Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Christian PeaceRomans 5:1
Evans -- the Fall and Recovery of ManGrenville KleiserRomans 5:1
ExperienceGrenville KleiserRomans 5:1
Faith Alone the Condition of JustificationJ. Calvin.Romans 5:1
False PeaceC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:1
God's Love to Fallen ManGrenville KleiserRomans 5:1
Immediate Results of JustificationJ. Oswald Dykes, D. D.Romans 5:1
JustificationHomilistRomans 5:1
JustificationD. C. Hughes, A. M.Romans 5:1
Justification by FaithAbp. Magee.Romans 5:1
Justification by FaithRomans 5:1
Justification by FaithW. B. Pope, D. D.Romans 5:1
Justification by FaithCharles Haddon Spurgeon Romans 5:1
Justification by Faith: an Instance OfRomans 5:1
Justification by Faith: an Instance OfW. H. Aitken, M. A.Romans 5:1
Justification by Faith: its EffectsAbp. Magee.Romans 5:1
Justification More than ForgivenessW. H. Aitken, M. A.Romans 5:1
Justifying FaithW. B. Pope, D. D.Romans 5:1
Let Us have PeaceAlexander MaclarenRomans 5:1
Man SavedRichard Baxter.Romans 5:1
Peace by BelievingC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:1
Peace DesiredTeacher's TreasuryRomans 5:1
Peace May Exist in the Absence of JoyRomans 5:1
Peace of Pardon, not a Mere ForgetfulnessC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:1
Peace Through Christ AlonePastor Funcke.Romans 5:1
Peace with GodAlbert Goodrich, D. D.Romans 5:1
Peace with GodC. S. Robinson, D. D.Romans 5:1
Peace with GodProf. E. Johnson, M. A.Romans 5:1
Peace with GodC. W. Camp.Romans 5:1
Peace with GodT. De Witt Talmage.Romans 5:1
Peace: a Fact and a FeelingC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:1
Justification and its ConsequencesC.H. Irwin Romans 5:1, 2
The Christian PrivilegeT.F. Lockyer Romans 5:1, 2
The State of the JustifiedR.M. Edgar Romans 5:1-11

Here side by side are the most solemn, the most terrible, and the most glorious certitudes of our religion. There is a God. With that God we are not naturally at peace. Enmity toward God means sin; and the wages of sin is death. But how to make peace with him? Blessed be his Name, Christ has died that we might live. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Emnity and death - the results of sin, to which all are condemned; for all have sinned. Reconciliation and life - the results of the obedience and death of Christ. These verses put before us how this wondrous transformation may be effected; how, being dead, we may be made alive; how, being enemies of God, we may be reconciled and have peace with him.

I. THE NATURE OF JUSTIFICATION. The words in the original mean, "being reckoned [or, 'held'] as just." We do not make ourselves just. Neither by this act are we made just, made perfect in holiness. That is the object of sanctification, and is not completed until we have put off this mortal. If we should say that when we are justified we are made perfectly righteous, that would be the same thing as saying that no Christian commits sin - a doctrine contrary to the Word of God and to the experience of individuals. Paul complained that the evil he would not, that he did. No; justification neither implies that we make ourselves just, nor, on the other hand, that we are made just. It implies that we are reckoned just in God's sight so far as regards the penalty of the Law. He declares that the Law is satisfied in regard to us. Manifestly, this is the grace of God. How could we satisfy the Law? "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified." "In thy sight," exclaims David, "shall no man living be justified." It is by grace alone. We can now point to the cross and say, "He died for me!" Christ's own words are, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." This is the exact parallel of justification by faith. Just as the simple act of turning the faint and weary eyelids toward that brazen serpent restored the dying Hebrews in the wilderness, so it is still possible for all of us, even for such as are most dead in trespasses and sins, to look with the eye of faith toward Calvary and say, "Who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died." And by that death he paid our debt. "He was delivered for our offences." This is justification. Instead of being debtors to do the whole Law, we plead its fulfilment by our Substitute, accepted by God, while we become at the same time the servants of righteousness. The Law has been fulfilled by a perfect righteousness, and the penalty of a broken Law can no longer be inflicted upon those who appropriate that righteousness as theirs. Thus justification is the free grace of God shown in a complete pardon of all our sin. We are reconciled to God by the death of his Son; we have received the Spirit of adoption, and are made heirs of eternal life. All this justification secures for us in its very nature. II. THE MEANS OR INSTRUMENT OF JUSTIFICATION. In plain and unequivocal language we are here told that by faith we must be justified in order to have peace with God. This is the grand central truth of the New Testament. If it be removed, what message does the gospel bring? "If righteousness come by the Law," says St. Paul, "then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21). Christ's whole life of doing and suffering, and his awful death, would be a cruel superfluity - the more cruel because superfluous, if by any other means fallen man could procure acceptance in God's sight. Paul cautions the Romans against any other way of justification. "A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law" (Romans 3:28). And when the Galatians showed a tendency to depart from this doctrine, under the influence of Judaizing teachers, in the strongest terms the apostle censures them: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel" (Galatians 1:6). He addresses them as foolish; accuses them of returning to the beggarly elements; and says he is afraid lest he has bestowed upon them labour in vain. The theory of justification by works, therefore, is not one on which nothing has been said, or which has been left doubtful. It is distinctly condemned by the apostle as inconsistent with and prejudicial to the spirit of Christianity. When Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a self- righteous Pharisee, came to Jesus by night, how did the great Master feed this hungry soul? Did he tell him to go and do some work of merit? No. The way, and the only way, to eternal life which Jesus pointed out to him was faith. If good works were of any avail, here was a man whose training had abundantly fitted him for doing good works. But from the Saviour himself he was to learn that he, a master in Israel, knew not the way into the kingdom of God. Yet are there not many professing Christians who rest their hope of an entrance into that kingdom upon their own righteousness? Are there not many the language of whose heart is, "I have kept all the commandments from my youth up; I have lived a pure life; I have been regular in attendance on the ordinances of God; I have no fear"? Such was the language of the rich young man; and Jesus said to him, "One thing thou lackest." We must guard, too, against the notion that, if we believe, our faith is the ground on which we are justified. It is hard, indeed, to see how such a notion could arise, in the face of all that the Scriptures teach against justification by works. For to make faith the ground of our justification - the propter quod, to use a legal phrase - is to put faith in the position of a meritorious work. And that such has no efficacy for justification has been abundantly shown. Faith is merely the means or instrument by which we lay hold on the justifying righteousness of Christ. Suppose a man owed you a sum of money, and that, in the days when imprisonment for debt was legal, he had been imprisoned till the debt should be paid. Another man comes and pays the debt. You give him a receipt, and he takes that to the prisoner, who is by it set free. How absurd it would be for any one to say that it was this debtor's act of taking the receipt that cancelled his obligation! Precisely similar is it to say that the act by which we take hold of the great atonement is that which gives us acceptance with God. We are justified by means of our faith, and not because of it. But without that act of believing, the atonement is not ours, peace with God is not ours. By faith we lay hold of justification; by faith we take hold of the promises - promises for the life that now is, and the promise of a better and unending life in the many mansions of the Father's house. "We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (ver. 2).

III. THE EFFECT OF JUSTIFICATION. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This peace with God has a twofold aspect. It concerns God's relation to us and our relation to God.

1. Peace with God as it affects God's relation to us. At first God was at peace with man, until man sinned and thus became at enmity with God. And while God hates sin and must reward it, he willeth not the death of the sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wicked way and live. All through the ages, God, like a loving Father, has been seeking to bring back the wanderers, to reconcile his erring children to himself. At last he sent his own Son. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins." If that Propitiation has any meaning at all, it is that God's attitude toward those who accept it is one of peace. "For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God" (John 16:27). Thus faith is the means by which we take hold of Christ - our Substitute, our Reconciliation. And therefore, being clothed upon with his righteousness, we are received into the adoption of children. Being justified, we are restored to that blissful state of sonship toward God which made Eden the untroubled garden in which the Father came and walked at eventide. Once more God walks with us. He will be to us a Father, and we are to him as his children. What a gift this is that, weak and sinful though we are, yet we can think of God with calm assurance, being reconciled to him by the death of his Son!

2. Peace with God as it concerns our relation to God.

(1) Peace with God means peace in our own conscience. What a troubler of our peace conscience is! In the silent watches of the night its voice is loud. The darkness dims not its light; nor is its voice hushed by the din of business or the jovial clamour of revelry. But he who is justified by faith has peace of conscience within. The great ocean will not wash away the guilt of sin. But "the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin."

(2) Peace with God means peace amid care and sorrow. Many trials of body and of mind may afflict us. But if we are justified by faith, then we have peace with God, and we know that, though no chastisement seemeth to be joyous, yet these our "light afflictions, which are but for a moment, are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

"Well roars the storm to those that hear
A deeper voice across the storm." To those who rest their faith in Christ when in trouble, he will appear as he did to his disciples on the sea, and they will hear through the gloom a voice calling to them, "It is I: be not afraid!"

(3) Peace with God means peace and security from the assaults of temptation and sin. "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). It is a bulwark of defence round about those who are justified by faith. To them it is given to be strengthened with all might according to his glorious power. They have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. Such is the effect of being justified by faith. "Although my house be not so with God, yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure" (2 Samuel 23:5). Here and now peace and fellowship with God; access into grace and strength; no fear of evil in the dark valley; and afterward an abundant entrance into the presence of the King. - C.H.I.

Therefore being justified by faith.
We have here —

I. A STATE OR CONDITION — "justified." This implies —

1. Previous dishonour. A truly righteous character needs no justification.

2. Complete satisfaction. A man who owes a debt can only be justified when that debt is paid; although it need not be paid by himself.

3. Perfect restoration — to all rights, privileges, position, etc. Justification does not mean righteousness. A man is justified although he is defiled in sin. The justification of man by God is His counting man as righteous.

II. A MEANS OR METHOD — "faith." Faith is that principle which unites a man with Christ, and so enables him to appropriate all the Saviour's merits and righteousness. Substitution, to be effectual, not only requires its acceptance by the judge, but the acceptance of the Saviour by the sinner as his Substitute. Faith is that acceptance by the sinner. Notice —

1. That this act is difficult. It is contrary to human nature — men would rather trust themselves than God. Hence they add rites and ceremonies.

2. It includes acts as well as conviction and trust. "Faith without works is dead," and a dead principle has no existence.

III. A RESULT ATTAINED — peace with God. Peace is desirable with man, much more with God. True peace can be obtained in no other way but this. There is a state which is often mistaken for it, such as indifference, a numbed conscience. Gratuitous pardon without justification by atonement would not be able to give peace, but pardon through satisfied justice can. Nothing can satisfy the sense of justice but trust in the justice-satisfying Saviour.



1. From the meaning of the word.

2. From the type (Leviticus 16:21).(1) The two goats were necessary to set forth the perfect work of Christ: the first in atoning for sin, the other in bearing it away.

3. In its foundation (Romans 3:24, 25; Romans 5:9).

(1)The foundation is solid.

(2)The grace is perfect.

II. ITS CONDITION. "By faith." Consider —

1. The root meaning of the word.

2. The naturalness of the thing signified.

3. What is involved in unbelief.


1. Peace (ver. 1).

(1)Its nature.

