Many have mourned the death of conservative icon and talk-radio pioneer Rush Limbaugh, but his critics have also been quick to exploit his demise for cheap political points that benefit no one.
It took minutes for liberals to politicize the death of Limbaugh, which was announced Wednesday on his radio program by his wife Kathryn. Limbaugh was 70.
While Limbaugh was a window into the world of politics and a thought-provoking radio personality to many, to others it appears he was the devil himself. One would think he was a full-blown terrorist or murderer based on some of the reactions to his passing away.
“Rush Limbaugh was one of the most harmful and poisonous people in the modern United States of America,” author and ‘political analyst’ Jared Yates Sexton tweeted.
What was Limbaugh’s crime, you may wonder?
“His pursuit of wealth and power hurt untold numbers of people and wrought incalculable damage to politics as a public good, society as a whole, and the planet itself,” Sexton wrote.
Others were much more blunt with their hate.
“Bye b**ch,” Jezebel editor-in-chief J. Escobar Shepherd tweeted.
— Cristela Alonzo (@cristela9) February 17, 2021
— marc maron (@marcmaron) February 17, 2021
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) February 17, 2021
Limbaugh, for the record, was not a journalist but an entertainer and an opinions-host who analyzed politics through his own conservative brand.
One of the sadder trends on social media to gain popularity after Limbaugh’s death was the hashtag #restinpiss, which many gleefully used to celebrate the radio star’s death.
— 🤍💞Trisha💞🤍 (@Trishamott) February 17, 2021
— John DiMaggio (@TheJohnDiMaggio) February 17, 2021
Some have been a tad more calculating in their reactions to Limbaugh’s death, ditching the foul language and extreme points and instead diminishing the man’s life by defining him with political points they disagree with.
“The voice of conservative America, he dominated talk radio for more than three decades with his attacks on liberals, Democrats, feminists, environmentalists and others,” The New York Times sleekly tweeted about Limbaugh’s death.
“The idea that you say artificially nice things about people after they die is weird. I’ve never understood the logic of it. Rush Limbaugh was a terrible person while he was alive. He made a living by attacking the powerless. His death does not in anyway change or redeem that,” Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur added.
Would a liberal pundit get such treatment? Would the Times chalk their life’s work up to attacks on conservatives, pro-lifers, gun-rights activists, etc.? Or would there instead be a different tone taken?
Limbaugh has also received an outpouring of love, with many actually mourning the man and celebrating his achievements.
I’m praying for the entire Limbaugh family.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 17, 2021
There will never be another one. No one changed the world more than he did.
I loved him more than I can say.
— Nick Searcy, INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION STAR (@yesnicksearcy) February 17, 2021
In his first television interview since leaving office, former President Donald Trump talked about Limbaugh on Fox News.
“He was very brave – I mean he in theory could have been done four months ago, really. He just, he was fighting till the very end. He was a fighter,”Trump said, revealing he’d spoken to the man he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to only days before.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 17, 2021
There is a sharp contrast in the way talking heads on the left and the mainstream media ‘mourn’ a conservative versus how a large part of the right mourns someone on the left. Liberal icon and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, was not someone many conservatives could find themselves agreeing with, but did as many of them dance on her grave and celebrate a perceived political win when she passed away?
You are in a cult https://t.co/6DUTuFlwFC
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 17, 2021
— Kristy Swanson (@KristySwansonXO) February 17, 2021
The point is not left vs. right. That should never be the point of any conversation following a human being’s death. Celebrating someone falling ill and succumbing to cancer says nothing about larger political battles, but everything about your character. The fact that so many seem to belong to one side, however, shows that there is one political side that excuses such behavior and normalizes hatred, as long as it’s the right person.
Take politics out of the equation and Limbaugh was a man who pioneered political talk radio and opened doors for numerous other individuals to have their voices heard. He authored books teaching children about US history, and regardless of whatever shock-jock quotes his critics will take out of context, he was always willing to work with and respect people who disagreed with him. Over the years, he would appear on the liberal ‘Family Guy’ multiple times and become friendlywith Elton John.
Political divides are quickly poisoning the US, and the celebration of Limbaugh’s death only further proves this point. We are judged today not for our actions, but for our views. Have the wrong ones, and you may lose a job or a platform. Espouse anything that breaks from the extreme woke talking points of the moment, and you are a hate-monger who is no longer a human being. This is how one side of the political divide can celebrate cancelling people and, worse, chalking up someone’s death as a victory.
It’s not a victory. And if it feels like it is, you are central to the cultural divide that is so quickly tearing this nation apart.
ER Editor: This is a welcome resolution, if it carries sufficient weight. It was adopted by the Parliament two days ago, January 27. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe contains non-EU members such as Russia, Turkey, Belarus, Azerbaijian and Ukraine. From Wikipedia:
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is the parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe, a 47-nation international organisation dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The Assembly is made up of 324 members drawn from the national parliaments of the Council of Europe’s member states, and generally meets four times a year for week-long plenary sessions in Strasbourg.
Here is the one-page PACE document: Covid-19 vaccines: ethical, legal and practical considerations.
Council of Europe Decrees Vaccines Must Not be Mandatory and the Non-Vaccinated Must Not be Discriminated Against
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – the international body of which the European Court of Human Rights is a part (not to be confused with the EU, and of which Britain remains a member) – has passed a resolution that vaccines must not be mandatory and no one should suffer discrimination on account of not having been vaccinated. It reads:
7.3 with respect to ensuring high vaccine uptake:
7.3.1 ensure that citizens are informed that the vaccination is NOT mandatory and that no one is politically, socially, or otherwise pressured to get themselves vaccinated, if they do not wish to do so themselves;
7.3.2 ensure that no one is discriminated against for not having been vaccinated, due to possible health risks or not wanting to be vaccinated;
(WTVO) — Billionaire Bill Gates is warning a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine may be needed to prevent the spread of new virus variants.
[CRS: Watch critically important videos included.]
When corporate media outlets start beating their collective drums for a single, one-size-fits-all medical treatment, let the alarm bells ring. Something sinister is afoot.
And right now, all of the most notoriously elitist media companies in America are shilling for you, dear reader, to get the shot.
They say it will protect you against the Wuhan virus, renamed COVID-19 as to remove from our memories the place from which it originated. That would be a bio-weapons lab run by the Chinese Communist Party in Wuhan, China.
Take for example the headline and lead-in to this article from The Atlantic: “The Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Awakening for Immune Cells: Side effects are just a sign that protection is kicking in as it should.”
In another article, The Atlantic makes the case for government mandating every American to get vaccinated.
These media shills work in concert with government bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci, who is now saying the “key to achieving herd immunity lies in vaccinating children,” reports Yahoo News.
Get that? They want to deliver an experimental mRNA vaccine into the bodies of your children. That’s despite the fact that children are the least vulnerable to death or serious illness from the Wuhan virus.
I suspect there may be other, more nefarious reasons for targeting children which have something to do with the genetically modified coding markers embedded in the vaccine, but let’s leave that for another day.
Why is the media so energized in making sure you get injected with an experimental biological agent that is said to be a vaccine but does not behave like any previous vaccine and offers none of the protections of previous vaccines? Why was this vaccine allowed to be brought to market without going through the normal stages of testing for safety and efficacy?
Why the rush when we already have effective treatments in the form of antimicrobials like hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin?
These are questions any honest press would be asking right now. But instead they feed us the propaganda from the Bill Gates-funded CDC and WHO and their partners in Big Pharma.
As an antidote to this propaganda, watch the interview Alex Newman conducted in January with Dr. Lee Merritt, an orthopedic surgeon for 27 years, including 10 years as a spinal surgeon for the U.S. military and past president of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons.
Merritt frames the current situation with the Wuhan virus as an unconventional, unrestricted warfare being waged by billionaire technocratic elites against humanity.
Until you understand that we are in a war, you are incapable of understanding why so many freedoms and rights are disappearing so fast, in a society known for its civil liberties and constitutional protections against government overreach.
The first rule of war is to know that you are in one and that modern warfare includes all manner of non-kinetic tactics. This includes information warfare and economic warfare. I made this point four years ago in the preface to my book, Stealth Invasion and Dr. Merritt makes the same argument in her interview with Newman.
‘It’s a psy-op at this point’
Merritt says “fifth generation warfare” is being used by globalist power-elites, who have endless funding, not only from governments but from private foundations affiliated with the Gates, Soros, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford families among others capable of buying off prestigious medical journals and media companies. Truthful information gets hidden by Google and beaten down by fact-checkers, who immediately roll out the “conspiracy theory” branding. These same fact checkers are funded by the above private foundations.
So effective have they been in their information-warfare attacks that the overwhelming majority of hard-working middle-class Americans do not even realize they are in a war.
In fourth generation warfare, the enemy blends in with the rest of society and is difficult to identify.
“But what if you took it a step further?” Merrit asks. “What if you had a weapon that was so stealth you not only didn’t know who the enemy was but you didn’t even know you were being attacked?”
Biological warfare has been around for decades. But the problem with that method of warfare lies in distribution. Anthrax, for example, while lethal, had to be delivered to intended targets in envelopes sent through the U.S. Postal Service in September 2001. Not very effective.
The Wuhan virus solved that problem brilliantly. Like any virus, the initial wave was quite deadly and, when combined with media hysteria, a lot of fear was released into the collective minds of the population.
The virus has become less deadly over time and treatments more effective, but the fear, once it found a home in people’s minds, continues to rule their behavior.
“What happened is, as soon as this came out, it’s very easy to piggyback on things, and they’ve used it to create fear, and fear is an incredible psychological manipulator of populations,” Merritt said. “They shut us down…. damaging us in so many ways, it’s a psy-op at this point.”
Effective treatments, cheap and widely available, were known to exist but they were withheld from physicians, in some states under penalty of law.
Why would governments hide the treatment?
Two reasons, says Merritt: “One, your $69 billion vaccine business goes to zero if you have a treatment. And, two, if you have a treatment in your pocket then they cannot terrorize you with the viruses,” Merritt said.
She said it made sense to make vaccines for smallpox and polio which could offer lifelong protection with a single injection.
But a coronavirus is much different.
There are already good treatments available with antimicrobial drugs like HCQ and Ivermectin, and the vaccine industry’s history with trying to vaccinate against coronaviruses is littered with catastrophic failures. Most of them center on the use of gene-therapy methods, injecting Messenger RNA into the human cells with encoded instructions.
“These are experimental biologics, I don’t even like to call them vaccines,” Merritt says. “They’re not giving you a small piece of a pathogen to make you immune, where you get perfect immunity for life and it’s over. What they’re doing is programming mRNA.”
‘The Software of Life’
Messenger RNA are the genetic codes that tell the body what kind of proteins are needed to fight off disease.
“It’s kind of like a computer chip that you put into a 3D printer and you tell it what you want it to make and it prints it out,” Merrit said. “We have that in engineering and this is the biologic equivalent. It tells your body to produce certain things. Well what they’ve done is made a piece of this mRNA to create a spike protein in every cell in your body. So you’re actually creating the pathogen in your body.”
Read article HERE.
Follow up video:
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made comments last year about COVID-19 vaccines that clash with policies that his platform has implemented, leaked video shows.
Zuckerberg said in July 2020:
The footage was published by Project Veritas, a journalism watchdog.
It was allegedly from Facebook’s internal weekly question-and-answer session.
Zuckerberg took a different stance when appearing in a virtual forum in November 2020 with Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading government scientist.
Facebook didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Zuckerberg’s Facebook has imposed harsh guidelines on what people can post about COVID-19, and banned or restricted a number of users for violating the policies.
Facebook earlier in February said it would take down any posts with claims about vaccines deemed false by health groups or its so-called fact-checkers.
A health care worker prepares a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center inside the Blackburn Cathedral, United Kingdom, on Jan. 19, 2021. (Molly Darlington/Reuters)
Facebook stated in a blog post, “Today, following consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), we are expanding the list of false claims we will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines.”
The list includes “claims that the COVID-19 vaccine changes people’s DNA.”
Administrators for some groups will be required to greenlight all posts if the groups have been labeled problematic in terms of posts that have been made.
Footage showing Zuckerberg commenting privately on various issues has been made public before by Project Veritas. In one clip, he praised President Joe Biden’s early executive orders “on areas that we as a company care quite deeply about and have for some time.”
“Areas like immigration, preserving DACA, ending restrictions on travel from Muslim-majority countries, as well as other executive orders on climate and advancing racial justice and equity. I think these were all important and positive steps,” he said.
Facebook banned former President Donald Trump in January while Trump was still in office. Trump remains blocked from the platform.
Today is Ash Wednesday.
Also called Day of Ashes, Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent—the 40 weekdays before Easter for Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant believers. Many Protestants in less liturgical churches or people outside the faith may not know the meaning of Ash Wednesday. Though not mentioned in the Bible, it has become a day to remember how fleeting life is and focus on the magnitude of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
It’s a reminder of where we came from and to where we will return:
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Gen 2:7)
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Gen 3:19)
The name “Ash Wednesday” comes from the placing of ashes on the foreheads of worshipers—symbolizing repentance and mourning1—and it’s a day set aside for self-denial and fasting.
And though Ash Wednesday is not in the Bible, the concept of people connecting dust and ashes with repentance and mourning is. Job repents “in dust and ashes” (42:6), and through the prophet Joel, God calls his wayward people Israel to return to him “with all [their] heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12–13).
And Daniel sought the Lord in prayer, pleading for mercy “with fasting and sackcloth and ashes” (9:3).
Many Christians wonder if they should be observing Ash Wednesday or not. Trevin Wax offers this reminder in his article “Evangelicals Embracing (and Rejecting) Lent”—regardless of where we stand:
I hardly think the church is suffering from too much fasting,” Wax says. “But I do think the church is suffering from too much self-righteousness (and I include myself in this indictment). Lent—being either for or against—can become a way of climbing up on to the pedestal.
What is more important than the practices we take on is the heart attitude behind them. If there’s anything we should give up this time of year, it’s our sense of superiority either to those outside the church or those inside the church who do things differently than we do.”2
So today, whether you celebrate Ash Wednesday or not, recall the meaning of Ash Wednesday and Psalm 51:17—that God will never “reject a broken and repentant heart” (NLT).
Over the past several weeks there’s been discussion concerning President Joe Biden’s Catholic faith. He’s been portrayed as a ‘devout’ Catholic, yet just days ago, the Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, said that Biden should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic because of his push for pro-abortion policies. On the other hand, on inauguration day, Pope Francis extended cordial good wishes to Biden with no word concerning his position on abortion.
To help listeners sort out the debate concerning the issue of being devout, Crosstalk welcomed back Mike Gendron. Mike is the founder and director of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry. Mike was a devout Roman Catholic for over 3 decades and was taught to rely upon the authority of the church above all else. Mike searched the Scriptures and was amazed to find that what he read in Scripture contradicted the teaching and tradition of the church he had been a part of for so long. He trusted Jesus as his Savior and now the Bible has become his sole authority in all matters of faith. Mike is the author of the books, Preparing for Eternity and Contending for the Gospel and has produced numerous videos with warnings concerning false teachings vs. the truth of the Scriptures.
This program began by laying a foundation through defining of the word, ‘devout.’ Mike believes being a devout Catholic means different things for different people. As a former devout Catholic, for him it meant being a strong defender of what he felt at the time was the one, true church. He attended Mass every day during Lent, practiced the sacraments, supported the church financially and did what he could to obey the laws of the church.
He went on to note that a Catholic is baptized into the religion and then is immediately indoctrinated into different teachings of the church. In Mike’s case, the one that impressed him the most was the belief that the Catholic church was the one true church founded by Christ. The problem was that he was trusting in his religion to get him to heaven and not God. He believes this is the big difference between a devout Catholic and a devout Christian. Later Mike phrased the issue this way: ‘So you can see on one hand the devout Catholic is dedicated to his religion, whereas the devout Christian is dedicated to serving and glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the program continued, Mike addressed the following and more including:
- The definition of a Christian.
- Can a person be a devout Catholic and a devout Christian at the same time?
- Can a person be a devout Catholic and promote abortion?
- What do high ranking Catholics say about President Biden’s so-called ‘devout’ Catholicism?
To obtain a copy of Mike’s latest DVD, I’m a Christian, You’re a Catholic. So What’s the Difference, go to proclaimingthegospel.org or call 817-379-5300. This offer includes a copy of the publication called, You Can Never Do What Christ Has Done.
The very real controversies of America’s 2021 have conjured up the fictional dystopia of George Orwell’s 1984. The right condemns Big Tech as an incipient Big Brother—surveilling citizens and suppressing disapproved thought. The left replies that Donald Trump is the true Orwellian threat. After all, he lies!
These spirited disagreements conceal an important consensus. Most Americans agree that the totalitarianism depicted in 1984 is bad and that we must beware of letting that nightmare vision become a reality in our own country. Our commitment to preserving freedom, then, invites us to consider the basis of this totalitarianism. In other words, we need to ask: what must the citizens be like to permit such a tyranny to arise?
In Orwell’s classic novel, Oceania’s totalitarianism rests on compulsory atheism. Oceania is ruled by “the Party,” which forbids religion to its members. Religious belief is one of the “crimes” to which Winston Smith, the hero of 1984, confesses under torture—along with sexual perversion and admiration of capitalism. The Party has to forbid religious belief because atheism is both the moral and metaphysical basis of its absolute power.
Atheism is the moral basis of the Party’s unlimited hold on its own members because it makes them terrified of death as absolute nonexistence. Like any government, the Party in 1984 has the power to kill disobedient subjects. Party members, however, view death not just as the end of bodily life, but as a complete erasure of their being—their thoughts, their words, their affections, their deeds. Winston Smith muses that the “terrible” thing about the Party is its ability to make you vanish, such that “neither you nor your actions were ever heard of again. You were lifted clean out of the stream of history.”
We need to ask what must the citizens be like to permit such a tyranny to arise.
Yet the Party does not demand atheism of everybody. The “proles”—the proletarians, the workers—are permitted religious belief. As the Party teaches, “proles and animals are free.” Being free from dogmatic atheism, the proles are also free to believe in the intrinsic value of their own intentions and actions, even in the face of death. For the proles, as for the people who had lived before the revolution that ushered in Oceania’s totalitarian state, “a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself.” Thus the proles, Winston observes, had “stayed human.”
In contrast, members of the Party view death as absolute defeat, from which the only escape is total submission to the Party, which alone is immortal. This, as the Party official O’Brien instructs Winston, is the basis of the Party’s seemingly contradictory slogan, “freedom is slavery.” As an individual—“alone” and “free”—the “human being is always defeated,” because “every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of failures.” The only path of salvation, then, is “complete, utter submission” to the Party. Only if an individual can “escape from his identity,” only “if he can merge himself into the Party so that he is the Party,” can he become “all-powerful and immortal.”
Atheism is also the metaphysical basis of 1984’s totalitarian regime. It underwrites the philosophic understanding of reality on which the Party’s unlimited power rests.
The Party insists on teaching its members that there is no external, objective reality apart from subjective human consciousness. This is the lesson Winston has to learn the hard way (under torture) after trying to think for himself. Trying to think for yourself implies that there is something “out there” for you to think about, some “truth” that you might be able to find, on the basis of which you might be able to critique approved opinion.
Because there is no external, objective reality to which all human beings must conform, the Party gets to decide what is ‘real.’
This the Party strenuously denies, as O’Brien labors to teach Winston. “Nothing exists except through human consciousness.” “Outside man there is nothing.” “Reality is inside your skull.” “You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of nature. We make the laws of nature.”
Because there is no external, objective reality to which all human beings must conform, the Party gets to decide what is “real.” “Sanity,” Winston comes to believe, is “statistical.” That is, sanity means not seeing what is actually there but seeing what everybody else sees, which is what the Party is able to make them see. “Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.”
Unbelief in any external, objective reality gives the Party absolute power over the minds of its members. Or, to put it another way, this unbelief secures the abject intellectual slavishness of Party members, their willingness to accept whatever the Party hands out to them, however absurd it may be on its face, however obviously it contradicts what the Party has said previously. This philosophy is the basis of one of the Party’s other famous slogans: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”
1984 thus confronts us with a radical and very significant suggestion: Without God as the eternal, omnipotent observer, there is no objective reality.
Since there is no objective reality, the past has no real existence, and the Party can make it be whatever it decides it to be. As O’Brien forces Winston to concede, the past does not exist in any place where one could go and confirm its characteristics. You could try to say that it exists in records, but the Party can revise all records. You could try to say that it exists in people’s memories, but the Party can falsify people’s memories through misinformation and intimidation.
1984 thus confronts us with a radical and very significant suggestion: Without God as the eternal, omnipotent observer, there is no objective reality. Many have argued that without God there can be no fixed moral principles. Orwell’s great work goes further, raising the possibility that without God there cannot even be “facts” in any meaningful, reliable sense.
Think about it. Suppose I spill some water on the pavement on a hot summer day. It is gone in just a few moments—evaporated. Can I insist that it was really there? Where is the evidence of it now? If there is no eternity, if there is nothing but ceaseless flux, then every human life—and, indeed, every human civilization and the whole human past—is on the level of that quickly evaporated water. These things appear for a moment and, once gone, no longer exist. Thus we may claim them to be whatever we want, or even deny that they existed at all. Or, to be more accurate, those who have power can impose these claims and denials on the rest of us.
For decades—for centuries, in fact—many allegedly profound thinkers have proclaimed to the world that they were promoting enlightenment and the liberty of the mind by discrediting belief in God and the afterlife. Orwell’s 1984, however, invites us to consider whether such thinkers have really been destroying the basis of freedom and laying the groundwork for unprecedented despotism.
Forget your foolish illusions about a new world order and a great reset:
OK, before you freak out over my latest provocative and eye-catching title, read on, to see what I am saying – and what I am NOT saying. What I am saying is this: I will keep working to be salt and light in this broken and needy world. What I am not saying is this: I do NOT believe that human effort alone will do any real and substantial good in the long term.
Let me explain. On my morning prayer walk I once again felt so very weighed down and burdened by all the evil, wickedness, suffering, ungodliness and injustice everywhere. The tsunami of darkness sweeping over us is palpable. I just grieve so heavily for what I see happening all around me.
We are witnessing – right before our very eyes, in real time – the slow but certain destruction of our culture. Everything good and of value is being deliberately torn away from us and destroyed. And I am not here talking about the obvious hell-holes of human misery: the communist states, the Muslim-majority nations, North Korea, Venezuela, etc.
I am speaking about the once free and democratic West. Western civilisation was the direct result of the Judeo-Christian worldview. All the tremendous social goods that we have enjoyed for so long – human rights, freedom, rule of law, democracy, political liberty, prosperity, etc – have been primarily because of biblical Christianity.
But as the West tells God to get lost, it seems he respects our wishes, and we are now returning to a new paganism. We are returning to a new lost world of darkness and horror. Yet all the fools – and that is exactly what Scripture calls them – keep on believing the lie that they can still set up their towers of Babel; that they can still set up their little socialist paradises; that they can still bring in their communist utopias; that they can still deliver the goods as secular humanists.
They are utterly blind, deaf and dumb – and fully deceived. Every time we have tried our humanist experiments, they have ended disastrously. Well over 100 million people were murdered last century directly because of these godless social experiments. Yet we still chirp on and on about the perfectibility of man, unfettered progress, a brave new world, and a Great Reset.
Here’s the scoop folks: While I will keep seeking to be salt and light; while I will keep fighting for what is right; while I will keep working against injustice and evil, I will never be so naïve as to think that all this can somehow be turned around without God and his grace.
The truth is, there is no hope apart from God in Christ. THERE IS NO HOPE. At the end of the day, a new social structure will not save us. A new economic system will not deliver us. A new set of politicians will not cure what ails us. A new philosophy or ideology will not come to our rescue. A new world order will not bring deliverance. A new leader will not be the Messiah.
Unless God makes a massive comeback in the West, we are all toast. And to be honest, that may well be a good thing. We have tried so long to make our little utopias without God, and all it has done is unleash even more demonic evil, suffering, tyranny and brutality.
Maybe it is a good thing we are seeing everything around us crumbling and disintegrating and falling down. Maybe it is good to see the end of all things. Because if you have any sense at all, if you have any clarity of vision at all, then you might begin to realise that without God this must be the way it all ends. There is no other option.
It is either all of us getting on our knees before Almighty God, repenting, and crying out for his mercy, or we are no-hopers. NOTHING will save us apart from God. Nothing CAN save us apart from God in Christ. He is our only hope. There is no other.
The plaintive plea of Princess Leia in the very first Star Wars film – “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You‘re my only hope” – may well have been an appropriate and memorable line for a Sci-Fi flick. But in real life, our only hope is Jesus Christ.
Without Christ we will just keep stumbling along into further darkness, into further horror, into further annihilation. Yes, as I said, I will keep seeking to do my bit to hold off the encroaching gloom. I will keep fighting the good fight at all levels.
