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Bible Commentaries
Romans 5

Dunagan's Commentary on the BibleDunagan's Commentary

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A. The Fruits or Results of Justification: 5:1-11

B. The Summary and Universal Application: 5:12-21

Verse 1

Rom_5:1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;

'Being therefore' -'Having set out God's way of justifying sinners, and established it on the basis of O.T. precedent, Paul now enumerates the blessings which accrue to those whose faith has been counted to them for righteousness.' [Note: F.F. Bruce p. 119]

'Justified' -1344. dikaioo dik-ah-yo'-o; from 1342; to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent: -free, justify(-ier), be righteous.

We should note that in the book of Romans, 'to be justified', 'accounted righteous' (4:3), and 'forgiven' (4:6-7), all refer to the same condition. So whatever it takes to be forgiven, is exactly the same thing it takes to be 'justified'. Therefore, the 'faith' of Rom_5:1 includes such things as repentance and baptism. ( Act_2:38 )

'We have' -there is much discussion among biblical scholars and translators concerning whether this phrase should be translated 'We have', or 'Let us have'. If the meaning is "let us have", then Paul is saying, 'let us enjoy peace with God' or 'let us retain peace with God'. This would infer that being justified by faith brings upon one the obligation to live in such a manner as to maintain such a relationship of peace.

'Peace with God' -'It indicates pardon and acceptance and is contrasted with enmity and wrath. It signifies the position of those who once were under condemnation (5:9-10) but now are enjoying the full measure of divine forgiveness and favor.' [Note: Erdman pp. 68-69]

'Not contentment, satisfaction, quiet; but the state of reconciliation as opposed to enmity (5:10)' [Note: Vincent p. 57]

'through our Lord Jesus Christ' -He is the mediator that brought about this condition of 'peace'. ( Eph_2:11-22 ; Col_1:20-22 )

Again, simply one more passage that declares the truth that apart from Christ there is no peace with God. A 'Christ-less' religion is a vain religion.

Verse 2

Rom_5:2 through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

'through whom' -i.e. Jesus Christ

'access' -4318. prosagoge pros-ag-ogue-ay'; from 4317 (compare 72); admission: -access.

-Used only by Paul ( Eph_2:18 ; Eph_3:12 ). Lit., the act of bringing to, hence some insist on the transitive sense, INTRODUCTION. [Note: Vincent p. 58]

'This peace carries with it free access to God; the former rebels are not merely forgiven in the sense that their due punishment has been remitted, but they are brought into a place of high favor with God-'this grace wherein we stand'.' [Note: F.F. Bruce p. 120]

'It is Christ who has given us such "access" to God, such an "introduction" as persons of note are given into the presence chamber of a king.' [Note: Erdman p. 69]

'by faith' -remember in the context of the whole letter, in fact the whole Bible, an obedient faith. We can't 'earn' our way in, neither can we 'disobey our way into grace either' (6:1).

'The man or woman who can read the New Testament (or the Old) and not catch the truth that one must obey God or he cannot (judicially) forgive is so badly astray that I don't know what would convince them otherwise.' [Note: McGuiggan p. 160]

'into this grace' -the state of being in "favor" with God. ( Gal_5:4 ; 1Pe_5:12 )

'wherein we stand' -'We stand in this grace. We don't sprawl, lounge or slumber in it. In the Bible, people who obtained grace labored and toiled for Christ; they suffered and died for Christ as they 'stood' for Christ. ( Eph_6:10 ; Eph_6:14 )' [Note: McGuiggan p. 161]

'we rejoice in hope of the glory of God'

'we rejoice' -'Let us exult'. 'In hope'-on the ground of hope. It is in the realm of hope that we rejoice. Hope enables us to rejoice. Hope isn't a weak thing in the mind of the biblical writers. It is not a mere 'wishing for', it is a 'expecting'. It is CONFIDENT EXPECTATION. ( Heb_6:19-20 )

"The Christian hope is not simply a trembling, hesitant hope that perhaps the promises of God may be true. It is the confident expectation that they cannot be anything else than true." [Note: New Testament Words. William Barclay p. 76]

'Glory of God' -'of beholding the glory of God' (Nor); 'hope of the divine splendor that is to be ours' (NEB). 'To share such heavenly splendor, to behold the King in his beauty, to be like him when we see him as he is ( 1Jn_3:1-3 ) all this is the inspiring hope of those who have been justified by faith in Christ.' [Note: Erdman p. 69]

Verse 3

Rom_5:3 And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness;

'not only so' -'this doesn't mean, of course, that we have only a hope in future joys' (Phi)

'we also rejoice' -the second object of joy is an unexpected one.