(2)With whom established.

(3)Through whom acquired.

2. Standing (ver. 2).

3. Joy (ver. 2).

(1)Its inspiration. "Hope of the glory of God."

(2)Its strength. "In tribulations."

(3)Its intellectual basis (ver. 4).

(4)Its internal evidence (ver. 5).

IV. ITS SOURCE. The love of God.

1. The manner in which it was procured (ver. 8).(1) "Commendeth" should be rendered "giveth proof of."

2. The character of those for whom Christ died.

(1)"Those without strength" (ver. 6).

(2)"Sinners" (ver. 8).

(3)Such an exhibition of love unparalleled (ver. 7).

3. The purpose for which God gave His Son (vers. 9, 10).


1. The blessing of which this lesson treats is the greatest need of man.

2. The sacrifice which Christ made to procure this blessing the most wonderful fact in history.

3. The condition on which this blessing may be obtained the most reasonable and easy.

4. The benefits which this blessing confers on the believer in this life are the most precious God can bestow.

5. The glory to which the believer by it lays claim is ineffable and eternal.

(D. C. Hughes, A. M.)

A friend with whom you have been long doing business falls into a condition of insolvency, and you find that he is your debtor to a large amount. There is no prospect of his ever being able to pay you back, and you have reason to know that this condition of debt arises not merely from his misfortune, but from his fault. Under these circumstances it would be possible for you to liberate him from his debt by an act of forgiveness. Let us suppose that you adopt this course; the man would no longer be in fear of a debtor's prison, and would no doubt feel himself under a great obligation to you. But would such a state of things be likely to bring you into closer personal relations with each other? Would it not necessarily produce on the contrary a certain distance and constraint? On the other hand, the forgiven debtor must needs, me thinks, feel ashamed to look his generous creditor in the face, must feel ill at ease in his presence, and would shrink from familiar social intercourse with the family of one on whom his conduct has inflicted such serious losses. On the other hand, the forgiving creditor could scarcely be expected to select such a person for his friend, and to treat his past conduct as if it were a thing easily to be forgotten. But to illustrate our position further, let us now present another case. Let us suppose that the creditor is so convinced of the sincerity of the regret which his debtor professes, and has reason to believe that the severe lesson has wrought in him so great a moral change that he feels himself free to make an experiment which most of us would certainly regard as a perilous one; let us suppose that, instead of remitting his debt, he introduces him into partnership with his own son, with whose business he is himself closely concerned. This his new connection with a solvent and flourishing firm places him, we may say, in a position of solvency, removes the stigma of bankruptcy, puts him in the way of making a full return to his benefactor, to whom at the same time it greatly enhances his obligation. Now it is easy to see how this man — not merely forgiven, but in a certain sense justified — will be brought by such an arrangement into the closest relations with his benefactor. Friendly social intercourse will exist without restraint, and he who under the former mode of treatment might have seemed little better than an escaped convict will now be a recognised and respected member of the social circle in which his creditor moves.

(W. H. Aitken, M. A.)

There is no one who has not asked the question to which these words give the true answer. "How shall man have peace with God?" Wherever man is found, whether savage or civilised, rich or poor, he is found attempting to solve this problem. For everywhere man is found beset with present miseries, and haunted with the dread of some angry power that inflicts them. And, therefore, everywhere man is found endeavouring to appease this displeasure by making peace with his God. Now to this question there are three answers possible: that man might restore himself, or that God alone might restore man, or that God and man together might effect this restoration. The first is the religion of the heathen: he seeks to appease God by his own acts; he will give even his first born for his transgressions. The second is the religion of the Pharisee: "God, I thank Thee, I am not as other men are." The third is the religion of the publican. "God be merciful to me, a sinner." Which is the true one?

I. Scripture everywhere asserts THAT GOD ALONE JUSTIFIES (Micah 6:7; Psalm 49:7; Isaiah 45:21, 22). Hear the word of the Lord! Here, then, is a simple and an unerring test, by which to try every system of religion.

1. To "justify" means to "pronounce guiltless." It never signifies to make just, but always to declare or pronounce just (Proverbs 17:15). This justification is indispensable to peace with God, for guilt cannot be at peace with justice. Before God can be at peace with any man, He must first pronounce him to be righteous.

2. Here, then, arise two great questions: first, what righteousness is this? and, secondly, how does it become ours? St. Paul tells us that it is through Christ. But even, for the sake of His dear Son, God cannot say the thing that is not. Unless there be perfect righteousness seen by Him, He cannot say He sees it. How, then, does Christ procure us this perfect righteousness? (2 Corinthians 5:21). In it is laid down, that Christ procured our righteousness by being made sin for us. Clearly, then, if we know how He was made sin, we know how we are made righteous. Was He, then, made really and truly sinful? God forbid. He, the Holy One, was, for our sakes, reckoned or accounted sinful. In the same way, therefore, we sinners are, for His sake, reckoned righteous; our sins are reckoned as if they were His; His righteousness is reckoned as if it were ours. To be "justified through Christ," therefore, is to have the righteousness of Christ so imputed to us, that God reckons us, or pronounces us, just. This righteousness is bestowed upon us by faith. Faith is the link that joins together the justice of God and the satisfaction of Christ in the person of the believer, so that God can be just, and the justifier of him that believes.

3. Is there, then, no real righteousness in the believer? does God pronounce him who is unholy, holy; and admit the unclean, in his uncleanness, into His presence? Assuredly not. God never pronounced any man holy whom He did not also make holy. There is a righteousness external and a righteousness internal: both are real — both shall one day be perfect; but that which is wrought for us is perfect from the first; that which is wrought in us is imperfect, and gradually arrives at perfection: the one at once and forever justifies; the other progressively sanctifies.

4. But how does this doctrine make God alone the Saviour without any cooperation on the part of man? Is not faith a work of the mind? and is not this, at least in part, the cause of the sinner's justification? We answer, No! for we are not justified because of our faith, but by our faith. Faith is the hand which the sinner stretches forth to receive the "free gift" of God's mercy; but it is not the stretching out of the hand which induces the bestowal of the alms. Nay, more, that very hand is palsied; we have no power of ourselves to put it forth. Faith, itself, is a free gift of God; it is not until He has said, Reach forth thine hand, that we can, by doing so, receive the alms of His free mercy, which, because of Christ's satisfaction, He is able, and, because of His own infinite love, He is willing, to bestow upon us.

5. This doctrine, then, fully answers the test to which we agreed to submit it: it reveals a salvation, which is God's work, and His alone; prompted by His love, designed by His wisdom, and accomplished by His power. This work of man's salvation has upon it the impress of divinity; it displays that wonderful union of power and wisdom that is found in all God's works, which makes them seem at once so simple and yet so mysterious. View it in its aspect towards man, how simple it seems — "Believe and live!" View it in its aspect as regards God, as His plan devised for the salvation of man, without the compromise of any one of His attributes, it is the great "mystery of godliness." This plan of salvation befits the majesty and the wisdom of God, while it is adapted to the ignorance and the weakness of man, This river of life is unfathomable, in its mysterious depths, by the mightiest of created beings; and yet the little child may kneel by its brink and drink of its sweet waters that flow softly, clear as crystal, from beneath the throne of God.

6. It is an ancient doctrine this; older than Luther, who revived it, or Paul, who defended it, or Abraham, who exemplified it. It was revealed by God, at the gate of Eden, to the first sinner who, by faith, hoped for deliverance yet to be accomplished by the seed of the woman. The first man who believed was justified by faith. The last saint that enters heaven shall enter it praising God, who, justifying him by faith, gives peace to his soul forever and ever, through Jesus Christ.

II. LET US NOW CONTRAST WITH IT MAN'S PLAN OF SALVATION, IN WHICH HE SEEKS TO MINGLE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS WITH THAT OF GOD. The error of the self-righteous (Romans 10:3) is that he seeks a righteousness of his own, because he will not submit to be saved by the righteousness of God; as man fell by seeking to be his own God, so he remains fallen by seeking to be his own saviour. As he once refused to be entirely ruled by God, so he now refuses to be entirely saved by God. This is a most subtle and dangerous error.

1. The statement of this doctrine we will take from the Church of Rome, because Romanism is a religion of human nature, reduced to a regular system, and because we believe this difference between her and us is generally misunderstood.(1) Let us clearly state how Rome and we are agreed in this matter. We are agreed —

(a)That man is so utterly fallen that he has no power to help himself.

(b)That he cannot be saved unless God bestow on him a perfect righteousness.

(c)That God does bestow this righteousness for Christ's sake.(2) Where, then, do we differ?(a) As to the nature of this righteousness. We say that it is a righteousness imputed; she, that it is a righteousness implanted. We say it is a righteousness wrought for us; she, it is righteousness wrought in us. We say, God, for Christ's sake, reckons us as perfectly righteous, and then proceeds to make us holy; she says, God, for Christ's sake, makes us perfectly holy, and then pronounces us, because of this inherent holiness, to be righteous. In other words, we hold that God justifies and also sanctifies; Rome holds that He only sanctifies.(b) As to the manner in which this righteousness is applied to us: we say, by faith only; she says, in the sacraments: she holds that this righteousness is infused into every baptised man, so that he is made perfectly righteous, and this state of justification, she holds, further, may be endangered by venial sin, and lost by deadly sin, and that it progresses so that a man may be more or less justified at one time than another. Now observe the subtlety of this error. It might be said this doctrine of Rome answers our test, for it ascribes all the work of salvation to God; it declares that this inherent righteousness is God's free gift, just as you say your imputed righteousness is. Surely there is no claim here made for man's righteousness. Let us see how our Lord disposes of this answer. "Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee the other a publican, and the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself — God, I thank Thee, I am not as other men are." Where is self-righteousness here? The Pharisee claims no merit — he declares the righteousness which he presents to God, to be God's work; God has made him to differ; he fasts, and prays, and gives alms, but the power to do these good works he acknowledges to have come from God; and yet it is said that he "trusted in himself that he was righteous." Why? Because the righteousness he presented was a righteousness in him; it was not the righteousness of God, and it availed him nothing to say that it was God's gift at first. It is self-righteous to present to God as a reason for pardon anything in man, whether that be said to be originally God's gift or not; he who comes to Him must come as the publican, "God be merciful to me," — not a justified or sanctified man, but "me a sinner!" Add to this, that even if the righteousness be God's gift in the first instance, yet the preserving of it, the increase of it, by faith, and prayer, and penance, are the man's own, upon this system, so that such an one must claim the reward of debt and not of grace.

2. Although we have gone to Rome for a definition of it, this doctrine is to be found among ourselves. How many are there who believe that God, for Christ's sake, will accept them "if they do their best" — Christ's merits making up for their deficiency! How many more are there who think that God, for Christ's sake, will enable them to keep His holy law, and so accept them as righteous! And how many are there who imagine that God, for Christ's sake, accepts their faith as something meritorious, justifying them because they hold the doctrine of justification by faith! In all these, from the open claim of heaven as a reward, to the more subtle claim of merit for having rejected all merit; and of righteousness for having renounced righteousness; in all these there is the same error — the presenting to God of something in us, instead of presenting the perfect righteousness of Christ.

(Abp. Magee.)

