The Book of Romans has been rightly called the greatest treatise on the gospel in our New Testament. This epistle lays out the fullness of the gospel clearly and systematically. What becomes very evident in this book is that the gospel not only applies to unbelievers, but it also applies to believers as well. As a matter of fact, there is more material in the book of Romans that applies the gospel to believers than to unbelievers.
A misconception that many of the Lord’s people have is the idea that the gospel is only applicable when they share it with others. They view it as the doorway into the household of faith, but believe it has little to no relevance in their Christian life now. It is as if they see it as starting line to which they never return as they move on to better things. This is simply not the case, and it is not how the New Testament portrays the truth of the gospel. What we will discover is that the gospel is just as much necessary for believers’ day to day lives as it was the first day they received it.
After clearly communicating man’s corruption and condemnation (Romans 1:18-3:20), Paul begins to reveal that God’s righteousness is imputed to man through faith in Jesus Christ. When a person places his dependence on Christ, he is justified in the sight of God (Romans 3:21-24). He is not only declared righteous, but also made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21) because he is brought into union with the Son of God (Romans 6:3-4).
After clearly laying out the doctrine of justification (Romans 3:24-4:25), Paul then begins to apply our new justified status to our daily living. The first gospel application that is made to believers is that we have peace with God and therefore have unhindered access to God himself (Romans 5:1-2). Because we have been joined to Christ legally and have been therefore declared righteous, and joined to Christ vitally and have been therefore made righteous, we have direct access to God. It is important to note that your access to God is not based on your performance, or how well you are living the Christian life, but is based solely on your justified status.
This same truth is communicated more thoroughly in the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 4:16 we have a beautiful invitation to come boldly to the throne of grace. Literally, draw near with confidence to the throne of grace. Again, it is important to note that our confidence in drawing near to God is not based on how well we are performing. This invitation is for believers on their worst day. As a matter of fact, the text reveals that this invitation is given in the context of weakness (Hebrews 4:15) and failure (Hebrews 4:16). Notice that we are first coming to the throne of grace to obtain mercy. We need God’s mercy when we blow it! When a believer sins, he doesn’t need to doubt whether or not God will receive him. Because we a sympathetic high priest who is ever living to make intercession for us, we can come without hesitation and without reservation!
Have you ever lacked confidence in drawing near to God? Have you ever feared that he would not receive you, at least for a period of time? Perhaps you feel that if you give it enough time that God’s anger towards your sin will subside and then you will be able to earn his good favor again. Maybe you have concluded that time will heal your strained relationship with God. If I just described your feelings, you need to revisit the truth of the gospel. You need to realize that because of Christ, you have peace with God and therefore have unhindered access to him. You can right now draw near with confidence to not only obtain mercy, but also find his grace to help in time of need. This doesn’t give believers liberty to live any way they please, which we will discover as we get into Romans 6, but it does liberate our hearts to know that because we are joined to Christ, we have unhindered access to God. What a glorious provision we have in Christ!