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The believer’s assurance (5:1-11)
When God justifies people (declares them to be righteous, or puts them right with him), he brings them into a relationship of peace with himself. In his grace he accepts them into his holy presence, and assures them of one day sharing his glory (5:1-2). Believers’ anticipation of future glory is what the Bible calls hope. Hope in this sense is not a mere wish for something, but the expectation of something that is certain. It is an assured belief that enables believers to persevere through difficulties, and in the process develop Christian character. They have purpose and confidence in this perseverance because the love of God fills their hearts through the Holy Spirit (3-5).
This same love caused Jesus Christ to give his life for sinners. We may at times hear of someone who would give his life for a good person, but Christ died for those who are bad. He died for sinners (6-8). In his death Jesus bore the full wrath of God so that sinners might escape it and be reconciled to God. But Jesus triumphed over death, so that those whom he reconciles are guaranteed a victorious salvation, both in the present life and in the life to come (9-11).
Adam and Christ (5:12-21)
The Bible views the human race as existing originally in Adam. Therefore, when Adam sinned, humankind in general was involved in his sin. This doctrine is known as original sin; that is, humankind sinned originally in Adam (12).
It is true that sin is disobedience to a law, whether that law is in the form of the commandment God gave to Adam or in the form of the law-code he gave to Moses. Yet sin is present even where there is no law. This is clearly seen in the biblical record of the period from Adam to Moses. During that period no specific law-code (such as the law of Moses) was in force, yet death was the common experience of people everywhere. Since human death was the consequence of sin, this shows that sin affected the whole human race, not just Adam (13-14).
Adam’s sin has brought disastrous consequences for the entire human race, but God’s grace is more than able to cancel those consequences. His gift is not just the opposite of Adam’s sin; it is far more. Adam’s one act of sin brought condemnation and death, but God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ brings justification and life, even though people have repeated Adam’s sin countless times (15-16). As humankind’s representative head, Adam brought death. As humankind’s new representative head, Christ brings life (17). In contrast to Adam’s one act of sin is Christ’s one act of righteousness, his death on the cross. Adam was disobedient once, and through him all became sinners. Christ was obedient always, throughout his entire life and even to death, and through him all can be put right with God (18-19).
Although God gave the law to Israel for the people’s good (cf. Leviticus 18:5; Deuteronomy 10:13), in practice it showed up their sin. When the law shows people how much they fall short of God’s standard, sin appears to increase. But no matter how much it increases, God’s grace through Christ can always triumph over it (20-21).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Romans 5". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24