by Joe Alain

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The Gift of Access (2 of 4)
Series: The Gifts of Christmas
Joe Alain
Romans 5:1-2

The second message in a series of four Advent sermons (''The Gifts of Christmas'') based on the blessings of salvation that the believer receives as described in Romans 5:1-5.

1 ''Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.'' Romans 5:1-2, ESV

We are in a Christmas series of sermons looking at ''The Gifts of Christmas.'' The first gift we have because Christ came is ''peace with God'' (5:1). Jesus is our peace! Jesus has removed the sin barrier, the obstacle that made us ''God's enemies'' (5:10). We have been ''justified by faith,'' we have ''peace with God'' which allows us to be at peace with ourselves and to live in peace with others.

But there are more gifts that God gives to us because Christ has come into the world. Let's see what other gifts of Christmas we have as believers. I just happen to have one of those gifts from God right here [open gift]. The second gift that we have because Christ came into our world to save is the gift of access, represented by this key and spoken of in our text, Romans 5:1-2. In the Bible, the Lord is described as the one who holds ''the keys of death and Hades'' (Rev. 1:18) and it is Jesus who has given His church (believers) ''the keys of the kingdom of heaven'' (Matt. 16:19). The Message paraphrase brings out the good news of this verse in this way. ''You will have complete and free access to God's kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven.''

1. This access to God ''this grace in which we stand'' (as Paul describes it) is universal but particular to those ''justified by faith.'' The universal nature of God's plan is brought out in the Christmas stories that we find in the Bible. ...

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