Peace with God

Rom 5:1-11

SS Lesson for 07/25/2021


Devotional Scripture: Isa 53:1-12

Lesson Background and Key Verse

Background from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

Romans is both the most challenging of Paul’s letters to understand and the richest depository of what he calls “my gospel” (Romans 2:16; 16:25). The basis and reality of being justified by faith is the subject of Romans 1-4 in general and 3:24, 28 in particular. Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:17 to set the tone for the entire book: “the righteous will live by faith.” Included in the letter are the apostle’s understanding of the Old Testament background for the Christian message, the nature of salvation as it is based on the atoning death of Christ, the centrality of faith as the only path for salvation, the changed relationship between Jews and Gentiles in the plan of God, and several other matters. Only through faith in Christ may eternal life be found. Eternal life cannot be earned by works, although works are important. Eternal life is not inherited by ancestry, although such ancestry is not unimportant (see Romans 3:1-2; 9:4-5). Eternal life, the life of salvation, is found only in a faith that trusts God to save us. Abraham, the great patriarch of the Jews, was justified by faith (Romans 4:3, quoting Genesis 15:6). Thus the idea of faith as the core element of one’s life is not a Christian innovation. Faith is to be the foundation of our relationship with God. But this was nothing new: faith was to have been central in the pre-Israel period, in the nation of Israel itself, and in the church. Having established these facts in Romans 1-4, Paul moved to implications, today’s text.


Key Verse: Rom 5:1

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,


Commentary from the Bible Knowledge Commentary

5:1. The apostle now turned to a presentation of the experiential results (suggested by the connective oun, trans. therefore) of the believers’ justification—God’s declaring them righteous—on the basis of faith (cf. 3:21-4:25). The participial clause since we have been justified (cf. 5:9) through faith describes antecedent action to the main clause, we have peace (echomen) with God. Some of the important Greek manuscripts read, “Let us have peace (echōmen) with God.” This seems to be the preferred reading. If so, then the sense is, “Let us keep on having (in the sense of enjoying) peace with God.” Peace has been made by God through our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Eph. 2:14a), which fact is demonstrated by God’s justification. A believer is not responsible for having peace in the sense of making it but in the sense of enjoying it.

5:2. The Lord Jesus, besides being the Agent of the believer’s enjoyment of peace with God, is also the One through whom we have gained access (prosagōgēn, “privilege of approach” to a person of high rank; used elsewhere only in Eph. 2:18; 3:12) by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Though the phrase “by faith” is not supported by the best Greek manuscripts, it is the human means of the access. Believers in Christ stand in the sphere of God’s grace (cf. “grace” in Rom. 3:24) because Christ has brought them to this position. He is their means of access. In the Greek text the sentence, And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, is coordinate to the clause, “We have peace” (5:1). Like that clause, this one too may be translated, “Let us keep on rejoicing.” Because of Christ, Christians eagerly anticipate the time when they will share Christ’s glory, in contrast with their falling short of it now (3:23). In that sense He is “the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27; cf. Rom. 8:17-30; 2 Cor. 4:17; Col. 3:4; 2 Thes. 2:14; Heb. 2:10; 1 Peter 5:1, 10). Certainly such a prospect is cause for joy and even boasting! (Kauchōmetha, “rejoice,” is lit., “boast” or “exult,” here in a pure sense; this Gr. word is also used in Rom. 5:3, 11 where it is trans. “rejoice.”)

5:3-4. Believers can enjoy the peace with God that has been achieved and the glorious future in God’s presence that awaits them. But how should they react to the experiences of life that are often adverse and difficult? They are to rejoice in their sufferings. The word “rejoice” is kauchōmetha, the same word in verse 2. “Sufferings” is thlipsesin, “afflictions, distresses, pressures.” James wrote along the same line: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). This is more than mere Stoic endurance of troubles, even though endurance or steadfastness is the first result in a chain-reaction outgrowth from distress. This is spiritual glorying in afflictions because of having come to know (from oida, “to know by intuition or perception”) that the end product of this chain reaction (that begins with distress) is hope. Suffering brings about perseverance (hypomonēn, “steadfastness,” the ability to remain under difficulties without giving in; cf. Rom. 15:5-6; James 1:3-4). Only a believer who has faced distress can develop steadfastness. That in turn develops character (dokimēn [“proof”] has here the idea of “proven character”), which in turn results in hope. As believers suffer, they develop steadfastness; that quality deepens their character; and a deepened, tested character results in hope (i.e., confidence) that God will see them through.

