1 Therefore being justified
by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom
also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice
in hope of the glory of God.
The main phrase is, "We have peace with
God." Inasmuch as man has declared war against God by committing sin, being
alienated from God because of sin, becoming estranged from God due to sin,
man has a desperate need to be brought into a harmonious and favorable
relationship with God. This is spiritual peace. This peace is possible
only if a man is justified, cleansed, or forgiven of his sins which have
caused the separation and alienation. Isaiah 59:1,2, "Behold, the Lord's
hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it
cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God,
and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." It is
a glorious thought to ponder that a sinful man may come to a spiritual
peace with God. How does it come? The justification necessary was accomplished,
and this is a marvel. But how was it accomplished? It was by the system
of faith that God devised through Christ. By faith in Christ, the kind
of faith that causes one to obey, we are justified, and therefore, enjoy
this needed peace with God. It is all possible by the virtue and due to
the merit of Jesus Christ.
In addition, it is through this same
Christ that man has access into a spiritual state or condition defined
here as "this grace." "This grace" means that which the grace of God has
produced, offers, and provides. It is the spiritual peace with God. How
does one gain access into this grace? Again, the answer is "by faith,"
belief in Christ and His system of faith. Notice this belief does not by
itself accomplish the entrance into this grace. This belief or faith gives
"access" into this grace. It makes entrance possible. The same thought
is presented in John 1:12 where the record says, "But as many as received
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that
believe on his name." Who were the ones who received him? They were the
ones who believed on His name. What did they receive? Were they made sons
by mere belief? No, but the "power to become" sons of God was given to
them. Having the power to become something is not the same thing as actually
becoming that something. Having access to something is not the same as
having that something. Faith, in the sense of belief, gives "power to become."
Faith gives "access." When this faith is coupled with obedience, then the
desired result becomes a reality. Obviously, the Roman Christians had taken
advantage of the "access" their faith had brought them for they were at
that time sons of God. They had followed through in the plan God devised.
That plan, "the faith," brought them into the blessings of God's grace.
They now stood in that spiritual relationship
called "grace." They would rejoice in the hope of the glory God would give
the saved. The "glory of God" does not refer to God's personal glory, an
attribute of God, but something God provides and gives to those who follow
His scheme and system of redemption.
3 And not only so, but
we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not
ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy
Ghost which is given unto us.
Further benefits of being in "this grace" are mentioned.
Tribulations were and are an inescapable part of serving the Lord. Second
Timothy 3:12, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution." But as James teaches, the result of tribulation is
not all bad (James 1:12). Peter teaches the same thing in First Peter 1:6,7.
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are
in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith,
being more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with
fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of
Paul's admonition that they glory
in tribulation certainly does not mean they were to be glad for the persecution
itself. Who could ever be? But they were to be like the apostles in Acts
5:41, who rejoiced "that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his
name." Here is the glory under consideration when he discusses "glory in
tribulation." This tribulation produces something vital to serving God;
namely, patience, stedfastness, and faithfulness. This in turn contributes
to the development of another quality; experience, or more literally, a
tried character. One who has been put to the test and passed the test is
in far better condition to withstand what may come than the one who has
yet to be put to the test. Having this tried character one could take hope
and have reason for hope. This hope will not make one ashamed of the Lord
and what is believed, even though the original tribulation was designed
to make one ashamed. Nor would the Lord be ashamed of such a person. Compare
the word "ashamed" as used here with the same sense of it in Second Timothy
2:15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Remember in the
first chapter Paul declared he was "not ashamed" of the gospel, and had
suffered much tribulation. He had learned to be stedfast; was a tried character;
had reason for hope.
The love of God refers to the love
God has for man, or more specifically, for the Christian. This love is
revealed in the gospel, "the righteousness of God." It has been "shed abroad"
in the Christian heart. It is the love God has for man that is "shed abroad."
It is His love of which we are aware. We became aware of His love by the
Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, through the revelation of God's scheme by
which He will save mankind, makes us fully aware of the love God has for
The Holy Spirit is given unto the
Christian in the sense that the blessings we can and do have through the
love of God revealed in His scheme are ours. Without the revelation given
by the Holy Spirit, we would remain ignorant of God's love, and ignorant
of the spiritual blessings we now enjoy as Christians. The Holy Spirit
is given to us in that the "good things" declared by the Spirit are given
to us. A similar teaching is found in two parallel verses, Matthew 7:11
and Luke 11:13. It is obvious that the Holy Spirit is given to the same
extent that the "good things" are given. It is not that the Holy Spirit
personally is given, but the blessings derived from the operation of the
Holy Spirit. Such is the idea of Romans 5:5.