All Christians should still seek to do the same. As Jesus enjoined of us: “Occupy till I come.” That we must do. But as individuals, as families, as societies, and as nations, there is no ultimate hope apart from the Risen Saviour. The sooner we realise that the better.
The great American conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh has just passed away at the age of 70 after a long bout with lung cancer. Last June, while discussing the death of George Floyd, he said this:
But knowing that our country is in all kinds of hurt right now, 40 million people were thrown out of their jobs, their livelihoods, many of them owners of businesses now destroyed, it’s just stupid, senseless — for me it was — it’s not correct to call it a last straw. But it just got me, folks, because we all only get this one life. You can’t get it back. You don’t get a do-over. You get a do-over for some mistakes that you might make, but you don’t get a second life. Only one person has conquered death, Jesus Christ. Nobody else. You have to make the most of it.
Yes, he got that right. Late in his life he discovered the most important truth that one can ever find. The only vital questions for you, dear reader, are these: Have you done the same? Have you encountered the Risen Lord and had a life-changing experience as a result? Have you stopped playing god and allowed the One True God to be in charge of your life?
If not, why not?
I know that most Americans don’t understand much about etiquette these days, but I still expected better than this. When someone passes away, it is customary to say positive things about the deceased. If you can’t find anything positive to say, then you should say nothing at all. At one time, it would have been considered to be extremely rude to make bitter and nasty comments about someone that has just died, but in America today people just do whatever they feel like doing. Proper etiquette is a thing of the past, and at this point we have essentially become a nation of degenerate “pig people” that have no respect for anyone or anything.
The first time I ever encountered Rush Limbaugh was when my father started listening to him all the way back in the 1980s. Rush was a lot more brash and cocky back then, but the one constant throughout the years was his deep, abiding love for America. He truly loved the United States, our founders, our Constitution and everything that this country was supposed to represent. He was constantly pushing us to live up to our ideals, and he was not afraid to call out politicians in both parties that he felt were betraying our values.
Over the years he got older, but he also got wiser. Every time I listened to him I came away with something that would stick with me, and I am very thankful for that.
He was truly great at what he did, and his work has had an impact on hundreds of millions of people.
How many of us will be able to say the same thing when our lives on this planet are through?
Of course many on the left deeply hated Rush Limbaugh and everything that he stood for, and we all understand that.
But couldn’t they have waited at least a few days before viciously trashing his life and his legacy?
The following are 20 absolutely horrible things that the left said about Rush Limbaugh right after he died…
–Christopher Mathias of the Huffington Post: “Rush Limbaugh was a bigot and a misogynist who saturated America’s airwaves with cruel lies and conspiracy theories for decades, transforming the GOP in the process.”
–Steve Hofstetter: “‘Rest in Piss’ is trending because Rush Limbaugh died. I don’t know who the first person to write this was, but how dare you. How dare you come up with the perfect joke before the rest of us could.”
–David Cross: “Cancer killed the cancer”
–George Takei: “I guess I’m grateful that he lived long enough to see Trump defeated by Biden.”
–Nathan Bernard: “goodbye Rush Limbaugh, may you rot in hell with your ******* ugly ties”
–New York Times podcast host Jane Coaston: “Rush Limbaugh was the first person I ever recognized existed largely as a Rorschach test.”
–Palmer Report: “Rush Limbaugh spent decades advancing his career by opportunistically spreading vicious lies that got a lot of bad people elected, whose corrupt policies in turn got a lot of Americans killed.”
–Cameron Kasky: “Rush Limbaugh has passed on, but worry not- his memory lives on through bigots everywhere”
–Bishop Talbert Swan: “Bidding him good riddance or wishing him to rot in hell is being kind.”
–Chris Cillizza of CNN: “Trump was Limbaugh’s Frankenstein monster. And he proudly stood by him until the very end.”
–Anthony Rapp: “A person who consistently and continually did a tremendous amount of damage to the world, #RushLimbaugh, lived twice as long as my friend Jonathan Larson, whose work and legacy have only changed the world for the better. It’s difficult to reconcile the unfairness of that fact.”
–Charlotte Clymer: “Rush Limbaugh was a coward and white supremacist. He aggressively and cynically exploited divisions in our country by weaponizing hatred and bigotry for his own personal gain. He was in service to his own greed, prejudice, and hypocrisy, and that is how history will remember him.”
–Danielle Campoamor: “Because the only way to truly pay our respects to the radio host, who reached more than 15 million listeners during his 30-year talk radio career, is to remember exactly who he was and the legacy he left behind— one of divisiveness, cruelty, racism, homophobia, bigotry, and sexism.”
–Kirk Acevedo: “One bigot dead. Waiting for the rest to join him.”
–David Klion: “Today is a sad day, as the excruciating physical and spiritual agony Rush Limbaugh experienced at all times has finally ended.”
–Billy Baldwin: “Enjoy hell.”
–Luke Null: “Rush Limbaugh already started a radio show in Hell and is ranting about how the devil should shut the fiery gates because all these OUTSIDERS are ruining everything!”
–Finneas: “Feeling very sorry for the people of Hell who now have to deal with Rush Limbaugh for the rest of eternity”
–Ron Perlman: “I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the poor devil who will no doubt have to spend the rest of eternity with Rush Limbaugh.”
Beloved, how absolutely tragic is the loss of Rush Limbaugh in light of January 6th and America’s progressive Biden death spiral of our nation. Beloved, Rush was one man and great American which no one can replace. I have listened to Rush for 25 years and was always amazed at how on the cutting edge he was and how wise he was. Rush had an amazing perception and insight into the American political landscape which none other had. His humor and witty personality, along with his sincere and genuine harmless little “fuzzball” character, made him adored and loved by millions of true Americans. He was fearless and bold and was lawless liberals, godless progressives, and bizzaro Americans’ worse nightmare! Rush was a beacon of conservative light in an ever-growing Marxist and lawless America and was a true fighter for the Constitution. Rush had fought the good fight and was a true warrior for America unto the end, and he will truly and sorely be missed. The vacuum of his human greatness cannot be filled by the many who Rush had inspired and encouraged all these years. I am thankful that Rush made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, for, in the end, Jesus is all that FOREVER matters in this life and conservatism without the ETERNAL RIGHTEOUSNESS of Almighty God in Christ is ETERNALLY bankrupt (John 11:25-26; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 10:9, 1 John 4:10)!
Rush had fought the good fight and was a true fighter for America unto the end and he will truly and sorely be missed, and the vacuum of his human greatness cannot be filled by the many he has inspired and encourage all these years.
In light of our nation’s current demise and implosion, in light of the theft of the 2020 election, in inlight of the horrific slanderous treatment of President Trump and his American supporters; in light of the EXPONENTIAL deterioration and growth of lawlessness; and now in light of the death of the Doctor of Democracy, it is so easy to be totally overwhelmed and in absolute despair. My beloved, things here in America and throughout the world are not going to get better and as a matter of fact, the HORRIFIC EXPONENTIAL Day of the Lord is at the door and nothing can stop that now (Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19)! In such times like this, we need to see ETERNALLY above this world’s fallen demise and hopelessness to the ETERNAL Throne of Almighty God by faith, to find His strength and hope in such hopeless days (Isa. 6:1-13, Col. 3:1-4)! Beloved; for when we do, we will be changed and hope of Christ will radiate from our hearts to a lost world which is ETERNALLY dying in their sins (John 3:16-17). Beloved, when all looks lost, Almighty God’s ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS Person, Word, and Spirit will show us His wonders of what will ETERNALLY be and give us the boldness in Him in such days to share the ETERNAL Gospel of Grace to those that are dying in the sins (John 3:16-17; 1 John 4:10)!
In such times like this, we need to see ETERNALLY above this world’s fallen demise and hopelessness to the ETERNAL Throne of Almighty God by faith, to find His strength and hope!
In such dark godless demonic days, may we truly lock onto the Lord Jesus Christ our ETERNAL Hope and lift our eyes on high to the ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS THRONE of Almighty God as Isaiah once did; and dear friend, if you do not personally know the Lord Jesus in a saving way, please do; for in His ETERNAL saving grace and love, there is found only ETERNAL HOPE (Rev. 1:17-18)!
In such dark godless demonic days, may you truly lock onto the Lord Jesus Christ our ETERNAL Hope and lift our eyes on high to the ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS THRONE of Almighty God as Isaiah once did!
As Rush fought daily and bravely for his country and our Republic; may Almighty God’s blood-washed saints do likewise for the ETERNAL calling given to us; and the race which is set before us to bring ETERNAL GLORY unto God our Savior (2 Tim. 4:7-8; Phil. 4:13; Heb. 12:1-6)!
God Speed and Maranatha;, for the Kingdom of Heaven is truly at hand!
Put the Word into Practice
1 John 2:4–6; 2 Timothy 3:14–16
Whatever you learn from the word, labor to put it in practice. For to him that has shall be given. No wonder they get little insight into the Bible who make no conscience of practicing what they know. But while the stream runs into a holy life, the fountain will be the more free.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
The Lord Shows How to Fight the Devil
Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 22:40, 46; 1 Peter 5:8
The Lord, who overcame the devil and shows us the way to overcome him, commands us to watch. For therefore he encountered with Satan the first, second, and third time, to instruct us how we should fight against the enemy of mankind. He overcame him for us, that we should not despair of ability and power easily to overcome him, since he is already weakened and wounded. By faith, doubtless, we shall overcome him; for by faith we are knit unto Christ, and by faith we draw the Spirit of Christ, by the force and virtue whereof we shall triumph.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
5:1 Commentators differ over whether chap. 5 belongs thematically to the first major section of Romans or to the Christian life section, chaps. 6–8. It has connections to both. Paul in 5:1–11 uses “we” and “us” as he explains the benefits that those who are justified possess. Justification is just one of many ways of speaking about salvation. In this division, Paul showed how justification involves reconciliation. Justification speaks to our sound legal status before God while reconciliation describes our repaired relationship to God in more personal terms. We were at war with God, relationally alienated from him, but he reconciled us by his Son (v. 10). We have peace in some manuscripts can be read as “let us grasp the fact that we have peace.” This peace is an objective, settled fact because Jesus has accomplished it once and for all.
5:1 The discovery of the doctrine of justification by faith provided the impetus for most phases of the Reformation. The observation of Martin Luther (a.d. 1483–1546) that a good theologian is one who rightly distinguishes between law and grace is still crucial to understanding the Bible. Peace with God, the cessation of conflict with the eternal God, is achieved only through justification by faith. This peace is an objective reality and status and not simply a subjective feeling of the inner man.
5:1 we have peace. See text note. Numerous manuscripts support “let us have” peace, but the flow of Paul’s logic supports the first rendering. That “we have now received reconciliation” (v. 11) implies that we are at peace with God already. With peace established, we now have access to God’s presence. The wall of partition has been removed. This peace is not a guarded truce subject to new warfare. It is a permanent peace.
5:1 righteous by faith Paul has argued extensively that salvation comes only through faith (see note on Rom 3:22). He assumes that conclusion here, using it as the starting point to expound on the implications of being declared righteous by God.
peace Paul uses this word similarly to how it is used throughout the ot: to describe well-being, prosperity, safety from harm, and deliverance from enemies. This peace is more than just the absence of conflict; it is the result of having been declared righteous by faith (see Eph 2:14–17; Col 1:20). It also could refer to the believer’s subjective experience of peace with God.
5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified. Chapter 5 begins with a ringing affirmation of the objective legal standing of the Christian—that the Christian, through faith in Christ, has been justified and declared righteous by God, once for all. The result of this is that the Christian no longer lives under the fear of judgment and the wrath of God but has peace with God, which is not merely a subjective feeling but an objective reality. See also note on John 14:27.
5:1 having been justified. The Gr. construction—and its Eng. translation—underscores that justification is a one-time legal declaration with continuing results (see note on 3:24), not an ongoing process. peace with God. Not a subjective, internal sense of calm and serenity, but an external, objective reality. God has declared Himself to be at war with every human being because of man’s sinful rebellion against Him and His laws (v. 10; cf. 1:18; 8:7; Ex 22:24; Dt 32:21, 22; Ps 7:11; Jn 3:36; Eph 5:6). But the first great result of justification is that the sinner’s war with God is ended forever (Col 1:21, 22). Scripture refers to the end of this conflict as a person’s being reconciled to God (vv. 10, 11; 2Co 5:18–20).
5:1 — Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ .…
For those who place their faith in the risen Christ, the war with heaven is over. We move from darkness to light, from enemies to beloved children, from death to life. God showers His peace on those who trust Him.
5:1 Peace here is not a subjective feeling of peace. Rather, this peace is the state of being at peace instead of at war. The hostility between God and the believer has ceased. The believer has been reconciled to God.
5:1 The first great benefit enjoyed by those of us who have been justified by faith is peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The war is over. Hostilities have ceased. Through the work of Christ all causes of enmity between our souls and God have been removed. We have been changed from foes to friends by a miracle of grace.
5:1. The apostle now turned to a presentation of the experiential results (suggested by the connective oun, trans. therefore) of the believers’ justification—God’s declaring them righteous—on the basis of faith (cf. 3:21–4:25). The participial clause since we have been justified (cf. 5:9) through faith describes antecedent action to the main clause, we have peace (echomen) with God. Some of the important Greek manuscripts read, “Let us have peace (echōmen) with God.” This seems to be the preferred reading. If so, then the sense is, “Let us keep on having (in the sense of enjoying) peace with God.” Peace has been made by God through our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Eph. 2:14a), which fact is demonstrated by God’s justification. A believer is not responsible for having peace in the sense of making it but in the sense of enjoying it.
5:1. When Paul says therefore, he is preparing to draw together the two key truths which have occupied his attention in the letter so far: the need for justification by God (Rom. 1:8–3:20) and the means of justification (“faith”, Rom. 3:21–4:25). Since we have been justified implies the need and the exercise of the solution. Perhaps the most telling turn of style in this verse could be easily overlooked: his use of we instead of “you” or “they”. In the first four chapters of Romans, “you” or “they” occurs (in English) seventy-seven times, while “we” occurs only fifteen times, and many of those are editorial uses. The significance of his change to first person language in Romans 5:1 is that he is now addressing content which applies to those who have been justified—believers in Christ—as opposed to those who needed to be justified—the pagan, the religious moralizer, and/or the Jew addressed in previous chapters.
Romans 1–4 explains the condition of the wicked and how they can be declared righteous by God. Romans 5–12 addresses those who, while still sinners, have been declared righteous by God through faith in Jesus Christ. That obviously includes Paul and the believers in the Roman church—thus the switch to we.
Though the critical commentaries may be consulted by the teacher for a fuller discussion, several points concerning a textual problem in verse 1 are worth noting. Depending on the context in which the teacher is working, this textual problem can serve as a helpful illustration for students of the complexities of Bible translation and the factors involved in decision-making by translators:
- The problem: Should Romans 5:1 read “we have” peace with God, or “let us have” peace with God? This question arises because of the presence of both readings in ancient Greek manuscripts. Which represents the original?
- The significance: “We have” states an objective fact (we have peace with God) while “let us have” is an exhortation to pursue a subjective experience of peace with God based on the reality of being justified through faith. Both have merit theologically. The former is a position, the latter is an experience. The former says we have peace, the latter says we should pursue peace.
- The facts to consider: The forms of the Greek word in questions differ by only one letter. “We have” is exōmen (present active indicative, first person plural), while “let us have” is exōmen (present active subjunctive, first person plural). The similarity of the two forms could have contributed to confusion by a scribe at some point when copies of Romans were made. Or there may have been a theological bias for one form or the other by someone at some point in the history of the transmission of Paul’s letter to the Romans. When the evidence from the copies of ancient Greek manuscripts is weighed, more ancient copies contain “let us have” than “we have.” However, the most important factor to consider is context. Which form better fits the context in which it occurs?
- The decision: On the basis of context, the English translations with the widest readership today have adopted the indicative (“we have”) rather than the subjunctive (“let us have”). Paul’s argument in Romans 5 is propositional, not exhortative. He is stating what is true in light of our justification. The chapter does not contain verbs in the subjunctive mood; rather, the indicative mood is the standard (cf. v. 11, “we have now received reconciliation”—present active indicative).
Some translators have tried to incorporate both senses: the NEB has “let us continue at peace with God” while Phillips’s translation reads “Let us grasp the fact that we have peace.” The KJV, NASB, NKJV, and NIV all read we have peace. For a contemporary twist, the popular translation by Eugene H. Peterson, The Message, says, “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus” (emphasis added to show his rendering of the words in question). Having it all together with God is definitely a propositional synonym for being at peace with him!
The New Testament is filled with places where ancient manuscripts differ, but rarely do the differences carry the theological and practical import of this example. Do we, or do we not, have peace with God on the basis of being justified in his sight through our Lord Jesus Christ? Given Paul’s references to the wrath of God in Romans 1–4 (1:18; 2:5, 8; 3:5; 4:15)—references which leave no doubt as to the propositional reality of wrath!—it seems clear that Paul is now saying that the most profound legal transaction in the history of the universe has changed wrath to peace. When God the judge declares those who place faith in Christ innocent, they immediately are at peace with him. On such profound declarations are built the securities, and thus the practices, of the Christian faith.
What is this peace we possess? Commentators agree that the Greek word eirene is best understood in the New Testament by its use in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) to translate the Hebrew shalom. While shalom is generally thought of as “peace”, its meaning is much broader and deeper. Its semantic range covers “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace” (Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew lexicon), issuing in narrow renderings such as friendship, tranquility, contentment, health, wealth, safety, soundness, and wholeness.
This is not to say that all of these shades of meaning are present in Romans 5:1, defining the peace which the believer has with God. But it is to illustrate the depth of the concept in the mind of a Jewish writer like Paul. If he had been writing Romans in Hebrew, shalom is probably the word he would have used. In fact, in Ecclesiastes 3:8, shalom is used as the opposite of war—a fitting analogy to Paul’s use of peace as the replacement of wrath, and for the roots of “gospel” in the glad tidings of the cessation of war. To refer back to Eugene Peterson’s rendering of Romans 5:1, peace means having it all together with God.
Here, and usually in the New Testament, peace is not first a reference to an internal state or feeling (e.g., “peace of mind” in 2 Cor. 2:13 is actually “rest in my spirit;” not a translation of eirene. Instead, peace is “external and objective,” a condition “in which all the hostility caused by sin has been removed. It is to exist no longer under the wrath of God” (Mounce, p. 133). But what is the normal result of the cessation of wrath or conflict? Surely it is the enjoyment of the reality of peace, which certainly, and legitimately, leads to feelings of security and comfort. As C. K. Barrett has stated, peace “is reflected in the feeling of peace and security which man enjoys when he knows that he is reconciled to God” (Barrett, p. 102).
What a contrast peace with God must have been to the pax Romana (Roman peace) under which the Roman Christians were living! Begun under the first emperor Augustus (63 b.c.–a.d. 14; made emperor in 29 b.c.), the pax Romana was three hundred years of relative peace and prosperity enjoyed in the Roman Empire. While Roman peace was nearly ninety years old when Paul wrote Romans, it was not always a time of peace for Christians. While “peace with Rome” was unstable and insecure for believers, peace with God was settled. Regardless of the unsettled nature of life as a persecuted—or at best tolerated—religious minority in the Roman Empire, Christians in Rome were assured by Paul that their peace with God was a settled fact.
One of the ironies of history is that Augustus, under whose reign the pax Romana began, is also the emperor who called for the census that sent a poor Nazarene carpenter and his wife to the city of David to be counted (Luke 2:1–7). While in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary became the parents of Jesus, who “himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14). It would take one who is peace to say, “Peace [eirene] I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). From objective truth flows subjective experience as much today as during the pax Romana.
Martin Luther, in a sermon on Romans 5, said that “peace with God” presents a remarkable antithesis:
- The righteous man has peace with God but affliction in the world, because he lives in the Spirit.
- The unrighteous man has peace with the world but affliction and tribulation with God, because he lives in the flesh.
- But as the Spirit is eternal, so also will be the peace of the righteous man and tribulation of the unrighteous.
- And as the flesh is temporal, so will be the tribulation of the righteous and the peace of the unrighteous (Heritage, p. 96).
As hindsight has proved, and spiritual foresight should have expected, the man-made pax Romana was little more than a blink in the eye of history. The lesson for the present from the church of the past is to combine 1 Timothy 2:1–2 with Romans 5:1. Pray for those in authority so that we “may live peaceful and quiet lives” (“peaceful” is actually eremos tranquil), but for true peace (eirene) look only to God.
5:1 “therefore” This word often signaled (1) the summary of the theological argument up to this point; (2) the conclusions based on this theological presentation; and (3) the presentation of new truth (cf. 5:1; 8:1; 12:1).
© “having been justified” This is an AORIST PASSIVE PARTICIPLE; God has justified believers. This is placed first in the Greek sentence (vv. 1–2) for emphasis. There seems to be a time sequence in vv. 1–11: (1) vv. 1–5, our current experience of grace; (2) vv. 6–8, Christ’s finished work on our behalf; and (3) vv. 9–11, our future hope and assurance of salvation.
The OT background of the term “justified” (dikaioō) was a “straight edge” or “measuring reed.” It came to be used metaphorically of God Himself. God’s character, holiness, is the only standard of judgment (cf. LXX of Lev. 24:22; and theologically in Matt. 5:48). Because of Jesus’ sacrificial, substitutionary death, believers have a legal (forensic) positional standing before God (see note at 5:2). This does not imply the believer’s lack of guilt, but rather something like amnesty. Someone else has paid the penalty (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21). Believers have been declared forgiven.
© “by faith” Faith is the hand that accepts the gift of God (cf. v. 2; Rom. 4:1ff). Faith does not focus on the degree or intensity of the believer’s commitment or resolve (cf. Matt. 17:20), but on the character and promises of God (cf. Eph. 2:8–9). The OT word for “faith” originally referred to one in a stable standing posture. It came to be used metaphorically for someone who was loyal, dependable and trustworthy. Faith does not focus on our faithfulness or trustworthiness, but on God’s.
© “we have peace” There is a Greek manuscript variant here. This VERB is either a PRESENT ACTIVE SUBJUNCTIVE (echōmen) or a PRESENT ACTIVE INDICATIVE (echomen). This same grammatical ambiguity is found in vv. 1, 2 & 3. The ancient Greek manuscripts seem to support the SUBJUNCTIVE (cf. MSS א*, A, B*, C, D). If it is the SUBJUNCTIVE it would be translated “let us continue enjoying peace” or “keep on enjoying peace.” If it is the INDICATIVE then it would be translated “we have peace.” The context of vv. 1–11 is not exhortation, but declaration of what believers already are and have through Christ. Therefore, the VERB is probably PRESENT ACTIVE INDICATIVE, “we have peace.” The USB4 gives this option an “A” rating (certain).
Many of our ancient Greek manuscripts were produced by one person reading a text and several others making copies. Words that were pronounced alike were often confused. Here is where context and sometimes the writing style and usual vocabulary of the author helps make the translation decision easier.
© “peace” This Greek term originally meant “binding together that which was broken” (cf. John 14:27; 16:33; Phil. 4:7). There are three ways the NT speaks of peace (1) the objective aspect of our peace with God through Christ (cf. Col. 1:20); (2) the subjective aspect of our being right with God (cf. John 14:27; 16:33; Phil. 4:7); and (3) that God has united into one new body, through Christ, both believing Jew and Gentile (cf. Eph. 2:14–17; Col. 3:15).
Newman and Nida, A Translator’s Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, p. 92, has a good comment about “peace.”
“Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament the term peace has a wide range of meaning. Basically it describes the total well-being of a person’s life; it was even adopted among the Jews as a formula of greeting. This term had such a profound meaning that it could also be used by the Jews as a description of the Messianic salvation. Because of this fact, there are times when it is used almost synonymously with the term rendered ‘to be in a right relation with God.’ Here the term appears to be used as a description of the harmonious relation established between man and God on the basis of God’s having put man right with himself” (p. 92).
© “with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Jesus is the agency which brings peace with God. Jesus is the only way to peace with God (cf. John 10:7–8; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5). For the title “Lord Jesus Christ” see notes at 1:4.
Ver. 1. Therefore being justified by faith.
Justification:—We have here—
- A state or condition—“justified.” This implies—1. Previous dishonour. A truly righteous character needs no justification. 2. Complete satisfaction. A man who owes a debt can only be justified when that debt is paid; although it need not be paid by himself. 3. Perfect restoration—to all rights, privileges, position, &c. Justification does not mean righteousness. A man is justified although he is defiled in sin. The justification of man by God is His counting man as righteous.
- A means or method—“faith.” Faith is that principle which unites a man with Christ, and so enables him to appropriate all the Saviour’s merits and righteousness. Substitution, to be effectual, not only requires its acceptance by the judge, but the acceptance of the Saviour by the sinner as his Substitute. Faith is that acceptance by the sinner. Notice—1. That this act is difficult. It is contrary to human nature—men would rather trust themselves than God. Hence they add rites and ceremonies. 2. It includes acts as well as conviction and trust. “Faith without works is dead,” and a dead principle has no existence.
