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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Living In Peace With God

Derek Prince - Living In Peace With God

Derek Prince - Living In Peace With God
TOPICS: Peace, Bible Study

In our previous two sessions we’ve been looking at Romans 4 and we’ve been focusing mainly on the example and the pattern of Abraham and his faith. We’ve seen the conditions that Abraham had to fulfill in order to become the father of a great multitude of nations. Then we’ve seen also the conditions that we have to fulfill in order to qualify to be reckoned as the descendants of Abraham. Now we’re moving on to stage 6 in this pilgrimage which is found at the beginning of chapter 5 which I have headed in our outline as Five Experiential Results of Being Justified by Faith.

I pointed out earlier that the gospel is anchored in history and in human experience. It’s not just some abstract set of theories but it’s tied to history and human experience. It’s tied to history because it’s based and centers in historical facts that Jesus died, that He was buried, that He rose again the third day. If those facts are not true, the gospel is not true. It’s also anchored to human experience because when we believe it and act on it, it produces results in our experience which could not be produced in any other way. So now we’re going to look at the results in experience of being justified by faith. What happens in us when we meet these conditions to have righteousness reckoned to us by faith? Or, when we are justified.

Let’s just give the alternative renderings of justified. When we’re acquitted, we’re not guilty, we’re reckoned righteous, we’re made righteous, we’re just-as-if-we’d never sinned. What does it feel like? What happens in us? Paul now deals with this question in the beginning of chapter 5. Here’s another of his therefore’s. I don’t think I’ll ever do it but it could be interesting to go through Romans and count the number of therefore’s in Romans. But here’s another one. Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

There are the first three experiential results of being justified by faith. First of all, we have peace with God. For the first time in our lives we’re in harmony with our Creator. And in a certain sense, because we’re in harmony with the Creator, we’re in harmony with the creation. I’m sure many of us have had an experience after we’ve met the Lord and received righteousness by faith, everything looked different. Can you think of something like that? I met the Lord in a little seaside town in Yorkshire in England and the next day when I went out and sat on the front and looked at the waves, they were just different. Everything was different. The waves were surging towards me and saying, This is just a little power of God that you’ve seen. The power that’s in these waves is the power that’s working in you and greater than that.

I remember my first wife, who’s with the Lord now, when she met the Lord in a dramatic personal encounter she records how she went out and walked on the seashore the next day. Everything looked different. She couldn’t believe she was in the same place she’d been the day before. Now, not everybody has that dramatic experience but it’s part of having peace with God. You’ve got peace with the environment, peace with creation. It’s written in the book of Job that God will make a covenant with the beasts of the field for you. Everything suddenly becomes different. Forces that were against you are now on your side. Forces that you couldn’t control and that frightened you now no longer frighten you. You have peace. Do you know the Hebrew word for peace? I’m sure, shalom. It’s directly connected with the word for completeness. It’s also connected with the word for to pay. To pay a bill in Hebrew is "leshalem".

So you have peace because your bill has been paid. Your peace is a completeness. For the first time you’re a complete person. Every part of you is in harmony with every other part of you and with the great God who created you. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The second experiential result is in verse 2. Through whom [that’s Jesus] also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; I think the old King James said access by faith into this grace. I think, in a way, I prefer the word access. So, being justified by faith gives us access into grace which upholds us. We can stand in this grace, we are no longer carried to and fro, we’re no longer the plaything of forces but we are standing firm in the grace of God. God’s grace is upon us.

Whenever you hear the word grace, it’s probably good to think in terms of favor. The two words are really different ways of translating the same word. The Greek word for grace, charis from which we get charisma and all those words we’re so fond of, means basically beauty, elegance, charm. We don’t think about it like that, but you see, somebody said beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When God looks at us with favor we become beautiful. So here we are in this marvelous condition of having God’s favor upon us. What a difference that makes! I feel so strengthened when I recognize that in any situation if I’m walking in the will of God, God’s favor is on me. The book of Proverbs says that God’s favor is like a cloud of the latter rain. The book of Psalms says that God encompasses the righteous about with favor like a shield.

So we’re protected on every side by the grace or the favor of God upon us. As we walk along we’re under this beautiful cloud of the latter rain and every now and then the cloud bursts and precipitates some of the latter rain upon us. If you could think of grace in terms of beauty. You see, one of the things that’s lacking in so much religious life is real beauty. We’re content to be rather somber and drab. I don’t think that’s God’s will. I think God wants us to be beautiful. He says He will beautify the meek with His salvation. The beauty that comes upon us is His favor. Then the third result which is stated at the end of verse 2 is we exult in hope of the glory of God. We now have hope. At the end of the tunnel there’s light. It may be a long, dark tunnel but there’s light at the end. We know that ultimately we are going to share God’s glory in eternity for ever and ever.

