Where Are We Now?

Bible Book: Romans  5 : 1-11
Subject: Reconclied to God; Christ, We are In; Grace, Living in

The old cliché is that we need to stop and smell the roses. Sometimes, life moves so fast, we didn’t even see the roses; much less slow down long enough to smell them. As we have moved fairly quickly through the book of Romans, so far Paul has exposed us to the stark truth of our own sin and rebellion against God. Our depravity has been painted for us in dark and damning colors, and any self-righteousness we might have been holding on to has been stripped away from us. Paul has made us all stand silent before God’s judgment and know that we are guilty, without any other plea. But then, like a morning sun, the truth of the gospel has been held up for us to see. God, before whom we were all so awfully guilty, has now offered to us all His amazing grace.

Verse 2 of Romans chapter 5 says, “…we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…” In that phrase, grace is described like a field into which we’ve entered and now stand still. The journey through Romans has led us into the field of God’s grace. Standing in that big, broad, beautiful field, chapter 5 is a chance to look around and see with wonder where we are now.

“…being justified by faith,” we now have the opportunity to really appreciate and celebrate what Jesus has done for us. Romans may have started in a minor key, but in this chapter, we find a melody we can sing with a smile on our face. Where once we were guilty, now we can glory. Where once we feared our future, now we look forward to it with hope and faith that cannot be shaken. If you are a believer, the first part of Romans 5 is an opportunity for you to stop and smell the roses of your redemption – and it is sweet!

So, where are we now? In this passage of Scripture, we are told the truth of:


In his book, Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman writes about the importance of a D.T.R. talk. Some of you may know what that means, but for everyone else, D.T.R. stands for “Define the Relationship”.

I know some young men who’d rather have a long talk about quantum physics than a serious talk about their relationship with their girlfriend. Romans 5, in some ways, is a D.T.R. talk about the believer’s relationship with God, but it is not a talk we have any reason to dread.

Truly embracing the gospel creates a seismic shift in your relationship with God – one that changes everything about your present and your future for the good.

What is different now, standing in the field of grace, about the believer’s relationship to God? We see here that:

A. We have been reconciled fully to God

Look at verse one. It says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Don’t mistake what that verse says. It is not that we have the peace of God, which would be a settled assurance in the midst of difficulty. No, it says we now have peace with God. That is the settled assurance of the end of hostility. “Hostility?” you say. Yes, peace with God marks the end of hostility between the believer and God.

Look down quickly at verse 10. It says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…” Before we believed the gospel, and turned to God in repentance, we were fighting against Him in rebellion. Our sins were all mini-assaults on His glory and affronts to His authority. We were adversaries of God, and sworn enemies of His kingdom, and in His holiness and justice, He stood against us as sinners. But now, something has happened. Where there was once war, now there is peace. Where there was rebellion, now there is reconciliation. The cross of Jesus is a peace treaty written by God and signed with the blood of His Son. Philip Ryken put it this way: “Reconciliation teaches us something remarkable about the character of God, namely, that he befriends his enemies. God loves those who hate Him. He offers peace to those who’ve waged war against Him. Although He is the one who has been wronged, He is the one who makes things right.”1

Believer, God is no longer angry with you. You two have been reconciled, and He has seen to the mending of the relationship. What is different in the relationship between the believer and God is not only that we have been reconciled fully to Him, but notice also that:

B. We have been rescued forever by God

Verse 10, which we looked at a moment ago, is actually a part of a point Paul starts making in verse 9. Look at it. He says, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Because we were enemies of God, we stood in line to receive His wrath. The wrath of God revealed from heaven was headed for us. But, Paul makes an argument here from the lesser to the greater. He says in verse 10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” In other words, because the death of the crucified Jesus reconciled us to God when we were His enemies, even more so now, the life of the resurrected Jesus means that we will never, ever face the wrath we once deserved.

God has not only reconciled us to Himself, He has rescued us from what He would have had to give to us had we never been made right with Him. As a sinner against God, you were headed for hell. As a believer now reconciled to God, you are headed to heaven.

