Imagine, if you will, that you’re taking a trip to London. You’ve visited the Tower of London, the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, and the other usual tourist attractions that make the city so interesting. But it’s your last day before you fly home, and there’s one item left on your London bucket list.
You want to have tea with the Queen.
So you stroll over to Buckingham Palace, walk up to the gates, and speak to one of the gentlemen in the fuzzy black hats. “I’m here to have tea with Her Majesty,” you state. What happens next? The guard likely won’t laugh at you – members of the Queen’s Guard are well-known for not speaking to tourists – but you’ll find that no gates are opened to admit you to the palace. Persist, and you may find yourself unceremoniously removed from the premises (and likely the country).
Now, rewind the scenario. You stroll up to the gate, and tell the guard, “I’m here to have tea with her Majesty.” But in this scenario, you have a friend with you. And that friend is Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne. “It’s all right”, he says to the befuddled guard. “He’s with me”. (If you’re a woman reading this, substitute “she” as appropriate.)
What happens next? The gates are opened, and you and the prince are ushered into the Queen’s presence, you enjoy teatime, pet the corgis, and are welcomed back to visit anytime. You have the Queen’s favor now. You have obtained access.
Keep that story in the back of your mind when you read Romans 5:2a: “Through him (that is, Jesus) we also have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”
Because of our sin, all of us have lost access to God. He is holy, and we are not. The way back to the Garden has been shut. The mountain of the Lord is full of wrath and fire, and we dare not approach. Touch the ark of the Lord with your sinful hands, and you are struck dead. Enter the Holy of Holies inappropriately, and it will not go well for you. You are denied entry.
But now, those who have faith in Christ have been justified by that faith, according to Romans 5:1, and now we have peace with God. Peace, not war. God is no longer our enemy. His wrath toward us has been satisfied – extinguished forever by the sacrifice of his Son.
And when we stand at the gates of the throne room of heaven, we do not stand alone, in our own filthy rags of self-justification. We have a companion with us, the very Son of the King of Heaven. And because the Son – and his righteousness credited to our account – is our companion as we approach, the gates swing wide, and we are ushered in the very presence of the Father himself. We have obtained access.
But we have not merely obtained access to God’s presence. Look at the verse again: “we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” We have obtained grace. We have obtained God’s favor, which we did not and could never earn by our own actions. God is not only not angry with you anymore, he is unambiguously for you. He is working for your good. His desire is to bless you as an adopted child of the King, not to smite you as an enemy.
And don’t miss the crucial word “stand” in this verse. It speaks of position, of status. You aren’t just a supplicant to the throne, but an adopted member of the Royal Family now. You are welcome anytime. You stand in the favor of the King.
So here’s the question: If all this is true of you, how does this affect how you view God? How does it affect how you engage in prayer? How does it affect how you view your sin?