5:5. A believer’s hope, since it is centered in God and His promises, does not disappoint him. “Disappoint” means “put to shame because of disappointment” in unfulfilled promises. This affirmation concerning hope in God is a reflection of Psalm 25:3, 20-21 (cf. Ps. 22:5; Rom. 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6). The reason this hope (resulting finally from affliction) does not disappoint is that God has poured out His love into our hearts. God’s love, so abundant in believer’s hearts (cf. 1 John 4:8, 16), encourages them on in their hope. And this love is poured out by (better, “through,” dia with the genitive) the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. The Holy Spirit is the divine Agent who expresses to a believer the love of God, that is, God’s love for him. The reality of God’s love in a believer’s heart gives the assurance, even the guarantee, that the believer’s hope in God and His promise of glory is not misplaced and will not fail. This ministry of the Holy Spirit is related to His presence in believers as the seal of God (Eph. 4:30) and as the earnest or down payment of their inheritance in glory (2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13-14). Later Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit Himself has been poured out in believers (Titus 3:6). Each believer has the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9) in the sense that He is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 John 3:24; 4:13).

5:6-8. Having mentioned the pouring out of God’s love, Paul now described the character of God’s love, which explains why its pouring out assures believers of hope. God demonstrated His love by the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. This demonstration was first, at just the right time (cf. Gal. 4:4). Second, it was when we were still powerless (asthenōn, “without strength, feeble”; cf. John 5:5). Third, it was for (hyper) the ungodly (asebōn, “impious”; cf. Rom. 4:5). Clearly Christ’s death was a substitutionary death, a death in place of others. The Greek preposition hyper often means “on behalf of,” but occasionally it means “in place of,” its meaning here. This is clear from the statement in 5:7, which also has hyper. A person willing to die for a righteous man or for a good man obviously is offering himself as a substitute so that the righteous or good man can continue to live. This is the highest expression of human love and devotion. However, God’s love contrasts with human love in both nature and degree, because God demonstrates (“keeps on showing”) His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (hyper, “in our place”). Though a few people might possibly be willing to die to save the lives of good people, though that is rare, Christ went well beyond that. He died in the place of the powerless (“feeble,” v. 6), the ungodly (v. 6; 4:5), sinners (5:8), and even His enemies! (v. 10).

5:9-11. The participle translated have... been justified (“declared righteous”) ties these verses to the argument at the beginning of the chapter (cf. v. 1). The immediate connection, however, is with what preceded (vv. 6-8). God gave proof of His love by having Christ die in the place of humans “while we were still sinners.” Because of the sinner’s response by faith (v. 1) to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, God has declared him righteous. Certainly that now-declared-righteous person will not be forsaken by God’s love, which has been poured out effusively in his heart. Since the divine dilemma of justification (3:26) has been solved on the basis of Jesus’ shed blood (cf. 3:25), certainly Jesus Christ will see that justified sinners will be saved from God’s wrath. Believers will never be condemned to hell (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1) nor will they be the objects of God’s coming Tribulation wrath (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9). Here this same truth is repeated in different words (Rom. 5:10). Reconciliation, the third great achievement of Jesus’ sacrificial death on Calvary, is presented (also v. 11). This great triumvirate—redemption (3:24; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7); propitiation (Rom. 3:25 [niv: “sacrifice of atonement”]; 1 John 2:2; 4:10 [niv: “atoning sacrifice”]); reconciliation (Rom. 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Col. 1:22)—is totally the work of God, accomplished through the death of Jesus Christ. Redemption pertains to sin (Rom. 3:24), propitiation (or satisfaction) pertains to God (3:25), and reconciliation is for people (cf. we were reconciled). Reconciliation is the removal of enmity that stands between people and God (cf. “enemies” in 5:10; Col. 1:21). Reconciliation is the basis of restored fellowship between people and God (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20-21). If (Rom. 5:10) may be rendered “since”; it assumes that the reconciliation through the death of His Son is true. In addition, reconciliation was done when we were God’s enemies (lit., “being enemies”). Since reconciliation was accomplished by Jesus’ death, certainly His life is able to insure the complete and final salvation of believers. “His life” is His present life (not His life on earth) in which He intercedes (Heb. 7:25) for believers. He died for His enemies; surely He will save those, His former enemies, who are now fellowshiping in Him. Because Christians, God’s reconciled ones, share in Christ’s life, they will be saved. Not only is future salvation assured, but we also rejoice in God (“but also boasting [kauchōmenoi] in God”) here and now. This is what Paul already exhorted believers to do (Rom. 5:1-3). The assurance and guarantee of it all is the fact that through... Christ... we have now received reconciliation (lit., “the reconciliation”). Since God has reconciled godless enemies to Himself, they should enjoy that peace with Him


Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Peace through Hope (Rom 5:1-5)


1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


Hope can bring peace (1)

Peace that comes as a part of the Kingdom of God (Rom 14:17-18)

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

Peace that Jesus brought by destroying the barrier (Eph 2:14-16)

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Peace that comes through the blood of Jesus (Col 1:19-20)

19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Peace that comes from the God of peace (1 Thess 5:23)

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Hope provides access to grace (2)

Access through the gate (John 10:7-9)

7 Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

Access through the way (John 14:6)

6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Access through the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18)

18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Access through faith (Eph 3:12)

12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Access through the blood of Jesus (Heb 10:19-20)

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body

Access through the sympathetic High Priest (Heb 4:14-16)

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


Hope develops character (3-4)

Builds character through Jesus being revealed in our lives (2 Cor 4:8-10)

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Builds character through the testing of faith (James 1:2-4)

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Builds character through service (2 Cor 9:13)

13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

Builds character through perseverance (James 1:12)

12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Builds character through the refining of our faith (1 Peter 1:7)

7 These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.


Hope comes as part of the gift of the Holy Spirit (5)

A gift that is received at the time of repentance and rebirth (Acts 2:38)

38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Gift of the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing ownership of God (2 Cor 1:22)

22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Gift of the Holy Spirit to signify being a child of God (Gal 4:6)

6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

Gift of the Holy Spirit as a seal until redemption (Eph 1:13-14)

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory.

Gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and empower (Eph 3:16-17)

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,


God’s Ways of Providing Peace (Rom 5:6-11)


6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.


Through Jesus' death (6-7)

Jesus' death brings us to God  (1 Peter 3:18)

18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

Jesus' death proves what true love is about (1 John 3:16)

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Jesus' death allowed Him to live in and through us  (Gal 2:20)

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Jesus' death allowed Him to be the mediator of a new covenant  (Heb 9:15)

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.


Through God's love (8)

Love that prompted God to provide Jesus as our sacrifice (John 3:16)

16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Love that is incomparably rich (Eph 2:6-7)

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Love that God expressed in mercy (1 Tim 1:15-16)

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

Love that is defined as Jesus laying down His life for us (1 John 3:16)

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Love that shows itself through living through Jesus (1 John 4:9-10)

9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.


Through Jesus' blood (9)

God defined the blood as the atonement vehicle for sins (Lev 17:11)

11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.

The law states that blood cleanses everything (Heb 9:22)

22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Jesus' blood reconciled man to God (Col 1:19-20)

19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Our conscience has been washed and cleansed by Jesus' blood (Heb 10:22)

22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.


Through reconciliation through Jesus (10-11)

A reconciliation that brings peace with God (Eph 2:14-16)

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

A reconciliation that requires a humble seeking of God and a repentant heart (2 Chron 7:14)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

A reconciliation of the mind and body (Col 1:21-22)

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-

A reconciliation where God does not count sins against His people (2 Cor 5:17-19)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.


Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from Bob Deffinbaugh

The Work of Jesus Christ Has Brought Us Peace and Fellowship With God (5:1-11)

Jesus Christ has given us peace with God

If someone were to ask you, “What is the most sought-after possession in the world,” what would you answer? Some would say money, some would say wisdom, some would say beauty or popularity. But if you were to analyze these, I think you’d find that it isn’t money people want but rather what they think money will get them. It isn’t wisdom or beauty or popularity but it is the security and peace people believe these things bring. But do these things really bring what they advertise? King Fasel was the most wealthy man in the world, but today his body lies in an unmarked grave. Marilyn Monroe was the beauty queen of Hollywood, but she committed suicide. Leonardo Da Vinci was the most brilliant man of the Renaissance, but he died a discouraged man having admittedly failed in finding the purpose of life.

You see, it is not money, wisdom, beauty or popularity people want most. Just ask the people who have these and you’ll see they aren’t satisfied. Rather, the most sought after thing in the world is inner peace and security. This is the real need of every person. Inner peace is not the cessation of problems on the outside. Rather, it is the ability to remain stable because you can see the end of the problems and know that you will come out on top. The problem we as individuals face is that we are not able to control our circumstances completely. Furthermore, there is someone who is in control of our circumstances—God, and if He is against us, we have no chance of having inner peace. The only way we can have inner peace then is by making peace with God, but how can men who are sinners and stand in God’s wrath become reconciled, changed, to the point that God will make peace with them? Paul tells us in Romans 5:1-2 that Jesus did this for us. He died and paid for our sins. We are then justified, as proved in chapters 1-4, by faith in Him. Now, says Paul, those who believe can and do have peace with God through what Jesus has done.

