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Bible Commentaries

The Pulpit Commentaries

Romans 5

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-21

EXPOSITION

Romans 5:1-21

(6) The results of the revelation of the righteousness of God, as affecting

(a) the consciousness and hopes of believers;

(b) the position of mankind before God.

Romans 5:1-11

(a) As to the consciousness of individual believers.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of the ἔχομεν of the Textus Receptus, an overwhelming preponderance of authority, including uncials, versions, and Fathers, supports ἔχωμεν ("let us have"). If this be the true reading, the expression must be intended as hortatory, meaning, apparently, "Let us appreciate and realize our peace with God which we have in being justified by faith." But hortation here does not appear in keeping with what follows, in which the results of our being justified by faith are described in terms clearly, corresponding with the idea of our having peace with God. The passage as a whole is not hortatory, but descriptive, and "we have peace" comes in naturally as an initiatory statement of what is afterwards carried out. This being the case, it is a question whether an exception may not be allowed in this case to the usually sound rule of bowing to decided preponderance of authority with respect to readings. That ἔχωμεν was an early and widely accepted reading there can be no doubt; but still it may not have been the original one, the other appearing more probable. Scrivener is of opinion that "the itacism of ω for ο, so familiar to all collators of Greek manuscripts, crept into some very early copy, from which it was propagated among our most venerable codices, even those from which the earliest versions were made."

Romans 5:2

Through whom also we have (rather, have had— ἐδχήκαμεν—referring to the past time of conversion and baptism, but with the idea of continuance expressed by the perfect) the (or, our) access by faith (the words, "by faith," which are not required, are absent from many manuscripts) into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice (properly, glory, καυχώμεθα, the same word as in the following verse, and most usually so rendered elsewhere, though sometimes by "boast." Our translators seem in this verse to have departed from their usual rendering because of the substantive "glory," in a different sense, which follows) in hope of the glory of God. προσαγωγὴ (translated "access") occurs in the same sense in Ephesians 2:18 and Ephesians 3:12; in both cases, as here, with the article, so as to denote some well-known access or approach. It means the access to the holy God, which had been barred by sin, but which has been opened to us through Christ (cf. Hebrews 10:19). It is a question whether εἰς τὴν χάριν is properly taken (as in the Authorized Version) in immediate connection with προσαγωγὴν, as denoting that into which we have our access. In Ephesians 2:18 the word is followed by the more suitable preposition πρὸς, the phrase being, "access to the Father;" and this may be understood here, the sense being, "We have through Christ our access (to the Father) unto (ie. so as to result in) the state of grace and acceptance in which we now stand." As to "the glory of God," see above on Romans 3:23. Here our hoped-for future participation in the Divine glory is more distinctly intimated by the words, ἐπ ἐλπίδι. This last phrase bears the same sense as in 1 Corinthians 9:10, and probably in Romans 4:18 above. It does not mean that hope is that wherein we glory, but that, being in a state of hope, we glory.

Romans 5:3-5

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations (or, our tribulations) also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost which is given to us. The peace, the joy, the hope, that come of faith might be supposed unable to stand against the facts of this present life, in which, to those first believers, only peculiar tribulations might seem to follow from their faith. Not so, says the apostle; nay, their very tribulations tend to confirm our hope, and so even in them we also glory. For we perceive how they serve for our probation now: they test our endurance; and proved endurance increases hope. And this hope does not shame us in the end, as being baseless and without fulfilment; for our inward experience of the love of God assures us of the contrary, and keeps it ever alive. The word δοκιμὴ ("experience,'' Authorized Version) means properly "proof," and is so translated elsewhere. The idea is that tribulations test, and endurance under them proves, the genuineness of faith; and approved faithfulness strengthens hope to the end, the same shall be saved "). By "the love of God" is meant rather God's love to us than ours to God. What follows in explanation requires this sense. Of course, it kindles answering love in ourselves (cf. "We love God, because he first loved us"); but the idea here is that of God's own love, the sense of which we experience, flooding our hearts with itself through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It may be observed that, though assurance of the fulfilment of our hope is here made to rest on inward feeling, yet this is legitimately convincing to those who do so feel. As in many other matters, so especially in religion, it is internal consciousness that carries the strongest conviction with it, and induces certitude.

The verses that come next set forth the grounds of our sense of God's exceeding love to us.

Romans 5:6, Romans 5:7

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet (literally,for) peradventure for the good man some would even dare to die. The general purport of Romans 5:7 is obvious, viz. to show how Christ's death for the ungodly transcends all human instances of self-sacrifice for others. But the exact import of the language used is not equally plain. That of the first clause, indeed, and its connection with what precedes, presents no difficulty. The meaning is that Christ's dying for the ungodly is a proof of love beyond what is common among men. The second clause seems to be added as a concession of what some men may perhaps sometimes be capable of. It is introduced by a second γὰρ (this being the reading of all the manuscripts), which may be meant as exceptive, "I do not press this without exception," being understood. So Alford; and in this case the "yet" of the Authorized Version, or though, may give its meaning. Or it may be connected with μόλις, thus: "Scarcely, I say, for there may possibly be cases," etc. But what is the distinction between δικαίου in the first clause and τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ in the second? Some interpreters say that there is none, the intention being simply to express the possibility of human self-sacrifice for one that is good or righteous in some rare cases. But the change of the word, which would, according to this view, be purposeless, and still more the insertion of the article before ἀγαθοῦ, forbids this interpretation. One view is that τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ is neuter, meaning that, though for a righteous individual one can hardly be found to be willing to die, yet for the cause of good, for what a man regards as the highest good, or pro bone publico (it might be), such self-sacrifice may be possible; This view is tenable, though against it is the fact that death in behalf of persons is being spoken of all along. The remaining and most commonly accepted view is that by "the good man" (the article pointing him out generally as a well-known type of character) is meant the beneficent—one who inspires attachment and devotion—as opposed to one who is merely just. Cicero ('De Off.,' Romans 3:15) is quoted in support of this distinction between the words: "Si vir bonus is est qui prodest quibus potest, nemini nocet, recte justum virum, bonum non facile reperiemus." Tholuck quotes, as a Greek instance, κῦρον ἀνακαλοῦντες τὸν εὐεργέτην τὸν ἄνδρα τὸν ἀγαθόν (AElian, 'Var. Histor.,' 3.17). Possibly the term ὁ ἀγαθὸς would have a well-understood meaning to the readers of the Epistle, which is not equally obvious to us.

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth his own love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The emphatic "his own" is lost sight of in the Authorized Version. It is not in contrast to our love to God, but expressive of the thought that the love of God himself towards men was displayed in the death of Christ. This is important for our true conception of the light in which the mysterious doctrine of the atonement is regarded in Holy Scripture. It is not (as represented by some schools of theologians) that the Son, considered apart from the Father, offered himself to appease his wrath—as seems to be expressed in the lines, "Actus in crucem factus es Irato Deo victima"—but rather that the Divine love itself purposed from eternity and provided the atonement, all the Persons of the holy and undivided Trinity concurring to effect it (cf. Romans 3:24; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:16 : John 3:16; 1 John 4:10, et al.). If it be asked how this Divine love, displayed in the atonement, and therefore previous to it, is consistent with what is elsewhere so continually said of the Divine wrath, we answer that the ideas are not irreconcilable. The wrath expresses God's necessary antagonism to sin, and the retribution due to it, inseparable from a true conception of the Divine righteousness; and as long as men arc under the dominion of sin they are of necessity involved in it: But this is not inconsistent with ever-abiding Divine love towards the persons of sinners, or with an eternal purpose to redeem them. It may be added here that the passage Before us intimates our Lord's essential Deity; for his sacrifice of himself is spoken of as the display of God's own love.

Romans 5:9, Romans 5:10

Much more then, being now justified by (literally, in) his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by (literally, in) his life. In these verses, the second being an amplification of the first, our relations to God are set forth, as before, by the analogy of such as may subsist between man and man. Men do not usually die for their enemies, but they do seek the good of their friends. If, then, God's superhuman love reconciled us to himself through the death of his Son when we were still his enemies, what assurance may we not now feel, being no longer at enmity, of being saved from the wrath ( τῆς ὀργῆς, Romans 5:9) to which, as sinners and enemies, we were exposed! There is also a significance (Romans 5:10)in the words "death" and "life." Christ's death was for atonement, and in it we are conceived as having died with him to our former state of alienation from God. His resurrection was the inauguration of a new life to God, in which with him we live (cf. Romans 6:3, et seqq.). The words "enemies" ( ἀχθροὶ) and "reconciled" ( καταλλάγημεν, καταλλαγέντες) invite attention. Does the former word imply mutual enmity, or only that we were God's enemies? We may answer that, though we cannot attribute enmity in its proper human sense to God, or properly speak of him as under any circumstances the enemy of man, yet the expression might perhaps be used with regard to him in the way of accommodation to human ideas, as are anger, jealousy, and the like. There seems, however, to be no necessity for this conception here, the idea being rather that of man's alienation from God, and from peace with him, through sin; as in Colossians 1:21, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works." So Theoderet interprets: οἱ ἐχθροὶ δὴ τῶν ἐντολῶν αἷς μηδὲ ὑποκηκόασι γενόμενοι ὥσπερ φίλοι οἱ ὑπακηκοότες. So too, Clem. Alex., 'Strom.,' 1. 3.: καὶ μή τε καθὰπεο ἐπὶ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐδενὶ μὲν ἀντικεισθαι, λέγομεν τὸν θεὸν οὐδε ἐχθρὸν εἷναι τινός πάντων γὰρ κτίστης καὶ οὐδεν ἐστι τῶν ὑποστάντων ὃ μὴ θέλει. φαμὲν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐχθροὺς εἶναι τοὺς ἀπειθεῖς καὶ μὴ κατὰ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ πορευομένους. With regard to reconciled," it may be first observed that, however orthodox and capable of a true sense it may be to speak of God being reconciled to man through Christ (as in Art. 2, "to reconcile his Father to us"), the expression is not scriptural. It is always man who is said to be reconciled to God; and it is God who, in Christ, reconciles the world unto himself (2 Corinthians 5:19; cf. also Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20, Colossians 1:21). Still, mere is evidently implied than that God reconciles men to himself by changing their hearts and converting them from sin by the manifestation of his love in Christ. The reconciliation is spoken of as effected once for all for all mankind in the atonement, independently of, and previously to, the conversion of believers. Faith only appropriates, and obedience testifies, the appropriation of an accomplished reconciliation available for all mankind. That such is the view in the passage before us is distinctly evident from all that follows after Colossians 1:12.

