Series: The Justified
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Becky De Oliveira
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 5:1-11 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: I often feel that certain sermons, because of the subject matter they cover, lend themselves to a quick summary at the beginning. Paul must have felt the same way as he started this part of his letter. He summarizes twice before moving forward. When you read Romans 5:1-11 in the context of the whole letter it is clear that this is Paul’s summary of chapters 5 to 8. If this was not enough, he compresses those 11 verses down into just two (Romans 5:1-2) and offers an intense summary of this portion of his letter. Finally, he unfolds the implications of a new life in Christ in detail.
Yesterday, in the research section, I suggested that you explore the difference between the peace of God and peace with God. This is the first thing Paul wants us to know—that, as a result of God’s faithfulness, we have peace with God.
What does peace with God look like? I have to admit that if it is based on how we feel, this peace would be variable and temporary. Our relationship with God would indeed be an emotional rollercoaster. This is, in part, the point that Paul is making. This peace with God is a result not of myfaithfulness but of God’sfaithfulness— proven over time. It is reliable. It has been proven. It will not crumble. It is steady. For Paul, justification and reconciliation go hand in hand. You can’t be declared right before God without having a relationship with Him. That is why, in Chapter 4, Paul uses Abraham as the example of the promised covenant and David as the example of reconciliation within the covenant. Everything God does is with the purpose of making a positive transformation in our lives.
The whole world craves peace. Some of the kids I knew when I first started work as a pastor have entered into full-time careers within war-torn countries, negotiating peace. When I was working at Andrews University, I became friends with a student named Jeff Boyd who now runs Adventist Peace Fellowship. This organization—and so many more—are actively living and working towards peace. The peace they seek is not the rollercoaster version, but the long-term, deep-seated, and value-rooted peace.
That is what we hope our love for each other in our marriages, friendships, and communities will be like.
Recalibrate: What needs to change at the core level for deep-level peace to exist in your life with God?
Respond: Pray for space to hear God clearly.
Research: Explore Jeff Boyd’s blog. Can you see local and global applications?
Remember: “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5, ESV).
Japhet is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and was co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, he served in the South England Conference for nine years—as a pastor and later as conference youth director—before moving to the United States in 2006. He is married to Becky and they have two sons, Joshua (18) and Jonah (14).
Having a zero- to three-year-old means that there are many unpeaceful moments. A lot of waking up in the middle of the night, saying “no,” a lot of taking away harmful objects. Make an album on your phone and begin taking pictures of your child when you’ve made peace with them. Maybe there will be photos of your sleeping baby after a long few hours trying to get them to go to sleep, or maybe photos taken after they apologize for drawing on your hardwood floors. Whatever the photos may depict, keep a record of those peaceful moments.
Paul tells us that we have peace with God. Have you ever been really mad at someone and they were really mad at you? What did that feel like? Did you feel good or did it make you feel not good at all? Did you make up with them? Maybe you both apologized. Did you feel better after that? Making up with someone after a fight can also be called making peace. It means you are making things good between you and them. Draw a picture or comic strip of what it looks like to make peace with someone. We have peace with God because of Jesus!
Emotional rollercoasters are the worst! Have you ever been in a relationship or other situation that has you up one minute and down the next? Have you found yourself craving peace? When I was in college, I’d go through periods where it felt like nothing exciting was happening and I’d complain of boredom. Then, sure enough, chaos and drama would descend: a disagreement with a roommate, more papers and exams than I could handle, boyfriend trouble. I’d suddenly crave peace, and yes, even boredom! How can God bring peace into your life in a way that really makes a difference?