“Jesus our Lord … was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 4:24,25 — 5:2
What has Jesus accomplished for us by His innocent sufferings and death and by His glorious resurrection? That is shown us by the words which the Holy Spirit moved St. Paul to write to the believers in Rome.
“Jesus our Lord … was delivered up because of our offenses.” Jesus was delivered up to death on the cross on account of our sins — yours and mine. Jesus was holy and just. We are unjust sinners. We justly deserve God’s eternal wrath and punishment for our disobedience and sin, but Jesus was delivered up for our sins. He bore our punishment. As St. Peter wrote in his first epistle, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…” (1 Peter 3:18; cf. Isaiah 53:6).
Jesus “was raised because of our justification.” Jesus’ bodily resurrection on the third day proves that God the Father accepted the sacrifice of His Son as full payment for our sins and the sins of the whole world. “Jesus Christ the righteous … is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2). If His sacrifice were not sufficient, Jesus would not been raised from the dead and we would still be dead in our sins. But He has been raised — He lives — and we have forgiveness through faith in His name!
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ….” When we believe that “Jesus our Lord … was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification,” we receive God’s pardon and are justified by faith. We then possess peace with God — the peace won for us by the holy and precious blood of Christ shed for us on the cross. Instead of being enemies of God, we are reconciled to God (Romans 4:10-11). The sin which separated us from God has been taken out of the way, being nailed to Christ’s cross (Colossians 2:13-14; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
And we need not doubt our salvation. It is as sure as Christ’s death for our sins and His glorious resurrection on the third day. Since Jesus bore our sins and died in our stead, and since God the Father raised Jesus up on the third day, we have peace with God through faith in Christ Jesus, our Savior!
“… through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” God’s grace and favor — His loving pardon and forgiveness — is not ours by some work that we do. Rather, it is ours through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! We access God’s grace, not by works but by faith. As Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness, so also God’s grace and pardon is imputed to us and becomes our own through faith in Him who raised Christ from the dead (cf. Romans 4:13ff.). It is as St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
And we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Now that we are justified by faith in God’s Son, who “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification,” we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” We have the certainty — a certain hope — of the glory of God. Not only do we have full pardon and forgiveness for our sins through faith in Jesus, we have the certainty of heaven. We rejoice because our sinful, earthly bodies will be raised up glorious, heavenly bodies like that of our Lord Jesus and we shall live forever with our God in heaven (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:35ff.; Romans 8:23; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)!
We thank You, dear Lord Jesus, for the bearing upon the cross the just punishment for our sins and for rising again in victory that forgiveness and life eternal might be ours through faith in Your name. Amen.