Holy Father, we humble our hearts before you. We confess that we are totally dependent on your grace. We want to rightly divide your Word; we want to know the balanced truth of what your Word teaches; we want to live in line with your Word. We pray in Jesus' name! Amen!
We have the great privilege to turn to Romans chapter 5. This is a very important chapter, in a very important epistle. I'll be reading from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, unless otherwise noted. Frequently I will make comments in the middle of quotations using brackets [ ] or [[ ]] to make the brackets more obvious.
Romans 5:1. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." "Having been justified by faith." This is another verse where the verb justify is being used in the very full sense we have discussed already. (It is also used in this very full sense in Rom. 5:9, and the noun "justification" is used in this very full sense in Rom. 5:16, 18.) We have been declared righteous; spiritual death and sin have been dethroned; and we have been born again and made righteous by the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of God. We are justified by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His all-important atoning death and resurrection.
In verses 6-10 the apostle Paul speaks of what we were before we were justified by faith. In verse 6 he speaks of the time when "we were still helpless" and we were "ungodly." In verse 8 he speaks of the time when "we were yet sinners," and in verse 10 of the time when "we were yet enemies [of God]." "Having now been justified by faith (Rom. 5:1)," we are no longer "helpless" or "ungodly" or "enemies of God," and in the ideal case we would never ever sin against Him. We have been reconciled to God; we love Him; we want to do His will by His grace and for His glory. God's saving, sanctifying grace is more than sufficient, but we must appropriate that grace by faith on a continuous basis, which includes walking by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis. Our faith must be based on what God's Word actually says.
I'll read Rom. 5:1 again, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." If we were forgiven and declared righteous, but were still "ungodly" and "sinners" and "enemies" of God, we could not have peace with Him. We cannot have peace with God until we submit to Him and His plan of salvation from our hearts (by faith) and begin to live for Him by His sufficient, saving, sanctifying grace in Christ.
Let's turn to Romans chapter 8 and look at verses 6, 7. "For the mind [or, way of thinking] of the flesh is death, but the mind [or, way of thinking] of the Spirit [the Holy Spirit] is life and PEACE, (7) because the mind set on the flesh [or, the way of thinking of the flesh] is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." We desperately needed a Savior! Before we became born-again Christians, we were, by definition, in the flesh, and we thought the sinful ways of the flesh, of the old man. We were not living for God in His truth and righteousness. We were living in sin; and much of our thinking was hostile toward God. We could not have PEACE with God while we were hostile toward Him, while we were thinking wrong in our hearts (which included our having wrong attitudes, wrong motives, and wrong priorities) and were living in sin. But now we are enabled to think right and live right through new-covenant salvation.
Back to Rom. 5:1, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Now the sin problem has been solved. We have been declared righteous; we have been set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin; we have been born again; and we have been made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God. We have been justified by grace through faith. God must receive all the glory for our salvation.
Romans 5:2. "through whom [referring to the Lord Jesus Christ] also we have obtained our introduction [or, we have obtained our access] by faith into this grace in which we stand [The Lord Jesus Christ has brought us into this realm of grace, the grace that provides everything we need to be saved and to live for God in this world, with the emphasis on our being enabled to live in the center of His will. Everything we need for this age has been provided through salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul continues and looks to the next age, when we will be glorified.]; and we exult [or, we boast] in the hope of the glory of God." The word "hope" does not infer doubt, but it does refer to the future (the near future, I believe). "We exult [or, we boast] in the hope of the glory of God." Quite often the New Testament speaks of this glory. In Col. 1:5, for example, the apostle Paul speaks of "the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel." And in Col. 1:27 he speaks of "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Let's go on to Romans 5:3, 4, "And not only this [not only do we exult (or boast) in the hope of the glory of God], we also exult [or, boast] in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; (4) and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope." Even the trials and tribulations work together for good, including our good (see Rom. 8:28). There is only one thing required of us. We must stay faithful to God and the new covenant by His grace through faith. We must keep walking by faith (faith in God and His Word) and by the Holy Spirit. We will then glorify God at all times, including during times of trials and tribulations, and we will come out of the difficult places better and stronger in faith and hope. For one thing, we will confirm that God's Word is true and His grace is sufficient.
