By Travis Biller
Pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Elizabethton
There are many religions in the world. As a result, people speak about different “faiths.” Used this way, the word faith refers to a set of beliefs that people share. For example, people will say, “I am of the Hindu faith,” or “I am of the Buddhist faith.” Christians will even say, “I am of the Christian faith.”
However, according to Scripture, faith is not a set of shared beliefs. In the biblical economy of language, faith is (and always has been) trust in God’s provision for sin. Specifically, true saving faith trusts that Jesus paid the penalty for sin on the cross at Calvary. It’s for that reason the Bible says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Faith always and only looks to Jesus for salvation.
This is the argument Paul was making in chapter four of the book of Romans. When a person looks to Jesus and trusts in Him alone to be forgiven of sin (as opposed to their religious acts, cf. Rom. 3:19-20), God the Father declares that person to be justified in His sight. As we enter our text in chapter five, Paul declares that the person who has faith in Jesus now has peace with God. What Paul means is that the person of faith is now at peace with God.
Before a person has saving faith, they live in the middle of a great storm. The world gives evidence of this storm both inside the human heart through the many anxieties and fears people share, and also in the world at large as seen in the daily tragedies that take place. Ultimately, all the storms of life can be traced back to a single reality: “The wages of sin is death …” (6:23a; cf. Romans 5:12).
Sin separates all people from God and creates a climate of enmity between the sinner and God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 5:10). As a result, all unredeemed sinners can relate to God only from the position of wrath (Romans 5:9; cf. Romans 1:18). It’s for this reason the Bible says, “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord (Isaiah 48:22).
However, because of God’s unimaginable love He sent His Son to die for sinners (Romans 5:6). His death on the cross demonstrates the greatness of that love (v. 8). When a person places their faith in Jesus, their relationship with God changes. Instead of being enemies, rightly deserving wrath, they become children who now experience God’s love. The reality of this changed relationship is experienced through a newfound peace a saved sinner now experiences. Through Jesus the storm of turmoil between God and the sinner has been stilled (cf. Mark 4:39). The saved sinner is no longer an object of wrath. They are now, and forever will be, a child of God (cf. Romans 8:15-16).
Those who are saved will still experience the storms that are common to this life, but they will no longer be shaken by them (Romans 5:3-5). Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). People of faith can now navigate the various circumstances of life from the position of God’s peace and hope. They experience life like a hurricane. As the world frantically spins around them, Jesus is the calm within the storm.