Being justified by faith we have peace with God because Christ died for us even while we were still yet sinners, and because we have now been justified by his blood we have been saved.
Paul’s letter to the Romans is by many measures a unique epistle in the pages of the Bible. It can be stated without reserve that throughout history, Romans has served as a catalyst for reform and new life. The letter to the Romans has proved to be an influential book on the teaching of Christianity throughout history like none other scriptural writings.
Paul’s epistle is said to be one of the theologically richest books of the Bible. As Seifrid writes, Paul’s message to the church at Rome is nothing more than a proclamation of the scriptures that have been fulfilled in the incarnate, crucified, and risen Christ. More specially, here in chapter 5, Paul has proved the whole world is guilty before God, and that no one can be saved by religious deed, such as keeping the Law. He has explained that God’s way of salvation has always been by grace, through faith.
Therefore, this in-depth study of chapter 5 of Romans highlights that being justified by faith we have peace with God because Christ died for us while we were yet in sin.
The authorship of the letter to the Romans is stated to have been written by Paul himself in chapter 1 of this epistle. Paul’s authorship has been disputed by a minority group of scholars in the late nineteenth century, but due to the language, style, and theology of the letter, the question of Pauline origin became a closed discussion. Author and commentator C.H. Dodd boldly confirmed, ‘The authenticity of the Epistle to the Romans is a closed question. Despite this small group’s disbelief, the vast majority of New Testament scholars mutually agrees to the claims of Paul’s authorship of this book and supports the Pauline theory behind the letter. C. Hodge, author of Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, commented on the authorship of Paul in the letter to the Romans claiming, ‘There is no book in the Bible, and there is no ancient book in the world, of which the authenticity is more certain than that of this epistle.
Paul makes it clear in chapter fifteen of Romans that he is on his way to Jerusalem, which then relates back to Acts 20 when Paul in there in Jerusalem. His present location is thought by most to be in Corinth according to chapter sixteen of Romans. With these things in mind, scholars would most likely date Paul’s Letter to the Romans between the years of AD 57 and AD 59. Throughout this letter, Paul also gives clues as to his location when he writes the letter in chapter sixteen when he refers to Gaius as his host. In First Corinthians chapter one, Paul mentions Gaius which leads scholars to believe that Gaius lived in Corinth, and would therefore be the place where Paul was when he wrote this letter to the Romans. Phoebe, also a resident of Corinth, is mentioned in chapter sixteen which gives more support to the idea that Paul was in Corinth at the time of his writing the letter to the Romans. Scholars have questioned who exactly this epistle was written to, but most likely it was written to address a specific situation in Rome. The purpose that some scholars give for writing this letter to the Romans was to encourage mutual tolerance and an end to antagonism between those who advocated continuation of certain Torah observances among Christians and those who advocated Law-free gospel.
When examining the literary context of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, it is noted that the book is divided into three main sections; chapters 1-4, chapters 5-11, and chapters 12-16. The premise of chapters 1-4 deals with justification by faith. This section can also be said to be Paul trying to encourage his audience to have a view that everything is founded on God’s justice and grace. In chapters 5-11, Paul clarifies the relationship between theology and conduct. This segment is a positive exhibition of God’s justice and grace at work in the life of faith. Then finally in chapters 12-16 Paul deals with the practical implications of the new life in Christ. Fitzmyer says that Paul moves in chapter five from the question of salvation and justification to the consequence of faith in Christ Jesus.
The phrase being justified is summarized in chapter four that it is not by works, but that justification is by faith that we have peace with God. The participle donates the continuous progress that God’s justifying grace is making from individual to individual. Thus the word, justification, donates that as grace is multiplied to save one and all. Justification by faith produces peace, that it gives assurance in a future life, and salvation. Here the phrase ‘peace’ is more than quietness of coincidence; it is more than cessation of hostility. Peace must be understood as a positive blessedness. Peace is the fruit of justification, and every justified person has this peace immediately for it is towards God. As believers we have peace with God. Moo writes that ‘peace’ as used here is not merely the cessation or absence of hostilities, but has a more positive nuance; the well-being, prosperity, or salvation of the godly person. This peace comes through the agency of Jesus Christ, since he was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Peace with God is not possible except through Christ.
Our reconciliation with God is dependent upon Christ. Paul teaches us that salvation starts with Christ alone and thus excludes the preparations by which foolish men imagine that they can anticipate the mercy of God. Through Christ believers have been brought into this grace which we can stand. Grace is God’s free favor and unconditional love. The access of standing comes after making peace by reconciliation with justification. Justified believers enjoy a blessing rather than a broken approach to God. Every individual relationship with God which justification has brought is continuous, it remains still that ‘nothing can separate us from God’s love’ (8:38.) By this Paul means that perseverance is not founded in ones own power but on Christ.
