“Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace
with God.” Romans 5:1, NLT
Paul begins Romans 5 with the presupposition that we have peace with God. This is not a simplistic assertion by Paul. He has taken four chapters to explain both the need for being right with God (1:18–3:20) and the way to get right with God (3:21–4:25). Having carefully built his argument, Paul has arrived at the settled conclusion that peace with God is a reality.
Getting right with God, according to Paul, is based on faith—the kind of faith that Abraham, the father of faith, demonstrated (4:3). It is not based on the law or perfect behavior or perfect bodies. There are no qualifications, exceptions, or exemptions here—no matter how much we might feel that somehow we are the exceptions to the rule. We think, Surely God wouldn’t accept me. We reprimand ourselves for our failures and our imperfectly functioning bodies. We think that if only we did not fail God in our heads, our hearts, and our whole physical being, we could find peace with God.
But that is not what Paul writes. Since we have been made right with God no exceptions—we already have peace with God. Moreover, we have this peace because of our faith and what Jesus did for us. It had nothing to do with our heads or our hearts or our bodies in the first place. If this is true and it is—what are we to do with our agonizing, unrelenting pain? Does the peace we have with God make the circumstances of our lives simply vanish? Certainly not. We can simultaneously have pain and peace.
Christ experienced pain and suffering in order to reconcile us to God. Not because we were perfect, but because we were broken. Christ died for us imperfect though we are. God saw our intense suffering and entered into it with us. Because of this, we have the assurance that even in the midst of trials we have peace with God.