“Through him we have also obtained access into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)
As I purposefully arm myself with the truth of the gospel against Satan’s attacks, I find Romans 5:1-11 to be particularly helpful. In this passage there is a powerful list of reminders about the gospel and its implications for me. In this verse, there are at least two.
First, I stand in grace. My justification by faith does not usher me into a state of tenuous obligation. It is not my job to sustain God’s kind intentions toward me. Certainly, I am obligated to obey the Lord. But that obligation is not smuggled into my life inside the otherwise good gift of the gospel. It is a good part of the gospel itself. Through the finished work of Christ and my union with him, I can now “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). That, along with my perfect acceptance before God, is what grace gives to me.
Second, I can gladly and confidently look forward to a full experience of the glory of God. Sometimes I’m too vague in the way I envision this experience. The glory of God is not just a light so bright you can’t quite look at it. The glory of God is the combined expression of everything that is good about him (in other words, everything that is true about him). My enjoyment of the kindness, intelligence, attractiveness and abilities of others in this life serves as a tiny spark of what it will be like to enjoy the glory of God. I will spend eternity benefiting from his inexhaustible kindness (Eph. 2:7), being impressed by his unstoppable power, and unpacking the intricate wisdom of his plan to redeem his people.
Yet my experience of God’s glory will not only come through observation. It will be even more personal than that. I have sinned, and in my present state, I fall short of the glory of God. I fail to glorify him by failing to be glorious like him. I don’t live up to his glorious character. But in eternity, that will no longer be the case. When Christ is revealed, I will be revealed with him in glory (Col. 3:4). From that point on and forever, I will be unhindered in my expression of the righteousness of Christ that I have received through the gospel. I will no longer fall short of the glory of God.