2.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland. Churches are helping but the financial burden is too much.
Consider helping today!

Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Romans 5

Verses 1-21

Shall we turn now in our Bibles to the fifth chapter of Romans.

Since chapter 3 Paul has been talking about justification by faith. How that God has declared me innocent because of my faith in Jesus Christ. Believing that He took my sin and died in my place; He became my substitute. He took God's judgment for my sin. He bore it for me. By my believing in Him, God declares me innocent of all charges, justified by faith.

In chapter 4 he illustrates from the Old Testament, from Abraham, the truth of justification by faith. Then gave to us the keys to Abraham's faith. So having set forth the treatise on justification by faith, in chapter 5 he begins,

Therefore being justified by faith ( Romans 5:1 ),

Having been justified by faith he begins to speak of the results in our own personal life and experience; that which I have experienced because of justification by faith.

The first benefit or blessing of justification by faith is that,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ( Romans 5:1 ).

Something that would not be possible if I were justified by works that is possible for any length of period. As Christians there is, it seems, an inconsistency at times between my profession and my walk. I do not always do those things that are pleasing unto the Father. I cannot with Jesus say, "I do always those things that please the Father." I wish I could. I can't. Sometimes my works are outstanding. Sometimes I do extremely well. Other times I fail.

Now, if I were justified by works, then I would have peace with God as long as I was doing good. But when I failed, that peace would again be broken. But because I am justified by faith, I do believe in Jesus Christ; that doesn't change. I believe that He is the Son of, that He came to redeem the world, that He died for my sins, that He arose again the third day, and He is at the right hand of the Father making intercession for me, and I believe that He is coming again to establish God's kingdom on the earth.

Sometimes I don't do what is right, but my belief never changes. Even when I am doing something wrong, I still have a solid faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, because my peace with God is predicated upon justification by faith I have always peace with God. As we studied last week, Paul's quotation of Psalm 32 , "Oh how happy is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity." Because I am justified by faith, my faith in Jesus Christ is unswerving, God does not impute or account iniquity to me. I have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.


I have access by faith into this grace ( Romans 5:2 )

This glorious grace that God has manifested unto me, I have access into that grace through faith. Then I

rejoice in the hope of the glory of God ( Romans 5:2 ).

How wonderful it is that God has given to us this living hope through Jesus Christ. That is something that today the world's philosophy cannot offer to man. The existential philosophy has concluded that there is no universal good, that there is no universal truth. That truth must be experienced individually and it is how you see a thing and how you feel about a thing that constitutes truth to you. But it is a personal individual matter.

We can see examples of existentialism in art, the modern art, as you look at the paintings where it looks like some fellow has stood across the room and taken little plastic bags full of paint and thrown them against the canvas, and they exploded when they hit the canvas and popped out in all directions, and then they give some kind of a title to the thing, "Sunset at Maui." I have looked at some of those modern art paintings, and for the life of me I can't see anything in them. Someone stands there and says, "Oh, isn't that beautiful? Oh isn't that lovely?"

It is one of those things that you have got to see it yourself and interpret yourself. Now, when I was a kid we used to have Spanish stucco on the ceiling, and we used to see horses and things in the ceiling, but it takes a bit of imagination. You see the effect of it, you have to experience it, you interpret it for yourself, that is the whole ideal and the purpose of the art is to express the philosophy.

Coming home from Hawaii, my wife and I watched some dumb movie and it was one of those movies that they didn't put the end on it. You know the guy just goes walking off. Now, I don't know if he committed suicide or he sobered up and got right. You don't know what happened. They didn't finish the story; suddenly you see the end. Man, that's not the end, they didn't finish it. I was so mad that I wasted the time watching the unfinished story, but that again is a classic example of existential philosophy. And its purpose is to let you experience it and you put the end on the story. The story has a thousand different ends. Because each of us sees in it what we want to see. We, each of us, interpret it for ourselves.

Some of the modern music today is existentialism. I can't for the life of me find the melody. All I get is the beat, and you have to put in what you want. They provide the beat and you put in the melody. These are all examples of existential philosophy. Now, the result then of existential philosophy is a separation of people. It creates loneliness and isolation. It puts me in my own little island and you in your own little island, and I don't know if I am thinking what you are thinking, and you don't know if you are thinking as I am thinking, because we are alienated by the philosophy. I don't know if you are seeing in that picture what I am seeing. Now you know there are forms of art when you see the barn, and therefore and the cow on the fields and I have no problem with that. I can say that is a barn and that is a fence and that is a cow. I have no problem with that, and I know that when you look at it you can see a barn, and a fence, and a cow, because they are obvious. I am unified with you. As we stand there and look at it, I feel unified with you because I know you are seeing the same thing I'm seeing.

