Romans Chapter Five
I. Content of the Chapter
The Blessings Brought by Justification by Faith
A. Have peace with God (v.1);
B. Have access by faith into this grace (v.2a);
C. Rejoice in hope of the glory of God (v.2b-5a);
D. The love of God has been poured out in our hearts (v.5b-8);
E. Be saved from wrath (v.9);
F. Be reconciled to God (v.10a);
G. Be saved by His life (v.10b);
H. Rejoice in God (v.11);
The Truth of Justification by Faith
A. Be under the power of sin and death in Adam (v.12-14);
B. Much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of Christ (v.15-16);
C. Through the righteous act of Christ the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life;
D. Grace might reign through righteousness (v.20-21);
II. Verse by Verse commentary
Rom. 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
YLT: “Having been declared righteous, then, by faith, we have peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Literal Meaning: “therefore, having been justified by faith”, the word “therefore” indicates all the profits this paragraph enumerates after we have been justified are obtained because of Christ’s being and works. Our “faith” can not only justify us, but also enable us to receive every spiritual blessing given by God in Christ (see Eph. 1:3).
“Through our Lord Jesus Christ”, “through” can also be translated as “because of, by, from”, which has been used at least sixteen or seventeen times, showing that the Lord’s being and works are the premise and way for us to receive every profit.
“Have peace with God”, our relation with God has been broken and become worse because of our sin; “have peace with God”, it shows the objective fact, not subjective feeling. Man is reversed from the hostile condition toward God to a peaceful condition. Of course, such transition of objective position has also brought us transition of subjective feeling ---- namely, peace in spirit. From then on, it is not only man can be bold before God (Heb. 4:16; 10:19) and have peace but also that God can please man and grant grace to man.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Faith is to believe the Lord is the Son of God and believe all that He has done for us. Man can take part in the Lord Himself and the Lord’s salvation by believing the Lord and receiving Him and what He has done for us.
2) Jesus Christ is the patron between God and man. Without Christ, God cannot please men, nor can men draw near God. However, through Him, God no longer condemns or rejects us, and we can also have peace with God.
3) In fact, Christ not only brings peace to our believers, and He Himself is our peace (Eph. 2:14).
Rom 5:2 “through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
YLT: “through whom also we have the access by the faith into this grace in which we have stood, and we boast on the hope of the glory of God.”
Meaning of Words: “rejoice”: (make) boast, glory, joy, rejoice, vaunt;
Literal Meaning: “through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand”, “have access into”, it is used to describe that situation that one is presented to a king, or that a ship is brought into a harbor. Here, it indicates grace is a special sphere that one needs to find special access into it. We can be brought into the sphere of grace on account of two reasons ---- one is “through” Him, and the other is “by faith”. The former refers to the works and fulfillments, and the latter is men’s cooperation and responsibilities. It is the fruit of the fellow-work between God and men so that we can have access into the realm of grace.
It is a fact that we “have had the access into” this grace, but we still have to keep on “standing” steadfastly. Otherwise, we may still be fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4).
“And rejoice in hope of the glory of God”, “rejoice” refers to a kind of joy overflowed from one’s inner heart and manifested through one’s lips. The word carries the meaning of jubilations and boasts. “Hope”: to expect an unaccomplished thing with full assurance. “The glory of God”, it on one hand refers to the glory that we believers shall enter in the future (Heb. 2:10), and on the other hand it relates to the glorious condition of believers manifested after God’s works on them (Rom. 8:18; 1John 3:2). Another result of our justification by faith is that we have been brought into a new standing, in which we no longer fear but can enjoy the grace of God as much as we like and have firm assurance toward our future.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “By faith” and “through Him” show the cooperation between God and man ---- “by faith” is man’s responsibility, and “through Him” refers to the works of God ---- if man fails to take his responsibility, he cannot expect God’s works without reason.
2) “Have access into” is to enter, and it is the beginning. “Stand” is to keep, it is the continuance. By faith, we have not only entered the door of the kingdom of God, but also keep on standing in the grace.
3) Christ is the new position of our believers. Christ is also our grace. In Christ, we have access into this grace and enjoy all the grace of God.
4) The death of Christ has brought us into the grace of Christ. The life of Christ keeps us standing in the grace firmly.
5) We lived in disorderly and desperate condition because of being far off God. But now, by Jesus Christ, we can have access into the presence of the king of kings as well as the gracious refuge of God.
6) The grace of God is “present”. Behold, it is now an accepted time, and it is now well-accepted time (2Cor.6:2).
7) Grace makes us turn away from despair and become a man who have rejoice and hope and wait for the glory of God. It means that grace not only changes a desperate man into a man who have rejoice and hope, but also makes one into the glory of God so as to make one a glorious man.