Romans 5:11

And not only so, but we also glory in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. We not only have an assured hope; we also glory already in our restoration to peace with God; our mental state is an exultant one even now. A tacit reference may be supposed to Romans 3:27 and Romans 4:2, where all human glorying was said to be shut out. Yes, this remains true—in ourselves we cannot glory; but in God, who has reconciled us, we can and do. It is to be observed that neither this nor other passages (such as Romans 8:30, seq.), where an exultant assurance of salvation is expressed, justify the doctrine of assurance, as sometimes understood; viz. in the sense that an individual believer may and ought to feel certain of his own final salvation, on the ground of having once been justified. The condition of continued faithfulness is all along implied (cf., among other texts, 1 Corinthians 9:27; Hebrews 6:4, etc.; Hebrews 10:26, etc.).

Romans 5:12-21

(b) From consideration of the blessed effects on believers of faith in the reconciliation through Christ, the apostle now passes to the effects of that reconciliation as the position of the whole human race before God. His drift is that the reconciliation corresponds to the original transgression; both proceeded from one, and both include all mankind in their results; as the one introduced sin into the world, and, as its consequence, death, so the other introduced righteousness, and, as its consequence, life.

It may be observed that in Romans 1:1-32 also he has in one sense traced sin backward through the past ages, so as to show how all mankind had come to be under condemnation for it. But the subject was regarded from a different point of view, the purpose of the argument being also different. There he was addressing the heathen world, his purpose being to convince the whole of it of sin, on the score of obvious culpability; and, suitably to this design, his argument is based, not on Scripture, but on observation of the facts of human nature and human history. It did not fall within his scope to trace the evil to its original cause. But here, having shown Jew and Gentile to be on the same footing with respect to sin, and having entered (at Romans 3:21) on the doctrinal portion of his Epistle, he goes to Scripture for the origin of the evil, and finds it there attributed to Adam's original transgression, which implicated the human race as an organic whole. This is the scriptural solution of the mystery, which he here gives, not only as accounting for things being as they are, but also, in connection with the stage of the argument at which he has now arrived, as explaining the necessity and the purpose of the atonement for the whole guilty race, effected by the second Adam, Christ.

Romans 5:12

Wherefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all sinned. To this sentence, introduced by ὥσπερ, there is no apodosis. One has been sought in the course of what follows, and by some found in Romans 5:18. But Romans 5:18 is a recapitulation rather than resumption of the argument, and is, further, too far removed to be intended as a formal apodesis. It is not really necessary to find one. The natural one to the first clause of the sentence would have been, "So through One righteousness entered into the world, and life through righteousness;" and such may be supposed to have been in the writer's mind. But, after his manner, he goes off to enlarge on the idea expressed in the second clause, and never formally completes his sentence. A similar anacoluthon is found in 1 Timothy 1:3. Sin is here, as elsewhere, regarded as a power antagonistic to God, which has been introduced into the world of man, working and manifesting itself in concrete human sin (cf. Romans 5:21; Romans 6:12, Romans 6:14; Romans 7:8, Romans 7:9, Romans 7:17). Its ultimate origin is not explained. Scripture offers no solution of the old insoluble problem, κόθεν τὸ κακὸν: its existence at all under the sway of the Omnipotent Goodness in which we believe is one of the deep mysteries that have ever baffled human reason. All that is here touched on is its entrance into the world of man, the word εἰσῆλθε implying that it already existed beyond this mundane sphere. The reference is, of course, to Gem fit., as the scriptural account of the beginning of sin in our own world. It is there attributed to "the serpent," whom we regard as a symbol of some mysterious power of evil, external to man, to which primeval man, in the exercise of his prerogative of free-will, succumbed, and so let sin in. Through sin entered also death as its consequence; which (primarily at least) must mean here physical death, this being all that is denoted in Genesis (comp. Genesis 3:19 with Genesis 2:17), and necessary to be understood in what follows in the chapter before us (see verse 14). But here a difficulty presents itself to modern thought. Are we to understand that man was originally so constituted as not to die?—that even his bodily organization was immortal, and would have continued so but for the fatal taint of sin? We find it difficult at the present day to conceive this, however bound we may feel to submit our reason to revelation in a matter so remote, so unknown, and so mysterious as the beginning of human life on the earth, in whatever aspect viewed, and indeed of all conscious life, must ever be. But St. Paul himself, in another place, speaks of "the first man" having been, even on his first creation, "of the earth, earthy" (1 Corinthians 15:45, 1 Corinthians 15:47), with a body, like ours, of" flesh and blood," in its own nature corruptible (1 Corinthians 15:50). Neither is the narrative of Genesis 3:1-24. inconsistent with this idea. For it seems to imply that, but for his eating of the mystical "tree of life", the first man was in his own nature mortal, and that his liability to death ensued on his being debarred from it (Genesis 3:22). It may be impossible for us to understand or explain. The following considerations, however, may perhaps help us in some degree.

Romans 5:13, Romans 5:14

For until Law (i.e. all through the time previous to the revelation of law) sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. Though νόμος, where it first occurs in Romans 5:13, refers definitely, as appears from the context, to the Law of Moses, yet it is without the article, as denoting the principle of law, of which the Mosaic code was the embodiment; and it has therefore, in accordance with the rule laid down in this translation, been rendered as above. The purport of these two verses, connected by γὰρ with πάντες ἣμαρτον of Romans 5:12, is to prove that the primeval sin did really infect and implicate the whole race of mankind. It might be supposed that those only would be implicated who had themselves transgressed, as Adam did, a known command; it being an acknowledged principle of Divine justice that only sin against law of which the sinner is conscious is imputed to him for con-detonation (cf. Romans 4:15; also John 9:41). Nay. but the universal dominion of death, the doom of sin, over all alike, whether or not they had themselves so sinned, was proof that sin was all along dominant in the world, infecting all. The Mosaic Law is spoken of as the distinct revelation of Divine Law to man; and therefore attention is first drawn to the fact that before that revelation, no less than after it, death had reigned over all. But is it thus implied that until the Law from Mount Sinai men had been without any kind of law, for transgressing which they were responsible? Not so. That Law is indeed regarded as the first definite enunciation of law under evident Divine sanction, after which, to those that were under it, sin became indubitably and exceeding sinful; but that men are conceived as having sinned previously against law of some kind, appears from the phrase, "Even over those ( καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς) who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," i.e. consciously against a known command. This surely implies that some had so sinned; and thus the essential point of the argument is that even over those who had not so sinned (such as the unenlightened and invincibly ignorant, or persons dying in infancy) death had equally reigned. Who is the figure of him that was to come. This is added so as to bring round the thought to the main subject of the chapter, viz. the reconciliation of all mankind through Christ, to which the scriptural account of the condemnation of all mankind through Adam had, at Romans 5:12, been adduced as analogous. Who refers to Adam, who has just been for the first time named; he that was to come is Christ, who is called, in 1 Corinthians 15:45, "the last Adam." Adam was a type ( τύπος) of Christ in that both represented entire humanity; one as the representative and author of fallen, the other of restored, humanity—the transgression of the one and the obedience of the other alike affecting all (see 1 Corinthians 15:18, 1 Corinthians 15:19). But there is a difference between the two cases; and this is pointed out in verse. 15, 16, 17, which follow.

