Thursday, June 27, 2013

Having Been Justified By Faith, We Have Peace With God...And?

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:1, 3-5, 9-11 NASB) 

In Justification, the legal declaration of right standing with God, are contained all the benefits of The Gospel. Salvation from sin, Righteousness, Sanctification, Glorification, Eternal Life, Agape. Without Justification, none of the benefits are available and cannot be accessed by any other means. It is also the only point in the continuum where we can participate by beholding, through study of the Word and prayer that results in an intellectual, wonder-inducing, heart-rending appreciation that leads to active, ridiculously addictive belief in the matchless charms of Jesus. Well, it's true in my case anyway.
Too often, we look for behavioral outcomes, proof, "manifestations," "fruit." The focus on these, from my observation, leads to legalism, rigidity, discontentment and self-righteousness. The acquisition of righteousness, however, requires a knowledge of and experience with God's grace, that exists outside of your behavior's capacity to encounter or even comprehend.
But Jesus tells us, as Paul did in Romans 5, first things first - "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness; AND all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33 KJV)

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