8) The hope of our believers is none other than being transformed as the image of the Son of God (see Rom. 8:29-30), namely, at measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ (see Eph. 4:13). If we really see the great glory of the hope, we cannot refrain from “boasting” the hope.
9) There is no reason for Christians to be worried, but there are sufficient reasons to be joyful, because our hope is Christ Himself (1Tim. 1:1), who is our assurance and He will surely bring us unto the glory of God.
10) Peace (v.1) and joy are the double blessing brought by the glad tidings. A certain missionary said, “Peace is joy in rest, and joy is peace in dancing”.
11) Peace (v.1) is the way that we should walk in. Grace is the position that we have to stand in.
Rom. 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”
YLT: “And not only, but we also boast in the tribulations, knowing that the tribulation doth work endurance;”
Meaning of Words: “tribulations”: pressure, trouble; “produce”: do work fully, accomplish, cause;
The Background: the word “trouble” in the original is used in extracting olive oil from the olive, or extracting the grape juice or wine from the grape.
Literal Meaning: “and not only that, but we also glory in tribulations”, “tribulations” refer to various troubles that one may experience in the world (John 16:33; 2Cor. 1:4); “glory” and “rejoice” are the same words in the original. After we have been justified, we still live in the world and may undergo many troubles. But what is different from the past is that we can not only bear the troubles passively but also rejoice and overflow such joy from our speaking. Apparently, the life experience of believers after they have been saved is not different from that in the last (even sometimes more unsmooth). But the inner state of mind is totally different from that in the past ---- they can not only have peace in the Lord (John 16:33) but also have full joy (2Cor. 8:2).
“Knowing that tribulation produces perseverance”, we believers have joy even in tribulations, for we “know” we have not suffered from the tribulations in vain. Tribulations are the embodiment of God’s grace for our profit (Heb. 12:10-11; Rom. 8:28) that we can be perfect. “Perseverance” is not passive endurance in the original, but active persistence of overcoming the environment. Such persevering persistence shall be worked gradually through man’s experience in tribulations.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Tribulations and suffering are common experience of Christians, for “after many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
2) Tribulation is not only an unavoidable portion, but also the characteristic of true faith and becomes a sign indicating that God counts those who have undergone tribulations worthy of the kingdom of God (2Thess. 1:5).
3) If we have fully known the great glory that we shall obtain in the future, we must “glory in tribulations”, for our momentary light affliction works for us in surpassing measure an eternal weight of glory (2Cor. 4:16-17).
4) He who refuses the cross is just refusing victory. If man always flees from troubles and escapes from being dealt with by man’s wisdom, he will lose many things in his life (Matt. 10:39). We should be sure that the cross is our way as well as our crown (Gal. 6:14). Today, we should rejoice in tribulations when we follow the Lord, for the Lord has said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)”
5) When we are suffering from tribulations, what is important is not that the difficulty can be removed early, but we shall catch the very opportunity to learn what we should learn. Lord Reith says, “I do not like crisis, but I like the opportunity that is provided in the crisis”. Tribulations provide us many chances to edify us.
6) There are not many people who rejoice in tribulations. We may usually pay more attention to these difficulties, but ignore the God who permits them in our life. We should not be overpowered by tribulations. On the contrary, we can regard them as opportunities of practicing our spiritual life joyfully (James 1:2-4).
7) We should also have such spiritual knowledge: “for knowing that tribulation produces perseverance”. Only when one has known it, shall he obtain the intelligence of spiritual growth to open the door of spiritual riches and draw the fullness therein.
8) Perseverance after tribulations can still keep on moving forward in the face of great hindrance and strong opposition.
Rom. 5:4 “and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
YLT: “and the endurance, experience; and the experience, hope;”
Literal Meaning: “and perseverance, character”, “character” it is in the original used to describe the pure condition of metals after being refined. Therefore, it refers to the mature character of man like holiness, goodness and fortitude after the refinement of God.
“And character, hope”, the “hope” here is the same as that in verse two (see the commentary of verse two). The ultimate hope produced from tribulations that believers have experienced is not vain fantasy, but firm assurance, namely, the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (see v.5).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Tribulations can purify the impurities in the children of God and improve our spiritual reality.
2) Tribulations may work out noble virtues in those who have experienced them, namely, perseverance and character (v.3-4). When such virtues are related to the faith of believers, the hope shall be elevated.
3) There are two levels of believers’ “hope”: one is the hope (v.2) when they have just been saved, and the other is the hope after tribulations. Both of them are the same in nature, but vary in the extent.
4) The glory of believers’ hope will surely be increased and strengthened after they have experienced tribulations, perseverance and have been purified in character.
Rom. 5:5 “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
YLT: “and the hope doth not make ashamed, because the love of God hath been poured forth in our hearts through the Holy Spirit that hath been given to us.”
