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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Romans 5

Verses 1-11

  1. Intro:
    1. Believers Benefit Package! - Besides a workers salary, he/she might have received a compensation package which might include…
      1. A Benefit Package; A Signing Bonus; & Death Benefits.
  2. BENEFIT PACKAGE! (1,2)
    1. This chapter is better than the Ginsu Knives advertisements…
      1. Their ads ask, "How much would you pay? Don't answer!". Then they included their signature line, "But wait! There's much much more!". And, “if you act now we’ll throw in w/your set of steak knives, a stainless potato peeler.” And not only that…but wait!
      2. Paul does that here. Not only are we justified (debt forgiven) & made righteous (His rt placed in our account)
    2. "But wait! There's more!"
    3. Peace! (Shalom)
      1. Not a state of inner tranquility. “It means to be in a relationship w/God in which all hostility caused by sin has been removed!”
      2. A sign in front of a church said, "If life is a puzzle, look here for the missing peace" and spelled that last word p-e-a-c-e!
      3. Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace. Not the Prince of Hope (though that would be appropriate). Not the Prince of Love. Not the Prince of Faith. He is called the Prince of Peace.
      4. Oh, and caution! - Peace with God = War with Satan!
        1. You’ll never read anywhere in Scripture that you’ll have Peace w/Satan!
    4. "But wait! There's more!"
    5. Access to God!
      1. ​​​​​​​By faith we have gained access into this gracious relationship.
    6. "But wait! There's more!"
    7. Hope of sharing the glory of God!
      1. ​​​​​​​We rejoice in our hope of getting to share in the glory of God. Thus, we can face the future w/joy!
      2. We can already reflect that glory by living an obedient life.
  3. SIGNING BONUS! (3-5)
    1. ​​​​​​​And not only that - "But wait! There's more!"
    2. 4 time golden glove winning catcher, Yadier Molina[YAH-dee-air] Puerto Rico, received $75 million for 5 years to play with St. Louis Cardinals, & gave him a signing bonus for $1mil.
      1. In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hoping $25,000 signing bonuses will lure new top-shelf principals to Chicago, to run as many as 50 low-scoring schools. March 3, 2012
    3. Paul records 3 Signing Bonuses for the believer:
      1. Perseverance, Character, Hope.
    4. TRIBULATION produces PERSEVERANCE!
    5. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​But what about the sufferings of Christians? Don’t they take away from our blessedness?
      1. A: No, there is much value to sufferings!
    6. Tribulation - suffering, affliction, hardships, pressures.
      1. ​​​​​​​(lit.) Pressure - It describes distress that is brought on by outward circumstances.
    7. Perseverance - patient endurance. The capacity to endure calmly, confidently & w/o complaint. (J. Sidlow Baxter)
      1. Trials work for us, not against us. And they develop Christian character!
      2. Tribulation is a thorny tree, but it yields sweet fruit.
      3. Example: A guitar string only fulfills its purpose when it is removed from its old package, stretched as tight as it will go, & then plucked!
      4. Example: When a storm comes at sea, a ship turns to face the tempest. If the vessel allows the storm to hit its side, it will capsize. If it turns its back to the storm, the storm will drive it wherever the wind blows. Only in facing the storm is the ship safe.
      5. Remember, "The dark clouds are things that pass; the blue heavens always abide."
    8. PERSEVERANCE produces CHARACTER!
    9. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Character – describes the quality of being approved; i.e. standing the test.
      1. After William Carey was well established in his pioneer missionary work in India, his supporters in England sent a printer to assist him. Soon the two men were turning out portions of the Bible for distribution. Carey had spent many years learning the language so that he could produce the scriptures in the local dialect. He had also prepared dictionaries and grammars for the use of his successors. One day while Carey was away, a fire broke out and completely destroyed the building, the presses, many Bibles, and the precious manuscripts, dictionaries, and grammars. When he returned and was told of the tragic loss, he showed no sign of despair or impatience. Instead, he knelt and thanked God that he still had the strength to do the work over again. He started immediately, not wasting a moment in self-pity. Before his death, he had duplicated and even improved on his earlier achievements. [How would you respond? How have you responded?]
    10. CHARACTER produces HOPE!
    11. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Hope – Is the final level in these 3 steps toward spiritual maturity.
      1. Hope always burns brightly in those whose character has been developed through overcoming trails.
      2. “Hope is not the tuition we pay as we enroll in the school of adversity. Rather, it is the diploma awarded to those who by the grace of God do well on the tests.” (Shepherds Notes, pg.35.)
      3. Priest & poet George Herbert wrote in The Temple (1593-1633), "He who lives in hope danceth without music."
    12. (5) Love of God poured out in our hearts!