III. A result attained—peace with God. Peace is desirable with man, much more with God. True peace can be obtained in no other way but this. There is a state which is often mistaken for it, such as indifference, a numbed conscience. Gratuitous pardon without justification by atonement would not be able to give peace, but pardon through satisfied justice can. Nothing can satisfy the sense of justice but trust in the justice-satisfying Saviour. (Homilist.)
- Its nature. 1. From the meaning of the word. 2. From the type (Lev. 16:21). (1) The two goats were necessary to set forth the perfect work of Christ: the first in atoning for sin, the other in bearing it away. 3. In its foundation (chap. 3:24, 25; 5:9). (1) The foundation is solid. (2) The grace is perfect.
- Its condition. “By faith.” Consider—1. The root meaning of the word. 2. The naturalness of the thing signified. 3. What is involved in unbelief.
III. Its fruits. 1. Peace (ver. 1). (1) Its nature. (2) With whom established. (3) Through whom acquired. 2. Standing (ver. 2). 3. Joy (ver. 2). (1) Its inspiration. “Hope of the glory of God.” (2) Its strength. “In tribulations.” (3) Its intellectual basis (ver. 4). (4) Its internal evidence (ver. 5).
- Its source. The love of God. 1. The manner in which it was procured (ver. 8). (1) “Commendeth” should be rendered “giveth proof of.” 2. The character of those for whom Christ died. (1) “Those without strength” (ver. 6). (2) “Sinners” (ver. 8). (3) Such an exhibition of love unparalleled (ver. 7). 3. The purpose for which God gave His Son (ver. 9, 10). V. Practical lessons. 1. The blessing of which this lesson treats is the greatest need of man. 2. The sacrifice which Christ made to procure this blessing the most wonderful fact in history. 3. The condition on which this blessing may be obtained the most reasonable and easy. 4. The benefits which this blessing confers on the believer in this life are the most precious God can bestow. 5. The glory to which the believer by it lays claim is ineffable and eternal. (D. C. Hughes, A.M.)
Justification more than forgiveness:—A friend with whom you have been long doing business falls into a condition of insolvency, and you find that he is your debtor to a large amount. There is no prospect of his ever being able to pay you back, and you have reason to know that this condition of debt arises not merely from his misfortune, but from his fault. Under these circumstances it would be possible for you to liberate him from his debt by an act of forgiveness. Let us suppose that you adopt this course; the man would no longer be in fear of a debtor’s prison, and would no doubt feel himself under a great obligation to you. But would such a state of things be likely to bring you into closer personal relations with each other? Would it not necessarily produce on the contrary a certain distance and constraint? On the other hand, the forgiven debtor must needs, methinks, feel ashamed to look his generous creditor in the face, must feel ill at ease in his presence, and would shrink from familiar social intercourse with the family of one on whom his conduct has inflicted such serious losses. On the other hand, the forgiving creditor could scarcely be expected to select such a person for his friend, and to treat his past conduct as if it were a thing easily to be forgotten. But to illustrate our position further, let us now present another case. Let us suppose that the creditor is so convinced of the sincerity of the regret which his debtor professes, and has reason to believe that the severe lesson has wrought in him so great a moral change that he feels himself free to make an experiment which most of us would certainly regard as a perilous one; let us suppose that, instead of remitting his debt, he introduces him into partnership with his own son, with whose business he is himself closely concerned. This his new connection with a solvent and flourishing firm places him, we may say, in a position of solvency, removes the stigma of bankruptcy, puts him in the way of making a full return to his benefactor, to whom at the same time it greatly enhances his obligation. Now it is easy to see how this man—not merely forgiven, but in a certain sense justified—will be brought by such an arrangement into the closest relations with his benefactor. Friendly social intercourse will exist without restraint, and he who under the former mode of treatment might have seemed little better than an escaped convict will now be a recognised and respected member of the social circle in which his creditor moves. (W. H. Aitken, M.A.)
Justification by faith:—There is no one who has not asked the question to which these words give the true answer. “How shall man have peace with God?” Wherever man is found, whether savage or civilised, rich or poor, he is found attempting to solve this problem. For everywhere man is found beset with present miseries, and haunted with the dread of some angry power that inflicts them. And, therefore, everywhere man is found endeavouring to appease this displeasure by making peace with his God. Now to this question there are three answers possible: that man might restore himself, or that God alone might restore man, or that God and man together might effect this restoration. The first is the religion of the heathen: he seeks to appease God by his own acts; he will give even his first-born for his transgressions. The second is the religion of the Pharisee: “God, I thank Thee, I am not as other men are.” The third is the religion of the publican. “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” Which is the true one? I. Scripture everywhere asserts that God alone justifies (Micah 6:7; Psa. 49:7; Isa. 45:21, 22). Hear the word of the Lord! Here, then, is a simple and an unerring test, by which to try every system of religion. 1. To “justify” means to “pronounce guiltless.” It never signifies to make just, but always to declare or pronounce just (Prov. 17:15). This justification is indispensable to peace with God, for guilt cannot be at peace with justice. Before God can be at peace with any man, He must first pronounce him to be righteous. 2. Here, then, arise two great questions: first, what righteousness is this? and, secondly, how does it become ours? St. Paul tells us that it is through Christ. But even, for the sake of His dear Son, God cannot say the thing that is not. Unless there be perfect righteousness seen by Him, He cannot say He sees it. How, then, does Christ procure us this perfect righteousness? (2 Cor. 5:21). In it is laid down, that Christ procured our righteousness by being made sin for us. Clearly, then, if we know how He was made sin, we know how we are made righteous. Was He, then, made really and truly sinful? God forbid. He, the Holy One, was, for our sakes, reckoned or accounted sinful. In the same way, therefore, we sinners are, for His sake, reckoned righteous; our sins are reckoned as if they were His; His righteousness is reckoned as if it were ours. To be “justified through Christ,” therefore, is to have the righteousness of Christ so imputed to us, that God reckons us, or pronounces us, just. This righteousness is bestowed upon us by faith. Faith is the link that joins together the justice of God and the satisfaction of Christ in the person of the believer, so that God can be just, and the justifier of him that believes. 3. Is there, then, no real righteousness in the believer? does God pronounce him who is unholy, holy; and admit the unclean, in his uncleanness, into His presence? Assuredly not. God never pronounced any man holy whom He did not also make holy. There is a righteousness external and a righteousness internal: both are real—both shall one day be perfect; but that which is wrought for us is perfect from the first; that which is wrought in us is imperfect, and gradually arrives at perfection: the one at once and for ever justifies; the other progressively sanctifies. 4. But how does this doctrine make God alone the Saviour without any co-operation on the part of man? Is not faith a work of the mind? and is not this, at least in part, the cause of the sinner’s justification? We answer, No! for we are not justified because of our faith, but by our faith. Faith is the hand which the sinner stretches forth to receive the “free gift” of God’s mercy; but it is not the stretching out of the hand which induces the bestowal of the alms. Nay, more, that very hand is palsied; we have no power of ourselves to put it forth. Faith, itself, is a free gift of God; it is not until He has said, Reach forth thine hand,” that we can, by doing so, receive the alms of His free mercy, which, because of Christ’s satisfaction, He is able, and, because of His own infinite love, He is willing, to bestow upon us. 5. This doctrine, then, fully answers the test to which we agreed to submit it: it reveals a salvation, which is God’s work, and His alone; prompted by His love, designed by His wisdom, and accomplished by His power. This work of man’s salvation has upon it the impress of divinity; it displays that wonderful union of power and wisdom that is found in all God’s works, which makes them seem at once so simple and yet so mysterious. View it in its aspect towards man, how simple it seems—“Believe and live!” View it in its aspect as regards God, as His plan devised for the salvation of man, without the compromise of any one of His attributes, it is the great “mystery of godliness.” This plan of salvation befits the majesty and the wisdom of God, while it is adapted to the ignorance and the weakness of man. This river of life is unfathomable, in its mysterious depths, by the mightiest of created beings; and yet the little child may kneel by its brink and drink of its sweet waters that flow softly, clear as crystal, from beneath the throne of God. 6. It is an ancient doctrine this; older than Luther, who revived it, or Paul, who defended it, or Abraham, who exemplified it. It was revealed by God, at the gate of Eden, to the first sinner who, by faith, hoped for deliverance yet to be accomplished by the seed of the woman. The first man who believed was justified by faith. The last saint that enters heaven shall enter it praising God, who, justifying him by faith, gives peace to his soul for ever and ever, through Jesus Christ.
- Let us now contrast with it man’s plan of salvation, in which he seeks to mingle his righteousness with that of God. The error of the self-righteous (chap. 10:3) is that he seeks a righteousness of his own, because he will not submit to be saved by the righteousness of God; as man fell by seeking to be his own God, so he remains fallen by seeking to be his own saviour. As he once refused to be entirely ruled by God, so he now refuses to be entirely saved by God. This is a most subtle and dangerous error. 1. The statement of this doctrine we will take from the Church of Rome, because Romanism is a religion of human nature, reduced to a regular system, and because we believe this difference between her and us is generally misunderstood. (1) Let us clearly state how Rome and we are agreed in this matter. We are agreed—(a) That man is so utterly fallen that he has no power to help himself. (b) That he cannot be saved unless God bestow on him a perfect righteousness. (c) That God does bestow this righteousness for Christ’s sake. (2) Where, then, do we differ? (a) As to the nature of this righteousness. We say that it is a righteousness imputed; she, that it is a righteousness implanted. We say it is a righteousness wrought for us; she, it is righteousness wrought in us. We say, God, for Christ’s sake, reckons us as perfectly righteous, and then proceeds to make us holy; she says, God, for Christ’s sake, makes us perfectly holy, and then pronounces us, because of this inherent holiness, to be righteous. In other words, we hold that God justifies and also sanctifies; Rome holds that He only sanctifies. (b) As to the manner in which this righteousness is applied to us: we say, by faith only; she says, in the sacraments: she holds that this righteousness is infused into every baptised man, so that he is made perfectly righteous, and this state of justification, she holds, further, may be endangered by venial sin, and lost by deadly sin, and that it progresses so that a man may be more or less justified at one time than another. Now observe the subtlety of this error. It might be said this doctrine of Rome answers our test, for it ascribes all the work of salvation to God; it declares that this inherent righteousness is God’s free gift, just as you say your imputed righteousness is. Surely there is no claim here made for man’s righteousness. Let us see how our Lord disposes of this answer. “Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee the other a publican, and the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself—God, I thank Thee, I am not as other men are.” Where is self-righteousness here? The Pharisee claims no merit—he declares the righteousness which he presents to God, to be God’s work; God has made him to differ; he fasts, and prays, and gives alms, but the power to do these good works he acknowledges to have come from God; and yet it is said that he “trusted in himself that he was righteous.” Why? Because the righteousness he presented was a righteousness in him; it was not the righteousness of God, and it availed him nothing to say that it was God’s gift at first. It is self-righteous to present to God as a reason for pardon anything in man, whether that be said to be originally God’s gift or not; he who comes to Him must come as the publican, “God be merciful to me,”—not a justified or sanctified man, but—“me a sinner!” Add to this, that even if the righteousness be God’s gift in the first instance, yet the preserving of it, the increase of it, by faith, and prayer, and penance, are the man’s own, upon this system, so that such an one must claim the reward of debt and not of grace. 2. Although we have gone to Rome for a definition of it, this doctrine is to be found among ourselves. How many are there who believe that God, for Christ’s sake, will accept them “if they do their best”—Christ’s merits making up for their deficiency! How many more are there who think that God, for Christ’s sake, will enable them to keep His holy law, and so accept them as righteous! And how many are there who imagine that God, for Christ’s sake, accepts their faith as something meritorious, justifying them because they hold the doctrine of justification by faith! In all these, from the open claim of heaven as a reward, to the more subtle claim of merit for having rejected all merit; and of righteousness for having renounced righteousness; in all these there is the same error—the presenting to God of something in us, instead of presenting the perfect righteousness of Christ. (Abp. Magee.)
Man saved:—The words contain a golden chain of highest blessings bestowed by God upon all true Christians. Notice—
- The Divine method of salvation. 1. Faith in Christ removes the condemnation. It means both a general trust in God’s revelations and grace, and a special trust in Christ as given by the Father’s love to be the Redeemer of His people. Understanding, will, affections, risking their all upon Him. Justification is not perfection. Not justified by the law of innocency, or of Moses, but by the law of Christ—“who died for our sins,” and “was raised again for our justification.” 2. Faith in Christ brings the believer into close communion with the Father. “By whom also we have access,” &c. They are reconciled, and in a state of love and friendship. Since man once sinned, God’s justice and man’s conscience tell us that we are unfit for God’s acceptance or communion immediately, but must have a suitable mediator. Blessed be God for a “daysman” appointed betwixt us and Himself! Without Him I dare not pray, I cannot hope, I fear to die; God would else frown me away to misery. All the hope and pardon that I have, come by this Author and Finisher of our faith. (1) This is joyous intercourse—“Peace with God.” (2) It opens up a bright future. “And rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” 3. Faith in Christ strengthens the child of God in tribulation. “Not only so, but,” &c. The glory revealed unto us is so transcendent, and tribulation so small and short, that an expectant of glory may well rejoice in spite of bodily sufferings. It is tribulation for Christ and righteousness’ sake that we are to glory in; tribulation for our sins must be patiently and penitently born. (1) “Knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” That which worketh patience should be a matter of joy; for patience can do more good for us than tribulation can harm. Why then do I complain under suffering, and study so little the exercise of patience? (2) “And patience experience, and experience hope.” What profitable experiences are to be derived from patient suffering! Of God’s providence, of our own dependence upon a higher power, of the fickleness of human friendship, &c. (3) “And hope maketh not ashamed.” That is, true hope of what God hath promised shall never be disappointed. They that trust in deceitful creatures are disappointed and ashamed of their hope; but God is true and ever faithful. All this shows the superiority of a free spirit over carnal weapons.
- The indwelling of the Holy Ghost is the source of all excellency in the Christian character. 1. By the “love of God shed abroad” is meant—(1) The realisation of Divine life in the soul. (2) The sweet experiences arising from the absence of doubts and fears. (3) It leads God’s adopted children to love one another. 2. The Spirit within—(1) Is helpful to overcome temptation. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (2) Mortifies the fleshly lusts that war against the soul. The desperately wicked heart is a hotbed of lusts and passions that require to be weeded, else they will choke the germs of the good seed. We cannot serve God and Mammon. 3. Points to a future life, and proves our title to it. There are some so blind as to think that man shall have no hereafter, because brutes have not. But it is enough for us to know that God hath promised it; and let it be our earnest prayer, “Shed more abroad upon my heart, by the Holy Spirit, that love of Thine which will draw up my longing soul to Thee, rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God.” (Richard Baxter.)
Justification by faith:—The justification of which Paul speaks is—1. Not that gracious constitution of God by which, for the sake of Christ, He so far delivers men from the guilt of Adam’s sin as to place them in a salvable state, and by virtue of which all infants dying in infancy are saved (see ver. 18); for justification is not common to the race, but is experienced by certain individuals. 2. Not the justification of those who lived under inferior dispensations, or who now live in countries where the gospel is not known. On this point there are two extremes. (1) The unauthorised severity of those who hold that all heathens are doomed to damnation. (2) The undistinguishing charity of those who insinuate that the heathen are perfectly safe, and need not be disturbed in their superstitions. Each of these is remote from the truth. 3. Not justification before men by the evidence of works (James 2), but the justification of penitent sinners before God, which is necessarily previous. 4. Not the justification of persevering believers at the last day. This will be pronounced on the evidence of works springing from faith, and evidencing its genuineness and continuance. Our business is with a present justification, “Being justified.” Let us look at:—1. Its nature. We assume—(1) That all men naturally are in a state of guilt and condemnation. Our hereditary depravity is odious to the God of Purity, while our consequent personal iniquity renders us liable to punishment. (2) That the man of whose justification we are about to speak is convinced that this is his state. 2. What, then, is meant by justification in these circumstances? To justify a sinner is to consider him relatively righteous, and to deal with him as such, notwithstanding his past unrighteousness, by clearing and releasing him from various penal evils, especially from God’s wrath and the liability to eternal death. Hence justification and forgiveness are substantially the same (Acts 13:38, 39; Rom. 4:5, 8). Note that justification—(1) Does not in the least degree alter the evil nature and desert of sin. It is the holy Lord who justifieth. The penalty is still naturally due, though graciously remitted. Hence the duty of continuing to confess and lament even pardoned sin (Ezek. 16:62, 63). (2) Is not, as Romish and some mystic divines contend, the being made righteous by the infusion of a sanctifying influence, which confounds justification with regeneration. (3) Extends to all past sins (Acts 13:39). God does not justify us by degrees, but at once. (4) However effectual to our release from past guilt, does not terminate our state of probation. As he who is now justified was once condemned, so he may again come into condemnation by relapsing into sin, as was the case with Adam. (5) If lost, may be recovered (Psa. 32:1–5; cf. Rom. 4:1, 8).
- Its immediate results. 1. The restoration of amity and intercourse between the pardoned sinner and the pardoning God. “We have peace with God,” and consequently access to Him. The ground of God’s controversy with us being removed, we become objects of His friendship (James 2:23). This reconciliation, however, does not mean deliverance from all the evils which sin has entailed, viz., suffering and death, but it entitles us to such supports and such promises of sanctifying influence as will “turn the curse into a blessing.” 2. Adoption and the consequent right to eternal life. God condescends to become not only our Friend, but our Father (chap. 8:17). 3. The habitual indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As sin induced the Spirit’s departure, so the pardon of sin is followed by deliverance from it, because it makes way for His return to our souls (Gal. 3:13, 14; 4:1; Acts 2:38). Of this indwelling the immediate effects are—(1) Tranquillity of conscience (chaps. 5:5; 8:15, 16). (2) Power over sin, a prevailing desire and ability to walk before God in holy obedience (chap. 8:1, &c.). (3) A joyous hope of heaven (ver. 2, chap. 15:13; Gal. 5:5).
III. Its method. 1. The originating cause is the free, sovereign, undeserved, and spontaneous love of God towards fallen man (Tit. 2:11; 3:4, 5; Rom. 3:24). 2. The meritorious cause is Christ; for what He did in obedience to the precepts of the law, and what He suffered in satisfaction of its penalty, taken together, constitute that mediatorial righteousness, for the sake of which the Father is ever well pleased in Him. In this all who are justified have a saving interest. Not that it is imputed to them in its formal nature or distinct acts; for against any such imputation there lie insuperable objections from both reason and Scripture. But the collective merit and moral effects of all which the Mediator did and suffered are so reckoned to our account that, for the sake of Christ, we are released from guilt and accepted of God. 3. The instrumental cause is faith. (1) Present faith. We are not justified by—(a) To-morrow’s faith foreseen, for that would lead to the Antinomian justification from eternity. (b) By yesterday’s faith recorded or remembered, for that would imply that justification is irreversible. Justification is offered on believing. We are never savingly interested in it until we believe; and it continues in force only so long as we continue to believe. (2) The acts of this faith are:—(a) The assent of the understanding to the testimony of God in the gospel, and especially that part of it which concerns the design and efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice for sin. (b) The consent of the will and affections to this plan of salvation, such an approbation and choice of it as imply the renunciation of every other refuge, and a steady, decided, and thankful acquiescence in God’s revealed method of forgiveness. (3) Actual trust in the Saviour and personal apprehension of His merits.
- Inferences. 1. That we are not justified by the merit of our works, inasmuch as no obedience we can render can come up to the requisitions of the Law of Innocence. 2. That repentance is neither the cause nor instrument of justification. Repentance makes no atonement, and therefore cannot supersede the blood of Jesus; nor does it secure any personal or justifying interest in it; this is the object of faith only. 3. That the Spirit’s work in regeneration and sanctification is not the previous condition of our justification, or the prerequisite qualification for it. For in that case we should be saved without a Saviour, which is a contradiction. The work of pardon for you must precede the work of purification in you. In the cleansing of the leper, the blood was first to be used, then the oil (Lev. 14) And in order to your salvation you must first have “the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus,” and then you shall have “the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” 4. That our justification is not by the merit of faith itself a refined theory of justification by works. V. Reflections. 1. How clear and urgent is the duty of seeking an experimental enjoyment of justifying grace. 2. How sacred are the obligations of the justified: (1) Gratefully acknowledge it. (2) Diligently improve it. (3) Practically evidence your enjoyment of it. (Jabez Bunting, D.D.)
Justification by faith:—
- Justification defined. Justification is the Divine judicial act which applies to the sinner believing in Christ the benefit of the atonement, delivering him from the condemnation of his sin, introducing him into a state of favour, and treating him as a righteous person. Though justifying faith is an operating principle which, through the Holy Spirit’s energy, attains to an interior and perfect conformity to the law, or internal righteousness, it is the imputed character of justification which regulates the New Testament use of the word. Inherent righteousness is connected more closely with the perfection of the regenerate and sanctified life. In this more limited sense justification is either the act of God or the state of man.
- God the Justifier. The act of justifying is that of God as the Judge. Generally it is δικαίωσις, the word which pronounces the sinner absolved from the condemning sentence of the law, and it refers always and only to the sins that are past. Whether regarded as the first act of mercy, or as the permanent will of God’s grace towards the believer in Christ, or as the final sentence in the Judgment, it is the Divine declaration which discharges the sinner as such from the condemnation of his sin. “It is God that justifieth”—God in Christ, for all judgment is “committed to the Son,” who both now and ever pronounces as Mediator the absolving word, declaring it in this life to the conscience by His Spirit. It is the voice of God, the Judge in the mediatorial court, where the Redeemer is the Advocate, pleading His own propitiatory sacrifice and the promise of the gospel declared to the penitence and faith of the sinner whose cause He pleads. The simplest form in which the doctrine is stated is in chap. 8:33, 34. Here the apostle has in view the past, present, and future of the believer; the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ; and the one justifying sense against which there can be no appeal in time or in eternity. God is Θεὸς ὁ δικαιῶν, in one continuous and ever-present act.
- Man as justified. The state into which man is introduced is variously described, according to his various relations to God, to the Mediator, and the law. As an individual sinner he is forgiven: his justification is pardon, his punishment is remitted. As a person ungodly, he is regarded as righteous: “righteousness is imputed to him,” or his “transgression is not imputed to him.” As a believer in Jesus “his faith is counted for righteousness.” All these phrases describe, under its negative and its positive aspect, one and the selfsame blessing of the new covenant as constituting the state of grace into which the believer has entered and in which as a believer he abides. This is attested by passages running through the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles; passages which only confirm the promises of the Old Testament. Our Lord’s forerunner was fore-announced “to give knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins” (Luke 1:77). Our Saviour’s word was, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee”; but he spoke of the publican as praying, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” and as going down to his house “justified”—these words being introduced for the first time, and both being reserved for abundant future service, especially in the writings of St. Paul. He left the commission that “remission of sins should be preached in His name.” St. Peter preached that “remission of sins,” and afterwards varied the expression, “that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 2:38; 3:19)—counterparts in meaning. But St. Paul takes up the Saviour’s words and unites them (Acts 13:38, 39), and in this Epistle adds all the other terms and unites the whole in one charter of privileges (chap. 4:4–8). In this passage all the phrases are united without exception, and they are represented as the act of God and the state of man, the one and various blessing of habitual experience. To sum up: the state of δικαιοσύνη is that of conformity to law, which, however, is always regarded as such only through the gracious imputation of God, who declares the believer to be justified negatively from the condemnation of his sin, and positively reckons to him the character, bestowing also the privileges of righteousness. The former or negative blessing is pardon distinctively, the latter or positive blessing is justification proper. (W. B. Pope, D.D.)
Justification by faith: an instance of:—A minister of the gospel was once preaching in a public hospital. There was an aged woman present, who for several weeks had been aroused to attend to the concerns of her soul. When she heard the Word of God from the lips of His servant, she trembled like a criminal in the hands of the executioner. Formerly she had entertained hope of acceptance with God, but she had departed from her comforter, and now she was the prey of a guilty conscience. A short time after this the same minister was preaching in the same place, but during the first prayer his text and the whole arrangement of his discourse went completely from him; he could not recollect a single sentence of either, but Romans 5:1 took possession of his whole soul: “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He considered this a sufficient intimation of his duty, and descanted freely on justification by faith and a sinner’s peace with God through the atonement of Christ. It was the hour of mercy to this poor distracted woman. A ray of Divine consolation now penetrated her soul, and she said to the minister, when taking his leave, “I am a poor vile sinner, but I think, being justified by faith, I begin again to have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. I think Christ has now got the highest place in my heart; and oh! I pray God He would always keep Him there.”
