Having bought and repaired numerous broken cars for my family, I have learned something about myself which may be true of all of us. It seems that no matter how hard I try to be objective, I see any car as better than it really is, especially a pretty one I would really like to have. One recent sports model, with a sun roof, seemed to have a lot of potential. Although it had neither an engine nor a transmission, I lifted the hood to look inside. While thinking about how the car might be repaired, I rested my foot on the front bumper. It gave a little. In pursuing the problem, I discovered something I had not noticed before—the frame was cracked.
Probably most of us have bought something, convinced of its great value, only to discover with time and observation that it was not all we expected it to be. Even when purchasing a new automobile, before signing the contract the salesman persuades us to buy an extended service policy. Before the car is even driven off the showroom floor, we must begin to worry about the car breaking down!
There is only one exception—the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ promises men the forgiveness of their sins and the certainty of a relationship with God that will last through all eternity. Once we have entered into this relationship with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, we discover a whole new world of blessings we had not anticipated, all flowing out of our justification by faith. In Romans 5:1-11, Paul enumerates some of the benefits of justification.
There is a vast difference between the “hype” of our world and the “hope” of the gospel. This world’s “hype” always lets us down. But the hope of the gospel only grows. Paul’s words in these verses offer some of the most comforting words a Christian will ever hear. For those who love God and who desire to explore the riches of His grace, Romans 5:1-11 is a gold mine of Biblical truth. Paul speaks here not only of the hope of future blessing, in heaven, but the hope which the Christian finds in the very midst of trials and tribulations. For the Christian living in this world so filled with despair, this message of hope is sweet indeed. Let us revel in the hope of the gospel as we study this passage.
After explaining his relationship to the gospel (1:1-17), Paul sets out to show the righteousness of God as evident in the gospel. God’s righteousness is revealed in His righteous judgment of sin. Presently, God’s wrath is revealed in His response to sin. It will finally be revealed in the eternal judgment of men at the second coming of Jesus Christ. Both Jews and Gentiles have failed to produce the righteousness God has required, and thus all are under the sentence of divine condemnation (Romans 1:18-3:20). God also demonstrates His righteousness in the salvation of men. His wrath toward the sinner was poured out on Jesus Christ who died in the sinner’s place. God’s anger was appeased in Christ, and thus God is able to save and to bless everyone who believes in Jesus Christ and who receives His salvation by faith.
Paul looks more closely in Romans 3:21–5:21 at this justification available to men through faith in the work of Jesus Christ. In Romans 3:21-26, Paul views justification from God’s point of view, focusing on the public demonstration of His righteousness. In Romans 4, justification is viewed from man’s perspective, focusing on the faith by which God’s righteousness is imputed. Now as we come to chapter 5, justification is viewed from an even broader perspective. The first verses of 1-11 look at justification as the basis and the beginning of all of God’s blessings for the believer. Verses 12-21 then look at justification as God’s means of reversing the curse of sin and death brought about by Adam and overturned by Jesus Christ.
Romans 5 falls into two clear segments, verses 1-11 and verses 12-21. If one understands the main theme of verses 1-11 to be “boasting” or “exulting,” the structure of these verses could be seen as follows:
If “the benefits of justification” is the theme of these verses, then the following structure would be preferred, based upon the repeated expression, “having been justified” (verses 1, 9):
Our study will follow this second outline of the structure of the text.
1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we126 have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith127 into this grace in which we stand; and we exult128 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; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit129 who was given to us. 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Verses 1-11 sound somewhat like one of those $19.95 television commercials which begin by promoting such items as a salad machine. Before revealing the price, a set of knives, a glass cutter, and a 35-blade pocket knife are included—all for the remarkably low price of $19.95!
Paul begins Romans by showing the fallen condition of mankind and the righteousness of God in revealing His wrath toward sin. He then shows how God, in righteousness, has provided for man’s salvation, through the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is as though Paul is now saying, almost literally, “But wait, there’s more!” And there is more indeed. All of the blessings and benefits Paul describes here are those which accompany, and which are a result, of our justification by faith. Paul begins with the blessing of peace with God (verse 1) and ends with the praise of God (verse 11). He starts in the past, with the redemption Christ accomplished on the cross of Calvary, and ends in eternity future—in our escape from divine wrath (verse 11) and our enjoyment of the kingdom of God (verse 2).
