Introduction: Chapter 5 begins with a mention of benefits brought to believers by justification. Paul says, “since we have been justified by faith.”
In the firstfour chaptersof Romans, Paul discussed the need for justification (1:18-3:20), God’s provision for the justification of sinners by faith through the righteousness of Christ (3:21-31), and how justification by faith is in harmony with the OT (chapter 4).
Justification by grace through faith gives believers an enduring “right relationship” with God. In Romans 8:30 Paul says, “And those whom he (God) predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
Romans 5:1: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justification gives a believer permanent legal “right standing” before God.
Justification (meaning declared legally righteous) eliminates sin’s penalty, ends spiritual rebellion, and establishes “peace with God.”
In other places, Paul has much to say about the peace ofGod which transcends all understanding (e.g. Philippians 4:6-7). “Peace with God” is quite different from the “peace of God.”
The Nature of Peace: If we say to someone we have peace or are at peace, we likely refer to a calm feeling about life. We are facing no significant problems. In the NT two types of peace are differentiated.
Objective peace has to do with having a right relationship with God.
Subjective peace has to do with direct life experiences.
Objective Peace: Because of humanity’s fallen nature everyone is born in a state of rebellion against God, a rebellion that began with Adam and Eve.
Salvation brings peace with God ending our rebellion. Peace with God is analogous to peace formalized by a peace treaty ending a war.
Peace with God was made possible by Jesus, who as our substitute, paid the penalty due our sins.
Before salvation, everyone stands condemned by sin. Jesus vicariously took our place paying sin’s penalty as our lawful substitute. Believing in Him brings a peace, through justification, which ends our enmity with God.
“Peace with God” does not happen because of anything we did or did not do, nor with our feelings or thoughts. Peace with God is an objective fact accomplished by Jesus on the cross when He atoned for our rebellious acts.
Because Jesus paid the penalty due our sins, every believer receives peace withGod. Colossians 1:19-20, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
“Peace with God” is a result of Jesus’ victory which, through faith, becomes our victory. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith”(1 John 5:4).
Colossians 1:19-22,“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.”
Peace of God: In John 14:27 Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” In Philippians 4:7 Paul says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The “peace of God” is not the objective or legal “peace with God.” The “peace of God” is subjective, experiential peace given to believers “in Christ.”
The peace of God is supernatural, permanent, and positive. It is not based on circumstances.
Jesus says, “My peace I leave with you.” This peace is Jesus’ personal peace, the tranquility of soul and mind He experienced in all circumstances. It is the deep peace that stilled His heart in the midst of the trials He faced.
He grants that peace to us.
Paul says the “peace of God” surpasses our ability to comprehend.
Notice that the objective “peace with God” comes first. After we are at peace with God, He gives us His peace, the subjective, experiential peace of God.
God alone can bring such peace. In Philippians 4:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, and Hebrews 13:20, God is called “the God of peace.
Peace with God is a gift unearned by us. In Romans 5:1, Paul says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Justification is a work of God which we passively receive. Jesus’ salvation work is the basis for justification.
Likewise, we passively receive the “peace of God” given by God to those “in Christ.”
Isaiah 32:17, “The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”
Romans 5:2, “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.”
Not only are we justified through Christ (pardoned from sin’s penalty and at peace with God), but we also “obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”
God’s grace is usually defined as the “free and unmerited favor of God.” As such, it is a general description of the consequence of God’s attitude of love toward His creatures.
Love expressed through grace lies behind God’s entire plan of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).
It is important to remember God’s grace (which includes salvation) is always consistent with God’s Law. Jesus’ salvation work satisfied the Law.
Does “in which we stand” refer to a specific instance of God’s grace?
Yes! The grace in which we stand is “right standing” before God.
In God’s grace, believers stand before Him justified. Justification affects everything in a believer’s life.
As unredeemed sinners we were under Law. Because we could not and did not perfectly obey the Law, we were subject to God’s wrath.