Literal Meaning: “now hope does not disappoint”, “disappoint”: be ashamed because the hope has come to nothing. The “hope” of believers is not only a kind of groundless optimism, but also a kind of assurance after having experienced God. The love of God that we have experienced in tribulations shall be the reason of the hope that in us (1Pet. 3:15) so that we can be sure that he who believes on Him shall not be ashamed (Rom. 9:33; 10:11; 1Pet. 2:6).
“Because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”, after we believers have been justified, we shall receive the Holy Spirit as the earnest of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14). The Spirit shall not only lead us into the spiritual reality (John 16:13) so as to make us foretaste the riches of God, but also pour out the love of God so that the love shall be abundant in us.
This verse means that the indwelling spirit shall make us know and understand the love of God to us (Eph. 3:16-19), so we are sure that our hope does not disappoint.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) In Christ, the love of God has been poured out in the cup and even is overflowing and has been poured out in us. The love has been poured out from the heart of God and will flow into us.
2) The love of God that we have tasted is not a little only. It is actually abundantly “poured out” into us. The love is like a gush of water flowing into us, increasing and abounding until it fills us to the full.
3) Pouring out is for the purpose of growing (see 1Cor. 3:6). Our experiences tell us that we are really growing up everyday in the pouring out and cultivation of God’s love, just like the growth of children in the pouring out of their parents’ love.
4) The more the love of God has been poured out into us, the more we can deal with the troubles we are faced with and the more confident we are of our future in hope.
5) The Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit are our assurance. The goodwill of God’s love and the mighty power of God must enable us to be unto fullness and fulfill the glory of hope.
6) Although man can speak of the cross, without the work of the Holy Spirit, his heart is still cold.
7) If one’s hope is in God, he will never lose hope. If one’s hope is in the love of God, his hope will never be in vain, for God loves us in his everlasting love ---- such love has eternal power.
8) The love of God is God Himself (1John 4:8, 16). Such love in us is our strength that enables us to be more than conquer (Rom. 8:37). Therefore, we shall never be ashamed even though we have been suffered some troubles.
Rom. 5:6 “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
YLT: “For in our being still ailing, Christ in due time did die for the impious;”
Meaning of Words: “without strength”: strengthless, weak;
Literal Meaning: “for when we were still without strength”, when we have no strength to oppose sins or keep the will of God;
“In due time Christ died for the ungodly”, “in due time”, it refers to the appointed time before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:10; Gal. 4:4; Titus 1:3).
Here, it emphasizes that the love of God is active and is predestinated, and is granted to those who are unworthy.
Rom. 5:7 “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.”
YLT: “for scarcely for a righteous man will any one die, for for the good man perhaps some one also doth dare to die;”
Literal Meaning: “for scarcely for a righteous man will one die”, Paul has quoted the verse “There is none righteous, no even one” (Rom. 3:10). Therefore, here “a righteous man” is not a man who has no transgression, but one who has done all his duties and has not overreached others.
“Yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die”, “a good man” refers to the man who give more to others beyond what they are merited. “Someone would even dare to die”, it means that one is so moved that he sacrifices himself with boldness.
This verse indicates that the love of God surpasses all the reactions of man ---- His love has no purpose or intention.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The love of man will at most encourage him to die for those he loves. No one is willing to sacrifice for those who are unworthy to be loved and those who do not love himself.
2) We are neither righteous men nor good men, but sinner who have no righteousness nor goodness. However, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (v.8). Such love surpasses all, and only “the love of God” can do it.
Rom. 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
YLT: “and God doth commend His own love to us, that, in our being still sinners, Christ did die for us;”
Literal Meaning: “while we were still sinners”: while we were doing unrighteous things (Rom. 1:18, 28) and came short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Christ died for us when we were in the rebellious condition, and thus the love of God had been manifested to us (1John 4:9). The Holy Spirit has portrayed the crucified Christ before us (Gal. 3:1) and has revealed us the love of God, thus providing us full joy in tribulations.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) That the Lord has died for us not because we are “worthy”. He died for us while we were sinners, showing that his death was not for the purpose of passively fulfilling His obligation, but actively manifesting the love of God.
2) The Holy Father and the Holy Son are one. Therefore, the sacrifice of the latter One is the sign of the love of the former One ---- the death of Christ has fully manifested the love of God.
3) God demonstrates His own love toward us even while we were still sinners. Since we are His children now, God will surely love us more.
Rom. 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
YLT: “much more, then, having been declared righteous now in his blood, we shall be saved through him from the wrath;”
Literal Meaning: “much more then, having now been justified by His blood”, “His blood” refers to the sacrificing death of Christ. “By His blood” is parallel to “through the death of His Son” in verse ten.
“We shall be saved from wrath through Him”, “the wrath of God” is not only the wrath that has been treasured (Rom. 1:18) in God now, but also the impending wrath (1Thess. 1:10).
