Unit: Romans (Part 2)
Lesson Text: Romans 5:1-21
Supplemental Text: Romans 8:1; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-10
Aim: Rejoice in the hope that is yours through being justified by faith.
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Download a PDF of this week’s lesson material (the Study by Mark Scott, Application by David Faust, and Discovery Questions by Michael C. Mack): LOOKOUT_Feb13_2022.
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By Mark Scott
When it comes to salvation, grace and faith are the dynamic duo. They create the “super bowl” of redemption. If grace is God’s love for us that we do not deserve, then faith is how that grace is appropriated in our lives. God is the one who justifies us (i.e., makes us righteous), but we do cast a vote in the drama of redemption. That is called faith. The Greek verb pisteo can be translated into the English words faith, belief, or trust.
In Romans 5, we near the end of the second great argument about the righteousness of God. Righteousness had been forfeited due to sin (chapters 1–3). But righteousness was regained through the “Christ event” (chapters 4–5). Whether one is Jew or Gentile, faith is the right response to God’s work. Before the new section on sanctification (chapters 6–8) Paul explained what we experience by faith and what we gain in life.
We Experience Peace, Love, and Reconciliation
Peace with God is the first result of being justified by faith. Peace in this verse is almost a synonym of salvation. Ultimate salvation is being totally well in the presence of God. Of course, it comes through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus gave us access to this grace. This causes us to boast—not of ourselves but in the hope of the glory of God.
Peace does not mean the absence of conflict, but instead, a quiet confidence that God is in control. To that end, Paul gave a list of qualities that grow out of boasting in the glory of God. Suffering, perseverance, character, and hope are things Christians boast about (a rather atypical list, is it not?). Paul strung these words and thoughts together to drive home his point about what we experience by faith. God’s love, which has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, is one of the greatest things we experience.
We then experience love and reconciliation by virtue of Christ’s death on the cross. His death was perfectly timed (i.e., right time). His death was timely (i.e., when we were still powerless—weak or sick). And his death was effectual (i.e., for the ungodly). A plethora of war stories illustrates verse 7. People do die for friends and family (good persons). But God demonstrates (made to stand with) his own love by Christ dying for (on behalf of) sinners and enemies. Our faith is in Jesus (and the efficacy of his blood). This allows us to escape God’s wrath and be reconciled (brought together again) to him.
We Jettison Sin and All of Its Deathly Effects
Being justified by faith allows us to put sin behind us and experience life through the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). Paul located sin historically. It came through one man and brought death. But that death is perpetuated by people continuing to sin (not just because Adam sinned). Adam’s “original sin” brought death into this world, and therefore everyone’s natural inclination will be to sin, since the union with death is all around us.
But when is that sin recognized? Only when it is identified. The Law of Moses identified sin to be sin. But sin entered the world in Genesis 3—way before Exodus 20 (the giving of the Law). One needn’t know the speed limit to break it. Once the offense is known, however, the guilt is doubled. That is how Paul spoke about sin from the time of Adam to the time of Moses.
But, even before the Law of Moses, God was at work to undo the deathly effects of sin through the second Adam, Jesus Christ. In fact, the work of salvation in Christ is the polar opposite of the work of Adam (the first Son of God, of sorts—Luke 3:38). People died due to Adam’s work. People live because of Christ’s work. People were condemned due to Adam’s work. People are justified because of Christ’s gift. The gift of God is Jesus and salvation. The formula looks like this: Adam—trespass—condemnation; Jesus—justification—life. Paul made good use of the how much more argument in comparing the two.
The law became God’s highlighter. It underlined what sin really is. But a highlighter also sets off the other words in a sentence too. If the “sin words” are highlighted, then the non-highlighted words underline grace. Grace especially shows up where sin exists. While Paul will have to correct a misunderstanding about this in the next chapter (Romans 6), this justification by grace through faith is “super” news.