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Much More

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” (Romans 5:1)

What tremendously beautiful words these are! If we read this simple verse apart from the rest of the Book of Romans, we will see this as a nice little sentiment, a brief reminder of what has been accomplished in our Salvation. But if we read this in context, after having traversed the first four chapters, the portion of the book that reveals the heart of man in its true light and unabashedly paints a vivid portrait of our desperate condition, then we come to this statement as one would emerge from a dark and dreary chasm, a cave from which no hope of escape had seemed possible.

Expressions such as “being justified by faith” may have become trite clichés to most modern Christians, but we can be certain that this was not the case with the Apostle Paul. Keenly aware of what his condition apart from Christ had been, knowing with a great surety of how lost he would have remained had God not showered His boundless mercy on him, recognizing what unfathomable cost Christ had paid so that we could be justified by faith, Paul must have savored every syllable of such a profound declaration, grateful to his Savior for making such a status with God even possible.

The initial chapters of Romans were written, not as an exercise in self-loathing and condemnation, but as an honest examination of sinful man’s condition before  a holy God. A sick man will not seek medical treatment if he is unaware of his illness, neither will a guilty man seek a pardon if he is unaware of his offenses. Which is the greater unkindness: to allow a dying man to remain blissfully ignorant of that which is killing him, or to bluntly reveal the cause, that he might seek rescue from it? Martin Luther was once overheard telling little children about the horrors and sufferings of Hell, much to the dismay of some of the adult members of his congregation.

“Why do you frighten these little children with such images, is it not cruel to speak to them of such things?”, he was asked.

“No”, he responded, “a far greater cruelty would be to leave them unaware of such things.”

If we have believed all that has preceded Chapter 5, Verse 1 in the Book of Romans, then these words are a precious salve to a hurting heart. Far from being a lofty, pious bromide, a cliché robbed of any substance by its oft repetition, we see these words as harbingers of new life, heralds of the mercy that God has shown toward us. If we have let the opening chapters of the Book of Romans serve their purpose, then we find this verse to be a most welcome relief to an otherwise hopeless predicament.

Serving as a great turning point in the epistle, we will notice that the tone of Romans changes hereafter. Romans chapters 1 through 4 had a sort of universal application, addressed to both sinner and saint alike, the remainder of the book, however, is primarily directed toward believers. The words of conviction are ended, the pleas for repentance discontinued, the demonstration of man’s depravity concluded. If the reader has failed to turn to Christ based on the testimony given thus far, they will fail to find much relevance or meaning in what follows. With the words, “being justified by faith“, it is presumed that those continuing to read have already become so.

In light of this, not only do we emerge from a dark cavern into the light, we emerge into the noonday sun! We are immediately hit “with both barrels” as one mighty gift of God to the believer after another is revealed in rapid succession. What a profound contrast between the lost and hopeless condition of those who continue to reject Christ and those who have put their trust in Him. What joyous relief the Apostle Paul must have felt, having withheld any ray of hope through the previous chapters, to now “throw open the curtains”, letting the “Son shine in” in all His glory!

The benefits of justification with God through faith in Christ are enumerated one by one, as we see that Salvation is not just a blessed hope that commences at the conclusion of this life, but something that carries many blessings for us in the here and now. As we read through the first 11 verses of Romans 5, we see all of the beautiful terms related to God’s blessings listed together: peace (v. 1), grace (v. 2), glory (v. 3), patience (v. 3), hope (v. 4), love (v. 5), the Holy Spirit given to us (v. 5), justified (v. 9), saved (v. 9), reconciled (v. 10),  joy (v. 11), and atonement (v. 11).

These are the benefits and blessings we have in Christ. What exceeding great and precious promises, indeed! Finally, if we were to sum up the theme that characterizes Romans 5 more than any other, it would have to be two simple words: much more. If we were dead apart from Christ, then we are much more alive in Him. If we were lost and condemned before we knew Him, then we are much more justified in Him. If sin abounded in our lives before, then grace abounds much more now. Consider how many times these two words appear in this chapter.