Justification by faith: an instance of:—Some years ago a clergyman was preaching on this text in the East End of London, and at the end of his sermon he invited any who were anxious to come and converse with him in the vestry. He was followed by an intelligent-looking young man, who said, “I am going to leave England in two or three days, and perhaps this is the last opportunity I shall have of talking with a clergyman. My father and I have had a terrible quarrel, and it ended in his turning me out, telling me never to darken his door again. I wandered up to London, but knew not where to look for employment. At last I found a berth as sailor before the mast, and before I go I want to ask you, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ ” The clergyman endeavoured to make the way of salvation as clear as he could to him. They parted, however, without there being any apparent change in the young man’s spiritual condition, though he seemed awakened and much in earnest. Time wore on, and the incident had almost passed from the clergyman’s mind, when one day a sailor called at his residence. “Do you remember,” he said, “some months ago a young man coming to your vestry after the sermon you had preached on the words, ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God?’ ” “Oh, yes; I remember it perfectly.” “Well, he went on board the London, and he and I became great friends, because I am a Christian, and I soon found out that he wanted to be a Christian too; so we used often to have long talks over our Bibles, and used to pray together; yet somehow or other I could never get him to see things quite clearly. I suppose he was looking to his feelings more than to Christ. Well, then came the terrible catastrophe, and that young man was told off by the captain, with myself and a few others, to man one of the boats. The boat was lowered, and soon was crowded; but by some means the poor fellow was left behind in the ship. We hardly knew what to do, for our boat was too full already. Besides, the ship was settling fast, and we were afraid of being dragged down with her. Yet we did not like to pull away. Then I heard him call me by name, as he clung to the rigging; and he shouted across the water, ‘Good-bye, mate! If you get ashore safe, inquire for the Rev. H. B——, of Limehouse Docks, London, and tell him that here in the presence of God I can say at last, “Being justified by faith, I have peace with God through my Lord Jesus Christ.” ’ As he said the words, the ship gave her last lurch, and he disappeared in a watery grave.” (W. H. Aitken, M.A.)
Justification by faith: its effects:—1. The effect of justification should be peace and holiness. (1) A plan of deliverance which did not include both these would be a mockery. If it did not secure peace it would not meet our wants; if it did not secure holiness it would not meet God’s requirements. (2) Accordingly we find that God describes His plan of salvation as effecting both. Christ has “made peace through the blood of His Cross” that He may “present us holy and unblamable and unreproachable in His sight.” It is “the very God of peace” who sanctifies us “wholly.” 2. The doctrine, therefore, which does not produce these effects is not the true one, and there can be no surer test by which to try the truth of any particular doctrine than this. The religion which really produces both had no man for its teacher, for these are the last things which men would ever think of joining together. All human teachers and lawgivers appeal to fear. All laws are accompanied by penalties. It certainly would never occur to any man to attempt to produce obedience by remitting all penalties; and therefore it is that the natural man always seeks to obtain one of these by the sacrifice of the other. (1) Many try to forget God altogether, or they take refuge in some easy mode of appeasing Him—something said, done, or felt, which quiets conscience; and so they have peace—peace without holiness. (2) But others are not so easily satisfied; their disposition is naturally anxious, or their consciences are scrupulous, and they cannot feel quite comfortable in their sins. Such seek to obtain peace by refraining from sin; but as their only motive is fear, they know of no other way of increasing their obedience than by quickening and strengthening this fear. In such religion takes a gloomy and terrible form. Here is an attempt after holiness, but it is holiness without peace. 3. And thus the mind of the natural man is ever oscillating between these two extremes of sinful peace or painful obedience, but never attaining to the union of these two; never imagining it possible for man to be at once fearless and obedient; and, accordingly, it is a remarkable fact that all false religions have two different aspects, one offering easy terms of salvation to the common crowd, who only desire a religion which shall allow them to sin without fear; the other providing austerities and penances for the few whose intellect or conscience cannot be so easily contented. All these religions, then, are but half religions; they attempt to satisfy man’s desire for peace or God’s demand for holiness; they never even profess to satisfy both. There is but one religion which does this; it is that which is proclaimed in our text.
- Justification by faith gives peace. 1. He who believes that God, for Christ’s sake, reckons him holy, “not imputing his trespasses unto him,” has perfect peace, because he is trusting in a perfect work. The justice that demanded his condemnation now secures his forgiveness; the omnipotence once arrayed against him is now engaged in his defence. Here is the deep, abiding, perfect peace of him whose mind is stayed upon God. 2. On the other hand the doctrine of justification by inherent righteousness does not, and never can, give perfect peace; for it is a righteousness partly human and partly Divine, and therefore partakes of the uncertainty and imperfection of all things human. He who holds it believes, as Dr. Pusey says, that “he was once, in his baptism, placed in a state of justification; in which, having been placed, he has to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling through the indwelling Spirit of God working in him—a state which therefore admits of relapses and recoveries, but which is weakened by every relapse, injured by lesser, and destroyed for the time by grievous sin.” Now, if this be the nature of his justification, how can he be sure, at any given moment, that he is justified? All that such a man can say is this, that once in his life he had a perfect righteousness to present to God, and that, if it had pleased God then to take him to Himself he had been blessed, but that whether he has this righteousness still is a very doubtful matter; and yet that night that man’s soul may be required of him! What a miserable faith is this on which to bid a dying sinner rest his hopes for eternity! But this is not all the doubt and difficulty which this doctrine gives rise to, for the means by which justification is bestowed is said to be the sacrament of baptism. If so, perfect and complete justification can be had only once in each man’s life; therefore, if he ever entirely lose it by deadly sin, how can it be regained? To meet this, Rome has devised another sacrament by which the sinner may be again made perfectly righteous. But for those who are not Romanists “the Church has no second baptism to give, and therefore cannot pronounce the person who has sinned after baptism altogether free from his past sins. There are but two periods of absolute cleansing—baptism and the day of judgment.” Again, “if, after having been washed once for all in Christ’s blood we again sin, there is no more such complete absolution in this life, no restoration to the same state of undisturbed security in which God had, by baptism, placed us!” Mark this confession! We will not pause to contrast it with the teaching of him who told baptized men that if they confessed their sins “God was faithful and just to forgive them their sins.” We will not delay to inquire whether this way of salvation, which gives no “undisturbed security,” can be the same with that which He revealed who said, “Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;” or that which he taught, whose converts believing, “rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” We only ask, how can they who preach such a gospel as this claim to be the messengers of peace? what peace have they to offer? Picture to yourselves a teacher of this “other gospel” proclaiming this way of salvation beside a death-bed. 3. But it is said this uncertainty and anxiety is just what is needed to make men zealous and cautious, and the doctrine may make fewer happy death-beds but it will produce holier lives. We deny this, and, on the contrary, maintain—II. That justification by faith does effect not only peace, but holiness; and that sacramental justification no more produces holiness than it does peace. 1. Holiness is conformity to God’s image. The perfect likeness of God, to which we are to be assimilated, is seen in Christ, who “loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” A holy man, therefore, is not one who merely refrains from sin, nor yet one who strives to obey all God’s commands; he may do all this, and yet be utterly without holiness. But he is one who has become partaker of that Divine nature which was in Christ, the instinct of which it is to hate what God hates, and to love what He loves. 2. Now what is that power which can produce such conformity to Christ? Love is the only passion which assimilates to its object. Fear obeys, envy rivals, but love imitates. That religion will therefore most tend to holiness which most tends to produce in us love to God. Now we know that the belief which most powerfully moves us to love God must be that which most fully manifests the love of God to us. Which, then, of these two doctrines of justification displays most of the love of God to sinners? This question has received its answer from our Lord Himself (Luke 7:41). The publican went down to his house with a more loving and grateful heart than the Pharisee. The prodigal had doubtless a deeper love for the father than had the elder brother who had never given him cause of offence. There is more of loving, fervent, grateful joy in the heart of one penitent sinner who believes that “being justified by faith he has peace with God,” than there is in the heart of the ninety-and-nine just persons, who, believing that they have kept their baptismal righteousness, deem that they need no repentance. But if he who thus believes cannot but love, he who thus loves cannot but obey; the love of Christ constraineth him, the mercies of God persuade him, to present himself a living sacrifice unto God. 3. But this doctrine further tends to produce holiness because it tends to produce humility. No man is really holy until he is really humble. But who best learns humility—he who presents to God a righteousness in part his own, or he who confesseth that “in him dwelleth no good thing”? 4. This doctrine tends to produce holiness because it alone enables us to realise the promises of God. It is by these that we escape the “corruption that is in the world through lust.” Now he who believes that God will assuredly save him for the sake of Jesus Christ claims all the promises at once as his for ever, so that he can say, “I am confident; ‘I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to Him against that day.’ ‘Faithful is He that calleth me, who, also, will do it,’ ” and “every one that hath this hope purifieth himself even as He is pure.” For think what must be the feelings of that man who, truly loving God, and desiring His presence, really believes that he shall spend an eternity with Him. “Where the treasure is, there will the heart be also.” On the other hand, we think it is equally clear that justification by inherent righteousness does not tend to holiness, because for love it substitutes fear; for humility, pride; for assurance, uncertainty. Such a doctrine may make ascetics, hermits, confessors, martyrs even—but never saints. (Abp. Magee.)
Faith alone the condition of justification:—It is faith alone which justifies, and still the faith which justifies is not alone. Ears, feet, and hands are given to us at the same time that our eyes are, yet it is the office of the eye alone to see. In like manner repentance, love, obedience, are the invariable companions of faith; yet it is faith alone for which we claim the power and faculty of justifying. (J. Calvin.)
- Without works. 1. Faith is a condition of justification opposed to man’s own righteousness which is of the law. (1) Faith acknowledges that the legal, proper, primitive sense of the term justify, as the pronouncing him to be righteous who is righteous, is for ever out of the question. (a) As to the law: it has been broken, and its condemnation is acknowledged; it demands an obedience that never has been rendered since the fall. (b) Then as to man himself, faith renounces all trust in human ability. It utterly abjures the thought of a righteousness springing from self. It acknowledges past sin, present impotence, and the impossibility of any future obedience cancelling the past (Gal. 2:16). It disclaims all creaturely righteousness as such; the nullity of this is taught by conviction, felt in repentance, and confessed in faith. (2) Hence the specific Evangelical phrase, “Faith is counted for righteousness.” This implies the absence of personal righteousness, and the reckoning of a principle, not righteousness, in its stead by a kind of substitution. In its stead: not as rendering good works needless, but displacing them for ever as the ground of acceptance. Therefore faith does not justify as containing the germ of all good works; as “fides formata charitate,” or faith informed and vivified by love. Not justifying through any merit in itself, it justifies as the condition on which is suspended the merciful application of the merits of Christ. Faith is not righteousness, as justifying; it is “put to the account” of a man in the mediatorial court as righteousness; not as a good work, but reckoned instead of the good works which it renounces. Lest the faith as itself a work should be regarded as righteousness the apostle varies the expression. He also says again and again inversely that righteousness—not, however, Christ’s—is imputed to the believer; not to faith itself, as if God regarded the goodness wrapped up in it (chap. 4:6, 22, 24). It is the man, in the naked simplicity of his self-renouncing, work-renouncing trust in God on whom the sentence of justification is pronounced. (3) Imputation or reckoning has two meanings; the ascribing to one his own and what is not his own. The latter predominates in the three great theological imputations; that of the sin of Adam to the race, that of the race to Christ, and that of the benefit of Christ’s righteousness to the believer, as through the imputation of “one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (ver. 19), and as “the Lamb of God bore the sin of the world,” “being made sin for us” by imputation as a sin offering “who knew no sin,” so the ungodly who in penitence believes has the efficacy of Christ’s obedience reckoned to him. (4) This faith as a negative condition is of the operation of the Holy Ghost. He enables the soul to renounce every other trust. He convinces the mind of guilt and impotence; awakens in the heart the feeling of emptiness and longing desire; and so moves the will to reject every other confidence than Christ. But, though the influence of the Spirit produces it, it is so far only negative—a preparation for good rather than itself good. 2. Faith is the active instrument as well as the passive condition of justification. (1) It is its instrumental cause; the originating being God’s love; the meritorious, Christ’s atoning obedience; the efficient, the Holy Ghost. (2) Its object is God in Christ. In this as in all, “I and My Father are one.” Yet the specific object is not God absolutely, nor Christ in His revelation generally, but Christ as the mediatorial representative of sinners, and God as accepting the atonement for man (Acts 16:31; Gal. 2:16). In two ways this Epistle describes God as the object. Chap. 4:5 implies what had preceded (chap. 3:25, 26); and in relation to His resurrection (chap. 4:24). But the God of our whole redemption in Christ is the object of faith (John 3:16; Rom. 8:32, 11). He is the One God of the One Christ. (3) It is never said that we are justified “on account of” faith, but “through” faith. Faith as the act of the soul by which it unites itself with the Lord, makes the virtue of His merit its own. It apprehends Christ and His atonement; ascribing all to Him, it receives all from Him. (4) Faith is not assurance; but assurance is its reflex act. The same Spirit who inspires faith—which is alone (and without assurance) the instrument of salvation—ordinarily and always, sooner or later, enables the believer to say, “He loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 1:13). (5) Faith, whether receptive or active, is an exercise of the human heart under the influence of the Holy Spirit through His actual revelation of Christ to the soul, the eyes of which are at the same moment opened. The unveiling of the Saviour and the unveiling of the sight to behold the Lamb of God in one and the same critical moment is the sufficing definition of saving trust. And at the same moment the active energy and passive renunciation of saving faith are brought to the perfection of their unity.
- Faith and works. 1. The works of faith declare the life and reality of the faith which justifies. Those works did not declare its genuineness at first when forgiveness was received (chap. 4:6, 13); but afterwards and to retain that justification its works must absolutely be produced (James 2:18, 21, 24). In the whole sequel after receiving Christ, a man is justified not by faith only—which in this connection is no faith at all—but by faith living in its works (James 2:26). Here is the origin of the term living or lively faith; it is remarkable, however, that the invigorating principle is not from the faith to the works, but from the works to the faith. 2. The expression “living faith” suggests the vital relation of this subject to union with Christ. When St. Paul says “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21), he means more than the non-imputation of sin. “That we might become”; our forensic justification being included of necessity, our moral conformity to the Divine righteousness cannot be excluded. These closing words are a resumption of the preceding paragraph, which ended with, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.” “The righteousness of God in Him” is the full realisation of the new method of conforming us to His attribute of righteousness. It is impossible to establish the distinction between “in Christ” for external, and “Christ in us” for internal righteousness; still the distinction may be used for illustration. We are “accepted in the Beloved,” “in whom we have redemption through His blood,” in order that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Eph. 1:6, 7; 3:17), that His grace “may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” The vital union of faith secures both objects: our being reckoned as righteous because “found in Him,” and our being made righteous because He is in us as the Spirit of life and strength unto all obedience (chap. 8:2, 4). 3. The justification of faith itself in and through its works, forms the Scriptural transition to internal and finished righteousness, which, however, is generally viewed as entire sanctification; improperly, however, if sanctification is regarded as finishing what righteousness leaves incomplete. To him who insists on bringing in the doctrine of sanctification to supplement as an inward work what in justification is only outward, St. James replies, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (James 2:22). Here is the finished result of “faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6); that one and indivisible “work of faith” (1 Thess. 1:3), in the assertion of which at the outset of his teaching St. Paul, by anticipation, declared his agreement with St. James. Both show that justifying faith in a consummate religion is “made perfect” in its effects; and both with reference to the law, as again Antinomian renunciation of it (see also chap. 8:4). If “righteousness is fulfilled in us,” that must be by our being “made righteous” while reckoned such. But always, whether at the outset where works are excluded, or in the Christian life when they are required, whether on earth or in heaven, justification will ever be the imputation of righteousness to faith. Works only declare faith to be genuine and living. This alone can secure eternal life to those who, though as holy as their Lord Himself, will be apart from Him and in the record of the past, sinners still (Jude 21). (W. B. Pope, D.D.)
We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace with God:—There is a peace which is not with God. A dull bovine contentment is the stagnancy of life, and not peace with God. Absence of conscience presenting lofty ideals and urging effort; and in place thereof a series of compromises with evil, making things easy all round, is not peace with God; it is the peace of the lowest organism. Peace with God is within the soul, the balmy, vital peace of the summer day, when the forces of Nature are working mightily with the repose of power, moving on without strain or care unto the harvest. Peace with God is:—
- Peace with God’s retributive righteousness. 1. God’s laws are holy, just, and good. Disobedience ought, therefore, to be followed by punishment. And so the wrath of God, therefore, is revealed from heaven. Plainly is that wrath visible in the miseries of a dishonest and vicious society, in the life and doom of a Jezebel, a Cæsar Borgia, or a Macbeth. But when the disobedience is manifested in a prudently selfish and godless life, the wrath is not so visible. Often such sinners, if they are clever, have little trouble. Most, however, who are not reconciled to God are uneasy and apprehensive. They feel at times as if some doom were on their track, now and again life feels like a prison, and in death they have no hope. The feeling of the fugitive and of the prisoner is the retributive providence of God, a foreshadowing of the judgment to come. 2. How, then, can transgressors be at peace with this retributive righteousness of God? Only by being justified through our Lord Jesus Christ. Now what is the right position for us to take up to God taking this gracious position to us? Plainly, to repent of the sin and to accept the forgiveness He thus offers. Taking this position, God justifies us—i.e., He acquits us from all penalty, and He declares us to be right with God. God is for us; who then can be against us? We are no longer as a fugitive pursued; we are at the feet of God, accepted as a child returned home; we are in right relations, and no soul can have peace till it is right.
- Peace with God’s revealed truth; that is, that God is the Heavenly Father, that Jesus is His Christ and Son, who died for sin, and rose again. 1. How many in this day have not peace? Some are in honest doubt concerning it, but do not oppose it. Others, however, go to geology for stones to throw at it, to biology for theories to discredit it, to physical law as a great engine against it, and when fighting it forget their philosophic calm and their scientific modesty. Some raise a prejudice against it by holding up its professors to ridicule or by making merry with some of its facts. Accompanying this army is a motley crowd of camp followers, old sinners and thoughtless youths, the disappointed and the bitter, lacking courage for the fight, and caring not for the victory, but for the spoils—greater freedom for evil. Then, at a safe distance, is a great company of onlookers, not knowing which side to take. These are not to be envied. They who are definitely opposed have, it may be, a certain intellectual peace; they are not troubled with doubt, but their peace is not a peace with God. But they who doubtfully watch the fight are to be sympathised with. To be swung this way by this argument, then that way by that argument, and to feel, pendulum-like, no approach to the hour when the mind shall strike the truth, is a restless, painful state of mind. Being justified, we are delivered from such dispeace. 2. It is faith, and faith only, which can give certainty to our faith of the truth. Being justified, then, by faith, we have no doubt, no strife as to the truth of the truth. As our conscience has had peace with God by our being put right with God, so now our intellect has peace with God’s revealed truth by being assured of that truth.
III. Peace with God’s holy commandment. In commandment I include both God’s purpose and precept for our life. 1. There are works of fiction which have been written by two authors. Of course they must have decided the plot and its details between them, and each must have worked in harmony. But suppose each had had a plot of his own, and had wrought each part according to his own particular plot! In the working or writing of our lives there are two—ourselves and our God. God’s purpose is, “Seek first the kingdom of God,” &c. But the purpose of many is at war with this. It is, “Seek first the other things, and then, if you can, add God and religion unto them.” Absorbed in their own selfish purpose, they forget the purpose of God. Consequently, in their lives there are strife, dispeace. 2. The whole question of keeping God’s commandment is simply a question of disposition, as the whole question of justification is simply a question of position with God. Love is good disposition, and love is the fulfilling of the law. Being justified by faith, we receive this disposition. Believing in this position of God toward us, we see His infinite love. Hence there is peace within—peace with the holy commandment; we want to fulfil it, we strive to fulfil it; it is no longer to us a task; it is a delight, and the burden is when we fail through weakness to fulfil it.
- Peace with God’s disciplinary providence. 1. Even where the purpose of our life is at one with God’s and we love His precepts, there fall to us, or at least to most of us, many trials and troubles. The wicked spread themselves as a green bay tree, but the righteous are often as a root out of the dry ground. Then comes the temptation to be not at peace with God’s providence; to be angry with God. 2. But our justification is overwhelming proof that God is not against us. If God had forgotten us He would never have sent His Christ for us. But if God love us, it may be said, it cannot be that it is God who sends the trouble to us. No; in many cases it is through the fault of self or others. But God could have prevented them. Yes, but only by interfering with the natural order of things; and rather than He should do that He thinks it best that we should suffer. Then since He so loves us, let us in confidence say, “Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in Thy sight.” Then the bitterness of trouble is past, the weight of the burden is gone. Moreover, God’s love for us is associated with infinite wisdom, and He will somehow cause the affliction to work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. As the fire which consumed the poor man’s vineyard cracked the earth revealing veins of silver, thus afflicting the vineyard into a silver mine, so shall the fire which withers and consumes so much that we prize give us in place thereof a mine of imperishable and inexhaustible treasure. “All things shall work together for good to them that love God.” Conclusion: Note that the apostle bases this peace on our being justified with God. Many of us seek this peace by endeavouring, first of all, to be at peace with God’s providence; or, first of all, to be at peace with God’s revealed truth, or to be at peace with God’s commandment. But, first of all, we must take our right position at the feet of our God. It is monstrous to attempt to invert the Divine order in the lower spheres of Nature. It is more monstrous to attempt to invert the Divine order in these the higher spheres of grace. (Albert Goodrich, D.D.)
Peace with God:—
- We live in one great world of trouble, and the unerring word of inspiration plainly says that the disturbing force is sin. Yet not everybody chooses to admit that. It will be asserted that traditions of anger in the Supreme Being, coupled with an industrious reiteration of foreboding by a few credulous alarmists, have done most of the mischief. It would soon quiet down, if men and women would just take comfort in what is given them and let presages alone. Across the fair plains of Sicily, with the rising of every new dawn, stretches one deep line of darkness, drawn by the pyramidal form of Mount Etna. It is the unvarying reminder of the ruin that may at any hour fall heavily from the volcano’s crater. And yet the inhabitants forbid you to speak of that giant phantom. Thus we live under the immediate shadow of Divine wrath. Men choose to think that there is nothing but incivility in a reminder of the coming day of final judgment. Still, it is better to believe that a few desire to be intelligent. What is it that breaks up the peace in this world? What will bring tranquillity and rest? “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked,” &c. (Isa. 57:21, 19, 20). If it is in antagonism with God, then a deep-seated source of irritation and uneasiness is lodged in the centre of its being.
- No quiet can possibly be found until the soul comes to be at one with God, and adjusts all its purposes to meet His declared will (Isa. 22:17, &c.). The question all turns, therefore, upon the possession of justification, i.e., righteousness. 1. It becomes us in the outset to understand that righteousness is a purely individual acquisition. The gospel deals with human beings one by one. 2. What, then, is this “justification by faith”? A sinner is conceived as condemned at the bar of God’s justice; the punishment for his sins is death. Now Jesus Christ, as a redeemer and surety, comes and assumes the sinner’s exposures and liabilities. In effect, He stands in the sinner’s place. This is the picture so often presented by Paul; he appears never to be tired of it (vers. 6–8). Peace comes, therefore, when purity has come beforehand. “First pure, then peaceable.” Saved souls are pardoned for Christ’s sake. The story is told of Martin Luther, that once the evil one appeared to enter his room with a vast roll of parchment, a catalogue of all his former sins. With a hollow burst of derisive laughter the fiend threw it on the floor, still holding one end in his hand so that it might easily unroll its awful length. There the frightened man was compelled to read, hour after hour, the terrible list of all the wicked deeds he had done in all his life. And his heart failed him as he gazed. Suddenly the devil called him by name, and pointed to some words along the top of the roll. Luther looked up and read aloud, “All sin”; and then he understood that no one of the many acts, or even thoughts, was to be left out. Hell appeared opening at once under his feet. His agony was intense. But Satan kept screaming, “All sin! all sin!” And at last, in order to afflict him the more, exclaimed, “So says God, so says God, all sin, all sin!” Now the man’s study of Scripture stood him in excellent stead. For he asked, “Where speaks God that word?” “There, there!” answered the devil, pointing again to the parchment and putting his fiery finger on the two words, “all sin, all sin.” The reformer snatched the awful list away from his enemy, and unrolling it one turn more, in the other direction, discovered, as he hoped he would, the remainder of the inscription: “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin!” So he learned that all his sins had been massed together upon that roll in order to announce that atonement had been made completely to cover them. And with a glad cry of exultant joy he awoke, while the devil disappeared with his parchment of woe. It is when a man knows his sins are all in the burden Jesus bore on the Calvary Cross, that he has no longer any fear about them. “The work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance for ever.”
