In justification, we have seen, God declares us righteous in His sight based on the flawless obedience of Christ. His righteousness is imputed to us by faith alone when we trust Jesus alone (2 Cor. 5:21), and our Father sees Christ’s faithfulness when He looks upon us. So, justification does not make us intrinsically righteous, though all justified sinners pursue holiness.
God’s declaration does not depend on our good deeds in any way — though true faith always displays itself in works (James 2:14–26). Only faith that includes knowledge of Jesus (notitia), belief in Jesus (assensus), and trust in Jesus (fiducia) can justify us. We are justified because our sins have been imputed to Christ and thereby sent away from us.
Such freedom from guilt, however, is not the sole benefit of justification. Today’s passage tells us that those who have been justified enjoy the peace with God that gives us access into the heavenly throne room itself (Rom. 5:1–2).
As we have often noted, few people today realize that their greatest enemy is God Himself. Yet the Bible says we are born in sin, hating our Creator. Apart from Christ, His wrath is revealed against all our unrighteousness (1:18), and we are dead on arrival, having fallen short of the glory of God (3:23).
On account of God’s perfect holiness, the enmity between Him and us ends only when we He forgives us. In justification, we receive His pardon and, therefore, eternal peace. Our Father does chastise us for sin after we have come to faith, but not punitively; it is loving discipline for our holiness (Heb. 12:7–10).
Peace from God brings us access to His grace (Rom. 5:2). Jesus has removed every barrier between God and His people, and we have free access into the very presence of our Creator Himself in His Son. This is a great privilege, one we take advantage of in worship and prayer (Heb. 10:19–25; 12:18–24). Under the old covenant there was distance between God and His people, for only the high priest could enter His presence, and then only once a year (Lev. 16; Heb. 6:19–20). Let us enjoy our new covenant blessings and come before the Lord daily with
our concerns and needs, our worship and thanks, and our hopes and fears.