Verse 5, "and hope does not disappoint [[The idea here is that our hope of inheriting the glory of God at the end of this age will not be disappointed. Quite the contrary! As Paul continues, he confirms the idea that our hope will not be disappointed by speaking of the very special love that God has manifested toward every true Christians, by giving them His very special love gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell within them. First God sacrificed His Son to save us; then He gives us the Holy Spirit. What greater gifts could He possibly give us? The God who loves us like that (and has manifested that love to us as individuals) will not disappoint us regarding eternal glory. All we have to do is stay faithful by His grace.]], because the love of God [the love of God for us as His adopted children] has been poured out within our hearts [I prefer the translation "into our hearts" of the NIV.] because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." God has poured out of His heart into our hearts His love gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. What a love gift! What a manifestation of love! The Greek verb that was translated "has been poured out" here was also used in Acts 2:33 of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, starting on the Day of Pentecost. Those who have received the Holy Spirit must know that they have received the Holy Spirit. For one thing, the indwelling Spirit "testifies with our spirits that we are children [born-again children] of God" (see Rom. 8:16). In Rom. 8:9 the apostle makes it clear that the Holy Spirit dwells in every true Christian.
"and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." And now that the Holy Spirit is dwelling within us, He testifies of the very special love the Father has for us, and He enables us to experience something of that love, Person to person. He also enables us to love the Father, to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to love the people of the world. Love is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit that Paul mentioned in Gal. 5:22, 23. The Holy Spirit produces that fruit in our hearts and lives as we walk by the Spirit on a continuous basis, which we are enabled and required to do. The God who has saved us and given us His Spirit will not disappoint us regarding our inheriting His eternal glory, but we must stay faithful by His grace, which includes all the work of the Spirit.
Let's go on to Romans 5:6, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." Before we became born-again Christians "we were still helpless" and "ungodly," and we were in desperate need of the Savior. The Father sent His Son to die for us. As we have discussed, He (the Lamb of God) died for us, bearing our sins with the guilt and the penalties, so we could be partakers of His full salvation.
Romans 5:7, 8. "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Note the emphasis on God's love for us, as in verse 5. And note that the apostle speaks of the time "while we were yet sinners." Now we are justified (using this word in the very full sense we have discussed), and in the ideal case we would never sin again. That sounds good, doesn't it? Paul repeatedly makes this point throughout his writings, as do the other writers of the New Testament. I'll quote six typical verses. I'll use the NKJV for the first three verses. Romans 6:1, 2, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" Romans 6:11, "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." And Galatians 5:16 (I'll read this verse from the Amplified Bible), "But I say, walk and live habitually in the (Holy) Spirit - responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh [that is, the sinful cravings and desires of the flesh, of the old man] - of human nature without God." And lastly, I'll read 1 John 3:6, 7 from the NASB, "No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. (7) Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness [or, the one who is doing righteousness] is righteous, just as He [God] is righteous."
I'll read Rom. 5:8 again; then we'll go on to verse 9, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified in His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." It is very important for us to see that the words "having now been justified in His blood" are used in a very full sense here, as they were in Romans 5:1. We are declared righteous, born again, and made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God. The atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, backed up by the Holy Spirit, has the power to fully solve the sin problem and make us righteous with the very righteousness of God. We are no longer "helpless" and "ungodly" (see verse 6). We are no longer "sinners" (see verse 8). And we are no longer "enemies" of God (see verse 10). Now we have "peace" with God (see verse 1), and "we exult [or, we boast] in the hope of the glory of God" (see verse 2), which goes along with the fact that "we shall be saved from the wrath of God" and will be glorified at the end of this age (see verses 9, 11). If we are justified by His blood, we are ready to stand before God now and at the end of this age.
"We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him," through the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving work. His work includes restoring Christians who fall into sin when they sincerely repent (see 1 John 2:1, 2, for example).
Romans 5:10. "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son [[In verses 6 and 8 the apostle mentioned that Christ died for us. In verse 9 he mentioned that we are justified by His blood (His blood goes with His dying for us), and here in verse 10 he mentioned that we are reconciled through the death of Christ. Every true Christian understands that we are saved through the all-important atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we have discussed, we were ungodly; we were sinners; and we were enemies of God before we became born-again Christians. We were thinking wrong in our hearts, and we were living in sin - we were rebels. But now we have been reconciled to God through the death of His Son. Our being reconciled to God includes His forgiving us, but it also very much includes our repenting and beginning to live for Him in His righteousness through the saving, sanctifying grace of God in Christ - by grace through faith. If we were still enemies of God, we would not be reconciled to God.]], much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Now that the sin problem has been solved through the atoning death of Christ, and we have been justified (using the word justified in a very full sense), it will be easy for the resurrected, glorified Christ to save us from the wrath of God to come. (His wrath is coming against those who are committed to live in sin. On the wrath of God to come, see verse 9.) For one thing, He will glorify and rapture His people from the earth before God begins to pour out His wrath in the last days, and it is clear that we will begin to experience His glory on a very high level from that time on, instead of experiencing His wrath.