III. It is not possible to put into forms of speech the sources of enjoyment which a pardoned believer knows when he is once possessed of the peace which passes understanding; the soul like a bride rests in a love it cannot explain, when the sweet day of espousal to Christ has been reached. 1. The Christian cannot be alone, for a happy conscience, like a bird in his heart, keeps singing cheerily to give him company. He has no alarms, no suspicions. Nothing breaks up the calm, bright serenity of his trustful repose in Christ Jesus. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,” &c. 2. Peace brings prosperity. God opens the door of His treasury of promise to the souls He has welcomed into the palace. He loves His Son, and they are His Son’s friends. If our feet are upon the Rock of Ages it does not matter at all where the danger threatens. “I have pain,” said Richard Baxter, on his dying bed, “I have pain; there is no arguing against sense; but then, I have peace, great peace!” To any true believer, there is no shock in the appearance of that messenger who announces his departure. He seems to himself even now sitting in the antechamber of the palace, waiting; and death is only the black-dressed servant who comes out to say the King is ready to see him in the throne-room. Conclusion: Surely it is worth something, in a world like this, to find one antidote for wakefulness and unrest. This is the peace which the world can neither give nor take away (ver. 10). Each Christian receives a testimony in his soul which settles all his fears for the future. He has put his case out of his own hands. So he waits tranquilly for the judgment, knowing he is prepared for it, and shall stand clear in the end. (C. S. Robinson, D.D.)
Peace with God:—
- Why men have not peace. 1. One reason is a want of knowledge about ourselves. We do not see that peace is the thing we want. We sigh for it now and again, but we do not pursue it. Gold, pleasure, power, fame, we pursue with all our might; we do not covet peace except when we are weary, and want to sleep and dream. (1) Look at yon solitary man watching the stream flow. He is saying, “I would this restless bosom were like yon tranquil river.” But he has not the courage to ask what is at the bottom of this discontent. He lets another sigh escape him, which goes to swell that great wind of unrest which goes moaning about the world, and hurries back to some scene of distraction, where he may get rid, for a time, of that burden of himself which he cannot bear. Men’s feeling about peace is often, then, no more than a fleeting sentiment, and where peace is actually enjoyed, men do not take pains to secure it. (2) What a misery is a home without peace! How is it that it does not deeply impress itself, that any sacrifice of personal opinion and feeling is to be made rather than this blessing of peace should be forfeited? (3) And so in the Church. Peace is its bond of union. We cannot worship in truth, we can neither edify nor be edified, with divided hearts. Yet here, again, there has been constant strife between the carnal and the spiritual. And again and again the carnal prevails. Christians do not guard and fence about the sacred enclosure of heaven’s peace, and yet they are dismayed when it is broken into and trampled upon! (4) Look again at the case of nations. Is there anything more wicked than needless wars? And how few wars there are which are not needless! See what a weight of pure feeling there is in the scale against war. All the most intelligent and best members of society are against it. And yet war still goes on. Men love to listen to the hymn of the angels, “Peace on earth,” and go to raise the yell of demons on the battlefield. 2. The explanation is that which the gospel gives. Tracing the deep inconsistencies of human nature down to their root, it tells us the carnal mind is enmity against God. Here is the secret of our discords. Man has a spiritual part which would lead him to peaceable ways, and he has a passionate part which leads him to hate, and to the destruction of himself and of his brethren. While this strife goes on there cannot be peace. This is the secret of the deep unrest in men’s souls. Ever yearning and dreaming of a blissful quiet that is so foreign to their actual condition. This is why the calm of a starlight night softens us; why the sight of a sleeping babe sometimes moves us to tears; or a strain of soft music quells some angry mood; or the face of one we love sleeping placidly in death. These sights, these sounds, speak to us of a state where the unholy war of passion has ceased, of that peace which ought to be ours, and which would be ours, were it not for this terrible foe in our own bosom, in the mind at enmity with God. This is why thousands of persons love to listen to the gospel who are far from living evangelical lives.
- The way of peace pointed out by the gospel. Evidently, if we are to come to peace, two things are necessary; first, the spiritual part of our nature must be strengthened, and, second, the carnal or passionate part of our nature must be reduced and mortified. 1. Now the law, as St. Paul shows, was unequal to this work. The law did much to strengthen and to educate the spiritual feeling of man. It taught as the first principle of all religion—love to God and to man. But when the law came to oppose the carnal nature of man, it was found to be weak. It set up a great frowning barrier against man’s unholy passions, and sin acquires greater energy when resisted, like pent-up waters behind a dam. The law, then, failed to bring us to peace with God, because it could not extinguish, though it could restrain, passion; because it could punish sin, but could not make the love of sin to cease. 2. But what the law could not do, God could do by a special act of His grace. He sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin. (1) The life of our Lord was throughout an invitation to man to peace and rest in God. His own character was a revelation of the peacefulness of the Divine nature; and His teaching sets before us the gentle and unselfish life, we must live to be in harmony with the life of our Father in heaven. But this is not enough. It is like telling a man in a fever to be cool by thinking of the frosty Caucasus, or a man at sea to be calm by thinking of a quiet harbour. It is mockery to tell a man in the midst of the commotions of his conscience that he can be at peace by looking at Jesus Christ, and following His example. It is like telling him to turn himself into a white marble statue. What the man needs is some influence that can quell the rebellion of his flesh, and allow his spirit free action. (2) And therefore the gospel points to the death of Christ as the means of our reconciliation to God. Our Lord was put to death in an outbreak of Jewish passion which was typical of the sin of man. In the Cross the gospel teaches us to see the last most dreadful proof of what sin is, and whither it tends. And the point before us is that it produces a profound reaction upon the feelings of the sinner. When a man who has long given way to evil passions at last strikes down his friend, his passion dies with its victim. We cannot doubt that sin dies out of the heart of some men when its last fatal fruit has ripened and fallen. And something like this occurs with the man who is led to see in the death of the Lord Jesus the awful witness and fruit of his sin. (3) But is he not an object of God’s vengeance? No; the blood of Christ not only cleanses from sin, but it is the last language of God to the sinner, beseeching him to be reconciled to Him. It is the accepted compensation for sin. It does not cry out for vengeance like that of Abel, but it has the pleading tongue of eternal mercy and love. Conclusion: It is for us to believe with all our hearts that this is the relation in which God stands to us and our sin through our Lord Jesus Christ. To have faith in this is the ground of our justification and the beginning of a peaceful and a holy life. (Prof. E. Johnson, M.A.)
Peace: a fact and a feeling:—Wonderful is the power of faith. Hebrews 11 tells us of its marvellous exploits; but one of the most wonderful of its effects is that it brings us justification and consequent peace. It is not the creator of these things, but the channel through which these favours come to us.
- Faith brings us into a state of peace. Naturally we have no peace. God is angry with us. “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” And we cannot agree with God, for “the carnal mind is enmity against God,” &c. 1. Before there can be peace between us and God we must with all our hearts plead “guilty.” To refuse to do so is contempt of court. There is mercy for a sinner, but there is no mercy for the man who will not own himself a sinner. 2. Then we must admit the justice of the Divine sentence. It would yield my heart no comfort to be told that God could wink at sin. Lasting peace must be founded upon everlasting truth. 3. And now comes in the abounding mercy of God, who, in order to our peace, finds a substitute to bear our penalty, and reveals to us this gracious fact. He puts His Son in the sinner’s place. Sin having been laid on Christ, He has borne it away. Faith accepts that substitution as a glorious boon of grace, and rests in it. The soul may well have peace when it has realised and received such a justification as this, for—(1) It is a peace consistent with justice. (2) No further demands can be made against us, “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” (3) Our acquittal is certified beyond all question, and the certificate is always producible, viz., the risen Christ, who “died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.”
- Faith gives us the sense of peace. 1. The sense of peace follows upon the state of peace. We do not get peace before we are justified, neither is peace a means of justification. God justifies the ungodly. 2. This sense comes “through Jesus Christ.” Many children of God lose their peace in a measure, because they deal with God absolutely, but there cannot be any point of contact between absolute Deity and fallen humanity except through Christ, the appointed Mediator. Have you attempted to approach the Eternal King without His chosen ambassador? How presumptuous is your attempt! The throne of Divine sovereignty is terrible apart from the redeeming blood. 3. Some Christians say, “I have no lasting peace.” But peace is the right of every believer. What is there now between him and God? Sin is forgiven; righteousness is imputed. God sees him in His Son, and loves him. Why should he not be at peace? “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God,” said Jesus, “believe also in Me.” Why have you not peace, then? You have a claim to it, and you ought to enjoy it. What is the reason why you do not possess it? (1) It is your unbelief. In proportion to your faith will your peace with God abide. (2) Or you make a mistake as to what this peace is. (a) You say, “I am so dreadfully tempted; the devil never lets me alone.” But did you ever read that you were to have peace with the devil? Never; on the contrary, you have the better promise that “the Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” Till then the enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman will continue. (b) Another says, “It is not the devil; it is myself that I fear. I feel the flesh revolting and rebelling. When I would do good, evil is present with me. ‘Oh wretched man that I am!’ ” Hearken again. As the Lord hath war with Amalek for ever and ever, so there is war between the spirit and the flesh so long as the two are in the same man. There is no promise of peace with the flesh, but only of peace with God. (c) “Ah,” says another, “I am surrounded by those that vex me. When I serve the Lord they malign and misrepresent me with scoff and slander.” Yes, but did you ever dream of having peace in this world where your Lord was crucified—peace with those that hate you for His sake? Why, did He not say, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “And this is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith.” (d) “Still,” says one, “I find every day that I sin, and I hate myself for sinning.” Yes; and the Lord never said that you should have peace with sin. The more hatred of sin the better. If sin never distresses you, then God has never favoured you. 4. To come back then, “we have peace with God.” We enjoy peace with God because—(1) We know He loves us. He would not have given His Son to die for us if He had not. Moreover, we feel a fervent love to Him in return. (2) We are not afraid to go to our covenant God for all necessary things, and to seek His help in time of trouble. We have not always such settled peace with our fellow-creatures, for at times we so much lack confidence in them that we could not divulge to them our troubles. Our habitude of prayer proves that we have peace with God; we should not think of praying to Him if we doubted His goodwill. (3) We delight in God. You do not always feel Him equally near, but when He is near it is the joy of your spirit. (4) We acquiesce in all that He does in His rough providences. A hypocrite is like a strange dog that will follow a man as long as he casts him a bone; but a true believer is like a man’s own dog that will follow him when he gives him nothing. A true believer says, “Shall I receive good from the hand of the Lord, and shall I not also receive evil?” (5) We look forward with confidence to the time of our departure out of this world and say, “I can die, if Thou, Lord, be with me.” We are not afraid of the day of judgment because we have peace with God, and hence we are not afraid to die. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Peace with God:—
- Peace with God not natural to us. It must be an attainment. 1. To be atheistic, seeming to ourselves to live in a headless universe, is not a condition in which to feel at peace. 2. To regard God as ruling in mere power and will, and as having no administration of righteousness, is to see ourselves under a sway in which it is impossible to confide. 3. To see God as holy and just, and ourselves as sinners against His holiness and justice, is to be filled with hopeless dread and enmity. Here it is that the gospel finds us.
- To have peace with God we need—1. To believe in His compassion; that while He is almighty and all holy, He is also gracious, and has provided for sinners a way of salvation. 2. To trust in and consent to this way of salvation, taking the Lord Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and our Master.
III. That this is a true way of peace with God is attested by the universal experience of believers. 1. There is no pretence of attaining such peace in any other way. Worldliness, philosophy, science, fail to give us peace with God. 2. In Jesus Christ, God, whom you have offended, and from whom you have become estranged, offers the hand of reconciliation. Will you extend the answering hand of faith and be at peace with Him? (C. W. Camp.)
Peace by believing:—A moment’s contemplation would suffice to arouse any man to the terror of the position involved in being at war with God. For a subject to rebel against a powerful monarch is to incur forfeiture of life. But for a creature to be in arms against its Creator, this is an appalling thing indeed; but happy beyond all description the man who can say, “I have peace with God.”
- The peace which the Christian enjoys. 1. Its basis. (1) There is the widest possible difference between a man being just in his own eyes, and his being justified in the sight of God. Yet, perhaps no fallacy is more common than to mistake the one for the other. Then, as a natural consequence of building on a weak foundation, the structure, however fair to look upon, is insecure. The peace in which multitudes delight is merely peace with their own conscience, and not in any sense peace with God. I know of no greater contrast than there is between that peace which is a mere stagnation of thought, a lull of anxiety, or a blindness to danger, and that soul-satisfying peace which passes all understanding. (a) “Are you living in peace with God, my friend?” “Yes,” says one, “I have enjoyed peace for years.” “How do you get it?” “Well, as I was walking one day in great distress, a feeling of comfort came over me, and it has remained with me ever since.” “Yes, but what is the ground of your confidence; what is the doctrinal proof?” “Well, do not press me,” says he, “only this I know—I do feel happy, and ever since, I have not had any doubt.” That man, if I be not mistaken, is under a delusion. Satan has said to him, “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace. The peace of a Christian is not such a lull of stupefaction as that. It has a reason. (b) Here is another who says, “Some years ago I never went to a place of worship. I was doing my trade in a very bad way, and now and then I took too much drink; and I thought it was time for me to turn over a new leaf, and I have done so. Now, I am not like the man you brought up just now. I think I may say I have a good ground for saying that I am at peace with God.” Now, let this man be reminded that it is written, “By the works of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” All these moral things are good enough in themselves. They will be very excellent if they be placed at the top; but, if they be used as foundations, a builder might as well use tiles, and slates, and chimney-pots, as use these reformatory actions as a ground of dependence. All this is only peace with yourself. (c) Some true Christians will say, “I hope I am at peace with God now, for my faith is in active exercise; my love is fervent; I have delightful seasons in prayer, &c., &c., therefore I feel that I have peace with God.” Oh, believer! art thou so foolish as, having begun in the Spirit by faith, to be made perfect in the flesh by your own doing? If thou puttest thy peace here upon thy graces, then there will come another day when all those graces will droop like withered flowers. To look to thy graces for peace is like going to the cistern instead of living by the fountain. (d) I fear, too, that there are not a few who are tempted to found their confidence upon their enjoyments. If we do this, let us remember that we may have our times of agonising and fruitless prayer; we may be in the valley of despondency, or in the blacker valley of the shadow of death. (2) The Christian’s conviction of his peace with God lies in this—that he is justified by faith. I was a sinner doomed to die; Christ took my place; He died for me, God says that he who believes in Christ shall be saved—I believe in Christ, therefore I am saved. He says, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned.” I believe on Him, therefore I am not condemned. Now this is reasoning which no logic can gainsay. There is a rebel—be is pardoned, he is at peace with his king, and a rebel no longer. There is the offending child—his father takes him, accepts him for his elder brother’s sake, and he is at peace with his father. This is the basis of the Christian’s peace—one on which he may sleep or wake, live or die, and live eternally, without condemnation or separation from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus the Lord. 2. Its channel—“through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1) Though justification by faith is in itself a well of comfort, yet, even from that well we cannot get it, except we use Christ, who digged the well, to be the bucket to draw the water up from its depths. I will suppose that I am in doubt and fear and want to get my peace restored—how shall I seek it? Through Christ, the surety and substitute. Christ tells me that He came to save sinners; I am a sinner, therefore He came to save me. (a) He says He can save me. This looks reasonable. He is very God, He is perfect man, He has suffered and offered a complete atonement. (b) He tells me He is willing to save me. This also appears reasonable, for why else should He die? (c) Then He tells me if I will trust Him, He will save me. I trust Him, and I have not the shadow of a shade of a suspicion of doubt that He will be as good as His word. (2) Some people say we teach that man is saved by mere believing. We do. There is a poor, starving man over there. I give him bread—his life is spared. Why do not these people say this man was saved by mere eating! And here is another person who is dying of thirst, and I give him water and the man is saved by mere drinking. Why do not we drop down dead in our pews? Just stop your breath a little while and see. Surely we all live by mere breathing. All these operations of nature may be sneered at as merely this or that; and in like manner to speak disparagingly of “mere believing” is nonsense. And if I would get my peace made more full and perfect, having come to Christ by faith, the more I go to Christ believingly, the deeper will my peace be. If I live near to Christ I shall not know fear. Who should know fear when he is covered with the Eternal wings, and underneath him are the Everlasting arms? As Christ was the first means of giving us peace, so He must still be the golden conduit through which all peace with God must flow to our believing hearts. 3. Its certainty. I like to read these rolling sentences of Paul, without an “if” or a “but” in them—“Therefore, being justified, we have peace with God.” How different is this from “I hope,” “I trust.” Now where this language is genuine it deserves sympathy, but I believe in many cases it is cant. Let those who are the subjects of these doubts be cheered, but let their doubts and fears be rooted out. It is not presumption to believe what God tells you. If He says, “You are justified,” do not say, “I hope I am.” If I should say to some poor man, “I will pay your rent for you,” and he should say, “Well, well, I hope you will,” I should not feel best pleased with him. If you should say to your child, “I shall buy you a new suit of clothes to-day,” and he should say, “Well, father, I sometimes hope you will, I humbly trust, I hope I may say, though I sometimes doubt and fear, yet I hope I may say I believe you,” you would not encourage such a child as that in his uncomely suspicions. Why should we talk thus to our dear Father who is in heaven? 4. Its effect. (1) Joy. Who can be at peace with God and have Him for a Father, and yet be miserable? (2) A calm resignation, nay, a delightful acquiescence in his Father’s will. What fear is there to the man that is at peace with God? Life?—God provides for it. Death?—Christ hath destroyed it. The Grave?—Christ hath rolled away the stone and broken the seal. Affliction, tribulation, famine, peril, or the sword? “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that hath loved us.”
- Words of counsel to those who have not this peace, or have lost it. 1. There is a man who many years ago was a professor, and who has never been easy in his conscience since he forsook the ways of God. Backslider, do you remember the time when you did feel that Christ could save, and you did trust yourself with Him? Now then, do the same to-night, and the dew of thy youth is restored unto thee. “Oh! but I have forsaken Him.” Lay aside thy “buts” and “its.” He bids thee come. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” 2. There are those who are not backsliders exactly, but have lost their peace for a little time. Many young Christians are subject to little fits, in which their evidence gets dark and they lose their peace. Now learn from me. I find it very convenient to come every day to Christ as I came at first. “You are no saint,” says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, there I go—other hope I have none. 3. There are those who never had peace. (1) Do not seek peace as the first object; for, if you want peace before you get grace, you want the flower before you get the root, like children who, when they have a piece of garden given them, pluck the flowers out of their father’s bed, and put them into their own ground, and then say, “What a nice garden I have got! “But to their dismay, on the morrow all is withered. Better put the roots in and wait till they sprout, and then the flowers will be living ones, not borrowed ones. Do not seek after peace first. Seek after Christ first. Peace will come next. (2) And remember, that if you put your eye on anything but Christ, or anything with Christ, so as to disturb your whole thought and attention from being directed exclusively to Him, then peace will be an impossibility to you. Do not trust your repentance, faith, feelings, knowledge, sense of need, but come because you have nothing to recommend you; because you are vile, to be pardoned; because you are black, to be washed; come, because you are penniless, to be made rich; but look for nothing else save in Christ. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
False peace:—Your peace, sinner, is that terribly prophetic calm which the traveller occasionally perceives upon the higher Alps. Everything is still. The birds suspend their notes, fly low, and cower down with fear. The hum of bees among the flowers is hushed. A horrible stillness rules the hour, as if death had silenced all things by stretching over them his awful sceptre. Perceive ye not what is surely at hand? The tempest is preparing, the lightning will soon cast abroad its flames of fire. Earth will rock with thunder-blasts; granite peaks will be dissolved; all nature will tremble beneath the fury of the storm. Yours is that solemn calm to-day, sinner. Rejoice not in it, for the hurricane of wrath is coming, the whirlwind and the tribulation which shall sweep you away and utterly destroy you. (Ibid.)
Peace of pardon, not a mere forgetfulness:—I have spilled the ink over a bill, and so have blotted it till it can hardly be read; but this is quite another thing from having the debt blotted out, for that cannot be till payment is made. So a man may blot his sins from his memory and quiet his mind with false hopes, but the peace which this will bring him is widely different from that which arises from God’s forgiveness of sin through the satisfaction which Jesus made in His atonement. Our blotting is one thing; God’s blotting out is something far higher. (Ibid.)
Peace desired:—I once knew a young lady very rich in earthly gifts; she had youth, beauty, wealth; but she had not the best gifts, the “peace” that Jesus gives. She was not in the habit of visiting the poor, but one day she went with a friend to see an old woman who had been confined to bed for thirty years, suffering from a painful complaint, and was apparently near death. While the young lady stood pitying by, she was struck by hearing no word of repining or impatience. The aged Christian spoke of happiness and peace, the mercies she had experienced, the joys she was so soon to know. The contrast was great between these two—the one in the flush of youth, health, prosperity! the other so different. But the young lady turned to her friend, and said, “I would gladly change places with that poor creature to have her peace.” The saint went to her rest, but the lesson was not lost; the young lady sought for peace in Jesus, and found it. She is now a bright example of a consistent Christian, and treading in that path “which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Teacher’s Treasury.)
Christian peace:—One who professes to have no settled religious beliefs said to me a few days ago, “The best argument for religion I know is that it brings harmony into the lives of those who are truly religious”; and I believe many would give almost all they have for Christian peace.
Peace may exist in the absence of joy:—God’s hand may be laid very heavily upon us, but faith interprets all as administered in love. Therefore, while joy may be absent, peace may reign supreme in the soul. We should not depreciate Christian joy. To “rejoice with joy unspeakable” is our blessed privilege. But peace is that which our Saviour especially bequeathed as the peculiar inheritance of His children while on earth.
Peace with God:—God did not begin war against us; we began the war against Him, and it is high time that this farce of the finite struggling against the Infinite were ended. We are tired of the war. We want to back out. But how shall we get a cessation of this contest? By going up into the mount of God and plucking olive branches. What mount? Calvary. Modern travellers say it is only an insignificant hill; but I persist in calling it a mount, because, through the grandeur of its meaning, it overtops the very highest of all earthly elevations. The Alps and the Himalayas are less than ant-hills compared with it. In the very excavation on Calvary where the Cross was once set, afterward the olive was planted, and it is green, and thrifty, and foliaged to-day, and I strip it off, and I wave it before this assemblage, crying, “Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Oh, if there is any joyful thought enough to overthrow one’s equilibrium, that is the thought. It may be a matter of very little importance what President Grant, or Queen Victoria, or King William thinks of any one; but to be brought into close, and intimate, and hearty, and glowing relations with the God of a round universe—that makes a hallelujah seem stupid. If we had continued this fight against God for ten thousand years, we could not have captured so much as a sword, or taken so much as a cavalry stirrup, or wrenched off so much as a chariot wheel of His omnipotence; but God and all heaven’s artillery come over on our side at the first swing of the olive branch. Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there is no peace in any other way. (T. De Witt Talmage.)
Peace through Christ alone:—We could relate many heart-moving incidents, but will here only give one which happened to him in the Black Forest. We were driven by a fearful storm to take refuge in a small house, where we found a woman sitting at a table clad in deep mourning, and evidently in great sorrow. Although the Ave Maria was sounding from the neighbouring tower of the village church, she was not praying, but only kept on silently weeping to herself. In answer to our inquiries as to the cause of her sorrow, she told us that she had no rest, and did not know how things stood between her and God. Under the guidance of her priest, she had done all that could be thought of to obtain ease of mind. She had placed great candles on the altar, had observed all the fasts and joined in all the processions “for the benefit of the Holy Father,” and done many other things of the same sort, but all had failed to give her peace of heart. Then came an awful trial in the death of her dear husband, who was killed while employed as a wood-cutter, by the fall of a gigantic fir tree. The Jesuit Father R—— told her that this was the expiation of her sin, and that now she could be at rest. “But I was not, and I am not,” sighed the poor deeply-troubled woman. We soon found that she knew nothing of Christ except that He was the son of the Virgin and a great saint, whom one ought to invoke alternately with the other intercessors. With what delight this poor soul now absorbed the good news of the Saviour of sinners, and how quickly she understood Him whom she had long loved without knowing it, they alone can form a conception who know what it is to have been blind, to have cried for the light, and to have had their eyes opened. (Pastor Funcke.)
Immediate results of justification:—1. Here we come to a main turning point in the development of the apostle’s teaching. One chapter whose title might be, “An exposition and defence of justification by faith in Christ without the deeds of the Law,” is closed. Another is about to open whose title might be, “The results of justification in the experience of the believer.” To unfold these results; to show that, so far from the new teaching encouraging men in sin, it affords the only security for practical holiness; to trace the growth of a believer’s spiritual life from the moment of his justification till it ends in the glorious liberty of the children of God;—this continues to be his theme down to the end of the eighth chapter. 2. In the opening paragraph of this section St. Paul makes it plain that God’s gospel way of justifying a sinner on his believing affords the most ample ground to hope for the ultimate complete salvation of every believer. How that hope is to be realised the apostle does not as yet say. Into the connection between a justified state and a holy life, he does not as yet enter. Taking his stand simply on the bare fact of justification, he states that he who accepts it cannot help expecting triumphantly the fullest possible deliverance one day into the glory of God. 3. Hope is the keyword of this section, therefore; exultant hope of future glory.