Unredeemed, we were “in the wrong” before God. Regenerated and justified, we stand “in the right” before God sheltered in His grace.
Access: We“obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” The “access” Paul means is very special.The Greek word he uses which is translated “access” is used two other times in the NT.
Ephesians 2:18 “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”
Ephesians 3:12 “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”
Justification gives access to God and the confidence to approach Him. There is no barrier between believers and God. Access to the Father is through Christ. No human mediator is required.
The one true Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, once for all opened the door to heaven for believers, giving access to the Father forever. Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.
We approach God confident He will hear us and respond to our prayers.
“Access with confidence through faith” means that in faith we trust God’s wise and perfect will.
We pray with confidence believing God has knowledge and wisdom to know what we need and the power and authority to bring to pass whatever He wills.
Because we can never know all the circumstances or consequences, we trust God to overrule our requests such that His will is done even if it is against our will. God can and will guard us against unintended consequences.
Rejoice in Hope of the Glory of God: Justification provides “peace with God,” causes hope of the glory of God, and gives direct access to Him.
“Hope of the glory of God” reminds us God’s purposes will never be frustrated. Justification is permanent and inevitably leads to glorification.
Though we do not yet possess glorification, it is certain that we will. Glorification perfects us, making us like God in holiness and righteousness.
Biblical “hope” in not tenuous or subject to doubt. The good work God has begun in us will be completed.
Romans 5:3-5: Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
These verses sound a lot like James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Sufferings and tribulations are the common experience of humanity. The ability to endure, the develop of character, and hope that can and often do result from sufferings are desirable.
Yet we would not seek suffering so that we would develop those traits. When sufferings do come, we are to rejoice that we stand justified in God’s grace. We should seek to learn and benefit from trials and tribulation.
In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Tribulation and suffering have many sources. They may be self-inflicted or may result from God correcting our drift from the path of righteousness.
As seen in Job, suffering may be the consequence of Cosmic Warfare.
Some suffering from the world aimed at believers simply because they follow Christ. That is the primarily what Paul has in mind in these verses.
We see such suffering clearly in Romans 8:35-39 and other writings talking about the difficulties Paul experienced as he carried the gospel to the world (1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 1:4-10; 11:23-30; 12:7-10; Philippians 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:11—12; 4:14-16).
In this passage Paul is not talking about ordinary everyday earthly aches and pains, fears and frustrations, deprivations and disappointments of life.
The Greek word translated “sufferings” means “pressures.” These “pressures” of opposition and persecution from a hostile unbelieving world are directed at believers simply because they are believers seeking to spread the gospel.
Jesus told His followers to expect such hostility. In Matthew 5:10-11 He said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Being punished or shunned or reviled for following Christ is a cause for rejoicing! One thing it means is that our commitment to Christ is being seen and recognized even by enemies.
Persecution often begins with things promoted as being for the common good. It may begin with things like being forbidden to speak about Christ or to have a Bible in a classroom, being forbidden to pray during public functions, and in general forcing people to do things they believe God forbids while refusing to allow them to do things they believe God requires of them.
Persecution may develop into violent and serious acts by people who oppose Christianity, including murdering Christians because they are Christians.
Perseverance: Enduranceor perseveranceis an essential quality for believers.
When necessary, believers are to be willing to suffer for obedience to Christ.
Perseverance is vital both in withstanding persecution and in accomplishing everyday goals.
An enduring pursuit of a godly life produces good character and increases our desire for glorification so that we will be like Christ in having no sin nature.
Knowing we will be glorified encourages us to strive to be Christ-like today. Glorification is a hope God guarantees will be realized.
Our hope for future glory will not disappoint us as Paul says in 5:5, “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
All who are justified have been regenerated and have received the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts, transforming them into a likeness of Christ.
The Holy Spirit increasingly fills believers’ hearts with the reality of God’s love, the very love that sent the Son of God to become incarnate on earth, to live, and to die for the benefit of sinners.
