What You Have When You Have Christ

 

A Summary of my sermon from Romans 5:1-11

 Introduction: One day overseas—in Paris—I was struggling with my luggage when I remembered that it all zipped together to make a gigantic backpack. On the sidewalk I connected the pieces and with great exertion swung it off the ground and onto my back. But I was top heavy and fell backward on top of my luggage and got stuck there, like a turtle upside down. I pack lighter now, but I remember my experience whenever I hear things like, “He brought a lot of baggage into that marriage.” Or “She’s carrying around a lot of emotional baggage.” We travel with too much baggage. The book of Romans is where we find relief from our burdens as we are justified by grace through faith. Coming to Romans 5, we have a list of the blessings that accompanies salvation, and these blessings lift the load of life. The first words say: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have…. The next eleven verses tell us all we have in Christ when Christ has all there is of us.

1. Peace with God (verse 1) – We have peace with God. Without Christ, we are in at war with our Creator. Verse 11 says we are enemies of God. It’s hard to go through life estranged with someone important to you. Some are estranged from parents or children or spouse. That hangs over us and dampens our spirits. The Bible teaches we are estranged from God by our sins. But Jesus Christ came to be a peacemaker, to reconcile us to God so that we have peace with Him. What unspeakable relief!

2. Access to Grace (verse 2) – In Christ, we also have continual, constant, unbroken, enduring access to grace. We have unlimited access into God’s presence, to prayer, and to all His promises in the Bible. Have many times have we seen a TV show in which the good guy is trying to figure out the villain, and he needs access to the government’s secret files. But two words come up: Access Denied. That’s a picture of the person without Christ. He opens his Bible and sees all the promises and hope and privileges, but stamped across every page are the words: Access Denied. For the saved person, two words are stamped across every page of his Bible—Access Granted.

3. Assurance of Heaven (v. 2) – Verse 2 goes on to say: “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” This refers to our anticipation of being with God in glory forever. Not long ago, a Pew Research Poll found that 72 percent believe in Heaven. Among evangelicals, that number rose to 88 percent. Among atheists, agnostics, and people who have no identifiable religion, 37 percent still believe in Heaven, and 27 percent believe in hell. Even atheists cannot bear the implications of their own atheism. God has placed eternity in our hearts. We are made to live forever, but only in Jesus Christ can we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

4. Redemption of Suffering (verses 3-5) – The fourth benefit is redemption of our suffering. Verses 3-5 say: “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame….” Life is hard. We’re tempted to ask why? We don’t know all the answers, but we know that Jesus will take all our negatives and redeem them. He will work them for our good. Along the way, He will develop in us the quality of perseverance, which is the core of character, out of which comes a hopeful attitude that will never let us down. Captain Eddie Rickenbacker said, “My mother, a very poor woman in Columbus, Ohio, taught her kids to pray, to read the Bible, to follow Jesus Christ and never to give up.” She knew Romans 5!

5. The Holy Spirit (verse 5) – We also have the Holy Spirit, who is given by God at the moment of our justification. Verse 5 goes on to say: “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” The word “pour” describes God’s love as a liquid, and the Holy Spirit pours it into our hearts. This ocean of love washes away all the shame, all the sin, all the regrets, all the bitterness.

6. Deliverance from the Day of Wrath (Verses 6-10) – Verses 6-10 tells us that our justification also includes exemption from the coming day of God’s wrath. We are pardoned through Christ and the gates of heaven are open. If His death saved us from our sins; His resurrection life with save us from God’s wrath.

7. Jesus Himself (verse 11) – Verse 11 sums it up. When we are justified through faith we have Jesus Himself: “Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Him we have now received reconciliation.”

 Conclusion: In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, we meet a man who was carrying a heavy backpack, a burden, on his shoulders. He couldn’t get rid of it until he came to Mount Calvary and he saw Him who died on the cross to take away all our sins. As the pilgrim knelt there, transformed by grace, the burden suddenly loosened, fell from his back, rolled down the hill, and disappeared into the empty tomb and he never saw it again. He was free. If you are carrying around emotional baggage, damaged emotions, hurtful memories, and unresolved shame, you’ll find blessed freedom at the foot of the cross. And when you are justified, you have peace with God, access to grace, assurance of heaven, redemption from suffering, the Holy Spirit and his love, freedom from the coming day of wrath—and you have Jesus Christ Himself. Hallelujah!

 

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