'A person who can only be happy while things are going along well (easy or comfortable) won't remain that way for long. Thank God that happiness (blessedness) doesn't depend on outward circumstances.' [Note: McGuiggan p. 163]

'tribulations' -it is one thing to submit to or endure tribulations without complaint, but it is another to find ground of glorying in the midst of them. (Robertson p. 356)

-2347. thlipsis thlip'-sis; from 2346; pressure (literally or figuratively): -afflicted(-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.

'We speak of pain, poverty and deprivation as "curses" and the possession of things as "blessings" but that is much too simple. A blessing is that (and only that) which brings a person closer to God and enables him to better fulfill his role in life.' [Note: McGuiggan p. 163]

-Jesus and the apostles clearly spelled out such 'pressures' that will come upon those who are trying to please God. ( Mat_5:12-13 ; Mat_10:28 ; Joh_15:18-20 ; Joh_16:33 ; Act_14:22 ; 2Ti_3:12 )

"knowing" -the Christian can rejoice in such trials, because the Christian is assured that such troubles endured with the proper attitude always work for one's best interest. There is no such thing as pain without purpose for the faithful Christian.

'It was poor Nietzsche who rightly said: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."' [Note: McGuiggan p. 164]

"worketh" -'brings about' (NASV)

"stedfastness" -'patience, fortitude, perseverance, endurance'. It is a bearing up under, not simply a resignation. It is 'spiritual staying-power', an aggressive hanging-in under trial and making use of the circumstances.

'The saint exercising 'stedfastness' refuses to be a victim' [Note: McGuiggan p. 164]

Verse 4

Rom_5:4 and stedfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope:

"approvedness" -a tried condition, a condition tried and not wanting-used in regard to metal and to coins and implies a testing of their genuineness and their full weight and being accepted when they are found to meet requirements. (Lenski p. 338)

Translations: 'strength of character' (TCNT); 'ripeness of character' (Wey); 'tested character' (Wms); 'proven character' (NASV).

"hope" -and this in turn issues in a stronger and clearer hope.

Verse 5

Rom_5:5 and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us.

"putteth not to shame" -it does not deceive, it does not mock us, it is not disappointed. (Erdmans p. 70)

The person who trusts in Jesus will not be disappointed ( 1Pe_2:6 ). But those who put their trust in other things, will be ( 1Pe_3:16 ; Luk_12:20 ). "All other hopes put to shame; they do not rest on realities. The heart that held such false hopes is filled with shame, with everlasting shame." [Note: Lenski p. 339]

"because" -the reason that we are so certain that this our hope will not disappoint us.

"love of God" -from the context (5:6ff), the love that God has for us.

"shed abroad" -'poured out' (NASV); 'has been poured out in, and still floods' (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 624)

From the context it appears that 'God's love for us' was poured into our hearts, through the gospel message revealed by the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit Who delivered the message found in verses 6-11. We are assured of our hope, because the God that so lovingly gave His only Son for us, will certainly deliver on the rest of His promises!

"who was given to us" -be careful about jumping to the conclusion that this passage is a teaching a personal indwelling of the Spirit. The Spirit was 'given' to reveal the gospel message (a message about God's love for us), a message that in the final analysis only really benefits those that embrace it (Christians) ( Eph_3:3-5 )

Verse 6

Rom_5:6 For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly.

'For' -here is that message, here is the 'Love of God' that has been dispersed in our hearts, and it came through revelation.

'while we were yet weak' -'still helpless' (NASV)

'The language does not mean that we are now unable to believe God nor do what he commands. It refers to man's helplessness without the death of Christ. Men were condemned sinners, with no means of escape from sin and condemnation.' [Note: Whiteside p. 117]

'due season' -at the right time, at the strategic moment, the critical moment. ( Gal_4:4 'the fulness of the time'; Tit_1:3 ) 'At the time of greatest need, when nothing but His death would help' (F.F. Bruce p. 123)

"for" -instead of, or on behalf of.

'the ungodly' -this explains how God could justify the 'ungodly' (4:5). Since all have sinned (3:23), all could be called 'ungodly'.

