace). I still tend to think Paul meant the former, though I don’t think anything is lost by focusing on the grace of justification.
- we have … obtained access – God’s fatherly favour given once in the past, to which we have continuing access, never revoked.
- in which we stand – brings added emphasis to the continuing reality for the believer. Our lives continue in a state of grace. We continue to know, as my former pastor used to say, the continuing smile of God on our lives in which he continues to be at work.
- through him – all of this depends on the mediatorial work of Jesus Christ. It is not just that we gain access initially through our Mediator, but that our continuing state as we live depends on his continuing mediation, reconciling us to God and God to us.
This is a great encouragement to us. Sometimes what seems most real to us – there is plenty to worry about in our lives – seems to be the most significant. Yet, Paul helps us as now justified people to see differently and to see the true reality: we are in a state of grace through Christ, and it is the most secure place to be.