Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Not long ago I read a biography of Walt Disney. And contrary to the image of a warm, cuddly grandfather portrayed in his television program, that was not who Walt Disney really was. Employees said he was a maniacal tyrant many times. On several occasions, Walt Disney fired his entire staff for no reason at all. Then several weeks later, he hired them all back again. The reason he said he did that was to keep them on their toes. If they lived in fear, Disney reasoned, then they would be more likely to perform better at their jobs.
Well, I don’t know if that strategy works or not as far as motivating employees to work more diligently. But I can tell you this: fear does nothing to enhance a relationship. In fact, fear destroys our intimacy with anyone, especially with God. God does not want us to live in fear of whether or not He is going to throw us out of the relationship we have with Him. He takes no delight in having us cower in fear, wondering if we’re in or we’re out.
Trusting in God’s love provides you with freedom from guilt over past sins. Look at what Jesus said in John 15:9: “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” When you trust in God’s love, you never have to fear that at some future date God is going to dredge up a sin from your past and say, “What about this?” No, God wants us to trust in His love. He wants us to trust and know for sure that when we trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, those sins have been completely erased. The Bible says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
What is the key to knowing this for sure? Romans 5:1 links our trust in God’s character with the peace we experience: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” You will never be free from inner turmoil until you know everything is right between you and God. You can never be free from fear as long as you are still thinking, God is going to get even with me for my rebellion against Him. The only way to have the peace of God is to be at peace with God.
The way we become at peace with God is by trusting in Christ for our salvation. This word justified in Romans 5:1 is a legal term that means “to declare not guilty.” And the Bible says the way we are justified is through faith in Christ. In Romans 5:1, the preposition by actually means “through.” We are made right with God through faith. That’s exactly what Paul said in Ephesians 2:8. He said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.”
Notice that we are not saved by faith; we are saved through faith. There’s a big difference. We could not possibly conjure up enough faith in order to save ourselves. No, faith is simply the channel by which God’s grace comes into our life. We are saved through faith, not by faith.
When we tell God we are truly sorry for our sins and we believe that Christ paid for our sins, God takes the little bit of faith we have and exchanges it for His righteousness (Romans 4:5). Our faith is counted as righteousness. And through faith we are connected to God’s love and never have to worry about future condemnation. A trust in God’s love provides us freedom from guilt from past sins.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Developing a Trusting Heart” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.