Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
May 26, 2002
How can a person live in peace in the midst of turmoil? That is a relevant question for us to consider,
given the tensions that have escalated in our society between different groups and our nations current
war on terrorism. Racial strife, class warfare, a cultural civil war and continuing terrorist threats all
increase the level of stress and anxiety in our nation. Add in business and interpersonal conflicts that are
a normal part of living, and it is no wonder that people can often seem so strained, worried, and even
irritable. Is that the way Christians should live? Or should there be a marked contrast between them and
Just telling you, "Don’t worry, be happy," as a popular song did some years ago, is worthless if there
is not also given a basis to remove or counter the reasons for the tension and anxiety. In our study this
morning of Romans 5, we will find that Paul does just that as he explains some of the results of the
gospel, the good news of salvation from sin through faith in Jesus Christ.
The "therefore" in 5:1 points back to what Paul has already said. This passage flows out of Paul’s
previous arguments that all people are under the righteous wrath of God until they are justified by God
as a gift of His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:23,24) that is applied to the
sinner by the means of faith and not by works (vs. 28). In chapter 4, Paul uses Abraham as the supreme
example of this faith that is reckoned by God for righteousness. In this passage, Romans 5:1-11, Paul
gives further explanation to the nature of this faith while detailing out some of its benefits.
5:1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we
stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our
tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured
out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6 For while we were still helpless, at
the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though
perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love
toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been
justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath [of God] through Him. 10 For if while we were
enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled,
we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Peace with God (vs. 1, 2a)
Justified by Faith (1a). Paul’s premise for the rest of the passage is that we have been justified by
faith. There are some who have fallen into serious error because they have taken this declaration out of
its context and made salvation to be on the basis of faith itself. Faith must have an object. Faith in faith
does not save. This is an elliptical phrase that looks back into what has been previously said to explain
what is meant by faith. Haldane’s comment on this explains. "It is not by faith, abstractly considered,
that we are justified, nor even by faith in everything that God reveals. It is by faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ. Even this phrase itself . . . is still elliptical, and supposes the knowledge of what is to be believed
with respect to Christ. It is not believing in His existence, but believing on Him as revealed in the
Scriptures, in His person and work." Later in this passage (vs. 9) we will find the phrase "justified by
His blood." It is also elliptical for it looks back to faith and to the broader meaning of what the blood
represents, Jesus’ sacrificial atonement for our sins, and it is the object of the faith spoken of earlier.
What kind of faith is this? It is the faith demonstrated by Abraham’s example in believing in the true
God and therefore walking in trust of God’s promises.
Paul speaks of this justification by faith as being in the aorist tense. It is something that has already
occurred and not something you are still waiting to receive. He then goes on to point out the
ramifications of this. Because you are justified, that is, made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ
and His work on your behalf, then here are the results and benefits.
Peace with God (1b). The first benefit is having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul
makes it clear that this peace is only available through Jesus Christ. It cannot come through your own
effort, but only through what God has already done for you in Christ.
What is this peace? Remember back in 1:18 that Paul began this gospel presentation by proclaiming
that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who
suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Paul then went to show in chapters 1-3 that all men are ungodly
and unrighteous. All people are naturally enemies with God. While people do not tend to think of
themselves in that way, that is the truth of the matter.
While there are some that clearly know and set themselves against God, most people tend to think
themselves somewhat neutral in the matter. They think of themselves as undecided, confused or even
complacent, but they are not against God. But the truth is opposite. Recall that Jesus said in Matt 12:25
"He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters." People who claim
to believe in God, but then live as if He is not there or does not care only prove that they do not believe
in the true God. All people are born dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:8) with a hatred for God. People
claim to have always loved God, but the truth is demonstrated in their love for the world, which is
enmity with God (James 4:4). God’s wrath abides upon them.
When Jesus Christ took my place on the cross, the wrath of God for my sin was poured out on Him
so that through being justified by faith in Jesus and His atonement, that wrath is no longer against me.
Instead, I have peace with Him. God’s justice is satisfied and I am no longer counted as His enemy.
