NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
Dr. Robert R. Seyda
EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER FIVE
There are a lot of things that Paul discusses in this chapter. He starts out describing the peace and joy that comes to everyone who is reconciled to God. To know that the threat of the punishment for Adam’s sin is removed at the very moment we become one with Christ, is joy unspeakable. And it is all brought about by our unhindered access to God’s grace. So instead of living in fear death and spending eternity without God, we rejoice in the hope of being with God in all His glory for eternity.
But as we know in this world, sometimes what we hope for does not come true, and it leaves us sad and disappointed. But Paul says this hope will never disappoint us. That’s because it’s not dependent upon our ability to make it happen. It rests on the work that Christ Jesus did for us on the cross, and what God did through Him for us by raising Him from death. And since Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, what He did in the past and is doing today in our lives will last for eternity. That’s why God imprinted His love for us so deeply in our hearts with the stamp of the Holy Spirit, that’s what we hold onto even when things look bleak and troublesome. So when troubles come our way, it doesn’t make us lose our way. We stand steadfast in our faith because God’s Holy Spirit standing right beside us as our Comforter.
This then sets up the formula of, “how much more.” Paul uses this five times throughout the chapter. He introduces the corollary, or sequence, that if one thing can be proven true, then what follows will also be true. In fact, Paul says that if we are impressed by what was proven true, how much more will we be amazed by what follows. He begins by pointing out that seldom will one person will die for another just because they are law abiding and upright, and even rarer will someone will die for a person who is really good and kind to all those around them. However, Christ died for us while we were prisoners of sin because of our war against Him. So once we realize what He did for us while we were still sinners, now that we stand justified before God, how much more (v. 9) will God give us that blessed assurance that the wrath for Adam’s sin will never touch us.
Then Paul points out the second sequence by saying, that once Christ freed us from the prison of sin, we were then reconciled to God. So instead of remaining enemies, we became His sons and daughters. And once we became aware that we were now friends with God, how much more (v. 10) can we be assured that because Christ died in our place, God will make sure that we are free to enjoy eternal life. All we have to do is look back and remember that God put His guarantee on this by raising His Son Jesus from death. Therefore, if we are in Christ, and He is in us, we too will rise from death to live with Him forever.
Then Paul begins to talk about what started it all. One man, Adam, disobeyed God’s orders not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and so the death sentence was read to Adam, Eve, their children, and their children’s children, etc., right down to this very day. So the fact that we all live with a death sentence over our heads is not our fault, but Adam’s. But God refused to throw away His creation as damaged goods. Rather, He sent His Son as a second Adam to undo the bad that the first Adam did with the good that He came to do. So says Paul, if so much evil entered the world through one man’s, Adam, selfishness, how much more (v. 15) will God gift of grace enter the world through one Man’s, Christ, selflessness.
So we see that as a result of Adam’s sin, judgment was ordered and the death penalty imposed, taking away the life God had intended for all humanity. But God did not leave mankind in such a state of despair. That’s why He sent His Son with a gift to replace that which was lost. That one act by Adam that brought such carnage to humankind was voided by that one act of Christ to remove the stigma of condemnation and replaced it with the seal of justification. So says Paul, if the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to be king over all, how much more (v. 17) will those who accept God’s gift of forgiveness and acquittal through one man, Jesus Christ, become are kings of life.
Paul goes on to explain. Yes, Adam’s sinfulness ended up punishing all mankind so that all would die, but Christ’s sinlessness caused those who desire to become right with God can live. The picture is clear, Adam caused many to be sinners because he disobeyed God, but Christ caused many to be made acceptable to God because He obeyed. But God wanted the whole world to see how this took place. He sent the Law so that everyone would be able to understand what right and wrong was and thereby become aware of how much they were failing Him. Consequently, says Paul, if sin permeated all of mankind, how much more (v. 20) will God’s grace be made available to all mankind. In other words, the more we see our sins waiting to condemn us, the more we should see God’s abounding grace waiting to forgive us.
Based on all of this, Paul tells believers not to be surprised when painful trials come their way. Don’t get discouraged because something you don’t understand is happening to you. Instead, rejoice that you are not alone. The One who suffered for you will suffer with you in your circumstances. And just as He was victorious through His sufferings, you will be more than a conqueror when His glory is revealed in your final victory.
The Apostle Paul was using this line of thinking in order to convince us of the surety of our salvation. If mankind could have found a way to get to heaven on their own, and some religions teach this, they would have no need for a Savior. But every gate they tried to enter was locked securely. There was only one gate that opened into the kingdom of God. That Gate was Jesus Christ. And the entry through this gate could not be bought, bargained for, earned, or merited. It was a gift from God. Because we were all condemned through that one sin of the one man, Adam, God made it possible for us to be saved through that one sacrifice of the one man, Jesus Christ. Not because we deserved it, but because of His endless grace and mercy. – Dr. Robert R Seyda
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Thank God for all of you who’ve dedicated yourselves to learn more about God by reading more of His Word. May He bless you richly for your commitment to His will for your life. Our lessons on Chapter Six will begin Wednesday. God bless you is my prayer.