An offended senator once came to President Calvin Coolidge and complained that one of his colleagues had told him to go to hell. Coolidge, with his dry wit said, “I looked up the law, Senator, and you don’t have to go.”2

Standing now in the field of grace, we are saved from the wrath of God that once hung high over our heads. We don’t have to go to hell! In Christ, God has moved to mend your broken relationship with Him, and He has removed the wrath you once deserved from Him.

As Paul will soon put it in this same book of Romans, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”

So, where are we now? We see not only what is different with God for the believer now, but we see also something about:


Recently, I read a powerful new book entitled Hillbilly Elegy. It is the story of a man named J.D. Vance, who grew up in a highly dysfunctional, blue-collar family. His drug-addicted mother struggled with stability, and much of J.D.’s life was spent in the care of his grandmother, whom he called, “Mamaw”. During one particularly troubling time in J.D.’s life, he asked his “mamaw” this question: “Does God love us?” He said she just held him and cried.3

Having been justified by faith, and now standing firmly in the field of God’s grace, no believer ever has to ask the question, “Does God love me?” Though we haven’t always loved Him, in the gospel we see the truth of God’s eternal love for us. Paul tells us here that:

A. God’s love is present in us by the Spirit

The result of standing in the field of God’s grace is a joyful and hopeful life for the believer. We will look at that more closely in a moment.

As Paul explains that hopefulness, however, he anchors it in the love of God. He starts at the close of verse 5 by saying, “…because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.”

The idea here is of the Holy Ghost continually pouring out the love of God inside of us. One writer translates the phrase this way: “…the love of God has been poured out in our hearts and still floods them…”4

Someone else described a picture of a dry, parched countryside that is suddenly and completely soaked by a raincloud that breaks above it.5 Our hearts in sin are dry and hard and barren. When God’s grace gives us the Holy Spirit, it is a like a cloudburst of His love pours into us, and the waters of it never recede. The Holy Spirit is with you forever, whispering to your soul, “I love you. You are loved by your Father.” In other words, we not only have a peace treaty signed by God and nailed to the cross, we have a love letter penned by God and placed in our hearts.

Though we often say, “I love you,” with little more behind it than the breath it took to say it, in the case of the love of God for the believer, Paul reminds us here not only that God’s love is present in us by the Spirit, but we know that what the Spirit says to us is true because:

B. God’s love is proven to us by the Son

God’s love for us is not just a word He speaks to us; it is a work He shows to us. How He demonstrates His love to us is the most astounding display of affection in the history of the world – the sacrificial death of Jesus.

Paul sets it up for us in 6. He says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Two things are said about us there that are extremely important. First, we were “without strength”. That is; we couldn’t do anything for God to get Him to love us. On top of that, we were “the ungodly”. We not only couldn’t do anything for God, we wouldn’t. We did not love Him at all.

Paul goes on to say that while someone might venture to lay down their life for a righteous and virtuous person, or perhaps even more for a good and generous person, what makes the love of God so astounding is that we were neither of those things.

In fact, as verse 8 so beautifully puts it, “…God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you, as a believer now, ever wonder if God really loves you, you need only look back to when you were not a believer, but still a rebellious sinner. That is when God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son. God loved you then enough to die in your place. Surely, now that you are reconciled to Him through that Son, He still loves you that much. The love of God for us is never some subjective feeling, based on what we’ve done. It is always an objective truth, found rooted at the foot of a Roman cross, where God loved us in Christ long before we even knew we needed such a love as that. In this field of grace we are reconciled fully to the very God who loved us freely when there was nothing in us to love.

Where are we now? We see here not only what is different with God for the believer now, and what is demonstrated from God to the believer now, but we also see something about:


If you pay close attention, you will notice that Paul has started using a new pronoun in this chapter. He has spoken of “they” in chapter one. He has spoken of “you” in chapter two.

In chapter four, he used the word “our” as he talked about Father Abraham. When we come into this chapter, it is “we” of whom Paul speaks.

We, as believers, have something we can say with Paul in this chapter. We can join him in declaring some things about our God who has declared so much to us.

