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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

Romans 5

Verse 1


Put right with God through faith. Christ’s sacrifice changes us, not God. The merit of Christ’s sin-offering for us, makes it possible for us to be put right with God through faith. In our union with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we are changed from enemies into friends. The faith which puts us right with God: (1) is a faith in Christ as the Messiah; (2) is a faith of the heart (Romans 10:9) which brings the totality of our life into obedience (Romans 1:5). We have peace with God. Outside of Christ, all are rebels against God and enemies. Inside of Christ (Galatians 3:27), forgiveness brings peace and we are friends. Luther says: “Thus we arrive at this result, viz., that faith justifies without any works, and yet it does not follow from this that we must not do any good works, but that genuine works will not be wanting [lacking]. Of these works those who are saints by their own merit know nothing; they frame up works of their own, in which there is neither peace, joy, assurance, love, hope, boldness, nor the quality of any genuine Christian work and faith.” Compare Romans 10:1-4.

Verse 2


Into this experience. Christ brought us, by faith, into this experience of being “put right with God” and “peace.” We reach out through faith to make ourselves part of the experience of Christ [which is extrinsic to ourselves] as we see from Romans 6:5-6.

Verses 3-4


And we also rejoice. The Jews boasted about their happiness in the Law. They saw the Christian’s trouble as a sign of God’s disapproval. Not so, says Paul. Trouble produces endurance, approval, hope, as a chain of events. Compare 1 Thessalonians 3:3; Acts 5:41.

Verse 5


This hope. The Jews hoped to be saved because they were Abraham’s descendants. They would be disappointed (Romans 9:0). God has poured out his love. MacKnight says that EKKECHUTAI points to the gifts from the Spirit given to the Gentiles to prove to the Jews that God does love them. It also means our awareness that God loves us.

Verse 6


For when we were still helpless. Paul has already shown us that both Jew and Gentile were helpless under sin’s power. It was at this point that God acted in history through Christ to set us free! Compare Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 4:25.

Verse 7


It is a difficult thing. While we may see a rare example of love in which someone gives up their life to save a good person’s life, it is most unusual. This fact categorizes [defines] the amazing love of Christ!

Verse 8


But God has shown as. This act in history stands for all time as a monument to the infinite love of God! It was while. The false religions of the world show an angry god who must be appeased to escape his wrath. Christ shows us a God who acts in love to make it possible for his children to escape the judgment coming on sinful men. Compare 1 John 3:16-18.

Verse 9


By his death. Blood = death. See Hebrews 2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; 1 Peter 2:24. Death symbolizes the totality of Christ’s sacrifice (of which blood is a part). How much more, then. If Christ died for us while we were still sinners, how much more will Christ save us from the wrath to come, now that we have been put right with God through his death and are not longer sinners,

Verse 10


But he made us his friends. Christ’s sacrifice does not change God, it changes us (2 Corinthians 5:17). We had become God’s enemy through our sins. We now become God’s friends through the death of his Son. MacKnight sees in this a removing of the curse from all mankind – past, present, future – so that all have salvation available to them. Compare Romans 5:18; Hebrews 9:15; Ephesians 2:16. By Christ’s life. Compare Romans 8:11; John 14:19; 1 Peter 3:21.

Verse 11


Bat that is not all. Paul shows us that now the Gentiles can also boast and rejoice that the true God is their God and King and Father, because Christ has abolished the Jewish Law (Ephesians 2:15).

Verse 12


Sin came into the world through one man. The remaining verses of this chapter induce profound theological questions. “Original sin,” and “reprobation,” as they are taught today are distortions of Bible teaching. A distinction must be made between physical death and spiritual death (God knew before Creation that man would sin, and that he would make peace through the death of his Son. See 1 Peter 1:19-20; Ephesians 3:9-11; Colossians 1:15-20.) And his sin brought death with it. The contrast is between Adam and Christ as each is the PROXY for the whole human race. Adam’s sin brought physical death to all mankind. Genesis 3:20. Because all men sinned. MacKnight says: “The meaning is not, that death hath come on all because all have sinned actually; for infants, who have not sinned actually, die; but that they have sinned in Adam as their federal head [proxy]; that is, are involved in the consequences of his sin.”

