Editor’s note: Rev. Ronald Purkey, Rochester, is an ordained Baptist minister who retired as a pastor in September 2008 and former founder and CEO of Hope Hospice in Rochester (now called Kindred Hospice). In more than 50 years of ministry, he has served nine churches in six states as a pastor or assistant pastor. In Indiana, he has served churches in Hammond, Winona Lake, Kewanna and Winamac and is now a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Rochester.
By Rev. Ron Purkey
Read Romans 5:1-11
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
The peace of God is not a mere concept promoted by preachers and theologians. Thousands of people can witness they have actually experienced the peace of God and have found it wonderfully adequate for this present day.
In the Apostle Paul’s day every Hebrew revered “Father Abraham,” and from Genesis 15:6 knew Abraham had been justified before God. Abraham’s acceptance by God was so certain they referred to heaven as “Abraham’s bosom.” Knowing this, Paul points to Abraham and asks, “How was Abraham, our father in the flesh, justified?” Was it by works? No, for then he could have gloried in his accomplishment, and we have no record of such action in the Old Testament. What does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God.” (See Genesis 15:1-6.) The gift of righteousness came, not by works, but by faith in God’s revealed word.
Notice in his argument, Paul used the words “reckon,” “impute,” and “count” (Romans 5:3-6, 8-11, 22-24). These words all mean the same thing: to put to a person’s account. Justification means righteousness imputed (put to our account) and gives us a right standing before God. Sanctification means righteousness imparted (made a part of our life) and gives us a right standing before men, so they believe we are Christians. Both are a part of salvation, as James 2:14-26 argues.
Salvation is either a reward for works or a gift through grace; it cannot be both. Romans 5:5 states God justifies the ungodly (not the righteous) through faith and not works. The Hebrews thought God justified religious people on the basis of their works; yet Paul has proved “Father Abraham” was saved simply on the basis of faith. Then Paul refers to David and quotes Psalm 32:1-2, proving Israel’s great king taught justification by faith — apart from works.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior God does not impute sin to our account, because that was charged to Christ’s account on the cross of Calvary (2 Corinthians 5:21, and see Philemon 18). Rather, God the father imputes Christ’s righteousness to our account purely on the basis of grace. What a wonderful salvation we have!
How do we find peace with God? We must stop fighting. We must surrender to God, and trust him as our savior and lord. Let’s thank God for providing salvation for us, “Thank you, father, for these riches that are given so freely in Jesus Christ. We don’t deserve them, but we have them because we have believed your great and mighty promise. We have peace with God, we have been reconciled. We have acceptance in your presence and continual access to your help; thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Read Ron Purkey’s Bible Study Outlines at www.rtcol.com/purkey free on the website. Purkey has been an ordained Baptist minister for 50 years. Look for his columns on InkFreeNews.com on Sunday mornings.