Verse 7

Rom_5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die.

'For' -and how apparent was the love of this action on His part? 'Christ's death for the ungodly assures us of God's love; for the utmost that human love will do is far less ' (Gr. EX. N.T. p. 625)

'scarcely' -'hardly', 'Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man' (Amp)

'righteous man' -the man who won't cheat you, the one who acts on the cold principle of justice, who will abide by what is right though he may not appeal to you as to bring out affection.

'peradventure' -'though perhaps' (NASV); 'though once in a while' (Wms)

'good man' -'a generous friend' (Wms). He is the man who is large-hearted, benevolent. He is righteous, but he is more than that. He is the kind who brings affectionate feelings out of a person. Someone you could 'like'. [Note: McGuiggan p. 165]

Verse 8

Rom_5:8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

'commendeth' -'demonstrates' (NASV); 'proves his love' (Gspd).

'sinners' -neither 'righteous' or 'good'. How great is the utmost and best demonstration of human love SURPASSED by the love of God. It is very rare for men to die for 'upright men' (the inference being that men NEVER DIE FOR UNGODLY PEOPLE!); but that is WHO CHRIST DIED FOR!

Point to Note: Some religious bodies teach that Jesus died to reconcile an angry Heavenly Father to us. Almost as if Jesus took the initiative solely upon himself, to try to patch up things between the Father and men. Based on this misunderstanding some religious bodies still view the Father as distant, upset and unapproachable. But Romans chapter 5 gives us a completely different picture. There is no way that you can separate the love of the Father from the sacrifice of Christ. It is the Father who 'demonstrated His love for sinners', in giving His Son for us. (5:8) Father and Son worketh together for our salvation.

Verse 9

Rom_5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him.

'Much more then' -if God was so anxious to save us while we were yet sinners, we ought to feel additionally assured that he wants us saved since we are now his children. If obedience to His will delivered us from sin, then certainly it will deliverance us from the coming wrath of God. ( 1Th_1:9-10 )

Verse 10

Rom_5:10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life;

'we were enemies' -God never is the enemy! If I find myself apart from God, guess 'who' is the hostile one! ( Col_1:21 )

Verse 11

Rom_5:11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

'and not only so' -'and not only that' (Wms). Not only shall we be saved, BUT WE CAN REJOICE NOW! 'We have NOW received the reconciliation', WE ARE RIGHT WITH GOD NOW!

'reconciliation' -KJV 'atonement'. At the time when the KJV was translated, 'atonement', signified 'reconciliation, 'AT-ONE-MENT', the making two estranged parties 'at one'. (Vincent p. 62)

Something to seriously consider after reading this portion of chapter 5:

'I met a Christian who was popping as many pills as an addict. She was worried sick about her salvation. I met a saint who wept every day wondering if he was right with God. One..preacher specifically denied that he knew concerning his own soul if he were saved or not. Can you credit that? Preaching for thirty years and doesn't know if he is saved or not? And what does he preach? The joy of salvation? "I don't know if I'm going to heaven or hell", he said, "I'll have to wait and see". This is the 'gospel' of 'uncertainty'. The 'gospel' of anxiety. It isn't the gospel of 'peace'. To offer Jesus to the world as the prince of peace while we ourselves are spiritually neurotic is nonsense..It is like a bald-headed man trying to sell hair-restorer.' [Note: McGuiggan pp. 159-160]

When someone asks the Christian, 'are you going to heaven', should the Christian (according to chapter 5:1-11), be able to give a DEFINITE YES OR NO?

Verse 12

Rom_5:12 "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned":

"Therefore": " The section which now follows summarizes the situation facing all people. Paul is setting us up for a comparison. Adam becomes one way for the race and Jesus another. 'In Adam' there is only condemnation and spiritual death, and 'in Christ' there is acquittal and life eternal."

"As through one man sin entered": Paul states that the woman (Eve) was deceived, and fell into transgression ( 1Ti_2:14 ). Some speculate that Adam may have indeed sinned first, by standing idly by and allowing his wife to be deceived ( Gen_3:6 " she gave also to her husband with her " 3:16-17).