So the effect of existential is that of separation of man and making man isolated on an island. As each of us interpret life and truth as we experience it ourselves, but declaring that there is no universal truth or there is no universal good, that it is a matter of a person's individual experience, they have despaired of ever discovering truth or good.

Existential philosophy has concluded that reality can only bring despair and a person cannot live in despair, thus you must escape reality. And we see a world full of people trying to escape reality. They are trying to escape in so many different things, into nomadism, into drugs, into alcoholism, into impulsive eating, impulsive gambling, or so many ways by which a person is seeking to escape the world in which he lives. Existential philosophy suggests that a person take a leap of faith into a non-reason religious experience. Because you cannot live in reality because that is hopeless. You either escape reality, or you have some kind of a religious experience. That again is very unique and isolated. You can't explain it, but there is a sense, a consciousness of well-being. They talk about the ultimate experience.

We do have a hope. We can be real people. We can live in reality. As a Christian I can live in reality and I realize that the world is corrupt. I realize that government has failed. I realize that we have not and will not discover the solutions for world peace. And I agree with the existential philosophers that if you think we are going to discover world peace, you are not a realist. You are not living in reality. You are living in a fool's paradise. Reality would bring me to despair if I didn't have the hope of Jesus Christ. Because I have a hope in Jesus Christ, I can face the reality of life, but still rejoice in the hope because I know that when He comes we are going to live in a world of peace. We are going to live in a world where we don't have to worry about our grandchildren going to the market to buy a loaf of bread, being exposed to pornography or being exposed to the possibility of being accosted by some pervert.

That world is coming, it isn't now. And as long as Satan reigns it never will be. Satan isn't going to reign forever, thank God. Jesus is coming and is going to establish God's kingdom, and we shall sing the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever, forever, hallelujah, hallelujah. It will be cause for great praise. I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. I have tonight a living hope for the future. Not in man, but in Jesus Christ and in God's kingdom. Not only so, this isn't all, he says,

We also glory in tribulation ( Romans 5:3 ):

What kind of a nut are you, Paul, to glory in tribulations?

Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said, "Rejoice when men speak evil of you, for my name's sake. When men persecute you for righteousness sake. Blessed are you when men shall persecute you for righteousness sake, rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

The Bible tells us to count it all joy when you fall into diverse problems. I haven't achieved that yet, but I am working on it.

We glory in tribulation. How is it that I can glory in tribulation? I glory in tribulation because I have learned that in every trial there is an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in my life, and to work in my life. I have learned when there is pressure, when there are problems to just wait on the Lord. It took me a long time to learn that.

Right now we are waiting upon the Lord in regards to the bid we made upon the site in Newport Beach. The school board tells us that in two weeks that they will make their decision. I can honestly say that I am not tense. I am not nervous. I am not really concerned. If we get it, we get it; if we don't, we don't. When we bought the Greenville School from the Santa Ana School District, we put in a bid and we didn't even go to the board meeting where they were going to have the oral bids once they had opened the sealed bids that had come in. We just submitted a bid on a school and let it go at that. One morning the school secretary called me and said, "You just bought a school." I said, "Well, praise the Lord." In these times we have an opportunity to wait on God and see Him work, thus,

tribulation worketh patience ( Romans 5:3 ),

As I learned to wait upon God,

patience brings experience ( Romans 5:4 ),

Because as I wait upon God, I experience the work of God. I see God work. I learn by experience that God does work in every situation where we just wait on Him. I experience that work of God, and as I experience God's faithfulness in working out my problems, it only then enhances that hope. So I glory in tribulation because I know there is another opportunity for God to work in my life, for me to experience afresh God's love and God's grace as He works in my situation. As I see the work of God completed, my hope just gets stronger. Yes, God is faithful. Yes, God will keep His word. Yes, the Lord will establish His kingdom that He promised.

the experience, hope: and the hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us ( Romans 5:4-5 ).

So I have this glorious hope as God just pours out His love over my life through the Holy Spirit.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died ( Romans 5:6 )

For the good, sweet, wonderful, generous, kind people? No. Fortunately He died

for the ungodly ( Romans 5:6 ).

Oh, may the Holy Spirit take and stamp this truth deep in our hearts tonight. Christ died for the ungodly. I qualify.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us ( Romans 5:7-8 ).

When did God start loving you? When you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ? When you raised your hand and you went forward? When you said the sinner's prayer? Did God say, "Oh, isn't that sweet? I am going to love them now." No, God commended or displayed His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly. Because He died for us in that ungodly state, I have no place in myself whereof to boast. Well, the Lord died for me because He saw that I was doing my best. He knew I was trying hard; He knew I had potential? No! The grace of God is complete. Christ died for me when I was still a sinner, when I was in an ungodly state God loved me then. Now does God love you any less now that you are His child?

Isn't it interesting how so often we in our minds imagine God as being disgusted with us, or disappointed with us, or discouraged with us, or through with us. We can just imagine God having negative attitudes towards us.