      1. Frequently at the great Roman games the emperors, in order to gratify the citizens of Rome, would cause sweet perfumes to be rained down upon them through the awning which covered the amphitheater. (Spurgeon)
        1. Such is the love of God!
      2. It reminds me of the ride Soaring Over California at Disney’s California Adventure, the simulated hang-glider flight over California.
        1. You feel your feet dangle free as you are suspended up 45’ in the air.
        2. You're immersed inside a massive 80’ domed screen projected all around you.
        3. Your flight is accompanied by calming movement & a tranquil musical soundtrack.
        4. And injected into the air stream that’s blowing on you is the scent of orange blossoms as you fly over a Ventura’s Orange fields.
    13. Billy Graham taught…
      1. When we preach Atonement, it is atonement: planned by love, provided by love, given by love, finished by love, & necessitated because of love.
      2. When we preach the Resurrection of Christ, we are preaching the miracle of love.
      3. When we preach the Return of Christ, we are preaching the fulfillment of love.
    14. These words in vs.5 teach the inwardness of true, Christian religion.
      1. Christianity isn’t only something believed; it is something experienced.
      2. “Christianity is God, no longer in Temples of man’s building, but immediately known & possessed in the human heart through direct invasion of the Holy Spirit.” (J. Sidlow Baxter. Awake My Heart, pg.162.)
  4. DEATH BENEFITS! (6-11)
    1. ​​​​​​​If he did so much for us when we were enemies, think what He will do for us now that we are His children.
    2. Death Benefits? Yes, His death...is our Benefit!
      1. ​​​​​​​A Death Benefits is the payment made to a beneficiary from a policy, when the policyholder dies. Also called survivor benefits.
      2. Jesus is the policyholder. We are the beneficiary. We reap the survivor benefits.
    3. (8) These 4 words are the most important for humanity, ever recorded. Christ died for us!
      1. ​​​​​​​It is a Historical Act/Christ died; It has Theological Significance/for us.
      2. In 1944, C.E. Goodman of Hallmark Greeting Cards wrote a slogan: "When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best."
        1. We can say the same about God the Father!
      3. J.C.Ryle, “Sin must indeed be exceeding sinful, when the Father must needs give His only Son to be the sinner's Friend!”
      4. We can be Triply-sure God loves us! (H.S. in vs.5b - Father in 8a - Jesus in 8b)
    4. (9) Another benefit of justification is the assurance it brings about the final judgment, saved from wrath.
      1. Wishful thinking? Good guess work? – Nope, it is based upon the solid foundation of what God HAS already done!
        1. Note: His blood,…not our sweat & tears!
      2. And he did this based on our goodness? No, our badness!
        1. We were His enemies. We were at our very worse!
      3. There is a saying among Italian sculptors, who often miss the chisel and hit their own hands with the hammer: When the blood flows out, the mastery enters.
        1. It was so with Jesus. It was his death on Calvary that made him the master of our souls. "There is power in the blood."
    5. (10,11) My insecure Christian friends listen to vs.10,11 well!
      1. This is God’s how-much-more argument!
      2. If God did this when we were at our worst, how much more will He do for us, now that we have been made right w/Him :)
        1. ​​​​​​​A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.
      3. Last Song: Before the throne of God above - I have a strong and perfect plea – A great High Priest whose name is Love - Who ever lives and pleads for me.

        There is a story about a general under the Emperor Cyrus. While he was away, his wife was accused of treason and sentenced to die. The general returned before the sentence was carried out. He pleaded with Cyrus to let him die in his wife's place. Cyrus was touched. "Love like that must not be spoiled by death," Cyrus said. He pardoned the wife. And as they left the palace, the husband said, "Did you notice how kindly the king looked at us when he gave you a free pardon?" She said, "No. I had no eyes for the king. I saw only the man who was willing to die for me."

        ***Do you have eyes only for Jesus, who was not only willing but did die for you?

Verses 12-21

  1. Intro:
    1. Pre-prayer: It broke my heart talking to my neighbor once, how heartbroken he was that his church refused him communion because of his divorce 20 yrs earlier.
      1. It reminds me of the man who was excommunicated & forbidden entry into his church. He cried out to God, “They wont let me in, Lord, because I’m a sinner.” “What are you complaining about?” said God. “They won’t let Me in either.”
      2. Slide#2 Often hobbling through our church doors on Sunday morning comes grace on crutches - sinners still unable to throw away their false supports & stand upright in the freedom of the children of God. Yet, their mere presence in the church on Sunday morning is a flickering candle representing a desire to maintain contact w/ God. To douse the flame is to plunge them into a world of spiritual darkness. (Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel, pg.31.)