The crucified Christ on the cross has on one hand dealt with our sins ---- which makes us justified, and had on the other hand crucified the old man, our “self” and the flesh with the passions and the lusts ---- which deals with our sin and abolishes the elements causing the wrath of God. These are the first two effects of salvation.
Rom. 5:10 “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
YLT: “for if, being enemies, we have been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved in his life.”
Literal Meaning: the Son of God had not only dies for us, but also risen from the dead for us. His death solves all the difficulties between man and God so that men are no longer enemies of God and have been reconciled with God (Col. 1:21-22). His resurrection gives His life to us so as to enable us to live by this life and grow up to salvation (1Pet. 2:2). Here, “salvation” not only refers to being saved from passive things, but also indicates that we shall experience the full salvation of God and be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This verse describes the two-sided effects of salvation.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The life and death of Jesus Christ have close relation with our salvation. His death solves all the problems of our “sins”. His life has solved all the troubles of our “sin”.
2) Christ we believe is not dead, but a living Lord. Now He lives in us and brings us into the life in the new creation.
3) Everyday, we need to be saved in His life and be delivered from many passive things, including the entanglement of sins, the attraction of the world and the life of the natural life and etc.
Rom. 5:11 “And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
YLT: “And not only , but we are also boasting in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom now we did receive the reconciliation;”
Literal Meaning: “the reconciliation”, it meaning being a friend of God in the original ---- one’s mind and walking conform to God so as to make God satisfied. “Rejoice in God”, it means enjoying God and regarding God as our enjoyment and joy. The ultimate intention of salvation is that God walks with men and abides with men ---- they enjoy and satisfy with each other unto the eternal age.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) In verse two, it is boasting the hope of the glory of God, and this verse is “boasting God Himself” (the original), proving that the hope of glory that we boast of is God Himself who have boundless fullness in Christ. Just like a hymn sings, “My goal is God Himself, not my joy, nor peach, nor even blessing…my God my glory here, from day to day, and in the glory there my Great Reward”.
2) All those who know the hope of glory in tribulations shall boast of both “tribulations” and “God” (v.2-3, 11), and yet mainly boast of God ---- just like what the psalmist says, God “is the God my exceeding joy” (Ps. 43:4).
3) We firstly “have peace with God” and then “rejoice in God”. If we want to enjoy the blessings and joy of God, we shall firstly keep normal relation with God.
Rom. 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-- ”
YLT: “because of this, even as through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin the death; and thus to all men the death did pass through, for that all did sin;”
Literal Meaning: “therefore”, it shows the rest part of this chapter still speaks of the same matter in the first half of the chapter, and yet the point of view is different. The first half (v.1-11) relates to salvation, and the rest speaks of deliverance. Salvation means that our outside doings and sins are forgiven by God. This is once and for all. Deliverance shows that our being, our “self” is delivered and released from the power of sin and is no longer ruled by sin. This is what we are experiencing every day.
The rest part of this chapter can be surmised as follows: sin and death are out of Adam, and grace and life are of Christ.
“Just as through one man sin entered the world”, the word “sin” in the singular refers to the sin in person (see Gen. 4:7). The “one man” is Adam. The world relates to all the people in the world, namely, the whole mankind (see John 1:29; 3:16, the same world). Because of the fall of Adam, sin had entered into the life of men so that all men had fallen into the bondage and had sinned (John 8:34).
“And death through sin, and thus death spread to all men”, the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), so death spread to all men.
“Because all sinned--”, “sin” means “missing the mark”. The whole verse points that all the works of man came short of the standard of God, for man had sinned.
This verse tells us that all that we have in Adam is sin and death before we have been saved.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Everyone has inherited the sin of Adam after birth and has become a sinner. Once we have been born, we are sinner, so we can sin. That we are sinners is not that we have sinned.
2) Sin is the sting of death (1Cor. 15:56) and death is the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23). Sin and death cannot be separated, so all the people shall be under the power of sin and death.
3) Anyone who wants to deal with the problem of sin and death shall seek the way of being outwardly delivered from troubles only, but start from the inner life.
4) Jesus Christ also took part in the blood and flesh that through death he might annul him who has the might of death, that is, the devil, and might set free all those who through fear of death through the whole of their life were subject to bondage (Heb. 2:14-15).
Rom. 5:13 “(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
YLT: “for till law sin was in the world: and sin is not reckoned when there is not law;”
Meaning of Words: “be imputed”: charge into an account;
Literal Meaning: “(for until the law sin was in the world”, though God had not given the law when Adam fell and sin had not been manifested by the law, the existence of “sin” was a fact.
“But sin is not imputed when there is no law”, the function of the law is manifesting man’s sins and sin (Rom. 3:20; 7:7). When there was not the law, man’s sin had not been taken into the account.
Rom. 5:14 “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.”
