Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have

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					 Romans 5:1-11                                                                                    March 4, 2012
  Romans 5:1-11. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And
we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know
that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not
disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will
anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God
demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through
him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much
more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
 Imagine that you are a captured al-Qaeda terrorist on trial before a US military tribunal. You are up on
capital charges - and you’re guilty as sin! The US prosecuting attorney plays a video of your
interrogation in which you admit your part in a terrorist attack in which US soldiers were killed. You
look around the courtroom and what do you see? A prosecutor who believes he has an “open and shut
case;” a judge who hates your evil deeds. And not one witness who can testify on behalf of your
innocence! Things look bad, don’t they?
    Do you realize that you and I as sinners find ourselves in this courtroom scene every day? The devil
gleefully places before God, the righteous Judge, evidence of our every sin committed in thought, word
and deed. Our every lustful thought is the same as adultery. Our every angry word and hateful thought is
the same as murder! We’re the ones guilty of damnable sins! But then our Defense Attorney, Jesus
Christ, the Righteous One, steps forward to plead our case. As evidence of our innocence he places
before the Judge his own perfect life of obedience and his substitutionary sufferings and death on the
cross. Therefore, our heavenly Father, on Christ’s behalf, declares us “Not guilty!” Yes, God has
reconciled “the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
    This doctrine of justification, that God has declared us guilty sinners ‘not guilty’ for Jesus’ sake is
the heart and core of our Christian faith. This change in our status before God, from guilty and damnable
sinners to blood-bought and forgiven saints, which Jesus Christ earned for us and which we have
received by faith is what the season of Lent is all about. Lent certainly is a time for us to confess that it
was our sins that nailed Jesus to that cross. But Lent can and also should be a time of confident rejoicing
in what God has done for us through his Son.
    Today, let us emphasize, as Paul does in the words of our text, the extraordinary nature of the
blessings of justification as revealed in the story of Lent. Today we learn
                            “THE BLESSINGS OF LENT ARE AMAZING!”
                                      I. Because they are so abundant
                                    II. Because they are so undeserved
                                     III. Because they are guaranteed.
    I. It is important to regularly teach and review this foundational doctrine of the Christian faith, that
we are justified by grace through faith. That’s why Paul writes: “Therefore, since we have been justified
through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained
access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”
    How well the NIV translates the original Greek: “since we have been justified,” reminding us that
this is something already done for us by God. Nearly 2,000 years ago, the moment Jesus cried out, “It is
finished,” and died, God declared the whole world ‘not guilty.’ The Bible says: “Jesus Christ, the
Righteous One...is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the
whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2) As Paul shows, that not guilty verdict became yours and mine individually
“though faith” - the moment the Holy Spirit brought us to saving faith in our Savior Jesus.
    How this contradicts all the religions of this world! All religions except Christianity are based upon
human reason. In reality they all teach the same thing - that entrance into heaven or any afterlife depends
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Romans 5:1-11                                                                                March 4, 2012
upon works - the good things one does and the evil one avoids. But you know from the Bible that “it is
by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by
works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Our salvation is an accomplished fact! It’s a done
deal! We know God graciously declared us ‘not guilty’ the moment Jesus gave his life for us!
     Because we are justified Paul says we now have “peace” in the presence of God. No sinner can stand
in the presence of God and live. Standing before God, the righteous Judge, we must plead with the
Psalmist: “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you” (143:2).
But by faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross, our sins, which would bring our certain condemnation
before God, have all been removed. The Bible says, “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all
sin.” (1 John 1:7) What peace we have in knowing that no matter what we’ve done, no matter what sins
we have committed, there is no need for us to have a guilty conscience before our God. Through faith in
Jesus and what he has done for us our slate is clean! The blood of Jesus has washed all our sins away!
     As Paul says, we are washed clean of our sins and wear Jesus’ robe of perfect righteousness. We can
say with Isaiah: “My soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and
arrayed me in a robe of righteousness” (61:10). We have direct and permanent “access” to God and his
abundant grace. This right is given to us and to all who trust in the justifying work of Jesus Christ. How
comforting it is to know that we can approach God’s throne of grace in prayer for anything and
everything; and that he will hear and answer our every request for Jesus’ sake. Jesus himself said: “I tell
you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 16:23)
      Oh, what great comfort, assurance and hope is found in the truth that God tells us we now, currently
and permanently, “stand” in his grace! Our salvation doesn’t depend upon our feelings or emotions!
How godly a life we lead today, tomorrow or even at the moment of our death won’t determine our
standing before God. The only thing that matters is our faith in Jesus our Savior!