    2. I hope when you come to CM you can leave your white hat at home & admit you’ve failed.
      1. Thus, I don’t need to apply spiritual cosmetics to make myself presentable to Him.
      2. God not only loves me as I am, but knows me as I am. Pray!
    3. If Jesus appeared at your dining room table tonight w/knowledge of everything you are & are not, total comprehension of your life story & every skeleton hidden in your closet; if He had laid out your real state of your present discipleship w/the hidden agenda, the mixed motives, & the dark desires buried in your psyche, you would feel His acceptance & forgiveness. (Ibid, pg.63.)
      1. Read intro to Ragamuffin Gospel, pg.14,15.
      2. What is Christianity to you? Is it: Do it yourself spirituality? Is your emphasis on what you do rather than on what God is doing? Are you a self-made man/woman?
      3. You are not ready to accept true biblical Christianity until you accept your inadequacy & insufficiency. Until your security is shattered & your bootstraps are cut. Until you realize you cannot add even a single inch to your spiritual stature.
        1. Often folks approach to the Christian life is as absurd as the enthusiastic young man who had just received his plumbers license & was taken to see Niagara Falls. He studied it for a minute & then said, “I think I can fix this.” (Anthony De Mello, Taking Flight: A Book of Story Meditations.)
      4. Jesus invited sinners & not the self-righteous to is table.
        1. Mt.9:13 says, For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.
        2. Call in Greek is Kalein & has the sense of inviting an honored guest to dinner.
      5. Morton Kelsey, The church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.
    4. Can we get honest & admit we are a bundle of paradoxes?
      1. I believe & I doubt, I hope & I get discouraged, I love & I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting & suspicious. I am honest & I still play games. (Brennan Manning, pg.25)
    5. The Good News of the gospel of grace cries out: We are all, equally, privileged but unentitled beggars at the door of God’s mercy!
      1. Jesus comes not for the super-spiritual but for the wobbly & the weak-knee’d who know they don’t have it all together, & who are not too proud to accept the handout of amazin’ grace!
    6. In ch.4, Paul went all the way back to Abraham & David to explain how God justifies sinners…now he goes all the way back to Adam!
    7. How would you like the title “the sinful father of all people”? (i.e. Adam)
      1. But in contrast we also hear of Jesus, “the sinless Savior of all people”.
  2. ADAM TO MOSES! (12-14)
    1. (12) Through one man sin entered…death spread - Like the man who on a ship went down into his birth & started cutting a whole into the side of the ship. When yelled at to stop he said, “What does it matter to you? The hole I’ve made is under my own berth.”
      1. Adam affected all by cutting a whole in the side of life’s ship, in that, we’re all on the same boat!
    2. Sin entered the world...and thus death spread to all men.
      1. Entered = means that sin went in the world’s front door (by means of Adam’s sin).
      2. Spread = literally “passed or went through” or “spread through.” Death penetrated the entire human race, like a vapor permeating all of a house’s rooms.
        1. Noah probably understood this truth better than any. Looking out his boat at all the floating carcasses. Or, maybe…
        2. Abraham looking at the ashes of Sodom & Gomorrah. Or, maybe…
        3. Moses who watched the earth open up & swallow Korah, Dathan, & Abiram.
  3. ADAM & JESUS! (15-19)
    1. A. 5 parallels. (1st 3 contrasts; last 2 comparisons)
      1. (15) Adam’s trespass vs. free gift of God’s grace in Jesus.
      2. (16) Adam brought condemnation vs. Jesus, justification.
      3. (17) Adams death vs. Jesus, life.
      4. (18) Adams condemnation vs. Jesus, acquittal.
      5. (19) Adams disobedience vs. Jesus, obedience.
  4. SIN & GRACE! (20-21)
    1. (20a) The Law makes wrong doing all the worse.
      1. It was never intended to provide salvation, but to convince people of their need for it!
      2. A stick really looks crooked when you hold it next to a straight one.
      3. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.
        1. But where sin increased…Grace “superabounded”, “surpassed by far”, “exceeded immeasurably”, “overflowed beyond”.
        2. God lavished His grace upon us beyond all measure!
    2. Remember in the game of Monopoly it has one card that when someone lands on Chance, it reads "Return to 'Go'-collect $200." - The irony of the directive is that in one respect it seems to penalize, but in another it rewards.
      1. Go back & start over,…but start over again richer!
      2. Salvation is the same, Go back & start over,…but start over again richer!
        1. ​​​​​​​Richer in His Peace; richer because access is granted; richer in love, Grace, mercy, hope, glory.
      3. But I also liked these 2 “chance” cards I found (Keynote pics).
        1. You find out you actually died 18 turns ago. Float your token above the board & make “ooo” noises for the rest of the game.
        2. You have angered your God. This card can’t help you now!
    3. (20) Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
      1. (msg) sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition w/the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.
      2. Our text might be freely translated, “where sin reached a high-water mark, grace completely flooded the world.” (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans, pg.122)
      3. Some words convey a multitude of ideas:
        1. Say the word world & the minds runs around the globe & sees continents, islands, seas, shores, mountains, valleys, cities.