Justification by faith might be compared to the gift of an admission ticket to Six Flags Over Texas. The admission price covers the price for all rides and amusements inside the park. So it is with justification: the atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ purchases not only our salvation but every spiritual blessing, both now and in the future.
Chapters 3 and 4 describe the gift of justification by faith, largely in terms of the salvation it provides. Now, in these first 11 verses of Romans 5, Paul begins to expound some of the many benefits which accompany our salvation and which flow from our justification by faith. Let us consider these benefits of our justification by faith.
(1) The benefit of peace with God (verse 1). As a result of our justification by faith, Paul writes, we have “peace with God” (verse 1). “Peace with God” is very different from the “peace of God” (see Philippians 4:7). The peace “of God” is that inner tranquillity which God gives to the Christian, even when there is external turmoil. Paul himself evidences this peace as he writes Philippians. But “peace with God” is different. It is that peace which marks the end of our hostility toward God and of His hostility toward us (see Ephesians 2).
“Peace with God,” from the human point of view, is similar to propitiation, from the divine point of view. Our sin brings about divine indignation, divine wrath. The Lord Jesus Christ endured the wrath of God toward the sinner, thus satisfying and appeasing God’s wrath toward those who are in Christ by faith (see Romans 3:25). Since God’s animosity toward the believer has been appeased, God now deals graciously with those who have been justified.
From man’s point of view, the hostilities have ended. The one who has been justified by faith can now breathe a sigh of relief. The war with God is over. Peace has been declared. We have been reconciled to God. Peace is that prerequisite which is followed by many other blessings. All of the benefits described in this passage are first and foremost the result of justification and Second the result of the outgrowth of peace with God.
(2) The benefit of an introduction, by faith, into a standing in grace (verse 2a). Justification opens the door to God’s dealing with men on the basis of grace and not on the basis of works (see 4:16). Since justification is based upon the sacrificial death and righteousness of Jesus Christ, God can deal graciously with men, in spite of their sin. Justification by faith enables God to deal with men in accordance with grace, not in accordance with works. It enables God to bless men who were worthy of death and who deserve His wrath. Justification by faith gives men a place of standing, a place of security. There is no “iffyness” about our standing in grace. Because God deals with us by grace, our justification and our sanctification cannot fail, for it is contingent not upon our performance but upon His grace. And this standing in “grace,” which justification accomplishes, is merely the beginning. Paul calls it an “introduction.” Justification removes the wrath of God and gives us peace with God. We are taken out of the arena of our performance and placed in the arena of divine grace. A whole new world commences as a man is justified by faith, and as time passes, more and more of God’s plans and promises are unveiled before the wondering eyes of the believer.
(3) The benefit of the jubilant hope of a glorious conclusion (verse 2b). Justification by faith is a glorious beginning, but this same justification by faith is also the basis for our confidence in a glorious conclusion. Through the justification which God accomplishes on our behalf, we have confident assurance and joyfully exult in the “hope of the glory of God” (verse 2). The “glory of God” is the promised blessing of enjoying eternity in the presence and glory of God, in His kingdom. It is that reward offered to the righteous (2:5-10) to which all men, due to sin, have fallen short (3:23). That paradise lost by man’s sin, of which we had no human hope, is now a certainty for the one who has been justified by faith.
(4) The benefit of a jubilant hope in present tribulations130 (verses 3-8). Justification gives the Christian a glorious beginning of peace with God and of entrance into the realm of God’s grace, assuring the Christian of a glorious ending—the glory of God. But it also gives confident hope in the present, so that from beginning to end, hope characterizes the Christian life.
Paul does not speak of the present circumstances of the Christian as many religious hucksters do—of peace and prosperity, of health and wealth. Rather, Paul characterizes the normal Christian life as Jesus and the apostles did—a life in which one encounters tribulation (see Matthew 13:21; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 6:4; 7:4; 8:2; Colossians 1:24; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Hebrews 10:33; compare 2 Timothy 3:12).
We hardly need to be convinced to rejoice in times of peace and prosperity. But establishing that Christians can and should boast in their tribulations takes proof. Paul sets out to do just this in verses 3b-8 as he demonstrates the basis for boasting in tribulation on two different grounds. The first proof is found in verses 3b-4, where Paul informs us that we can rightly boast in what God produces in us, by means of our tribulations. The second proof is given in verses 5-8 as Paul writes of that which God has done within us, through His Holy Spirit, based upon our justification.
