Scripture References: Romans 5
The Blessings of Our Justification – Continued
Glorious hope (verse 2b). “Peace with God” takes care of the past: He will no longer hold our sins against us. “Access to God” takes care of the present: we can come to Him at any time for the help we need. “Hope of the glory of God” takes care of the future: one day we shall share in His glory! The word “rejoice” can be translated “boast,” not only in Romans 5:2, but also in Romans 5:3 and 11. When we were sinners, there was nothing to boast about (Romans 3:27), because we fell short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But in Christ, we boast in His righteousness and glory! Paul will amplify this in Romans 8:18–30.
Christian character (verses 3–4). Justification however, is no escape from the trials of life. “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). But for the believer, trials work for him and not against him. No amount of suffering can separate us from the Lord (Romans 8:35–39); instead, trials bring us closer to the Lord and make us more like the Lord. Suffering builds Christian character. The word “character” in Romans 5:4 means “character that has been proved.” The sequence is: tribulation—perseverance—proven character—hope. Our English word “tribulation” comes from a Latin word tribulum. In Paul’s day, a tribulum was a heavy piece of timber with spikes in it, used for threshing the grain. The tribulum was drawn over the grain and it separated the wheat from the chaff. As we go through tribulations, and depend on God’s grace, the trials only purify us and help to get rid of the chaff.
God’s love within (verses 5–8). “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). But as we wait for this hope to be fulfilled, the love of God is “poured out into our hearts.” Note how the first three of the “fruit of the Spirit” are experienced within the first five verses: love, joy, and peace. Before we were saved, God proved His love by sending Christ to die for us. Now that we are His children, surely He will love us more. It is the inner experience of this love through the Spirit that sustains us as we go through various of life’s tribulations.
Faith, hope, and love, all found in the first five verses, all combine to give the believer patience in the trials of life. And patience makes it possible for the believer to grow in character and become a mature child of God (James 1:1–4).
Salvation from future wrath (verses 9–10). Paul argued from the lesser to the greater. If God saved us when we were enemies, surely He will keep on saving us now that we are His children. There is a “wrath to come,” but no true believer will experience it (1 Thessalonians 1:9–10; 5:8–10). Paul took it even further when he argued that if Christ’s death accomplished so much for us, how much more will He do for us in His life as He intercedes for us in heaven! “Saved by His life” refers back to Romans 4:25: “raised because of [on account of] our justification.” Because He lives, we are always safe in His hands (Hebrews 7:23–25).
A will is of no effect until the death of the one who wrote it. Then an executor takes over and sees to it that the will is obeyed and the inheritance distributed. But suppose the executor is unscrupulous and wants to get the inheritance for himself? He may figure out many devious ways to circumvent the law and steal the inheritance.
Jesus Christ wrote us into His will, and He wrote the will with His blood. “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20). He died so that the will would be in force; but then He arose from the dead and returned to heaven that He might enforce the will Himself and distribute the inheritance. Thus, we are “saved by His life.”
To Be Continued