“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when 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. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:9-11
The Apostle Paul is building a powerful case for his truth claim that we are “justified by faith.”
In the last part of our study in Romans we saw that when we were without spiritual strength, “in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus Christ died for sinners as a demonstration of God’s love for us.
We now move to the next part of Paul’s argument.
“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
πολλω ουν μαλλον δικαιωθεντες νυν εν τω αιματι αυτου σωθησομεθα δι αυτου απο της οργης
πολλω ουν μαλλον δικαιωθεντες νυν εν τω αιματι αυτου (pollō oun mallon dikaiōthentes nun en tō haimati autou) “much therefore more having been justified now by the blood of him” .. pollō oun mallon gives us a comparison from lesser to greater, “much more then” .. dikaiōthentes means to be declared righteous, that’s what God had done for us .. this “justification” comes through the agency of Christ’s “blood” shed for each of us ..
σωθησομεθα δι αυτου απο της οργης (sōthēsometha di autou apo tēs orgēs) “we will be saved by Him from the wrath” .. sōthēsometha means “deliver out of danger into safety, preserve, rescue, save” .. orgēs means “settled anger, a swelling anger that comes from an oppositional position” ..
God has been angry for a long, long time. If we understand God’s anger, His wrath, we would not want to face it. Thankfully, God has made a way for us not to have to face His wrath. We can be delivered out of danger into safety by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Paul’s words in chapter 5 remind us of what he wrote earlier in Romans 3 –
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26
God is righteous in what He does in justifying Jew and Gentile freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood.”
Chapter 5 verse 9 explains that “having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
You may remember that the “wrath” of God is something Paul addressed early on in his letter to the Romans –
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” Romans 1:18-19
Those words followed immediately after the key statement of Romans –
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” Romans 1:16-17
The “wrath” of God was revealed long ago and the only thing that will appease God’s anger is the blood of Christ. God introduced the idea of blood atonement (Hebrew kaphar – “cover over”) early in His relationship with sinful humans –
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15
“Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
“Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering.” Genesis 4:4
“Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma.” Genesis 8:20-21
“Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:9-14
We see time and time again in the Old Testament how the blood of animals was a covering (atonement) for sin and appeased God’s wrath. However, we learn in the New Testament that the blood of animals could never “take away” sin:
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” Hebrews 10:1-4
The Old Testament animal sacrifices could never make a person who approached God perfect, so why did God command them to be done continually year after year after year? Those animal sacrifices were actually a “reminder” of sins every year. They were also a pointer to when God would send His Son into the world to shed His blood on the Cross:
“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:5-10
As we look at the biblical history of blood sacrifices what we should see is God’s eternal promise that God’s Son would acquire a human body and would sacrifice His human body and life blood for our sins. Praise God!
Other Commentaries on Romans 5:9
“The argument is from the greater to the less. The supreme difficulty to be overcome in the relations of man and God is the initial one: How can God demonstrate His love to the sinner, and bestow on him a Divine righteousness? In comparison with this, everything else is easy. Now the Apostle has already shown (Romans 3:21-30) how the Gospel meets this difficulty: we obtain the righteousness required by believing in Jesus, whom God has set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood. If such grace was shown us then, when we were in sin, much more, justified as we have now been by His blood, shall we be saved from wrath through Him.” Expositor’s Greek Testament
“Since, therefore, it hath pleased the blessed God to give us such an unexampled display of his love as this, how high may our expectations rise, and how confidently may we conclude, that much more, being now justified by his blood — Shed for us: that is, by his death, which is the meritorious cause of our justification, while faith in that blood is the instrumental cause; we shall be saved from wrath — From future punishment, from the vengeance of eternal fire; through him — If he so loved us as to give his Son to die for us, when we were mere guilty sinners, we may assure ourselves that, having now constituted us righteous, and accepted us as such, pardoning all our sins for the sake of the sacrifice of Christ’s blood, he will certainly save us from eternal damnation.” Benson Commentary
“There are fewer obstacles in the way. If, when we were enemies, he overcame all that was in the way of our salvation; much more have we reason to expect that he will afford us protection now that we are his friends. This is one ground of the hope expressed in Romans 5:5. By his blood – By his death; Note, Romans 3:25. The fact that we are purchased by his blood, and sanctified by it, renders us sacred in the eye of God; bestows a value on us proportionate to the worth of the price of our redemption; and is a pledge that he will keep what has been so dearly bought.” Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
“The apostle here argues from justification by Christ to salvation by him, there being a certain and inseparable connection between these two; whoever is justified shall be saved; and speaks of justification ‘as being now by his blood’. Justification in God’s mind from eternity proceeded upon the suretyship engagements of Christ to be performed in time; the Old Testament saints were justified of God with a view to the blood of the Lamb which was to be shed; this blood was “now” shed, and an application of justification by it was “now” made to the persons spoken of; which is the reason of this way of speaking. The blood of Christ intends his death, as appears from the context, and shows it to be a violent death; death by the effusion of blood. There is an emphasis upon it, ‘his blood’; not the blood of bulls and goats, nor of a mere innocent creature, but of Christ the Son of God; which is therefore efficacious to all the purposes for which it was shed, and particularly justification. This being ascribed to it, shows the concern Christ had in it, his blood is here put for the whole matter of justification; the shedding of that being the finishing part of it; and that our justification before God proceeds upon the foot of a satisfaction made to the law and justice of God: hence such as are interested in it, shall be saved from wrath through him: not from wrath, as a corruption in their own hearts, which oftentimes breaks forth; nor as appearing among the people of God one towards another, which is sometimes very bitter; or as in their avowed enemies, the effects of which they often feel; nor from the wrath of devils, which is as the roaring of a lion; but from the wrath of God, from a sense and apprehension of it in their own consciences, which the law works; from which justification by the blood of Christ frees them; though under first awakenings they feel it, and sometimes, under afflictive dispensations of Providence, are ready to fear it: and also from the infliction of vindictive wrath or punishment for sin; for though they are as deserving of it as others, yet as they are not appointed to it, so they are entirely delivered from it, through Christ’s sustaining it in their room and stead: wherefore they are secure from it both in this life, and in the world to come.” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
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We will look at Romans 5:10 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.