Three ways to live

Which is your way?

Romans 5 – Summary of Study

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 10:22 pm on Monday, February 18, 2008

1) What is the main idea of this chapter?

There are so many things in this passage, it’s easy to get lost: “peace with God”/“reconciliation” (vv. 1, 10, 11), “access to grace” (v. 2), hope in the glory of God and for final salvation (vv. 2, 5, 9, 10), joy in suffering (vv. 3 – 4), and God’s love for us (vv. 5 – 8). Douglas Moo in his commentary on Romans thinks that a unifying idea is related to the future:

v. 2b: “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God”
v. 5a: “And hope does not disappoint us”
v. 9: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
v. 10: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

2) What is the main purpose of this chapter?

Paul is trying to persuade us of something. The logical statement “If something is true, how much more something else should be true” appears four times! And the portion after “how much more” is what Paul is persuading us about – salvation and eternal life. In other words, Paul wants us to be sure that after been justified, we will be saved!

3) What does it mean to be saved? Is it not the same as being justified?

They are two different things. We are justified by Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, but we are saved by his life (v.10). Salvation appears to be something that follows justification. Paul refers to justification as a past even (we have been justified) but to salvation as future (we shall be saved).

4) If justification and salvation are two different events, does the former guarantee the latter?

That is the whole point of Paul’s argument. That’s where “how much more” arguments come in.

5) What is the connection between suffering and this hope of salvation?

Suffering helps us better see the hope and be more confident about it. This idea is clearer put in 1 Peter 4:12-16 (NIV)

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

God’s justification puts us in a privileged position, to be under his grace (and at peace with Him). Hence the sufferings become the marks of us being Christian and give us further assurance of the hope of God’s glory.

6) How else does Paul try to persuade us of the certainty of salvation?

To understand his second argument, we need to understand the meaning of v.12 “all died because all sinned”. One explanation (so-called Pelagian view) is that we all copy Adam’s sin and hence sin just as he did and hence are punished for it by death. Another view is that we experience punishment because we are in Adam’s sin, whether we actually sin or not (although of course we do). This is the view that is being held by evangelicals today.

There is great support for the second view in vv.12-13. Sin deserves death only when it breaks the law, but people were not given the law until Moses. Yet all these people died. Why? They bore consequences of Adam’s sin, and whether they actually sinned or not is irrelevant (although of course they did).

Does it sound unfair to you? It might. But Paul is using this argument to make us more convinced of our salvation. If we were condemned on an individual level, because of our individual sins, the result would still be death. Yet, we could not have been saved on the individual level, since none of us can live a sinless life. Yet, because we were all condemned through Adam, communally, we can now be saved through one person – Jesus, also communally, not because we deserve it but by grace.

Applications

What is the Christian view on suffering?

Borrowing these application from one of the Tim Keller’s sermons.

Some sufferings caused by sin and some are not, and very often it’s hard to tell. What’s important is not why it happens to us but what our response should be. According to Paul we are to rejoice in our sufferings, as they are the marks that we have been adopted as sons, and God greatly cares about what we become.

However, we must be careful to stay away from two extremes: masochism and stoicism. The former takes pleasure in suffering. While it does help you rejoice, it is completely against God’s nature. Suffering is evil, there is no point rejoicing in it. The suffering is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Our sufferings are a way to blessings, not the blessings in themselves. Stoicism is another extreme, where we deny our sufferings, pretend they are not there. This is a clear contradiction to Paul’s command.

What’s wrong with both approaches is that we do not learn from our sufferings. If you enjoy the pain or deny it, you would not absorb it and it would not lead to any real change in your character or more assurance of the hope of salvation.

1 Comment

Comment by Gazah Mushunje

May 2, 2014 @ 9:40 am

Through Jesus Christ we have been saved, only Jesus is our sanctifier 13v21 Hebrews. So we have to be much more pure as per the words of Paul in 12v1 Romans. No wonder why Paul said there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus….. Romans 8v1. We therefore need to walk in faith

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