Romans 5:15-17

But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died (not, be dead, as in the Authorized Version. Observe also the articles before "one" and "many"), much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded unto the many. And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was of one ( ἐξ ἑνὸς) unto condemnation, but the free gift is of ( ἐκ) many offences unto justification. For if by the offence of the one death reigned through the one, much more they which receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. The purport of these verses is (while keeping up the view of condemnation and justification being both derived to all from one) to show how the effects of the latter for good far transcend those of the former for evil. It is not easy, however, to explain the apostle's exact intention in the contrasts which he draws. He seems to have written, after his manner, full of ideas which he did not linger to arrange in clear form. In Romans 5:15 the contrast between "trespass" ( παράπτωμα) and "free gift" ( χάρισμα) seems to be the leading idea. The suggesting thought seems to be—If (as has been shown) one man's trespass had such far-reaching effects, much more must the grace of God (displayed also in One) have no less far-reaching effects. God's grace must be more powerful than man's trespass. And it is here asserted that it was so. The much more ( πολλῷ μᾶλλον) is best taken (as it must be in Romans 5:17) in a logical, not a quantitative sense; i.e. as enforcing the conclusion, not as intensifying the verb "abounded." So far the effects are not distinctly contrasted in respect to their extent; all that is implied in this verse is that both reach to the many ( οἱ πολλοὶ), i.e. the whole human race collectively; unless, indeed, the verb ἐπερίσσευσε implies excess of effect. It is to be observed that the phrase οἱ πολλοὶ does not here mean, as is usual in classical Greek, the greater part, but the multitude, mankind being regarded collectively. It depends, however, on the writer's mental horizon whether the phrase, taken by itself, is to be understood as comprehending all. The consideration is of importance in the case before us. On the one hand, it may be contended that, in the first clause of the verse, "the many" must mean all, for that undoubtedly all died (cf. Romans 5:12, εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὁ θάνατος διῆλθεν), and that consequently all must be intended also in the second clause. So also in Romans 5:19, where it is said that δίκαιοι κατασταθήσονται οἱ πολλοὶ. And it may be said, further, that the drift of the whole argument requires the view of the effects of the re- demption being at least coextensive with the effects of the fall. But, on the other hand, it is argued that St. Paul would not have used the phrase οἱ πολλοὶ in Romans 5:15 and Romans 5:19 instead of πάντες as in Romans 5:12 and Romans 5:18, unless he had intended some difference of meaning, and that he varied his expression in order to avoid the necessary inference that all would be saved in fact. Certainly he teaches that the redemption is available and intended for all, as in Romans 5:18 where it is said to be εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους, εἰς δικαίωσιν; and this, it may be said, is enough to satisfy the view of its effects (i.e. in purpose and potentially) being coextensive with the effects of the fall But it does not seem to follow that man's resistance to grace might not come in as a bar to the entire fulfilment of the Divine purpose; and hence these passages cannot be pressed as conclusive for the doctrine of universal final salvation. But in Romans 5:16, Romans 5:17 (to be taken together, Romans 5:16 being introduced by καὶ, so as to suggest a new idea, and Romans 5:17 being connected with it by γὰρ) the extent to which grace thus abounded, so as to transcend the effects of the original transgression, is distinctly set forth. The thought of these verses may, perhaps, be expressed otherwise, thus: The one trespass of the one original transgressor did indeed render all mankind liable to condemnation; but the free gift in Christ annulled the effect, not only of that one trespass, but also of all subsequent trespasses of mankind; an immense debt, accumulating through the ages of human history, in addition to the original debt, was by that one free grant obliterated. And further, while the original trespass introduced a temporary reign of death, the free gift of righteousness introduced life, in which the partakers of the gift themselves—triumphant over Death, who reigned before—shall reign; and, as in Romans 5:15 the idea was that God's grace must be more powerful than man's sin, so here it is implied that life in Christ must be more powerful than death in Adam. Life means here (as elsewhere when the life in Christ is spoken of) more than the present life in the flesh—more than the life breathed into. man when he first "became ( ἐγένετο εἰς) a living soul" (1 Corinthians 15:45). It means the higher life imparted by "the last Adam," who "became a quickening Spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45); eternal life with God, in the life of Christ risen, swallowing up mortality (2 Corinthians 5:4; cf. also John 11:25). Thus the "free gift" not only reverses the far-reaching effects of the original transgression, but even transcends what is intimated in Genesis as given to man in Paradise before his fall.

The next two verses (18, 19), introduced by ἄρα οὗν, are a summing up of what has been already said or implied.

Romans 5:18

So then, as through one trespass (rather so than "by the offence of one," as in the Authorized Version) the judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, so also through one act of righteousness (so Revised Version. The expression is δἰ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος, contrasted with the preceding δἰ ἑνὸς παραπτωματος) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life, i.e. conferring life. "Declaratio Divina ilia, qua peccator, mortis reus, vitae adjudicatur, idque jure" (Bengel). Here, as was observed under Romans 5:15, the phrase used is εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους, not εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς, thus indisputably denoting universality of effect, as of the παράπτωμα, so also of δικαίωμα. But there is no verb to make clear the force of the preposition εἰς. It may denote the result to which a cause tends, without implying its inevitable accomplishment. Thus (Romans 7:10), εὐρέθη μοι ἡ ἐντολὴ ἡ εἰς ζωὴν, αὕτη εἰς θάνατον, where the same preposition expresses both the intended result of life and the actual result of death.

Romans 5:19

For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One shall the many be made righteous. As to the significance of οἱ πολλοὶ, see under Romans 5:15. The phrase, if taken as equivalent to πάντες, would seem here to imply even more than in Romans 5:15; for there it was only said that "the gift … abounded unto the many;" here an actual result is expressed by the future, δίκαιοι κατασταθήσονται. But even so the universality of final salvation need not necessarily follow. The phrase is, "shall be constituted righteous," and might only mean that all will be put into the position of justified persons, capable as such of salvation, just as all had, through the first transgression, been put into the position of sinners, liable as such to condemnation; and the future tense might be taken to denote the continuance, through all future ages, of the availing effect of the accomplished atonement. Further, it may be remarked that if universal final salvation did seem to follow from the passage before us, it would still have to be understood consistently with the purport of Romans 6:1-23; Romans 7:1-25; Romans 8:1-39., which follow. In them the practical result to the believer of his justification through Christ is treated; and renunciation of sin, "living after the Spirit," is postulated as the condition for attaining the life eternal. Hence, if the doctrine of "eternal hope" be sound (and who can fail to desire that it should be so?), it must be to some unknown reconciliation beyond the limits of the present life that we must look in the ease of those who have not fulfilled the necessary conditions here. Thus, further, the doctrine cannot legitimately be allowed to affect our view of our responsibilities now. To us the only doctrine distinctly revealed on the subject of salvation is that it is in this present life that we are to make our "calling and election sure." Two ways are put before us—the way of life, and the way of death; the one leading to ζωὴ αἰώνιος, the other to κόλασις αἰώνιος. In Romans 8:6-10 (as elsewhere, see note on Romans 3:25) it was through the death, the blood, of Christ that we were said to have been reconciled to God; here it is through his obedience, opposed to the disobedience of Adam. Though the doctrine of the atonement, in all its depth, is beyond our comprehension now (see above on Romans 8:9), yet it is important for us to observe the various aspects in which it is presented to us in Scripture. Here the idea suggested is that of Christ, as the Representative of humanity, satisfying Divine righteousness by perfect obedience to the Divine will, and thus offering to God for man what man had lest the power of offering (cf. Psalms 40:10, "Lo, I come to fulfil thy will, O my God;" and Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:9, et seq.; also Philippians 2:8, "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross").

Romans 5:20, Romans 5:21

Moreover Law entered (rather, came in besides), that the trespass might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (or, did abound exceedingly): that as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Here νόμος (though without the article; see under Romans 5:13) refers to the Mosaic Law, the purpose of which in the economy of redemption is thus intimated, so as to complete the view. It was God's purpose from the first that grace should in the end triumph over sin; but in the mean time law came in (cf. προσετέθη in the cognate passage, Galatians 3:19). For what end? Not in itself to accomplish the purpose, not to interfere with its accomplishment, but as an intervening dispensation to prepare for its accomplishment, by convincing of sin, and making it exceeding sinful, and so establishing the need of, and exciting a craving for, redemption. This intervening preparatory office of the Mosaic Law is set forth more at length in Galatians 3:19-26; and the working of the principle of law to this end in the human consciousness is analyzed in ch. 7. of this Epistle.

Additional Note on Galatians 3:12.

The significance of the words "life" and "death," as used in St. Paul's Epistles and elsewhere, demands peculiar attention. They evidently bear a sense in many places different from that of ordinary use; and this in accordance with our Lord's own recorded language, as, for instance, in his memorable words to Martha, given in John 11:25, John 11:26. The following considerations may aid our comprehension of what is meant. The mysterious principle or potency of life, even in the common acceptation of the term, varies not only in degree, but in kind; and the same living organism may be at the same time alive with respect to its own mode of vitality, and dead with respect to some higher one which vivifies others. The plant, while alive with respect to its own kind of life, is dead to the higher life of sentient beings. The brute beast, while alive with respect to mere animal life, is dead, as it were, to the higher life of intelligent man. A whole world of environing influences to which the mind of man responds, so as to live in them, are to the brute as nothing; it may be said to be dead to them. Now, Scripture teaches, and we believe, that there is a spiritual sphere of things above and beyond this visible sphere, which man is capable of apprehending, being influenced by, and living a still higher life than his natural life therein. He is thus capable through the higher and diviner part of his mysterious being, called by St. Paul his πνεῦμα (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, ὑμῶν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα), when in touch with the Divine πνεῦμα. For man to be in vital correspondence with his spiritual environments is spiritual life; to be out of correspondence with them is spiritual death. And so, as the plant is dead to sentient life, though alive in its own life; or as the brute may be said to be dead to the higher life of man, though alive in mere animal life; so man may be dead as to spiritual life, though alive as to psychical life; and thus "dead while he liveth" (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14, "The natural man ( ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." In other words, he is dead to them). Further, this spiritual life, unlike the psychical life, is ever spoken of as eternal. For it consists in intercommunion of man's immortal part with the spiritual sphere of things which is eternal. Nor does natural death interrupt it; for it is not dependent for its continuance, as is psychical life, on environments from which we are severed by the body's death, but on such as are eternal. Thus, too, we see how it is that eternal life is regarded, not as one that will have its commencement after death, but as one to be enjoyed at present, and to which we are to rise in Christ even now. This idea is notably expressed in our Lord's words above referred to: "I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25, John 11:26). Doubtless we are bidden to look forward to a fulness and perfection of the eternal life, of which our present enjoyment of it is but an earnest, in the σῶμα πνευματικόν (1 Corinthians 15:44) in store for us hereafter—cf. "Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet manifested what we shall be," etc. (1 John 3:2)—but still this is regarded as but the consummation of a life already begun. On the other hand, whatever penal consequences of a state of spiritual death may be spoken of as in store hereafter for the wicked, it is regarded as being itself but the continuance of a state of death in which they are before they pass away (cf. Revelation 22:11). In Romans 5:12, etc., to which this note refers, the above view of what is often meant by "death" ought to be kept before us. For, though the apostle seems evidently to be speaking of the natural death that comes to all, he must be taken as regarding it as but the symbol and evidence of the sway of that spiritual death to which all men are now, in their fallen nature, liable.