YLT: “but the death did reign from Adam till Moses, even upon those not having sinned in the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a type of him who is coming.”
Meaning of Words: “type”: figure, pattern, statue; sampler, model;
Literal Meaning: “nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses”, “from Adam to Moses”, it relates to the times without the law, for the law was given by Moses (John 1:17). It inherits the meaning of the previous verse, showing that the existence of sin and death has nothing to do with the law. Though there was not the law to expose man’s “transgression”, man had really sinned. The sting of death is sin (1Cor. 15:56) and sin brings death and death reigns in man. All men, to the last man, are subjective to the power of sin.
“Even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come”, “who was to come” is Christ, who is the last Adam (1Cor. 15:45). “Likeness” means predestinated type. Adam is the head and type of the old creation. Likewise, Christ is the head and type of the new creation. How men have received all that they have in Adam, and in like manner all men shall also receive all that they should have in Christ.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Since the grandfather Adam sinned, death befell to all men and became a terrible power, just like a king who ruled men and made men his bondmen. All the children of Adam ---- even they had not committed the same sin as Adam ---- should also die.
2) Thank the Lord! His cross has redeemed our sins. His resurrection has destroyed the power of death so that we are released us from death and have obtained his eternal life. What transcendent and great grace (v.21; see Heb. 2:14-15).
Rom. 5:15 “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. ”
YLT: “But, not as the offence so also the free gift; for if by the offence of the one the many did die, much more did the grace of God, and the free gift in grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abound to the many;
Literal Meaning: this verse shows that result of the “gift” far surpasses that of the “offense”. The offense of Adam made “many” the victims unto death. However, the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man will surely befall to “many” more abundantly. The word “many” has mentioned twice in this verse, but refer to different groups. The former is the old creation and all the mankind. And the latter refers to the new creation and the whole believers.
Why does the result of the “gift” far surpass that of the “offense”? There are reasons as follows:
1) Jesus Christ far transcends Adam;
2) What Adam did was offense, but what Jesus Christ did was grace. What Jesus Christ did far exceeds what Adam did by nature.
3) The result of offense is passive and unavoidable, but the gift in grace is active and free. The active one prevails over the passive one. The free gift is better than forced imposition.
4) Gift is better than judgment and justification than condemnation. Concerning this point, Paul gives us the supplementary explanation in the next verse.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) It is a fact that Adam’s fall left us disaster. But the grace gifted by Christ in His redemption is a greater fact that far transcends the disaster before.
2) The salvation of Christ cannot only solve the passive troubles, but also lead men into more than fullness.
Rom. 5:16 “And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. ”
YLT: “and not as through one who did sin the free gift, for the judgment indeed of one to condemnation, but the gift of many offences to a declaration of `Righteous,'”
Literal Meaning: this verse points the difference between judgment and gift as well as condemnation and justification:
1) Judgment is to impute the sin of one man to many, but gift is to impute the sins of many to one.
2) Condemnation relates to one man and his sins one time, and justification considers the sins of many and many times.
3) In a word, judgment is not like gift, and condemnation is not like justification.
Rom. 5:17 “For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) ”
YLT: “for if by the offence of the one the death did reign through the one, much more those, who the abundance of the grace and of the free gift of the righteousness are receiving, in life shall reign through the one -- Jesus Christ.”
Literal Meaning: “death reigned through the one”, “reign”, it means that death is a kind of power. All the world lives under the shadow of the death and is ruled by the devil who has the power of death (Heb. 2:14-15).
“Those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness”, “the gift of righteousness” refers to the free gift of righteousness. It indicates that we believers are those who have received abundance of grace and have obtained the free gift of righteousness. Grace brings the gift of righteousness to man and the gift of righteousness delivers man from judgment and condemnation (v.16).
“Will reign in life”, “life” relates to the divine life, which can be obtained by believing and receiving the Lord (John 10:10; 1John 5:12). This life is different from our physical life (Mark 12:44 the original) and soul life (Matt. 16:25 the original). This life is Christ Himself (John 11:25; 14:6,), who has all the fullness of the Godhead (Col. 2:9) and the power of indissoluble life (Heb. 7:16), works in believers so that they can overcome sin and death.
This verse mainly points that the power of life far exceeds the power of death. Though death is strong and powerful as well as cruel and terrible (see Cant. 8:6), it can only reign in Adam (the old man). If we live in Christ (the new man), life will sorrow death (2Cor.5:4; 1Cor. 15:54) and make the condition of reigning manifest in us.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Lord Jesus is not only our Savior who saves us, but also our king who governs us. All those who are saved by Him shall honor Him as the king. He reigns in our life, so we should pay great attention to and obey the feeling of the inner life, for the feeling of the inner life is exactly the command of the Lord who reigns in our life.
