THE BOOK OF ROMANS [Part 4]
JUSTIFICATION [Part 2] [3:21-5:21]
Since Romans is a book of logic, Paul makes use of the word “therefore” in his arguments. He uses the word “therefore” at four key moments in this Epistle.
JUDGMENT OF SIN
Following his teaching on sin, the law, and judgment in Romans 1:18-3:19, Paul says, “Therefore by the deed of the law no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” [Romans 3:20].
Paul has both explained and illustrated the teaching of justification [Romans 3:21-4:25]. Now he “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” [Romans 5:1]
Paul writes about the crucified life, of having been slaves to sin but now slaves of God, and of freedom from the Law that cannot save us [Romans 6:1-7:25]. There comes the cry of the desperate man, who is struggling with sin and cries out, “Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Then comes the glorious statement that, “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” [Romans 8:1]
The Jews had been banished from Rome and were now returning. These included Jewish believers. There were some difficulties between the Gentile believers and the Jewish believers. Following his teaching on sin, justification and sanctification Paul took three chapters to clearly state the position of the Jews and Israel [Romans 9:1-11:36]. God is faithful to them and to His “everlasting covenant” with them. The gospel is to the Jew first, but He is also faithful in keeping His promise to the gentile believers. Now both Jew and Gentile in the light of this teaching should consecrate themselves totally to God
“I beseech you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” [Romans 12:1]
Justification illustrated and explained in Romans 3:21-4:25 makes it clear that God declares those who trust in Jesus righteous. It is not of works but by faith alone. It is His gift. We are declared righteous through what Jesus did on the cross. In Romans 5:1-11 Paul’s explains more fully the Christian experience of justification. The previous passages laid out the Biblical theology of justification, and now, continuing from the phrase, “our justification” at the end of Romans 4:25 he enlarges on what justification means in our personal experience.
In his commentary on Romans Warren Wiersbe entitles Romans 5 “Live like a King!” Here we have the wonderful blessings of justification in our daily lives. I like to think of these as the sevenfold fruit or blessings of being justified.
We have peace with God [5:1]
Two verses from Isaiah make the matter clear - “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked” [Isa. 48:22]; and “The work of righteousness shall be peace” [Isa. 32:17].
“peace” = ‘shalom’- expresses all the benefits of a right relationship with God, namely a partnership of reconciliation, eternal well-being, and wholeness of life.
We have access to God [5:2a]
The Jew was kept from God’s presence by the veil in the temple; and a wall in the temple kept out the Gentile with a warning on it that any Gentile who went beyond would be killed. But when Jesus died, He tore the veil [Luke 23:45] and broke down the wall [Eph. 2:14]. In Christ, believing Jews and Gentiles have access to God [Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19-25]; and they can draw on the inexhaustible riches of the grace of God [Eph. 1:7; 2:4; 3:8]. The child of a king can enter his father’s presence.
We have hope in God [5:2b]
Peace speaks to the past…. access speaks to the present….hope speaks to the future! The hope of salvation is a helmet [1 Thess. 5:8]
We have confidence [5:3-4]
“Justification is no escape from the trials of life. “In this world ye shall 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 [Rom. 8:35-39]; instead, trials bring us closer to the Lord and make us more like the Lord. Suffering builds Christian character.
The word “experience” in Romans 5:4 means “character that has been proved.” The sequence is: tribulation — patience — proven character —hope.
The 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 grain. The tribulum was drawn over the grain and it separated the wheat from the chaff. As we go through tribulations, and depend upon God’s grace, the purifying trials help us get rid of the chaff.” [Warren Wiersbe in “Being Right”]
We experience God’s love [5:5]
We become channels of His love – “agape” - always seeks the highest for another person, no matter what he does. It is unconditional love!
We have salvation from future wrath [5:9]
Through justification God’s anger is averted and we can face the day of God’s judgement without fear!
We are Reconciled with God [5:10-11]
The word ‘reconciliation’ is sometimes translated ‘atonement ‘meaning “brought back into fellowship with God.”
A review of these seven blessings of justification shows how certain our salvation is in Christ. Totally apart from Law, and purely by grace, we have a salvation that takes care of the past, the present, and the future. Christ died for us; Christ lives for us; Christ is coming for us!