Romans 5:6–11, 18–21 comment (0)
December 12, 2013
By Thomas L. Fuller
Related Scripture: Romans 5:6–11, 18–21
Bible Studies for Life
Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
A Love You Can Experience
Romans 5:6–11, 18–21
But God has loved us from the beginning and will love us to the end, no matter what. His gift of justification by faith through Jesus Christ is proof positive.
Paul has already set forth the truth that salvation comes to us as God’s gift (3:23–24; 4:16a). It was a costly gift, the most expensive and extravagant ever given: the death of His Son, who took upon Himself our sins and our condemnation.
More extraordinary and amazing still is the fact that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” That “Christ died for the ungodly” is purely an act of God’s love and mercy, unmerited and undeserved on our part.
Tales of self-sacrificing love are not unknown to us in human affairs; it’s the stuff of heroic epics and romantic dramas, though typically the beneficiaries in some way merit such an extraordinary gift. Paul acknowledges as much: “One will scarcely die for a righteous person” or “perhaps for a good person.” We, however, are neither righteous nor good but sinners in rebellion against God. Dying for us, Jesus showed us the unfathomable depth of God’s love.
The theme of Romans 5:1–11 is the blessings of our justification by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul uses the phrase “we rejoice” three times (vv. 2, 3, 11).
Here in vv. 9–11 the cause for rejoicing is the Christian’s reconciliation to God. God created us for unhindered relationship with Him, but our sin has resulted in estrangement instead. Being “justified by His blood,” Jesus has reconciled us to God (Col. 1:21–22). We rejoice in the new life of unhindered fellowship we now enjoy through Christ’s sacrifice. While once we were enemies, rightly deserving condemnation and wrath in the coming day of God’s judgment, we will be saved from it. In the meantime, we live the life of a reconciled subject, drawing life and hope from the loving and gracious king (Rom. 6:8–11; Phil. 3:10–11). At His right hand sits the Son, who lives now to make intercession for us to the Father.
Yet another gift of God’s grace that demonstrates His boundless love for us is eternal life in Jesus Christ. Paul begins his thought in 5:12, drawing a parallel between Adam and Christ. As sin, death and condemnation came to us through Adam’s disobedience, so Jesus’ obedience brings righteousness, justification and new life. This is the doctrine of imputation: that God imputed Adam’s sin to all, and imputes Christ’s righteousness to all who will receive His gift by faith. Clothed thus in Christ’s righteousness, we are saved from death unto eternal life.
Paul takes care to point out that “sin was in the world before the law was given” (v. 13), and that the law’s introduction served only to “increase the trespass” (v. 20) or give greater visibility to sin’s presence. Even here, God’s grace is greater than our sin; it reigns victorious over sin and death (1 Cor. 15:54b–57). “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”