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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Romans 5

Verses 1-5

To Whom Righteousness Is Imputed: The Process of Developing Our Faith Romans 5:1-5 tells us to whom God imputes righteousness. Righteousness is imputed to those who place their faith in Christ Jesus. The passage also reveals to us that our faith must go through several phases in order to be perfected. As believers that know God's Word and His promises, we still find ourselves in tribulations (Romans 5:3). Before we were saved, we were overcome by tribulations. As God’s children, something within us moves us to patiently stand upon God's Word during these times of trial (Romans 5:3). As we endure trials and see how God gives us the victory, we gain the experience of knowing His Word is sure and firm (Romans 5:4). Therefore, the next time a trial comes, our hope in God is stronger, because we know that God is with us and His Word will prevail over the trial (Romans 5:4). Our hope is never disappointed, because God's Word is always sure (Romans 5:5). When a believer has gone through these phases, his faith becomes steadfast. This is the testimony of Abraham in the previous passage of Scripture, when he stood for many years through trials to see God’s Word come to pass in his life (Romans 4:1-25). The child of God has learned that God's love for him is the reason for such divine involvement in his life (Romans 5:5). He loves God enough to face tribulations with a new attitude of faith and trust that God will make a way. God is faithful to always make a way for those who stand upon His Word. This is why Paul said that “faith, which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). We have a similar statement in Hebrews 10:36 that refers to our need for patience in order to receive God’s promises.

Hebrews 10:36, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

This passage of Scripture provides the first mention in the book of Romans of the Holy Spirit at work in our justification. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a tremendous evidence of one’s salvation. The indwelling of the Spirit is our “seal” of our eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). We can imagine Paul making this argument in the Jewish synagogues of partaking of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace because of one’s salvation.

Ephesians 1:14, “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:1 Comments Our peace with God is a fact resulting from our fellowship with Him. We now have God as our friend. Prior to our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, we were enemies with God and received His wrath upon us, as Paul states shortly in Romans 5:9-10. Now, God is our friend. It is sin that has produced enmity between God and man. When sin is deal with through our Lord Jesus Christ, man's fellowship with God is restored and we have peace with God. In addition, our peace with God is the manifestation of our relationship with God, as the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. Our hearts are at peace, no longer full of fear and anxiety. In contract, the wicked have no peace (Isaiah 48:22).

Isaiah 48:22, “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” See as an example the story of Achan in Joshua 7:1-26.

Our peace, hope, and boasting all come through faith in Jesus Christ. The name of Jesus used in this verse reveals to us how this peace is available to us as believers on a continuous basis. It is through the Lordship of Jesus Christ that man daily yields his heart and crucifies his flesh in obedience to God. He is our Saviour at the new birth, opening the door for peace with God. But, we must daily choose to make Him our Lord in order to walk in fellowship with God and thus, experience this peace that comes with fellowship.

In contrast, a lack of peace makes us restless and shifting positions, always looking for something better. You can tell a restless person by the way they worry, live with stress and are always looking for someone or something new to give them a needed breakthrough. As a result, there is nothing steady in their lives. When we are not resting in peace, then we cannot stand in faith. When we learn to live in this position of peace, we have entered into the rest that is discussed in Hebrews 4:9.

Hebrews 4:9, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:2 “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand” - Comments - Not only do we have peace in our hearts because of our relationship with God the Father, which peace is a manifestation of this relationship, but we also have access into God’s favor, which Paul calls grace through our Lord Jesus Christ. This is an important fact to understand when a believer faces tribulations, as mentioned in the following statement. So, although we are saved by grace, we still need to obtain grace from God on a daily basis in order to live by faith (Hebrews 4:16).

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

For example, when we are favoured by our bosses or teacher’s at school, we are continually shown favour from them often, not just once. Though we stand in a position of favour, we have access to obtain favours by asking them for special privileges, and we are granted these privileges because of this favour. It is similar in our relationship to God. We stand in His favour and thus we have access to special privileges at our asking. Amen. Thank you, Lord!

“and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” - Comments - Now that we have the confidence of God being on our side and working in our behalf, we can rejoice in the hope that we will one day live in Heaven in the presence of God, or, we may interpret this phrase to mean that God will manifest Himself in every difficult situation that we face in this life.

