Romans 5 (NRSV)
Results of Justification
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
In this letter the apostle speaks as one who is extremely happy and full of joy. In the entire Scripture there is scarcely another text like this chapter, scarcely one so expressive. For he describes the grace and mercy of God in the clearest possible manner, telling us what it is like and how great it is for us.
Note how he begins, placing this spiritual peace with God only after righteousness has preceded it. For first he says, “since we have been justified through faith,” and then, “we have peace.” But the perversity of men seeks peace before righteousness, and for this reason they do not find peace. Thus the apostle creates a very fine antithesis in these words, namely,
- The righteous man has peace with God but affliction in the world, because he lives in the Spirit.
- The unrighteous man has peace with the world but affliction and tribulation with God, because he lives in the flesh.
- But as the Spirit is eternal, so also will be the peace of the righteous man and the tribulation of the unrighteous.
- And as the flesh is temporal, so will be the tribulation of the righteous and the peace of the unrighteous.
–Martin Luther, Lectures on Romans
3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
This is a golden chain of Christian growth and maturity. One virtue builds upon another as we grow in the pattern of Jesus.
Most every Christian wants to develop character and have more hope. These qualities spring out of perseverance, which comes through tribulation. I would rather have God just sprinkle perseverance and character and hope on me as I sleep. I could wake up a much better Christian! But that isn’t God’s plan for me or for any Christian.
Therefore — soberly, reverently — we say about tribulation, “Lord, bring it on. I know you love me and carefully measure every trial and have a loving purpose to accomplish in every tribulation. Lord, I won’t seek trials and search out tribulation, but I won’t despise them or lose hope when they come. I trust Your love in everything You allow.”
6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. 9Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
HERE is The Oslo Gospel Choir and “The Power of Your Love.”
Adam and Christ
12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.
Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV)
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
15But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:7 (ESV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
18Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
–John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.