In Colossians 1: 27 Paul says, To me it was granted that I should make known among the gentiles. The unsearchable riches of Christ; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Once Christ comes in, you have the hope of glory. Hope is a very important part of salvation. Romans 8:24, which we’ll come to later, says we are saved by hope. Hope is called in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 a helmet. It’s the protection of the mind. When I was saved, although God did a wonderful change in me, I still had a tremendous mental struggle for a good many years with what? Depression. None of you have ever struggled with depression, but be indulgent with me. And eventually I had a mighty deliverance from a spirit of heaviness. Then God showed me I had to learn to protect my mind and when I went to the Scriptures for the protection He showed me the helmet was hope: A quiet, serene, confident expectation of good. We exult in that hope.

The word exult is a very strong word. It means we get so happy we’re excited and we have to tell people about it. That’s an ad-lib definition of exulting. I think I’m going to give it again in case I forget it. It means we get so happy we have to tell other people about it and we get excited. So those are the first three experiential results of being justified by faith. First of all, we have peace with God. Second, we have access into grace which upholds us, protects us, preserves us, encircles us, overshadows us. And third, we exult in hope of the glory of God. We get very excited. Excitement is an important part of life. I’m sorry for people who go through life without excitement. I don’t believe that’s the will of God.

Now, we come on to the next one which is very different. The fourth experiential result of being justified by faith is another kind of exulting. Here is where some people just don’t want to go any further. We’ll read now verses 3–5. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. What’s the fourth result? Exulting in what? Tribulations, pressures, tests, trials, problems. How many of you are going to go that far? You’ll not merely exult in hope of the glory of God but you’ll exult in trials and testings. And Paul gives us reasons why we should be happy when we’re tested.

I see some of you looking a little surprised. That doesn’t take me aback. Keep your finger there in Romans 5 and turn for a moment to James. Some people think that there’s a kind of opposition between James and Romans. I don’t. I think they’re just two opposite sides of the same truth. I must say I’ve come to love the epistle of James. So James says in chapter 1, verses 2–4: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, James says joy, Paul says exult. They both give essentially the same reason. knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Shall I tell you the only way you can learn endurance? It’s by enduring! There’s no other way. My wife Ruth... where is she? Right in front of me... would say a loud amen at that point. She is in the middle of learning endurance.

Going on. But let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. That’s exciting, isn’t it? Would you not wish to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing? But there’s only one way to it. That’s the tribulation route. It’s the testing. It’s enduring testing that will bring you through to the place where you’re perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If you want to achieve that goal, then you have to take the route. You don’t have to arrange the tests, let me tell you that. God will take care of that. Now let’s get back to Romans 5 and see what Paul says there. He says: We exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; I think that’s the same word that in James is translated endurance.

Let me say endurance is an essential part of Christian experience. If you don’t acquire endurance there are a whole lot of things in the Christian life you’ll never attain to. perseverance [or endurance, produces] proven character; We don’t know what a person is like until we’ve seen him go through trials. There is no way of knowing in advance what kind of a person you’re dealing with till you’ve seen the person go through trials. But that produces proven character. and proven character [produces] hope; You come out of it all. I remember my first wife used to say, and I mean, if ever anybody went through tests, she did, raising a family of children in Palestine without any financial support and under tremendous opposition from some of the local people. When she got into her test she would say, It will be exciting to see how God gets me out of this. That was hope, you see. She’d learned by experience that God would always ultimately get you out. It might seem He was a little slow in doing it, but He would do it.

So when you’ve been through a whole series of tests and the next test comes, you don’t get depressed, you don’t wring your hands and say, What’s happening now? You say: It’ll be interesting to see how God gets me out of this! That’s hope. But you don’t get that kind of hope without the testing. Now we come to one of the most glorious verses in Romans, verse 5. hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. What is the final basis of our hope? It’s the love of God poured out in our hearts. That’s a tremendous phrase. It doesn’t say some of God’s love has been poured out in our hearts, it says the love of God, the entire love of God through the outpoured Spirit is poured out into our hearts. After you’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit, I don’t think you need to pray for love.

I think you need to draw on the love which you have inside you. It’s all available. It’s like somebody living on the banks of the Mississippi or the Amazon and praying for a supply of water. The truth of the matter is, you’ve got much more water than you’ll ever be able to use. I believe it’s true with love. Once the Holy Spirit has been poured out and released within us, we have within us a potential source of inexhaustible love. Let me ask you to keep your finger in Romans 5 and look for a moment in the famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. I just want to point out to you something about love that you may have never noticed. What is the strongest thing in the universe? I believe it’s God’s love. I believe it’s stronger than anything else. In the Song of Solomon it says love is as strong as death and death is irresistible. No one can resist death. But when Jesus died and rose from the dead, He proved that love is stronger than death. So it’s the strongest force in the universe. Never underestimate its strength.