Romans 5:1-2 Comments - A Description of our Relationship with the Father as Children of God Romans 5:1-2 describes the new-found relationship that every believer has with God as their Heavenly Father. They now call Him Father and walk with Him just as Jesus Christ walked with Him. Every believer has access to peace and the favor of God. It is important to note that this passage of Scripture is talking about a relationship with God, and when there is sin in our lives, it separates us from God, from this position of abiding in peace, and from His divine favor. This is why many believers are not able to endure tribulations, because they have lost that close relationship with their Heavenly Father and have not yielded themselves in order to enter back into that position of rest with God.

We confess the Word as a part of walking in faith. The fact is, we as believers have peace with God. Because we have peace with God, (1) we are able to find (receive) grace in His eyes, (2) we have a hope of God’s glory to be revealed in us and to us, and (3) we also boast in tribulations. This hope allows us to endure sorrow and pain differently from how the world deals with it (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

1 Thessalonians 4:13, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”

Illustration - One day in my Philosophy of Religion class in seminary, we were studying the problem of suffering and evil. We dealt with the question of why seemingly innocent people suffer. We saw a filmstrip entitled, “How Green Was My Valley” (1941). [167] It was a story about a little Welsh coal-mining village in the hills of Wales. One small coal mining family had a happy life. Through the years, one family member died, and others left for the United States to find work. The town was then torn apart by a worker's strike. After almost all of the children had either died, or grown up and left, the father died in a mine accident, leaving the fragment of a once happy family. The film ended in gloom. After class, I asked the Lord what it is in our Christian life that makes sorrow bearable. He spoke, quickly and clearly to my heart the word, “Hope!” Christians have hope. It had been such a dry sounding, hollow or empty word without much meaning in this movie; but this one word explains the difference between how we and a lost world face death and other of life’s tragedies. We must have our hope anchored in Jesus Christ. (5 April 1983)

[167] How Green Was My Valley, director by John Ford, 1941, 20 th Century Fox.

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Romans 5:3 “but we glory in tribulations” - Comments - An illustration of rejoicing in the midst of tribulations is found several times in Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 11:18, “Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also .”

2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities , that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Romans 5:3 “knowing that tribulation worketh patience” Comments - Patience is remaining the same in the midst of a storm. We stand upon God’s Word and refuse to compromise. It means that we can also take dominion over the devil and bind him from producing tribulation.

Romans 5:3 Comments - The KJV makes the reading of Romans 5:1-3 a little difficult in that it uses the same English word “glory” to translate two different Greek words. A better reading says that we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we rejoice in tribulations also.”

Romans 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Romans 5:4 Comments - The sequence of patience, experience and hope is explained clearer in Romans 8:25. We have to patiently wait for things which we hope for.

Romans 8:25, “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

A good example of experience is when Abraham told his son Isaac that God Himself was able to provide a sacrifice, because he knew that God would raise Isaac from the dead, if need be, in order to fulfill His promise. Abraham had learned that God was faithful to fulfill His promises.

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed” - Comments - The hope that is within us causes us not to become disappointed or ashamed of our faith in God. Our hope keeps us from being discouraged, or tired and then giving up. We need much hope as the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19). Our hope helps us to press on in the Christian life. Christian hope is not wishing that some future event might take place, but it is an eager, expected desire inside for a sure thing to happen. Hope is certain, no doubt involved (Romans 8:25).

Hebrews 6:19, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”

Romans 8:25, “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

When we hope in God, we are not shy and ashamed and unconfident about God working in our lives. We can speak confidently of God’s grace and sufficiency. We will not be ashamed or disappointed as those whose hope is deceptive or false. Our hope is certain. Why: because God has poured His Holy Spirit into us. His love is the evidence of His Spirit in us (John 13:35).

John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Hope is what takes us through difficult times. When we place our hope in God, He never disappoints us. I learned years ago that there was no need to fear trials in life. For it was in the most difficult times of my Christian journey that I have experienced the most precious encounters with God. When our sufferings intensify, the presence of God becomes much more real in our lives, as it did in the life of Paul the apostle.

Illustration - Note an illustration in Isaiah 29:22 to Isaiah 30:5 of the despair of placing our hope in this world.

Isaiah 29:22, “Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.”

Isaiah 30:5, “They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.”

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Psalms 22:5, “They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.”

Psalms 25:2, “O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.”

Psalms 71:1, “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.”

Psalms 119:116, “Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.”

Proverbs 10:28, “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.”

Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”

Romans 9:33, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Romans 10:11, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Philippians 1:20, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”

1 Peter 2:6, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”

Romans 5:5 “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” Comments - Why is love mentioned here? Because in a passage on hope, it is love that enables us to hope (1 Corinthians 13:7).