The thoughts embodied in the above note have been derived from, or suggested by, 'Natural Law in the Spiritual World,' by Henry Drummond, F.R.S.E., F.G.S..

HOMILETICS

Romans 5:1, Romans 5:2

Christian privilege.

There has been laid, in the preceding chapters, a firm foundation for the doctrines, promises, and precepts recorded here. The apostle has depicted human sin, misery, and helplessness; has shown how impossible it is that man should be justified by the works of the Law, and that his sole hope lies in the free mercy of God; and has set forth Christ Jesus crucified and raised as the ground upon which Divine favour is extended to the penitent and believing, justifying this method of procedure as in harmony with the universal administration of the Divine government. If we take, with the Revised Version, the verbs in these verses as in the imperative mood, they then contain a summons to all true Christians to appropriate the spiritual privileges secured to them by the Author of eternal salvation.

I. We have here a STATEMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN'S POSITION.

1. What is it? Justification; a state of acceptance with God, who, for Christ's sake, regards and treats the believer in Jesus as righteous, and not as guilty. Until the conscience is assured of Divine favour and forgiveness there is no solid peace.

2. Who secures it? Jesus Christ. Although Paul has already shown this at length, he refers again in both these verses to the Redeemer, to whom we owe justification, and all the blessings which follow in its train. It is through him that we "have had our introduction into this grace."

3. How is it obtained? By faith. Christ has done all that is necessary, on his part, to secure our salvation. But there is needed something upon our part. We have to receive upon the Divine terms, as a free gift, the greatest of all blessings. It is a spiritual act and attitude and exercise, indispensable to the new life.

4. By what title is it held? By that of grace; it is gratuitous. This is for our advantage; for no question is raised as to our fitness. The only question is as to God's faithfulness; and this is not only pledged, but absolutely sure.

II. We have here a REPRESENTATION OF THE CHRISTIAN'S PRESENT PRIVILEGE, "We have," says the apostle," [or rather, 'let us have'] peace with God."

1. This is the peace of submission. The sinner is at enmity with God. In becoming a Christian, he lays down the weapons of rebellion, and ceases from his opposition to rightful authority It is a complete reversal of his former attitude.

2. This is also the peace of reconciliation. Concord is established. Divine rule is cordially accepted, Divine principles acknowledged, Divine precepts obeyed. The Christian takes God's will for his will; and this is true peace.

3. It is, further, the peace of confidence. Nations are sometimes on the footing, with respect to one another, of an armed truce. Very different is the relation between the God of peace and his reconciled, obedient subjects; for they can rest in the assured enjoyment of his favour. Therefore theirs is a peace which passeth understanding, and a peace which is never to be violated.

III. We have here a REVELATION OF THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. "Let us rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

1. Observe what it is we are encouraged to hope for. The expression is one which, in the nature of things, we cannot now fully comprehend. God's glory is essentially moral and spiritual. Yet we are assured that Christians shall be changed into the same image, from glory to glory; that the Divine glory shall, in due time, be revealed in, or rather unto, us. It is a wonderful prospect, compared with which all human and terrestrial hopes are pale and dim.

2. To cherish such a hope occasions present joy. Even though our circumstances are distinguished by much that might naturally depress and dishearten us, even in suffering, weakness, or persecution, such a prospect as is here unfolded may well animate our hearts and sustain our courage. And as the realization of this hope grows nearer and nearer, it behoves the Christian to cherish this rejoicing more and more fondly and happily. Peace here, and glory hereafter, such is the Christian's privilege! What more can he desire? What, comparable with this, can this world impart or proffer?

APPLICATION. Let those who are without peace here, and without hope for the hereafter, consider whether there is any way to these blessings save that here propounded—the way of justification through faith in Christ.

Romans 5:2-5

Christian discipline.

Christianity is a religion intended both for heaven and for earth. It does not lose sight of the present when gazing into the future, visible to it alone. Beginning with our relation to God, it establishes thereupon our relation to men. It unfolds morality in the act of revealing the spiritual and Divine. It represents heaven, not merely as a compensation for the miseries of time and earth, but as a state attained by the training and the education which, in the order of Divine providence, time and earth are primarily intended to provide for men.

I. THIS EARTHLY LIFE IS HERE DEPICTED AS A SCENE OF TRIBULATION. That human existence is characterized by trouble and sorrow is a trite but indisputable truth. There is no person who has ever lived to whom all things have happened as he would have wished. And with most persons life has been, in many respects, a long contradiction of their natural tastes and preferences. Whether in body or in mind, in circumstances or in relationships, in associations or employment, by bereavement or defections, all men are, and have ever been, in some way or other afflicted. This condition of our earthly pilgrimage is to many an occasion of annoyance, irritation, murmuring, rebellion. Others, of a more reasonable habit of mind, submit, with a certain stolidity, to what they regard as inevitable evil. But true religion teaches a better way of accepting our lot. We are taught to expect tribulation, and we are not taught to regard piety as exempting from the common discipline. "Count it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you." Our great Leader passed through worse tribulation than any of his followers; though he did not merit any of his sorrows, whilst we deserve more than all of ours. He has also given us to understand what shall be our experience. "In the world," said he, "ye shall have tribulation." There is no discharge from this war. The Jews, indeed, often expected prosperity as a reward of piety; and a great English writer has said, "Prosperity was the blessing of the old covenant, adversity of the new." The cup is passed round in the household of God, and every member of that household must drink of it. Those specially afflicted may be reminded that, though it is no relief to them to learn that others suffer, it is an indication of Divine providence that the universal fact is a law intended to work purposes in harmony with the nature and character of the holy and benevolent Lawgiver.

II. THE PROCESS IS HERE DESCRIBED BY WHICH TRIBULATION PROVES BENEFICIAL. The Apostle Paul took pleasure in showing the reasonableness of religious belief. He might have stood upon the authority of his inspiration, and have required his readers to accept tribulation as certain to benefit such of them as were true Christians. But he chose rather to show them how the discipline of Divine wisdom promotes the highest welfare of the faithful. There is a ladder, by the several steps of which the follower of Christ mounts from earthly trial to heavenly joy. The foot of the ladder may be upon the cold soil of earth, but its top reaches to the clouds. Let us bear in mind, however, that it is not a natural and necessary result of tribulation, that the afflicted should profit by it. It depends upon the light in which the sufferer views it, the spirit in which he accepts it, whether affliction is or is not a discipline of good. It must be a fellowship with Christ to be serviceable to so high an end; and the teaching must be that of the Spirit of God. Consider the steps of the process.

1. "Tribulation, worketh patience." This assertion would be contested by many, who are made impatient by this experience. Those who see much of their fellow-creatures know that there are many cases in which affliction produces fretfulness and moroseness, which grow as the affliction is protracted. Yet in how many instances is this teaching of the text verified! The naturally impetuous, hasty, wilful spirit is humbled, subdued, and curbed. In suffering, or in a position where it is necessary to contend with unreasonable men, or amidst many disappointments, there may be acquired a habit of self-command and self-restraint, which may both tend to personal happiness and may naturally increase influence over others. By "patience" here is to be understood something more than passive, quiet suffering; endurance and constancy are intended. The patient man is not he who lies down discouraged under difficulties, but the man who holds on his way with cheerful resolution and perseverance. Christian! you are called to patient continuance in well-doing.

2. "Patience worketh experience;" or, as in the Revised Version, probation, or, as in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' approval. The man who endures affliction is put to the proof, is tested. And this is a true and scriptural view of temptation. "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life." The sword is bent to the utmost to prove the temper of the steel; the gun is heavily charged to prove the strength and soundness of the metal; the precious ore is cast into the furnace to separate the gold from the dross; the wheat is threshed that the flail may, by the literal "tribulation," prove that there is grain as well as straw. So the good man is placed by a wise Providence in circumstances which bring out what there is in him, which give him occasion to call upon the Lord for help and guidance and deliverance. So far from calamity being a sign of God's displeasure, let the afflicted be reminded, for their consolation, that Scripture represents human trouble in a very different light. "Whom he loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Call to mind the experience of the saints of old. Daniel is an example of a man who was tried and proved, and who was shown by his afflictions and persecutions to be a true and faithful servant of Jehovah. Paul himself led a life of labour, hardship, suffering, harassment, and sorrow; but by Divine grace he was thereby made strong for service, quick to sympathize. The story of every good man's life, if truly told, will teach the same lesson. The Lord does not willingly afflict; there is a purpose in tribulation; it is trial which brings out and confirms all Christian virtue.

3. "Probation worketh hope." Here we seem to be getting out of the shadow into the sunshine. "Hope" is a pleasant, cheery word. Who has not known, in seasons of adversity and in moods of depression, what it is to be comforted by the sight of the rainbow which spans the cloud? The "strength-inspiring aid" of hope has often made the feeble mighty.

Now, of all men, the Christian has most ground for hope. His expectation of direction, guardianship, and happiness rest, not upon the whisperings of fond imagination, or the promises of fallible fellow-men, but upon the word of a faithful and unchanging God. "Hope thou in God!" is the counsel religion offers to the downcast and the sad. Such hope as is based upon the Divine character, as is directed towards objects guaranteed by Divine assurances, is indeed "an anchor unto the soul." Trial may be a bitter medicine; but it works a wondrous, and sometimes a speedy and a perfect, cure for spiritual ills. Probation may seem a harsh, unkindly soil; but the crop of hope it bears proves its adaptation and fertility. There have been persons who in prosperity have known little of the brightness of the Christian's hope, who have then been slow to look upwards to the sunlit hills, but whom adversity has benignly taught to turn their eyes away from things seen and temporal to things unseen and eternal. Hope may be despised by the worldly-wise and sensual; but it is a Christian grace in which the Lord of our life takes pleasure, and by which he urges the travellers onwards upon the road which leads to the blessed vision of himself.