"Death through sin": It appears that the death under consideration in these verses is spiritual death (5:15,17,21). Besides, this death passed on to all men because all sinned. Babies die physically, and it has nothing to do with their being sinners ( 1Co_14:20 ). "For that all sinned" -"because all sinned" (NASV). Adam's descendants died spiritually, because, like their ancestor, they also sinned. POINT TO NOTE: Calvinists believe that all sinned, because all have inherited the guilt of Adam's sin. It would seem unnecessary for Paul to quote all those texts in Rom_3:9-18 to prove the Jew was dead in sin if he (and they) believed that they were all born dead because they had sinned in Adam's sin. We have all followed Adam's ways; we all made the kind of choice he made.

Verse 13

Rom_5:13 "For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law".

"The law" , that is the Law of Moses (5:14). Paul is speaking of the time period between Adam and Moses; those who lived under this period of time were not under the Ten Commandment covenant ( Neh_9:14 ; Deu_5:1-3 ). "Sin was in the world: Which means that laws existed prior to Mount Sinai. We can see some of these laws in Gen_15:16 ; Gen_20:9 ; Gen_39:9 ; Lev_18:3 ; Lev_18:24-25 . " But sin is not imputed when there is no law" -"but sin cannot be charged against a man where no Law exists" (TCNT) ( 1Jn_3:4 ). "Imputed" , this term means to put to account so as to bring penalty (Vincent p. 62). Equal to the statement that would say, "where there is no law there is no transgression" ( Rom_4:15 ). Before Moses came along there was sin in the world. People were breaking laws that were different from the law Adam violated (5:14), that is laws, which condemned things besides eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You only have to read the book of Genesis to know that there were laws in the world before Moses, see Genesis chapter 9. Sodom and Gomorrah were buried for breaking some ( Gen_13:13 ; Gen_18:20 ). Noah's flood was sent because people were breaking laws. Man has never been without law! All men have been under law to God since the beginning, or seeing that sin is universal ( Rom_3:23 ), so are the laws of God.

Verse 14

Rom_5:14 "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come". "Death reigned: Ungodliness gripped the world. "Held sway over mankind (Phi), ( 1Pe_3:19-20 ). A mere reading of Genesis provides many examples of spiritual death reigning in the world prior to the Law of Moses (Cain, his descendants, the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Joseph's brothers). " After the likeness of Adam's transgression: Spiritual death reigned, even though men didn't sin exactly like Adam had sinned. The point is that sin, in any of its manifestations, brings death. Sins of omission kill as well as sins of commission. Violation of one law of God kills, as well as violation of another law. We can never adopt the attitude that says that God doesn’t care about some sins ( Jam_2:10-11 ; Act_5:1 ff; Lev_10:1-3 ; 1Sa_15:22-23 ). POINT TO NOTE: Since these people died as a result of their own sin and it wasn't like Adam's, then they surely didn't die from Adam's sin. The distinction between theirs and Adam's would be non-existent if they had died because of Adam's sin. People die because of their own sins. ( Col_2:13 ; Eph_2:1 ). "Who is a figure of him that was to come": Adam is the "who" in this verse and Jesus is "of him that was to come" ( 1Co_15:22 ; 1Co_15:45 ). The term "figure" means: "type, counter-part". Adam was the father of the race as it fell under bondage to sin. Christ is the father of the race as it finds salvation from God by grace.

Verse 15

Rom_5:15 "But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many".

"But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift": "But the free gift is not like the transgression" (NASV) It is more contrast than parallel (Robertson p. 359). The gift through Christ was not merely, as some have said, "coextensive in application with the ruin wrought through Adam," (Whiteside p. 122). "Much more: The contrast doesn't exist in the number saved by grace as opposed to those dead through sin ( Mat_7:13-14 ). The expression much more stresses the superiority of grace over law; faith and righteousness over sin and death. However, the superiority doesn't exist in the number saved as opposed to the number lost. It lies in things like these: Life is better than death and grace brings life while sin brings death. Sin can kill with a single-sting (transgression) but grace can give life even after sin has "stung" again and again and again (assuming repentance follows each sin, 1Jn_1:8-10 ). Grace has more than enough power and adequacy to offset all that sin is able to do. No matter how sin triumphed over men, grace had the antidote for it. Sin couldn't work so much havoc as grace couldn't set right" (McGuiggan pp. 172-173). "Abound to the many": The benefits of Christ's death are available to all mankind ( 2Pe_3:9 ; Mar_16:15-16 ; 1Ti_2:4 ). And yet man must choose to accept this salvation ( Act_13:46 ; Act_2:40-41 ).