It is worthy of suggestion (though
not limited to just this) that the blessings specifically mentioned in
verses three and four are what Paul had in mind. Certainly none could argue
against the fact that the blessings mentioned here result from the operation
of the Holy Spirit as He operates through the Word that reveals God's love.
6 For when we were yet
without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely
for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some
would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The word "for" points back to that which
has just been discussed, and now we can expect an elaboration of it. That
which has been discussed is the love God has for man. Paul denotes more
precisely the manifestation of that love. We were without strength, that
is, weak in faith, the same word used in Romans 4:19 when Paul described
what Abraham was not. When we were hopeless, indifferent, and wayward from
doing what was correct in God's sight, and when God saw the time was right
or fulfilled, Christ died for the ungodly. As for God determining the proper
time for all things regarding Christ, consider Galatians 4:4. "But when
the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,
made under the law."
The "ungodly" refers to sinful man,
including the ones just described as "without strength." We have to take
note that it was God who acted on behalf of man. He was the One who instigated
what was to be done and when it was to be done. The who is God. The what
was the death of Christ. The when was when God saw fit for all these things
to be accomplished.
Such a magnanimous deed as that done
by Christ is emphasized in verse seven and eight by contrasting what Christ
did against what normally might be expected. For "scarcely," with difficulty,
one might die for a just man. Such would surely be a tremendous sacrifice,
but one might see some reasonableness for taking the place in death for
an innocent man. The innocent did not deserve to die. One might, with the
greatest kind of nobility, die in the stead of such a just person. For
such a good man someone might "dare to die," or bring himself to do so.
Even this would be with the greatest difficulty.
But what Jesus did was far more than
that. As extraordinary as one man dying for another even when the cause
seemed worthy, it is more extraordinary what Christ did. He died for those
who deserved to suffer death for themselves. The ones for whom He died
earned their condemnation. Their sins condemned them. They should have
paid for it. But He took their place. This is the place of all of us "for
all have sinned." While man was in condemnation and justly so, He came
forward and died. Here is the demonstration of the love God has for man
of which Paul has been writing, and which is revealed in the revelation
of the gospel as given by and through the Holy Spirit. This is an essential
part, indeed, the very heart, of the plan God had by which He would make
9 Much more then, being
now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Verse nine is the only logical conclusion
to be drawn from what has been written. We are justified by the blood of
Christ. We are saved from the wrath of the just God of heaven against sin
because of the mercy of the same God. Christ and the plan built and based
upon Him is that by and through which we can be counted for what we otherwise
could never be counted; namely, righteous.
Notice in verse one of this chapter
where Paul said we are justified "by faith." Verse nine says we are justified
"by his blood." There are not two justifications. Our faith is in His blood.
Our faith is in God and the plan He devised that called for the blood of
His Son in our stead. In mentioning faith and blood, Paul was referring
to two of the many essential ingredients that have gone into the gospel
scheme of salvation, "the righteousness of God," the gospel.
Notice also that from which one is
saved is wrath. Paul had spoken of wrath against both the Gentile (1:32),
and the Jew (2:5), and had been very plain that both stood in condemnation
(3:9,23). Now he mentions again that both can be saved from wrath and reveals
10 For if, when we were
enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,
being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but
we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received
The term "if" is not used in order to
convey some doubt that we were enemies or that there is any doubt that
the Christian is reconciled. The term is more properly understood in the
sense of "since." "Since" we were enemies and "since" we were reconciled
by the death of Christ, now having been reconciled, there is another ingredient
in God's scheme for man's salvation; namely, the life of Christ. This infers
His resurrection and reaches back to include the perfect life He lived
on earth as an example for us to follow. Most probably, however, having
mentioned His death, and following the sequence of events, the main thrust
has to do with His resurrection. Without the resurrection there would be
no gospel, no demonstration of power over death, no climatic proclamation
and declaration that He is the Son of God (1:4). The resurrection is an
indispensable fact in providing for man's salvation (First Corinthians
Not only that, "and not only so,"
we have blessings here and now. Our blessings for abiding in this grace
are not limited nor confined to eternity. God has provided for us a way
of joy in this life. We can live happier knowing we are going to our home
with God. This joy that we have "in God" has been made possible through
Christ. He was the One through whom we have received God's gift of being
forgiven. This repeats the teaching of Chapter three, verse twenty-five.