1 Corinthians 13:7, “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things , endureth all things.”

When we study the book of Songs, which is a love story, we soon realize that it is the love of God that is continually being poured out in our hearts that enables us to love and serve Him. In this love story, which is figurative of Christ’s love for the world, and particularly for you and me, it is God’s love that serves as the “engine,” or driving force, that moves us towards our destiny of eternal rest. In Romans 5:5 Paul says, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Within the context of Romans 5:1-5 he is explaining that it is God’s love being continually poured into our lives that strengthens us to rejoice in tribulations; it is God’s love that enables us to patiently endure those trials until we experience His grace and see His hand at work through us and amongst us; it is God’s love that gives us hope that the future will be brighter and anchors our souls to keep serving the Lord.

Paul the apostle will soon reveal his love and passion for his own people in Romans 9:1-3, which is the driving force the keeps him in the ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. He talks about a love so deep that it causes a continual sorrow in his heart. This is not a natural level of love, but rather, it is the love of God that has been poured into his heart by the Holy Spirit. He has given himself as a living sacrifice upon God’s altar of divine service (Romans 12:1) in hopes that God will work mightily amongst his loved ones, the Jews. The heartbreak comes in his own life because the ones he so dearly loves are those who persecute him the most. When Paul wrote this letter he was on his way back to Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit was bearing witness that persecutions awaited him there. He says, “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:22-24)

Verses 1-21

Doctrinal Message: The Doctrine of Justification (An Exposition of The Gospel of Jesus Christ) In Romans 1:8 to Romans 11:36 Paul the apostle gives an exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; but it is presented from the perspective of the office and ministry of God the Father as He makes a way of justifying mankind and bringing him into his eternal glory in Heaven. Thus, we can describe Romans 1:8 to Romans 11:36 as an exposition of the doctrine of justification through faith in Jesus Christ. The body of the epistle of Romans discusses God the Father’s method of justification for mankind (Romans 3:21 to Romans 8:16), while His predestination is emphasized in the introduction (Romans 1:1-7), His divine calling introduces this section of doctrine (Romans 1:8 to Romans 3:20), and His plan of glorification for the Church (Romans 8:17-28) and for Israel are given (Romans 9:1 to Romans 11:36) are given last.

In this grand exposition of the doctrine of justification through faith in Jesus Christ Paul uses a number of examples to explain God’s way of justifying mankind. For example, Abraham’s faith is used to explain how we also put our faith in Christ to be justified before God. The analogy of Adam being a type and figure of Christ is used to explain how divine grace takes effect in the life of the believer. He uses the example of the laws of slavery and freedmen to explain our need to walk in our new lives, no longer under the bondages of sin. The illustration of marriage and widowhood is used to explain how we are now free from the Law and bound to Christ. It is very likely that the Lord quickened these examples and analogies to Paul while he sought to understand and explain this doctrine of justification in the synagogues and to the Gentiles during his years of evangelism and church planting. So, when he sat down to write out an exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul drew upon many of the examples that he had used over the years under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Calling of Gentiles Romans 1:8 to Romans 3:20

2. God’s Righteousness Revealed In Christ Romans 3:21 to Romans 8:16

3. Glorification by Divine Election: Glorification Romans 8:17-28

4. Summary of God’s Divine Plan of Redemption Romans 8:29-39

Verses 6-11

Why Righteousness Is Imputed - In Romans 5:1-21 Paul applies this principle of God imputing righteousness to the believer. He tells us to whom God imputes righteousness (for all of mankind in his depravity) (Romans 5:1-5), and why God imputes righteousness (because of His great love for us) (Romans 5:6-11), and how God imputes righteousness (through the obedience of one, many were made righteous) (Romans 5:12-21).

Romans 5:6 Comments When we were unable to redeem ourselves, weakened by sin, Jesus Christ came to redeem us.

Romans 5:7 Comments - The AmpBible says that it is extraordinary for a man to give his life for an upright man, but perhaps someone would be willing to give his life for this cause.

AmpBible, “Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die.”

Romans 5:7 gives us the image of a person struggling to have enough courage to give his own life for a person or a noble cause. This event happens quite frequently in societies through the course of history.

Romans 5:9 Comments - The demonstration of God’s love towards us through the blood sacrifice of His Son gives us hope of being saved from His divine wrath. Therefore, we can rejoice in full assurance of this hope about sharing in His eternal glory in Heaven, as stated in Romans 5:2.