Romans 5:11. "And not only this [that is, not only will we be saved from the wrath of God to come against sin], but we also [or, we even] exult [or, we even boast] in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation." We exult (or we boast) in God because we know that we will be glorified and begin to reign with Him in a never-ending reign. That is a lot more than just being saved from the wrath of God to come. Back in verse 2, Paul spoke of our exulting (or, boasting) in the hope of the glory of God. He means the same thing here. We exult (or, we boast) regarding the fact that we will inherit eternal glory at the end of this age, just as He promised.
Now we come to Romans 5:12-21, which are very important verses. First I'll briefly summarize what the apostle Paul says here. We, all mankind, were under Adam; he was the head of our race. And significantly, we were under the penalty for his sin, including spiritual death and bondage to sin. The old covenant could not solve this problem. It found us in spiritual death and in bondage to sin, and it left us in spiritual death and in bondage to sin. But now new-covenant salvation has come through the Lord Jesus Christ, and we (all true Christians) are under a new Head, the One called the last Adam in 1 Cor. 15:45. We are under Him, and we are united with Him, Him who is infinitely greater than Adam. The Lord Jesus Christ is deity with God the Father, a worthy Savior indeed. What a salvation plan! What a Savior!
In Christ, spiritual death and sin have been dethroned, and we are forgiven, born again, and made righteous and holy. That's Paul's emphasis here. In Christ the spiritual death, bondage to sin problem is solved. As we walk by faith and by the Holy Spirit (which we are enabled and required to do) the very righteousness of God is manifested in our hearts and lives. But God isn't near done yet. We will be glorified at the end of this age, and we will begin to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ in a never-ending reign. We will have an existence far above what Adam had before the fall. He was created with a physical body to live on the earth. We will have glorified bodies designed to live in God's heavenly kingdom. What a salvation plan! What a Savior!
Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin [[That "one man" was Adam. God had warned Adam that in the day he rebelled and ate of the forbidden fruit, he would die (see Gen. 2:17). Adam and Eve rebelled. They died spiritually that day, and the physical death process was initiated. (See Genesis chapter 3 for the details.) What a sad day, but before the foundation of the world, God had already planned to send His Son to save us from spiritual death and bondage to sin and to take us to heaven.]], and so death spread to all men [[Death spread to all men. All the descendants of Adam and Eve were born outside the garden of Eden into spiritual death, not having a life-flowing relationship with God. And so death spread to all men because of Adam's transgression, spiritual death and physical death. The fact that all mankind (except for born-again Christians) is under spiritual death and in bondage to sin is a dominant theme of the verses we are discussing. In verse 15, for example, the apostle says, "For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many died...." In verse 17 he says, "For if by the transgression of the one [Adam], death reigned through the one...." And in verse 21 he says, "as sin reigned in death."]], because all sinned." I can't live with this translation. I believe the apostle Paul (and the One who sent him) intended a translation like the following, "and so death spread to all men WITH THE RESULT THAT ALL SINNED, or ON THE BASIS OF WHICH ALL SINNED." It is a dominant theme in the New Testament that all who are in spiritual death are in bondage to sin. Read Rom. 8:1-8, for example, and the first words of Rom. 5:21 say, "So that, as sin reigned in death." Where spiritual death reigns, sin reigns. Ever since the fall of Adam, spiritual death and sin have been reigning over all people to one degree, or another. I'll read verse 12 again; then we'll go on to verse 13, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, with the result that [or, on the basis of which] all sinned."
Romans 5:13. "for until the Law sin was in the world [The Law here is the Mosaic Law, which God gave through Moses about 1400 BC.], but sin is not imputed when there is no law." These words about sin's not being imputed when there is no law must be greatly qualified. The Old Testament makes it very clear that God took the sins of the people who lived in the days before the Mosaic Law very seriously, and He judged them because of those sins. For example, God destroyed all mankind except for Noah and his family at the time of the flood because of their sins. And God destroyed the people of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sins. Both of those judgments took place in the years before the Mosaic Law was given. The important point that the apostle Paul is making here in verse 13 is that it was the sin of Adam that resulted in the death (both spiritual death and physical death) of the descendants of Adam. Adam's sin had very serious consequences for all his descendants.
Romans 5:14. "Nevertheless death reigned [both spiritual death and physical death reigned] from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam...." As I mentioned, Paul is making the important point that it was Adam's transgression that caused the death of his descendants. The apostle makes it clear here in verse 14 that they had sinned in the days before the Mosaic Law was given (and the Bible makes it clear that God held them accountable for those sins and judged them), but Paul is showing that DEATH CAME BECAUSE OF ADAM'S SIN. They sinned in the days before the Mosaic Law was given all right, but they did not sin in the likeness of the transgression of Adam.
Adam's transgression was much more serious than the sins of the people who sinned from Adam until Moses. Adam was the head of all mankind. He rebelled against God and transgressed a direct command where God had said, don't eat of the forbidden fruit, or you will die. And, significantly, when Adam rebelled against God, he was totally free. He was living in the garden, and he had a life-flowing relationship with God, unlike his descendants who were spiritually dead when they sinned. Now they weren't totally spiritually dead; they still had some freedom of the will, for one thing. That's why God could take their sins seriously. It is very clear that on judgment day God will judge people based on what they have done. They will answer for their sins, not for the sin of Adam.
Now I'll read all of Romans 5:14, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." At the end of verse 14, the apostle mentions that Adam is a type of Him who was to come. Paul didn't mind dwelling on the transgression of Adam with its very serious consequences for all mankind, because he had the good news of full salvation through the last Adam to share. As I mentioned, those who submit to God's new-covenant plan of salvation are saved from spiritual death and bondage to sin, and ultimately they are taken to a place much higher than what Adam had before the fall. We will be glorified and live in God's new Jerusalem that is permeated with His life, glory, righteousness, and holiness.
Romans 5:15. "But the free gift is not like the transgression [[That is, the free gift of full salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ is not like the transgression of Adam in that the free gift is so much greater. For one thing, as the apostle is going to tell us in verse 16, the Lamb of God, the last Adam, died bearing the transgression of Adam with its guilt and penalties AND the sins of all mankind with the guilt and penalties. Also, as I have mentioned, the Lord Jesus Christ eventually takes all believers (including the believers from Old Testament days) to a place much higher than what Adam had before the fall.]]. For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many." The gift of full salvation abounds to all who submit to God and His Son and His gospel of new-covenant salvation. Christ died for all mankind, and all are invited to repent and submit (in faith) to God's new-covenant plan of salvation. Note the strong emphasis on God's grace here. Paul mentions the "free gift" then he speaks of "the grace of God and the gift by the grace," and in the next verse he speaks of "those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness." We are saved 100 percent by the grace of God in Christ, but (like Paul says in verse 17) we must receive God's grace. We receive and cooperate with His saving grace by faith.
Romans 5:16. "The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification." Adam's one transgression led to the CONDEMNATION of all mankind. That condemnation included the penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin. But that condemnation is overthrown for those who receive the free gift of God's JUSTIFICATION that Paul mentioned here. The context shows that justification is being used here in the very full sense we have discussed already; it includes the declaration of righteousness; the overthrow of spiritual death and bondage to sin, the impartation of spiritual life (starting with the new birth), and the impartation of the righteousness of God. Notice, for example, that verse 17 mentions "the gift of righteousness" (which includes the imputed and imparted righteousness of God) and the fact that we now "reign in life," instead of our being reigned over in the realm of spiritual death. And in verse 18 Paul speaks of "the JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE." If we are justified, we have the life of God dwelling within us by the Holy Spirit, and the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit enables us to walk in the righteousness of God. Spiritual death and sin are under our feet. That sounds good, doesn't it?
Romans 5:17. "For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." As I mentioned, God's grace (His abundant, sufficient grace) dethrones sin (the sin that reigns wherever spiritual death reigns; see Rom. 5:21, for example), and His grace makes us righteous with the imputed and imparted righteousness of God. Now, instead of spiritual death and sin reigning over us, we reign in God's kingdom of life and righteousness, with spiritual death and sin under our feet. And in the very near future our victory over physical death will be manifested, and we will be glorified and begin to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God for such a salvation plan!
We will continue this study of Romans chapter 5 in article #11. God bless you!
© Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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