Verse two gives us a picture of how this peace with God was accomplished when it says “Through whom we have obtained our introduction.” The Greek word for introduction means “to bring to.” It is not that we went to God but rather Jesus brought us to Him and reconciled us, made us right before God by His death. Our peace with God then is not obtained on the basis of what we do but on the basis of what Christ did for us. It is in His work, not ours, that we depend for eternal life and so our peace with God can never be lost for Christ’s work is already done and will never change.

Because of our secure salvation, we can boast in three things

(1) In verse 2, Paul says we can boast in the hope of the glory of God. In chapter 3, Paul has already shown that boasting or placing confidence in man’s works is out of order. But here, he tells us we can place confidence in the hope of the glory of God. Now the biblical definition of hope is “to plan on a future that is guaranteed to us.” That future as explained in Romans 8:30 is that we will be glorified, that we will be conformed to the image of Christ. Here, Paul is saying that we can boast about this because it is accomplished by Christ and not dependent on man’s works. So we can exult or boast in our position for we are at peace with God and assured of a future of glory.

(2) In verses 3-10, Paul tells us that we can boast or exult in our pressures. The Greek word for tribulation is “pressure.” It is an outside force that pushes on you and exerts pressure on you to yield and conform to it. Paul tells us that we can exult in these pressures as believers because of what they produce. The pressures of life, says Paul, are used by God to produce perseverance. This is the quality of a person who when faced with problems he has no control over and to which his only responses are either to endure with anger or to endure with patience chooses to endure with patience. Paul goes on to say that the practice of perseverance under pressure produces in us character which has been proven. Perseverance in trials proves that the godly qualities we practice are what we really are like, rain or shine. This proof of our growth toward godliness then encourages us all the more to trust in our hope—our plans for future glory that God has guaranteed us.

But someone might ask, “How do we know we won’t be disappointed? How do we know God will bring us through our trials to be conformed to the image of Christ and be saved forever?” Paul’s answer is, “We know because of God’s love for us.” Verses 6-10 comprise a profound passage which there is not time to do justice to in a short time. Please listen as we read them together and the import of God’s word brings this truth home to you.

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His Life (Romans 5:6-10).

(3) Verse 11 gives us the third reason for boasting—that we have received reconciliation with God through the death of Jesus Christ. The word, reconciliation, means “to be changed.” Earlier in this book we learned that because of our sin, we were enemies of God. But Jesus’ death changed man as far as God was concerned. Now, God is free to be at peace with man without blighting His holy and just nature. It is important to note that the effect of Christ’s death toward man is called reconciliation—that is, that the effect was to change man in the eyes of God. The effect of Christ’s death toward God is called propitiation which means that God’s justice was totally satisfied. Reconciliation, the manward aspect of Christ’s death, is never said to save anyone. It only renders all men savable. Although as verse 10 tells us, reconciliation occurred while we were enemies, dead in our sin, 2 Corinthians 5:20 points out that we must receive that reconciliation to enjoy its benefits. (Read 2 Corinthians 5:20.)

So in verses 1-11, Paul has proclaimed that because of the object of our faith—Jesus Christ, and what He has done—we have peace with God and we can boast in our position, our pressures, and our possession of reconciliation.

Justification to All Men Comes Through the Righteousness of One Man, Jesus Christ (5:12-21)

Now we come to verses 12-21. We know from scripture that God, before the foundation of the earth, decided upon a specific plan of redemption and established the principles necessary for salvation. One of the principles He established as necessary for this plan was the principle of representative headship. By the term, representative headship, we mean that the actions of one man are imputed, put to the account, of those whom he represents. We practice this principle every day. The principle has both good and bad results for us and we tend to enjoy the good while seeking to deny the bad. In the United States, we are represented by our federal government. If they declare war on another country, we become enemies of that country even though we disagree with the government declaration. We have benefits from the actions of the government. We have some law and order, we have a defense against other aggressive countries, we have public roads, pot holes and all. But when April 15 rolls around, we are all ready to disclaim our relationship to our government. Nevertheless, we do have that relation and recognize it. This principle of representative or federal headship is also part of God’s plan of redemption. It is by means of this truth that Paul puts the capstone on his argument that salvation comes through the righteous act of the one man, Jesus Christ. Paul will do this by first proving the principle of headship from its bad effects and finally showing in its light the rational conclusion that salvation comes through one man.

