Read Romans 5:1-11
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with
God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained
access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Digging Deeper: Elvis Costello & The Attractions (I know, your favorite band) first popularized the song, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” back in the late 1970’s. If you haven’t heard it—it’s actually a pretty catchy song—you might want to download it to your ITunes.
Anyway, that’s a digression from what I want to talk about. But I do think it makes a pretty good title for Romans 5:1-11. The essence of Paul’s argument here is that we have peace with God (not just inner calm and serenity, but literally, the mutual hostility between God and man because of man’s sin has been ended) and access (free, unlimited, and irrevocable) to his grace (unmerited favor) because, through his love, we have been justified (a once-and-for-all legal settlement) by Christ’s sacrificial death.
I don’t know about you, but I find that funny. Not just kind of funny, but gut-splittingly funny! “Funny” not in the sense of ridiculous—although getting credited with righteousness before God through Christ’s account is a pretty ridiculous equation, wouldn’t you say? Not just “funny” in the sense of foolish—although the idea of being right with God apart from good works and human effort is the height of foolishness to those who are not saved. And not just “funny” in the sense of odd—although how odd is it that God would go to such great links to prove his love by loving that which was completely unlovable? (Romans 5:6-8)
No, I’m talking “funny” in the sense that what God has done for you and me is so undeserved, and we are such unlikely candidates for his grace, that the only response you and I can offer in return is to fall on our knees, undone by love, overflowing with gratitude, and giddy with joy!
These first eleven verses are so amazingly profound that no commentary I or anyone else can offer will really do them justice. So I want to recommend that you simply read and re-read them until the Spirit who inspired them illuminates them to you in a fresh way and brings you into a true and deeper understanding of what it took to justify you, and what it means for you to stand in peace and grace in God’s presence.
I have a sense that when you really begin to understand this—although I’m not sure we will ever really and fully “get” what has been done for us—you will probably fall on your knees in laughter, or dumbfounded silence, or tears—because all those responses are appropriate when you begin to understand even in the slightest the amazing grace and the deep, deep love of God!
What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding? Everything!
“Mercy for the sinner, help in the hardest place,
everything for nothing, that is grace!”
This Week’s Assignment (Including two options for scripture memory):
- Option A—Memorize Romans 5:1-4, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
- Option B—Memorize Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Read Romans 5:1-11 once a day for the next seven days (you might want to use different version on different days). Ask God to give you a fresh understanding of the richness of these verses.