The confidence I have in what Christ has done for me that has removed the hostility that had existed
between God and me also gives me the emotional aspects of peace too. With God I now have harmony
instead of conflict; tranquility instead of turmoil; assurance instead of fear; serenity instead of
That peace changes my whole life because it not only removes me from God’s wrath, but it also
positively affects my relationship with God. It also changes my understanding of and relationship to this
world. Before being saved, I was part of the world living in its emotional turmoil and standing under
God’s wrath. Now I have a new standing with God that gives me emotional peace and security.
Standing in Grace (2a). Paul says in verse 2, through whom also we have obtained our introduction
by faith into this grace in which we stand. I now have the freedom or right to enter God’s grace, which
is what is meant by "our introduction" in the NASB. Through faith in Jesus Christ, I not only am no
longer under God’s judgement as His enemy, but I now stand in a state of God’s favor. This speaks of
the loving relationship God extends to me as His adopted child. Though I am unworthy of it and really
only deserving of His judgement, yet He has extended to me His grace in taking care of my sin problem
and bringing me into a personal relationship with Him. This new position within His grace gives me a
different perspective on life and the world. It is no longer about me and what I want. It is not about my
fame and fortune. My life is now about God’s glory, which Paul expresses at the end of the verse as the
first of three things we can exult in because of our new standing in God’s grace.
Exulting in God (2b)
Paul says "we exult in hope of the glory of God." The word "exult" (kaucavomai / kauxaomai)
carries with it the idea of boasting in the sense of taking glory in something. It is a very strong word for
rejoicing in a jump up and down and point it out sort of way. It is the sort of thing a football player might
do when he scores the winning touchdown, or the baseball player that hits a grand slam, or in view of the
awards given out last week, the AWANA club member that completes their book and gets a special
We find there that this exulting is not in something that the person himself has done, but what has
been done for him. This would be the kind of rejoicing someone might do in thanking someone else for a
really great gift. I recently read a book on the Allied landings in Normandy in WWII. This kind of
exultation was seen in the response of many of the French who came out to meet the Allies with
champagne despite the bullets and bombs that still filled the air, or in their later erecting monuments to
the Allied forces that had died. They wanted to celebrate those who had liberated them from the Nazis.
Here the exultation, the rejoicing, is in hope of the glory of God. Remember that hope in the Bible is
not in the sense of a wish, but rather a confident assurance of what is to come in the future. What God
has done in the past through Christ has secured my present peace with Him and given me a confidence in
the future of sharing in the glory of God when He transforms us from these earthly bodies into
"conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all
things to Himself" (Phil. 3:23). While we don’t know the full extent of what we will be, we do know
that we will be like Christ, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). There is a day coming in which
God’s work in us will be completed and we will be conformed to the image of His son (Rom. 8:29) and
know the riches of His glory which He has prepared for us beforehand (Rom. 9:23). Past, present and
future are all wrapped up in God’s promises which we can trust because they are proven in the person
and work of Jesus Christ.
This confidence for the present and future is so great, that it changes our outlook on the things we
face in life, including the unpleasant aspects of the world’s reaction to us being like Christ. Look again
at verses 3-5. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings
about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope
does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy
Spirit who was given to us.
Exulting in Tribulation (vs 3-5)
We can exult in our hope in the glory of God which will come in the future, and we can exult in the
present even in the tribulations we will face as we live for Christ. Why? Because God uses the hardships
we face to mature us and bring us to an unshakable confidence in the deep, abiding love of Christ for us,
as verses 6-10 explain.
The Benefit of Tribulation (3). The tribulation (qli’yi" / thlipsis) spoken of here is both the
affliction, trouble, and trials common to mankind and the persecution Christians suffer because of their
relationship to Christ.
Paul warned in 2 Tim 3:12 "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." It is
simply something that we should expect, but that should not be a source of sorrow, because Jesus had
already told His followers in Matthew 5:10-12, "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the
sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when [men] cast insults
at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12 "Rejoice,
and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before
you." The point here is not that you should rejoice in the suffering itself, that would be masochistic, but
for the reason for the suffering. You have become conformed enough to the image of Christ that
unbelievers are now rejecting you in the same way they have rejected Him. Jesus had also told His
disciples, "Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they
persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). Paul refers to this as the "fellowship of
suffering" (Phil 3:10). Peter and the other apostles rejoiced that they "were counted worthy to suffer
shame for His name" (Acts 5:41). Peter later comments, "If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you
are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you" (1 Pet 4:14).
