Grace and Faith In Christ Explained Like You’ve Never Heard It
[Romans chapter five]
Today’s study will be Romans chapter five, in which the apostle Paul goes into a lengthy explanation – fortunately for posterity’s sake if nothing else – of the death and resurrection of Christ, and how it directly applies to us all, even those who do not yet believe. With respect to the length and scope of Paul’s writing, I will skip the introduction this one time and plunge directly into this insightful passage of Scripture, beginning at verse one.
“Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by his Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more will we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5, verses 1-11)
Our faith in Christ justifies us in God’s sight because no man or woman who ever lived could ever do so on their own merits no matter how hard they tried. Our belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is credited to us as faith by God just as Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Faith, then produces the grace of God, which empowers us and propels us to supernaturally live for Christ. One of the ways he can make us capable of this is to allow each of us to run into at least a little turbulence from time to time to keep us on our toes. Just as those in the military and law enforcement go through additional training and drills, God allows us to have challenges in our lives in order to build us up. He strengthens us by having us go through negative experiences in order to extract a positive result. “… we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we now stand”. Our sinful natures – and everybody has this in one form or another – keep us separated from God. And so it is only through our reconciliation to Christ that we can have peace with God. As the verse says. “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope”. This hope that is produced by our character development is how our faith is generated. Our faith, in turn, is what justifies us before God (that and our belief in Jesus). The more developed our Godly character becomes, the closer we become with God through Christ Jesus. They are all proportional to one another.
“God has poured out His love into our hearts by His Holy Spirit, whom He has given us… God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Like grace, which is the unmerited favor of God, God has also given us his Holy Spirit, which is the living Spirit of Christ. If someone sees a ghost, they see the apparition of a dead person. But the Holy Spirit is very much alive, vibrant, and penetrating all the way down to the very soul of every living person on the earth. This happens whether anyone believes in it or not. Their disbelief changes nothing. The Holy Spirit is present everywhere all the time, and this free gift is like God’s stamp of approval on the foreheads of all sincere and diligent worshipers and believers.
“Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” When Jesus Christ achieved eternal life by raising from the dead on the morning of the third day, we all achieved eternal life with him, just as Jesus prophesied, “When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me”. We are all justified before God by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross for everyone who has ever lived. This means that we will be shielded from the wrath of God that is directed at those who refuse to believe in Jesus and what He did at the cross of Calvary. Our belief in Jesus will give us immortality that is not achievable in our present form. And not only so, but we are happy about it beyond words! Now we know that our lives in their current form are only temporary, and so we should begin to look at life that way. It helps to put all the negative things into context relative to what Jesus did for us by his crucifixion, death and resurrection on the morning of the third day. Nothing can take that away from us, and so we gain a more positive perspective of our lives and the people and situations that lie therein. Make no mistake about it, this is very powerful stuff! And now let’s move on to the second half of today’s study, beginning at verse 12.
“Therefore, just as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was the pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through that man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5, verses 12-17)
“For if the many died by the trespass of one man”, refers to Adam. When Adam and Eve committed original sin and got themselves banished from the garden of Eden, that same original sin was passed down to all their descendants (the actual story takes place in the book of Genesis, we’ll study that another time). God’s solution for this was the sacrifice of Christ Jesus upon the cross, followed by His resurrection on the morning of the third day. “…how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came from the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Right here is where the apostle Paul gives us the good news about Christ’s salvation served on a silver platter. If the sin of one man brought so much wrath from God, then how much more will the Son of God himself bring us his gift of salvation by his unending grace, just as it explains in the following sentence: “the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift involved many trespasses and brought justification”. Here the “gift” is once again the salvation of Christ, pouring Himself out as an offering on God’s sacrificial altar for all of us. God did all this for us to cover up our imperfections, inadequacies and shortcomings that separate us from God. God loves us so much that He does this for all of us just to bring us closer to Him.
Paul sums it all up in the following sentence. “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in the one man, Jesus Christ.” If death reigned through Adam and Eve, how much more will eternal life rule and reign through Jesus Christ our Lord! Paul is comparing the original man, Adam, to the new man who is Christ. He is contrasting original sin which Adam and Eve did commit just prior to being expelled from the Garden of Eden, to Jesus, the originator of the salvation that saves us all and grants us eternal life with him. The supreme sacrifice of Christ on the cross saved everyone from Adam and Eve on up to the present, as well as the future – everyone who ever has or ever will live on the entire earth. “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Paul then finished this portion of his commentary when he wrote, “For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through that man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” All of this paragraph can be summarized in a single word – grace. To be brief, grace is what happens to each of us when we embrace our salvation in Christ as we step aside and allow Jesus to take charge of our lives. We receive endless grace when we make Him the captain of our ship. Try this and you will see for yourself. If it works for me then it can for you too. And now let’s conclude today’s study starting at verse 18.
“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was the condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man the many will be made righteous. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign in righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5, verses 18-21)
The original sin of Adam and Eve condemned us all, but the blood that was shed on Calvary is what saved us all. “For just as through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man the many will be made righteous.” This is the very essence of the ministry of Jesus Christ. When Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and that you may have it abundantly”, he wasn’t just talking about having fun and enjoying our lives, even through that does have an importance of its own. He was talking about eternal life in heaven without end, which is the ultimate payoff of the faith that we have kept in Him, just as I wrote at the beginning of this lesson. “… where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign in righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” No matter how evil the times get – and things continue to get progressively worse – God’s grace that is transmitted to us through our complete faith in Jesus acts like a protective shield all around us as we go through each day. No matter how surrounded by sin and evil we are, God’s grace will protect us from harm, and it will take that which was intended for evil against us and turn it around into good. That’s what grace does, but it only works if we practice it. So let’s be sure and practice this all week until our next lesson, where we will be moving on to chapter six. Until then, have a blessed day in the Lord.