SOME GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE GOOD NEWS!
Paul begins Romans 5 with the word “Therefore.” Someone has said that whenever you come across the word “Therefore” you need to know what it is there for! The word “Therefore” in Romans 5:1 links what Paul has just written with what he is about to write. It can be understood as meaning, “In light of what I have just written,” or “As a result of our justification.” Paul uses the word “Therefore” to introduce his discussion of some good news about the Good News. Romans 5:1-11 contains some very good news about the blessings or benefits that the man who has been put right with God enjoys. In Romans 5:1-2, Paul shares some good news about our position in Christ. In Romans 5:3-5, Paul shares some good news about our problems in life. In Romans 5:6-11, Paul shares some good news about the proof of God’s love.
Some Good News About Our Position in Christ: Romans 5:1-2
Paul begins his discussion by sharing some good news about our position in Christ. According to Romans 5:1-2, there are three benefits that accrue to the man who has been “justified by faith.” First, the man who has been justified by faith enjoys “peace with God.” Paul has already discussed the fact that before men are justified they are at enmity with God and under the wrath of God (see also Ephesians 2:1-3). The phrase “peace with God” speaks of the change in relationship that is enjoyed by the man who was under condemnation but now enjoys the forgiveness of God. It means to be in a right relationship with God. “Peace with God” takes care of the past. It assures us that God will no longer hold our sins against us. Second, the man who has been justified by faith enjoys access to God. Paul writes that through Christ “we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand [that is, the state of our acceptance with God].” The word “introduction” actually means “access”. Through Christ we have access to God. “Access to God” takes care of the present. It assures us that we can come to God at any time for the help we need. Third, the man who has been justified by faith enjoys the prospect of glory. The man who has been justified by faith has a future, something to look forward to. When life comes to an end that is not the end of the story. The believer confidently anticipates that something lies beyond. “Hope of the glory of God” takes care of the future. It assures us that one day we will share in His glory and spend eternity with Him.
Some Good News About Our Problems in Life: Romans 5:3-5
Paul shares some good news about our problems in life in Romans 5:3-5. Notice three things in these verses. First, the man who has been justified by faith is not exempt from problems. Some people live under the mistaken notion that once a person becomes a Christian he will experience fewer problems in life. That however, is not the case. Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33). But for the man who has been justified by faith, problems and trials work for him and not against him. Second, the man who has been justified by faith can exult (rejoice) in problems, pressures, and trials. The whole idea of exulting in tribulation is contrary to human nature. But the person who has been justified by faith can rejoice in tribulation because he knows something. His rejoicing is based on the knowledge of something. Third, the man who has been justified by faith experiences personal growth because of problems. He can rejoice because he knows that God is able to use life’s problems and trials to mold him more into the image of Christ. He knows that “tribulation brings about perseverance.” The word “tribulation” means “intense pressure.” The word “perseverance” translates a Greek word meaning “staying under.” It denotes staying power. The man who has been justified by faith can rest in the assurance that “tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character.” The term “proven character” comes from a word that was used of the process of purifying metal by removing the impurities. God uses tribulation to prove and improve our character. And “proven character” produces “hope.” The man who enjoys “peace with God” faces the problems and trials of life differently than other men. He faces them with the confident assurance that they will work to strengthen his character and develop a steadiness in his life. Because the believer experiences the sustaining hand of God through life’s difficulties, his hope in God is never disappointed.
Some Good News About the Proof of God’s Love: Romans 5:6-11
Paul shares some good news about the proof of God’s love in Romans 5:6-11. Notice what Paul writes about the proof of God’s love. First, God’s love is undeserved. Paul writes, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Christ died for us while we were helpless, powerless, and without strength to do anything that pleased God. Christ died or us while we were ungodly, without anything in us that deserved God’s love. Second, God’s love is incomparable. “But God demonstrates [gives proof of] His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We see the surpassing value of the love of God in that Christ died for those at enmity with God. Third, God’s love assures us of the security of our salvation. Paul argues from the greater to the lesser in Romans 5:9-11. In other words, since Christ died for us while we were yet sinners and at enmity with God, how much more will He save us from the future wrath of God. Someone has written, “If God has done so much for His enemies, what will He not do for His friends?” Thus, because God has reconciled us to Himself, we have reason to rejoice.
Christians have much about which to rejoice and give thanks.
The Christian has much about which he can rejoice. He can live with the assurance that God has dealt with his past, is available to help him in the present, and has a wonderful future for him in heaven. The Christian can face problems with the assurance that God will use them in the process of conforming him into the image of Christ. The Christian can live life with the assurance that God loves him, an assurance that he often takes for granted.
Charles Swindoll offers the following practical suggestions:
A. The secret of rejoicing is having the right focus.
God’s ultimate goal for us is that we be just like Christ. If we keep this in mind, then, regardless of our circumstances, we will be able to rejoice.
B. The willingness to focus involves having the right attitude.
We need to have a teachable, humble attitude that can express itself in thanksgiving, even during the worst of times. With this kind of unselfish outlook we can better focus on the goal of Christ-likeness.
C. The result of a right attitude is an unquestionable optimism.
Knowing that the events of our lives are designed to chisel away our imperfections and to renew us into Christ’s image should create in us a contagious, enduring joy.
