Key Verse: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
IN OUR KEY VERSE, THE word “justified” means to be made upright or blameless in God’s estimation. As a result of his obedience and faith in God’s promises, Abraham was called a friend by God. (James 2:23) He and many other faithful ones of the Old Testament had “peace” in the sense that they were at rest through their trust in God, so that to a considerable degree anxiety was removed from their hearts. However, to have “peace with God” as stated in our text is the special portion of Gospel Age consecrated believers who have been begotten with the Holy Spirit.
Paul then elaborates further upon the grace of justification to life which was offered after the merit of Christ’s ransom sacrifice was presented to the Heavenly Father on our behalf. (Heb. 9:24) “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.”—Rom. 5:2-5
Much of the balance of our Selected Scripture addresses how justification is applicable during this Gospel Age. The ransom price provided by Christ attests to God’s great love for us even while we were yet sinners. Once we have been justified to life following spirit begettal, our entire attitude should reflect the rendering of praise towards our merciful Heavenly Father, to whom we have been reconciled as the result of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.—vss. 6-11
Additionally, we should assess whether the condition of our hearts and minds reflects that which is described in the title of this week’s lesson. If we lack peace, we should examine ourselves to determine why we are not living up to our privileges. Are we focused upon developing spiritual fruitage as opposed to engaging in the works of the flesh? (Gal. 5:19-24) Are we careful not to forsake the assembling of ourselves with other brethren so that we may obtain mutual strength and edification?—Heb. 10:25
Are our thoughts increasingly centered upon things which are true, pure, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy? (Phil. 4:8) Have we learned to be content in whatever state we are because we have fully acquiesced to the will of God? (Phil. 4:11,12) If we have physical, financial, family or other problems pressing upon us, do we believe that we will never be tested beyond what we can bear, but that by God’s grace he will direct the issue for our highest spiritual welfare?—I Cor. 10:13
God’s precious promises should provide peace for all who trust him. Here is one example. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Rom. 8:35,38,39