Romans 5:2, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:10 Comments - To be reconciled to God simply means that we become friends with again.

Romans 5:11 Word Study on “the atonement” Strong says the Greek word “atonement” ( καταλλαγή ) (G2643) means, “exchange, (fig. adjustment), i.e., restoration to (the divine) favor. Webster says the English word atonement means, “ restoration of friendly relations. ” Thayer says it refers to “the restoration of the favour of God to sinners that repent and trust in Jesus.”

Verses 12-21

How Righteousness Is Imputed In Romans 5:1-21 Paul applies this principle of God imputing righteousness to the believer. He tells us to whom God imputes righteousness (Romans 5:1-5), and why God imputes righteousness (because of His great love for us) (Romans 5:6-11), and how God imputes righteousness (through the obedience of one, many were made righteous) (Romans 5:12-21). This passage of Scripture contrasts Adam with Jesus in order to explain how God imputes righteousness to us. Paul makes the claim that sin entered the world by one man, bringing death upon all of humanity (Romans 5:12). He then supports his claim with a number of arguments (Romans 5:13-17): (1) Adam was from one offence unto many deaths; Jesus was from grace unto many gift of eternal life, (2) Adam was from judgment to condemnation; Jesus was from righteousness to justification, (3) Adam was from one disobedience unto many sinners; Jesus was from one obedience unto many righteous. Paul concludes with the statement that eternal life through God’s grace is now available to all of mankind through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:18-21).

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

Romans 5:12 Comments Sin entered the world through one man, the man Adam. Although the woman took the forbidden fruit first, the man took the responsibility of this sin.

Sin is like leaven in that it permeates everything it touches. When Adam sinned, he allowed sin to enter into the world and defile everything under its influence. Sin entered into every human being. We were in the loins of Adam when he sinned we partook of that sin and became sinful in the same way that Levi paid tithes “in Abraham” (Hebrews 7:9-10).

Hebrews 7:9-10, “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.”

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

Romans 5:13 Comments - When there is no law, there is no transgression of the law. For example, a person cannot break the speed limit in his car when there are no speed limits. He may be endangering himself and others by speeding, but he is not breaking the law. Prior to the institution of the Law of Moses, God did not judge individuals for their sins, although He did judge corporately, as with the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. For example, God did not judge Cain for murdering Abel. However, under the Law each sin was imputed upon an individual, so that he had to remember each one and prepare the proper sacrifice. This caused those under the Law to become sin-conscience as they always trying to remember their sins so that they did not violate the Law and come under the curses of the Law.

The effects of sin were still reigning over mankind from the time of Adam to Moses, and death was the manifestation of man’s sinful nature; but individuals did not have to become conscience of their sins as those under the Law. This means that God will impute different levels of judgment on Judgment Day simply because we are now more accountable to God than those who lived in ignorance (Acts 17:30). We see a reference to various levels of accountability and judgment in Matthew 11:24:

Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”

Matthew 11:24, “But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Romans 5:14 “who is the figure of him that was to come” - Comments - Jesus is called the “last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45. The phrase “the last Adam” means that there will never been the need for an additional redemption for mankind. Christ’s work on Calvary was total and complete for man’s eternal redemption. Otherwise, Jesus would have been called the “second Adam”, and others would have followed in order to complete our redemption. But Jesus’ death and resurrection completed our redemption. There will be no other types of Adam.

1 Corinthians 15:45, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”

Romans 5:14 Comments - Death was the manifestation of man’s sinful nature, even though man had no law to reveal or define his sin. The moment the Law came, man’s sin nature was magnified.

Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence 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 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence 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 5:17 Comments - Just as the sin of Adam brought us into bondage to poverty, disease, lack and fear, so did the obedience of one man, Jesus Christ, bring us into health, prosperity and an abundance of joy. We now reign as kings in this life, having been given authority over the elements of this world. God created this earth to be subject to man and through Christ Jesus this is now so. We are now children of God, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus, seated with Him at the right hand of the Father far above “all principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

In fact, everything that Jesus Christ placed under His feet during His earthly ministry is also under our dominion and we can walk in the same authority that Jesus walked through faith in His name. He was teaching His disciples to so do by sending them out to minister in His name by twos.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence 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.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Romans 5:20 Comments - The Law was given in order to manifest our sins. This should lead us to repentance and faith in God (Galatians 3:19).

Galatians 3:19, “ Wherefore then serveth the law ? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Romans 5". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.