4. "Hope maketh not ashamed." A common expression in Scripture. Men often cherish expectations which are never fulfilled, and these so disappointed are said to be put to shame; they have built on a sandy foundation, and in the storm of trial the edifice they have reared is swept away, and, as they gaze upon the wreck and ruin, they are overwhelmed with shame. But those who have hoped in the Lord, and trusted in his Word, shall never be ashamed or confounded, world without end. The apostle may be understood to say, "Hope worketh realization." Not that the hope fulfils itself; but that God, in his wisdom and love, fulfils it. We are all, in many respects, in the position of those that hope—that hope in the Lord. We are pilgrims, and we look for a city. We are warriors, and we lock for victory. We are labourers, and we look for rest. We are afflicted, and we look for relief and release. We are on earth, and we look for heaven. "If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." The best and purest hopes of the follower of Jesus, those which he inspires and warrants, those which respect himself, shall all be realized. We shall see our Saviour "as he is." We shall be "like him." We shall "serve him day and night in his temple" We shall be "ever with the Lord." Such hopes as these will not unfit us for the common duties of life; they will assist us to discharge those duties with diligence and cheerfulness. Yet, being sons, we are heirs; and the blessedness of inheritance casts the radiant light of heaven upon our earthly lot.

III. WE ARE HERE REMINDED OF THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE OF REJOICING. In the previous verse the apostle has summoned us to "rejoice in hope of the glory of God." This seems natural enough; but it does sound strangely to hear him add here, "Let us also rejoice in our tribulations"! This is paradoxical, against all ordinary notions of what is fitting. Yet it is just. If we have followed the steps of that process of discipline here described by St. Paul, we must see that it is reasonable enough that he should admonish us to rejoice in those experiences of human life which Divine providence so wisely and graciously overrules for our spiritual and eternal good. Paul himself exemplified his own lesson. When he and Silas were in prison at Philippi, with their feet in the stocks, at midnight they sang praises to God, and the prisoners heard them. When imprisoned in Rome, he could write, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: again I will say, Rejoice!" We may rejoice in tribulation, because it is the appointment of our heavenly Father. Our joy should be in our Father's will; for he will support and sustain under the burden which he has imposed. We may rejoice in tribulation, because we are Christ's people, and we share his lot when we suffer with and for him. "Insomuch," says Peter, "as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy." "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." We may rejoice in tribulation also, because we are assured that the patient and submissive shall, by the help of God's Spirit, reap the harvest of spiritual profit and eternal life. "I reckon," says the apostle, "that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in [or, 'unto'] us."

APPLICATION. The tribulations of life are common to all. But the profit of tribulation is for those only who receive Divine discipline in submission, and with faith in a Father's wisdom and love. Sad is the position of those who have to endure the trials of life without the support of God's love, or the prospect of eternal glory!

Romans 5:5

God's love in the heart.

The process of spiritual discipline which the apostle has described is not a process natural to men, but one supernatural and special to the sincere Christian. The tribulations of this life do not work the good of all who are visited by them; on the contrary, many are hardened by the trials which are sent to humble and soften and improve. But they profit by earthly discipline who cordially receive the gospel of Christ, and whose spiritual nature is brought under the influence of the cross. For to such God is a loving Father, and all things that happen to them are regarded as appointed by him. They are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, who brings before them in their troubles the prospect of the future, inspiring hopes which Divine faithfulness shall surely realize, "because the love of God hath been shed abroad in their hearts." Observe—

I. THE GIFT IMPARTED. "The love of God." This is probably not our love to God, but his love to us, which indeed ever, when recognized and felt, kindles the flame of affection within the breast of the Christian.

1. This love is properly part of the Divine nature and character. So distinctive is this gracious attribute of the Supreme Father, that we are told that "God is love." How different a representation of the Deity from those current among the unenlightened idolaters! How fitted to comfort and encourage the people of the Lord!

2. This love is regarded by Christians as especially revealed in Christ Jesus. In this Epistle, whilst the inspired apostle sets forth the Christ as revealing the righteousness of God, he also exhibits the Divine love as more conspicuously revealed in "the unspeakable Gift" than by any other means. In this representation, indeed, all the apostles are agreed. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins." In this language St. John teaches the same precious lesson. There was love in the advent, love in the ministry, love in the death, love in the ascension, of our Saviour; and there is love in his intercession and his reign.

3. This love becomes, by Divine grace, the possession of the true believers in Christ. It is not merely something to be admired for its unparalleled moral splendour and beauty and excellence. It is to be appropriated and held and enjoyed. This leads us to consider—

II. THE NATURE THAT IS FILLED BY THIS LOVE. It is "shed abroad in our hearts." If we believe in the love of a fellow-creature, and return that love, there is in such experience something more than belief; there is strong and joyful feeling. The heart is the home of love. And love constitutes the riches of the heart. It is so, not only in the mutual relations of human beings, but in the relation between the soul and God. No doubt, mystics and sentimentalists, monks and nuns, saints in their ecstasies and revivalists in their fervour, have often used language extravagant, sickly, and sentimental concerning the love of God in the heart. But unquestionably the danger with ordinary English Christians lies in the tendency towards the opposite extreme. We are in no great danger from sentimental raptures. But we are in danger of regarding religion too much as an affair of belief and of duty. Love is not, indeed, to begin and end in the heart; it is to become a motive to action, a principle of endurance, an inspiration to cheerfulness and content. But that it may be all this, it must first be a feeling, a hallowed, spiritual emotion. The heart must contemplate the peerless love of God revealed in Christ, and must rejoice in the revelation. This love must be the most welcome theme of meditation, and must be present in the soul, not only in prosperity and happiness, but in the season of trial and distress. A natural question arises—How can this come to pass? How can a nature, prone to sin and selfishness, come to take such pleasure in the pure love of a benevolent and merciful God? To answer this inquiry, we must observe—

III. THE AGENCY BY WHICH THE GIFT IS BESTOWED. "By the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." That the Holy Spirit should have access to our hearts is what we might reasonably expect should be the case. "The Spirit witnesseth with our spirits." This Divine agency of illumination and quickening and renewal ever accompanies the truths of the gospel, and accounts for their exercising an influence so great over human hearts. It would be dishonouring to God were we to claim for ourselves the natural and moral power to appropriate or even to appreciate Divine love. It is all of grace. For observe "the Holy Ghost is given unto us." This does not mean that the effusion of the Holy Spirit is capricious and arbitrary. On the contrary, laws—though they may not be understood by us—explain all the Divine action; and there is reason, even in the impartation of spiritual influences and the communication of celestial love. But it must be plainly understood that we have no just, legal claim upon God for his Spirit. We may use the means he has appointed. We may ask the Father for his choicest Gift. We may make ready a dwelling-place for the heavenly Guest. We may await the promise of the Father. Yet, when given, the Holy Spirit is given freely, and of sovereign clemency and favour. Let us bear in mind our daily need of the enjoyment of the Divine love in order to our happiness, and in order to the efficiency and acceptableness of our service. And let our sense of need lead us to daily supplications for that Divine and spiritual influence that can make real and sweet to us the love of God in Christ, that we may feel its constraining power, and may learn to live, not unto ourselves, but unto our Lord!

Romans 5:9, Romans 5:10

Reconciliation and salvation.

God's love to man has its expression and proof in the gift of Christ. In what way does this gift enrich and bless those for whom it is intended? The apostle answers this question in these two verses. By Christ's death his people are reconciled to him, and by Christ's life they are saved.

I. THE PRIVILEGES OF CHRIST'S PEOPLE IN THE PRESENT,

1. These are described here, in one verse as justification, and in the other as reconciliation. The first term implies that there takes place, in the case of those who believe, a "reversal" of the sentence of condemnation. Those who were guilty before God are accepted; those who were judged by law are now received into favour. The second term implies that a state of enmity has been replaced by a state of friendship and concord. Those who were in arms against God, and towards whom a righteous Ruler could not turn a look of complacency, are now pardoned, submissive, obedient, and at peace with Heaven. It is the same change presented in different lights.

2. By what means is this state of privilege secured for the people of the Lord? The means are described in one verse as the blood, in the other as the death, of Christ. The same thing is intended by the two expressions, the shedding of blood being equivalent to the taking of life. The language evidently points back to those sacrifices which were, by Divine appointment, offered under the old covenant. Jesus, the Mediator, was both the Victim and the Priest; he offered himself to the Father for us. "Without shedding of blood is no remission of sin;" a great principle this in the government of God; pardon and salvation are secured through suffering and sacrifice and devotion. The blood is the emblem of the life, and consequently the blood-shedding is emblematical, in the case of our Lord, of his willing surrender of himself, his life, with a view to redeem a sinful and guilty race.

II. THE PROSPECTS OF CHRIST'S PEOPLE IN THE FUTURE. 1, What have they to look forward to? The answer of the text is salvation. Justification is an act of God; salvation seems to be a process, to be commenced here and perfected hereafter. "Now is salvation nearer to you than when you first believed." There are many ills, trials, temptations, from which Christians have yet to be delivered; and only when beyond this world can their salvation (however now perfectly assured) be regarded as actually accomplished.

2. From what do Christians expect to be saved? From wrath; by which is to be understood the displeasure and indignation which the righteous Ruler cannot but feel against sin and sinners, and which will be manifested in the future punishment of the ungodly, impenitent, and unbelieving.

3. By what means do Christians hope to be saved from wrath? By Christ's life. His death is represented as the means of present acceptance, his life as the means of future salvation. By Christ's life is to be understood his life after his crucifixion and entombment—the life which now is and will be for ever. The connection between our Saviour's heavenly life and our salvation is unmistakable and binding. His resurrection was the assurance that his mediation was accepted. His ascension and life above are the condition of his sympathetic intercession and his mediatorial reign. His presence on the throne of heaven is the pledge of our immortal fellowship with him. "Because! live, ye shall live also."