The words contain a golden chain of highest blessings bestowed by God upon all true Christians. Notice —


1. Faith in Christ removes the condemnation. It means both a general trust in God's revelations and grace, and a special trust in Christ as given by the Father's love to be the Redeemer of His people. Understanding, will, affections, risking their all upon Him. Justification is not perfection. Not justified by the law of innocency, or of Moses, but by the law of Christ — "who died for our sins," and "was raised again for our justification."

2. Faith in Christ brings the believer into close communion with the Father. "By whom also we have access," etc. They are reconciled, and in a State of love and friendship. Since man once sinned, God's justice and man's conscience tell us that we are unfit for God's acceptance or communion immediately, but must have a suitable mediator. Blessed be God for a "daysman" appointed betwixt us and Himself! Without Him I dare not pray, I cannot hope, I fear to die; God would else frown me away to misery. All the hope and pardon that I have, come by this Author and Finisher of our faith:(1) This is joyous intercourse — "Peace with God."(2) It opens up a bright future. "And rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

3. Faith in Christ strengthens the child of God in tribulation. "Not only so, but," etc. The glory revealed unto us is so transcendent, and tribulation so small and short, that an expectant of glory may well rejoice in spite of bodily sufferings. It is tribulation for Christ and righteousness' sake that we are to glory in; tribulation for our sins must be patiently and penitently born.(1) "Knowing that tribulation worketh patience." That which worketh patience should be a matter of joy; for patience can do more good for us than tribulation can harm. Why then do I complain under suffering, and study so little the exercise of patience?(2) "And patience experience, and experience hope." What profitable experiences are to be derived from patient suffering! Of God's providence, of our own dependence upon a higher power, of the fickleness of human friendship, etc.(3) "And hope maketh not ashamed." That is, true hope of what God hath promised shall never be disappointed. They that trust in deceitful creatures are disappointed and ashamed of their hope; but God is true and ever faithful. All this shows the superiority of a free spirit over carnal weapons.


1. By the "love of God shed abroad" is meant —(1) The realisation of Divine life in the soul.(2) The sweet experiences arising from the absence of doubts and fears.(3) It leads God's adopted children to love one another:

2. The Spirit within —(1) Is helpful to overcome temptation. "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him."(2) Mortifies the fleshly lusts that war against the soul. The desperately wicked heart is a hotbed of lusts and passions that require to be weeded, else they will choke the germs of the good seed. We cannot serve God and Mammon.

3. Points to a future life, and proves our title to it. There are some so blind as to think that man shall have no hereafter, because brutes have not. But it is enough for us to know that God hath promised it; and let it be our earnest prayer, "Shed more abroad upon my heart, by the Holy Spirit, that love of Thine which will draw up my longing soul to Thee, rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God."

(Richard Baxter.)

The justification of which Paul speaks is —

1. Not that gracious constitution of God by which, for the sake of Christ, He so far delivers men from the guilt of Adam's sin as to place them in a salvable state, and by virtue of which all infants dying in infancy are saved (see ver. 18); for justification is not common to the race, but is experienced by certain individuals.

2. Not the justification of those who lived under inferior dispensations, or who now live in countries where the gospel is not known. On this point there are two extremes.(1) The unauthorised severity of those who hold that all heathens are doomed to damnation.(2) The undistinguishing charity of those who insinuate that the heathen are perfectly safe, and need not be disturbed in their superstitions. Each of these is remote from the truth.

3. Not justification before men by the evidence of works (James 2), but the justification of penitent sinners before God, which is necessarily previous.

4. Not the justification of persevering believers at the last day. This will be pronounced on the evidence of works springing from faith, and evidencing its genuineness and continuance. Our business is with a present justification, "Being justified." Let us look at: —

I. ITS NATURE. We assume —(1) That all men naturally are in a state of guilt and condemnation. Our hereditary depravity is odious to the God of Purity, while our consequent personal iniquity renders us liable to punishment.(2) That the man of whose justification we are about to speak is convinced that this is his state.

2. What, then, is meant by justification in these circumstances? To justify a sinner is to consider him relatively righteous, and to deal with him as such, notwithstanding his past unrighteousness, by clearing and releasing him from various penal evils, especially from God's wrath and the liability to eternal death. Hence justification and forgiveness are substantially the same (Acts 13:38, 39; Romans 4:5, 8). Note that justification —(1) Does not in the least degree alter the evil nature and desert of sin. It is the holy Lord who justifieth. The penalty is still naturally due, though graciously remitted. Hence the duty of continuing to confess and lament even pardoned sin (Ezekiel 16:62, 63).(2) Is not, as Romish and some mystic divines contend, the being made righteous by the infusion of a sanctifying influence, which confounds justification with regeneration.(3) Extends to all past sins (Acts 13:39). God does not justify us by degrees, but at once.(4) However effectual to our release from past guilt, does not terminate our state of probation. As he who is now justified was once condemned, so he may again come into condemnation by relapsing into sin, as was the case with Adam.(5) If lost, may be recovered (Psalm 32:1-5; cf. Romans 4:1, 8).


1. The restoration of amity and intercourse between the pardoned sinner and the pardoning God. "We have peace with God," and consequently access to Him. The ground of God's controversy with us being removed, we become objects of His friendship (James 2:23). This reconciliation, however, does not mean deliverance from all the evils which sin has entailed, viz., suffering and death, but it entitles us to such supports and such promises of sanctifying influence as will "turn the curse into a blessing."

2. Adoption and the consequent right to eternal life. God condescends to become not only our Friend, but our Father (Romans 8:17).

3. The habitual indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As sin induced the Spirit's departure, so the pardon of sin is followed by deliverance from it, because it makes way for His return to our souls (Galatians 3:13, 14; Galatians 4:1; Acts 2:38). Of this indwelling the immediate effects are —(1) Tranquillity of conscience (Romans 5:5; Romans 8:15, 16).(2) Power over sin, a prevailing desire and ability to walk before God in holy obedience (Romans 8:1, etc.).(3) A joyous hope of heaven (ver. 2, Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:5).


1. The originating cause is the free, sovereign, undeserved, and spontaneous love of God towards fallen man (Titus 2:11; Titus 3:4, 5; Romans 3:24).

2. The meritorious cause is Christ; for what He did in obedience to the precepts of the law, and what He suffered in satisfaction of its penalty, taken together, constitute that mediatorial righteousness, for the sake of which the Father is ever well pleased in Him. In this all who are justified have a saving interest. Not that it is imputed to them in its formal nature or distinct acts; for against any such imputation there lie insuperable objections from both reason and Scripture. But the collective merit and moral effects of all which the Mediator did and suffered are so reckoned to our account that, for the sake of Christ, we are released from guilt and accepted of God.

3. The instrumental cause is faith.(1) Present faith. We are not justified by —(a) Tomorrow's faith foreseen, for that would lead to the Antinomian justification from eternity.(b) By yesterday's faith recorded or remembered, for that would imply that justification is irreversible. Justification is offered on believing. We are never savingly interested in it until we believe; and it continues in force only so long as we continue to believe.(2) The acts of this faith are: —(a) The assent of the understanding to the testimony of God in the gospel, and especially that part of it which concerns the design and efficacy of Christ's sacrifice for sin.(b) The consent of the will and affections to this plan of salvation, such an approbation and choice of it as imply the renunciation of every other refuge, and a steady, decided, and thankful acquiescence in God's revealed method of forgiveness.(3) Actual trust in the Saviour and personal apprehension of His merits.


1. That we are not justified by the merit of our works, inasmuch as no obedience we can render can come up to the requisitions of the Law of Innocence.

2. That repentance is neither the cause nor instrument of justification. Repentance makes no atonement, and therefore cannot supersede the blood of Jesus; nor does it secure any personal or justifying interest in it; this is the object of faith only.

3. That the Spirit's work in regeneration and sanctification is not the previous condition of our justification, or the prerequisite qualification for it. For in that case we should be saved without a Saviour, which is a contradiction. The work of pardon for yon must precede the work of purification in you. In the cleansing of the leper, the blood was first to be used, then the oil (Leviticus 14). And in order to your salvation you must first bays "the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus," and then you shall have "the renewing of the Holy Ghost."

4. That our justification is not by the merit of faith itself a refined theory of justification by works.


1. How clear and urgent is the duty of seeking an experimental enjoyment of justifying grace.

2. How sacred are the obligations of the justified:

(1)Gratefully acknowledge it.

(2)Diligently improve it.

(3)Practically evidence your enjoyment of it.

(Jabez Bunting, D. D.)

I. JUSTIFICATION DEFINED. Justification is the Divine judicial act which applies to the sinner believing in Christ the benefit of the atonement, delivering him from the condemnation of his sin, introducing him into a state of favour, and treating him as a righteous person. Though justifying faith is an operating principle which, through the Holy Spirit's energy, attains to an interior and perfect conformity to the law, or internal righteousness, it is the imputed character of justification which regulates the New Testament use of the word. Inherent righteousness is connected more closely with the perfection of the regenerate and sanctified life. In this more limited sense justification is either the act of God or the state of man.

I. GOD THE JUSTIFIER. The act of justifying is that of God as the Judge. Generally it is δικαίωσις, the word which pronounces the sinner absolved from the condemning sentence of the law, and it refers always and only to the sins that are past. Whether regarded as the first act of mercy, or as the permanent will of God's grace towards the believer in Christ, or as the final sentence in the Judgment, it is the Divine declaration which discharges the sinner as such from the condemnation of his sin. "It is God that justifieth" — God in Christ, for all judgment is "committed to the Son," who both now and ever pronounces as Mediator the absolving word, declaring it in this life to the conscience by His Spirit. It is the voice of God, the Judge in the mediatorial court, where the Redeemer is the Advocate, pleading His own propitiatory sacrifice and the promise of the gospel declared to the penitence and faith of the sinner whose cause He pleads. The simplest form in which the doctrine is stated is in Romans 8:33, 34. Here the apostle has in view the past, present, and future of the believer; the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ; and the one justifying sense against which there can be no appeal in time or in eternity. God is Θεὸς ὁ διακιῶν, in one continuous and ever-present act.