But the Christian can also rejoice in the midst of the common tribulations of life too. Why? Again,
not because of any masochistic desire, but because we can see God’s hand at work in us through it. We
exult not in the tribulation itself, but in what God is producing in us through it. When we suffer
according to the will of God, we can entrust our souls to our faithful Creator in doing what is right (1
Pet. 4:19). Paul points out here that when the godly face tribulation, God will use it to produce in them a
character of perseverance. That is also a benefit to us.
The Benefit of Perseverance (4). Perseverance is the ability to patiently endure and persist. It is
hanging in there even when it is unpleasant and you may not even understand all that is happening,
simply because you know that it is the right thing to do and that God will work it out somehow in the
end. It is an important and foundational quality for living the Christian life (Heb. 12:1), and a mark of
Christian maturity (Tit. 2:2). Without it the Christian will give in to his own selfish emotions, the
wisdom of ungodly men, and the temptations of the devil. James 5:11 points out the perseverance of Job
as an example for us. His wife told him to curse God and die, but Job persevered and eventually received
God’s blessings. Perseverance is a quality that God gives us (Rom. 15:5) through the testing of our faith
(Jam. 1:3), yet at the same time it is something which we pursue and develop (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:6).
We learn it from the example of others and are to teach it to those we disciple (2 Tim. 3:10).
Perseverance also leads to another benefit. The character quality of proven character.
The Benefit of Proven Character (4). Proven character here (dokimhv / dokima) has the idea of
being proven through testing much in the same way that precious metals are refined through heating in a
crucible. Paul spoke of Timothy in these terms (Phil. 2:9-22). Paul could trust Timothy and commend
him to others because he had demonstrated his character in the hardships he suffered with Paul.
It is easy to dream and even to brag about how you would respond in certain situations, but the
reality is not known until you are actually in the situation. It is through the tribulations we face in which
we persevere that we learn to respond correctly even when it is tough to do so. Each of those situations
serves to test your character and prove it out so that with each situation faced you are better prepared.
Your character is trained. A proven character in turn leads to hope.
The Nature & Basis of Hope (5). Again, the nature of Biblical hope is not a wish, but a confident
assurance in the future because of a trust in God and His promises. Paul stresses the confident nature of
hope by pointing out that this hope will not disappoint or bring shame. What I have placed my hope in
will come to pass.
Why can I have such confidence? Because as Paul points out at the end of verse 5, the basis of my
hope is in the love of God that has been poured out within my heart through the Holy Spirit who was
given to us. The Holy Spirit is the pledge of God’s promises (Eph. 1:13,14). Paul gives further
explanation of God’s love in vs. 6-10.
The Love of God (6-10)
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly
die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more
then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath [of God] through Him.
10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more,
having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
Its Demonstration (6-8). The demonstration of God’s love is in Jesus’ death for us. What Paul
stresses here is magnitude of God’s love by contrasting it with our condition at the time His love was
poured out to us in Jesus Christ.
Jesus had said many times that He came to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10). He came
as a physician to heal the sick. He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Matt. 9:12,13). We
were helpless and could do nothing to save ourselves. All our righteous deeds were as filthy rags before
God (Isa. 64:6). We were ungodly and under God’s righteous wrath as His enemies. What we deserved
was His condemnation to eternal hell for our sins against Him. Yet, it is while we are in this condition
that God chose to love us and redeem us to Himself. These facts destroy all argument that man was
somehow worthy of God’s love. It is the fact that we are completely unworthy of God’s love, and yet He
gives it, that magnifies this love all the more.
In verses 7 and 8, Paul sets up another contrast that demonstrates the greatness of God’s love. It is a
rare event that a person will give their life for someone else. It does happen, but it is not a common
occurrence in normal life. Even during a war, when a soldier puts his own life at serious risk to protect
the other soldiers, he is awarded the Medal of Honor, because it is still such an uncommon occurrence.