God will perfect the good work He began in us.
Paul stated in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God began a good work in our lives on the day that we were justified by faith. We can be assured that He will see that work through to completion, even when we are in the midst of problems and tribulations. That is another reason we can rejoice in tribulations.
SOME GOOD NEWS ABOUT BEING IN CHRIST!
In Romans 5:12-21, Paul shares some good news about being in Christ. He does so by drawing certain comparisons and contrasts between Adam and Christ. Paul sees Adam and Christ as two representatives of mankind. Before men enter into a right relationship with Christ they are seen as being “in Adam.” As such, they are subject to sin, death, and condemnation. Once men place their faith in Christ however, they are seen as being “in Christ” and as such are the beneficiaries of God’s gift of eternal life. In our lesson today we will consider what men have “in Adam” and what they have “in Christ.”
Consequences: Romans 5:12-14
In Romans 5:12-14, Paul writes about what Adam introduced into the world. First, Adam introduced the presence of sin into the world. Paul writes in Romans 5:12, “through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world [had its beginnings in the human race].” This is a reference to the events of Genesis 1-3. The Bible puts the full blame for sin squarely on the shoulders of Adam. Second, sin introduced death into the world. The presence of sin was accompanied by the penalty of sin, death. Paul writes, “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” God told Adam, “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die (Genesis 2:17).” Rather than heeding the Word of God, Adam heeded the word of the serpent who said, “You surely shall not die (Genesis 3:4).” Adam was wrong, God was right, and death was introduced into the world. Third, sin’s entry into the world also introduced the power of sin. Paul writes of the power of sin in Romans 5:13-14 where he states that “death reigned.” Death reigned like a tyrannical ruler over mankind.
Contrasts: Romans 5:15-17
In Romans 5:15, Adam’s transgression is contrasted with Christ’s free gift. “But the free gift [of a status of righteousness before God] is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many [all men] died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to many.” The sin of Adam introduced death to the human race but the gift of God introduced the way of salvation. Notice the reference to “much more” in verse 15. God always offers “much more.” He offers the “much more” of spiritual, abundant, and eternal life to those who will believe. Those who are “in Adam” have nothing to look forward to but death and eternal separation from God. Those who are “in Christ” can look forward to an abundant life that will culminate in eternal life.
In Romans 5:16, condemnation is contrasted with justification. According to this verse, “judgment resulting in condemnation” followed Adam’s transgression. In contrast, the free gift of God “arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.” Adam’s one transgression brought death to all who were in him. Christ’s died once and brought justification to all who are in Him. In Romans 5:17, the reign of death is contrasted with the reign of life. Adam’s transgression permitted death to reign over the whole human race. Those who are in Christ however, will “reign in life.” They no longer have to fear death and its awful consequences.
Comparisons: Romans 5:18-19
In Romans 5:18-19, Paul draws some comparisons between Adam and Christ. In Romans 5:18, Paul compares the result of Adam’s transgression with the result of Christ’s act of righteousness. The result of Adam’s disobedience was condemnation. Adam’s gift to mankind is sin, death, judgment, and condemnation. But the result of Christ’s act of obedience is justification to all who put their trust in Him. In Romans 5:19, Paul compares the result of Adam’s disobedience with the result of Christ’s obedience. Through Adam’s disobedience (the first act of sin which plunged humanity into sin) men were constituted sinners. Through Christ’s act of obedience however, a right standing with God is available to all who believe.
Conclusion: Romans 5:20-21
Paul concludes this section of Romans by writing of the triumph of grace over sin. Romans 5:20-21 supports the fact that the Law was not given to remedy the sin problem. The Law accentuates and aggravates the sin problem. Tell a child that he is forbidden from doing something and see what happens! The Law also accentuates man’s need for redemption. Paul writes that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” God’s grace superabounds so that through faith men might be rescued from sin and death. And so, in Romans 5:12-21 we see Adam as the representative of ruined humanity and Christ as the representative of redeemed humanity. We see that in Adam all men are sinners but in Christ all men are saints. In Adam we find that death reigns but in Christ we find that deliverance reigns. In Adam the see offense but in Christ we see obedience. What a blessing indeed to be in Christ!
Adam: Representative of ruined humanity.
Christ: Representative of redeemed humanity.
Adam: Introduced presence, penalty, and power of sin to all mankind.
Christ: Provides deliverance from the penalty and power of sin and, one day, from the presence of sin.
Adam: Introduced death to the human race.
Christ: Introduced the way of salvation to mankind.
Adam: Those “in Adam” have only death and separation from God to look forward to.
Christ: Those “in Christ” have the “much more” of life to look forward to.
Adam: “Judgment resulting in condemnation” followed Adam’s transgressions.
Christ: Brought justification to all who are in Him.
Adam: Death reigns because of Adam’s sin.
Christ: Those who are “in Christ” shall “reign in life.”
Adam: Brought sin and misery through disobedience.
Christ: Brought right standing with God to all who believe.
Adam: All people are sinners.
Christ: All people are saints.
Adam: Death reigns.
Christ: Deliverance reigns.