I have shared before how when Jan was just a little girl and she was going through that nobody-loves-me routine. After she had been reprimanded for something and at that point none of her friends loved her, and her mother and daddy didn't love her, nobody loved her. We said, "Oh, yes, we love you." "No, you don't." She wasn't giving in so I finally said, "Well, Jesus loves you." "Oh, no, He doesn't." I said, "What?" "He just stuck His head out from one of the closets and stuck His tongue out at me." You know, sometimes we imagine Jesus doing that to us, like He has had it with us. And I can understand Him doing it, but He doesn't.

If while I was yet a sinner He died for me. God demonstrated, commended, displayed His love toward me in that while I was still a sinner Christ died for me. Now that I am a child of God, now that I am trying to live a life that is pleasing to Him, now that I seek to walk in fellowship and in that love, surely He doesn't love me any less. God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him ( Romans 5:9 ).

That is, that wrath of God that shall be revealed against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men that Paul spoke about in chapter 1. He shall be saved from wrath.

It is interesting that the Great Tribulation is called "the day of God's wrath." In the opening of the sixth seal, as the people on earth cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, they pray, "Hide us from the face of the Lamb, for the day of His wrath has come," but thank God if Jesus loved me when I was a sinner and died for me, how much more being justified now by His blood will I be saved from the wrath through Him.

For if, when we were enemies, [an enemy to God, if in that state] we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life ( Romans 5:10 ).

If His death could reconcile me to God, how much more His life as He lives to make intercession for me.

Notice there are several "much more" in this chapter, and I love the "much more." It is an argument from the lesser to the greater. It is a typical philosophical type of argument. Paul uses it often in his writings. And here, if through the death of Jesus I was reconciled to God, how much more shall I be saved by His life.

Not only so ( Romans 5:11 ),

Now this comes back to verse Romans 5:1 , "Therefore being justified by faith," and this is the final experience that Paul illustrates or gives to us the final result.

not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement ( Romans 5:11 ).

These are the results of being justified: I have peace with God, I have access to the grace, I rejoice in hope, and I joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This word atonement in the Greek is a different word from the Hebrew word translated atonement in the Old Testament. The word atonement in the Old Testament you find used quite a bit in Leviticus as you deal with the various sacrificial offering. "Thus shall they make an atonement for the sins." That Hebrew word is kaphar. If you will think of it as a covering, kaphar, a covering, that is a literal translation of the Hebrew kaphar. You shall make a covering for the sins. But the sacrifices of the animals in the Old Testament could not make an atonement for the sinner. It could only make a covering for the sin. It could not put away the sin, all it did was cover the sin. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could put away sin. It took the blood of Jesus Christ to put away the sins. The Old Testament sacrifices were only looking forward to that sacrifice that God one day would make in sending His only begotten Son who would die as a lamb without spot or blemish.

"We are redeemed," Peter said, "From our vain empty living, not with the blood of bulls or goats but with the blood of Jesus Christ who was slain as a lamb without spot or blemish" ( 1 Peter 1:18-19 ). So the Greek word atonement is a different word with a different idea entirely than the Hebrew kaphar, or covering for sin. The Greek word atonement can best be understood if you break it up. At-one-ment. In that I have been made one with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for me. So I joy in God because I have become one with God through Jesus Christ who has made this possible. He has made it possible that as He said, "In that day you shall know that I am in the Father, and ye are in me, and I am in you." This alienation that once existed between God and man no longer exists.

Isaiah said, "God's hand is not short that he can not save, neither is his ear heavy that he can not hear, but your sins have separated you from God." But now that the sins are put away, Jesus has made this at-one-ment, He has bought me into one with the Father. This is the record that God has given us eternal life this life is in the Son, and He that has the Son has life, that life of God, one with God.

"These things," John said, "Write we unto you, that you might have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ" ( 1 John 1:3 ). The word fellowship, koinonia is the same idea: oneness, a communion, a joining together with. So I have been joined together with God through Jesus Christ.

Now Paul teaches a very important doctrinal truth and, unfortunately, there are those today who are teaching something other than this basic doctrinal truth that Paul is getting across here in the later portion of chapter 5 of Romans.

There is a teaching today that has been called the moral government of God. This teaching the moral government of God, among other things, teaches that man is not sinful by nature, but sinful by choice. When Adam sinned he sinned for himself, but Adam's sin was not passed on to me, that I was born as Adam, totally innocent, and totally neutral. That I am a sinner because then I chose to sin. But Adam has no responsibility with my sinful state. I only am responsible for my own sinful state.

