Romans 5 begins with the words, “Therefore being justified by faith.” Paul is speaking to believers. Being justified by faith is the starting point of every believer’s walk with Christ. Being justified by faith establishes a relationship with God the Father that no man ever realized through keeping the law. We have peace with the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.
How did Paul come to know these things? It was through and by the Holy Spirit that Paul came to know the standing of believers with God. All believers, without exception, have peace with God through Christ Jesus. Paul, in writing these things to the Romans, is the agent through which the Holy Spirit speaks to believers of today. God the Father wants each and every believer to know and understand that they enjoy have a new relationship with Him. That relationship is one of peace because the issue of sin has been resolved. We have a new standing with God that came by His grace. Believers have access by faith to God the Father. Jesus is both our Redeemer and the door by which we may approach God.
In verse 2, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to present a picture of believers accessing God’s grace through Christ Jesus and rejoicing in hope (expectation) of His glory. By faith, we rejoice in the grace He has given. We stand in grace and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. This hope is not a false hope. It is a hope which gives one cause to be confident in times of tribulation — even to rejoice in times of tribulation.
Paul states that “we” glory in tribulation and then tells why we glory in tribulation. No one, believers included, relishes the stresses which tribulation brings. Everyone rejoices when troubles disappear. Believers, alone, rejoice in tribulation because we stand before God in grace by faith. Paul expounds upon grace in time of tribulation in I Corinthians 10:13. The Apostle states that God will not allow us to be tempted above that which we can bear; that He will provide a way of escape. Believers can rejoice in tribulation because God is true to His promises.
Tribulation strengthens believers. Tribulation results in the development of patience; believers learn to wait on God, to let Him have His way. When we wait on God, we witness His workings. His protective hand is clearly evident and gives us increased hope in that which He shall do. As hope builds in believers, we are emboldened. We become increasingly aware of the love which is He has bestowed upon us. Awareness of His love is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit which indwells all believers. As one grows in knowledge of His love, one is moved to love one another as He loves us.
In verses 6 through 8, Paul iterates upon the love which the Holy Spirit has revealed to believers. The apostle describes the spiritual condition of all men before Christ paid the sin debt upon the cross. All were helpless, unable to find God.
When we, the ungodly, were without remedy, Christ died for us. The extent of God’s love is captured in verses 7 and 8. It is contrary to human nature for one man to lay down his life for another. One might consider dying for a righteous cause. Some men might be willing to die for a good man, but that is not what the Son did. Jesus Christ laid down His life, not for good or righteous men; He died for ungodly sinners who knew Him not.
God did not give His only begotten Son for the ungodly with the intent of later abandoning them. The path that God has placed before believers is much like that which He put before the children of Israel when He led them up out of Egypt. God did not deliver His people from Pharaoh so that they might perish in the wilderness. He was ever with them all during the forty year trek in the wilderness. Likewise, God did not justify our past sin with the intent that we should perish in future sin. God justified all our sins (past, present and future) so that we might be reconciled to Him. Justification satisfied the legal requirements of the law. Reconciliation establishes a living, continuing relationship with Him.
The wages of sin is death. Christ made the payment of our wages upon the cross. We, ungodly sinners, are reconciled to God by the death of Christ. The Son arose to live again. He did not rise to see the reconciled fall into sin. He rose to sit at the Father’s right hand such that He might intercede for us. Verse 10 states: “. . . we shall be saved by his life.” He is now our living advocate. He sustains our salvation. We have joy in God because He (Christ) lives. “He that hath the Son hath life” (I Jn. 5:12).
Our hope is based upon what Christ has done. Because He died, we are reconciled. Because He lives, we joy in His promise: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).