Two men were once shoveling snow and ice off a concrete ramp at the entrance to a church building. One man almost fell on the slippery surface, prompting the other one to say, “Sinners stand on slippery ground, don’t they?” To which the first man replied, “Yes, and I don’t know how in the world they do it!”
It is indeed difficult to stand firm for the Lord in this sinful world in which we live, but it can be done. Rom. 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand…”
We can stand before God because we have been justified. What does the word “justified” mean? It has been said that it means “just as if I’d never sinned”. God looks at Christians as if they had never sinned. How can he do that? Because of our faith in the crucified and resurrected Jesus! Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins and the sins of the whole world. His resurrection proved that he was exactly who he said he was—the Savior of the world who has power over death itself! Rom. 4:25 says, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
The fact that we have been justified through our faith in Jesus brings a tremendous change in our lives. For one thing, we Christians have a hope that others don’t have (Rom. 5:2). The word “hope” in the English language contains a degree of uncertainty. For example, when you were younger you might have hoped to receive a pony for a Christmas present, but you didn’t really think you would get it!
However, in the Greek language in which the New Testament was written, the word “hope” carries with it a certainty that what is hoped for will indeed be attained! We who place our hope in Jesus have an assurance that God’s promises to us will most certainly be fulfilled.
Furthermore, the hope that we have because we have been justified gives us the ability to glory, even in our sufferings (Rom.5:3). We know that God will see us through any and every difficult situation that life brings our way, and we understand that our passing through these trials will help us to become even stronger in our faith. A woman who had recently lost her husband was encouraged by her friends to attend a church dinner. She was reluctant to come, thinking that her sadness would put a damper on the occasion. But she came, and before long she was joining in the conversation and even joked with her friends, exclaiming at one point, “Two weeks ago I thought I would never laugh again!”
Finally, those who have been justified and are standing in grace are in a position to be filled with the love of God (Rom.5:5). The love that God pours into our hearts allows us to love him back in a way that non-believers could never do. That love also enables us to love other people with a supernatural, God-given love. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if more people stood in the grace of God, showing the hope and joy and love that we all need to see?
Let’s stand firm in the grace that God has given us through his Son Jesus!