“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
We move now into the fifth chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to Christians living in Rome in the middle of the first century AD. If you haven’t read previous chapters from this commentary, we invite you to look back through each of the 79 individual articles (starting here) or these seven eBooks –
Some outlines of Romans introduce a new section beginning with chapter five, while others view the chapter as a continuation of a section. Here are some examples:
- Revelation of the Righteousness of God (3:21-5:11)
- The Righteousness Only God Can Provide (3:21-5:21)
- Justification by Faith Alone (3:21-5:21)
- Justification: The Provision of God’s Righteousness (3:21–5:21)
- Righteousness Imputed; Justification, Salvation (3:21-5:21)
- Justification By Faith Alone (3:21-8:39)
- The Provision of God’s Righteousness (5:1-8:39)
- Freedom – The Result of Salvation (5:1-8:39)
Keep in mind as we continue our study in Romans that Paul did not write verses or chapters. He wrote a personal letter. Chapter divisions and verses were added to Paul’s letters more than a thousand years later. Though we find chapters and verses helpful in our study and discussions about Scripture, it’s important to see the flow of thought and theology from the writer’s perspective without those divisions.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
δικαιωθεντες ουν εκ πιστεως ειρηνην εχομεν προς τον θεον δια του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου
δικαιωθεντες ουν εκ πιστεως (dikaiōthentes oun ek πίστεως) “having been justified therefore by faith” .. dikaiōthentes is a verb in the aorist tense/passive voice .. someone (God) justified us at a point in the past that we can focus on and remember.
The word “therefore” is a clue to connect what Paul wrote in 5:1 to what he had written in chapter 4. Paul used the word “therefore” (οὖν) more than 30 times in his letter to the Romans. He used it as a connective tool to help his readers understand the flow and purpose of each of his many points. They may appear as separate, but they connect.
The use of “therefore” in 5:1 points back to everything Paul had written to the Romans up to that point. He first mentioned faith back in 1:5-6 –
“Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.”
And in 1:17 –
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.”
Paul continued to remind the Roman Christians that they owed God everything, including their justification before Him. Justification was then and still is “by faith,” not by works.
ειρηνην εχομεν προς τον θεον (eirēnēn echomen pros ton theon) “peace we have with God” .. eirēnēn comes from the word eirō – “to join, tie together into a whole” .. the idea was of binding things together that had been separated .. wholeness and completeness are important to understand in the usage of the word eirēnēn .. the word was used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word shalom .. it speaks to the many blessings we have in our relationship with God .. a relationship He makes possible by grace through faith alone.
God justifies us by grace through faith and blesses us with complete peace with Him. How extraordinary is that?
δια του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου (dia tou kuriou hēmōn iēsou christou) “through the Lord of us Jesus Christ” .. this complete peace that God gives us comes to us “through” the Divine Person Jesus Christ.
Paul’s statement is consistent with what Jesus taught about Himself –
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27
“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:18
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44
“And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” John 6:65
“I and My Father are one.” John 10:30
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
Peace with God comes through One Person – Jesus Christ – and no other.
“through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
δι ου και την προσαγωγην εσχηκαμεν τη πιστει εις την χαριν ταυτην εν η εστηκαμεν και καυχωμεθα επ ελπιδι της δοξης του θεου
δι ου και την προσαγωγην εσχηκαμεν (di hou kai tēn prosagōgēn eschēkamen) “whom also access we have” .. prosagōgēn means “come towards, come near, a bringing to, have access” .. it carried the idea in the ancient world of receiving “admission” to have face-to-face access with someone, usually someone of importance, wealth or power .. eschēkamen is perfect indicative active, which means it is the ongoing result of a completed action .. Christians have ongoing access to God as a completed action .. how do we have that wonderful gift of open access to God?
τη πιστει εις την χαριν ταυτην εν η εστηκαμεν (tē pistei eis tēn charin tautēn en hē hestēkamen) “by the faith into the grace this in which we stand” .. Paul said that Christians have access to God by “faith” .. he also called this access by faith as access “into this grace” .. it is a specific grace we receive from God, a grace that is our spiritual harbor .. it is a grace whereby we hestēkamen, “stand firm, steadfast” .. our position in Christ is steadfast, unmoveable, safe, protected.”
και καυχωμεθα επ ελπιδι της δοξης του θεου (kai kauchōmetha ep elpidi tēs doxēs tou theou) “and we boast in hope of the glory of God” .. kauchōmetha means “to live with head up high, exult proudly” .. elpidi means “confident expectation” .. doxēs means “praise, honor, renown, glory.”
The Amplified Bible reads – “Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power].”
Wuest’s Expanded Translation reads – “Through whom also our entree we have as a permanent possession into this unmerited favor in which we have been placed permanently, and rejoice upon the basis of hope of the glory of God.”
What a blessing every Christian has in Jesus Christ! We have “access, entree” into a permanent and safe harbor. No matter what happens to us during our life, we have access to God through Christ. We stand safely and boast proudly of our Great God!
