Many struggle to be at peace with God because of their troubled past or their present weakness. To solve this struggle for peace, many people strive to reach some predefined level of moral development, imagining that if they achieve it, they will finally have peace. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, this struggle robs them of peace. According to Paul, we can have peace with God because of justification (Romans 5:1). Justification brings peace with God because it brings full, free forgiveness of our sins and credits to us righteousness that will safely see us through the judgment (Romans 4:5–8).
Peace with God means that the war is over. As a result of our sin, we were enemies with God, and through Jesus’ death, we were reconciled (Romans 5:10). Reconciliation with God can happen because on the cross, Jesus bore our sin, and by His blood He saved us from wrath (Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Romans 5:9). All who believe are justified and are at peace with God. All wrath is gone, and in its place is reconciliation.
All who are justified by faith are standing in grace (Romans 5:2). This means that the lives of believers are immersed in the grace of God. Since we are justified and immersed in the grace of God, we rejoice in the hope of sharing God’s glory (Romans 5:2). This means we have the assurance that one day we will live out our created purpose in the new heavens and earth.
According to Paul, being at peace with God, standing in grace, and rejoicing in the hope of sharing God’s glory can change our perspective when life turns painful. When life hurts, believers can rejoice in tribulations, because tribulations produce perseverance in us (Romans 5:3). We also rejoice in perseverance because perseverance produces character (Romans 5:4). God uses the trials of life to transform us for good. As our lives are transformed through difficulties, we are filled with hope (Romans 5:4). The hope we have will never disappoint because it is fueled by God’s love, which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). When we anchor our faith firmly in Jesus, no trial can steal our peace, because the Holy Spirit is a never-failing fountain reminding us of the love God has for us and the transforming power of suffering.