The Christian should rejoice in his tribulations because of what these are producing in him (verses 3b-4). Tribulation produces “perseverance.” God’s resources are more than sufficient to sustain the Christian, even as he faces adversity and difficulty. As a result, endurance over time produces perseverance—staying power. Likewise, perseverance produces “proven character.” Over a period of time, endurance becomes a state of mind and reflects one’s true character. What we really are becomes most evident in our response to adversity over the long term. Proven character, in turn, produces “hope.” Seeing that we can endure, and that our character has been strengthened in the process of facing life’s trials, we become more and more certain of the future. As we see God’s provisions for the present sustaining us, even in the most difficult circumstances, we become confident that God will surely sustain us to the end. He is the Author, the Sustainer, and the Finisher of our faith (see also Hebrews 12; James 1:2-4, 12; 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:9-10; 2 Peter 1:3-11).
Facing tribulation might be compared to boot camp where the young recruit is taught to take orders and to obey them, under great adversity and in great personal discomfort. The recruit learns to obey, no matter what. As he does, endurance and character develop, and he gains confidence in his ability to perform his duties as a soldier. Or perhaps tribulation could be compared to jogging. In agonizing pain, our bodies cry out in protest. But when we endure, we gain strength of character and improved physical strength and stamina. We feel better and become convinced that we will benefit if we persist.
Although not emphasized here, Paul clearly is not teaching that we gain self-confidence by persevering in tribulation. Rather, we gain confidence in God as we stand amazed at His working in us. A friend related the adversity he faced while working on his car. Nothing was going right. Everything seemed to be going wrong. “Now I know I am a Christian,” he said, with great joy. “Before I was saved, I had a long list of words I used in times like these, but I don’t even use them any more!” My friend saw the change in his own life and recognized that it was the result of God’s grace. Seeing God’s grace at work in his life in times of tribulation assured him that God would finish that work in him which He had begun. And so it should be for every Christian. As our faith endures through life’s tribulations, we become more and more hopeful of that which God has promised to do in the future. Tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and these produce hope.
Tribulation not only develops our character, it also reminds us of God’s character, bringing assurance that our hope will neither disappoint nor will it fail (verses 5-8). And the reason it does not, and cannot, fail is that it rests on the character of God Himself. Our hope is specifically backed by the love of God. God’s love was “poured out within our hearts” (verse 5) at the time of our justification by faith. It was “poured out” by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us at the time of our salvation.
As we reflect on God’s great act of love—our justification—our hope grows greater. For we see the “timing” of this act of love, which Paul urges us to consider. It was the “right time,” when we were “helpless” and “ungodly” (verse 6). Christ loved us “while we were sinners,” while we were worthy only of His eternal wrath. It is unlikely that one would be willing to die for a righteous man. Perhaps, though, one might be willing to die for a “good” man.131 But our Lord died for the unrighteous and the no-good. “While we were yet sinners,” Christ died for us (verse 8, emphasis mine). Now we begin to comprehend that the love of God was dramatically displayed in our justification. His love was poured out in our hearts. And this same love assures us of the hope we have in God’s future promises being fulfilled.
9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 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. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
In many ways, verses 9-11 simply continue the theme of the benefits of justification. Some interesting changes do occur, however. Verse 1 began, “Therefore having been justified by faith …” Verse 9 reads a little differently: “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Let us carefully note the changes which can be briefly summarized.
(1) Verse 9 exchanges the “therefore” of verse 1 for the expression, “much more then.” This change is based upon the argument Paul has just laid down in verses 6-8. If God demonstrates His love for us while we were yet sinners, surely God’s love for us will be even more evident as His children, by faith. The benefits of justification are spoken of now as even more certain. The “now,” not found in verse 1 but added in verse 9, furthers this same argument. If God did so much for us then, out of love, how much more will He do for us now?
(2) Verse 1 speaks of our justification as the result of faith; verse 9 speaks of justification as the result of the redemptive work of Christ—“by His blood.” While both are true, Paul is now stressing that our justification originates with God, as a demonstration of His love. How incomprehensible! That which God did for us, out of His love, was at the cost of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
(3) Verse 2 spoke of the Christian’s exultation in the hope of heaven, “the glory of God”; verse 9 speaks of being spared “from the wrath of God.” Verse 2 speaks of the positive hope of heaven; verse 9 speaks of the avoidance of hell.
(4) In verse 1 Paul speaks of the believer’s peace with God; in verse 11 Paul speaks of the believer’s exulting in God. It is one thing to cease to dread the wrath of God; it is quite another to delight in God. The former seeks to avoid God’s presence; the latter seeks to draw near to Him, in adoration, love, and praise.