- Our hope reposes on this new relation, established betwixt us and God, that we are at peace with Him (vers. 1, 2). 1. This “peace with” or “with respect to” God is probably neither our changed feelings toward God in Christ, nor our peace of conscience when we are sure of pardon, nor that deep peace of the spirit which is Christ’s bequest and which passes all understanding; but the relationship out of which all this springs. Friendly affections grow out of pacific relations. 2. The change from an armed to a peaceful attitude we owe in the first instance to the atoning work of the Son. Not that God could hate His sinful creature. But He does hate sin—the one thing which He hath not made. And our sin, so long as it was unexpiated, forced Him into an attitude of reluctant antagonism. Antagonism is not hatred, nor even dislike; it may co-exist with the most tender affection. After Absalom had assassinated his half-brother, the sorrowing king and father refused to receive the murderer at court, although all the while his heart longed to go forth to his favourite. So were we to God as that misguided fratricide was to David. Apart from the atonement He could not speak to us words of friendship; while we, on our part, were “enemies in our minds through wicked works”—disliking God and resenting His claims. 3. But see what a mighty revolution Christ’s death wrought! The obstacle which before had legally barred a sinful man’s admission into friendship, was taken out of the way. So soon as we are penitent believers, we have an access into this favour of our Father (ver. 1); and standing in that grace, it is now possible for us to hope that we shall see and share the glory of our God (ver. 2).
- Our hope is not impaired but confirmed by our present tribulation. It is far off, that glory of God which we hope for. And the present is a life of trouble. Does not this then put our boastful hope in a coming glory to shame? No, life’s trouble confirms and increases our hope; because it works in us a steadfast endurance in the exercise of our faith—a holding on and holding out to the end. The Christian who thus perseveres under trouble is an approved or accredited believer. Having stood that test of trial, his faith is found genuine; and as the tested Christian finds his faith to prove itself thus genuine, must not his hope wax only so much the more confident? As the hope to be one day glorified with the glory of God is a theme for triumph, so the believer learns to transfer his exultant triumph even to those afflictions which in the long run minister to his future glory, and that strangest of all strange paradoxes on Christian lips comes true (ver. 3).
III. This triumphant hope in which God is yet to do for, us, finds a still more sure foundation of fact in what God has already done to prove the greatness of His love. This is the argument which fills the remainder of the section (vers. 5–11). It is introduced in the words of ver. 5. This love of God for us which His Spirit pours out like a rich fruitful tide within the believer’s heart, is that quite unparalleled love evinced in Christ’s death for us while we were yet sinners (vers. 6–8). And the force of the argument is, “If when we were hostile, God reconciled us by His Son’s death, how much now when we are His friends, will He save us by His Son’s life?” Paul regards all that still remains to be done for a believer in order to fit him for final glory as an inferior test of Divine kindness, costing less, and therefore less improbable, than what God already did in the sacrifice of Christ’s life. He argues from the greater thing to the less. It is a much higher effort of generosity to reconcile an enemy than to save a friend. Love was put then to its hardest task. It did not fail in that thing which was greatest; why should it fail in a less thing? The conquering, uplifted Christ, regnant in celestial bliss, with matchless resources at command, His omnipotent breath penetrating His Church—He will not withdraw His hand from the easy completion of a task of which the first part has been already performed in tears and blood. Conclusion: Only seize the religious meaning of the death of Jesus Christ, and everything puts on a new face. It did so to St. Paul. This world was become a new world to him since Christ had died. Before that decease was accomplished at Jerusalem, the human race lay sunk in hopeless guilt, jailered by the inexpiable vengeance of heaven, with the blackness of death shrouding its hereafter. But now, what a change! 1. God is changed. Whereas there lay on our hearts only the intolerable sense of infinite disapproval and displeasure, now we have peace with Him. He is just, and yet He justifies us through His Son’s expiation. 2. This life is changed. Its troubles are still upon us, but before they seemed to be only presages of a vengeance to come. Now we are God’s friends, and afflictions can be nothing worse than experiments upon our confidence in Him; a well-meant discipline vindicating the sincerity of our attachment to Him, whom, though He slay us, we still can trust. When we have withstood such a test, we can even turn round and rejoice in it. 3. The future is changed. The leaden pall is lifted which overhung man’s existence. With God on his side, a man learns to have boundless anticipations. Who will say that anything is too much to hope for a creature for whom God was willing to die? (J. Oswald Dykes, D.D.)
We have peace with God (1)
The pursuit of peace is a universal human obsession, whether it is international, industrial, domestic or personal peace. Yet more fundamental than all these is peace with God, the reconciled relationship with him which is the first blessing of justification. Thus ‘justification’ and ‘reconciliation’ belong together, for ‘God does not confer the status of righteousness upon us without at the same time giving himself to us in friendship and establishing peace between himself and us’. And this peace becomes ours through our Lord Jesus Christ (1), who was both delivered to death and raised from death (4:25), in order to make it possible. This is the heart of the peace which the prophets foretold as the supreme blessing of the messianic age, the shalom of the kingdom of God, inaugurated by Jesus Christ, the prince of peace.
Moreover, we have peace with God now, Paul writes, as a present possession. But is this the correct reading? In the great majority of manuscripts the verb is in the subjunctive (echōmen, ‘let us have’, rv and rsv mg.), not in the indicative (echomen, ‘we have’, niv and reb). In the Greek text the difference is only a single letter, and the pronunciation of the two words will have been almost identical. If echōmen is right, then ‘let us have peace’ would have to be understood as an exhortation to ‘enjoy it to the full’. Yet, in spite of its strong manuscript support, most commentators reject this reading. It seems to be one of those rare cases in which the context must be allowed to take precedence over the text, the internal evidence over the external, theology over grammar. For the paragraph consists of a series of affirmations, and contains not even one exhortation. ‘Only the indicative is consonant with the apostle’s argument.’4
1. We have peace with God. Should we read ‘we have peace’ (echomen, indicative) or, with the margin, ‘let us have peace’ (echōmen, subjunctive)? The attestation for the latter is rather stronger (it is exhibited by the first hand in the Alexandrian codices Aleph and B and by the western codex D and the Latin versions) than for the former (to which the text in Aleph and B was corrected by a later hand and which is exhibited by the western codex G and by the majority of later witnesses). But the context supports ‘we have peace’ (cf. verse 11, ‘we have now received our reconciliation’), neb ‘let us continue at peace with God’ tries to do justice to both readings.18
5:1 / Therefore, since we have been justified through faith. Everything Paul has said in the last four chapters has paved the way for this exclamation. The aorist passive tense of “justified” (Gk. dikaiōthentes) means an accomplished condition, something which is finished as opposed to something pending or in progress. Verse 1 resounds with this decisive note and new train of thought: the problem of sin has been resolved by the death of Christ, and sinners, like Abraham, stand in a new relationship with God. They have been justified through faith, and, as Paul says in verse 2, they “have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Justification is access to grace, as a consequence of which the believer is no longer under wrath but has peace with God. A variant tradition in verse 1 (noted in the niv) reads, “let us have peace with God,” thus exhorting the reader to fulfill or enter into the condition established by Christ. Although this reading claims the stronger support among the ancient manuscripts, it remains the weaker reading. Internal evidence suggests that Paul’s original wording was not an exhortation but an indicative, we have peace with God. In general when Paul speaks of peace between humanity and God it is God who effects it. This is exactly his point in verse 10 where “God’s enemies … were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.” Peace, like justification, comes exclusively from God. Both conditions depend on God’s action; neither is something humanity can bring on itself.
There are important practical implications of this truth. Nearly all Christians confess that Christ’s death effects salvation, but not infrequently they try (perhaps unconsciously) to live the Christian life on their own. Both righteousness as the act of saving and peace as the condition of being saved, however, come through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian life is from Alpha to Omega a life of faith, and the progress of the new life is as much a part of God’s grace as was Christ’s death for the sinner in the first place.
When Paul speaks of peace with God he means virtually the same thing as being a “new creation” (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). The English word “peace” has a variety of meanings, not all of which are compatible with Paul’s understanding of the term. The expressions “peaceful coexistence,” or “peace and quiet,” for instance, connote absence of conflict, whereas “peace of mind” implies contentment. In the Bible, however, peace is neither the absence of adversity nor a sensation of euphoria. The Hebrew šālôm, normally rendered in the Greek ot by eirēnē, means a condition in which life can best be lived. A review of this common ot word reveals that it seldom refers to a purely inner peace, whether psychological or emotional. Especially in the prophetic literature peace is a condition established by God which characterizes the age to come. The triumphant assertion in 5:1 claims that the long-awaited peace of the future has dawned in Jesus Christ. There is a certainty in Paul’s expression uncharacteristic of rabbinic authors. As the sinner in 1:18ff. stood in a condition of hostility to God, and thereby under wrath, so now, having been justified by faith, the believer stands in a condition free from obstacles in his or her relationship with God. In neither case does Paul say how the individual may have felt in those conditions, which means that wrath and salvation are not subjective human experiences but decrees of God. Verses 9–10 describe the condition as one of reconciliation instead of hostility. When one is at peace with God, for the first time one fulfills one’s purpose with God, others, and the world.
Peace with God, therefore, is neither anesthetic bliss nor the repose of a graveyard. The removal of sin, like the removal of an obstruction from one’s windpipe, restores one’s vital signs. The life of peace is not a life free from adversity; neither do adverse circumstances necessarily threaten the believer’s peace with God. In verses 3–5 and 10 Paul speaks of struggle and suffering in the Christian life. The life of faith may indeed create adversity, but adversity is not necessarily a sign of divine judgment or abandonment. In faith, adversity may be a sign of life, just as exercise brings sore muscles in a person who has been bedridden. In chapter 3 we spoke of the forensic or legal connotations of righteousness, whereby a judge, who may not know a defendant or ever see that person again, declares the sinner righteous. Paul now moves beyond that official metaphor. If justification produces release for the prisoner, peace is the life of freedom. If justification results from the crack of a gavel, peace results from the outstretched hand of a Father, drawing the estranged child into a new experience of freedom and hope.
1 The opening phrase of Rom. 5 is transitional. “Therefore, having been justified by faith” not only sums up the central teaching of Rom. 1–4, but, dependent as it is on the first person plural verb following, presents it as a blessing experienced by the readers of the letter. By believing in Jesus Christ, the divine agent in God’s climactic act of deliverance, Paul and the Roman Christians—and Christians of all ages and places—have been declared innocent of all charges justly brought against those who “sin and fall short of God’s glory” (3:23). While Paul has a place for a future aspect of justification, in this context (see esp. v. 9) he focuses on a past definitive declaration of justification. God’s initial justifying act confers on the believer a new status. But what are the implications of this status for the believer living “between the times,” caught in the “already/not yet” tension of inaugurated eschatology? It is this question that Paul takes up in this section, and in chaps. 5–8 as a whole.
The first implication of our justification is that “we have peace with God.” “Peace” is a word that, like so many in Paul and in the NT, must be understood according to its use in the LXX, where it translates the wide-ranging Hebrew word shalom. As a result, the word “peace” moves beyond the largely negative signification of the word in secular Greek—“peace” as the cessation or absence of hostilities—to a more positive nuance—the well-being, prosperity, or salvation of the people of God. These are often expressly treated as the gifts of God, as in the well-known benediction, “The Lord lift up his countenance on you and give you peace” (Num. 6:26). But especially important for Paul’s usage is the OT prophets’ use of the term peace to characterize the salvation that God would bring to his people in the “last days.”38 This background defines for us what Paul means by “peace with God”: not an inner sense of well-being, or “feeling at peace” (“peace of God” [Phil. 4:7]), but the outward situation of being in a relationship of peace with God.40 While the word is not used again in this paragraph, the language of “reconciliation” in vv. 10–11 picks up this concept. “Peace,” or “reconciliation” with God, then, frames this paragraph. And, despite our emphasis on the positive dimensions of peace in the OT, we must recognize that Paul conceives this peace with God or reconciliation as created out of a situation of hostility; it was while we were “enemies” of God that he reconciled us (v. 10). We were weak, ungodly, sinners (vv. 6–8) when God in his love brought us into a new relationship of peace with him.
Peace with God comes through, and only through, “our Lord Jesus Christ.” As the ultimate locus of God’s atoning, wrath-averting work, Christ is the one through whom the believing sinner receives justification (Rom. 3:25–26). Since peace with God, or reconciliation, is one way of viewing the new relationship into which we have been put by God’s justifying act in Christ, it can no more be achieved apart from Christ than can justification itself. That all God has for us is to be found “in” or “through” Jesus Christ our Lord is a persistent motif in Rom. 5–8: peace with God comes “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1); our boasting in God is “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:11); grace reigns through righteousness, resulting in eternal life “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (5:21); the gift of God bringing eternal life is “in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23); thanks for deliverance are due to God “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (7:25); the love of God, from which nothing can ever separate the believer is “in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:39). When we consider that these phrases occur in only one other verse in Romans (15:30), and that every chapter in this part of the letter concludes on this note, a definite focus on this matter is evident here. Romans lacks any extended christological discussion per se, but Paul’s repeated insistence in these chapters that all the believer experiences of God’s blessings comes only through Christ develops a very significant christological focus in its own right. Christology, we might say, is not the topic of any part of Rom. 5–8, but it is the basis for everything in these chapters.
1 The apostle places in the forefront “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 1). Peace with God is a blessing coordinate with justification. The background of the latter is condemnation and subjection to the wrath of God and it contemplates our acceptance with God as righteous. The background of the former is our alienation from God and it contemplates our instatement in the favour of God and in the light of his countenance. That peace with God should be given preeminence in the blessings accruing from justification is consonant with the status which justification secures. “Peace with God” denotes relationship to God. It is not the composure and tranquillity of our minds and hearts; it is the status of peace flowing from the reconciliation (vss. 10, 11) and reflects primarily upon God’s alienation from us and our instatement in his favour. Peace of heart and mind proceeds from “peace with God” and is the reflection in our consciousness of the relation established by justification. But it is the objective relation that is in view here when Paul speaks of “peace with God”. It is “through our Lord Jesus Christ” that we have this peace. The mediation of Christ is not dispensed with in the bestowment of the privileges which proceed from justification, and this reminds us that our dependence upon the mediation of Christ is never suspended. All spiritual blessings are in Christ. But they are also enjoyed through Christ’s continued mediatory activity.
1 The first statement of ch. 5 presupposes the whole argument from 3:21 as the background for what is now set forth (cf. “therefore”). Paul assumes the reality of justification for himself and his readers (“since we have been justified”). This could have been inferred from 4:24–25, but Paul is careful to emphasize that justification is an assured fact before going on to show what it involves. So he includes the part that faith plays also, though this too has been affirmed in 4:24.
The first of the blessings conveyed by justification is “peace.” We have encountered the word in the salutation (1:7) and in an eschatological setting (2:10). Here, however, the background is the estrangement between God and humanity because of sin, and hence the divine wrath set forth in the first section of the epistle. Justification means that we are no longer subject to that wrath. Observe also in the present chapter the occurrence of “wrath” (v. 9) and “enemies” (v. 10). Peace in this setting means the objective reality of harmony with God rather than a subjective state in the consciousness of a person, though it may be expected to give rise to a feeling of security.
That the objective meaning is to be adopted in the present passage is put beyond all doubt by the fact that the kind of peace in view is “peace with God.” Since this particular reality is placed first among the benefits of justification, it should be evident how central is the wrath of God to Paul’s exposition of the plight of fallen humanity. That plight could be dealt with only through the mediation of “our Lord Jesus Christ.” Related passages tell the same story. Christ made peace through the blood of his cross (Col 1:20). “He himself is our peace,” writes Paul in Ephesians 2:14, and then he goes on to show how this peace works in two directions, removing the enmity between Jew and Gentile to make them one in the body of Christ and reconciling both in one body to God through the cross. The term “peace” is nearly synonymous with the messianic salvation (cf. Ac 10:36). Indeed, underlying the Greek word eirēnē (GK 1645) is the Hebrew concept of šalôm (GK 8934), namely, ultimate well-being in every regard.
Peace with God
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
A number of years ago, Look magazine ran a personality feature entitled “Peace of Mind.” Sixteen prominent Americans had been asked how they were able to find peace in our stressful world, and the article consisted of their answers.
James Michener, the author of many best-selling books, said that he finds peace by taking his two dogs for a walk “along old streams and into fields that have not been plowed for half a century.” Barry Goldwater, the former Senator from Arizona and Republican presidential candidate, said that he finds peace in his hobbies—photography, boating, flying, and camping—but above all by “walking in the Grand Canyon.” (It was obvious that Goldwater had been elected to the Senate from “the Grand Canyon state.”) Former CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite finds peace in solitude, usually by “going to the sea by small boat.” Margaret Mead, the well-known anthropologist and author of Coming of Age in Samoa, sought “a change of pace and scene.” Sammy Davis, Jr., said he found peace by looking for “good in people.” Bill Moyers, television personality and former press secretary to Lyndon Johnson, tried to find peace in a family “reunion, usually in some remote and quiet retreat.”
As I read these answers I was impressed with how subjective and dependent upon favorable circumstances most of the approaches were. But I noted something else, too. Although each of these prominent Americans differed in his or her methods, all were nevertheless seeking peace of mind and recognized that pursuing it was important. No one considered a search for peace to be irrelevant.
What is it that people are most seeking in life, once their basic physical needs are satisfied? Some say they are seeking “freedom.” Movements for national liberation are usually based on this intense human desire. But Americans are free. We have been free of foreign domination for over two hundred years, and our constitution and legal system affirm our individual liberties. Yet most of us are as restless and discontented (perhaps even more so) as those living under strongly oppressive regimes. Is it wealth we are seeking? One of the richest men in the world once said, “I thought money could buy happiness. I have been miserably disillusioned.” Others seek fulfillment through education, fame, sex, or power, but most are discontented even when they attain such goals. What is the reason? The explanation is that what people are really seeking is peace, and the ultimate and only genuine peace is found in a right relationship with God.
The great North African Christian, Saint Augustine, expressed it best more than a millennium and a half ago, when he wrote in his Confessions, “You made us for yourself, and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.”
Peace Through Jesus Christ
If you are restless and seeking peace, the verse that begins the fifth chapter of Paul’s magnificent letter to the Romans is addressed to you. For here Paul speaks of peace and tells how it may be found: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I want to put this verse in its context, however. And to do that I need to have you think ahead to what we are going to find in this next major section of Paul’s letter (chs. 5–8).
It is traditional among commentators to suggest that at this point in his letter, having explained the doctrine of justification by grace through faith, Paul lists what most writers call “the fruits of justification” and then moves on to discuss sanctification. Peace is one such “fruit,” but there are others: access to God through prayer, hope, joy, perseverance, and a sense of being loved by God. According to this view, Paul interrupts his listing of these fruits of justification at verse 11 to deal with the parallel between Adam and Christ (Rom. 5:12–21) and sanctification (Rom. 6:1–8:17), before returning to the assurance that nothing can separate the believer from God’s love, which is another fruit of justification (Rom. 8:18–39). Commentators taking this approach conclude that the chief concern of the apostle in this section of Romans is sanctification.
If the traditional approach is correct, Romans falls into four major sections: (1) a portion dealing with justification (chs. 1–4); (2) a discussion of sanctification (chs. 5–8); (3) the problem of God’s dealing with the Jews (chs. 9–11); and (4) practical matters (chs. 12–16).
However, at this point I think that F. Godet and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (who follows him) are right when they suggest that what Paul is actually presenting in Romans 5:1–11 is not “the fruits of justification,” though he mentions some of them, but the beginning of a well-developed statement of the security in Christ that comes to a believer as a result of his or her justification.
There are a number of reasons for this interpretation, and there are reasons why it is important, which I will explain later.
I suggested one reason for approaching verses 1–11 in this way when I said that according to the traditional view, Paul interrupts his treatment of the “fruits” of justification to deal with the parallel between Adam and Christ and sanctification. Yet interruptions are not what we have been led to expect in this letter. One German commentator sees this to be a real problem, and he does not hesitate to say that at this point “the systematic order of our epistle leaves something to be desired.” But is that really so? Any suggestion that Paul is not being systematic should make us pause in our interpretation of his teaching, at least in this letter, which up to now has been a model of consistent and systematic argumentation.
The best arguments against the traditional view are from verses 1–11 themselves. Look at the first sentence. In the New International Version there is a period in the middle of verse 2, separating the sentence “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” from the previous one. But in the Greek text this is actually a continuation and climax. In Greek the passage says what the King James Version allows it to say, namely: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Since “hope of the glory of God” refers to what theologians call glorification, the opening sentence of Romans 5 actually directs our minds to the final glorified state of those who have been justified. And that is exactly where we come out at the end of Romans 8, where Paul argues that nothing is “able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 39). This suggests that Paul has chapter 8 in mind as he begins chapter 5 and that he moves consistently toward his conclusion in the intervening material.
There is another argument as well. In Romans 5:1–2, Paul moves from justification to glorification without mentioning sanctification, the matter that traditionalists suppose to be his main concern. In Romans 8:30, he does the same thing, writing: “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Justification, then glorification! In both of these texts, one at the beginning of Romans 5–8 and one at the end, the one idea (justification) leads directly to the other (glorification).
It is true that a great deal of sanctification takes place between justification and glorification and that much of what is found in Romans 5–8 bears upon it. But we could well ask why Paul does not mention sanctification either at the start of this section (Rom. 5:1–11) or at the end of it (Rom. 8:18–39), if this is the primary subject he is writing about. Is it not the case that the reason he does not mention sanctification is that he is not chiefly concerned about it and that these chapters are actually focused on another matter entirely?
What is that matter? It is the believer’s security in Christ or, as we also often say, the “assurance of salvation.”
D. Martyn-Lloyd Jones, who sees Romans 5–8 in this light, says that “the apostle is concerned primarily, from this point onwards, to show us the absolute character, the fullness and the finality of the salvation which comes to us in the way he has already described, namely, as the result of justification by faith.”
In my opinion, this is the proper and most profitable approach to Romans 5–8.
“Peace with God” And “Peace of God”
When I began my analysis of Romans 5–8, I said that it was important to have this approach to these chapters and that I would come back to its importance later. I want to do that now. But to do so I want to make another distinction. It is the distinction between having “peace with God,” which is what this section treats, and having the “peace of God,” which is another matter.
Most Christians are acquainted with Philippians 4:6–7, which tells us about the peace of God: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Those two verses envision upsetting situations that come into our lives. Perhaps we have lost a job and are worried about earning enough money to provide for our families. Perhaps we are sick, or a friend is sick. Perhaps a person who has been very close to us has died, and suddenly everything seems in turmoil. One writer argues that the death of a close family member or friend is like having an eggbeater thrust into the mixing bowl of our emotional lives. Elisabeth Elliot, who had one husband murdered by Auca Indians in Ecuador and another slowly consumed by cancer, said that this is a time when the earth seems to be giving way, the waters are roaring, and the mountains are being cast into the sea (cf. Ps. 46:2–3). In such times of stress we need personal peace in our lives, and it is this about which Philippians 4:6–7 is speaking: We can have personal peace by asking God for it.
And it works! I regularly cite these verses when I am writing to people who have lost a close family member, encouraging them to believe that God, who loves them and cares for them, will give them a peace that “transcends all human understanding.” Many tell me that this is exactly what God has done for them. He has given them peace in the midst of their emotional turmoil.
But this is not the peace that Romans 5:1 is talking about. Romans 5 is not referring to the “peace of God,” but to “peace with God.” The idea here is not that we are upset and therefore need to become trusting and more tranquil, but rather that we have been at war with God and he with us, because of our sin, and that peace has nevertheless been provided for us by God—if we have been justified through faith in Jesus Christ.
When we see this, we realize that nothing is more appropriate and logical at this point in Romans than such a reference. For what Paul has been saying in the previous section is that God is not at peace with us but is at war with us because of our ungodly and wicked behavior. The word he has been using is “wrath.” “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom. 1:18). Having shown what this means and having answered the objections of those who feel that it is an appropriate description of the condition of other people, but not of themselves, Paul then reveals what God has done to satisfy his wrath against men in Jesus Christ. The Son bore the Father’s wrath in our place. He died for us, and we receive the benefits of his atonement by believing on him and in what he has done. This is the point at which the fourth chapter of Romans ended.
But where does this lead? Obviously to peace with God! Since we have been justified by faith, the cause of the warfare between ourselves and God has been removed, and peace is the result. We therefore have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace has been provided from God’s side, for he has removed the cause of the enmity through Jesus’ death.
Peace has been received on our side, for we have “believed God” and have found the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ to be credited to us by God as our righteousness.