II. MAN AS JUSTIFIED. The state into which man is introduced is variously described, according to his various relations to God, to the Mediator, and the law. As an individual sinner he is forgiven: his justification is pardon, his punishment is remitted. As a person ungodly, he is regarded as righteous: "righteousness is imputed to him," or his "transgression is not imputed to him." As a believer in Jesus "his faith is counted for righteousness." All these phrases describe, under its negative and its positive aspect, one and the selfsame blessing of the new covenant as constituting the state of grace into which the believer has entered and in which as a believer he abides. This is attested by passages running through the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles; passages which only confirm the promises of the Old Testament. Our Lord's forerunner was fore-announced "to give knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins" (Luke 1:77). Our Saviour's word was, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee"; but he spoke of the publican as praying, "God be merciful to me a sinner," and as going down to his house "justified" — these words being introduced for the first time, and both being reserved for abundant future service, especially in the writings of St. Paul. He left the commission that "remission of sins should be preached in His name." St. Peter preached that "remission of sins," and afterwards varied the expression, "that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19) — counterparts in meaning. But St. Paul takes up the Saviour's words and unites them (Acts 13:38, 39), and in this Epistle adds all the other terms and unites the whole in one charter of privileges (Romans 4:4-8). In this passage all the phrases are united without exception, and they are represented as the act of God and the state of man, the one and various blessing of habitual experience. To sum up: the state of διακιοσύνη is that of conformity to law, which, however, is always regarded as such only through the gracious imputation of God, who declares the believer to be justified negatively from the condemnation of his sin, and positively reckons to him the character, bestowing also the privileges of righteousness. The former or negative blessing is pardon distinctively, the latter or positive blessing is justification proper.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

A minister of the gospel was once preaching in a public hospital. There was an aged woman present, who for several weeks had been aroused to attend to the concerns of her soul. When she heard the Word of God from the lips of His servant, she trembled like a criminal in the hands of the executioner. Formerly she had entertained hope of acceptance with God, but she had departed from her comforter, and now she was the prey of a guilty conscience. A short time after this the same minister was preaching in the same place, but during the first prayer his text and the whole arrangement of his discourse went completely from hint; he could not recollect a single sentence of either, but Romans 5:1 took possession of his whole soul: "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." He considered this a sufficient intimation of his duty, and descanted freely on justification by faith and a sinner's peace with God through the atonement of Christ. It was the hour of mercy to this poor distracted woman. A ray of Divine consolation now penetrated her soul, and she said to the minister, when taking his leave, "I am a poor vile sinner, but I think, being justified by faith, I begin again to have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. I think Christ has now got the highest place in my heart; and oh! I pray God He would always keep Him there."

Some years ago a clergyman was preaching on this text in the East End of London, and at the end of his sermon he invited any who were anxious to come and converse with him in the vestry. He was followed by an intelligent looking young man, who said, "I am going to leave England in two or three days, and perhaps this is the last opportunity I shall have of talking with a clergyman: My father and I have had a terrible quarrel, and it ended in his turning me out, telling me never to darken his door again. I wandered up to London, but knew not where to look for employment. At last I found a berth as sailor before the mast, and before I go I want to ask you, 'What must I do to be saved?'" The clergyman endeavoured to make the way of salvation as clear as he could to him. They parted, however, without there being any apparent change in the young man's spiritual condition, though he seemed awakened and much in earnest. Time wore on, and the incident had almost passed from the clergyman's mind, when one day a sailor called at his residence. "Do you remember," he said, "some months ago a young man coming to your vestry after the Sermon you had preached on the words, 'Being justified by faith, we have peace with God?'" "Oh, yes; I remember it perfectly." "Well, he went on board the London, and he and I became great friends, because I am a Christian, and I soon found out that he wanted to be a Christian too; so we used often to have long talks over our Bibles, and used to pray together; yet somehow or other I could never get him to see things quite clearly. I suppose he was looking to his feelings more than to Christ. Well, then came the terrible catastrophe, and that young man was told off by the captain, with myself and a few others, to man one of the boats. The boat was lowered, and soon was crowded; but by some means the poor fellow was left behind in the ship. We hardly knew what to do, for our boat was too full already. Besides, the ship was settling fast, and we were afraid of being dragged down with her. Yet we did not like to pull away. Then I heard him call me by name, as he clung to the rigging; and he shouted across the water, 'Goodbye, mate! If you get ashore safe, inquire for the Rev. H. B — , of Limehouse Docks, London, and tell him that here in the presence of God I can say at last, "Being justified by faith, I have peace with God through my Lord Jesus Christ."' As he said the words, the ship gave her last lurch, and he disappeared in a watery grave."

(W. H. Aitken, M. A.)

1. The effect of justification should be peace and holiness.(1) A plan of deliverance which did not include both these would be a mockery. If it did not secure peace it would not meet our wants; if it did not secure holiness it would not meet God's requirements.(2) Accordingly we find that God describes His plan of salvation as effecting both. Christ has "made peace through the blood of His Cross" that He may "present us holy and unblamable and unreproachable in His sight." It is "the very God of peace" who sanctifies us "wholly."

2. The doctrine, therefore, which does not produce these effects is not the true one, and there can be no surer test by which to try the truth of any particular doctrine than this. The religion which really produces both had no man for its teacher, for these are the last things which men would ever think of joining together. All human teachers and lawgivers appeal to fear. All laws are accompanied by penalties. It certainly would never occur to any man to attempt to produce obedience by remitting all penalties; and therefore it is that the natural man always seeks to obtain one of these by the sacrifice of the other.(1) Many try to forget God altogether, or they take refuge in some easy mode of appeasing Him — something said, done, or felt, which quiets conscience; and so they have peace — peace without holiness.(2) But others are not so easily satisfied; their disposition is naturally anxious, or their consciences are scrupulous, and they cannot feel quite comfortable in their sins. Such seek to obtain peace by refraining from sin; but as their only motive is fear, they know of no other way of increasing their obedience than by quickening and strengthening this fear. In such religion takes a gloomy and terrible form. Here is an attempt after holiness, but it is holiness without peace.

3. And thus the mind of the natural man is ever oscillating between these two extremes of sinful peace or painful obedience, but never attaining to the union of these two; never imagining it possible for man to be at once fearless and obedient; and, accordingly, it is a remarkable fact that all false religions have two different aspects, one offering easy terms of salvation to the common crowd, who only desire a religion which shall allow them to sin without fear; the other providing austerities and penances for the few whose intellect or conscience cannot be so easily contented. All these religions, then, are but half religions; they attempt to satisfy man's desire for peace or God's demand for holiness; they never even profess to satisfy both. There is but one religion which does this; it is that which is proclaimed in our text.


1. He who believes that God, for Christ's sake, reckons him holy, "not imputing his trespasses unto him," has perfect peace, because he is trusting in a perfect work. The justice that demanded his condemnation now secures his forgiveness; the omnipotence once arrayed against him is now engaged in his defence. Here is the deep, abiding, perfect peace of him whose mind is stayed upon God.

2. On the other hand the doctrine of justification by inherent righteousness does not, and never can, give perfect peace; for it is a righteousness partly human and partly Divine, and therefore partakes of the uncertainty and imperfection of all things human. He who holds it believes, as Dr. Pusey says, that "he was once, in his baptism, placed in a state of justification; in which, having been placed, he has to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling through the indwelling Spirit of God working in him — a state which therefore admits of relapses and recoveries, but which is weakened by every relapse, injured by lesser, and destroyed for the time by grievous sin." Now, if this be the nature of his justification, how can he be sure, at any given moment, that he is justified? All that such a man can say is this, that once in his life he had a perfect righteousness to present to God, and that, if it had pleased God then to take him to Himself he had been blessed, but that whether he has this righteousness still is a very doubtful matter; and yet that night that man's soul may be required of him! What a miserable faith is this on which to bid a dying sinner rest his hopes for eternity! But this is not all the doubt and difficulty which this doctrine gives rise to, for the means by which justification is bestowed is said to be the sacrament of baptism. If so, perfect and complete justification can be had only once in each man's life; therefore, if he ever entirely lose it by deadly sin, how can it be regained? To meet this, Rome has devised another sacrament by which the sinner may be again made perfectly righteous. But for those who are not Romanists "the Church has no second baptism to give, and therefore cannot pronounce the person who has sinned after baptism altogether free from his past sins. There are but two periods of absolute cleansing — baptism and the day of judgment." Again, "if, after having been washed once for all in Christ's blood we again sin, there is no more such complete absolution in this life, no restoration to the same state of undisturbed security in which God had, by baptism, placed us!" Mark this confession! We will not pause to contrast it with the teaching of him who told baptized men that if they confessed their sins "God was faithful and just to forgive them their sins." We will not delay to inquire whether this way of salvation, which gives no "undisturbed security," can be the same with that which He revealed who said, "Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" or that which he taught, whose converts believing, "rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory." We only ask, how can they who preach such a gospel as this claim to be the messengers of peace? what peace have they to offer? Picture to yourselves a teacher of this "other gospel" proclaiming this way of salvation beside a death bed.

3. But it is said this uncertainty and anxiety is just what is needed to make men zealous and cautious, and the doctrine may make fewer happy death beds but it will produce holier lives. We deny this, and, on the contrary, maintain —

II. That JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH DOES EFFECT not only peace, but HOLINESS; and that sacramental justification no more produces holiness than it does peace.

1. Holiness is conformity to God's image. The perfect likeness of God, to which we are to be assimilated, is seen in Christ, who "loved righteousness, and hated iniquity." A holy man, therefore, is not one who merely refrains from sin, nor yet one who strives to obey all God's commands; he may do all this, and yet be utterly without holiness. But he is one who has become partaker of that Divine nature which was in Christ, the instinct of which it is to hate what God hates, and to love what He loves.

2. Now what is that power which can produce such conformity to Christ? Love is the only passion which assimilates to its object. Fear obeys, envy rivals, but love imitates. That religion will therefore most tend to holiness which most tends to produce in us love to God. Now we know that the belief which most powerfully moves us to love God must be that which most fully manifests the love of God to us. Which, then, of these two doctrines of justification displays most of the love of God to sinners? This question has received its answer from our Lord Himself (Luke 7:41). The publican went down to his house with a more loving and grateful heart than the Pharisee. The prodigal had doubtless a deeper love for the father than had the elder brother who had never given him cause of offence. There is more of loving, fervent, grateful joy in the heart of one penitent sinner who believes that "being justified by faith he has peace with God," than there is in the heart of the ninety-and-nine just persons, who, believing that they have kept their baptismal righteousness, deem that they need no repentance. But if he who thus believes cannot but love, he who thus loves cannot but obey; the love of Christ constraineth him, the mercies of God persuade him, to present himself a living sacrifice unto God.

3. But this doctrine further tends to produce holiness because it tends to produce humility. No man is really holy until he is really humble. But who best learns humility — he who presents to God a righteousness in part his own, or he who confesseth that "in him dwelleth no good thing"?

4. This doctrine tends to produce holiness because it alone enables us to realise the promises of God. It is by these that we escape the "corruption that is in the world through lust." Now he who believes that God will assuredly save him for the sake of Jesus Christ claims all the promises at once as his forever, so that he can say, "I am confident; 'I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to Him against that day.' 'Faithful is He that calleth me, who, also, will do it,'" and "everyone that hath this hope purifieth himself even as He is pure." For think what must be the feelings of that man who, truly loving God, and desiring His presence, really believes that he shall spend an eternity with Him. "Where the treasure is, there will the heart be also." On the other hand, we think it is equally clear that justification by inherent righteousness does not tend to holiness, because for love it substitutes fear; for humility, pride; for assurance, uncertainty. Such a doctrine may make ascetics, hermits, confessors, martyrs even — but never saints.

(Abp. Magee.)

It is faith alone which justifies, and still the faith which justifies is not alone. Ears, feet, and hands are given to us at the same time that our eyes are, yet it is the office of the eye alone to see. In like manner repentance, love, obedience, are the invariable companions of faith; yet it is faith alone for which we claim the power and faculty of justifying.

(J. Calvin.)


