JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
This fifth chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans naturally falls into two parts:
Part 1—VERSES 1-11
The Blessed Results of Justification by Faith, along with the most comprehensive statement in the Bible of the purse love and grace of God, in giving Christ for the sinners.
Pat 2—VERSES 12-21
God goes back of the history and state of human sin (which in 1:21-3:20 have been before us) to Adam, as our representative head, who stood for us, and whose sin became condemnation and death for us, and shows us Christ, as the other representative Man (whom Adam prefigured), by His act of death on the cross, bringing us justification and life.
The design of this chapter, which has usually been considered as one of the most difficult portions of the New Testament, especially (vv. 12-21), is evidently to show the results or benefits of the doctrine of justification by faith. That doctrine the apostle had now fully established. He had shown in the previous chapters,
1. That men were under condemnation for sin;
2. That this extended alike to the Jews and the Gentiles
3. That there was no way of escape now but by the doctrine of pardon, not by personal merit, but by grace.
4. That this plan was fully made known by the gospel of Christ; and
5. That this was no new doctrine, but was, in fact, substantially the same by which Abraham and David had been accepted before God.
Having thus stated and vindicated the doctrine, it was natural to follow up the demonstration, by stating its bearing and its practical influence.
This he does by showing that its immediate effect is to produce peace It gives us the privilege of access to the favor of God. But not only this, we are in a world of affliction. Christians, like others, are surrounded with trials; and a very important question was, whether this doctrine would have an influence in supporting the soul in those trials.
He shows that in fact Christians glory in tribulation, and that the reasons why they do so are,
1. That the natural effect of tribulations under the gospel was to lead to hope (vv. 3-4).
2. That the cause of this was, that the love of God was shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost (v. 5).
This doctrine he further confirms by showing the consolation which would be furnished by the fact that Christ had died for them.
This involved a security that they would be sustained in their trials, and that a victory would be given them. For,
a. It was the highest expression of love that he should die for enemies (vv. 6-8).
b. It followed that if he was given for them when they were enemies, it was much more probable;
c. It was certain, that all needful grace would be furnished to them now that they were reconciled (vv. 9-11).
But there was another very material inquiry. Men were not only exposed to affliction, but they were in the midst of a wreck of things–of a fallen world–of the proofs and memorials of sin everywhere. The first man had sinned, and the race was subject to sin and death. The monuments of death and sin were everywhere. It was to be expected that a remedy from God would have reference to this universal state of sin and woe; and that it would tend to meet and repair these painful and wide-spread ruins. The apostle then proceeds to discuss the question, how the plan of salvation, which involved justification by faith, was adapted to meet these universal and distressing evils. The design of this part of the chapter is to show that the blessings procured by the redemption through Christ, and the plan of justification through him, greatly exceed all the evils which had come upon the world in consequence of the apostasy of Adam. And if this was the case, the scheme of justification by faith was complete. It was adapted to the condition of fallen and ruined man, and was worthy of his affection and confidence.
The effects of justification by faith, peace with God,
The joyous hope of eternal glory,
Glorying in tribulations,
And gaining thereby patience, experience, and hope,
And having the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit,.
The state of the world when Christ died for it,
Jesus Christ is an atonement,
Sin and death entered into the world by Adam's transgression, and all became guilty before God,
God's grace in sending Christ into the world to save fallen man,
The law is brought in to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
The grace of Christ is to be as extensive in its influences and reign, as sin has been in its enslaving and destructive nature,