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance”
ου μονον δε αλλα και καυχωμεθα εν ταις θλιψεσιν ειδοτες οτι η θλιψις υπομονην κατεργαζεται
ου μονον δε αλλα και καυχωμεθα εν ταις θλιψεσιν (ou monom de alla kai kauchōmetha en tais thlipsesin) “not only so now but also we glory in tribulations” .. thlipsesin means “a pressing, pressing together, oppression, affliction, suffering, distress” .. from thlibo, to suffer affliction .. “has reference to sufferings due to the pressure of circumstances, or the antagonism of persons” (Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
The word thlipsesin is preceded by the definite article tais, which points to particular “pressure” Christians will face in their lives. The idea of the word includes “internal pressures” as well as those that come from outside Paul calls on Christians to “also glory in tribulations.” This follows his statement about rejoicing “in hope of the glory of God.” Is it possible that Christians can both rejoice in hope of the glory of God and glory in tribulations?
The short answer is “yes.” It is not a new idea in God’s plan for His people.
“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12
“So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Acts 5:41
“And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-22
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” 1 Peter 4:12-16
Later in Romans Paul would write these words that expand on his earlier statements –
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” Romans 8:18-19
“To exult here in the tribulations does not mean merely in their midst but because of them … Paul did not exult because of the tribulations themselves but because of their beneficial effect upon his Christian life.” (Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament)
“The believers’ joy is not simply something they hope to experience in the future but a present reality even in times of trials and distress. Their joy is not a stoic determination to make the best out of a bad situation. Christian suffering is a source of joy because its purpose is to build character in the believer.” (Robert Mounce, Romans, The New American Commentary)
ειδοτες οτι η θλιψις υπομονην κατεργαζεται (eidotes hoti hē thlipsis hupomonēn katergazetai) “knowing that tribulation perseverance produces” .. eidotes means “be aware, behold, consider, perceive” .. it is the process of “seeing” with our mind, our mental “eyes” .. hupomonēn means “remaining under, a patient enduring, patiently waiting in hope, steadfast”
William Barclay wrote that hupomonēn is “the spirit which does not passively endure but which actively overcomes the trials and tribulations of life” (The Letter to the Romans)
katergazetai means “to work out, work down to end point, bring to definite conclusion, produce”
“The prep. compound is perfective carrying the action of the main verb to its conclusion.” (Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek)
Interesting. Tribulation has an impact on us as we patiently endure the pressure, the trouble, the problems within and without. Why? Because that patient endurance actually produces something as it actively overcomes those pressures, troubles and problems within and without – beginning with perseverance.
“and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
η δε υπομονη δοκιμην η δε δοκιμη ελπιδα
η δε υπομονη δοκιμην (hē de hupomonē dokimēn) “and perseverance character” .. dokimēn means “approval through testing, proof of genuineness” .. “the quality of being approved as a result of test and trials” (Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)
η δε δοκιμη ελπιδα (hē de dokimē elpida) “and character hope” .. elpida means “confident expectation, hope”
“Thus it is the experience of coming through a time of testing that produces hope. Our confidence in God’s ability and willingness to bring us through difficult times leads to an ever brighter hope for that which lies beyond. Hope is not superficial optimism but the confident assurance of that which will surely come to pass. It distinguishes those who have kept the faith in times of severe testing.” (Mounce, Romans)
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
η δε ελπις ου καταισχυνει οτι η αγαπη του θεου εκκεχυται εν ταις καρδιαις ημων δια πνευματος αγιου του δοθεντος ημιν
η δε ελπις ου καταισχυνει (hē de elpis ou kataischunei) “and hope not does make us ashamed” .. kataischunei means “disgrace, bring to shame, put to utter confusion, frustrate” .. the hope produced by character which is produced by perseverance which is produced by tribulation will never bring us to shame – it will never disappoint.
οτι η αγαπη του θεου εκκεχυται εν ταις καρδιαις ημων δια πνευματος αγιου του δοθεντος ημιν (hoti hē agapē tou theou ekkechutai en tais kardiais hēmōn dia pneumatos hagiou tou dothentos hēmin) “because the love of God has been poured out into the hearts of us through the Spirit Holy the One having been given to us” .. ekkechutai means “pour out, shed, bestow liberally”
“The word denotes both abundance and diffusion (Lightfood, Notes). The idea of spiritual refreshment and encouragement is conveyed through the metaphor of watering.” (Rienecker/Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament)
We come to the real power for Christian behavior – the real reason we can “glory in tribulations” – the Holy Spirit of God.
The Spirit of God poured out God’s Love into our hearts.
Jesus promised His disciples that the Spirit of God would do many things for them:
- Convict the world of sin
- Convict the world of righteousness
- Convict the world of judgment
- Guide them into all truth
- Glorify Christ
- Take what is Christ’s and declare it to them
- Help in our weaknesses
- Makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered
- Gives new life
- Indwells believers forever
(1 Corinthians 6)
- Is the Seal and Guarantee of the believer “until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
- Unites believers in Christ
(1 Corinthians 12)
- Gives believers spiritual gifts
(Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12)
- Produces spiritual fruit in the believer
Christians, we can glory in our tribulations because of the love of God that the Holy Spirit has poured out into our hearts and lives. Praise God!
The Apostle Paul wrote these words a little later in Romans –
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29
God is doing an extraordinary thing in the life of His children. He is conforming us to the image of Christ. He wants us to be like His Son in so many ways. How does that happen? Poof, we’re conformed? No, it’s a process of testing where each of us has the opportunity to experience tribulations within and without. The amazing thing is that those very trials and tribulations that press on us so deeply actually do the work of producing in us a likeness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We will look at Romans 5:6-8 as we continue our study of the Gospel of God.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.