The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 142 of 181
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the other the long `o' and both were practically identical in pronunciation. Both readings
were attested. However there is no conflict in doctrine. One says we have peace because
we are justified; the other, we have peace through justification and let us continue in it
and enjoy it. This blessed peace comes from the sin question being completely settled
and put away. It is not merely a cessation of hostilities as it is so often in human affairs.
Once as sinners we were `alienated and enemies' to God (Col. 1: 20-22). Now, God's
justifying work has completely removed the barrier between us. This leads to quietness
and assurance and free access to Him. We are brought now into a special place of favour,
"this grace wherein we stand" (5: 2). The believer's "standing" is no longer in Adam
with its condemnation, but in Christ, and the righteousness provided by His great
sacrifice is the procuring cause of this "access". Because of this, we (both Jew and
Gentile believers) have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph. 2: 17, 18), and this
gives us "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10: 19, 20) or as
Heb. 4: 16 states, "let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may
obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need". The standing of the believer in
Christ is perfect, for he now stands clothed in God's righteousness. All rests upon this
glorious fact and in no sense depends upon the believer or his attainments. He can now
have "boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him" (Eph. 3: 12).
The distinction must therefore be made with the grace wherein the believer stands, and
his state apart from this. As such he is still a failing creature, but his position in Christ
now gives him strength and encouragement, so that his daily life and walk can begin to
approximate to the perfect `standing' he has been given by God. This glorious position
leads to rejoicing "in hope of the glory of God" (5: 2). As a sinner he "comes short of the
glory of God" (3: 23).  The glory of God will be the great characteristic of the
resurrection life to come, and now the believer has it as a sure and certain hope that can
never fail. In all its fullness, those in Christ will enjoy it for evermore in this unending
future life.
The Apostle Paul goes on to say:
"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also" (5: 3).
This last word `also' is important, for no sane person boasts in tribulations for their
own sake. As Rom. 12: 12 expresses it, we can be "patient in tribulation", because we
"rejoice in (this) hope". Afflictions, tribulations, difficulties, are viewed as the normal
experience of the Christian in the N.T. Did not the Lord Jesus say "In Me ye might have
peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation" (John 16: 33). And can the servant expect
to have different treatment from his Master?
One of the reasons that God permits tribulations to be experienced by His children is
because of its salutary effect on their spiritual development. The difficulties of life cause
the believer to lean more and more upon the Lord and His gracious promises. They give
his faith exercise, so that "little faith" grows into "great faith". Heb. 12: declares that
chastening and discipline are the necessary accompaniments of true sonship in Christ and
although this is not pleasant but grievous, afterwards it yields the "peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12: 6-12).