There are those that will give their lives in behalf of someone else if they value that person as especially
good or important. That is what bodyguards are willing to do. Or an even better example from Charles
Dicken’s book, A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton exchanges himself for Charles Darnay to face the
guillotine. But who will give their life in exchange for an ungodly sinner who is your enemy?
That is a love that can never be legitimately questioned or challenged. It is not based in me to begin
with, so continuing to receive it is not based in me. It is based on the character of God Himself. There
will be times I will not like or understand what is happening in my life, but I will always know without
any doubt that God loves me. He proved it for all time and eternity in Jesus Christ while I was a sinner
and His enemy.
It is this foundation of love that gives me hope, a confident assurance for the future regardless of
whatever circumstances I may be facing at present. It is the hope based in His love that gives me the
drive to prove myself in the test and persevere in the trial regardless of how difficult. Tribulation then
can be something I can face with exultation instead of fear. Persecution does not cause me to doubt
God’s love because He has already proven that love. Because of His proven love I can face the difficult
things of life with joy knowing that God will use those very things to bring me to greater maturity.
Because the Christian has been justified through faith in Jesus Christ, he can exult even in the
tribulations of life and persecutions that will come against Him. He is secure in God’s love, and God will
use those very difficulties to make him more like Christ.
Its Application (9,10). In verses 9 & 10 Paul brings out another practical application of this for the
future. His argument is simple. In consideration of what God has already done for us in the past while
we were His enemies, yet He reconciled us through the death of His son as the payment of our sins, then
how much more will His promises for the future of being with Him in heaven also be true.
As mentioned earlier, in verse 9 we have the qualification that explains what it means to be justified
by faith. It is not faith that justifies, but the object of that faith. Here we find we have been "justified by
his blood." Blood referring in specific to Jesus’ sacrificial death as the payment of our atonement and
propitiation and not to the physical blood itself. It is that payment that redeems us and saves us from the
wrath of God which is poured out on the ungodly at present and which will condemn them to eternal hell
in the future.
Much more than simply escaping the negative of God’s judgement, there is the positive of being
brought into a personal relationship with God that will last through eternity. In His death, Jesus our
savior reconciled us to God. In resurrection to life, Jesus our savior will keep us reconciled to God. Jesus
is even now at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us (Heb. 7:25; 10:12). He is also
currently preparing a place for us in heaven and has promised to return to receive us and take us there
(John 14:2-3). We can have absolute confidence in Jesus and His promises. These are the benefits of
being justified through faith in Him.
Exulting in God (11)
Being justified, having peace with God, and standing in His grace bears a third fruit in exultation.
We exult in hope of the glory of God (vs. 2). We exult in our tribulations because He uses them to
produce in us perseverance, proven character and a hope that is firmly based in the unquestionable love
of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ (vs. 3-10). Paul says in verse 11, "And not only this, but we also
exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."
Our greatest cause of rejoicing is really God Himself. Paul is quick to point out again that our
relationship with God is brought through the reconciliation we have received with Him that came
through Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ and His work of atonement, we would not have any positive
relationship with God. We would remain under His wrath and judgment. But through Jesus, we are now
brought into relationship with God the Father who is to be the focus of our worship and our joy, because
all of these blessings have their origin in Him.
Sometimes we place such an emphasis on Jesus, the second person of the triune Godhead, that we
forget that the real focus is supposed to be on the glory of the Father. Consider Paul’s statements in Phil.
2:9-11 in which he speaks of the exaltation of Jesus that is to come at the consummation of the ages.
"Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under
the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Please note that last phrase. Jesus is exalted, but all of it is to be "to the glory of God the Father."
Jesus glorifies the Father and so should we. He should be both the foundation of and the ultimate
recipient of our rejoicing. What is it that causes you to "exult?" How is it linked to giving God glory?
In a few minutes we are going to be celebrating Communion which is a remembrance of what Jesus
has done for us at Calvary. In it we proclaim the death of Christ until He comes. I am going to ask you to
focus on that and its ramifications in your own life. Seek His forgiveness for your failures to glorify Him
in your life by your words, deeds and attitudes and then thank the Father for what He has done for you in
Christ. Thank Him for the love demonstrated to you in Christ. Thank Him for His promises to you
secured in Christ.