Verse 16

Rom_5:16 "And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment came of one unto condemnation, but the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification"

Paul gives another contrast: "For the judgment came of one unto condemnation": "The judgment arose from ONE TRANSGRESSION resulting in condemnation" (NASV) Sin's horror is seen in that one sin is enough to bring on a man or woman condemnation. "But the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification": Grace's wonder and beauty is seen in the fact that even after MANY sins, a person can receive justification. It just takes one sin to condemn, and yet the benefits of Christ's death can justify one of many sins. Is there any good reason for not becoming a Christian ( 1Ti_1:15-16 )? In addition, there is no good reason why anyone should remain enslaved to sin or end up eternally lost because of their sins.

Verse 17

Rom_5:17 "For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ".

"Trespass of the one: Is of course Adam’s sin, again note that condemnation came because of just one trespass. Let us resist the temptation to downplay sin or certain sins. For all practical purposes Adam and Eve sinned because they believed a lie (false doctrine) instead of the truth ( Gen_3:1 ff). And being deceived or misguided doesn’t make sin any less sinful ( 1Ti_2:14 ). " Death reigned through the one": The Calvinists assume that spiritual death reigned through Adam, because we all inherited the guilt of his sins. But if this is the case, then how are we to interpret the rest of the verse? If all have inherited Adam's guilt, why don't we all inherit the gift of righteousness through Christ? If all are sinners in Adam, then all must be saved in Christ. Death reigned through Adam, because all men made the choice to follow in his steps (5:12 "because all sinned"). Likewise those who receive the abundance of grace/gift of righteousness and spiritual life through Christ, are those that CHOSE IT ( Act_2:41 ).

Verse 18

Rom_5:18 "So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life".

" Unto all men to justification of life" : The WHOLE RACE is on the receiving END OF BOTH guilt and grace ( Tit_2:11 ). " Unto all men" : Don't make the mistake of interpreting all men as of all men unconditionally. The benefits of Christ's death are available to the WHOLE RACE (which infers that the whole race is in need of a Savior). But Paul has already mentioned that conditions are attached to this justification ( Rom_5:1 ; Rom_4:6-8 ). Calvinism is wrong when it claims that Jesus only died for the elect, that is, He only died for those God had predestined for salvation, apart of their own personal choices. Paul asserts that the benefits of the death of Christ are available to as many who are also affected by the fact that sin was introduced into the world. One becomes a sinner or walks in the footsteps of Adam in the same basic way that one becomes a Christian and walks in the footsteps of Christ, that is, both are the result of human freewill. We choose to go into sin and we can choose to come out of it.

Verse 19

Rom_5:19 "For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous".

"Were made": They were made sinners by their own choice (5:12). As Adam's disobedience did not make the many sinners without their choice , so neither does the obedience of Christ make the many righteous without their choice. Calvinists claim that these verses teach that all are born automatically and unconditionally inheriting Adam's sin, yet such would have the rest of the verse teaching that all have unconditionally inherited Christ's righteousness, which would be universal and unconditional salvation.

Verse 20

Rom_5:20 "And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly".

"The law": The Law under consideration is the Law of Moses, Paul is now talking about the period of time from Mount Sinai to the cross of Christ. " That the trespass might abound": Paul makes it clear that "Law" isn't or wasn’t the answer to man's problem. The Jew might claim that, "Well, the problem was that they didn't have the right kind of law". But even with the introduction of the Law of Moses, sin didn't cease, IT ONLY MULTIPLIED! ( Gal_3:21 ). One of the purposes of the Law of Moses was to teach the Jewish people that more law wasn't the answer to their problems. God allowed/purposed such to happen that men might realize the need for grace/forgiveness, i.e. the need for a Savior. "This would help them to realize more and more their need of some other means of deliverance" (Whiteside p. 127).

"Grace did abound more exceedingly": "All the more" (NASV); "surpassed it by far'" (Mof). Grace was more than a match for sin, because grace can give life even after many transgressions.

Verse 21

Rom_5:21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

"That" : "In order that" (TCNT). " As sin reigned in death": Sin is the reigning monarch in every man who is dead in his sins. Sin reigns when one is separated from God (5:14 "even over those", 5:17). "Grace reign through righteousness": Grace is given the chance to reign when one seeks God's method of making men righteous ( Rom_5:1 ; Rom_5:17 "Those who receive").

Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Romans 5". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dun/romans-5.html. 1999-2014.
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