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William

Peace with God

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by R C Sproul

 

It has been said that the greatest commentary ever written on Paul’s epistle to the Galatians is his letter to the Romans, which was composed some eight to ten years after Galatians. Certainly this is an appropriate description of the book of Romans, for many of the themes Paul takes up in Galatians — the purpose of the Law, the doctrine of justification, and Christian liberty — are also dealt with in Romans, often in a more comprehensive manner. So that we might more accurately interpret the book of Galatians we will be taking a short break from the letter to look at some of the main themes of Paul’s epistle to the Romans using Highlights from Romans, a teaching series by Dr. R.C. Sproul.

 

Our studies in Galatians have dealt at length with justification by faith alone, the imputation of Christ’s perfect righteousness, and the atonement, so we will not spend much time on the development of these topics in Romans 1–4. After establishing the universal sinfulness of mankind (1:18–3:20), Paul discusses the righteousness from God available to us on account of the work of Jesus (3:21–31). Then, like he does in Galatians 3, the apostle looks to Abraham as the example par excellence of the one who gains a right standing in our Creator’s eyes through trusting His promises, which promises are kept in Christ (chap. 4).

 

Justification brings with it the benefit of “peace with God,” and Paul looks at this peace in Romans 5:1–11. In our day, peace with God is not valued, largely because few people in our culture believe that the Almighty would ever not be at peace with them. What has been lost is the idea that all sinners are at enmity with God, a teaching that is found throughout Scripture (Gen. 3:22–24; Ps. 11:5; Col. 1:21). Whether it is felt or not, all people outside of Christ are at war with their Creator, but we who have been made to know our estrangement and have found reconciliation through trusting in Jesus know the joy that comes from being at peace with God through His Son.

 

Peace with God is not a truce that is broken at the slightest provocation. Our sin grieves the Lord (Eph. 4:30), but He will never again take up the sword of His eternal wrath against those with whom He is at peace (Ezek. 37:26).

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