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How Romans 5:1 Speaks to Our Lack of Peace

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Many days, these words from Scripture have quieted my soul when thoughts of fear, doubt, and despair rose to a clamor. Romans 5:1 became more than a memory verse I repeated in the morning; it became a lifeline when I felt as if I was drowning. It was a sword that killed my fears and a cure that made the Gospel come alive to me once again. When my mind was tempted to recall conflicts and anxieties, this verse demanded I recall the one situation that altered my reality – the cross.

Over time, I didn’t have to intentionally remember this verse when I was troubled; it just came to mind. My subconscious brain eventually made a connection between distress and Romans 5:1. Still, I could easily repeat this verse to myself without giving it thought, but the last few words kept me from vain repetition. Those last few words, “through Jesus Christ,” pierced my heart. Those words were a wake-up call in my sorrowful slumber, and they summoned me to meditate on something better than my momentary circumstances. I would ask myself, “What does it mean that I am at peace with God? What are the implications of this peace? What does this say about the nature of God? And what does it mean that this was done through Christ?”

Though I knew the answers to these questions, I needed to respond with thoughtfulness, exhausting the limits of my theology and resting in God's incomprehensible ways. The only “why” that needed to preoccupy my mind was “Why has God so lovingly made a way for peace?” not, “Why is God allowing for my lack of peace?”. I needed to be in awe of God, not anxious distrust of Him (I learned that from Job chapters 38-42).

Of course, this can be incredibly hard. Telling a despairing person to just stop being sad or worried is of little help. An anxious mind must be filled with glorious thoughts that replace troubling ones. David didn’t just say, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Hope in God.” He went on to speak of the lovingkindness of God, saying, “My soul is downcast within me, therefore, I will remember you” (Ps. 42:5). That is what we must say to ourselves. So here are some truths I glean from Romans 5:1 that every person must meditate on, especially when overcome by despair.

Meditations on Romans 5:1

This peace is the result of justification. Because of our justification, we have peace with God. “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God” means that faith assures peace with God. So what? This means nothing to the universalist! “We’re all at peace with God,” they’d say. To that statement, the Bible responds, “No, no, no”. Faith in Christ alone brings peace with God. By the blood of the cross, He has justified His people (declared them righteous), though they were by nature unrighteous. To the believer in Christ, this is a mind-boggling truth. Our response is, “You mean that though I was once an enemy of God, I am now at peace with Him!?”. To that question, the Bible responds, “Yes, yes, yes.” If we took a second to think of where we once were before salvation, this promise would taste all the sweeter and ring louder in our ears.

This is a hope for believers alone, simply because they have recognized that they are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. We cannot tell unbelievers to just be at peace; they cannot and should not be at peace until they have repented and believed. Then and only then can they experience peace with God. After you have preached to yourself the glorious justification by faith that gave you this peace, go preach it to all the world. You will believe it all the more as you witness other lives changed by it.

This peace is yours to claim. The idea of claiming something may leave a bad taste in your mouth if you’ve heard talk of manifesting things you want. People supposedly claim peace by manifesting a full bank account or good health from the universe, but that is just ridiculous! The universe is nothing but God’s footstool. We can only claim what is already ours, and that is what I’m referring to. This peace has already been purchased for believers. It is theirs, and they can take hold of it. They are the rightful owners of it. Not because believers are righteous in and of themselves but because Christ is, and He has given it to His people. Imagine that a father spent all he had to buy his child a gift, and when the child received the gift they looked at it and said, “Oh, father, this is too wonderful a gift to own, so instead of treasuring it and telling all the world it is mine, I will put it out of my sight.” That would be insulting! The father wanted his child to treasure the gift and joyfully claim it as theirs. Likewise, for believers not to claim the peace that Christ has purchased for us is an insult to the Savior who has said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27). Why should we not be afraid? Because we have peace with God.

This peace is not dependent on the stresses of our life; it’s dependent on our new life. This is amazingly counter-cultural. Christians have peace regardless of circumstances. When our relationships are in conflict and our lives seem to be falling apart, we have peace with God. Why? Because He has given us a new life in Christ Jesus. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

Our new life has brought us peace that flows from the fountain of living waters. Jesus told the woman at the well He had for her living water so she’d never thirst again. Thinking Jesus was speaking of a literal well, the woman asked for this living water, not knowing He was standing before her. Christians have this living water and drink from it daily. If we continually thirsted for this living water, savoring its wonderful taste all day, our lives would be much more at peace. Are you troubled? Are you overwhelmed? Go to the fountain of living water and praise Him for the gift of new life because it has afforded you peace with God.

This is our only sure peace that will endure forever. Hold this treasure in your heart. If you are a Christian, you will forever have peace with God. He will not cast you out, and you will not lose Him. On this earth, we are subject to losing our spouse, friends, house, kids, jobs, good health, and everything we own, but we can never lose peace with God once we have it. I say this with joy and seriousness. A genuine believer should never be terrified, thinking they can lose peace with God by their sin. Though our sin displeases God, it cannot alter our standing with God if we are in Christ. The believer has been justified once and for all and has everlasting peace with God. This is their only sure and steadfast relationship that cannot change. Jesus very confidently said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). A relationship of peace with God is the believer’s eternal inheritance. Of course, we can bring a lack of peace to our lives with our sins, but our standing of peace with God will not change – Christians do not become enemies of God when they sin. Praise God for His faithful love for His people.

Christian, if your anxieties and sorrows are great, it can seem impossible to be at peace, but you must fight for it by continually looking to the cross. I can testify to you of times when I thought peace was impossible, and I’d always be bound by anxieties. Thank the Lord, I was incredibly wrong! Through meditating on the peace I had with God, fearful thoughts and hopeless prayers ceased. Time after time, I have found peace in God by simply realizing the peace I already had with Him — peace that was mine through Jesus Christ.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20


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