And here in 1 Corinthians 13:4 and following, Paul describes what love is like. Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag, and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth [and here’s the key verse] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. What is the ultimate source of both endurance and hope? It’s God’s love in our hearts. Nothing can wear out the love of God. Nothing can crush the love of God, it’s uncrushable. It bears all things, believes all things, and hopes all things. That’s the love which is shed abroad in our hearts which gives us hope.

Now, let’s turn back for a moment to Romans 5 and look at the description of the love of God which is found there in verses 6–10. The love of God expressed in Christ and in Christ’s death on our behalf. Bear in mind that’s the expression of the total love of the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Beginning at verse 6: For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love [His special kind of love] toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood [notice that beautiful phrase, justified by His blood] we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Now in that passage Paul uses four different descriptive words to describe what we were like at the time Jesus died for us. This gives us a measure of the love of God. If you look in verse 6, we were helpless. We could do nothing to help ourselves. There was no response that we could make that would change the situation. At the end of verse 6 we were ungodly. In verse 8 it says, God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And in verse 10, for if, while we were enemies. That’s the full measure of the love of God, that Christ died for us while we were still helpless, ungodly, sinners and enemies of God. That is what the much, I think, misused word agape. That’s divine love. It’s unconditional, it makes no demands. Christ didn’t say to His disciples, If you’ll do this or if you’ll do that then I’ll pay the penalty for your sins. He did it all simply out of His own spontaneous will. He was under no pressure, He was under no obligation, He owed us nothing.

And that’s the love that Paul is talking about here. It demands no response. It makes no conditions. It simply loves. And in the last resort, shall I tell you what it is? It’s irresistible. It’s the strongest force in the universe. When we’ve finished with all our displays of power and cleverness and expertise, the strongest thing that we ever have is the measure of God’s love within us. Love is never defeated, love never gives up, love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Sometimes we tend to think of love as something rather weak and sentimental. We think people who talk about love are weak people. That’s a total misconception.

Let me say again the strongest thing in the universe is the love of God. God doesn’t say, I’ll give you a little measure of My love today and if you do better, I’ll give you some more tomorrow. When He baptizes us in the Holy Spirit, as I understand the baptism, He just pours out the whole thing. There is it. It says in John 3 that God does not give the Spirit by measure. He doesn’t measure out a ration and say, This is how much you’ve earned and this is how much I’ll give you. He just dumps the whole thing out upon us. I wouldn’t have done it if I had been God, I’ll tell you that. I would have made some conditions; I would have made some demands. I would have said, Now, if you straighten out a little bit and I see some signs of improvement I tell you what. If I’d been God I would never have saved me. I would never have believed that I could really get saved.

When I went back to Cambridge University after being in the Army and being away for a good many years, I talked to a few of the people whom I’d known were Christians. I never had anything to do with them. I said to them, Why didn’t you ever talk to me about the Lord? They said, We thought you were too bad. I’m glad that God didn’t think I was too bad. Let’s just conclude with the final experiential outworking of being justified by faith. We’re getting to verse 11. This is the climax. And not only this, but we also exult Notice the word exult again. How much exulting do you do? Do you do as much exulting as Paul talks about in this verse? we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. What’s the climax? It’s rejoicing and exulting in what? Not in an experience, not in a gift, not in a blessing but in God Himself.

That’s what David had in mind, I do believe, in Psalm 43. Let’s turn to Psalm 43 for a moment and read what David said. David was in a situation where he was really depressed. He just didn’t feel things were going right. He says in Psalm 43:2, at the end: Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? And he answered his own question. He said, Why am I mourning, why am I depressed? Because the enemy is oppressing me. That’s the reason. It’s the reason most times when we go mourning. What was the remedy? He cried out to God: O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling places. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise Thee, O God, my God.

What was David’s joy? It was God Himself. That was the supreme joy of David’s life. When he was depressed and cast down and didn’t know where to turn, he said, I’ll go to the altar, the place of sacrifice. And he said, I’ll lay my life upon the altar of God, I’ll give myself, I’ll abandon myself to Him without reservation and I will know Him as my exceeding joy. That’s the goal of the Christian life. As we go on in this study of Romans we’ll find that at the end of chapter 8, which is where we’re headed, that’s the destination. It’s nothing less than God Himself. Here we get just a little it’s like being on a mountain top and knowing you haven’t arrived but you can see you destination briefly for a few moments. We’ve got a lot more valleys to go through before we get there but here in Romans 5:11 we see just in the distance our destination: a glistening mountain peak which is God Himself, our joy.
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