Peace and Open Access to God
Over four chapters in Romans, we have seen Paul demolish all ideas that we can earn our way to heaven with good deeds. Our righteousness is not deserved, but credited to all those who believe in Jesus. It is a remarkable act of grace on God's part because we are so very unworthy. And so many benefits come to us: justification, peace, access to God, joy and hope.
To be 'justified' is (using an English pun) to be treated by God 'just as if I'd never sinned'. Peace is not primarily a feeling of calm (although that is a by-product); it is like the signed agreement at the end of a war promising that hostilities have ceased: we are no longer under God's wrath (John 3:18). Access to God, which was previously impossible for sinners, has now been opened wide: we can have an intimate relationship with our Creator now, and the fullness of His presence in the life to come. With these blessings come a deep joy and a confidence ('hope') that when Jesus returns we will be accepted by Him and welcomed into His heavenly home.
So you see, not only is boasting about our achievements futile before God, but His grace gives to us infinitely more than we could ever have dreamed about. As that is true, where is our joy and hope? Why does worry dominate? If joy and hope are missing, it is because we have not understood that believers have peace with God because of what Jesus has done. To be justified is to be declared 'not guilty'. So give over the burden of your sin to Him and let Him make you at home in His presence. When that happens, you will be different - and the difference will be appreciated by everybody around you at work and at home.
© Dr Paul Adams