In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lucy Pevensie opens the door of a wardrobe and discovers that it is a gateway to the dreamlike land of Narnia. As she pushes past heavy fur winter coats, she steps out of the wardrobe and into a winter wonderland. In Romans 5, the apostle Paul shows us how faith can be a doorway. Faith does not lead to a fantasy land but to our real standing before God that Paul calls grace.
Faith produces a chain of experiences that show how God’s grace transforms those who have trusted in Christ. First, faith makes peace with God possible (v. 1). By His sacrifice, Jesus removed the enmity that was created by our inability to obey God’s law (Eph. 2:15). Second, our new standing is one of grace because in it God bestows His favor on us as a gift. Grace enables us to “boast in the hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2). Although we have fallen short of God’s glory, God’s grace assures us that we will be fully restored. Christ’s righteousness gives us the confidence to face God in His glory and guarantees that we will one day reflect that glory.
Through grace, God transforms suffering into a laboratory where we learn perseverance. He uses this perseverance to transform our character. Our transformed character, in turn, gives us reason to hope because it offers concrete evidence of Christ at work in us. God further validates this hope by pouring out His love through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We not only know God but we also experience His love! This is the chain of grace.
>> Grace changes everything. God’s grace in the present gives us a reason to hope for the future. If the shed blood of Christ has already given you a righteous standing before God, you can be confident that you will escape God’s wrath.