III. Notice THE ARGUMENT FROM THE GREATER TO THE LESS, It is the greatest marvel of the universe, the central mystery of revelation, that God, in Christ, converted foes and rebels into friends and subjects. If we can receive this, we need have no hesitation in receiving the supplementary doctrine that God will eternally save those whom he has graciously justified. If enemies are reconciled, surely friends shall be saved!

Romans 5:11

"Joy in God."

Men cherish the most diverse, varied feelings towards God. Some are haters of God, regarding him as their enemy. Others are indifferent to God, utterly forgetting him, acting as though he were not. Others, again, have go far a just apprehension of God that they fear him, standing in awe of his righteous authority. And there are those who love God and rejoice in him. These last are they who appreciate the privileges which have been prepared for the true believers in Christ, the true people of God.

I. Observe THE ELEMENT OF SPIRITUAL JOY. It is joy in God. In God, as their Father, their all-sufficient and eternal Portion. In God, as faithful to his promises, as gracious and benevolent, as wise to guide and strong to keep and save. This is the daily exclamation of the Christian, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God."

II. There is mentioned THE CAUSE FOR JOY.

1. This is to be found in reconciliation. There is no joy in hostility or estrangement; but, when those who have been alienated are brought into harmony, peace brings gladness to the souls of reunited friends. Remembering what momentous issues depend upon our friendship with our Creator and Judge, we may well regard reconciliation with him as matter for gladness and glorying.

2. But this reconciliation takes effect when it is received. God provides it; man accepts it. Man's acceptance does not procure, but it appropriates, the blessing. Alas! men may live in a dispensation of peace, of reconciliation, but may know nothing by experience of this joy, for want of receptive faith.

III. The text reminds us of THE BRINGER OF SPIRITUAL JOY. It is "through our Lord Jesus Christ" that we have received the reconciliation. The Mediator between God and man secures to us this greatest of boons, and, with it, all other good things that can truly enrich and bless us. In the context the apostle magnifies the grace of Christ. We are summoned to recognize in him the means through which true joy becomes possible to us, becomes our possession and inheritance.

IV. It is well to think of THE FRUITS AND EFFECTS OF JOY IN GOD.

1. Joy is strength for service. "The joy of the Lord is your strength."

2. Joy is comfort in outward afflictions and tribulation. "We rejoice, glory, in tribulation also." It is the Christian only who can say this.

3. Joy is attractive to others. The happiness of the Christian often produces a most beneficial impression upon those who remark it, and who ask for an explanation of the fact.

4. Joy is an anticipation of heaven. For we are assured that the faithful servant shall be welcomed into "the joy of his Lord."

Romans 5:20, Romans 5:21

Grace abounding.

This passage seems to trace the course of two mighty rivers. The one has its source in the Law; the stream is sin and trespass. As it proceeds it is distinguished by abundance (and is said to reign, to dominate the landscape), and it flows at last into the black ocean of death. The other has its source in Divine grace; the stream is righteousness. And it becomes even more abundant than the other; it flows irresistibly, victoriously, until it is lost in the sea of life eternal There is a well-known spot in Switzerland, where the Rhone, after issuing from the Lake of Geneva, is joined by the turbid, tawny waters of the Arve, which, after flowing for some distance side by side with the blue waters from the lake, speedily stain and spoil them. The verses before us reverse this scene, for they represent the stream of righteousness as overpowering and purifying the river of sin; where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly.

I. THE ABUNDANCE OF SIN. Sin, in the course of ages, multiplied, abounded, exceeded, overflowed. We have many instances of this in the early history of our race. The abundance of iniquity occasioned the Deluge. The exceeding vileness of Sodom occasioned the overthrow of the cities of the plain. The sins of Israel occasioned the Captivity. As for the Gentile world, the apostle, at the opening of this Epistle, exhibits the crimes, vices, and horrible sins of the nations in such an appalling manner that we do not wonder at his denunciation of the wrath of God against those who do such things. Yet, as Christians, we feel that there is nothing which so amazingly displays the exceeding sinfulness of sin as the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The sin of humanity culminated when it brought the holy Saviour to the cross. The greatness of the ransom paid proved the awful nature of the captivity from which men could only at such a price be delivered. In explaining the abundance of sin, it is necessary to refer to the many and various forms which sin assumes; to the reproductive power with which, as a principle of action, it is endowed; to its widespread dominion; to its lengthened sway over mankind.

II. THE SUPERABUNDANCE OF GRACE. Mighty as is sin, the grace of God is mightier still. It is as a breeze which overflows the pestilential air of a city; as the tide of the ocean, which enters a vast harbour and overflows and sweeps away accumulated pollutions. Its victorious superabundance must be explained by referring to its omnipotent Author and Bestower, God; to its Divine channel, Christ, the Mediator; to its appointed means, the gospel, at once the wisdom and the power of God; and to its Agent, the Holy Spirit of God. If we look at sin alone, it appears invincible, beyond all human power to deal with; but when we regard the Divine provision of grace, we can understand how even sin may be vanquished and utterly overcome.

HOMILIES BY C.H. IRWIN

Romans 5:1, Romans 5:2

Justification and its consequences.

Here side by side are the most solemn, the most terrible, and the most glorious certitudes of our religion. There is a God. With that God we are not naturally at peace. Enmity toward God means sin; and the wages of sin is death. But how to make peace with him? Blessed be his Name, Christ has died that we might live. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Emnity and death—the results of sin, to which all are condemned; for all have sinned. Reconciliation and life—the results of the obedience and death of Christ. These verses put before us how this wondrous transformation may be effected; how, being dead, we may be made alive; how, being enemies of God, we may be reconciled and have peace with him.

I. THE NATURE OF JUSTIFICATION. The words in the original mean, "being reckoned [or, 'held'] as just." We do not make ourselves just. Neither by this act are we made just, made perfect in holiness. That is the object of sanctification, and is not completed until we have put off this mortal. If we should say that when we are justified we are made perfectly righteous, that would be the same thing as saying that no Christian commits sin—a doctrine contrary to the Word of God and to the experience of individuals. Paul complained that the evil he would not, that he did. No; justification neither implies that we make ourselves just, nor, on the other hand, that we are made just. It implies that we are reckoned just in God's sight so far as regards the penalty of the Law. He declares that the Law is satisfied in regard to us. Manifestly, this is the grace of God. How could we satisfy the Law? "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified." "In thy sight," exclaims David, "shall no man living be justified." It is by grace alone. We can now point to the cross and say, "He died for me!" Christ's own words are, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." This is the exact parallel of justification by faith. Just as the simple act of turning the faint and weary eyelids toward that brazen serpent restored the dying Hebrews in the wilderness, so it is still possible for all of us, even for such as are most dead in trespasses and sins, to look with the eye of faith toward Calvary and say, "Who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died." And by that death he paid our debt. "He was delivered for our offences." This is justification. Instead of being debtors to do the whole Law, we plead its fulfilment by our Substitute, accepted by God, while we become at the same time the servants of righteousness. The Law has been fulfilled by a perfect righteousness, and the penalty of a broken Law can no longer be inflicted upon those who appropriate that righteousness as theirs. Thus justification is the free grace of God shown in a complete pardon of all our sin. We are reconciled to God by the death of his Son; we have received the Spirit of adoption, and are made heirs of eternal life. All this justification secures for us in its very nature.

II. THE MEANS OR INSTRUMENT OF JUSTIFICATION. In plain and unequivocal language we are here told that by faith we must be justified in order to have peace with God. This is the grand central truth of the New Testament. If it be removed, what message does the gospel bring? "If righteousness come by the Law," says St. Paul, "then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21). Christ's whole life of doing and suffering, and his awful death, would be a cruel superfluity—the more cruel because superfluous, if by any other means fallen man could procure acceptance in God's sight. Paul cautions the Romans against any other way of justification. "A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law" (Romans 3:28). And when the Galatians showed a tendency to depart from this doctrine, under the influence of Judaizing teachers, in the strongest terms the apostle censures them: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel" (Galatians 1:6). He addresses them as foolish; accuses them of returning to the beggarly elements; and says he is afraid lest he has bestowed upon them labour in vain. The theory of justification by works, therefore, is not one on which nothing has been said, or which has been left doubtful. It is distinctly condemned by the apostle as inconsistent with and prejudicial to the spirit of Christianity. When Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a self- righteous Pharisee, came to Jesus by night, how did the great Master feed this hungry soul? Did he tell him to go and do some work of merit? No. The way, and the only way, to eternal life which Jesus pointed out to him was faith. If good works were of any avail, here was a man whose training had abundantly fitted him for doing good works. But from the Saviour himself he was to learn that he, a master in Israel, knew not the way into the kingdom of God. Yet are there not many professing Christians who rest their hope of an entrance into that kingdom upon their own righteousness? Are there not many the language of whose heart is, "I have kept all the commandments from my youth up; I have lived a pure life; I have been regular in attendance on the ordinances of God; I have no fear"? Such was the language of the rich young man; and Jesus said to him, "One thing thou lackest." We must guard, too, against the notion that, if we believe, our faith is the ground on which we are justified. It is hard, indeed, to see how such a notion could arise, in the face of all that the Scriptures teach against justification by works. For to make faith the ground of our justification—the propter quod, to use a legal phrase—is to put faith in the position of a meritorious work. And that such has no efficacy for justification has been abundantly shown. Faith is merely the means or instrument by which we lay hold on the justifying righteousness of Christ. Suppose a man owed you a sum of money, and that, in the days when imprisonment for debt was legal, he had been imprisoned till the debt should be paid. Another man comes and pays the debt. You give him a receipt, and he takes that to the prisoner, who is by it set free. How absurd it would be for any one to say that it was this debtor's act of taking the receipt that cancelled his obligation! Precisely similar is it to say that the act by which we take hold of the great atonement is that which gives us acceptance with God. We are justified by means of our faith, and not because of it. But without that act of believing, the atonement is not ours, peace with God is not ours. By faith we lay hold of justification; by faith we take hold of the promises—promises for the life that now is, and the promise of a better and unending life in the many mansions of the Father's house. "We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (verse 2).