1. Faith is a condition of justification opposed to man's own righteousness which is of the law.(1) Faith acknowledges that the legal, proper, primitive sense of the term justify, as the pronouncing him to be righteous who is righteous, is forever out of the question.(a) As to the law: it has been broken, and its condemnation is acknowledged; it demands an obedience that never has been rendered since the fall.(b) Then as to man himself, faith renounces all trust in human ability. It utterly abjures the thought of a righteousness springing from self. It acknowledges past sin, present impotence, and the impossibility of any future obedience cancelling the past (Galatians 2:16). It disclaims all creaturely righteousness as such; the nullity of this is taught by conviction, felt in repentance, and confessed in faith.(2) Hence the specific Evangelical phrase, "Faith is counted for righteousness." This implies the absence of personal righteousness, and the reckoning of a principle, not righteousness, in its stead by a kind of substitution. In its stead: not as rendering good works needless, but displacing them forever as the ground of acceptance. Therefore faith does not justify as Containing the germ of all good works; as "fides formata charitate," or faith informed and vivified by love. Not justifying through any merit in itself, it justifies as the condition on which is suspended the merciful application of the merits of Christ. Faith is not righteousness, as justifying; it is "put to the account" of a man in the mediatorial court as righteousness; not as a good work, but reckoned instead of the good works which it renounces. Lest the faith as itself a work should be regarded as righteousness the apostle varies the expression. He also says again and again inversely that righteousness — not, however, Christ's — is imputed to the believer; not to faith itself, as if God regarded the goodness wrapped up in it (Romans 4:6, 22, 24). It is the man, in the naked simplicity of his self-renouncing, work-renouncing trust in God on whom the sentence of justification is pronounced.(3) Imputation or reckoning has two meanings; the ascribing to one his own and what is not his own. The latter predominates in the three great theological imputations; that of the sin of Adam to the race, that of the race to Christ, and that of the benefit of Christ's righteousness to the believer, as through the imputation of "one man's disobedience many were made sinners" (ver. 19), and as "the Lamb of God bore the sin of the world," "being made sin for us" by imputation as a sin offering "who knew no sin," so the ungodly who in penitence believes has the efficacy of Christ's obedience reckoned to him.(4) This faith as a negative condition is of the operation of the Holy Ghost. He enables the soul to renounce every other trust. He convinces the mind of guilt and impotence; awakens in the heart the feeling of emptiness and longing desire; and so moves the will to reject every other confidence than Christ. But, though the influence of the Spirit produces it, it is so far only negative — a preparation for good rather than itself good.

2. Faith is the active instrument as well as the passive condition of justification.(1) It is its instrumental cause; the originating being God's love; the meritorious, Christ's atoning obedience; the efficient, the Holy Ghost.(2) Its object is God in Christ. In this as in all, "I and My Father are one." Yet the specific object is not God absolutely, nor Christ in His revelation generally, but Christ as the mediatorial representative of sinners, and God as accepting the atonement for man (Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:16). In two ways this Epistle describes God as the object. Romans 4:5 implies what had preceded (Romans 3:25, 26); and in relation to His resurrection (Romans 4:24). But the God of our whole redemption in Christ is the object of faith (John 3:16; Romans 8:32, 11). He is the One God of the One Christ.(3) It is never said that we are justified "on account of" faith, but "through" faith. Faith as the act of the soul by which it unites itself with the Lord, makes the virtue of His merit its own. It apprehends Christ and His atonement; ascribing all to Him, it receives all from Him.(4) Faith is not assurance; but assurance is its reflex act. The same Spirit who inspires faith — which is alone (and without assurance) the instrument of salvation — ordinarily and always, sooner or later, enables the believer to say, "He loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:13).(5) Faith, whether receptive or active, is an exercise of the human heart under the influence of the Holy Spirit through His actual revelation of Christ to the soul, the eyes of which are at the same moment opened. The unveiling of the Saviour and the unveiling of the sight to behold the Lamb of God in one and the same critical moment is the sufficing definition of saving trust. And at the same moment the active energy and passive renunciation of saving faith are, brought to the perfection of their unity.


1. The works of faith declare the life and reality of the faith which justifies. Those works did not declare its genuineness at first when forgiveness was received (Romans 4:6, 13); but afterwards and to retain that justification its works must absolutely be produced (James 2:18, 21, 24). In the whole sequel after receiving Christ, a man is justified not by faith only — which in this connection is no faith at all — but by faith living in its works (James 2:26) Here is the origin of the term living or lively faith; it is remarkable, however, that the invigorating principle is not from the faith to the works, but from the works to the faith.

2. The expression "living faith" suggests the vital relation of this subject to union with Christ. When St. Paul says "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21), he means more than the non-imputation of sin. "That we might become"; our forensic justification being included of necessity, our moral conformity to the Divine righteousness cannot be excluded. These closing words are a resumption of the preceding paragraph, which ended with, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature." "The righteousness of God in Him" is the full realisation of the new method of conforming us to His attribute of righteousness. It is impossible to establish the distinction between "in Christ" for external, and "Christ in us" for internal righteousness; still the distinction may be used for illustration. We are "accepted in the Beloved," "in whom we have redemption through His blood," in order that "Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Ephesians 1:6, 7; Ephesians 3:17), that His grace "may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." The vital union of faith secures both objects: our being reckoned as righteous because "found in Him," and our being made righteous because He is in us as the Spirit of life and strength unto all obedience (Romans 8:2, 4).

3. The justification of faith itself in and through its works, forms the Scriptural transition to internal and finished righteousness, which, however, is generally viewed as entire sanctification; improperly, however, if sanctification is regarded as finishing what righteousness leaves incomplete. To him who insists on bringing in the doctrine of sanctification to supplement as an inward work what in justification is only outward, St. James replies, "Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" (James 2:22). Here is the finished result of "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6); that one and indivisible "work of faith" (1 Thessalonians 1:3), in the assertion of which at the outset of his teaching St. Paul, by anticipation, declared his agreement with St. James. Both show that justifying faith in a consummate religion is "made perfect" in its effects; and both with reference to the law, as again Antinomian renunciation of it (see also Romans 8:4). If "righteousness is fulfilled in us," that must be by our being "made righteous" while reckoned such. But always, whether at the outset where works are excluded, or in the Christian life when they are required, whether on earth or in heaven, justification will ever be the imputation of righteousness to faith. Works only declare faith to be genuine and living. This alone can secure eternal life to those who, though as holy as their Lord Himself, will be apart from Him and in the record of the past, sinners still (Jude 1:21).

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a peace which is not with God. A dull bovine contentment is the stagnancy of life, and not peace with God. Absence of conscience presenting lofty ideals and urging effort; and in place thereof a series of compromises with evil, making things easy all round, is not peace with God; it is the peace of the lowest organism. Peace with God is within the soul, the balmy, vital peace of the summer day, when the forces of Nature are working mightily with the repose of power, moving on without strain or care unto the harvest. Peace with God is: —


1. God's laws are holy, just, and good. Disobedience ought, therefore, to be followed by punishment. And so the wrath of God, therefore, is revealed from heaven. Plainly is that wrath visible in the miseries of a dishonest and vicious society, in the life and doom of a Jezebel, a Caesar Borgia, or a Macbeth. But when the disobedience is manifested in a prudently selfish and godless life, the wrath is not so visible. Often such sinners, if they are clever, have little trouble. Most, however, who are not reconciled to God are uneasy and apprehensive. They feel at times as if some doom were on their track, now and again life feels like a prison, and in death they have no hope. The feeling of the fugitive and of the prisoner is the retributive providence of God, a foreshadowing of the judgment to come.

2. How, then, can transgressors be at peace with this retributive righteousness of God? Only by being justified through our Lord Jesus Christ, Now what is the right position for us to take up to God taking this gracious position to us? Plainly, to repent of the sin and to accept the forgiveness He thus offers. Taking this position, God justifies us — i.e., He acquits us from all penalty, and He declares us to be right with God. God is for us; who then can be against us? We are no longer as a fugitive pursued; we are at the feet of God, accepted as a child returned home; we are in right relations, and no soul can have peace till it is right.

II. PEACE WITH GOD'S REVEALED TRUTH; that is, that God is the Heavenly Father, that Jesus is His Christ and Son, who died for sin, and rose again.

1. How many in this day have not peace? Some are in honest doubt concerning it, but do not oppose it. Others, however, go to geology for stones to throw at it, to biology for theories to discredit it, to physical law as a great engine against it, and when fighting it forget their philosophic calm and their scientific modesty. Some raise a prejudice against it by holding up its professors to ridicule or by making merry with some of its facts. Accompanying this army is a motley crowd of camp followers, old sinners and thoughtless youths, the disappointed and the bitter, lacking courage for the fight, and caring not for the victory, but for the spoils — greater freedom for evil. Then, at a safe distance, is a great company of onlookers, not knowing which side to take. These are not to be envied. They who are definitely opposed have, it may be, a certain intellectual peace; they are not troubled with doubt, but their peace is not a peace with God. But they who doubtfully watch the fight are to be sympathised with. To be swung this way by this argument, then that way by that argument, and to feel, pendulum-like, no approach to the hour when the mind shall strike the truth, is a restless, painful state of mind. Being justified, we are delivered from such dispeace.

2. It is faith, and faith only, which can give certainty to our faith of the truth. Being justified, then, by faith, we have no doubt, no strife as to the truth of the truth. As our conscience has had peace with God by our being put right with God, so now our intellect has peace with God's revealed truth by being assured of that truth.

III. PEACE WITH GOD'S HOLY COMMANDMENT. In commandment I include both God's purpose and precept for our life.

1. There are works of fiction which have been written by two authors. Of course they must have decided the plot and its details between them, and each mast have worked in harmony. But suppose each had had a plot of his own, and had wrought each part according to his own particular plot! In the working or writing of our lives there are two — ourselves and our God. God's purpose is, "Seek first the kingdom of God," etc. But the purpose of many is at war with this. It is, "Seek first the other things, and then, if you can, add God and religion unto them." Absorbed in their own selfish purpose, they forget the purpose of God. Consequently, in their lives there are strife, dispeace.

2. The whole question of keeping God's commandment is simply a question of disposition, as the whole question of justification is simply a question of position with God. Love is good disposition, and love is the fulfilling of the law. Being justified by faith, we receive this disposition. Believing in this position of God toward us, we see His infinite love. Hence there is peace within — peace with the holy commandment; we want to fulfil it, we strive to fulfil it; it is no longer to us a task; it is a delight, and the burden is when we fail through weakness to fulfil it.


1. Even where the purpose of our life is at one with God's and we love His precepts, there fall to us, or at least to most of us, many trials and troubles. The wicked spread themselves as a green bay tree, but the righteous are often as a root out of the dry ground. Then comes the temptation to be not at peace with God's providence; to be angry with God.

2. But our justification is overwhelming proof that God is not against us. If God had forgotten us He would never have sent His Christ for us. But if God love us, it may be said, it cannot be that it is God who sends the trouble to us. No; in many cases it is through the fault of self or others. But God could have prevented them. Yes, but only by interfering with the natural order of things; and rather than He should do that He thinks it best that we should suffer. Then since He so loves us, let us in confidence say, "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in Thy sight." Then the bitterness of trouble is past, the weight of the burden is gone. Moreover, God's love for us is associated with infinite wisdom, and He will somehow cause the affliction to work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. As the fire which consumed the poor man's vineyard cracked the earth revealing veins of silver, thus afflicting the vineyard into a silver mine, so shall the fire which withers and consumes so much that we prize give us in place thereof a mine of imperishable and inexhaustible treasure. "All things shall work together for good to them that love God." Conclusion: Note that the apostle bases this peace on our being justified with God. Many of us seek this peace by endeavouring, first of all, to be at peace with God's providence; or, first of all, to be at peace with God's revealed truth, or to be at peace with God's commandment. But, first of all, we must take our right position at the feet of our God. It is monstrous to attempt to invert the Divine order in the lower spheres of Nature. It is more monstrous to attempt to invert the Divine order in these the higher spheres of grace.

