Proceeding on from Romans 4, where Paul establishes the reality of justification by faith alone, he now moves to the practical subject of how to “live” justified and demonstrate that truth in your life. Clue: Just like justification itself, God alone maintains our being declared righteous, and provides His Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us to live that new life in Christ. The truths Paul covers in chapter 5 are axioms of Christian living that must be understood and applied personally in order to proceed in the Christian life.
Time to Read… With a read-through of Romans 5, you should see two main sections: verses 1-11 provide a listing of features or characteristics of God’s work of Justification; then verses 12-21 focus on an explanation of how man inherited sin and how God provided a remedy for that affliction.
- The first main section of this chapter is Romans 5:1-11. Note that the terms “peace” & “reconciliation” begin and end these verses. Give some thought as to what these terms mean and how they impact the content of this passage.
- Here is an overall outline of Romans 5-11, covering our salvation Present, Past, Future:
Time to Think… Pull out your Bible Study journal and write down all the results or benefits listed in these verses that we have as a result of God declaring us righteous. Verses 1-5 are a specific listing, but as you read the following verses you see even more. Note that these benefits are stated as established facts, so these statements are actually established in advance of our daily experience.
- How many benefits do you find?
- Are there more that you would suggest could be listed?
5:1 – “having been justified” – The Greek wording Paul uses here shows that this action of justification is a one-time occurrence for the individual believer with results that will be in effect on into perpetuity, something like what we would expect today of a legally binding guarantee.
Romans 5:1 is a major point of reference for the book of Romans – Paul puts this “stake in the ground” from which he moves forward in his letter.
- What is this major doctrinal word “Justified”?
- In simple terms, this refers to a statement of innocence concluded by one party for another.
- From a biblical perspective, this is a statement of fact already accomplished at a past point in time for a person. No longer guilty of rebellion against God, the person is judicially declared by God “clothed” in the righteousness of Christ. We know from other scriptures that this action occurs at the point of our accepting Christ as our Savior.
- The result then is also established fact –The Greek word is dikaioo, used in reference to a straight edge for measuring. In this sense, God Himself is the final, primary reference for our measurement and unilaterally declares us righteous.
This Peace is not just a “lovely internal calm”. It is a guaranteed, lasting truce from the very real war that God is engaged in with sinful man.
Recall how man is described in Romans 1:18-32. Compare Romans 5:18, the wrath of God is revealed against all people. Then, by personally receiving God’s gift of salvation based on the finished work of Christ on the Cross, I am declared righteous by God, redeemed. rescued from my rebellion and at peace with the One True God (see Colossians 1:20-22).
- Note this distinction:
- Peace “with” = reconciliation to God, no longer enemies
- Peace “of” = comfort, inner peace in the midst of struggles
- Do people around you have a desire to be at peace with God? What do they do to try to accomplish that?
- Are you “peaceful”? life characterized by peace? How about the people around you? The world you live in?
- Describe what you think “by faith” means
5:2 – “introduction into grace” – Recall how the Old Testament priest went into the Temple to minister before God on behalf of the Jewish people. We now are privileged to individually stand in our holy God’s presence (Hebrews 4:16), going near the throne of grace with confidence – we are privileged to live under the waterfall of God’s grace being poured out in our lives!
- “access” – It’s an open door, like when you get a new job, you’re issued an ID badge with some type of encoding used to allow you through certain doors; it has something of a “wow” effect when you first use it, you just walk in! But then you discover that it only opens certain doors – not so with our access to God!
- Compare to this access to the Oval Office, the seat of America’s power – some get a visitor badge for a one-time meet & greet, others have a moment-by-moment access to simply walk in as needed for substantive communication. Which access do you have?
5:3 – “we exult in tribulations” – This begins a sequence of four “benefits” that develop in our life as this grace begins to be poured out in our life. The cycle loops from hope “because of the love of God” back to the initial introduction into grace. Note that Paul assumes that tribulations do occur in his listeners’ lives, he doesn’t suggest that the Christian life should be free of these experiences. Tribulation is not necessarily limited to serious persecution, but even includes the regular irritations and pressures of life.
5:4– tribulation > perseverance > proven character > hope
- What is a “tribulation”? Check James 1:12-17
- An overview of Paul’s use of “thlipsis” has a sense of problems, sufferings, evil as the result of living in a fallen world surrounded by unbelievers rushing toward the end times. We will experience “tribulation” as a result of living in a fallen world.
- OK, I’ve” got it – God allows struggles in my life for my good – but, I’m supposed to “exult” in them, click heels, enjoy them? Help me here… In what ways can knowing this progression works, is the hand of God in our life, and will help us when we face difficulties and trials? You might want to look Hebrews 12 where the writer gives an extended study of God’s strengthening work during difficulties.
5:5, “hope does not disappoint”
- How can hope “not disappoint”?
- How is this hope related to God’s grace, His love poured out in our hearts?
- How is that love poured out?
An earlier study in this series established that Romans is “the essential reader” for the Christian. I trust you take that to heart! Now as we begin to study chapters 5-8, be aware that you are cutting into the main vein of gold. Be careful to pick up every nugget of this treasure as you spend time in God’s word.