III. THE EFFECT OF JUSTIFICATION. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This peace with God has a twofold aspect. It concerns God's relation to us and our relation to God.

1. Peace with God as it affects God's relation to us. At first God was at peace with man, until man sinned and thus became at enmity with God. And while God hates sin and must reward it, he willeth not the death of the sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wicked way and live. All through the ages, God, like a loving Father, has been seeking to bring back the wanderers, to reconcile his erring children to himself. At last he sent his own Son. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins." If that Propitiation has any meaning at all, it is that God's attitude toward those who accept it is one of peace. "For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God" (John 16:27). Thus faith is the means by which we take hold of Christ—our Substitute, our Reconciliation. And therefore, being clothed upon with his righteousness, we are received into the adoption of children. Being justified, we are restored to that blissful state of sonship toward God which made Eden the untroubled garden in which the Father came and walked at eventide. Once more God walks with us. He will be to us a Father, and we are to him as his children. What a gift this is that, weak and sinful though we are, yet we can think of God with calm assurance, being reconciled to him by the death of his Son!

2. Peace with God as it concerns our relation to God.

"Well roars the storm to those that hear

A deeper voice across the storm."

To those who rest their faith in Christ when in trouble, he will appear as he did to his disciples on the sea, and they will hear through the gloom a voice calling to them, "It is I: be not afraid!"

Romans 5:3-5

Blessed fruit off a bitter tree.

The letters of St. Paul abound in strange and striking paradoxes. In another place he speaks of himself "as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." Here he speaks of the Christian as "glorying in tribulation." He has been speaking of the effects of justification by faith, and ends by saying, "We rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2). Our joy, however, is not confined to the future. True, there are cares and sorrows in this present life. But it does not therefore follow that we are to postpone all joy until we reach the spirit-land. "No!" says the apostle, boldly; "we glory even in our tribulations." The sorrows are there, 'tis true, but the light of the cross of Jesus transforms them with a glory all its own, even as the sunshine makes a rainbow of the shower. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby." Tribulation is a bitter tree, but look at the fruits which it is capable of yielding. "We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope."

I. THE BITTER TREE. It is hardly necessary to speak of the bitterness of tribulation. "The heart knoweth its own bitterness." We all know something of what sorrow means, and how bitter it is.

1. There is the bitterness of bereavement. What agony of spirit when one who has been the light of your eyes, the joy and comfort of your home, is taken from you! What bitterness of sorrow is to be compared with the grief of parents for their children? How heart-rending is grief like David's, when he went up to the chamber over the gate, and as he went his sorrow overcame him, and he cried aloud, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" And so, when the Bible wants to picture grief of the intensest kind, it speaks of mourning as one mourneth for his only son, and being in bitterness as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn (Zechariah 12:10). Parents who want to avoid the greatest of all grief, mourning over a child of whom they have no hope for eternity, should lose no opportunity of leading their children to the Saviour.

2. There is the bitterness of bodily suffering. Sleepless nights and weary days of tossing on a bed of sickness—how they tend to take the sunshine out of life! And then there are those trifling ailments, bodily infirmities, for which, perhaps, you get little sympathy, but which keep your body constantly feeble and your mind constantly depressed. It needs a Divine power to bear a life of constant pain. No human strength could stand it unaided without giving way to irritation or despondency. Even the Saviour of the world tasted how bitter is the cup of bodily suffering.

3. There is the bitterness of disappointment. Some cherished possession is taken away from you, some valuable property is lost, your earthly means of support take to themselves wings and flee away, some object on which you had set your heart is snatched away out of your reach, or some friend whom you had implicitly trusted suddenly proves treacherous and unfaithful. The feeling of disappointment which such circumstances produce was in Esau's mind when he came in to receive his father's blessing, and found that Jacob his brother had heartlessly supplanted him. "When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry." Life's disappointments—how much we all know about this kind of bitterness! Yes; tribulation is indeed a bitter tree.

II. ITS BLESSED FRUIT. Paul knew what he was talking about when he came to the subject of tribulation. He knew what persecution was. He knew what bodily suffering was. Five times he received thirty-nine stripes. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once he was stoned. Three times he suffered shipwreck. He had been "in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness." He knew what danger was. He had been "in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by his own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren." He knew what disappointment was. Like his Master, he too was forsaken in his hour of need by those who made profession of being his friends. He tells us that at his first appearance before Caesar no man stood with him. But whatever his trials had been when he wrote this, or whatever trials may yet be in store for him, he looks upon them all with a calm and peaceful, nay, with an exultant mind. "We glory in tribulations also." He knew what blessed fruit could be plucked off that bitter tree.

1. First of all, there was patience. "Tribulation worketh patience." Patience means really the capacity for enduring. If we speak of a patient man, we may mean one who can endure delay, and we say that he can wait patiently; or we may mean one who can endure suffering, and we speak of him as suffering patiently. The connection, then, between suffering and patience it is easy to see. It is by suffering that one learns how to suffer, that is, to be patient. And if we go into practical experience, we are pretty certain to find that the most patient Christian is the one who has suffered most. He was not always thus. Perhaps at first he was like the rough unpolished block of marble which I have seen in the Connemara marble works at Galway. He was disposed to resist the hand that was dealing with him in chastening. But the suffering came. It was repeated over and over again, like the incessant process of rubbing to which that rough-looking block is subjected. But by-and-by he came out of the suffering with the edges rubbed off his temper and the rebelliousness taken out of his spirit, even as the marble comes smooth and shining from the hard process through which it has to pass. Such is the use of suffering, to purify, to brighten the character, and produce patience in the soul. Indeed, the word "tribulation" conveys this same idea. It is derived from the Latin word tribulum, the threshing-instrument whereby the Roman husbandman separated the corn from the husks. That process was described as tribulatio. So it is in the spiritual world. Suffering and sorrow cleanse away the chaff—the pride, the selfishness, the disobedience—which is to be found more or less in all our natures. Let us think more of the result of the suffering than of the suffering itself, more of the patience it will develop than of the chaff which it will take away, and then we too shall learn, with St. Paul, to "glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience."

2. The second blessed fruit off this bitter tree is experience. "Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience." The word here translated "experience'' really means in the original "proof," or "trial," or "testing." In the Revised Version it is translated "probation." This does not, perhaps, quite express the full meaning either; but the point is that the apostle had something more in his mind than what we ordinarily mean by the word "experience." His idea probably was that tribulation and our patience under it give proof or confirmation of two things. They afford. us proof of the character of God—his faithfulness in fulfilling his promises, his love in sustaining us, and his power in giving us the victory over trial and suffering. And they afford us proof of our own character also—proof that we are the sons of God, proof that we have been justified by faith. "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth." And then there is the precious promise, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation [or, 'trial']: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." In such ways does God confirm us by suffering, and by our own patience under it. So he confirms our faith in him, and confirms our own Christian character. This is another blessed fruit off the bitter tree of tribulation.

3. The third blessed fruit off this bitter tree is hope. "And experience, hope." The proof which we have received of God's goodness under past trials leads us to hope for still greater revelations of his goodness yet to come. The proof we have had of his wise and gracious purpose in purifying us by trial and suffering leads us to hope that "he who hath began a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." So the Christian is ever looking forward. When he bears the cross, he is looking forward to the crown. When he is suffering for his Master's sake, he is looking forward to the time when he shall reign with him in glory. This subject of tribulation and its fruit might fittingly he. closed with some lines written by a young lady in Nova Scotia, who was an invalid for many years-

"My life is a wearisome journey;

I am sick of the dust and the heat

The rays of the sun beat upon me;

The briars are wounding my feet;

But the city to which I am going

Will more than my trials repay;

All the toils of the road will seem nothing

When I get to the end of the way.

"There are so many hills to climb upward,

I often am longing for rest;

But he who appoints me my pathway

Knows just what is needful and best.

I know in his Word he has promised

That my strength shall be as my day;

And the toils of the road will seem nothing

When I get to the end of the way.

"He loves me too well to forsake me,

Or give me one trial too much:

All his people have dearly been purchased,

And Satan can never claim such.

By-and-by I shall see him and praise him

In the city of unending day;

And the toils of the road will seem nothing

When I get to the end of the way.

"Though now I am footsore and weary,

I shall rest when I'm safely at home;

I know I'll receive a glad welcome,

For the Saviour himself has said, 'Come:

So when I am weary in body,

And sinking in spirit, I say,

All the toils of the road will seem nothing

When I get to the end of the way.

"Cooling fountains are there for the thirsty;

There are cordials for those who are faint;

There are robes that are whiter and purer

Than any that fancy can paint.

Then I'll try to press hopefully onward,

Thinking often through each weary day,

The toils of the read will seem nothing

When I get to the end of the way."

"We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope."—C.H.I.

Romans 5:6-11

The love of God commended.

It is a most remarkable phrase, this description which is given in the eighth verse, of God commending his own love. We have, indeed, in other portions of Scripture, the Divine Being represented as a heavenly Merchantman, setting forth the blessings of the gospel as a merchantman might set forth his wares. "He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And again in the Book of Revelation, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed; . and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." But here God is represented as commending, not merely the blessings of the gospel, but his own love, to human observation and admiration. Yes; but this is for no selfish end. God's object in commending his love to us is for our sakes. He sets it before us in all its matchless tenderness and grandeur, that by means of it he may melt our hearts. He sets it before us in all its attractive power, that he may draw our hearts to holiness and our souls to heaven. He sets it before us in order that we may yield ourselves to its influence, and that thus, by what Dr. Chalmers calls "the expulsive power of a new affection," sin and the love of it, with all its withering blight and fatal grasp, may be driven out of our natures.