2) Death is the greatest power ---- no one can overcome or flee from death. But now life has swallowed the death by Jesus Christ. As long as we live in His life, we shall all have the experience of “swallowing the death”.
3) The boundary of Adam is the boundary where death reigns. If a believer who has been saved goes back to the life in the old creation, he will immediately smell the death and thus be ruled by death.
4) If we believers who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness “live in life”, we shall also “reign” with the Lord. However, note that we are only the channel that lets life reign. Life is the reality of life, without which we can do nothing.
Rom. 5:18 “Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”
YLT: “So, then, as through one offence to all men to condemnation, so also through one declaration of `Righteous' to all men to justification of life;”
Literal Meaning: because of Adam’s “fall” (offense), all men are condemned and are all under the power of sin and death. Likewise, on account of the righteous work of Christ on the cross, all men shall be justified and thus obtain the life of God and enjoy the great power of life.
Rom. 5:19 “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.”
YLT: “for as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners: so also through the obedience of the one, shall the many be constituted righteous.”
Literal Meaning: the “one” in the previous verse refers to the matter concerning outside works, and the “one man/Man” in this verse relates to the matter of the inner life. Because of the disobedience to God, sin had been constituted into men and all men became “sinners”. In like manner, since Christ one Man had obeyed God unto death (Phil. 2:8), the righteous life and disposition shall be constituted in men and all righteous men shall be “righteous men”.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) We receive all that are of Adam in Adam. Likewise, we receive all that are of Christ in Christ.
2) All true believers shall have righteous life and disposition in them and shall manifest their righteous works and life outside.
Rom. 5:20 “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,”
YLT: “And law came in, that the offence might abound, and where the sin did abound, the grace did overabound,”
Meaning of Words: “moreover”: come in alongside, supervene additionally;
Literal Meaning: “moreover the law entered that the offense might abound”, this verse follows the thought of verse thirteen and shows the relation between the law and the sin. Besides, it points that grace in Christ far transcends the sin in Adam.
“Moreover the law entered”, it indicates that to give the law is not God’s original intention. Since men had sinned and had no knowledge of sin, God brought in the law. “That the offense might abound”, the function of the law is to expose men’s sins, which abound more, and so men will know their depravity and powerlessness and thus turn to the salvation of Christ.
“But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”, there are two aspects of meaning in this verse:
1) The more we have realized the dreadfulness of sins, the more we shall rely on grace and draw grace so that grace shall abound on us increasingly.
2) Grace always surpasses sins. Grace is not only stronger or more powerful than sins, but also more than sins and more effective than sins (see 2Cor. 12:9).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Though the power of sin is terrible, it is merely serving as a foil to the glory and fullness of grace before grace.
2) The power of grace is greater than that of sin. Sin cannot meet grace. Once sin meets grace, sin will flee ---- just like the power of medicine is stronger than that of the illness.
Rom. 5:21 “so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
YLT: “that even as the sin did reign in the death, so also the grace may reign, through righteousness, to life age-during, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Literal Meaning: it is the third time of using the word “so” (v.18, 19, 21) in this verse, thus showing the contrast between the result in Adam and that in Christ. In Adam, men were not only condemned and but also became sinners. Moreover, they were brought under the bondage of the power of sin and death.
“So that as sin reigned in death, it was not only death reigned, but also sin reigned (v.14, 17). Sin reigned through death, for men were subject to bondage through fear of death (see Heb. 2:15).
“Even so grace might reign through righteousness”, the righteousness of God is the premise and channel for us to enjoy the grace of God. As long as we are united with Christ by faith, the righteous demand of God will be fulfilled and we will obtain the gracious presence of God (1Cor. 15:10). And such grace has surpassing power (2Cor. 12:9) to dwell upon, strengthen, dominate and govern us so that we shall have the eternal life of God richly in order to reign in life (v.17).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Sin can only reign in the sphere of death, but can never reign in the sphere of grace.
2) Thank the Lord! All men in Christ shall not only be justified but also become righteous. Besides, they are put in grace and the power of life and are governed by them.
3) He who reigns has power. If one has not passed through the procedures according to God’s righteousness, God will still not let His grace befall to us, not to mention working His power on us.
4) Grace might reign through righteousness. Grace is the flow of water, and righteousness is the water pipe. The flow of water of grace flows in the water pipe of righteousness. Righteousness is the premise that grace can reign.
5) If the grace of God is given by His mercy, it may not be stable. Now, His grace has manifested surpassing power through His righteousness ---- “reign”, so that we must obtain “eternal life”. How sure! How stable!