One commentator summarizes the point of Romans 5:1 by saying: “Every soul has been at war with God, and therefore every soul must have peace with God through cessation of the hostilities which exist between the individual and the Creator. How is the warfare to be brought to an end?… God has made peace, and no other peace can be made except that which he has already made.… If you come in unconditional surrender, you will find him all peace toward you.”
First Peace, Then Blessing
There are some practical applications that we need to make at this point, and they are important enough to be remembered as we make our way through these chapters.
- The starting point for all spiritual blessings, in this life and in the life to come, is the peace that God has made with us through the death of Jesus Christ.
It is no accident that Paul begins Romans 5 with this theme. Many people would like the peace of God (or some other kind of peace) in difficult circumstances. They would like to be calm under fire, self-assured in highly pressured situations—to be always under control. Many more would like other blessings. But if God is the ultimate source of all good things, as he clearly is, we can only have them when we have first entered into a right and proper relationship with him. How is that done? The only way is by faith in Christ, as Paul has been arguing. But suppose you will not come that way. In that case, what can you possibly expect but a continuation of the wrath of God—a wrath greatly intensified, in your case, by your rejection of Jesus?
- Having been justified by God through faith in Jesus Christ, believers can know that their salvation is secured forever and that now nothing can separate them from God’s love.
This is the point I have been making in this study, and the reason is that it is the chief point of the passage. We have already seen how the first two verses of Romans 5 pass directly from justification to glorification, just as Romans 8:30 also does. These chapters also move inexorably to the great conclusion: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39).
If this were not enough, we should be led to the same conclusion by the fact that the text itself speaks, not of seeking peace with God, but of having peace. “Having been justified, we have peace with God” is what it says.
It is hard to emphasize this too much, since all Christians need to be sure of their salvation. True, there is a false security about which we need to be warned. Mere intellectual assent to doctrine is not saving faith, and boasting of one’s security while continuing to sin is presumption. But such qualifications aside, it is important to know that we have been saved by God, that peace has been made between God and ourselves, and that the peace made by God will last forever. Only those who are sure of this salvation can be a help to others.
- It is possible to be at peace with God and know that we are at peace with God while, at the same time, fail to experience peace in a given situation.
It is important to point this out because, if we do not know this in advance and cling to it, we can be thrown into paralyzing doubt whenever tragic circumstances or upsetting situations arise. Death will come into our experience, and we will be agitated. “Bad breaks” will come, and we will be confused by them. Disappointments will shake us. In such situations we will need to come to God for the help we desperately need. That is why Paul tells the Philippians not to be anxious, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” and, as a result, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7). One great secret of the Christian life is to bring all troubling matters to God in prayer so as to find peace even in the midst of them. But the fact that these situations sometimes cause us to lose our sense of the peace of God does not mean that peace with God has been destroyed. In fact, knowing that God has made peace with us and that nothing will destroy the peace he has made will enable us to come to him quickly and boldly when we need help.
It will be an evidence of the fact that we have peace with God that we do so. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that faith in this matter is like the needle of a compass that always points to the magnetic north. It is possible to deflect it—by a hard blow, for example, or by bringing another magnet close alongside. But these deflections are temporary, and the needle will always return to the proper position. That is what faith is like. It can be jarred or deflected, but it will always return to God—because God has made peace with us. Faith knows this, and God is faith’s true home.
- These blessings are nevertheless only through the Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul says.
Paul has been writing about Jesus at the end of Romans 4; he has spoken of his death and resurrection. In this chapter we might have expected him merely to assume the earlier references as a given and say simply, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God,” stopping there. But Paul does not do that. Although he has already mentioned Jesus Christ, he now mentions him again, because he does not want us to imagine that we can get anywhere without him. He understands that any feeling of acceptance by God that is not based upon the work of Jesus Christ is an illusion!
At the start of this study I mentioned the feature in Look magazine in which sixteen prominent Americans told of the techniques they had developed for finding “peace of mind.” There was one person I omitted, and that was Norman Vincent Peale. I did not mention him then because I was holding his reply until now. Peale is known for his philosophy of “positive thinking,” which, in the judgment of many people, is not strongly Christian. But Peale nevertheless is a Christian, and in this feature he responded in a truly Christian way. Peale said, “I find peace of mind through a committed relationship with Jesus Christ and through faith in God.… Jesus alone can give you peace. That I’ve found to be a fact.”
So have countless others, and the reason is clear. Jesus gives us peace of mind because he has first made peace between our rebellious souls and God. I commend that peace to you and urge you to put your faith in him.
The Believer’s Peace with God
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (5:1)
The first link in the unbreakable chain that eternally binds believers to Christ is their peace with God.
The term therefore connects Paul’s present argument with what he has already said, especially in chapters 3 and 4. In those chapters the apostle established that, as believers, we have been justified by faith. Because of our justification by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The verb translated we have is in the present tense, indicating something that is already possessed. Many of a believer’s blessings must await his resurrection and glorification, but peace with God is established the moment he places his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The peace that Paul is speaking about here is not subjective but objective. It is not a feeling but a fact. Apart from salvation through Jesus Christ, every human being is at enmity with God, spiritually at war with Him (see v. 10; cf. 8:7), regardless of what his feelings about God may be. In the same way, the person who is justified by faith in Christ is at peace with God, regardless of how he may feel about it at any given moment. Through his trust in Jesus Christ, a sinner’s war with God is ended for all eternity.
Most unsaved people do not think of themselves as enemies of God. Because they have no conscious feelings of hatred for Him and do not actively oppose His work or contradict His Word, they consider themselves, at worst, to be “neutral” about God. But no such neutrality is possible. The mind of every unsaved person is at peace only with the things of the flesh, and therefore by definition is “hostile toward God” and cannot be otherwise (Rom. 8:7).
After the famous missionary David Livingstone had spent several years among the Zulus of South Africa, he went with his wife and young child into the interior to minister. When he returned, he discovered that an enemy tribe had attacked the Zulus, killed many of the people, and taken the chief’s son captive. The Zulu chief did not want to make war with the other tribe, but he poignantly asked Dr. Livingstone, “How can I be at peace with them while they hold my son prisoner?”
Commenting on that story, Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote, “If this attitude is true in the heart of a savage chief, how much more is it true of God the Father toward those who trample under foot His Son, who count the blood of the covenant wherewith they were set apart as an unholy thing, and who continue to despise the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29)?” (God’s River: Romans 5:1–11 [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959], p. 26).
Not only are all unbelievers enemies of God but God is also the enemy of all unbelievers, to the degree that He is angry with them every day (cf. Ps. 7:11) and condemns them to eternal hell. God is the enemy of the sinner, and that enmity cannot end unless and until the sinner places his trust in Jesus Christ. Every person who is not a child of God is a child of Satan (see John 8:44), and every person who is not a citizen of God’s kingdom is a citizen of Satan’s. As Paul declared near the opening of this letter, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18).
Apart from personal trust in God, even members of His chosen race Israel were not exempt from divine enmity and wrath. “My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword,” God warned ancient Israel soon after He delivered her from Egypt (Ex. 22:24). During the subsequent wilderness wanderings, the Lord declared of unbelieving, unfaithful Israelites: “They have made Me jealous with what is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, for a fire is kindled in My anger, and burns to the lowest part of Sheol, and consumes the earth with its yield, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains” (Deut. 32:21–22). Shortly after Israel entered the Promised Land, God warned: “When you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down to them, then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land which He has given you” (Josh. 23:16; cf. 2 Kings 22:13; Isa. 5:25; 13:9; Nah. 1:2).
To those who foolishly think God is too loving to send anyone to hell, Paul declared, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things [the sins listed in v. 5] the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6).
I once heard a professional football coach say during a pregame devotional service I held for his team: “I don’t know if there is a God, but I like having these chapels, because if there is one I want to be sure He’s on my side.” Sentiments such as that are frequently expressed by unbelievers who think that the Creator and Sustainer of the universe can be cajoled into doing one’s bidding by giving Him superficial lip service. God is never on the side of unbelievers. He is their enemy, and His wrath against them can only be placated by their trust in the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
But on the cross, Christ took upon Himself all the fury of God’s wrath that sinful mankind deserves. And those who trust in Christ are no longer God’s enemies and no longer under His wrath, but are at peace with Him.
Paul assured the Colossian believers: “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him [Christ], and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” (Col. 1:19–22).
The most immediate consequence of justification is reconciliation, which is the theme of Romans 5. Reconciliation with God brings peace with God. That peace is permanent and irrevocable, because Jesus Christ, through whom believers receive their reconciliation, “always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). “For I will be merciful to their iniquities,” the Lord says of those who belong to Him, “and I will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12; cf. 10:17). If anyone is ever to be punished in the future for the sins of believers, it would have to be the One who took them on Himself—Jesus Christ. And that is impossible, because He has already paid the penalty in full.
When a person embraces Jesus Christ in repentant faith, the sinless Son of God who made perfect satisfaction for all our sins makes that person eternally at peace with God the Father. In fact, Christ not only brings peace to the believer but “He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14). This all points out how crucial it is to understand the nature and extent of the atoning work of Jesus the Lord as the basis for assurance.
Although the peace of which Paul is speaking in this passage is the objective peace of being reconciled to God, awareness of that objective truth gives the believer a deep and wonderful subjective peace as well. To know that one is a child of God, a brother of Jesus Christ, cannot but give Christians what Charles Hodge called the “sweet quiet of the soul” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974 reprint], p. 132).
But awareness of our peace with God through Jesus Christ is meant to give us far more than feelings of gratitude and warmth, wonderful as those are. When a Christian is convinced he is eternally secure in Christ, he is freed from focusing on his own goodness and merit and is able to serve the Lord with the unqualified confidence that nothing can separate him from his heavenly Father. He can say with Paul, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39).
The peace that a believer has in the knowledge that he is secure forever in Christ not only strengthens his faith but strengthens his service. The knowledge that we are eternally at peace with God prepares us to wage effective spiritual warfare in Christ’s behalf and in His power. When engaged in battle, a Roman soldier wore boots with spikes in the bottom to give him a firm footing while fighting. Because Christians have their feet shod with “the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15), they have the confidence to stand firmly for Christ without the spiritual slipping and emotional sliding that uncertainty about salvation inevitably brings, knowing God is on their side!
 Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ro 5:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1620). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ro 5:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ro 5:1). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1695). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Stott, J. R. W. (2001). The message of Romans: God’s good news for the world (p. 139). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
 Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 326–327). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
 Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 88). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Not Hasty Reading, but Meditating
Psalm 19:14; 119:148
Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee’s touching of the flower that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet. It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
A Combatant Shuns Comfort
Isaiah 3:18–23; Matthew 11:8; 1 Corinthians 9:27
If soft and warm garments, fine and costly cloths, full sleeves, an ample hood, a thick and soft coverlet, and fine linen make a saint, why should not I also follow the example? But these are the comforts of the sick, not the weapons of combatants.
BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Confession: Psalm 51:1–4
Be gracious to me, O God, according to your loyal love.
According to your abundant mercies,
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and from my sin cleanse me.
For I myself know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, only you, I have sinned
and have done this evil in your eyes,
so that you are correct when you speak,
you are blameless when you judge.
Reading: Mark 8:27–33
And Jesus and his disciples went out to the villages of Caesarea Philippi, and on the way he asked his disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, saying, “John the Baptist, and others Elijah, and others that you are one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to him, “You are the Christ!” And he warned them that they should tell no one about him.
And he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be killed, and after three days to rise. And he was speaking openly about the subject, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning around and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan, because you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of people!”
If Peter … was called a stumbling-block by Jesus—as not minding the things of God in what he said but the things of men—what is to be said about all those who profess to be made disciples of Jesus, but do not mind the things of God? [What is to be said about those who] do not look to things unseen and eternal, (but mind the things of man) and look to things seen and temporal? Would they be seen by Jesus as a stumbling block to Him, and because they are stumbling blocks to Him, as stumbling blocks to His followers also? In regard to them He says, “I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,” so also He might say, “When I was running you caused me to stumble.” Let us not therefore suppose that it is a trivial sin to mind the things of men—since we ought in everything to mind the things of God.
Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew
How are you mindful of the “things of people”? Are you harboring mindsets, possessions, goals, and desires that are incompatible with God and His kingdom? Make a list of these things and pray about them.
 Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
“We are, heart and soul, friends to the freedom of the press. It is however, the prostituted companion of liberty, and somehow or other, we know not how, its efficient auxiliary. It follows the substance like its shade; but while a man walks erect, he may observe that his shadow is almost always in the dirt. It corrupts, it deceives, it inflames. It strips virtue of her honors, and lends to faction its wildfire and its poisoned arms, and in the end is its own enemy and the usurper’s ally.” —Fisher Ames (1807)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
Big Media has it tough these days — especially the editors. After all, they’re the ones tasked with deciding which news stories to cover.
It’s a solemn and monumental duty to write the first draft of history, as it were.
And just imagine, for example, having to choose between a story about Joe Biden’s nerve-wracking Mario Kart race against his granddaughter, or the heartwarmingly public displays of affection between Scranton Joe and First Lady Dr. Jill.
As to the former story, Newsweek reports, “Despite not being at the same gaming level as his granddaughter, the commander-in-chief came out victorious.” As to the latter, Politico reports, “The first couple have been conspicuous in their frequent public displays of affection, from a fleeting kiss before boarding Marine One to a cozy morning stroll among oversized candy hearts on the White House North Lawn. … The romantic gestures between the Bidens — who [spent] Valentine’s Day weekend with family at Camp David — are representative not only of their resilient, 43-year marriage, but also of the new president’s self-proclaimed ‘tactile’ style of interpersonal communication.”
Got that? It’s not creepy molestation. It’s “tactile” communication.
These are compelling stories with significant geopolitical implications, of course, but for hard-hitting journalism and news-gathering excellence, one network recently left its brethren in the dust: “[Biden] has established a regular schedule, including coffee in the mornings with the first lady, meetings and phone calls from the Oval Office starting just after 9 a.m. and a return to his residence by 7 p.m.,” CNN reports. “As he walks home along the Colonnade, he’s often seen carrying a stack of binders or manila folders under one arm. He still brings a brown leather briefcase into the office.”
That’s brown leather, mind you. Not cognac, not cordovan, and certainly not black.
As CNN’s Kevin Liptak continues, “He has found his old stomping grounds familiar, dropping into his onetime office in the West Wing one day last week to show his new vice president the place on the window where his wife wrote him a Valentine’s Day greeting in 2009.”
As for the new first lady, it’s safe for all of us to swoon again. As Rick Moran reports, “She’s definitely not Michelle Obama — she doesn’t have the toned arm muscles — but Jill Biden’s politics and heart are in the right place, and the media is signaling it’s OK to love the first lady again. Melania Trump is a beautiful, gracious, smart, compassionate, accomplished person. But she was married to orange hair bad and that doomed her to ridicule, criticism and just plain meanness from the media. Mrs. Biden is a woman (a plus), a teacher (a plus-plus), and a Democrat (nailed it). And for the next 4 years, she will be a goddess without blemish. She will be held up as a role model for little girls. It’s making me physically ill.”
Us too, Rick. Us too.
And let’s not forget The Office of the President-in-Waiting. As The Hill reports, “Vice President Kamala Harris is the star of a viral video after being spotted jogging the stairs at the Lincoln Memorial as a Secret Service agent was seen trying to catch up with her. The video clip was posted to Twitter over the weekend and has since garnered more than 4.1 million views.”
We’re nearing half a million deaths due to the coronavirus, New York’s governor tried to cover up his state’s nursing home deaths, Biden plans to grant citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants, Democrats are about to beggar the nation with a blue-state bailout disguised as “COVID relief,” a killer cold spell is wracking the nation, the National Guard continues to patrol our nation’s capital, the vice president is taking calls with foreign leaders instead of the president, and our kids continue to be kept from the classroom by Democrats and their teachers union bosses.
But, hey, Joe and Jill are in love, and Kamala can jog up steps.
This past Sunday, Joe Biden did what we knew was coming — he officially announced his intention to launch an assault against Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Using the anniversary of the Parkland school massacre and shamelessly exploiting those dead children, Biden dubiously couched his affront against the Constitution as “commonsense.” He listed several “gun law reforms” he wants Congress to pass. Notably, none of them would do anything to stop criminals from acting criminally, and at least some of them would make criminals of law-abiding citizens.
Biden’s “reforms” include “requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufactures who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
As we have repeatedly noted over the years, none of these “reforms” deal with the actual root problems of crime. Rather, they only work to further infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense and as a check against government tyranny. Being an elitist Democrat, Joe “Buy a Shotgun” Biden clearly believes in neither.
In his push to “finally” deal with “gun violence” (as far as we know, there’s never been an incident in which a firearm, acting on its own volition, shot someone), Biden did not rule out the possibility of issuing an executive order to assault the Second Amendment. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if Biden would consider using an executive order. “The president has a range of actions at this disposal,” she responded. “He hasn’t ruled out either of those options.”
Leftists in developed nations around the globe have long targeted citizens’ right to bear arms as a primary hurdle to their agendas. Recall how quickly New Zealand’s prime minister unilaterally acted to strip Kiwis of their gun rights in the wake of the 2019 mosque attack in Christchurch, all in the name of “commonsense” action.
Moreover, according to The Hill, “Canada is expected to pass sweeping gun reform legislation, including a measure that allows municipalities to ban handguns [emphasis added]. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new measures on Tuesday, a sweeping package that builds on a ban of more than 1,500 assault-style firearms. Trudeau said at a news conference on Tuesday that the country would move forward with a buyback program ‘in the coming months.’” Trudeau ridiculously asserted, “You can’t fight gun violence for any violence on just one front. You can’t fight it without addressing its root causes.” Well, it’s clear that his administration is more interested in blaming inanimate tools rather than actually digging into the root human causes of violence and crime.
But we don’t need to go to other countries to see how anti-gun leftists are determined to do everything in their power to limit gun rights. That much is demonstrated by Democrat Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s bill HR 127 that would, among other things, create a mandatory registry of gun owners and the number of firearms they own.
Kevin Hasset, president of the Retired Police Association of the State of New York, noted, “This is very dangerous, especially for retirees. Things have gone so downhill with this level of hostility towards cops and we are out there with the label that we are no longer cops. Retired cops don’t have partners or backup. We are out there on our own.” The same can be said of millions of other American citizens. Hasset further warned, “This bill will go after all the lawful gun owners. If you are ever interested in robbing my house, you can look me up and know where my guns are stored.”
Biden has made his intentions clear: He aims to assault our Second Amendment rights. And given his penchant for signing executive orders, this threat is no malarky.
One of the defining characteristics of the progressive Left is its unshakeable belief that it can bend reality to its increasingly deranged worldview. This means a world where one’s sex can be changed by believing it so and the nation can be powered by wind and solar instead of fossil fuels.
Most of the time these ideas range from amusing to delusional, but eventually such delusions come at a steep price, like when millions suffer without electricity in the middle of a massive winter storm because the wind turbines froze over.
And now, such dangerous delusions are coming to the American military.
While our communist Chinese enemies are rapidly building up their air force and navy, constructing massive floating islands in the South China Sea to be used as mobile battle stations and resupply depots for their expansionist ambitions and relentlessly pursuing the goal of supplanting America as the world’s dominant super power, the U.S. military is focused on … making sure that no soldier gets their feelings hurt.
In a new “Inclusion and Diversity” report released by the U.S. Navy, members of the “Task Force One Navy” (TF1N) publicly pledge to “advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every Sailor in the Navy.”
Members also pledge “to be an example in establishing healthy, inclusive and team-oriented environments.”
This task force was created in June in order to “analyze and evaluate issues in our society and military that detract from Navy readiness, such as racism, sexism and other structural and interpersonal biases to attain significant, sustainable [inclusion and diversity]-related reform.”
By definition and design, our military is an exclusive club. Only those who meet the mental, physical, and psychological standards demanded by the military are admitted into its ranks because readiness depends on it. And for each branch’s Special Forces, the rigors and demands are even higher. The Navy SEALs are among the most revered of all military special operations groups, and for good reason. Only 6% of Navy recruits meet the minimum qualifications to even enter SEAL training, and of those who apply, 75% will drop out.
Inclusivity for this elite brotherhood comes only after overcoming the hellish obstacles and endurance trials of the training. The bond comes from knowing the man next to you will put his life on the line for you and is capable of heroic feats under the most daunting of circumstances.
The military is not summer camp. It is not there to help you get in touch with your feelings, to validate your worldview, or to help you make friends. It is there to protect the American people and their interests, and to do so through lethal force, or the threat thereof.
So when the Navy says that it will “combat all forms of discrimination,” we must ask, at what cost?
Lowering physical standards to meet diversity quotas has real-world consequences. It can mean literally life and death on the battlefield. “Interpersonal biases” give way to mutual respect through the shared knowledge that the person next to you is willing to die for you.
But what takes priority when traditional training standards clash with the new politically correct directives? If a trainee fails to meet the standards, but then claims discrimination, will the unqualified soldier get a pass and in doing so put the lives of other soldiers at risk?
Another recent development threatens to make unit readiness and cohesiveness even weaker.
Shortly after his appointment by Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a 60-day “stand-down” in order for the military to investigate “extremism and extremist ideology” within its ranks.
Have communists infiltrated America’s military? Nope. The catalyst for this was allegedly the Capitol riot, but to date, only one active-duty member of the U.S. military has been identified as a participant in those riots, despite the fact that tens of thousands protested that day and hundreds rioted.
This would be a welcomed development if it were to root out actual extremists like the radical Muslim Major Nidal Hassan, who massacred more than a dozen service members at Fort Hood in 2009. It was well known by his superiors that Hassan had been radicalized and was actively communicating with a radical Islamic cleric preaching terrorism and death to Americans. Yet Hassan’s radicalism was ignored, lest the Army be accused of Islamophobia (read: lacking diversity and inclusiveness).
Sadly, the far more likely scenario is that good, decent, patriotic Americans will be driven from the ranks of our Armed Forces because they fail to bow to the Biden administration’s far-left ideology, where every white man is a de facto white supremacist, traditional Christian doctrine is “hate,” and patriotism is a sign of extremism.
Oh, Biden will play the part of a moderate when campaigning among the rubes in “flyover country,” as he recently did in a speech to service members. “You’re incredible heroes and incredible patriots,” he told them. “I will never, ever dishonest [sic] you — dishonor you. I will never disrespect you. I will never politicize the work you do.”
Of course, those comments came shortly after Biden said, “There is no aspect of our agenda … where the women and men of the Defense Department do not have a role.” That includes “helping curb the pandemic … addressing the real threats of climate change … [and an] ongoing fight for racial justice.”
Sounds pretty political. And dangerous.
California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom is likely going to face a recall election now that state Republicans have secured the necessary 1.5 million signatures to trigger it. But we say “likely” because of an interesting snag: a sudden interest among the state’s Democrats in verifying voter signatures.
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, a possible candidate to run against Newsom, noted, “The state of California is controlled by a whole bunch of Democrats. One-party rule. They are going to go through every single signature we have and throw out ones. The verification process is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.” Therefore, he added, Republicans are making sure to collect perhaps 500,000 more signatures than they actually need.
Back in January, the Associated Press reported regarding the November presidential election, “California election officials announced … that 99.4% of more than 15 million mail-in ballots were verified and counted in the November election, a rejection rate notably lower than the March primary even though more than twice as many people voted.” In March, 1.5% of ballots were rejected.
Notably, with 87% of the California vote coming by mail in November, Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump roughly 11 million to six million. Those five million votes represented most of Biden’s nationwide margin of seven million.
California obviously has a stellar record of honesty and integrity in its elections, so why would Democrats worry now?
Bulk-mail balloting is the future according to Democrats. It’s how they plan on winning elections from here forward. But they’ll suddenly care very much about election integrity when they need to defend their own guy against a recall.
Hypocrisy is a tired old game for Democrats and Newsom in particular. In fact, it’s largely why Newsom is under threat of recall. He’s imposed a year’s worth of business- and church-crushing restrictions on the Golden State, including putting holidays on the chopping block, only to be caught last fall flouting his own restrictions.
None of this is to say Republicans have a real shot of ousting Newsom. This is not Ronald Reagan’s California, or even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. For the foreseeable future, there’s only one party that matters in the state, and that’s the Democrat Party. The far bigger problem for the rest of the nation will be whether other states follow California’s lead on bulk-mail voting — and some states are — because that could make the whole country a one-party authoritarian state. That is exactly what national Democrats intend with legislation like the unconstitutional HR 1.
Parler, the social media company that Big Tech sought to destroy back in January, finally reemerged online Monday with the promise of continuing its original mission to provide a platform free of leftist censorship. Calling itself “the world’s town square,” Parler’s website encouraged users, “Speak freely and express yourself openly, without fear of being ‘deplatformed’ for your views. Engage with real people, not bots.” The site further advertised that “Parler is people and privacy-focused, and gives you the tools you need to curate your Parler experience.”