     Therefore, with Paul we may “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also
rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance,
character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Our response to all God has done for us is,
literally, “we joyfully boast.” This isn’t glorying in our own accomplishments. This is a joyful boasting
in what God has done and what he promises to all who trust in Jesus.
     Because we have been declared innocent and have been set free from our sins, we can boast in the
hope of enjoying God’s glory in heaven. While we live in the tents of our bodies, which, like this world,
are decaying from the results of sin, do we fully understand or appreciate the glory that will be ours in
heaven? We can begin to do that by setting our minds on things above, always remembering that
heaven is a far better place than this world.
     Paul says we also rejoice in “sufferings” - pressure, hardship, persecution, or anything that troubles
us or causes us to suffer. We can rejoice about sufferings because suffering produces “perseverance,”
the ability to cope and endure, no matter how difficult the situation. We can persevere because our God
promises he “is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are
tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
     As we learn to persevere and our faith passes test after test of troubles, that perseverance produces
true Christian “character,” - Christ-likeness in us. Then, like Jesus, when insulted, we will not retaliate,
and when we suffer we will make no threats (1 Peter 2:23). Then we will thank God for our sufferings
that test and prove, and thus strengthen our faith, and we will commit our lives to our faithful God.
     Finally, suffering, persevering and character building will come full circle and produce ever greater
“hope” in us concerning our eternal future with God. This hope, Paul promises, will not leave us
“disappointed.” As the Holy Spirit works through the Gospel in Word and sacrament, he confirms in
our hearts trust in God’s message and the trustworthiness of the hope that message creates.
     We know we are justified by grace through faith and our salvation is an accomplished fact! We
know our slate is wiped clean and we are at peace with God! We know we stand righteous in God’s
sight for Jesus’ sake! We know we can face all trials and tribulations, placing our hope and confidence
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Romans 5:1-11                                                                               March 4, 2012
in God’s promises that he will give us the ability to cope and endure - until we reach our goal of heaven!
These, “The Abundant Blessings of Lent Are Truly Amazing!”
    II. And they are so undeserved! Paul writes: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still
powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a
good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While
we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” As Paul says, we were powerless, ungodly, unrighteous,
corrupt sinners. And yet “Christ died for us,” in our place! There was nothing in us or about us that
moved him to do such a thing. Not only were we “powerless,” incapable of what God requires for
salvation; we were actually “ungodly”. We were God’s “enemies!” Our sinful minds were hostile
toward God, not wanting or desiring anything God wanted for us. Yet, for those who hated God and
actually fought against him, Christ stepped in and let our punishment be placed on him. Truly, Jesus
“was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us
peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Jesus was our perfect Substitute,
taking our place and suffering the punishment of death and hell we deserve because of our sins.
    Our Savior’s dying for sinners like you and me is the fullest “demonstration” of God’s love we could
ever have. There could never be a greater demonstration of love! As we view the cross during Lent and
remember that our sins sent Jesus to that cursed tree, may we also be reminded of God’s love for us,
demonstrated on that cross in the death of his Son! “The Undeserved Blessings of Lent Are Truly
Amazing!”
    III. And they’re guaranteed! Paul assures us of the absolute certainty of our salvation: “Since we
have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much
more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice
in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
    Paul uses simple logic, reasoning from the greater to the lesser. If someone saved you from a
burning building, he would certainly also provide you with clothing and shelter. Paul is saying, “If the
righteous Judge has declared you ‘not guilty,’ then certainly you will also be spared his wrath and
punishment.” We have been justified. God did it for us sinners through the death of his Son. Since this is
an established fact based upon the Word and promises of God, we can be absolutely certain that when
Judgment Day dawns we have absolutely nothing to fear! We are and will be safe in our Savior Jesus’
arms! If the death of God’s Son can make us who were the enemies of God his friends, then certainly
the fact that God’s Son lives forever will guarantee salvation from his wrath to us and all who have been
made his friends. Truly, “The Guaranteed Blessings of Lent Are Amazing!”
    What a contrast between what we were and what God has made us because of his abundant
blessings! How undeserving, how utterly incapable we are to help or contribute to our salvation! How
great was the price God required to accomplish it! What a change in status this is for us in the presence
of God! Damnable sinners, on trial for our lives, our Savior Jesus steps into the picture and pleads our
case. He takes our place, takes our sin, guilt and punishment upon himself and covers us with his perfect
righteousness. Our heavenly Father, the righteous Judge, declares us “Not guilty!” Truly, “The
Abundant, Undeserved, and Guaranteed Blessings of Lent are Amazing!” Amen.




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