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
What We Have Obtained After Being Justified by Faith
A. We have received a new standing (v.1-2):
1. “Have peace with God” ---- be brought into the relation of “having peace with God”;
2. “Have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” ---- come into the sphere of grace;
B. We have received a joyful life (v.3-5a):
1. “Glory in tribulations”;
2. “Knowing that tribulation produces…does not disappoint”;
C. We have received a sure proof (v.5b-8):
1. “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”;
2. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”;
D. We have received the perfect salvation (v.9-11):
1. “Be justified by His blood… be saved from wrath through Him”;
2. “Be reconciled to God… be saved by His life”;
3. “Rejoice in God through the Lord Jesus”;
The Result of Justification by Faith ---- Have Access into the Blessed Salvation
A. A new standing ---- which makes us stand in new position (v.2);
B. A new relation ---- be reconciled to God through Christ (v.6-10);
1. In due time Christ died for the ungodly;
2. God demonstrates His own love toward us;
3. Be justified by His blood;
4. Be saved from wrath through Him;
5. Thus He has become our peace;
C. Inside filling inside ---- the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (v.5);
D. Outside life ---- boast God Himself in every environment through Christ (v.2-4);
1. Glory in tribulations;
2. Boast the glory and hope of God in tribulations;
3. Tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint;
4. Finally, God Himself is their glory and reward;
The Confidence of A Believer
A. His past ---- have been justified by faith (v.1);
B. His present ---- have access by faith into this grace in which we stand (v.2);
C. His hope ---- the glory of God (v.2);
D. His experience ---- including tribulations (v.3);
E. The outcome ---- the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (v.5);
Three “Rejoice”s or Three “Boast”s
A. In hope (v.1-2);
B. In tribulations (v.3);
C. In God (v.5-11);
Grace, Glory and Love
A. Grace (v.102a): one shall enter and stand in the grace. We have peace because of grace.
B. Glory (v.2b-5a): one shall rejoice and boast in glory. We have hope because of glory;
C. Love (v.5b-11): one shall receive and understand. We are justified and saved and boast in God because of His love.
Through the Lord, We shall…
A. We shall have peace with the Lord (v.1);
B. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand (v.2);
C. We shall be saved from wrath through Him (v.9);
D. We shall be reconciled to God through the death of the Son of God (v.11);
E. We shall boast in God (v.11);
A. Have peace with God (v.1);
B. Rejoice in the glory of God (v.2);
C. The love of God has been poured out in our hearts (v.5);
D. Be saved from wrath through Him (v.9);
E. Be reconciled to God (v.11);
F. Boast in God (v.11)
Three Equivalent Structures in Chapter Five of the Book of Romans
A. Have peace with God ---- experience in the past (v.1); enter into this grace ---- the standing at present (v.2); the hope of glory ---- hope in the future (v.2);
B. Faith (v.1); hope (v.2); love (v.5);
C. Perseverance; character; hope (v.4);
D. Have peace with God (v.1); be poured out by the love of God (v.5); boast in God (v.11);
E. Rejoice in hope of the glory (v.2); glory in tribulations (v.3); boast in God (v.11);
F. Ungodly (the original); a righteous; a good man (v.6-7);
G. Christ died for the ungodly (v.6); Christ died for sinners (v.8); Christ died for the enemies (v.10);
H. The divine Trinity ---- God the Father (v.1); God the Spirit (v.5); the Lord Jesus Christ (v.11);
I. Grace (v.15); abundance of grace (v.17); grace abounded much more (v.20);
1. The giver of grace ---- God (v.15);
A. He is a God of peace ---- have peace with God (v.1);
B. He is a God of glory ---- the glory of God (v.2);
C. He is a God of love ---- the love of God (v.5-8);
D. He is a God of reconciliation ---- be reconciled to God (v.10);
E. He is a God of joy ---- boast in God (v.11);
F. He is a God of grace ---- the grace of God (v.15);
2. Gift ---- Jesus Christ (v.15-17) ---- the gifts provided as follows:
A. Have peace with God (v.1);
B. The access into God (v.2);
C. The joy of hope (v.2);
D. God gives the Holy Spirit (v.5);
E. Redemption (v.6, 8-9, 16);
F. The eternal life (v.21);
G. Be justified (v.1-9);
3. The ground of gifts ---- the grace of God (v.15):
A. The origin of grace ---- God (v.15);
B. The objects of grace ---- man without strength (v.6); sinner (v.8); enemies (v.10); disobedient man (v.19); man who died in sin (v.12); man who is condemned (v.18);
C. The ground of grace ---- righteousness (v.21);
D. The transcendence of grace ---- abound much more (v.20);
E. The power of grace ---- reign (v.21);
4. The glory of gifts ---- abounded to many (v.15)
5. The nature of gifts ---- free (v.15)
A. Rejoice in hope (v.2);
B. Rejoice in tribulations (v.3);
C. Rejoice in God (v.11);
Three Elements of Joy
A. Hope (v.2);
B. Tribulations (v.5);
C. God (v.11);
Love and the Divine Trinity (v.5, 8)
A. God the Father is the origin of love ---- “the love of God” (see 1John 4:8, “God is love.”);
