The Book of ROMANS
James J. Barker
WE HAVE NOW RECEIVED THE ATONEMENT
Text: ROMANS 5:1-11
- Romans 3 and 4 deal with the great doctrine of justification by faith.
- W.H. Griffith Thomas said, "Justified means pardoned, acquitted, and regarded as righteous in Christ. It is objective; something done for us by God, and not any mere subjective, inward feeling or attitude towards God" (St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans).
- Romans 3 and 4 deal with the great doctrine of justification by faith, and Romans chapter 5 finishes this theme by saying, "Therefore being justified by faith..." (5:1, cf. vs. 9).
- The outcome of justification by faith is peace (5:1). God is no longer angry with the sinner because the sinner has been justified. He has been declared righteous and he has been forgiven.
- Another outcome of justification by faith is hope. We "rejoice in hope" (5:2b). Romans 10:11 says, "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." Here in Romans 5:5 we read, "And hope maketh not ashamed..."
- Another outcome of justification by faith is "access" (5:2). Lost sinners do not have this privilege of access.
- The good news ("the Gospel") is that "when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (5:6).
- "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (5:8; cf. John 3:16).
- Regarding Romans 5:7 and 8, James M. Stifler said, "What men can scarcely do for the good, God has done abundantly for the vile and the despicable" (The Epistle to the Romans).
ENEMIES BY SIN
- Different words are used here to describe the miserable condition of sinners. They are "without strength" (5:6). Sin has weakened them.
- Sadly, sinners are often strong enough to get into mischief. They are strong enough to turn on the television or the computer and look at filth.
- They are strong enough to drink, smoke, gamble, curse, steal, commit adultery, and do many other wicked things.
- But when it comes to doing good, they are "without strength."
- The Greek word translated "without strength" means "weak, infirm, feeble."
- The same Greek word translated "without strength" is elsewhere translated, "sick" and "impotent." Men are weak and sickly and feeble because of sin (cf. Romans 1:21-32; 3:23; 5:12).
- Another word used to describe sinners is "ungodly" (5:6). They have no fear of God. They are impious. They love sin, but not God.
- Colossians 1:21 says sinners are alienated from God and enemies in their mind by wicked works.
- Ephesians 2:3 says sinners are "by nature the children of wrath." According to the Bible, sinners are condemned (Romans 2:5-9).
- And the only way they can be reconciled to God is by the blood of Christ (5:8-10).
- The Bible teaches we are "justified by faith" (5:1). Grace is the source of justification and faith is the condition.
- Works are the evidence, and that is why James 2:21 says, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?" Works is the evidence.
- Grace is the source, faith is the condition, works are the evidence, and the blood of Christ is the means. That is why Romans 5:9 says, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
- Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin.
RECONCILED BY THE CROSS
- Another outcome of justification by faith is reconciliation. The sinner has been "reconciled" (5:10). This means, "to bring back to a former state of harmony; to reconcile those who are at variance" (5:10).
- The word "atonement" in Romans 5:11 means the same thing. Strong's Concordance says the word means, "the restoration of the favour of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ."
- The Bible teaches that sinners are at variance with God -- they are literally God's "enemies" (5:10). They need to be reconciled to God, and that can only be done on the basis of the cross (5:8-11).
- The Bible teaches that we have been reconciled to God by the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ (5:10).
- Furthermore, we "shall be saved by His life" (5:9, 10). The death of Christ was the means of our reconciliation, and the life of Christ will be the means of our preservation (W.H. Griffith Thomas, St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans).
- There is only one way to be reconciled to our holy and righteous God, and that is by the cross (5:6-11).
- Colossians 1:21 says, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled."
- Notice the verb tenses -- Christians were sometime alienated, but now are reconciled.
- Second Corinthians 5:18 says God has "reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ." He is our only Reconciler.
- "By Jesus Christ." Not by Mary or the pope, or Allah or by any other god or religion or by good works or by baptism, etc. (cf. Eph. 2:13-16).
- The Bible teaches that sin separates men from God. Isaiah 59:2 says, "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
- The Bible teaches that God hates sin. Proverbs 6:16 says, "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him..."
- Psalm 7:11 says, "God is angry with the wicked every day."
- John 3:36 says, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
- The wrath of God abides on sinners, but Romans 5:9 says, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." "Much more" (5:9).
- Someone has said Revelation 21 is the chapter of "no more" -- no more sea, no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain, no more curse -- and Romans 5 is the chapter of "much more" (5:9, 10, 15, 17, 20).
- Romans 5:10 says the same thing in different words: "we were enemies," but we have been "reconciled to God by the death of his Son."
SAVED BY GOD'S GRACE
- Romans 5:9 says, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
- This means we are saved by God's grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins. We are "now justified by his blood" (5:9).
- That is why "we have peace with God" (5:1). We are no longer at war with God.
- Furthermore, "we shall be saved from wrath through him." This refers specifically to the fires of hell (cf. Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).
- There was an old Indian out in Arizona who heard the Gospel and got saved. Friends asked him to explain how his life had changed so much. He grabbed some leaves and formed a circle, and then set it on fire. Next, he picked up a little worm and dropped him in the middle of the ring of fire. The worm crawled around, frantically trying to escape the fire, but could not. Then the old Indian reached down his hand and rescued the little worm. He turned to his friends and said, "I was that worm, hopeless and helpless. And God reached down and saved me!"
- That is the grace of God. God reaches down and saves sinners that are "without strength" (Rom. 5:6).
- Like the song says:
my soul was astray from the heavenly way
I was wretched and
blind as could be
my Savior in love gave me peace from above
When he reached down
his hand for me
When the Savior reached down for me
When he reached way
down for me
lost and undone without God or his Son
When he reached down his hand for
- The interposition of "his (resurrection) life" (5:10) completes that of His blood. This ensures not only our justification but our sanctification. This is developed further in chapters 6--8.
- Sanctification always follows justification. It never precedes it.
- F.L. Godet put it this way, "It (justification) rests only on faith in the death of Christ. Sanctification flows from the life of Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit" (The Epistle to the Romans).
- Salvation is more than being "saved from wrath" (5:9). It is walking in "newness of life" (Rom. 6:4).
- "Christ giving His life for us saves us from the penalty of sin; Christ giving His life to us saves us from the power of sin" (John Phillips).
- Each Person of the Trinity is connected with our salvation.
- "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:1b).
- "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (5:5b).