Christ is our atonement.
The passage speaks of being "reconciled,"
carrying the same thought forward from verse one of this chapter when Paul
said, "We have peace." This peace is accomplished by a reconciliation being
made. Ephesians two speaks more on this theme of reconciliation and we
suggest a study there.
12 Wherefore, as by
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed
upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in
the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless
death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after
the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was
to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through
the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift
by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment
was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto
justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much
more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness
shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence
of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness
of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For
as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience
of one shall many be made righteous.
Beginning here and continuing through
several verses is a comparison, or better yet, a contrast between Adam
and Christ, and the results of the actions of Adam and Christ. By one man,
Adam, sin entered the world. The result of sin was death, spiritual as
well as physical, but more importantly, spiritual (6:23; James 1:14,15).
This result of Adam's sin "passed upon all men." The meaning of this phrase
is of great importance and consequence.
The idea of the word "passed" shows
that which took place was of such significance that none could escape its
power. There has not lived a person since sin entered the world that has
escaped certain results of Adam's sin.
We must keep before us that guilt
of sin is one of the consequences of sinning, but not the only one. There
are other consequences as well. Did the guilt of sin pass upon all men
because of Adam's sin? Or does this refer to other consequences of Adam's
sin that "passed" upon all men? In other words, are you and I guilty of
The answer is found in the definition
of sin the Holy Spirit gives in First John three, verse four. Sin is transgression.
Not until one does transgress the law of God does he become guilty of anything.
The preposition "for" of verse twelve is to be understood as "because"
or "inasmuch as".
Certain results of sin have passed
upon everybody. But why have they passed upon everybody? Some things have
passed upon everybody unconditionally. For instance, due to the sin of
Adam we all die physically. Because the first couple was driven from the
Garden of Eden and from the tree of life, we all must die physically. But
this has nothing whatever to do with our personal sins. Nonetheless, we
physically die. Even the infant, who does no sin, dies. This is a result
of Adam's sin and what sin introduced into the world. But remember, Paul
is discussing spiritual death primarily. Spiritual death has "passed upon
all men," but why? It is not because we are guilty of Adam's sin, "for
that all have sinned." Spiritual death came into the world through the
sin of Adam. Spiritual death was suffered by Adam the day he sinned (Genesis
2:17). Spiritual death is suffered by everybody who sins, but because of
his own sins and not because of Adam's sin. Adam's sin introduced sin unto
men, but each one must partake of sin for himself before he is counted
guilty of sin. This is either true or First John three and verse four contradicts
this passage, which is untenable. Many other people, other than the one
who commits sin, may suffer certain consequences of a person's sins, but
not the consequence of guilt. But one suffers the guilt when he himself
Verses thirteen through seventeen
seem to be an inspired explanation of the main theme being presented in
the contrast of Adam and Christ and the results of their actions. The main
theme continues at verse eighteen and nineteen which informs us how by
the offense (sin) of Adam, judgment (condemnation) came upon all men (because
all men partake of sin.) But righteousness (making man a righteous being
or at least counting him so) came by Christ. The system or plan to make
man righteous came through the One (Christ) as a gift from God, and justifies
man, granting him life instead of death. One man's disobedience introduced
sin into the world, and all have partaken of it and became sinners. But
the obedience of One (Christ) makes the many sinners righteous by introducing
life through justification. This is a gift, but the gift must be received.
It is received by our obedience. It was provided by the obedience of Christ.
Christ was obedient even to the death He suffered on the cross (Hebrews
5:8; Philippians 2:8). What a contrast! By one (Adam) came death, but by
the other (Christ) came life. By one (Adam) came condemnation, but by the
other (Christ) came justification.
If you and I are guilty of Adam's
sin, unconditionally, then we are justified by Christ, unconditionally.
This would mean universal salvation with nobody being lost. But this would
not be in harmony with Scriptural revelation. Nothing is made clearer in
the Bible than the fact that some will be saved but some will be lost.
