Not gonna lie . . . something about working your way through the book of Romans that can’t help but generate some joy. Paul’s precept-upon-precept treatise on “the power of God for salvation” (1:16) builds wonder and worship as it builds its argument. The gospel, which reveals a righteousness “from faith for faith” (1:17), shown just how good of news it is even as Paul delivers first the bad news that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23). The acknowledgment of our sin giving way to the awe of our salvation.
And as I’m hovering over the first part of Romans 5 this morning, it’s the word “we” that jumps off the page. Fifteen times in twelve verses. And I’m reminded of what we were, what we are, and why we rejoice.
We were weak (5:6). We were sinners (5:8). We were enemies of God (5:10). That’s what we were when we were in our transgression. No power within ourselves to “get right with God.” No goodness within ourselves that could offset our uncleanness before a holy, holy, holy God. No humility within ourselves compelling us to bow the knee and repent of our rebellion against God.
But while we were still weak, while we were still sinners, while we were enemies, Christ died for the ungodly. Christ died for us. And we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.
And that’s what we are. We are reconciled to God (5:10). We are justified by His blood (5:9). We are free from His wrath (5:9). And so, we are at peace with our Creator (5:1) and, through faith, we are standing on the solid ground of His unfailing, abundant grace (5:2).
That’s what we are, child of God! The ungodly declared not guilty. Sinners called to be saints. Enemies now brought near into relationship. That’s what we are.
So how could we not rejoice? And rejoice in all things?
. . . we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(Romans 5:2b ESV)
. . . we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and 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.
(Romans 5:3-5 ESV)
. . . we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
(Romans 5:11 ESV)
Because of what we were, and knowing what we now are, we rejoice. Rejoice in hope. Rejoice in our sufferings. Rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our boasting found in the glory that will be ours because of the work He has finished on our behalf.
Glorying even in our seasons of suffering as they provide opportunity to know deeper the love of God. Experiencing the sustaining power of God, as He uses times of trial to conform us increasingly into the likeness of God.
Able to rejoice at all times and in all situations. And this too made possible through the Son of God.
We were enemies. We are reconciled. Therefore we will rejoice.
By His grace. For His glory.