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Bible Commentaries
Romans 5

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

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Verses 1-5

Romans 5:1-5 . The Fruits of Justifying Faith.

Romans 5:1-2 a . “ Since then we have been justified,” etc., recapitulates Romans 3:22 to Romans 4:25. The apodosis (according to the best-attested reading, RV) is hortatory: “ Let us abide in peace with God,” etc.; the Greek tense implies a continued state, as in Acts 9:31 (RV). The qualifying clause, “ through whom indeed we have got our introduction,” etc., warrants a steady peace with God: led by Christ’ s hand into the Father’ s grace, we should lay aside misgiving.

Romans 5:2 b Romans 5:5 . The “ hope of the glory of God” raises peace” to “ exultation.” Christian joy is even enhanced by trouble: “ endurance, proof, hope” form a chain linking “ tribulation” to “ the love of God” ( cf. Php_4:11-13 ; also 1 Peter 1:6 f., James 1:2-4— apparently echoed here). “ Our hope” of beholding the glory of God “ does not shame us,” like self-relying hopes; its fruition is guaranteed by “ the love of God poured out within our hearts, through the Holy Spirit who was given us.”— God’ s love, implied in His name of “ Father” ( Romans 1:7, etc.), is embraced in Paul’ s wide conception of “ God’ s righteousness” ( Romans 1:17,* etc.); “ poured out” speaks of its lavishness ( cf. Ephesians 2:4; Ephesians 2:7); “ the heart,” of its inward apprehension.— Ch. 8 is the expansion of Romans 5:5 b.

Verses 6-11

Romans 5:6-11 . Love and Reconciliation.

Romans 5:6-8 . The helplessness and ill-desert of the objects, and the timeliness of the intervention, go to “ commend God’ s love to us, shown in the death of Christ on our behalf”— a sacrifice enhanced when one considers that “ a righteous man” will “ scarcely “ find another to “ die for him,” though “ it may happen” that a friend “ ventures his life for the good man” (known and loved as such).— God’ s and Christ’ s love are identified ( Romans 5:6; Romans 5:8).

Romans 5:9 f. In the next breath the apostle speaks of God’ s “ anger” : seeming incompatibles meet at the Cross. The joyous hope of Christians amid life’ s troubles is explained: “ justified at the price of Christ’ s blood” ( cf. Romans 8:32, 1 Peter 1:18 f.), “ we need not fear future anger” ; we know that God is our friend. He who has justified sinners, will never condemn the justified (see Romans 8:31-34). “ To the former enemies, brought into peace with God through His Son’ s death, that Son’ s” risen “ life” ( cf. Romans 6:4 f., Revelation 1:17 f., Hebrews 7:25) “ gives pledge of final salvation.”— To be “ reconciled to God” means not merely to change one’ s disposition toward Him, but to receive forgiveness, to exchange God’ s anger ( Romans 5:9) for His smile. Reconciliation corresponds in point of sentiment to justification in point of status (see 2 Corinthians 5:19; also Matthew 5:24, for the use of the passive verb).

Romans 5:11 . The sense of “ reconciliation” swells again into a rapturous “ exultation in God” ( cf. Romans 5:2).

Verses 12-21

Romans 5:12-21 . The “ therefore” of Romans 5:12 covers Romans 1:16 to Romans 5:11: the working of sin and grace are traced up to their fountain-heads in Adam and Christ ( cf. 1 Corinthians 15:45-47).— Adam (Heb. man) stands for humanity racially. Two opposing currents run through man’ s life, each with its personal source ( Romans 5:12-14, Romans 5:18 f.); but with this broad correspondence, there are signal contrasts ( Romans 5:15-17); grace is the ultimate victor ( Romans 5:20 f.).

Romans 5:12 affirms the solidarity of mankind in sin and death. The clause “ for that all sinned” repeats the cardinal declaration of Romans 3:23, and needs no complementary “ in him (Adam)” : wherever death enters, sin has opened the door.

Romans 5:13 f. deals with the seeming exception of pre-Mosaic times: “ all sinned,” I say ( Romans 5:12); “ for there was sin in the world up to the time of law”— Moses’ law did not create sin, but matured it ( cf. Romans 5:20; Romans 7:7 ff., Romans 7:13). “ Yet,” some one says, “ sin is not taken into account where no law exists” (see Romans 4:15).—“ For all that,” replies Paul, “ death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not, like Adam, transgress” an explicit command. The inference goes without saying: the intervening generations violated some law; the sequence of sin and death is itself matter of primordial law ( Romans 8:2). Death was universal from Adam downwards; sin was universal; ipso facto, law was universal. This Paul had shown in Romans 2:14-16, in another way. Through all ages, amongst all races, sin genders death ( James 1:15); at the bottom “ there is no difference” ( Romans 3:22).— The complement of “ just as” ( Romans 5:12) is virtually contained in the last clause of Romans 5:14, “ who (Adam) is a type of the One to come.” What Adam was to his kind in point of transgression, this Other is to be in the contrary sense.

Romans 5:15 f. But Christ’ s “ grace” in its potency is “ far more” than a counterpoise to the race-sin. Paul pits “ the grace of God and . . . the grace of the One Man” conjointly against “ the trespass.” Romans 5:15 marks the contrast in kind, Romans 5:16 in degree: the sin of one man resulted in general condemnation,” while “ the justification-bringing act of grace.” dealt with “ many trespasses.”

Romans 5:17 . Finally, Christ’ s grace triumphantly reverses the effects of Adam’ s fall, turning “ the slaves of death” into “ lords of life.”— To speak of “ righteousness” as “ a gift received” is another way of affirming Justification by Faith ( cf. Romans 3:24, Romans 4:4 f.).

Romans 5:18 f., Romans 5:21 . Thus the two headships are vastly disparate: on the one side, trespass, disobedience, sin, bearing fruit in condemnation, sinfulness (“ were constituted sinners,” Romans 5:19), death; on the other, rectification (the “ one justificatory act” or “ sentence,” Romans 5:18), obedience, grace, resulting in justification, righteousness, life eternal (terms of status, character, destiny).—“ The many” versus “ the one” of Romans 5:19 = “ all” versus “ one” of Romans 5:18. In Romans 5:14; Romans 5:17, “ death came to reign through sin” : in Romans 5:21, “ sin reigns in death” ; for mortality brings home to men sin’ s domination, as “ life eternal” will display “ the regnancy of grace.”

Romans 5:20 brings in “ the law by the way,” as “ multiplying the (Adam’ s) trespass”— so as to further, however, “ the superabounding of grace” ( cf. Romans 4:15, Romans 7:7-13, and Galatians 3:19 f.).— This paragraph extends the scope of Christ’ s redemption from the primeval fall on to the glories of eternal destiny.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Romans 5". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/romans-5.html. 1919.
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