Consider the detailed contrast given
in verses thirteen through seventeen. First, Paul notes that until law,
sin was in the world. In other words if there had been no law there would
not and could not have been any sin because sin is a transgression of law.
Since there was sin, there was law in the world. This is reaffirmed in
verse fourteen when Paul states that death reigned from Adam to Moses.
Death is the result of sin. Even though the law of Moses did not come until
Moses, there was law, sin, and death. Sin reflects the existence of law
(First Corinthians 15:56). Those who lived during the period from Adam
to Moses had a law as we have already noted in previous chapters. Therefore,
those that lived during that time sinned, but not just like Adam did, although
they sinned nonetheless. They violated law given by God. They sinned, not
to the equality and identity as did Adam, but they sinned and death reigned.
Observe this comment about Adam, "who
is the figure of him that was to come." Adam was a type of Christ. Indeed,
the entire portion of verses thirteen through seventeen presents this typical
nature of Adam to Christ. Adam, in somewhat a reverse order, did against
mankind what Christ did for mankind. What Adam took away, Christ brought
back. We are not to think the offense of Adam is either exactly like or
simply the counterpart of the work of Christ. The "free gift" may refer
to Christ since He was given. But I think the "free gift" refers to the
justification received (verse eighteen). But let it be stressed that the
offense and the blessing are not merely off-setting forces. Paul explains
that the offense brought death, but much more came by the grace of God.
The gift which comes through Christ and the justification He brought hath
abounded unto many. The gift is more than the offense. Such is the meaning
of the phrase, "But not as the offense, so also is the free gift." The
offense and the free gift are not exact opposites because the gift abounds
Furthermore, the sin of Adam, the
offense, condemned him. But the gift of Christ justifies all who sin and
come to Him for forgiveness. The gift was not limited to the sin of Adam.
Many offenses, not just Adam's sin, are covered by justification.
The difference between "grace" and
the "offense" is that grace is more abundant than the offense, well able
to cover any and all offenses. Notice the phrase in verses fifteen, seventeen,
and twenty, "much more," " much more," "much more."
Death reigned because sin entered
the world and man sinned, but the "abundance of grace" and the "gift of
righteousness" enables life to reign "much more." In other words, the lack
of similarity of the offense and the gift is seen in the power of each
one. The offense had deadly power, but the power of the gift was and is
greater, even to the removing of the deadly result of the offense.
An additional and repetitive comment
is needful. Some believe we are born into the world guilty of sin unconditionally
because of Adam's sin, and without any action of sin on our part personally.
If that be true (which I do not accept for a moment), we still have no
fear of spiritual death due to any alleged guilt we would have because
of Adam's sin. What one lost unconditionally in Adam, he gains unconditionally
in Christ. So even if we are guilty of Adam's sin (which we are not), we
are relieved of that guilt in Christ just as unconditionally as we are
supposed to have become guilty.
We are not guilty of Adam's sin. The
reason is simply because the guilt of sin was not passed to all by Adam,
even though through him sin entered the world. Nor are we the receiver
of life simply because Christ through His sacrifice brought life into the
world. We are what we are on the basis of what we do regarding the will
of the Lord for ourselves, including meeting the conditions of salvation
in the gospel. Plainly, we are guilty of our own transgressions. Even so,
we may well suffer consequences of other's sins, but not guilt. We are
condemned spiritually on the condition that we sin, and are justified on
the condition we come to Christ and follow His plan of justification. To
be guilty of Adam's sin would mean we must have sinned just like Adam did,
which Paul said those from Adam to Moses did not do. If they did not, we
do not, either.
20 Moreover the law
entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did
much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might
grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our
Paul defines the relationship of law and
sin. Law defines sin; law exposes sin; law tells just how sinful sin is;
law makes sin sinful. This is true regardless of which divine law you have
under consideration. But where sin abounds, grace abounds more. When sin
condemns; grace justifies. Where sin brings death and havoc; grace brings
peace and joy. We are privileged to enjoy life, eternal life, through the
grace of God manifested through Christ because grace is greater, more powerful
and more abundant than is sin. There is no sin that grace cannot cover.
This very emphasis of the greatness of God's grace over sin provokes Paul
to enter the discussion, guided by the Holy Spirit, in chapter six. It
is a discussion similar to what he had just completed in 3:5-8.
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