(Albert Goodrich, D. D.)

I. WE LIVE IN ONE GREAT WORLD OF TROUBLE AND THE UNERRING WORD OF INSPIRATION PLAINLY SAYS THAT THE DISTURBING FORCE IS SIN. Yet not everybody chooses to admit that. It will be asserted that traditions of anger in the Supreme Being, coupled with an industrious reiteration of foreboding by a few credulous alarmists, have done most of the mischief. It would soon quiet down, if men and women would just take comfort in what is given them and let presages alone. Across the fair plains of Sicily, with the rising of every new dawn, stretches one deep line of darkness, drawn by the pyramidal form of Mount Etna. It is the unvarying reminder of the ruin that may at any hour fall heavily from the volcano's crater. And yet the inhabitants forbid you to speak of that giant phantom. Thus we live under the immediate shadow of Divine wrath. Men choose to think that there is nothing but incivility in a reminder of the coming day of final judgment. Still, it is better to believe that a few desire to be intelligent. What is it that breaks up the peace in this world? What will bring tranquillity and rest? "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked," etc. (Isaiah 57:21, 19, 20). If it is in antagonism with God, then a deep seated source of irritation and uneasiness is lodged in the centre of its being.

II. NO QUIET CAN POSSIBLY BE FOUND UNTIL THE SOUL COMES TO BE AT ONE WITH GOD, and adjusts all its purposes to meet His declared will (Isaiah 22:17, etc.). The question all turns, therefore, upon the possession of justification, i.e., righteousness.

1. It becomes us in the outset to understand that righteousness is a purely individual acquisition. The gospel deals with human beings one by one.

2. What, then, is this "justification by faith"? A sinner is conceived as condemned at the bar of God's justice; the punishment for his sins is death. Now Jesus Christ, as a redeemer and surety, comes and assumes the sinner's exposures and liabilities. In effect, He stands in the sinner's place. This is the picture so often presented by Paul; he appears never to be tired of it (vers. 6-8). Peace comes, therefore, when purity has come beforehand. "First pure, then peaceable." Saved souls are pardoned for Christ's sake. The story is told of Martin Luther, that once the evil one appeared to enter his room with a vast roll of parchment, a catalogue of all his former sins. With a hollow burst of derisive laughter the fiend threw it on the floor, still holding one end in his hand so that it might easily unroll its awful length. There the frightened man was compelled to read, hour after hour, the terrible list of all the wicked deeds he had done in all his life. And his heart failed him as he gazed. Suddenly the devil called him by name, and pointed to some words along the top of the roll. Luther looked up and read aloud, "All sin"; and then he understood that no one of the many acts, or even thoughts, was to be left out. Hell appeared opening at once under his feet. His agony was intense. But Satan kept screaming, "All sin! all sin!" And at last, in order to afflict him the more, exclaimed, "So says God, so says God, all sin, all sin!" Now the man's study of Scripture stood him in excellent stead. For he asked, "Where speaks God that word?" "There, there!" answered the devil, pointing again to the parchment and putting his fiery finger on the two words, "all sin, all sin." The reformer snatched the awful list away from his enemy, and unrolling it one turn more, in the other direction, discovered, as he hoped he would, the remainder of the inscription: "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin!" So he learned that all his sins had been massed together upon that roll in order to announce that atonement had been made completely to cover them. And with a glad cry of exultant joy he awoke, while the devil disappeared with his parchment of woe. It is when a man knows his sins are all in the burden Jesus bore on the Calvary Cross, that he has no longer any fear about them. "The work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance forever."

III. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO PUT INTO FORMS OF SPEECH THE SOURCES OF ENJOYMENT WHICH A PARDONED BELIEVER KNOWS when he is once possessed of the peace which passes understanding; the soul like a bride rests in a love it cannot explain, when the sweet day of espousal to Christ has been reached.

1. The Christian cannot be alone, for a happy conscience, like a bird in his heart, keeps singing cheerily to give him company. He has no alarms, no suspicions. Nothing breaks up the calm, bright serenity of his trustful repose in Christ Jesus. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace," etc.

2. Peace brings prosperity. God opens the door of His treasury of promise to the souls He has welcomed into the palace. He loves His Son, and they are His Son's friends. If our feet are upon the Rock of Ages it does not matter at all where the danger threatens. "I have pain," said Richard Baxter, on his dying bed, "I have pain; there is no arguing against sense; but then, I have peace, great peace!" To any true believer, there is no shock in the appearance of that messenger who announces his departure. He seems to himself even now sitting in the antechamber of the palace, waiting; and death is only the black-dressed servant who comes out to say the King is ready to see him in the throne room. Conclusion: Surely it is worth something, in a world like this, to find one antidote for wakefulness and unrest. This is the peace which the world can neither give nor take away (ver. 10). Each Christian receives a testimony in his soul which settles all his fears for the future. He has put his case out of his own hands. So he waits tranquilly for the judgment, knowing he is prepared for it, and shall stand clear in the end.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)


1. One reason is a want of knowledge about ourselves. We do not see that peace is the thing we want. We sigh for it now and again, but we do not pursue it. Gold, pleasure, power, fame, we pursue with all our might; we do not covet peace except when we are weary, and want to sleep and dream.(1) Look at yon solitary man watching the stream flow. He is saying, "I would this restless bosom were like yon tranquil river." But he has not the courage to ask what is at the bottom of this discontent. He lets another sigh escape him, which goes to swell that great wind of unrest which goes moaning about the world, and hurries back to some scene of distraction, where he may get rid, for a time, of that burden of himself which he cannot bear. Men's feeling about peace is often, then, no more than a fleeting sentiment, and where peace is actually enjoyed, men do not take pains to secure it.(2) What a misery is a home without peace! How is it that it does not deeply impress itself, that any sacrifice of personal opinion and feeling is to be made rather than this blessing of peace should be forfeited?(3) And so in the Church. Peace is its bond of union. We cannot worship in truth, we can neither edify nor be edified, with divided hearts. Yet here, again, there has been constant strife between the carnal and the spiritual. And again and again the carnal prevails. Christians do not guard and fence about the sacred enclosure of heaven's peace, and yet they are dismayed when it is broken into and trampled upon!(4) Look again at the case of nations. Is there anything more wicked than needless wars? And how few wars there are which are not needless! See what a weight of pure feeling there is in the scale against war. All the most intelligent and best members of society are against it. And yet war still goes on. Men love to listen to the hymn of the angels, "Peace on earth," and go to raise the yell of demons on the battlefield.

2. The explanation is that which the gospel gives. Tracing the deep inconsistencies of human nature down to their root, it tells us the carnal mind is enmity against God. Here is the secret of our discords. Man has a spiritual part which would lead him to peaceable ways, and he has a passionate part which leads him to hate, and to the destruction of himself and of his brethren. While this strife goes on there cannot be peace. This is the secret of the deep unrest in men's souls. Ever yearning and dreaming of a blissful quiet that is so foreign to their actual condition. This is why the calm of a starlight night softens us; why the sight of a sleeping babe sometimes moves us to tears; or a strain of soft music quells some angry mood; or the face of one we love sleeping placidly in death. These sights, these sounds, speak to us of a state where the unholy war of passion has ceased, of that peace which ought to be ours, and which would be ours, were it not for this terrible foe in our own bosom, in the mind at enmity with God. This is why thousands of persons love to listen to the gospel who are far from living evangelical lives.

II. THE WAY OF PEACE POINTED OUT BY THE GOSPEL. Evidently, if we are to come to peace, two things are necessary; first, the spiritual part of our nature must be strengthened, and, second, the carnal or passionate part of our nature must be reduced and mortified.

1. Now the law, as St. Paul shows, was unequal to this work. The law did much to strengthen and to educate the spiritual feeling of man. It taught as the first principle of all religion — love to God and to man. But when the law came to oppose the carnal nature of man, it was found to be weak. It set up a great frowning barrier against man's unholy passions, and sin acquires greater energy when resisted, like pent-up waters behind a dam. The law, then, failed to bring us to peace with God, because it could not extinguish, though it could restrain, passion; because it could punish sin, but could not make the love of sin to cease.

2. But what the law could not do, God could do by a special act of His grace. He sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin.(1) The life of our Lord was throughout an invitation to man to peace and rest in God. His own character was a revelation of the peacefulness of the Divine nature; and His teaching sets before us the gentle and unselfish life, we must live to be in harmony with the life of our father in heaven. But this is not enough. It is like telling a man in a fever to be cool by thinking of the frosty Caucasus, or a man at sea to be calm by thinking of a quiet harbour. It is mockery to tell a man in the midst of the commotions of his conscience that he can be at peace by looking at Jesus Christ, and following His example. It is like telling him to turn himself into a white marble statue. What the man needs is some influence that can quell the rebellion of his flesh, and allow his spirit free action.(2) And therefore the gospel points to the death of Christ as the means of our reconciliation to God. Our Lord was put to death in an outbreak of Jewish passion which was typical of the sin of man. In the Cross the gospel teaches us to see the last most dreadful proof of what sin is, and whither it tends. And the point before us is that it produces a profound reaction upon the feelings of the sinner. When a man who has long given way to evil passions at last strikes down his friend, his passion dies with its victim. We cannot doubt that sin dies out of the heart of some men when its last fatal fruit has ripened and fallen. And something like this occurs with the man who is led to see in the death of the Lord Jesus the awful witness and fruit of his aim(3) But is he not an object of God's vengeance? No; the blood of Christ not only cleanses from sin, but it is the last language of God to the sinner, beseeching him to be reconciled to Him. It is the accepted compensation for sin. It does not cry cut for vengeance like that of Abel, but it has the pleading tongue of eternal mercy and love. Conclusion: It is for us to believe with all our hearts that this is the relation in which God stands to us and our sin through our Lord Jesus Christ. To have faith in this is the ground of our justification and the beginning of a peaceful and a holy life.

(Prof. E. Johnson, M. A.)

Wonderful is the power of faith. Hebrews 11 tells us of its marvellous exploits; but one of the most wonderful of its effects is that it brings us justification and consequent peace. It is not the creator of these things, but the channel through which these favours come to us.

I. FAITH BRINGS US INTO A STATE OF PEACE. Naturally we have no peace. God is angry with us. "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" And we cannot agree with God, for "the carnal mind is enmity against God," etc.

1. Before there can be peace between us and God we must with all our hearts plead "guilty." To refuse to do so is contempt of court. There is mercy for a sinner, but there is no mercy for the man who will not own himself a sinner.

2. Then we must admit the justice of the Divine sentence. It would yield my heart no comfort to be told that God could wink at sin. Lasting peace must be founded upon everlasting truth.