Verse 13


There was sin. Paul shows us that all mankind must have sinned in Adam (by proxy). Until law is given, no account is kept of sin. Yet death shows that sin was in the world from the time of Adam to Moses.

Verse 14


Death ruled over all men. None could escape death. Death ruled: (1) even though no law of commands had been given; (2) and no account of sins was kept; (3) even over infants and mental defectives who could not have sinned against natural law (compare Romans 1:18-23). This shows that all did sin in Adam, who is the proxy of the whole human race. Each of us repeats the acts of Adam in this sense; we are born into this world untouched by personal sin. As we grow to accountability, we disobey God’s command and become personally guilty. Adam was a figure. He was a figure of Jesus Christ. Each as a proxy acted for all mankind. Compare 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

Verse 15


Because God’s free gift is not like Adam’s sin. The sin of Adam is not contrasted here to the obedience of Christ; but the penalty of Adam’s sin is contrasted with the free gift of grace through Christ’s obedience. Many men died. The penalty of physical death came to all because of Adam’s sin. But God’s grace is much greater. In Christ we receive back much more than we lost in Adam. God’s ACT in Christ will bring all out of the grave. To those who are in Christ, this ACT will bring much more!!!

Verse 16


And there is a difference. Adam’s one sin brought the judgment of “Guilty” to all mankind. But the undeserved gift of “Not guilty!” after so many sins, comes through Christ’s obedience.

Verse 17


Through the sin of one man. If this is compatible with justice (as Romans 5:12 shows), then the results of Christ’s ACT are also compatible with justice. ALL WHO RECEIVE. This implies that the results of Christ’s act are limited somewhat by the response of each individual. This would agree with Romans 5:1. God’s abundant grace. The raising from death (Romans 5:15). This will mean different things to the believer and to the unbeliever (John 5:28-29). His righteousness. The undeserved gift of “Not guilty!” (Romans 5:16). Will rule in life through Christ. “Eternal life begins now for those who are in Christ!”

Verse 18


So then. This is the second part of the comparison begun in Romans 5:12. As the one sin condemned. Adam’s sin brought physical death to all mankind. The one righteous act. Shepherd says: “What they [we] lost unconditionally in Adam, they [we] gained unconditionally in Christ.” This means any “original sin” is canceled by Christ’s act. However, until we are put right with God through faith, our personal sin still condemns us. Lipscomb says: “By the sin of Adam all die and go to the grave. The grace and gift of God must bring them out of the grave and restore them to life, so that all that was lost in Adam may be regained in Christ; but this is not a matter of debt, but of grace.” Christ’s death brings: (1) LIFE. All dead will be raised to life (Revelation 1:7; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; John 5:28-29). (2) PARDON. Full pardon for our guilt in Adam’s sin. Therefore infants and mental defectives are sinless. (3) LIFE. Eternal life to those who have no personal sin. (4) FORGIVENESS. The opportunity to have personal sin canceled. 1 Peter 3:21-22; Titus 3:4-7.

Verse 19


Were made sinners. By Adam’s sin, all were counted sinners even though many of them never heard of Adam or his sin. Will be put right. All inherited penalty for Adam’s sin is canceled for the whole human race (the dead will all be raised). All without personal sin are “Not guilty!” before God. God’s terms of salvation are for those who have personally sinned. See Romans 5:1; Acts 2:37-38; Luke 24:47 and notes.

Verse 20


Law was introduced. Not only the Law of Moses, but all divine law. The effect of its introduction was to increase wrongdoing. (See Romans 7:7-11). This is speaking about each person’s personal sin. God’s grace Increased. God offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who will reach out in faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ. Sin verifies the act of God in Christ.

Verse 21


Just as sin ruled. Death oppresses all! Leading us to eternal life. This is like a hymn of praise to God! Sin rules by death, God’s grace rules by righteousness, and leads us to eternal life!!! (1) The number saved will be larger than the number lost. Since half of mankind dies in infancy, and, having no personal sin, will be saved (as we believe), the number lost may be no larger proportion than the inmates of a prison compared to the community. See Revelation 7:9 and note. (2) The Logos whom we know as Jesus Christ, by his act to set us free, exalts his people to a much higher level of spiritual development, than humanity would have reached, if unfallen. (3)The benefits of Christ’s act to set us free extend beyond the human race. See Romans 8:19-22; Colossians 1:20.

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Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 5". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.