This is a very dangerous doctrine, because as you read the whole treatise that Paul has here, the whole idea is that if one man could make us all sinners then one man could make us all righteous. But if you deny that one man made us all sinners, then you must also deny that one man made us all righteous, and thus, I am a sinner by choice or I am righteous by my works, and it leads to a works/righteous position, which is one that none of you can maintain. I can't; I tried to maintain that position for years. I never could. All that did was bring me into condemnation and guilt and frustration.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned ( Romans 5:12 ):

Now let me point out that the word have is not in the Greek text. What the Greek text reads is, "Wherefore, by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned." We all sinned in Adam. He acted as a federal head, he acted for all of us, and by his sin death entered the world. By his sin we were all made sinners.

God said to Adam, "The day that thou eatest, thou shalt surely die." He was talking about spiritual death, which Adam experienced when he ate of the forbidden fruit, his spirit died. Adam could not pass on through his genes something that he did not possess, spiritual life. Through the genes all he could pass on was a physical body with a capacity of a consciousness, but being dead spiritually he could not by procreation pass on spiritual life. One man sinned, death entered the world, and death passed unto all men.

Paul the apostle in Ephesians 2 , in describing our past lives, said, "You hath He made alive (spiritually), who were dead because of your trespasses and sins. Who in times past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, that even now is working in the children of disobedience, among whom you all once had your manner of living. You were by nature the children of wrath even as others" ( Ephesians 2:1-3 ). That is by nature, because by one man's sin death entered the world and death passed unto all men, for all sin.

Therefore, I sin because I am a sinner; sinning does not make me a sinner, it only proves that I am a sinner. You say, "Well, what about the little children who died?" God takes care of them. They're safe. "Oh that precious little innocent baby." Are you sure? Look at the way they are making their fleshly demands, listen to them wail, look at them kick and flail around. If they were bit enough and strong enough they would rip that crib apart.

How many of you had to be taught how to tell a lie? Why is it necessary to teach your children to be honest? They seem to learn to lie very naturally. So we have to teach the positive values. For a child left to himself will bring the reproach to his parents according to the scriptures. For we by nature are the children of wrath.

(For until the law the sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law ( Romans 5:13 ).

Sin was there, but it wasn't imputed because there was no law. Adam had one law; he broke it. Oh, he had a few positives and one negative, but he broke it. If there is no law that says that the speed limit is fifty-five miles per hour then you can't be ticketed for going over fifty-five. But it is because there is a law that says that is the limit, you can be ticketed for going over that limit. But it used to be in some areas that they did not have speed laws, and thus you could not be ticketed for speeding because there was no speed law. Most generally then they would ticket you for reckless driving if you were driving beyond a speed limit that was safe. But where there is no law you cannot be arrested for violating the law, because there is no law that pertains to that. Until the law was given, their sin was in the world but it wasn't imputed or accounted to man.

Nevertheless even from Adam to Moses death reigned ( Romans 5:14 ),

The consequences of sin was still there and men died.

even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who was a figure of him who was to come [even Jesus.] But not as the offense, so also is the free gift: for if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many ( Romans 5:14-15 ).

This is the important teaching of one man's righteousness making many righteous. How is it that God can account me righteous? Because Jesus is righteous. His righteousness imputed to me by my faith in Him.

Not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one unto condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) ( Romans 5:16-17 )

So by one man sin entered the world, death by sin, death passed unto all men for all sinned. Even so, by one man's righteousness of many made righteous who believe in Him and who are justified by faith and many come into eternal life through the one. One man brought death, the first Adam brought death, and Jesus Christ brought life. Adam brought sin. Jesus brought righteousness, and thus, Jesus acts as a federal head as Adam acted as a federal head for humanity. Now Jesus acts as the federal head for all those who believe in Him, and you are made a new creation.

The old things are passed away and everything becomes new. You can't say, "Well, that is just my Irish temper," because I have a new nature, the nature of Jesus Christ. I have been born again by the Spirit of God, a new creature, a new nature, and I relate now to Jesus Christ as the origin of my life.

Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound ( Romans 5:18-20 ):

The law came along in order that we might see how far we did miss the mark. The word sin means missing the mark. But if you don't see the mark, how can you miss it? How can you know how far you have missed it? You may be shooting wildly, but I can't convince you of that until I put up the mark. Then as your arrows go flying all over everywhere, I say, "Oh man, you really missed the mark." The law came along that we might see how far we missed the divine ideal. How far we came from living a life that was acceptable and pleasing to God. The law once and forever put down the thought of self-righteousness if properly understood. The law entered that the offense might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did overflow.

That as sin has reigned unto death, even so grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord ( Romans 5:21 ).

As you go back and meditate on chapter 5, underline the "much mores", and meditate upon the contrast that he draws. Another thing to mark in chapter 5 is the many references to Jesus Christ our Lord, or through Jesus Christ our Lord, or by Jesus, that which we have through Him, that which we have by Him, and these are the things that you want to note in chapter 5.


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Romans 5". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.