As we begin this section there are two things to keep in mind. First, Paul has already spent four chapters establishing the necessity of faith for salvation. The word, faith, is not used again until chapter 9. It is assumed. Therefore, no statement in this section is to be assumed workable without the exercise of faith.

Second, it is important to note the emphasis of this passage. The word “one” is used twelve times in this passage and the terms “many” and “all” are used eight times. The major idea in the passage is that certain benefits or consequences come through one individual to a multiplicity of individuals. This is why Paul uses the term “the many.” What is important about this term is not the number or extent of those included but rather that there is more than one included— many are included. Now, it is clear that “the many” is in actuality “ the all” several times in the passage but this is not the point. The point is that the act of one representative was imputed to a multiplicity of individuals.

Now, let’s turn to our passage. In verses 12-21 we will see two important points made. Paul shows that the principle of representative headship is biblical. First, Paul sets out to show by the example of Adam that the principle of representative headship is biblical. (Read verses 12-14.)

First, Paul points out that sin came into the world through one man. It was not through Satan who first sinned in the creation. Neither does Paul attribute sin to women, the first human who sinned, but to Adam, a man, for as we shall see Adam’s act of sin was imputed to all mankind. Paul then notes that death entered the world through that one sin and spread to all because all sinned.

Now the question arises, “ How did all sin?” Paul’s answer is clear. He states that these were not personal sins because personal sins were not put to men’s account until the coming of the Mosaic Law. Nevertheless, men died because of their sin. The sin Paul speaks of is the sin imputed to all men because Adam, in God’s redemptive plan, was the representative head of all mankind.

Paul is saying, “There is a valid principle of headship in scripture. This is clear because we know death is a result of sin; all men before the Law died but not for their personal sins. Therefore, they died for the sin imputed to them from Adam.” So then, Paul has established that the principle of representative headship is operational in scripture.

Second, Paul points out that the basis of our faith is rational because our salvation corresponds in principle to our condemnation. Both, you see, were the result of one man’s action being put to the account of a multiplicity of persons.

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Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

On a grand scale, we understand the truth of Jesus’ teaching: the God of all creation chooses to love and save his enemies rather than hate and destroy them (John 3:16-17)—at least for now (Romans 2:5-9). But we must take that grand scale down to the level of the individual person, beginning with ourselves. Although we live in fearful times, we are not to fear the future. Though people around us fear many things—being laid off, losing loved ones, catastrophic weather, etc.—we are not to let fear of such things control us. The key always is to focus on the future Christ has prepared for us (John 14:2), made possible by the price for peace that Jesus paid on the cross.


Concluding Thoughts from the Echoes Commentary

Hope and Peace - There are blessings God wants His children to enjoy, here and now on earth. Paul said that spiritual blessing comes with faith in Christ. Hope and peace are two recurring advantages of the Christian life. Those who are not acknowledging Jesus as Savior are at eternal odds with God, in total opposition to Him. They are unable to follow God's instructions or work out a life that God created them to fulfill. Thankfully Jesus paid it all on the Cross, taking our sin upon Himself, and He makes it possible for us to find and live that life God wants for us.


Peace with God in the New Covenant - This is peace with God, the peace that can only come from Jesus; through Him, the battle between God and us is over. He came to make peace, and He is our peace. The Lord and Christians are now on the same team. The old covenant was about separation. The veil in the temple kept the Jewish worshiper who visited the temple out. The wall of the temple kept the Gentiles out. But when Jesus died, the veil was torn in two, and He also broke down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:14), He also gives glorious hope that one day in the future the saints will share in His glory.


Closer to Him through Suffering - Our "tribulation" (Rom. 5:3, KJV) can bring us closer to the Lord and make us more like Him. The word "tribulation" comes from a Latin word that means a substantial piece of timber with spikes used for harvesting the grain. It separated the wheat from the chaff. The trial purifies us and helps us to get rid of the chaff.


God's Present Attitude - God looks on believers in Christ Jesus with favor, seeing them in terms of joy, beauty, and pleasure. He doesn't just love His children—He likes them. Each one is forgiven through Christ and brought into a place of high favor with God. He pours His love into our hearts. God also offers an abundance of hope. This hope assures us that God will complete the work He started in us. Faith, hope, and love are all given to the believer through the Holy Spirit.



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