In Romans 5:1-11 Paul explains the implications of justification by faith. Included in the outcomes of this gracious, unmerited acquittal are three levels of rejoicing:

We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (verse 2).
We rejoice in our suffering (verse 3).
And, summing it all up, we rejoice in God (verse 11).

Before he makes this final statement – we rejoice in God – Paul affirmed the absolute security of the salvation we have in Christ Jesus.

Christ died for us when we were powerless and ungodly (verse 6).
Christ died for us when we were still sinners (verse 8).
We were reconciled to God through the death of Christ when we were God enemies (verse 10).

On the basis of this, Paul boldly emphasises the certainty of the continuation, the endurance, of this salvation.

Since God acquitted/justified us by the death of Christ when we were still powerless, ungodly, sinners ...

'how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!' Paul's argument here is very simple and very logical: since we have been justified by the blood of Jesus (and when God did that we were powerless, ungodly and sinners) how much more, now that God has acquitted us in this way, completely irrespective of our merit or innocence, how much more will we be saved from his wrath today and tomorrow.

Our sins today and tomorrow cannot undo what our sins yesterday could not prevent.

If it was impossible for our past sin and ungodliness to prevent God from saving us from his wrath, it is far more impossible for our present sin and ungodliness to make God now pour his wrath out upon us.

Since God reconciled us to himself through the death of his Son ...

'how much more ... shall we be saved through his life!' Similarly, if our past enmity towards God did not prevent him from reconciling us to himself through the death of his Son, how much more impossible is it for us to prevent his present and future friendship with us, now that he has already reconciled us to himself! It's simply not in our power to do that, for our state of reconciliation with God was never in our hands to begin with. It has always been in God's hands and the result of God's initiative and action, and it always will be in his hands and the result of his initiative and action.

And since all of that is true (verses 6 – 10), there is also another thing that is true ...

'we rejoice in God ... ' With the grand assurance that comes with Paul's argument in this passage, he now notes another focus of rejoicing/boasting/glorying: 'we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' Because of who Jesus Christ is and what Jesus Christ did in his dying 'we rejoice in God.'

Gone forever is the fear of God's judgement. Gone forever is the threat of condemnation. Gone forever is the anxious, cringing heart and the guilt-ridden mind in the presence of God. We stand before him with joy, fearing no rejection, fearing no wrath. We rejoice in God. We glory in God. We boast and brag about what a wonderful, loving, gracious, forgiving and merciful God he is. Having no longer to stand before him needing to defend, preserve, excuse and justify ourselves we are free to see him as he really is.

And we rejoice because ...

'we have now received reconciliation ... ' Note the little word 'now'. Reconciliation with God through the death of Jesus Christ is now. It is not something that was effective only at the point of our initial conversion. Nor is it something we have to wait for until we 'get to heaven'. It is now. Right now, we possess reconciliation with God. No more enmity. No more wrath. No more separation because of our sin! The death of Christ, through which God reconciles us to himself, is effective now.

All of this is why Paul can say in 5:1 'therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' Nothing of ours gained this position for us; nothing of ours can take it away from us. It is Paul's desire, it is God's desire, that we live with that peace and that joy today. Right now. Let us not look at our sins: rather, let us look at Jesus Christ and his sin-bearing death for us, and with peace in our hearts, rejoice in God.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2020