The power that sin held over us before we came to Christ led to death, but the power of God in Christ leads to life much more. Our condemnation described in the first chapters has been vanquished by the much more justification by faith that we have in Christ. Jesus is not enough to meet our needs, He is much more!

To God goes all glory. In service to the Lord Jesus Christ, our “Much More“,

Loren

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6 responses

  1. Thank you, Loren! I am finding myself so excited by the Much More! :) And you have me thinking about Paul as he wrote this, how God inspired him to travel the course of Romans , from the start of showing us our sinful nature to like you said, the blast of Son shine hitting us, of being justified by faith in Christ!
    God bless you as you take us along for the ride through Romans!

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  2. John wrote “Greater is He that is in us…” (1 John 4:4) and Paul wrote that He is “Much More.” How comforting it is to know that He is always “More than enough!”

    I absolutely love the Book of Romans, for the great Truths that are given throughout it, but also because of the way that it is laid out. We begin at the beginning and proceed from there, descending first into the depths of man’s depravity, rising to the heights of the believer’s secure position in Christ, and ending with the necessary, practical advice of living out the Christian life from day-to-day. Fewer places in Scripture flow so seamlessly from the deeply profound to the simply practical.

    The very same book that contains the mind-boggling Theological declaration: “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (8:30) (I don’t believe I will ever fully get my mind wrapped around this!) also contains the statement: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (12:18). Romans gives us the full spectrum of the Christian’s experience, both in time and eternity, and neatly organizes it into a very logical outline. What an enjoyable book of the Bible to write about! I must honestly confess, however, that it brings me such great joy to be out of the first 3 chapters and into the “good” part :)

    Thanks, Deb, for the wonderful encouragement you continue to give, what a blessing you are :) I am honored to have you along on this ride through Romans (and the one through Exodus, too!)

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  3. Thank you, Loren

    I have been meditating on this for a bit. Sorta letting it marinate in my being.. :-). There is so much I have asked Him for and He has given me so much more. There are other things Ì have not received yet He has given me so much more than what I deserved.

    “The benefits of justification with God through faith in Christ are enumerated one by one, as we see that Salvation is not just a blessed hope that commences at the conclusion of this life, but something that carries many blessings for us in the here and now. ”
    It`s great to know that the `Much More`applies here and now. In my baby years, this was presented to me as something to aspire towards… I felt I had to constantly toe the line so that I could reap Much More in the next life. Hard rules to play by!

    After so many years, I am beginning to understand how He loves us. He is so Much More than what we can ask or think yet He became nothing so we could become His. If that is not more than enough, then nothing is.

    Thanks for sharing to His glory.

    Blessings,
    ann

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  4. This is one of my favorite sections of the Book of Romans :)

    Up to this point, the topic has been focused exclusively on “Justification by grace, through faith” (i.e., “getting saved and getting into Heaven”); and now we are shown that ours is not just a faith for the Hereafter, but for the here and now. Eternal Life is not something that we obtain as we “exit” this world, it is something we possess right now! We do not need to wait until we die to reap the benefits of being in Christ.

    “In my baby years, this was presented to me as something to aspire towards… I felt I had to constantly toe the line so that I could reap Much More in the next life. Hard rules to play by!”

    I have seen two extremes reached related to this: 1.) As you mentioned, there are those who believe that there are no blessings in this life, that we must wait for Heaven to enjoy any benefit of trusting in Christ and, 2.) That God wants to “abundantly bless” the believer in this life with unlimited health, wealth, and prosperity (as if material assets are the most precious gifts our Heavenly Father desires for us!).

    Yes, we will have trials and tribulations in this life (John 16:33), and, no, God’s blessings for most of us do not involve a luxury car and a million-dollar mansion (no matter how “strong” our faith is). But God does bless us with all “spiritual blessings” (Eph. 1:3), like the blessings mentioned here in Romans 5.

    “After so many years, I am beginning to understand how He loves us”

    Me, too. I am finally starting to get it, slowly but surely :)

    Thanks, Ann, for sharing your insightful reflections on this post. Your comments are such a blessing and always send me back to “marinate” a little more in His Word.

    Loren

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  5. […] Much More (answersfromthebook.org) […]

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