3. And now comes in the abounding mercy of God, who, in order to our peace, finds a substitute to bear our penalty, and reveals to us this gracious fact. He puts His Son in the sinner's place. Sin having been laid on Christ, He has borne it away. Faith accepts that substitution as a glorious boon of grace, and rests in it. The soul may well have peace when it has realised and received such a justification as this, for —(1) It is a peace consistent with justice.(2) No further demands can be made against us, "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin."(3) Our acquittal is certified beyond all question, and the certificate is always producible, viz., the risen Christ, who "died for our sins, and rose again for our justification."


1. The sense of peace follows upon the state of peace. We do not get peace before we are justified, neither is peace a means of justification. God justifies the ungodly.

2. This sense comes "through Jesus Christ." Many children of God lose their peace in a measure, because they deal with God absolutely, but there cannot be any point of contact between absolute Deity and fallen humanity except through Christ, the appointed Mediator. Have you attempted to approach the Eternal King without His chosen ambassador? How presumptuous is your attempt! The throne of Divine sovereignty is terrible apart from the redeeming blood.

3. Some Christians say, "I have no lasting peace." But peace is the right of every believer. What is there now between him and God? Sin is forgiven; righteousness is imputed. God sees him in His Son, and loves him. Why should he not be at peace? "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God," said Jesus, "believe also in Me." Why have you not peace, then? You have a claim to it, and you ought to enjoy it. What is the reason why you do not possess it?(1) It is your unbelief. In proportion to your faith will your peace with God abide.(2) Or you make a mistake as to what this peace is.(a) You say, "I am so dreadfully tempted; the devil never lets me alone." But did you ever read that you were to have peace with the devil? Never; on the contrary, you have the better promise that "the Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Till then the enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman will continue.(b) Another says, "It is not the devil; it is myself that I fear. I feel the flesh revolting and rebelling. When I would do good, evil is present with me. 'Oh wretched man that I am!'" Hearken again. As the Lord hath war with Amalek forever and ever, so there is war between the spirit and the flesh so long as the two are in the same man. There is no promise of peace with the flesh, but only of peace with God.(c) "Ah," says another, "I am surrounded by those that vex me. When I serve the Lord they malign and misrepresent me with scoff and slander." Yes, but did you ever dream of having peace in this world where your Lord was crucified — peace with those that hate you for His sake? Why, did He not say, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you." "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." "And this is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith."(d) "Still," says one, "I find every day that I sin, and I hate myself for sinning." Yes; and the Lord never said that you should have peace with sin. The more hatred of sin the better. If sin never distresses you, then God has never favoured you.

4. To come back then, "we have peace with God." We enjoy peace with God because —(1) We know He loves us. He would not have given His Son to die for us if He had not. Moreover, we feel a fervent love to Him in return.(2) We are not afraid to go to our covenant God for all necessary things, and to seek His help in time of trouble. We have not always such settled peace with our fellow creatures, for at times we so much lack confidence in them that we could not divulge to them our troubles. Our habitude of prayer proves that we have peace with God; we should not think of praying to Him if we doubted His goodwill.(3) We delight in God. You do not always feel Him equally near, but when He is near it is the joy of your spirit.(4) We acquiesce in all that He does in His rough providences. A hypocrite is like a strange dog that will follow a man as long as he casts him a bone; but a true believer is like a man's own dog that will follow him when he gives him nothing. A true believer says, "Shall I receive good from the hand of the Lord, and shall I not also receive evil?"(5) We look forward with confidence to the time of our departure out of this world and say, "I can die, if Thou, O Lord, be with me." We are not afraid of the day of judgment because we have peace with God, and hence we are not afraid to die.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. PEACE WITH GOD NOT NATURAL TO US. It must be an attainment.

1. To be atheistic, seeming to ourselves to live in a headless universe, is not a condition in which to feel at peace.

2. To regard God as ruling in mere power and will, and as having no administration of righteousness, is to see ourselves under a sway in which it is impossible to confide.

3. To see God as holy and just, and ourselves as sinners against His holiness and justice, is to be filled with hopeless dread and enmity. Here it is that the gospel finds us.


1. To believe in His compassion; that while He is almighty and all holy, He is also gracious, and has provided for sinners a way of salvation.

2. To trust in and consent to this way of salvation, taking the Lord Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and our Master.


1. There is no pretence of attaining such peace in any other way. Worldliness, philosophy, science, fail to give us peace with God.

2. In Jesus Christ, God, whom you have offended, and from whom you have become estranged, offers the hand of reconciliation. Will you extend the answering hand of faith and be at peace with Him?

(C. W. Camp.)

A moment's contemplation would suffice to arouse any man to the terror of the position involved in being at war with God. For a subject to rebel against a powerful monarch is to incur forfeiture of life. But for a creature to be in arms against its Creator, this is an appalling thing indeed; but happy beyond all description the man who can say, "I have peace with God."


1. Its basis.(1) There is the widest possible difference between a man being just in his own eyes, and his being justified in the sight of God. Yet, perhaps no fallacy is more common than to mistake the one for the other. Then, as a natural consequence of building on a weak foundation, the structure, however fair to look upon, is insecure. The peace in which multitudes delight is merely peace with their own conscience, and not in any sense peace with God. I know of no greater contrast than there is between that peace which is a mere stagnation of thought, a lull of anxiety, or a blindness to danger, and that soul-satisfying peace which passes all understanding.(a) "Are you living in peace with God, my friend?" "Yes," says one, "I have enjoyed peace for years." "How do you get it? Well, as I was walking one day in great distress, a feeling of comfort came over me, and it has remained with me ever since." "Yes, but what is the ground of your confidence; what is the doctrinal proof?" "Well, do not press me," says he, "only this I know — I do feel happy, and ever since, I have not had any doubt." That man, if I be not mistaken, is under a delusion. Satan has said to him, "Peace, peace," where there is no peace. The peace of a Christian is not such a lull of stupefaction as that. It has a reason.(b) Here is another who says, "Some years ago I never went to a place of worship. I was doing my trade in a very bad way, and now and then I took too much drink; and I thought it was time for me to turn over a new leaf, and I have done so. Now, I am not like the man you brought up just now. I think I may say I have a good ground for saying that I am at peace with God." Now, let this man be reminded that it is written, "By the works of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight." All these moral things are good enough in themselves. They will be very excellent if they be placed at the top; but, if they be used as foundations, a builder might as well use tries, and slates, and chimney pots, as use these reformatory actions as a ground of dependence. All this is only peace with yourself.(c) Some true Christians will say, "I hope I am at peace with God now, for my faith is in active exercise; my love is fervent; I have delightful seasons in prayer, etc., etc., therefore I feel that I have peace with God." Oh, believer! art thou so foolish as, having begun in the Spirit by faith, to be made perfect in the flesh by your own doing? If thou puttest thy peace here upon thy graces, then there will come another day when all those graces will droop like withered flowers. To look to thy graces for peace is like going to the cistern instead of living by the fountain.(d) I fear, too, that there are not a few who are tempted to found their confidence upon their enjoyments. If we do this, let us remember that we may have our times of agonising and fruitless prayer; we may be in the valley of despondency, or in the blacker valley of the shadow of death.(2) The Christian's conviction of his peace with God lies in this — that he is justified by faith. I was a sinner doomed to die; Christ took my place; He died for me. God says that he who believes in Christ shall be saved — I believe in Christ, therefore I am saved. He says, "He that believeth on Him is not condemned." I believe on Him, therefore I am not condemned. Now this is reasoning which no logic can gainsay. There is a rebel — be is pardoned, he is at peace with his king, and a rebel no longer. There is the offending child — his father takes him, accepts him for his elder brother's sake, and he is at peace with his father. This is the basis of the Christian's peace — one on which he may sleep or wake, live or die, and live eternally, without condemnation or separation from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus the Lord.

2. Its channel — "through our Lord Jesus Christ."(1) Though justification by faith is in itself a well of comfort, yet, even from that well we cannot get it, except we use Christ, who digged the well, to be the bucket to draw the water up from its depths. I will suppose that I am in doubt and fear and want to get my peace restored — how shall I seek it? Through Christ, the surety and substitute. Christ tells me that He came to save sinners; I am a sinner, therefore He came to save me.(a) He says He can save me. This looks reasonable. He is very God, He is perfect man, He has suffered and offered a complete atonement.(b) He tells me He is willing to save me. This also appears reasonable, for why else should He die?(c) Then He tells me if I will trust Him, He will save me. I trust Him, and I have not the shadow of a shade of a suspicion of doubt that He will be as good as His word.(2) Some people say we teach that man is saved by mere believing. We do. There is a poor, starving man over there. I give him bread — his life is spared. Why do not these people say this man was saved by mere eating! And here is another person who is dying of thirst, and I give him water and the man is saved by mere drinking. Why do not we drop down dead in our pews? Just stop your breath a little while and see. Surely we all live by mere breathing. All these operations of nature may be sneered at as merely this or that; and in like manner to speak disparagingly of "mere believing" is nonsense. And if I would get my peace made more full and perfect, having come to Christ by faith, the more I go to Christ believingly, the deeper will my peace be. If I live near to Christ I shall not know fear. Who should know fear when he is covered with the Eternal wings, and underneath him are the Everlasting arms? As Christ was the first means of giving us peace, so He must still be the golden conduit through which all peace with God must flow to our believing hearts.

3. Its certainty. I like to read these rolling sentences of Paul, without an "if" or a "but" in them — "Therefore, being justified, we have peace with God." How different is this from "I hope," "I trust." Now where this language is genuine it deserves sympathy, but I believe in many cases it is cant. Let those who are the subjects of these doubts be cheered, but let their doubts and fears be rooted out. It is not presumption to believe what God tells you. If He says, "You are justified," do not say, "I hope I am." If I should say to some poor man, "I will pay your rent for you," and he should say, "Well, well, I hope you will," I should not feel best pleased with him. If you should say to your child, "I shall buy you a new suit of clothes today," and he should say, "Well, father, I sometimes hope you will, I humbly trust, I hope I may say, though I sometimes doubt and fear, yet I hope I may say I believe you," you would not encourage such a child as that in his uncomely suspicions. Why should we talk thus to our dear Father who is in heaven?

4. Its effect.(1) Joy. Who can be at peace with God and have Him for a Father, and yet be miserable?(2) A calm resignation, nay, a delightful acquiescence in his Father's will. What fear is there to the man that is at peace with God? Life? — God provides for it. Death? — Christ hath destroyed it. The Grave? — Christ hath rolled away the stone and broken the seal. Affliction, tribulation, famine, peril, or the sword? "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that hath loved us."


1. There is a man who many years ago was a professor, and who has never been easy in his conscience since he forsook the ways of God. Backslider, do you remember the time when you did feel that Christ could save, and you did trust yourself with Him? Now then, do the same tonight, and the dew of thy youth is restored unto thee. "Oh! but I have forsaken Him." Lay aside thy "buts" and "its." He bids thee come. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

2. There are those who are not backsliders exactly, but have lost their peace for a little time. Many young Christians are subject to little fits, in which their evidence gets dark and they lose their peace, Now learn from me. I find it very convenient to come every day to Christ as I came at first. "You are no saint," says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, there I go — other hope I have none.