B. God the Son is the manifestation of love ---- “God demonstrates His own love toward us…Christ died for us”;
C. God the Spirit pours out the love ---- “love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”;
Man’s Standing and Condition Before God
A. When we were still “without strength” (v.6) ---- have no strength to do good;
B. While we were still “sinners” (v.8) ---- be ungodly to God and offend Him;
C. When we were “enemies” (v.10) ---- be enemies of God;
A. “Much more”, we shall be saved from wrath through Him (v.9);
B. “Much more”, we shall be saved by His life (v.10);
C. “Much more” the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many (v.15);
D. “Much more”… will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (v.17);
E. Grace abounded “much more” (v.20);
Three Layers of Effect of Salvation
A. The first layer: now ---- be justified by His blood; future ---- be saved from wrath through Him (v.9);
B. The second layer: now ---- be reconciled to God through the death of His Son; future ---- be saved by His life (v.10);
C. The third layer: now ---- have received the reconciliation; future ---- rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (v.11)
The Contrast Between Justification and Reconciliation
A. Be justified ---- by His blood ---- be saved from (v.9);
B. Be reconciled to God ---- through the death of the Son of God ---- be saved (v.10);
The Reasons for Boasting of God
A. We are justified by His blood (v.9a);
B. We are saved from wrath through the suffering of the Lord (v.9b);
C. We are reconciled to God through the death of God’s Son (v.10a);
D. We shall be saved by His life (v.10b);
The Contrast Between the Result in Adam and That in Christ
A. The result in Adam (v.12-14a):
1. “Sin entered the world…and thus death spread to all men”
2. “Death reigned”;
B. How men obtain the outcome in Adam, so also that in Christ:
1. “Adam is a type of Him who was to come” (v.14b);
2. All men became sinners in Adam, even so through Christ men are justified (v.18-19);
3. Sin reigned because of death, even so through righteousness grace reigns (v.21);
C. The result in Christ far surpasses that in Adam:
1. “The free gift is not like the offense, … the grace of God … abounded to many” (v.15);
2. Judgment is not like grace, and condemnation is not like justification (v.16);
3. That death reigned is not like that Christ Jesus reigns in life (v.17);
4. “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (v.20);
In Adam and In Christ ---- Two Great Corporate Men
A. Through Adam one man (in Adam):
1. Through one man sin entered the world
2. One offense resulted in condemnation
3. By one man's disobedience many were constituted sinners
B. Through Christ one man (in Christ):
1. Life and grace are brought through one man;
2. Through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life;
3. By one Man's obedience many will be constituted righteous;
C. Four “reign”s today:
1. Death reigned through sin;
2. Sin reigned in death;
3. Life reigns ---- he who has obtained the grace reigns;
4. Grace reigns ---- grace reigns through righteousness;
D. “In Christ” is a greater fact:
1. The grace in Christ is more greater than the fall in Christ;
2. Reigning in life is more greater than being ruled by death;
3. That grace reigns through righteousness is more greater than that sin reigns through death ---- where sin abounded, grace abounded much more;
The Plan of God ---- Grace Reigns In Christ
A. Two men: Adam and Christ (v.14);
B. Two actions:
1. The transgressions of Adam (v.12, 15, 17-19);
2. The righteous deeds of Christ (v.18);
C. Two kinds of results:
1. Adam was condemned, punished or death (v.15-16, 18-19);
2. Christ is justified, and had life and reigns (v.17-19);
D. Two “given”s:
1. In status, the grace of God is in Christ fully given to those who are the seeds of the creature, Adam (v.15);
2. In action, all men’s sins are imputed to Christ so that all those in Christ who have obtained the grace shall be justified (v.16);
E. Two “reign”s:
1. Sin reigned in death (v.20);
2. Grace reigns so that one shall be justified (v.21);
F. Two kinds of abundance:
1. The abundance of grace (v.17);
2. The abundance of righteous act (v.17);
G. Two covenants
1. In Adam, men are condemned as the slaves of death;
2. In Christ, men are justified as the slaves of righteousness;
The Brief Objective Facts Proving the Assurance of Justification by Faith
A. Opposition: the opposition between Christ and Adam ---- “Adam is a type of Him who was to come” (v.12-14);
B. Contrast: the contrast between grace and offence ---- “the free gift is not like the offense” (v.15-17);
C. Comparison (v.18-21):
1. Being justified through righteous act versus being condemned by offence;
2. Obedience be made righteous versus disobedience many were made sinners;
3. Grace reigns and life versus sin reigned and death;
4. Grace versus the law;
The Abundance of Grace
A. Much more the grace of God and the gift abounded to many (v.15).
B. Abundance of grace (v.17);
C. Grace abounded much more (v.20);
D. Grace might reign through righteousness (v.21);
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou