Romans 5:1 ESV Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Of these words the Reformer writes in his commentary on Romans, "We have peace with God; and this is the peculiar fruit of the righteousness of faith. When any one strives to seek tranquillity of conscience by works, (which is the case with profane and ignorant men,) he labors for it in vain; for either his heart is asleep through his disregard or forgetfulness of God's judgment, or else it is full of trembling and dread, until it reposes on Christ, who is alone our peace."
Only when the Supreme Judge of Creation has rapped His eternal gavel and declared a man just, can that man then experience "peace with God." Yet, as the reformer rightly asserts, man can never bear witness to the falling gavel of our Most Holy Judge as long as his plea remains the working of his own hands. Whether it be by sincere religious activity, community service, or acts of charity unmatched by even the most devout, a man remains at enmity with God.
How then is peace attained? Upon what basis is the wretch declared righteous and given the gift of "peace with God?" As the Apostle rightly asserts, "we have been justified by faith!" Confident assurance, steadfast hope, complete surrender! Genuine faith which relinquishes all hold, and surrenders all to another in unshaken confidence.
What is this faith to be in, or Whom? Shall we trust in the church? With her devotion to God, and evident love of His truth? I say no. Shall we trust in the Saints, that their perseverance shall endure for us as well? I say no. Shall we place faith in the most pious of our family or friends? I say no. Shall our faith reside in the Pastor who so gently encouraged us in trying times? I dare say never! We shall find the object of justifying faith stated with clarity in our text, "our Lord Jesus Christ." For no other has born such a burden as our Most Holy Lord endured on the cross. For He knew no sin, yet was made to be sin for us that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him! Oh what a substitutionary atonement!
May we forever be "looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!" May we forever trust our eternal being to the resurrected Son of God who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One who is, and was, and is to come!
Not the labor of my hands, could fulfill the law's demands.
There's no price in my hands I bring, Tis simply to the cross I cling.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me! Let me hide myself in Thee!