Big Tech felt free to collude to cancel Parler because, unlike those on the Right, the Left doesn’t tolerate unapproved views and speech. As Matt Walsh has observed, “There is no cancel culture on the right.”
Parler, which was finally able to secure a contract with a new server host, went through several changes on its journey back to the Internet. Some changes were cosmetic, like its new logo, while some were structural, like its new platform. Importantly, Parler is also under new management, as former CEO John Matze was fired and replaced with interim CEO Mark Meckler while the company continues to search for a new and permanent CEO. Parler was able to retain the accounts of its 20 million users who had joined prior to Amazon Web Services suddenly terminating its hosting contract. Barring some early reported glitches, users should be able to once again log in and access their accounts.
There is one significant hiccup, however, which is that Apple and Google still won’t host the Parler app for phone users, a handicap that will likely be permanent.
At the time of his firing, Matze contended that the reason for Parler ousting him was due to his vision for even greater advocacy for freedom of speech. However, conservative pundit and Parler investor Dan Bongino denied Matze’s assertion and in fact claimed the opposite was the case — that it was Matze who wanted to “bend the knee” to Big Tech’s censorship demands. Bongino claims that’s a position to which he and the other two majority investors refused to concede.
Of interim CEO Meckler, Parler states, “[He] is an attorney, entrepreneur, and free speech advocate. He has expertise in launching, growing and developing effective business and technology models for two of the largest grassroots organizations in modern American history, Tea Party Patriots and Convention of States. He was appointed interim CEO to help guide Parler through its relaunch and search for a new, permanent CEO.”
Here’s hoping that the relaunch is successful and that Parler grows to become a true rival to Big Tech’s abusive dominance over the social media landscape.
There’s a remarkable passage in James Comey’s 2018 book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, where he thoughtfully and compellingly spells out what it means to be a man of decency, humility, and integrity.
Come on. We’re talking about James Comey, after all. This is the liar who continually told Donald Trump — when he was both a president-elect and a president — that he wasn’t being investigated by the FBI when in fact he, Comey, was doing the investigating. This is the liar who told Fox News’s Bret Baier in April 2018 that he didn’t know the so-called Steele dossier had been funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign when in fact he knew it to be so. What kind of dirtbag of an FBI director does this?
James Comey, that’s who.
When we think of Comey’s candor and forthrightness, we’re reminded of what novelist and critic Mary McCarthy said about playwright Lillian Hellman: “Every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”
Frankly, the most salient sentence in the entire Comey book is the very first one, in which he asks, “Who am I to tell others what ethical leadership is?” Well, if there’s one thing decent folks all across the political spectrum should be able to agree on, it’s that the disgraced former FBI director is the last guy on Planet Earth who should be doling out advice about ethical leadership.
Which brings us to the news this week that Comey has been caught in yet another deeply consequential lie. As John Solomon of Just the News reports, “The very day in January 2017 that then-FBI Director James Comey signed a FISA surveillance warrant application declaring content from Christopher Steele’s dossier had been ‘verified,’ he wrote President [Barack] Obama’s outgoing intelligence community chief with a very different assessment of the British spy’s intelligence on Russia collusion, a newly released memo shows. ‘We are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting,’ Comey wrote in a Jan. 12, 2017, email to then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that was declassified and made public through an open records lawsuit by the Southeastern Legal Foundation.”
In short, the Steele dossier was put together by a Trump-hating British spy, it was pure uncorroborated rubbish, and Comey knew it.
The FBI’s baseless Crossfire Hurricane investigation of Trump and his staff is the bureau’s most deplorable episode in decades and a permanent stain on its reputation. What was deemed a counterintelligence investigation was in fact a high-level conspiracy to spy on a sitting president. And Comey was neck deep in it, as were corrupt underlings such as Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and the only FBI employee to be held even marginally accountable for malfeasance: Kevin Clinesmith, an otherwise anonymous lawyer who pleaded guilty last year to making false statements. (“False statements,” in this case, is a euphemism for having intentionally altered the language in a CIA document to make it appear that Trump staffer Carter Page didn’t work for U.S. intelligence, when in fact he did.)
One thing we can be sure of, though: Clinesmith didn’t act alone. A fish rots from the head, as they say, and the idea that this low-level bureaucrat took it on himself to falsify a critical document in the FBI’s application for a FISA warrant with which to spy on the Trump campaign doesn’t pass the giggle test.
Meanwhile, Special Counsel John Durham continues his investigation of the investigators. Let’s hope he keeps digging, and let’s hope his supposedly stellar reputation as a prosecutor is well earned.
I heard someone once say that if you want a friend in Washington, DC, get a dog. The same could be said about political loyalty — get a dog! Dogs are loyal; politicians, not so much.
This was evidenced through the great Impeachment Redux. Once the Democrats began accusing any Republican who stood up for Donald Trump of being a Nazi or worse (is there anything worse?), Republicans started turning on each other. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, whom I had always respected, threw Trump under the political bus so fast he never knew what hit him. Ten other House GOP lemmings joined her in voting with Democrats to impeach.
We knew five Republican senators would vote to impeach. None of the first group was a surprise. Mitt Romney absolutely had to vote for impeachment because of his values, not because he thought it would make the Left like him (ain’t gonna happen). But the other two senators were a surprise.
Personally, I thought after the political theatre the House managers presented, some of the five would not vote to impeach. What was I thinking? You’d think after you get out of high school, you wouldn’t be so vulnerable to peer pressure — unless you’re a politician. We have so many Republicans who want to be liked. They would throw principles (if they had any) overboard to be accepted by the media.
Mitch McConnell, after getting a backbone the past several years while helping the president seat federal judges, mostly threw Trump under the bus after it was all over. He didn’t vote to convict, but was there a reason he had to side with the Democrats against his own party?
President Ronald Reagan famously quoted his Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shall not speak ill of another Republican.” That only works if you have principles and integrity, which are in very short supply in politics. Too many Republicans have surrendered their backbones to the Left when push comes to shove. When the media began accusing Trump of “insurrection,” many folded like cheap suits so as not to be identified with the leader of their party.
We can have conversations all day long about what Trump did or did not do on January 6. To call it an “insurrection” after watching REAL riots and insurrection for most of 2020 is laughable. January 6 was not an insurrection, no matter what the media says. Why are there so many doubters? Because the media has lied about so much this past year, actually for nearly five years, that many of us don’t believe anything it says.
But you can’t deny the fact that Democrats stick together. Not ONE Democrat voted against impeachment! Meanwhile, the Republicans continue to play the CYA game. McConnell could have just said nothing. Instead, he has given the Left great sound bites to be used against Republicans in the midterm elections. If Republicans have no loyalty to their supposed “principles,” how do they expect the voters to be loyal to them?
Keep up the circular firing squad, guys. It will be just as Chuck Schumer said when he actually did “threaten” two sitting Supreme Court justices; you won’t know what hit you!
Something to think about?
To be elected (or retained) on the basis of an open, competitive process, politicians must find favor with the electorate. This involves them with voters. Since doing so on a personal, one-on-one basis is not practical, they must connect with potential supporters through narratives (their own and those of the voters). Voters have a wide range of opinions and values, so a politician’s appeal to one set of narratives can run counter to those of others who do not share the same opinions and values. So, what is a candidate to do? How can they get a sense of what voters want? Which set of public narratives should they embrace?
Being a member of one of the major parties is a starting point, and for many voters, that’s all it takes. But it’s in the primaries where things get interesting. Primaries force candidates from the same party to look for support beyond what can be gained from party affiliation alone. The fly in the ointment is that two of the most significant but unexpressed motives for many politicians are the prestige of the office they seek and (gasp) the opportunities for personal gain those offices may provide. Clearly, politicians never say they want to get elected so they can be important or so they can line their pockets. Instead, they rely on intentionally empty but high-sounding rhetoric that usually boils down to saying they want to get elected (or stay in office) so they can “serve the American people.”
But what really happens? Politicians look to focus groups. Many of them listen carefully to the tropes and narratives generated by vocal segments of the public. Bear in mind that in the United States only about 10% of the adult users of Twitter generate roughly 92% of all tweets, and about 69% of that cohort identify as Democrats. Most of them are more to the left, and the narratives they generate and support do not represent the larger values of the majority of the adult population of either party.
When the individual narratives appear to form part of a larger whole, politicians may react by incorporating some version of those narratives into their own platform. The collective volume of these merged public narratives therefore acts as a narrowly focused form of distributed wisdom that can be attractive to both candidates and incumbents. In that way, collective narratives supporting policies dealing with far-left issues may drive candidates to set aside their genuine beliefs and values so they can adopt issues they hope will lead to success at the polls. Although their opponents may chastise them for “flip-flopping,” nothing comes of such complaints.
Many of these political narratives (especially those that are the greatest departure from traditional norms) combine narrowly articulated demands supported by exaggerated claims of victimization. These demands and claims are delivered with insistence for acceptance by the candidate. They are summed up in abstract terms used to justify policies that offer vague or even outrageous remedies to what are actually badly defined or even nonexistent problems. Not surprisingly, the solutions demanded can result in actions that don’t really pass the sniff test for people who are devoted to facts.
The demand for social change by vocal groups actually has less to do with the change and more to do with the power they crave. This includes power to influence change and power to extort money from commercial “supporters” who are afraid of being labeled as “racists,” beneficiaries of “white privilege,” or some other socially undesirable stigma. One result is that sometimes these narratives (like Black Lives Matter, defunding the police, and abolishing ICE for example) take on a lives of their own. Criticism of their demands is categorically forbidden. Through the sheer volume of repetition they drown out the rational center of both parties and become self-licking lollipops that capture the political moment.
Government & Politics
- Joe Biden takes a sledgehammer to Trump immigration agenda by pulling 65 pending EOs (Free Beacon)
- Zero-sum game: Trump unnecessarily slams Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell as a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” (Post Millennial)
- Soon-to-be President Kamala Harris is now taking Biden’s head of state calls (Disrn)
- A second underage boy accuses Lincoln Project cofounder of sexual harassment (Breitbart) | Meanwhile, the law firm “investigating” The Lincoln Project gave thousands in donations to the PAC (PJ Media)
Big Tech Oligarchs
- Irony: Twitter suspends free speech group’s account (Daily Signal)
- Christian actor Kevin Sorbo gets deleted by Facebook (Disrn)
- William Shakespeare ditched by more and more woke teachers over “misogyny” and “racism” (Fox News)
- New York school encourages parents to become “white traitors,” “white abolitionists” (Daily Wire)
- Dumb and dumber: San Francisco school board delays talk of reopening classrooms — but keeps working on changing “racist” school names (Daily Mail)
The Latest on COVID-19
- U.S. cases are plunging too quickly to be credited to vaccine rollout (Examiner)
- India’s dramatic fall in cases leaves research experts stumped (NY Post)
- National Guard mission in DC to finally conclude by mid-March, Pentagon claims (Examiner)
- Iraq rocket attack kills contractor, wounds U.S. service member; it was the most deadly attack to hit U.S.-led forces for almost a year in Iraq, where tensions have escalated (NBC News)
Business & Economy
- White House expands federal foreclosure moratorium, mortgage relief (UPI)
- Wharton School analysts concludes that Biden’s proposed spending binge would actually lead to a smaller economy in 2022 (FEE)
- We’re shocked — shocked! Venezuela turns to privatization after being bankrupted by socialism (FEE)
Around the Nation
- Board of Registration and Elections in Fulton County, Georgia — which has a population of one million — votes to fire elections director (Examiner)
- Unity! Andrew Cuomo squeezed by critics on the Right and Left (Examiner)
- Winter storm leaves at least 20 dead, more than three million houses still without power (Forbes)
Odds & Ends
- Democrat governors’ approach couldn’t be more different than the effective one Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has taken (American Spectator) | As such, Ron DeSantis gets 2024 “Tier One” designation from party insiders (PJ Media)
- It didn’t start on January 6: A brief history of terrorist violence at the Capitol (Heritage Foundation)
“Non Compos Mentis” Headline Award
- Pandemic lockdowns gave young people freedom to explore gender identities (USA Today)
As the old adage goes: Idle hands are the devil’s play thing.
Stranger Than Fiction
- Lulu the border collie just inherited $5 million and is living her best life (Not the Bee)
On a Lighter Note…
- Satirical billboards mock Michigan Gov. Whitmer as “Indiana Businessperson of the Year” (Disrn)
- Endangered bears being released into the wild start charging their rescuers because that’s what bears do (Not the Bee)
- Chick-fil-A worker wins car in company raffle, gives it to coworker who was biking to work (Not the Bee)
- Policy: It’s time to get the National Guard off of Capitol Hill (National Review)
- Policy: Biden should keep U.S. troops in Europe (Heritage Foundation)
- Humor: Ignorant senator shares New York Times article thinking it’s real (Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit Headline Report.
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Unimpeachable! — The Dems’ temper tantrum made Trump the first president in history to be twice acquitted by Congress. What lessons can be learned?
Minneapolis to Spend Millions on Police After Defund Movement Fails — The city council approved a measure to spend $6.4 million dollars on recruiting new police officers.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “It is true that [the provisions of the Bill of Rights] were designed to meet ancient evils. But they are the same kind of human evils that have emerged from century to century whenever excessive power is sought by the few at the expense of the many.” —Justice Hugo L. Black (1886-1971)
Upright I: “In Naperville, Illinois, the school board announced it would distribute $10 million back to taxpayers this year. Yes, a tax refund. In a news release, Superintendent Dan Bridges told residents that he ‘understands the great burden many of our families have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and hopes that this reimbursement lessens that burden.’ The typical family will receive a refund of $200 to $500. Good for Naperville. … Why aren’t more school boards in areas where school buildings were shut down providing families and businesses with property tax rebate checks? … Perhaps it is time for flash-fire local tax revolts led by homeowners demanding some of their money back. If school authorities claim no budget savings, school boards and mayors have a fiduciary obligation to require full audits to determine where all the money went.” —Stephen Moore
Upright II: “The elitists are the worst threat to our nation, no matter what color. The worst are those that look like me and tell black Americans we can’t do what other Americans do because of our skin color or whatever their excuse might be. The dream for America is to overcome all obstacles.” —Rep. Burgess Owens
For the record: “The people who hand out Emmy Awards should ask New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to return the one they gave him. Cuomo received an Emmy for what they called his ‘masterful’ COVID-19 press briefings. The media lauded those performances, extolling his honesty and transparency. It now turns out he was as honest as many other politicians and as transparent as a brick. … The state legislature should begin impeachment proceedings and remove Governor Cuomo from office.” —Cal Thomas
Observations: “Those who acknowledge how flawed human nature is compare America to reality. Those who do not, compare America to some utopian image: a country free of inequality, prejudices, intolerance, sexual misbehavior, greed, etc. This divide helps explain why those who hold a biblical worldview — usually religious Jews and Christians — are more likely to appreciate America than those who do not. It is fundamental to Judaism and Christianity that ‘the will of man’s heart is evil from his youth’ (Genesis 8:21).” —Dennis Prager
Non compos mentis: “Evangelical leaders should themselves be impeached by the Vatican if they themselves don’t follow Nikki Haley’s lead & clearly state they should not have followed Satin into the bowels of hell. But, perhaps they are too busy at sex parties.” —Sean Penn, who evidently is woefully unschooled on church history and orthodoxy
Race bait: “They’re going to need, I believe, at the Department of Justice, a white nationalism task force to make sure that they’re understanding at the earliest of ages how people are being radicalized, if there are in fact training camps.” —Rep. Eric Swalwell
Theater of the absurd: “I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time.” —Bill Gates
The BIG Lie: “It’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office…” —Joe Biden
Memo to Pelosi’s post-impeachment squad: “All that’s been in the news is Trump. The next four years, I want to make sure all the news is the American people. I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump. I don’t want to talk about him anymore.” —Joe Biden
Grand delusions: “I take issue with what everybody says about the division. … The nation is not divided.” —Joe Biden (Then why is he calling for unity?)
And last… “White kids are taught to hate their whiteness. Boys are taught to hate their masculinity. Girls to hate their femininity. Children of all races and both sexes are taught to hate their country. We push self-loathing onto our kids and then wonder why they are depressed and suicidal.” —Matt Walsh
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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‘Gearing Up For Gog and Magog’: Iran and North Korea Resume ICBM Nuke Cooperation
A report submitted to the United Nations Security Council revealed that North Korea and Iran have resumed cooperating on their missile programs which include developing nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Harris Takes Customary Role Of President by Calling Several Heads of State
Vice President Kamala Harris has recently called multiple heads of state, a task that is normally done by the president. Harris spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, the White House said.
Psaki: “Will Be a Couple Months” Before Biden Meets A World Leader In Person
Biden had confirmed last month that Trudeau would be the first world leader he’d meet so they could discuss the COVID-19 pandemic response. Add this to the list of pledges Biden has backed off on. Why suddenly the extended timeline of not meeting any foreign leaders? Is it because Biden is struggling to maintain his declining health? Kamala Harris has been making calls to world leaders on his behalf.
UN Caught Fabricating Data on ‘Palestinian’ Refugees
In a tweet posted last week, UNRWA stated, “Palestine refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” The next paragraph describes the aid UNRWA provides, noting that when they were founded in 1950, “it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees.” The post then notes that “today, some 5.7 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.” The current number of refugees claimed by UNRWA is clearly absurd.
Republic of Guinea- Ebola Virus Disease outbreak (DG ECHO, National Authorities, WHO, media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 15 February 2021)
The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Guinea declared an Ebola virus disease outbreak, with at least three deaths and four other positive cases detected in the first resurgence of the virus in the country since the 2013-2016 epidemic. The latter resulted in over 11,300 deaths across the west African region.
Trump remains the overwhelming GOP favorite for 2024, poll shows
Former President Donald Trump remains the overwhelming favorite among Republican voters to be their party’s nominee in 2024, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released on Monday. Fifty-three percent of GOP voters said that they would vote for Trump if the 2024 primary were held today, the poll showed, more than the rest of the field combined. Former Vice President Mike Pence was second with 12%, and Donald Trump Jr. and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley were tied for third with 6%.
Bill Introduced That Would Give Dads a Say against Aborting Their Baby
Two Republican politicians introduced a bill in Tennessee which would allow fathers of an unborn child to prevent the mother from aborting the child
Jerusalem: Rabbi calls on 70 Nations to Organize, Establish Half-Shekel as World Reserve Currency
As the world economy teeters with massive global unemployment and systems of government crumble, precious metals soar in price alongside ballooning cryptocurrencies. One rabbi suggests the solution is to be found in a Temple-based commandment that stabilized the economy and the kingdom while bringing people to serve God. Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the former spokesman for the Sanhedrin, is planning on releasing a new coin dedicated to the establishment of the Davidic Dynasty and the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The coin is intended to be more than a symbolic gesture.
U.S. Scientist Who Led Charge Against COVID Lab Leak Theory Admits He Was Trying to Protect Chinese Scientists
The U.S. scientist behind an effort to stymie debate surrounding the possibility that COVID-19 could have accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology admitted through a spokesman that he did so to protect Chinese scientists from online criticism. Dr. Peter Daszak, the president of the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, orchestrated a statement published in The Lancet medical journal in February, prior to any serious research on the origins of COVID-19, condemning “conspiracy theories” that suggest the virus doesn’t have a natural origin.
Five Ways President Biden Undermined Middle East Peace Last Week
Last week alone, the Biden administration has made at least five blunders that will set back prospects for Middle East peace. These unforced errors will only serve to isolate our traditional allies in the region (Israel and the Gulf States) and enable Iran and its proxies and the Palestinian Authority.
‘I’m going to come kill the president’: NC man charged with threatening Biden
According to newly unsealed documents in the case, David Kyle Reeves, 27, of Gastonia, made a series of angry and erratic phone calls to the White House switchboard between Jan. 28 and Feb. 1 in which he threatened to kill the president and other federal officials. He repeated the threats in phone conversations with the Secret Service in which he dared agents to try and stop him, documents show. “I’m going to come kill the president, I’m going to kill the Secret Service because I own this whole planet,”
French cyberagency reveals suspected Russian hacking campaign
France’s cybersecurity watchdog says it has discovered a hack of French organizations that bore similarities to other attacks by a group linked to Russian intelligence. In a report released on February 15, the French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI) said the hackers had taken advantage of a vulnerability in monitoring software sold by the Paris-based company Centreon.
2 US aircraft carrier strike groups join forces right on China’s doorstep
The USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group joined together to conduct security operations near Chinese-controlled islands in the South China Sea on Feb. 9, 2021. The two carrier strike groups entered the South China Sea to conduct “dual carrier operations in the Indo-Pacific in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.”
Intense explosive activity at Etna volcano, Aviation Color Code raised to Red, Italy
Explosive activity intensified at Etna’s Southeast Crater (SEC) on Monday, February 15, 2021, and continued into Tuesday. The activity further intensified at 16:10 UTC on February 16 with lava fountaining and strong ash emissions reaching a height of about 10 km (33 000 feet) a.s.l. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red.
Severe snowstorm hits northern Japan, JMA warns it could become the strongest in years
A severe snowstorm started affecting northern Japan on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, causing flooding and transport disruptions. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned it could become the most powerful blizzard in years and cause whiteout conditions through Wednesday, February 17.
Widespread disruption after heaviest snowfall in 12 years hits Greece
Heavy snowfall has caused widespread disruption in many parts of Greece, including the capital — Athens, on Monday, February 15, 2021, resulting in delayed transport, power outages, and suspended services. According to the National Meteorological Service, this was the country’s ‘fiercest’ snowfall in terms of intensity and volume in 12 years.
Weeks of heavy rains leave more than 30 fatalities in South Africa
Heavy rains affecting parts of South Africa since January 23 when Tropical Cyclone “Eloise” swept over the region has claimed more than 30 lives in the provinces of Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, and KwaZulu-Natal.
Bill Gates Says That Only Poor Nations Should Be Allowed To Eat Real Meat, And Wealthy Nations Forced To Consume Synthetic Lab Substitute
Bill Gates sneers at common people like you and I, his undisguised contempt coming through with every fractious word that falls out of his mouth. His only desire is to bend the entire world to his vision of what life should look like, he is a eugenicist through and through. Now Gates has decreed that the ‘wealthy nations’ should be forced only eat synthetic meat, a Monsanto burger if you will, with only the ‘poor nations’ being allowed to have actual meat.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Stops Short Of Definitively Saying That China Is Committing A Genocide Against The Uighurs
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped short of saying that China is committing a genocide against the Uighur people while speaking Tuesday with reporters in Ottawa.
Emmanuel Macron Positions France As An Ally Between Israel, Egypt And United Arab Emirates In Hopes Of Assuming Lead In Abraham Accords
Amazing how quickly things can change, isn’t it? When Donald Trump was president, Israel had their strongest ally possible with the United States, but a Joe Biden presidency has returned to Obama-era policies and is ignoring the Jewish state. That leaves the door wide open for…you guessed it…the man that we say is the biblical man of sin, Emmanuel Macron, to step in and take over where Trump left off. But where Trump only sought to increase Jewish sovereignty, Macron looks to, do what, confirm a covenant? Yep, that’s right about where we are.
Under Biden, military being purged of all conservatives
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a 60-day stand-down of the military to root out anyone remaining who supported the Jan. 6 protest at the United States Capitol.
FBI Targeting Law Enforcement Officers Dubbed White Supremacists For Purge As They Follow Tyrannical Orders
It appears the Communist Chinese Party puppet Biden regime is coming after anyone who is in opposition to its ideology, plans, and actions. From military purges of constitutionalists/conservatives to ordinary citizens who espouse support for the Constitution and a reformation to founding and religious principles, the CCP Biden regime is pushing full steam ahead to criminalize freedoms and liberties. As of Thursday, February 11, 2021, The Washington Times reported the target is now law enforcement.
STUDY RESULTS: CDC INFLATED COVID NUMBERS BY 1600%
A peer-reviewed study has concluded that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention violated federal law by inflating Coronavirus fatality numbers. The study states that the figures were inflated by at least 1,600%!
Rich countries should only eat synthetic beef, says Bill Gates
Bill Gates has urged rich nations to move to “100% synthetic beef” in order to address the greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change.
Planned Parenthood Newsletter: “We Need” to Kill More Babies in Abortions, “Build More Volume”
A recent revelation from inside the walls of an abortion facility demonstrates that abortion is not “health care” (as the Abortion Industry likes to describe its actions) but big business.
Headlines – 2/17/2021
As the COVID vaccine is being rolled out, it is absolutely necessary to take stock of the economic devastation left in the pandemic’s wake. What is the fate of the working middle class? Will inequality continue to increase? How much government intervention can we expect? And finally, does the phrase “new normal” mean anything?
On Newswatch AM February 17th: More winter weather expected after severe storm covers more than 70 percent of the country in snow, leaving millions without power; as coronavirus cases fall, concerns that mutations could lead to a surge in deaths …