(5) The Christian’s hope in present tribulations is the dominant thrust of verses 1-8, while the dominant thrust of verses 9-11 is the Christian’s hope of deliverance from the tribulation of God’s future wrath.
Justification by faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ brings about even greater blessings described in verses 9-11. Justification, based upon the shed blood of Jesus Christ, assures the Christian that God’s wrath has been satisfied, that the penalty for sin has been paid and we no longer need fear divine condemnation. Through faith in the work of Christ, we are saved from the coming wrath of God (verse 9).
The basis for the confidence of verse 9 is given in verse 10. We were enemies of God, yet we were reconciled to God through the death of Jesus Christ. Now, having been reconciled by His death, we are free to enjoy the benefits of His life. If by His death we were reconciled, surely by His life we will be saved from wrath. The death of Christ was an event in time and history with great benefits for the believer. But the life of our Lord is endless, and the benefits of His life hold promise of even greater things in store.
Based upon the redemptive death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, verse 11 concludes by pointing to the exultation which the Christian has in God. If our sin and God’s righteousness caused us to avoid God (as Adam and Eve hid from Him in the Garden of Eden), the death of Christ took away this fear, because justification produced peace with God. The life of our Lord now causes us to delight in God and in His presence. Now we boast in Him. As a result, we find God Himself our great reward. All of this has been accomplished through the cross of Calvary. And all of this is the result of justification.
Several very important truths emerge from our study, along with some practical implications.
(1) The work of Jesus Christ on Calvary is the basis of all spiritual blessings. The prerequisite and basis for all spiritual blessings is justification. For the believer, the work of our Lord Jesus Christ is the well from which are drawn all of the blessings of God. In Christ, God has chosen to save the world and to bless believers. Jesus Christ and His work are central; they are the core of all that is important. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). For now, and in eternity, He is the source of our blessings. He should be the focus of our attention, our adoration, and our obedience. He alone should be the subject of our boasting:
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body the fulness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:18-23).
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19).
And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach (Colossians 1:17-22).
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf, and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:1-3).
If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
Why, if Christ is our righteousness, our Savior, our sufficiency, our source of all spiritual blessings, do some Christians keep looking inward, rather than upward? Why are we so intent on our self-concept—if our salvation, our security, and our blessings are all found in Him? Can it be that we have subtly been turned from Christ in our attention, our focus, and our devotion? I fear this is so. It is not in understanding ourselves that we find it possible to understand God, but in focusing upon Him that we begin to understand ourselves.
Since Christ is the source of all spiritual blessings, then rejecting Him is renouncing and rejecting all the blessings which He alone provides. How tragic the loss if you have rejected the salvation God has made available in Christ! This need not be so. Will you not consider His death on the cross of Calvary which has paid the debt of your sin? Will you not accept the righteousness God has provided in Christ and be justified “by His blood,” saved from the wrath of God through Him?
I find in Paul’s words here, a focus upon the work of Christ at Calvary, not on the individual conversions of the justified. In a previous lesson, I urged Christians to consider their origin, their beginnings. Here I must emphasize that our focus should not be so much on our conversion experience as on the redemption event, the cross of Christ.
A well-known Christian teacher has urged people to “drive a stake” by a commitment of faith. If doubts arise in the future, they can go back to the stake they have driven. This is wrong! We dare not go back to our experience or to what we have done. We must always go all the way back, to the cross, for this is the source of our salvation and our security. The work of Christ, and its benefits, is Paul’s emphasis. May our emphasis be the same.
(2) Our text teaches that Christ’s work is not only the basis for all our spiritual blessings but also assurance of the certainty and security of all these blessings. God’s love in Christ is the assurance of our hope. Our hope rests in Him and in His work—and thus our hope is certain and secure. Hope is not mere wishful thinking, but assurance, based upon God:
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers (1 Timothy 4:10).
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:5-7).
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:18-21).
The world in which we live exists from day to day on hype, not on hope. Hype promises much, but it delivers little. Hype sustains for a moment, but it fails with time and scrutiny. Hype always sounds too good to be true, and it is. Hope is solidly based upon who God is, on what He has done, and on what He has said. That for which we hope in God is even better than we could ever think, imagine, or ask:
but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Christian hope is that blessed assurance which no unbeliever can experience. It is, however, something which the Christian can demonstrate and explain:
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence, and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong (1 Peter 3:14-17).
