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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 1
ROMANS Chapter 5
The design of this chapter, which has usually been considered as one of the most difficult portions of the New Testament, especially Ro 5:12-21, is evidently to show the results or benefits of the doctrine of justification by faith. That doctrine the apostle had now fully established. He had shown in the previous chapters,
(1.) that men were under condemnation for sin;
(2.) that this extended alike to the Jews and the Gentiles;
(3.) that there was no way of escape now but by the doctrine of pardon, not by personal merit, but by grace;
(4.) that this plan was fully made known by the gospel of Christ; and
(5.) that this was no new doctrine, but was, in fact, substantially the same by which Abraham and David had been accepted before God.
Having thus stated and vindicated the doctrine, it was natural to follow up the demonstration, by stating its bearing and its practical influence. This he does by showing that its immediate effect is to produce peace, Ro 5:1. It gives us the privilege of access to the favour of God, Ro 5:2. But not only this, we are in a world of affliction. Christians, like others, are surrounded with trials; and a very important question was, whether this doctrine would have an influence in supporting the soul in those trials. This question the apostle discusses in Ro 5:3-11. He shows that in fact Christians glory in tribulation, and that the reasons why they do so are,
(2.) That the cause of this was, that the love of God was shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. This doctrine he further confirms by showing the consolation which would be furnished by the fact that Christ had died for them. This involved a security that they would be sustained in their trials, and that a victory would be given them. For,
(1.) it was the highest expression of love that he should die for
enemies, Ro 5:6-8.
(2.) It followed that if he was given for them when they were
enemies, it was much more probable, it was certain, that all
needful grace would be furnished to them now that they were
reconciled, Ro 5:9-11.
But there was another very material inquiry. Men were not only exposed to affliction, but they were in the midst of a wreck of things—of a fallen world—of the proofs and memorials of sin everywhere. The first man had sinned, and the race was subject to sin and death. The monuments of death and sin were everywhere. It was to be expected that a remedy from God would have reference to this universal state of sin and woe; and that it would tend to meet and repair these painful and wide-spread ruins. The apostle then proceeds to discuss the question, how the plan of salvation, which involved justification by faith, was adapted to meet these universal and distressing evils, Ro 5:12-21. The design of this part of the chapter is to show that the blessings procured by the redemption through Christ, and the plan of justification through him, greatly exceed all the evils which had come upon the world in consequence of the apostasy of Adam. And if this was the case, the scheme of justification by faith was complete. It was adapted to the condition of fallen and ruined man, and was worthy of his affection and confidence. A particular examination of this argument of the apostle will occur in the Notes on verses 12—21.
Verse 1. Therefore (oun). Since we are thus justified, or as a consequence of being justified, we have peace.
We. That is, all who are justified. The apostle is evidently speaking of true Christians.
See also Isa 32:17:—
"And the work of righteousness shall be peace,
And the effect of righteousness
Quietness and assurance for ever."
This is called peace, because
(2.) The state of a sinner's mind is far from peace. He is often agitated, alarmed, trembling. He feels that he is alienated from God. For
"The wicked are like the troubled sea,
For it never can be at rest;
Whose waters east up mire and dirt."
The sinner, in this state, regards God as his enemy. He trembles when he thinks of his law; fears his judgments; is alarmed when he thinks of hell. His bosom is a stranger to peace. This has been felt in all lands—alike under the thunders of the law of Sinai among the Jews, in the pagan world, and in lands where the gospel is preached. It is the effect of an alarmed and troubled conscience.
(3.) The plan of salvation by Christ reveals God as willing to be reconciled. He is ready to pardon, and to be at peace. If the sinner repents and believes, God can now consistently forgive him, and admit him to favour. It is therefore a plan by which the mind of God and of the sinner can become reconciled, or united in feeling and in purpose. The obstacles, on the part of God, to reconciliation, arising from his justice and law, been removed, and he is now willing to be at peace. The obstacles on the part of man, arising from his sin, his rebellion, and his conscious guilt, may be taken away, and he can now regard God as his friend.
(4.) The effect of this plan, when the sinner embraces it, is to produce peace in his own mind. He experiences peace; a peace which the world gives not, and which the world cannot take away, Php 4:7; 1 Pe 1:8; Joh 16:22.
Usually, in the work of conversion to God, this peace is the first evidence that is felt of the change of heart. Before, the sinner was agitated and troubled. But often suddenly, a peace and calmness is felt, which is before unknown. The alarm subsides; the heart is calm; the fears die away, like the waves of the ocean after a storm. A sweet tranquillity visits the heart—a pure shining light, like the sunbeams that break through the opening clouds after a tempest. The views, the feelings, the desires are changed; and the bosom that was just before filled with agitation and alarm, that regarded God as its enemy, is now at peace with him, and with all the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ. By means of the atonement of the Lord Jesus. It is his mediation that has procured it.
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