Year of the Bible – Romans 5:1-7:26

Epiphany
While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8b

Romans 5:1-7:26 (5:1-11)                                   

If justification makes for peace, that must mean that God is not at peace where there is no justification – that is, no righteousness. For righteousness is credited to us only through faith. Abraham became righteous through God’s crediting righteousness to him. Abraham did not do anything to become righteous, but he did become righteous – that is, he was reckoned to be forgiven of all sin and given the gift of eternal life (as reflected in 4:25). Therefore (the conclusion), Paul says, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. But note that this peace does not mean that we do not suffer- suffering is very much a real thing, sometimes a necessary thing for the Christian. God’s constant (covenantal) love is manifest in the free act of love demonstrated in the offering of Christ for sinners – people unworthy of God’s love. So strong is that covenant that if God would do this for us while we were sinful, how much more so will He save us – now that we have become righteous through faith in Christ. Paul goes on to explain that the universal verdict of condemnation was very much like the universal verdict of justification. In both the case of Adam and of Christ, God reckoned something to man. But in the first case, sin was reckoned to all men with the effect of death. In the second case, forgiveness or pardon was reckoned to all men with the effect of life – eternal life. So justification affects the way that Christians live their lives, for though we experience the effects of sin in our lives, we do not give to sin the power to rule our lives. (6:11) The Christian “reckons” no power or mastery to sin. The result is that Christians reckon themselves to be slaves, not to their sinful nature, but to righteousness (6:22). The tension between sin and righteousness puts Christians in a strange position. The Law actually stirs up sin in us. But this is so that we might never seek to be justified by our works under the Law. The only thing that can rescue us from the Law – the only one – is Jesus Christ Himself. Thus, the Law leads us to see and know sin and teaches us our need for a savior. The Gospel leads us to Christ and teaches us to reckon ourselves to be dead to sin – that we might live to Christ and the righteousness He reckons to us through faith.

 

Questions – Romans 5

  1. How do we become righteous before God?
  2. What did God’s reckoning do to Abraham?
  3. When we by faith become righteous in God’s sight, what kind of an experience do we have?
  4. What do we mean by a “universal verdict of condemnation?”
  5. What tension arises in the Christian when he becomes righteous before God?
  6. What does the Law do to us?
  7. Why does God want us to see the sin in our flesh?
  8. What does the Gospel teach us and cause us to do?
Year of the Bible – Epiphany Week One | Saturday | Romans 5 – © John W. Fiene