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The Apostle here places side-by-side, justification and another state of grace beyond. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here is a clear and full statement of a complete work, i.e., justification by faith through Christ and its effect, “peace with God.”
As regeneration, adoption, and justification are all one in point of time, they are all embraced in this act of faith; but these newborn joys are transitional. Behold, a second door appears, which leads to the true standing grace. This is the “open door” into which the righteous enter.”
Read verse 2. “By whom?” By the same Lord Jesus Christ. “Also,” in addition to justification “we have access by faith;” the same as into justification; “into;” not the experience already mentioned, but distinctively, “into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” In this “enduement of power from on high,” the soul “puts on the whole armor of God” and is “made perfect, stablished, strengthened, settled” (1 Peter 5:10).
The “old man,” which is always inclined to murmur at misfortune and resent injuries, being entirely destroyed, we even “glory in tribulation.” This is nothing less than entire sanctification, wherein non-resistance and returning good for evil is the natural impulse of the soul. It also corresponds with Paul’s description of the “more excellent way” of charity, or “love made perfect,” which “endureth all this,” and “never faileth.” It is in this grace that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which (in His fullness, and as the personal Comforter) is given unto us.” This agrees with the sanctification of the one hundred twenty disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
If this Scripture does not aver two successive degrees of grace, I cannot see how language could convey that idea. If we deny this truth, this second verse becomes entirely without meaning; a useless tautology.
What a contradiction, yea, what an insult to the God of the Bible for men who claim to believe and revere that holy Book; and yet say they cannot believe in a second grace. Such pretensions are no better, yea, less consistent than the hypocritical plea of the infidel who says he cannot believe the Bible at all. Such obstinate unbelief in the face of the abundant and unequivocal testimony of God’s Word and human witnesses simply shows that the soul is under the dominion of old “sarka,” which of course never chooses its own destruction.
If we draw a facsimile of Romans 5:1-2 in live and angles, we have the following Dear reader, I appeal to you before the Lord Jesus our final Judge, if this is not a true picture of the inspired word. I challenge any man to diagram these two verses by the rules of grammar so as to make but one ingress. Can any sane mind believe that after a plain statement of justification by faith and through Jesus the Apostle would proceed to say, “We also have access by faith through Christ into this grace,” etc., and yet mean the same thing?
To identify “this grace with that of the first verse you must either take the position that it, i.e., justification, is attained by two distinct grasps of faith and two inductions through Christ, or else charge Paul with a repetition too awkward and ridiculous for the first composition of a school boy.
The first horn of this dilemma will do the opposer no good for it also teaches two degrees of grace; only it confines them within justification. The second is not even supposable. The inspired writer connects “this grace” and that of the preceding verse with “also,” hence it is impossible to construe them as meaning the same.
“This grace,” dear reader, is immovably fixed beyond and in addition to justification. In vain all your attempts to deny it—you only thereby publish your sad want of it. “Forever, oh Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”
“Justify by faith . . . also access by faith into this grace.” A man might just as well assay to invent enginery to demolish the throne of the Almighty as to produce arguments to overthrow this most precious truth of God.
I should not fear to rest this whole subject upon this single text. It not only declares an attainment of grace supplementary to justification, but excludes the idea of it being a mere development: for the Apostle avers that we are inducted therein through Jesus Christ and by an act of faith just as we enter the door of justification. Hence, it is a direct gift from God and received instantaneously.
This is the gift that Paul desired to bring to the church, “to the end they might be established” (Romans 1:11). To be established is simply to reach a point where we are enabled to stand. Behold the harmony of truth! “This grace” is placed after justification and it was to the church that the Apostle wished to come and teach it.
I have never yet heard an explanation of this second verse except by such as possess the real experience it teaches. I have asked ministers who had only entered the preceding verse to explain it: but not one has undertaken it; some resorted to witticism, other to abuse, while a few were honest enough to confess that they could not. Notwithstanding, they could not otherwise interpret this and other texts; they still declared their unbelief in the higher or perfect grace. O, the malignant infatuation of the spirit of error!
Since thou wouldst have us free from sin,
And pure as those above,
This second door we’d enter in
THE BLISS OF PERFECT LOVE.