3. There are those who never had peace.(1) Do not seek peace as the first object; for, it you want peace before you get grace, you want the flower before you get the root, like children who, when they have a piece of garden given them, pluck the flowers out of their father's bed, and put them into their own ground, and then say, "What a nice garden I have got!" But to their dismay, on the morrow all is withered. Better put the roots in and wait till they sprout, and then the flowers will be living ones, not borrowed ones. Do not seek after peace first. Seek after Christ first. Peace will come next.(2) And remember, that if you put your eye on anything but Christ, or anything with Christ, so as to disturb your whole thought and attention from being directed exclusively to Him, then peace will be an impossibility to you. Do not trust your repentance, faith, feelings, knowledge, sense of need, but come because you have nothing to recommend you; because you are vile, to be pardoned; because you are black, to be washed; come, because you are penniless, to be made rich; but look for nothing else save in Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Your peace, sinner, is that terribly prophetic calm which the traveller occasionally perceives upon the higher Alps. Everything is still. The birds suspend their notes, fly low, and cower down with fear. The hum of bees among the flowers is hushed. A horrible stillness rules the hour, as if death had silenced all things by stretching over them his awful sceptre, Perceive ye not what is surely at hand? The tempest is preparing, the lightning will soon cast abroad its flames of fire. Earth will rock with thunder blasts; granite peaks will be dissolved; all nature will tremble beneath the fury of the storm. Yours is that solemn calm today, sinner. Rejoice not in it, for the hurricane of wrath is coming, the whirlwind and the tribulation which shall sweep you away and utterly destroy you.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I have spilled the ink over a bill, and so have blotted it till it can hardly be read; but this is quite another thing from having the debt blotted out, for that cannot be till payment is made. So a man may blot his sins from his memory and quiet his mind with false hopes, but the peace which this will bring him is widely different from that which arises from God's forgiveness of sin through the satisfaction which Jesus made in His atonement. Our blotting is one thing; God's blotting out is something far higher.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Teacher's Treasury.
I once knew a young lady very rich in earthly gifts; she had youth, beauty, wealth; but she had not the best gifts, the "peace" that Jesus gives. She was not in the habit of visiting the poor, but one day she went with a friend to see an old woman who had been confined to bed for thirty years, suffering from a painful complaint, and was apparently near death. While the young lady stood pitying by, she was struck by hearing no word of repining or impatience. The aged Christian spoke of happiness and peace, the mercies she had experienced, the joys she was so soon to know. The contrast was great between these two — the one in the flush of youth, health, prosperity! the other so different. But the young lady turned to her friend, and said, "I would gladly change places with that poor creature to have her peace." The saint went to her rest, but the lesson was not lost; the young lady sought for peace in Jesus, and found it. She is now a bright example of a consistent Christian, and treading in that path "which shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

(Teacher's Treasury.)

One who professes to have no settled religious beliefs said to me a few days ago, "The best argument for religion I know is that it brings harmony into the lives of those who are truly religious"; and I believe many would give almost all they have for Christian peace.

God's hand may be laid very heavily upon us, but faith interprets all as administered in love. Therefore, while joy may be absent, peace may reign supreme in the soul. We should not depreciate Christian joy. To "rejoice with joy unspeakable" is our blessed privilege. But peace is that which our Saviour especially bequeathed as the peculiar inheritance of His children while on earth.

God did not begin war against us; we began the war against Him, and it is high time that this farce of the finite struggling against the Infinite were ended. We are tired of the war. We want to back out. But how shall we get a cessation of this contest? By going up into the mount of God and plucking olive branches. What mount? Calvary. Modern travellers say it is only an insignificant hill; but I persist in calling it a mount, because, through the grandeur of its meaning, it overtops the very highest of all earthly elevations. The Alps and the Himalayas are less than ant hills compared with it. In the very excavation on Calvary where the Cross was once set, afterward the olive was planted, and it is green, and thrifty, and foliaged today, and I strip it off, and I wave it before this assemblage, crying, "Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Oh, if there is any joyful thought enough to overthrow one's equilibrium, that is the thought. It may be a matter of very little importance what President Grant, or Queen Victoria, or King William thinks of anyone; but to be brought into close, and intimate, and hearty, and glowing relations with the God of a round universe — that makes a hallelujah seem stupid. If we had continued this fight against God for ten thousand years, we could not have captured so much as a sword, or taken so much as a cavalry stirrup, or wrenched off so much as a chariot wheel of His omnipotence; but God and all heaven's artillery come over on our side at the first swing of the olive branch. Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there is no peace in any other way.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

We could relate many heart-moving incidents, but will here only give one which happened to him in the Black Forest. We were driven by a fearful storm to take refuge in a small house, where we found a woman sitting at a table clad in deep mourning, and evidently in great sorrow. Although the Ave Maria was sounding from the neighbouring tower of the village church, she was not praying, but only kept on silently weeping to herself. In answer to our inquiries as to the cause of her sorrow, she told us that she had no rest, and did not know how things stood between her and God Under the guidance of her priest, she had done all that could be thought of to obtain ease of mind. She had placed great candles on the altar, had observed all the fasts and joined in all the processions "for the benefit of the Holy Father," and done many other things of the same sort, but all had failed to give her peace of heart. Then came an awful trial in the death of her dear husband, who was killed while employed as a wood cutter, by the fall of a gigantic fir tree. The Jesuit Father R — told her that this was the expiation of her sin, and that now she could be at rest. "But I was not, and I am not," sighed the poor deeply-troubled woman. We soon found that she knew nothing of Christ except that He was the son of the Virgin and a great saint, whom one ought to invoke alternately with the other intercessors. With what delight this poor soul now absorbed the good news of the Saviour of sinners, and how quickly she understood Him whom she had long loved without knowing it, they alone can form a conception who know what it is to have been blind, to have cried for the light, and to have had their eyes opened.

(Pastor Funcke.)

1. Here we come to a main turning point in the development of the apostle's teaching. One chapter whose title might be, "An exposition and defence of justification by faith in Christ without the deeds of the Law," is closed. Another is about to open whose title might be, "The results of justification in the experience of the believer." To unfold these results; to show that, so far from the new teaching encouraging men in sin, it affords the only security for practical holiness; to trace the growth of a believer's spiritual life from the moment of his justification till it ends in the glorious liberty of the children of God; — this continues to be his theme down to the end of the eighth chapter.

2. In the opening paragraph of this section St. Paul makes it plain that God's gospel way of justifying a sinner on his believing affords the most ample ground to hope for the ultimate complete salvation of every believer. How that hope is to be realised the apostle does not as yet say. Into the connection between a justified state and a holy life, he does not as yet enter. Taking his stand simply on the bare fact of justification, he states that he who accepts it cannot help expecting triumphantly the fullest possible deliverance one day into the glory of God.

3. Hope is the keyword of this section, therefore; exultant hope of future glory.


1. This "peace with" or "with respect to" God is probably neither our changed feelings toward God in Christ, nor our peace of conscience when we are sure of pardon, nor that deep peace of the spirit which is Christ's bequest and which passes all understanding; but the relationship out of which all this springs. Friendly affections grow out of pacific relations.

2. The change from an armed to a peaceful attitude we owe in the first instance to the atoning work of the Son. Not that God could hate His sinful creature. But He does hate sin — the one thing which He hath not made. And our sin, so long as it was unexpiated, forced Him into an attitude of reluctant antagonism. Antagonism is not hatred, nor even dislike; it may co-exist with the most tender affection. After Absalom had assassinated his half-brother, the sorrowing king and father refused to receive the murderer at court, although all the while his heart longed to go forth to his favourite. So were we to God as that misguided fratricide was to David. Apart from the atonement He could not speak to us words of friendship; while we, on our part, were "enemies in our minds through wicked works" — disliking God and resenting His claims.

3. But see what a mighty revolution Christ's death wrought! The obstacle which before had legally barred a sinful man's admission into friendship, was taken out of the way. So soon as we are penitent believers, we have an access into this favour of our Father (ver. 1); and standing in that grace, it is now possible for us to hope that we shall see and share the glory of our God (ver. 2).

II. OUR HOPE IS NOT IMPAIRED BUT CONFIRMED BY OUR PRESENT TRIBULATION. It is far off, that glory of God which we hope for. And the present is a life of trouble. Does not this then put our boastful hope in a coming glory to shame? No, life's trouble confirms and increases our hope; because it works in us a steadfast endurance in the exercise of our faith — a holding on and holding out to the end. The Christian who thus perseveres under trouble is an approved or accredited believer. Having stood that test of trial, his faith is found genuine; and as the tested Christian finds his faith to prove itself thus genuine, must not his hope wax only so much the more confident? As the hope to be one day glorified with the glory of God is a theme for triumph, so the believer learns to transfer his exultant triumph even to those afflictions which in the long run minister to his future glory, and that strangest of all strange paradoxes on Christian lips comes true (ver. 3).

III. THIS TRIUMPHANT HOPE IN WHICH GOD IS YET TO DO FOR, US, FINDS A STILL MORE SURE FOUNDATION OF FACT IN WHAT GOD HAS ALREADY DONE TO PROVE THE GREATNESS OF HIS LOVE. This is the argument which fills the remainder of the section (vers. 5-11). It is introduced in the words of ver. 5. This love of God for us which His Spirit pours out like a rich fruitful tide within the believer's heart, is that quite unparalleled love evinced in Christ's death for us while we were yet sinners (vers. 6-8). And the force of the argument is, "If when we were hostile, God reconciled us by His Son's death, how much now when we are His friends, will He save us by His Son's life?" Paul regards all that still remains to be done for a believer in order to fit him for final glory as an inferior test of Divine kindness, costing less, and therefore less improbable, than what God already did in the sacrifice of Christ's life. He argues from the greater thing to the less. It is a much higher effort of generosity to reconcile an enemy than to save a friend. Love was put then to its hardest task. It did not fail in that thing which was greatest; why should it fail in a less thing? The conquering, uplifted Christ, regnant in celestial bliss, with matchless resources at command, His omnipotent breath penetrating His Church — He will not withdraw His hand from the easy completion of a task of which the first part has been already performed ill tears and blood. Conclusion: Only seize the religious meaning of the death of Jesus Christ, and everything puts on a new face. It did so to St. Paul. This world was become a new world to him since Christ had died. Before that decease was accomplished at Jerusalem, the human race lay sunk in hopeless guilt, jailered by the inexpiable vengeance of heaven, with the blackness of death shrouding its hereafter. But now, what a change!

1. God is changed. Whereas there lay on our hearts only the intolerable sense of infinite disapproval and displeasure, now we have peace with Him. He is just, and yet He justifies us through His Son's expiation.

2. This life is changed. Its troubles are still upon us, but before they seemed to be only presages of a vengeance to come. Now we are God's friends, and afflictions can be nothing worse than experiments upon our confidence in Him; a well-meant discipline vindicating the sincerity of our attachment to Him, whom, though He slay us, we still can trust. When we have withstood such a test, we can even turn round and rejoice in it.

3. The future is changed. The leaden pall is lifted which overhung man's existence. With God on his side, a man learns to have boundless anticipations. Who will say that anything is too much to hope for a creature for whom God was willing to die?

(J. Oswald Dykes, D. D.)

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