Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Some very true words indeed. As I’ve written on each of these chapters, I’ve found that I’ve really had to think about this material in order that I can relay it back to you all as I write these posts. One really does learn more when they take it upon themselves to teach what they’ve come to understand. Some verses in these chapters have been pretty simple to explain; while other verses have taken me a few hours to read through a few times in order to carefully understand what’s being stated. I think in taking time with the text, particularly with parts that you don’t immediately understand, you’re less likely to come to a conclusion based off of your own biases or assumptions, and more likely to come to a conclusion based off of what the text is telling you.
So continuing along, let’s have a look at Romans 5:2-4. Paul states, “2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;” The Greek word for exult in this verse is kauchaomai, which means to glory, or glory in or on account of a thing. Glory according to the English dictionary means to give great praise or honor. Interestingly, I looked at the Greek word translated to glory in this verse which is doxa. There’s a lot of meanings given for that word, but according to blueletterbible.org, the glory pertaining to God means majesty. So this verse would appear to be stating as a result of our having peace in Christ, we give praise/honor in hope of the majesty of God.
What I want you to see is that this is another example of our hope and our primary focus in this life as followers of Christ is in God and the future with Him, and not in things that He can give us as so unfortunately typically focused on in the mainstream culture of Christianity. Also note, it says we, not just “me”. Again stressing the communal theme of this religion, how we as the body of Christ together put our hope and focus on God, and also how much this is not as much a religion of individualism, if at all, and if so only in a secondary sense. To continue with verse 3, Paul states we give praise/honor in our tribulations.
The Greek word for tribulation is thlipsis, which means pressing, pressing together, pressure, or a metaphor for oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress and straits. Essentially I think what we can gather from this is that it’s referring to difficulties occurring in our lives. I think something to consider here, is if Paul is giving this instruction of giving praise and honor in our tribulations, perhaps it would not be unreasonable to say that this instruction was given with the expectation that tribulations would occur for the body of Christ. There are of course many other verses that would seem to suggest that being members of the body of Christ will not necessarily bring about a “good” life (Rom 8:35, Rom 12:12, 2 Co 1:4, 2 Cor 4:17, Phi 4:14). Not in all instances at least.
As the verse continues, tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. So perhaps when one asks why do we go through bad things in life, we see one reason here is because it’s necessary to develop perseverance, proven character, and hope. Paul continues by stating how God demonstrated His love through Christ dying for the ungodly, and that we are now justified by his blood, and reconciled with God. The last ten verses of this chapter are very thought-provoking and perhaps quite difficult to understand. I will do my best to explain these verses as clearly as possible, and discuss what we learn from them. Let’s first lay out these last ten verses.
Romans 5:12-21 states, “12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all 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 until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then as through one transgression here resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Ok, let’s unpack this. So verse 12 through 14 describe how sin came into the world through Adam, through sin came death to all men since all sinned, death reigned from Adam to Moses, and that Adam was a type of Him to come. Interesting thing about verse 14 which I had to read carefully, it doesn’t state there were those who didn’t sin, it states there were those who didn’t sin in the likeness, or in other words the same way, that Adam did. Verse 15 through 17 lays out the difference between sin that came into the world, and the free gift that came in. The gift through the one man, Jesus Christ, abounds much more to the many than the transgression through Adam, and the gift came as a result of many transgressions, as opposed to sin through one. Paul closes in verse 19 through 21 by reiterating these differences, and I found it interesting how you see disobedience is linked to sin in verse 19. Also interesting is that you see a purpose of the Law coming was so that sin could increase, and as result, grace would abound more, and grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ. It’s quite fascinating how you see a necessary occurrence of things in God’s divine plan for the sake of the greatest good coming in salvation through Jesus Christ.
As always, any thoughts, comments, or questions, feel free to leave a response for further understanding. Peace to all those who are in Christ.