God’s love in believers hearts changes attitudes, changes what is important in their life, changes relationships with people, and increasingly “tightens” their relationship with God.
In this passage Paul began with “sufferings” and ends with “hope.”
Romans 5:6-11: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
God pours His love into believers’ hearts through the Holy Spirit.
By sending His Son to die in our place, God gave amazing, convincing proof of His love for us though we were yet sinners (John 3:16; Galatians 2:20).
Christ died for sinners, sinners who were weak and powerless, rebellions enemies of God, helpless to save themselves from certain doom.
Sinners do not appear to God as lovable, valuable people, yet God sees value and potential. His love for His wayward human creatures is so great that it sent His Son to die on their behalf!
That is utterly shocking from a human perspective. Even for a righteous person it is unlikely anyone would choose to die, much less would they die for rebellious, disobedient people.
If there was a person extremely important and valued in our life, we might dare to die to save that person.
The motivating force causing the Son to become incarnate on earth to live and die to satisfy the judgment against sinners, could only be internal to God derived from His love for His creatures. Who can doubt the love of God?
Of course are we often perplexed by tragedies and calamities that befall us in this life, but such things are not causes for doubting God’s love for us.
God proved His love for us in the death of His Son and by giving His Spirit who pours out God’s love into our hearts.
Jesus ministry on the cross is finished, but He lives on as does the benefits of His earthly work.
The Holy Spirit’s ministry in our hearts sustains us in the here and now and will continue to do so through our mortal future and into eternity.
We rejoice in God because of the reconciliation we received through our Lord Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to rejoice in God?
We express appreciation as we rejoice in His love, grace, mercy, wisdom, power, and immutability (unchanging nature).
He knows what we need and has the power to accomplish what we need. Because He loves us, He will do what we need. He changes not.
Introduction to the Remainder of Chapter 5: Thus far in chapter 5, Paul has focused on the initial benefits of salvation “in Christ.” Next he considers future benefits.
Initial benefits of salvation include (1.) God’s grace, (2.) justification, (3.) peace with God, (4.) the indwelling Holy Spirit, (5.) being enabled to rejoice in sufferings because of the sure hope of future glorification.
These are wonderful benefits, but there is more to come.
There is a tension between what Christ accomplished in His first coming and what remains to be accomplished in His second coming.
As a consequence of His first coming, believers are saved from the penalty and guilt of sins in the here and now.
But believers sin nature has not yet been eliminated. Sanctification proceeds but eliminating the sin nature awaits glorification.
Nor have believers received the promised new body suitable for the coming new world.
At the end of history there will be a day of reckoning that Paul calls “a day of wrath.” Romans 2:5, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
On that day of judgment, God’s righteous wrath will be poured out on those who rejected Christ.
Those justified by grace through faith are no longer subject to condemnation (declaration of guilt) and will not be subject to God’s end times’ wrath.
The wrath due believers’ sins was poured out on Christ as He hung on the cross bearing the guilt of our sins.
Paul also says we shall be saved by Christ’s life. Jesus died for our sins but was resurrected and lives today. His life in the here and now affects our lives.
Christ intends for those He saved from condemnation to ultimately experience the power of resurrection.
Because of what He has done, we today share and participate in His life.
On the last day, He will complete what He has begun. Believers will experience a resurrection like Christ’s and will be glorified.
Our justification, though free to us, was costly to God. The cost was the Son’s earthly incarnate life and death.
In grace and mercy, while we were yet rebellious sinners, God reconciled us to Himself.
Now we are God’s reconciled children, joint heirs with Christ.
Can anyone doubt that God will complete the good work He has begun in His children?
In the here and now, believers are saved from condemnation.
In the here and now, believers are being saved from indwelling sin.
Ultimately, believers will be glorified, becoming holy and righteous like God.
God will complete our salvation – we are saved and we shall be saved!