Standing now in the big, wide field of His saving grace, what do we say? First of all, we find that:

A. We rejoice in what God has done

There is an interesting word that Paul uses several times in these verses. The first time it appears is in verse 2. Paul says that we, “…rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Note that word “rejoice”. He uses the same word in verse 3, where it is translated as “glory”. Then, down in verse 11, it shows up again, where it says, “…we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ…”

“Rejoice”, “glory”, and “joy” are all translated from the same word. It literally means “to boast”. It is the same word that Paul said in chapter three was excluded. There, He said, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded…”

There, it was a boasting and glorying in self-righteousness, and in the good works that we have done. The problem is, our good works are never good enough, and bragging on them is sort of like bragging about how fast you can run on a broken leg. But now, standing in the field of God’s great grace, we do have something we can boast about and glory in. We celebrate and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

We joy in what God has done, and brag on His work for us, not anything we’ve done for Him.

R. Kent Hughes go so far as to say the word translated “rejoice” and “glory” means, “to boast in the sense of jubilation…to shout about it!”6 Where once we could only hang our heads and shut our mouths, we can now lift our heads and our voices, and with joy we can shout, “To God be the glory, great things He has done!”

What is declared by the believer about God now is not only the fact that we rejoice in what He’s done, but Paul goes so far as to say also that:

B. We rest in what God is doing

It is one thing to shout about all the good things God has done for us in Christ, but Paul says that now we even glory in our tribulations too. His argument in verses 3 and 4 is that we are so convinced of what God has done for us and has promised to us, that even when difficulties come to us in this life, we retain our hope in God, knowing He is working for us, not against us.

Look at verses 3 and 4. He writes, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.”

Before grace, tribulations and troubles only added up to more hopelessness and despair. Tough stuff in life only made life more miserable. But now, standing freely in grace, reconciled to a God who loves me so clearly, I can be patient in tribulation, endure it by leaning on Him, and learn from it that He is only getting me ready for the glory that is to come.

We not only rejoice in what He’s done for us already, we rest in what He’s doing in us right now.

In Mark 4, Jesus was sound asleep in a ship that was being tossed around in a violent storm. He was resting in the midst of something that made everybody else panic. The hope we have in the gospel is a pillow on which we can rest our heads even when the ship of our life is being tossed by storms and splashed by waves. Where once we would panic and plead for the storm to stop, now we can rest in patience, knowing that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. We glory in the tribulations, because we know the storm never moves our anchor, it only proves how strong it really is.

Handley Moule says that the person who has been reading Romans, comes to chapter 5 and, “…he is asked to look around, to look back, and bless the hand which, when he was outside in the naked field of death, opened his eyes to see, and guided his will to choose.”7

If God has taken you by the hand and brought you in from the cold, dark night of your sin, into the bright, full field of His grace to you in Christ, you ought to take the time to look back at where you came from, and at where you are now.

My mom used to sing a song, and in it there was a line that said this:

“If you could see where Jesus brought me from,

To where I am today,

Then you would know the reason why I love Him so…”

If you are believer, Romans 5 stands in the Scriptures as a constant reminder to you that the Lord has brought you a mighty long way.

When you look around and see where you are now, what should you do? Well, as Paul says, you ought rejoice in it! You ought to lift your voice and give praise and glory to Him who brought you to where you are now.

1 Ryken, Philip, Salvation by Crucifixion, (Christian Focus, UK, 2014), Amazon Kindle edition

2 Kenny, Jack, “Calvin Coolidge and the Greatness of a ‘Not Great’ President”, 2/18/13, www.thenewamerican.com, accessed 11/10/16, http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/history/item/14546-calvin-coolidge-and-the-greatness-of-a-not-great-president

3 Vance, J.D., Hillbilly Elegy, (Harper Collins, New York, 2016), p. 87

4 Wuest, Kenneth S., The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, (William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1961), p. 359

5 Stott, John R.W., The Message of Romans, (IVP, Downers Grove, IL, 1994), Amazon Kindle edition

6 Hughes, R. Kent, Romans: Righteousness from Heaven, (Crossway, Wheaton, IL, 1991), p. 93

7 Moule, H.C.G., The Epistle to the Romans, (Pickering & Inglis, London), p. 132-133