By Andrew E. Courtis
In Romans 5 Paul provides the reader with both the blessings of justification (5:1-11) and the basis of justification (5:12-21). The blessings that flow out of being justified cause Paul to rejoice on three occasions (5:2, 3, 11). The word “rejoice” has also been translated as “to boast” or “glory in”. He has made it clear that those who are justified by faith cannot boast in their works (3:27, 4:2), but they can boast in what God has done.
1. REJOICE BECAUSE OF OUR STANDING (5:1-2)
The first reason why Paul rejoices is because of the believer’s standing. In verses 1-2 Paul lists three blessings relating to the believer’s solid standing before God. Before we were justified, we stood before God as sinners (3:9, 23) with His wrath upon us (John 3:36). However, the moment a believer is “justified by faith” they “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. This means that His wrath is removed and there is no hostility. The second blessing is “access by faith into this grace”. God has made it possible for us to come before Him and enjoy His grace (Eph. 2:18, 3:12; Heb. 4:16). Finally, Paul rejoices in the believer’s standing because our future destiny. He says, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (5:2). With certainty, Paul expects to see and participate in the glory of God in the future. The day will come for all those who have been justified that they will see the glory of God and partake in it (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2).
2. REJOICE BECAUSE OF OUR SUFFERING (5:3-8)
The Christian life is a process in which we by God’s grace grow in the image of Jesus Christ. Scripture and experience make it plain that this process is not always easy and will be accompanied by struggle and suffering. Paul stated in verse 3, “we rejoice in our sufferings”. Why? Suffering is a part of the pathway that leads to future glory. He continues, “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (5:3b-4). Adding to this, Paul tells his readers that this hope will not be disappointing “because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (5:5). Though the pathway will be tough, the Lord will love His people to the end (John 13:1). This great love of God for His people is demonstrated by the fact that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8).
3. REJOICE BECAUSE OF OUR SALVATION (5:9-11)
The third reason why Paul rejoices as a justified believer is because of our salvation. The believer’s salvation includes present reconciliation with God and the removal of His wrath in the future. This is a certainty for every believer. If God sent His Son to willingly suffer the wrath of God for us while we were enemies, how much more will He see to it that we will be saved from future wrath (5:9-10)? Because of the certainty of the believer’s eternal salvation Paul declares “we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (5:11).
1. What is the basis of the blessings God gives His people in this passage? See 5:1a
2. What are the three blessings that relate to the Christians standing before God? See 5:1-2.
P___________ with God (John 14:27)
A___________ to Grace (Eph. 2:18, 3:12; Heb. 4:16)
H___________ of Glory (Rom. 8:29; Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:2)
Discuss their significance in daily living.
3. How is suffering to be viewed as a part of a pathway that leads to glory? See 5:3-5
4. How does the discussion of the love of God in 5:6-8 help when talking about suffering leading to glory?
5. Why is Paul so certain that those who are justified will be eternally saved? See 5:9-11