Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Romans 5 - The Blessings of Justification

LINK: Romans 5

BACKGROUND 


Romans 5 begins with a "Therefore," and as, Phil, the man who discipled my husband in graduate school would always say:



"You have to know what the 'therefore' is 'there for!'" 

The way to do that is to look back . . . 

In Romans 1:16-3:20, we were shown that the whole world is guilty of sin and unable to follow God's Law.


In Romans 3:21-4:25, we learned that justification can only be by faith in Jesus Christ, apart from the Law. Through belief in Jesus' death and resurrection, we have been declared righteous, redeemed from the curse of the Law and adopted as sons, saved from the righteous wrath of God against our sin, and been credited with Jesus' righteousness (justification, redemption, propitiation, and imputation). 


Romans 5 talks about the blessings that are a result:


1) Peace with God (5:1) - I have a definition that I wrote several years ago that is a composite of many different resources, but I did not mark which resource said what! So, here is my full definition with all the possible resources:


It is rest, in contrast with strife, denoting the absence or end of strife. Denotes a state of untroubled, undisturbed, well-being (James 3:18) when contracted with strife. Such a state of peace is the object of divine promise and is brought about by God’s mercy, granting deliverance and freedom from all distresses that are experienced as a result of sin. . . A Messianic blessing is that state brought about by the grace and loving mind of God wherein the derangement and distress of life caused by sin are removed . . . It is called the peace of God, not that God needs it, but God gives it (Phil. 4:7). It is a result only of accomplished reconciliation (Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:16,17) referring to a new relationship between man and God brought about by the atonement (Romans 5:9,10).


(Probably a combined definition from Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, The Complete Word Study New Testament, and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.)

Warren Wiersbe says it best:
Condemnation means that God declares us sinners, which is a declaration of war. Justification means that God declares us righteous, which is a declaration of peace, made possible by Christ's death on the cross. "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Ps. 85:10). 
(The Bible Exposition Commentary, Ro 5:1)
Hallelujah! Isn't that such GOOD NEWS!

2) Grace to stand in the presence of God (5:2) - When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was torn in two from TOP (coming from God) to bottom (Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). There is nothing that stands in the way except our unbelief in God's gift of Jesus (Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 10:19-25).


3) Hope of the glory of God (5:2, 4-5) - Believers will one day stand in His presence and see Him in all His glory and even share in that glory. We will learn more about this when we read Romans 8:18-30. 


4) Joy from God through tribulation (5:3-4) - This hope helps us to endure with joy and exultation the trials that come our way knowing that they develop the character of Christ in us (5:3-4; James 1:2). 


5) Love of God poured into our hearts (5:5-8) - This love sustains us in our trials. It also overflows onto others in fellowship and the ministry of reconciliation He has given us. 


6) Salvation from God's wrath (5:9-10) - His blood satisfies the holy wrath of God, and Christ lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). 


7) Reconciliation with God (5:11) - This is another one of those great words! It is the restored fellowship that we have with God because of Jesus as the Peacemaker (Ephesians 2:11-18). And now we have the job of helping reconcile people to God (2 Corinthians 2:18). What an awesome privilege!


Romans 5:12-21 is a comparison between Christ and Adam. Note the repeated use of the phrase "much more" to emphasize this. Here are the comparisons: 




REFLECTION 


This is my third time studying Romans in-depth. I always get to this chapter and just let out a big Ahhhhhhhhhhh of relief and peace after Romans 1-4. Jesus paid it all! Then it leads me to say, "WOW!"  Then, I just cannot stop worshiping God. What a great week I have had bathing in just Romans 5. You could spend a lifetime on this book and still not plumb all of its depth. 


After a six week break from writing for the Bible Book Club (had 25,000 - 30,000 photos to process, cull, sort, and print), this is a perfect place to start up again!


As I studied I thought about when I did a study from Genesis to the Gospels with a group of women from another religion. When we got to the end of Mark and how the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, we brought them back to Leviticus and the sacrificial lamb. Then we moved them forward to Hebrews. When I said, "Do you understand the significance of the veil being torn in two from top to bottom?" one of the women answered (I am paraphrasing):



"Jesus' blood covers all of my sin so that 
I have access into the presence of God." 

Another girl sitting next to me whispered under her breath, "Wow."  The room was silent, and many of them "got it" that day. 

(This is why I think it is so important that one understands the Old Testament to really understand the importance of what Jesus did for us on the cross; thus why I lead the Bible Book Club.).

In a later conversation with the girl who explained the significance of the veil being town from top to bottom, she pretty much quoted Romans 5:12-21  (without having ever read it before). She definitely got it!


And I hope we all can truly "get" the significance of all this too. It will lead you into such a spirit of gratefulness and praise. I also hope that it makes the ministry of reconciling others to Himself less of a chore and more of a delight and privilege. 

APPLICATION 


Prayerfully review Romans 5 and let it lead you into a time of grateful praise for the blessings of justification through the blood of Jesus. 


Now ask God what He wants you to do in the form of action. Develop a specific and measurable "I will" statement. Find another person to share that "I will" with and tell them how it went. 


PRAYER

I am in awe of Your wonderful grace and love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Thank You. Give us opportunities to share this Good News with others. Amen. 
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