        2. Say the word atom & you think of Hiroshima, or electrons, protons, neutrons, & other particle all whirling in order.
        3. But the word grace carries us beyond the universe into the heart of God.
          1. As the scientist use the cyclotron & the betatron to penetrate the heart of the invisible atom so we use the word grace to penetrate the infinite heart of God
          2. By no other way can a creature come to the Creator; and By no other means can a sinner stand before a holy God.
      4. Also, God never withholds grace because of sin.
        1. The fundamental idea here in our text is that no dam erected by sin can stop the flow of God’s grace.
          1. ​​​​​​​The great dams of the world, such as Aswan(Egypt), Hoover, Shasta, are used to arrest the flow of rivers or to divert the flow from their normal course. But nothing can arrest or divert the flow of the grace of God.
        2. Adam had not gone very far from the scene of his rebellion before the grace of God sought him, called him by name, pursued him in the obscurity of the grove where he was hiding.
          1. If God had struck this guilty sinner & banished him to outer darkness forever, such action would have indicated that God worked by trial & error, & that this was one of his larger errors. But such was not the case!
          2. Of course God knew what was going to happen, yet not responsible for his sin. He knew that it would occur, & He would use it as the backdrop against which to display the wonders of grace.
          3. God did not withhold His grace because of Adam’s sin. Instead, He made great promises of grace. Announcing that the Messiah would come, the Deliverer, the Seed of the woman, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would destroy the destroyer & bring man back into fellowship with Himself.
            1. Matter of fact, the first blood ever shed on this planet was shed by God Almighty to provide covering for the man & woman who believed His word about the redemption that would be provided.
          4. Grace was not withheld because of sin; Grace was given in spite of sin.
    4. (21) Two Queens (sin & grace reigning) - struggle between 2 queens.
      1. Sin reigning - Last week I stood on the lowest place on the planet, at the Dead Sea, 1,391’ below sea level. You could stand upon the highest elevation, Mount Everest (in Nepal), at 29,035’. We can both jump at the same time & try to reach the stars but neither of us will.
        1. And both of us, in our own righteousness can’t reach the righteousness that God demands
          1. Yet remember, this queen’s reign, as it were, is a reign in a cemetery, & her subjects are dead.
        2. Our God is “A God who demands everything & stops at nothing!” Just ask Jesus, He’ll tell His story again this Good Friday!...about a God who demanded everything & stopped at nothing...FOR YOU!
      2. Grace reigning - both queens exercise dominion; both stand face to face; each recognize as her enemy the other; there is a constant struggle between them. Not only in the wide field of the world but in the narrow crevices of our hearts of each of us.
        1. On the other hand we have grace & life! - Grace that superabounds, surpasses by far, exceeds immeasurably, overflows constantly; oh & Life that is Eternal!
          1. But as LKGNT says(Linguistic Key to the Greek N.T. pg.361) “Eternal life is not only related to the future, but is organically related to the actual life lived & is a present possession of the believer.”
    5. I pray you wont be like the frustrated ship's captain of 2,500 tons of garbage on a barge
      1. This trashes story became a 16 year odyssey, before returning to the U.S.
      2. A prolonged sanitation strike left the city of Philadelphia without a local landfill to dump its trash. So in 1986 it was put on a ship and sent to sea. No other country would accept the trash - not the Bahamas, Bermuda, Honduras or the Dominican Republic. Senegal, Cape Verde, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines also banned the barge.
      3. At one point the ship's frustrated captain dumped most of the trash into the ocean. All except for 4,000 tons that was re-christened as "fertilizer" and delivered to unsuspecting officials in Haiti. After 12 years of worldwide protests, the mountain of trash finally was shipped back to the U.S. - The federal government actually paid to have what was left on the beach in Haiti scooped up, put on another barge and taken to the state of Florida. But Florida didn't want it either. So where did it go? Back to Philadelphia in a County landfill, just about 100 miles from where it started the journey. [An article from ABC News; July 16, A Long Haul To The Trash Dump] (http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=130230&page=1#.T3dRku2CBQU)
      4. So many people carry around their garbage, their sin, for years. Not knowing where to dump it. How to get rid of it. Month after month, year after year.
        1. Then to find out the answer is right in their backyard, not even 100 miles away, but as far away as a whisper of repentance, at the invitation of His grace.
        2. Jesus says, come dump all your garbage at the foot of my cross. Bury it here!
    6. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Communion:
      1. Luke 19:5-7 (Jesus to Zacchaeus) “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
        1. Every communion, many that don’t understand grace, would still say the same.
        2. Jesus invited sinners & not the self-righteous to is table.
        3. By grace receive His body; by grace receive His blood.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Romans 5". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/romans-5.html. 2017.