Apostle Paul had shown a picture that justification by faith will stand the test of the future. He talked on victory over the present, even though in times of great tribulation. The word tribulations are the external hardships that give hindrance in this life. Tribulations are the results of mankind provoking against God and even curse Him. All the while, God eventually restores those back to life whom had almost gone into the darkness of death. Paul says that the believer can exalt God in sufferings because of the knowledge they have. The word knowing indicates a constant knowledge of what suffering leads to in the end. The end is that it leads to hope. Sufferings, therefore leads the believer to a closer identification with what Christ went through.
In verses 3-5, Apostle Paul strongly states that suffering leads to perseverance, which leads to an approved character of endurance, which leads to this hope. This sort of progression linguistically adds to Paul’s building argument. The believer is being refined both in blessing, suffering, and the fullness of Christ in all things. The believer knows to hope while waiting patiently through tribulations. So Apostle Paul encourages that tribulation produce patience, steadfastness, and endurance as wind makes the tree rooted deeper and more firmly. The endurance and steadfast gives worth and produces character that can stand the test. Tribulation doesn’t defeat the believer, but strengthens hope.
Apostle Paul has pointed out the glorious state of the Gentile believers who were taken occasion the means by which they were redeemed from. Therefore Paul dealt by saying that Christ died for us not while clothed in the righteousness of God, but while man was still the object of divine wrath. Before Christ, man was without strength, weak, and unable to resist sin or do any good. God sent His son to die on man’s behalf that mankind might be reconciled and have fellowship with Him. The gift of Christ to die on behalf of sinners represents the proof of the love of God towards sinners. Out of His love, God sent His begotten Son to die and save the ungodly. Thus, Christ will more easily save the justified and keep His grace to those who had been restored to grace. The sinner was helpless and powerless to come out from bondage of sins and could do nothing without the help of Christ. So, by the death of Christ, He came to set the sinner free and show God’s love towards mankind. Therefore, God has shown His love in action through the death of Christ.
The passage of scripture assures the believer that since God has already justified them, they can be more certain that he will do what follows. Believers obtain this justification by the means of Christ’s blood, with ‘blood’ signifying Christ’s death as a sacrifice for sins. The result of being justified is that ‘we will be saved from the wrath of God.’ Therefore, this does not mean that believers are preserved as they go through periods of God’s judgement or tribulation, but believers are saved by being separated from it and not going through. Christ is the agent by which believers receive this salvation.
Also, since justification is a legal term which God declares the believer righteous, reconciliation is a relational term that means to bring together or make peace between enemies. Since humans in their sin are hostile towards God, and God is hostile towards humans because of their sins have incurred his wrath, it is best to view this hostility in both directions between humans and God. Thus, the idea of reconciliation is that hostility has been eliminated for believers. Therefore, two results of reconciliation are available to believers. The first is the assurance that believers will be saved. The second result is that believers can boast in God. Here, boasting in God is different than the assurance of being saved from God’s wrath. The agency of this boasting is Christ, which is seen in the last phrase ‘through whom we have now received reconciliation’.
Although Paul wrote Romans nearly two thousand years ago, the application is the same for believers today as it was for the original recipients of the letter. The primary application is in the areas of assurance and hope, and these should manifest themselves in the lives of believers.
The first contemporary application is that believers have peace with God. God is interested in believers’ well-being and prosperity, although they need to remember that God and the world have opposing ideas of what prosperity and well-being are. The fact that believers have peace with God should also give believers a sense of inner peace as they deal with the daily struggles of life.
Therefore since believers have access into God’s grace, they must never forget that everything they have comes from God. They are not under law, but are under grace. Nothing good is due to believers own actions, abilities, or attitudes, and to think otherwise is arrogant and fails to recognize God for who he is. The third application is that believers can rest assured of two things concerning the end-times. The first is that believers will not face God’s wrath at the time of judgment and secondly, their sin nature will be removed thus restoring them to the state of God likeness at the last day. The ultimate perfection of the saints is something that will accomplished by all who are in Christ. This is the hope that all believers can boast and rejoice in.
Believers also can boast and rejoice in tribulations because they know that God uses tribulations for their good. God uses the evil things in this life and turns them for the benefit of those who call on the name of the Lord. In knowing this, believers can be thankful for the good that will come out of the time they endure in tribulations. Lastly, believers should remember that they are not only justified by God but have been reconciled to God. This means the believer’s relationship with God has been restored and the benefits that goes with the relationship as well. The restoration of the relationship means that God is personal and real in the believers’ lives.
Therefore, in conclusion, through this study it can be viewed that Paul’s main idea in Romans 5:1-11 is the assurance of peace of the future glory in God. Based on structural and the testimony of the scripture, Paul is describing to a mixed audience of Jew and Gentiles what the hope of glory is and how they can be sure of that hope. The promise of this hope is more than mere avoidance of God’s wrath but rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God through Jesus Christ. Not only that but it is rejoicing in suffering because it also identifies believers more with Christ.