(3) Christian hope, in the Lord, is not only demonstrated by our endurance in the midst of tribulation, but tribulation actually strengthens our hope. Unlike the misguided and deceiving “good-life gospelizers,” Paul does not sell hope by promising peace and prosperity—a beef steak on every plate and two Mercedes in every garage (beside the pool). Paul says that Christian hope is developed, and God’s love is displayed, in the context of tribulation! Who would ever have thought of this? But it is true. When prosperity comes our way, our hope and affections too often become fixed on the blessings, rather than on the one who blesses, God Himself (see Deuteronomy 8:11-20; 1 Timothy 6:17). When adversity comes our way, we are cast upon God, upon His work, and upon His promises. Who could ask for anything more than this? In such times of trial and testing the love of God, displayed so dramatically on Mount Calvary, is brought to our hearts and minds. Hope which does not fail in tribulation will not fail at all!
Many Christians want God to prosper them, to give them hope. But God sends adversity, which produces hope. Many want God to give them hope so they can endure the tribulations of life. But God gives us the tribulations of life to produce endurance and hope in us. Many want God to prosper them so they will be assured of His love. But God assures us of His love by the cross of Calvary and in the times of our deepest difficulties. How God’s ways surpass our own!
Pressing still further, the tribulations of life actually create in the believer a hunger for heaven:
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
(4) The goal of our hope is the praise of God—our boasting in Him. The last words of our passage tell us that because of our justification by faith, we “exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:11). The blessings God bestows upon us are not intended solely to bless us; they are intended to also produce praise toward God. All too often we view God’s actions from a man-centered point of view. We look at God as though His primary purpose is to “meet our needs” and to bring us joy and happiness. God’s purpose in the world is to demonstrate His glory and to promote His praises. For men, this would be a selfish goal. But not for God; it is for His glory and our highest good.
(5) The blessings resulting from justification are not expounded until after the redemptive work of Christ. The blessings God has in store are not expounded to the unbeliever but to the Christian (note the “we” throughout our text). Why, in our efforts to evangelize the lost, do we emphasize the fringe benefits of justification by faith, rather than justification itself? I fear it is because we are trying to “market” the gospel rather than to preach and proclaim it. I am concerned that we “tempt” people with the benefits of belief in Christ more than we confront them with the straight truth of the gospel, relying on God to convince and convert them.
Let us not forget that in the Gospel of John our Lord promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would “convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). These are the truths we should be proclaiming to lost men. The benefits of justification are those treasures which believers will continue to discover and explore all of their lives, indeed, throughout all eternity. Let us learn from Paul that the true gospel is the message of God’s righteousness, of man’s sin, and of God’s provision through Jesus Christ. The love of God and the blessings of justification can only be understood and experienced by those who have first accepted Christ and have experienced justification by faith. Have you accepted the salvation God has made available in Christ and been justified by faith in Him? May you do so today.
126 The emphasis is now on all Christians, as a whole, and not on Jews and Gentiles. In previous chapters there was a strong emphasis on “they” and “you,” or on Jews and Gentiles. Here, Paul deals with all believers, because the gospel removes all distinctions. Having shown all men to be sinners, Gentiles and Jews, and all to be saved, by faith, without distinction, Paul now refuses to speak of Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Now, it is simply “we.”
127 Paul mentions faith for the last time in verse 2, until it is taken up again in 9:30. Faith, so important to our salvation and Christian life, is nevertheless set aside as a dominant theme in chapters 5-8.
128 The term rendered “exult” here is most often rendered “boast” elsewhere. The term is found three times in our text. Each time, the NASB renders it “exult.” The NIV renders it “rejoice.” The King James Versions renders it “rejoice” (verse 2), “glory” (verse 3), and “joy” (verse 11). It is most important to remember that Paul uses this term in context. Previously, Paul has spoken of that boasting of men in their own achievements, which is improper (see 2:23; 3:27; 4:2). Now, Paul speaks of that boasting (exulting or rejoicing) in God, which is not only proper, but necessary (5:2, 3, 11).
131 It is interesting to note the way Paul distinguishes between a “righteous man” and a “good man.” The “good man” is obviously a better man than a “righteous man.” We might call the “good man” a “good old boy.” Given the “self-righteous” whom Paul has been indicting, the “righteous man” is not spoken of in a very flattering way, and rightly so. No matter how “righteous” some may feel themselves to be, others do not look on them as “good.”