I. THE LOVE OF GOD IS COMMENDED BY ITS OBJECTS. We have set before us in these verses a description of those who are the objects of the love of God, as shown in the death of Jesus Christ his Son. Was it the angels that were the objects of God's redeeming love? Was it for the angels that Jesus died? No. They did not need his death. Was it for the good men and women of the world that Jesus died? If it was only for the good, then the love of God would be very limited in its range, and the great mass of humanity would be still helpless and hopeless. But one perfectly good person it would be impossible to find. "All have sinned." Who, then, are the objects of the love of God? Just those very men and women of whom it is said that "there is none righteous, no, not one."

1. The apostle describes us as being in a state of helplessness. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (verse 6). Surely here is a commendation of God's love. Very often in this world the weak are left to shift for themselves. But if any of us were left to our own unaided efforts, what would become of us? Are we not all glad, no matter how strong we are, of the assistance of others? if any of us were left to our own unaided efforts to get to heaven, which of us could hope to get there? The gospel is a gospel for the weak—that is to say, for the very strongest of us, physically, morally, and spiritually. In regard to God and eternity, how weak we are in all these aspects! We cannot stay the hand of disease or death; we cannot in our own strength maintain a life of an unswerving moral standard; we cannot work out a salvation for ourselves. But listen to this message: "When we were yet without strength,… Christ died for us."

2. But God loves more than the weak. He loves the ungodly. "Christ died for the ungodly" (verse 6). The word here used expresses the indifference of the human heart to spiritual things. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit." If God only loved those who turned to him of their own accord, who then could be saved? If any of us have an interest now in spiritual things, was it not because God, in his mercy, laid his hand upon us, and awakened our minds to serious thought about him and our own souls? If there are those who are godless, ungodly, any who have no interest in spiritual things, to whom God's service is a weariness, let us say to them, "God loves even you." "Christ died for the ungodly."

3. But God goes a step lower than even the ungodly and indifferent. He goes down into the depths of sin. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (verse 8). And not merely sinners, but enemies. "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (verse 10). Here is the greatest of all commendations of the Divine lore. It was a love, not for the deserving, but for the undeserving; not for the obedient, but for the disobedient; not for the just, but for the unjust; not for his friends, but for his enemies. If you have ever tried to love your enemies, those who have done you an injury, you know how hard it is. But God loved his enemies—those who had broken his Law and rejected his invitations—God loved them so much that he gave his own Son to die for their salvation, in order that he might bring those who were his enemies to dwell for ever with himself. What a description it is of the objects of God's love! "Without strength;" "ungodly;" "sinners;" "enemies." Surely this ought to be enough to commend the love of God to us. Surely, then, there is hope for the guiltiest. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

"In peace let me resign my breath,

And thy salvation see;

My sins deserve eternal death,

But Jesus died for me."

II. THE LOVE OF GOD IS COMMENDED BY ITS OPERATION.

1. On God's side it involved sacrifice. God's love did not exhaust itself in profession. It showed itself in action. It showed itself in the greatest sacrifice which the world has ever seen. That was a genuine love. How it must have grieved the Father to think of his own holy, innocent Son, being buffeted and scourged and crucified by the hands of wicked men, in the frenzy of their passion and hatred! What a sacrifice to make for our sakes, when God gave up his own Son to the death for us all! Herein is the proof of the reality of God's love. Herein is its commendation to us.

"Love so amazing, so Divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all."

2. And then look at the operation of this love on our side. Look at the results it produces in human hearts. "Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (verse 5). "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (verse 11). What confidence it produces, what holy calm, what peace, what hope, what joy for time and for eternity, when we know that God loves us! Oh! there is no power like it to sustain the human heart. Temptations lose their power to drag us down, when that love is bound around us like a life-buoy. Hatred and malice cannot harm us, hidden in the secret of his presence. Sorrow and suffering can bring no despair, when the Father's face is bending over us with his everlasting smile, and his arms are underneath us with their everlasting strength. His love is like a path of golden sunlight across the dark valley. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Thus God commends to us his love. He commends it to us by showing us our own condition—what we are without it. He shows us the character of the objects of his love—"without strength;" "ungodly;" "sinners;" "enemies." He shows us the operation of his love. He points us to the cross, and bids us measure there the height and depth of his marvellous love. He shows us the operation of his love in human hearts—what peace, what confidence, what hope, what joy unspeakable and full of glory, it produces. For all these reasons it is a love worth yielding to. For all these reasons it is a love worth having. Christians should commend the love of God. A consistent Christian life is the best testimony to the power of the love of God. By loving even our enemies, by showing a spirit of unselfishness and self-sacrifice, let us commend to those around us the love of God.

"When one that holds communion with the skies

Has filled his urn where those pure waters rise,

And once more mingles with us meaner things,

'Tis e'en as if an angel shook his wings;

Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide

That tells us whence his treasures are supplied?

C.H.I.

Romans 5:12-21

Grace abounding.

Here the apostle contrasts the reign of sin with the reign of grace, and shows that, while there is a point of similarity between them, there are many points in which they differ, and in which grace is triumphant over sin. All this is for the encouragement of the sinner, that he may be led from the captivity of sin to hope and live under the influence of God's mercy.

I. GRACE AND SIN BOTH CAME BY ONE PERSON. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin" (Romans 5:12); "Through the offence of one many died" (Romans 5:15); "Death reigned by one" (Romans 5:17); "By one man's disobedience many were made sinners" (Romans 5:19). So also with the reign of grace. "The grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one Man, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:15); "They who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17); "So by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous" (Romans 5:19). Observe here the power of the individual for good or evil. Our acts are widespread in their influences, perhaps eternal in their consequences. "None of us liveth to himself." Shall our life be a curse to those around us, or a blessing? Shall we be among those whose aim and errand in the world seem to be to do all the mischief or all the harm they can? Or shall we be amongst those who try to follow in the footsteps of him who "went about every day doing good"?

II. THE INFLUENCE OF GRACE IS TRIUMPHANT OVER THE INFLUENCE OF SIN.

1. Sin brought condemnation; grace triumphant brings pardon. "The judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification" (Romans 5:16); "As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men to justification of life" (Romans 5:18). Grace and mercy triumph over the guilt of sin.

2. Sin brought sinfulness; grace brings righteousness. "As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous" (Romans 5:19). One man's sin imposed upon the race an hereditary taint of sin. The depravity of human nature, as already shown, is universal. "All have sinned." But here, too, grace can triumph. Grace can change the corrupt and unregenerate heart. Grace reigns through righteousness God's purpose in justification is not merely that his people may be saved from sin's guilt, but also that they may be delivered from its rower. As St. Paul elsewhere says, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Ephesians 1:4). The experience of many a true child of God has shown how grace can triumph over the hereditary sinfulness of human nature, and over the special temptations to which some natures are exposed.

3. Sin brought death; grace brings life. "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:21). It is sin which has cast the gloom over the dark valley. "The sting of death is sin." But Jesus has come to give us light. "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57). Truly, if sin has abounded to the corruption and despair and death of human nature, grace has much more abounded to its regeneration and hope and everlasting life.—C.H.I.

HOMILIES BY T.F. LOCKYER

Romans 5:1, Romans 5:2

The Christian privilege.

Justification by faith being assumed as now established, the Christian's consequent attitude towards God and hope in him are next set forth. Salvation is but begun; and the process? the goal? May there not be failure by the way, and catastrophe at last? The apostle, in the first half of this chapter, sets forth the grounds of Christian assurance. In these two verses he exhorts to peace and joyful hope.

I. PEACE. Even the justified Christian may be diffident, and may sometimes regard God with dread. Many causes may contribute to this—constitutional diffidence; ill health; partial and imperfect views of religious truth; intense self-consciousness; failure to realize the ideal. Paul knew it, allowed for it, prescribed for it. "Let us have peace."

1. The nature of peace toward God.

2. The grounds of peace toward God. "Through our Lord Jesus Christ."

II. GLORYING. It is much to have peace; a quiet heart; freedom from all fear of evil. But it is better to have joy; an eager heart; the exultant anticipation of all good. This joy is ours—a hope of the glory of God.

1. The hope of glory. Called God's glory. Because he, the Perfect One, is perfectly blessed. And as we approximate towards his holiness, we shall approximate towards his happiness. He is enswathed in light; he is leading us into light. "The glory of God." More than imagination can conceive or heart desire, he is preparing for them that love him.

2. The joy of the hope. The brightness already irradiates us; the new life bounds in our veins. What vigour and hopefulness this lends to the doing of duties now! We are the heirs of a boundless future. What power to ignore the imperfectness and despair of life! Despair? with such a hope? "Let us rejoice!"

Are we justified? Then it is our privilege to have peace and joy. What God has done, is doing for us. It is our duty also; for then what may we do for God!—T.F.L.

Romans 5:3-5

The joy of tribulation.

Paul has taught us that peace, nay glorying, may be ours, though this be a world of trial. He now teaches that we may glory in the very trials themselves. And this teaching he enforces by a chain of arguments. In other words, he taught in the previous verses that we are conquerors; now he teaches that we are "more than conquerors."

I. TRIBULATION WORKETH PATIENCE. NO character can be truly formed without the opportunity of endurance; we must learn to resist. Tribulation affords this opportunity; it calls us to resist.

II. PATIENCE. WORKETH PROBATION. Or, as the word means literally, "triedness." We must be as the genuine metal, which rings true. This can only be, in the case of character, as we have become true.

III. PROBATION WORKETH HOPE. Triedness works hope in a double sense: the tested strength we have warrants confidence; and past triumphs are pledges of future. So a veteran soldier, by reason of victories that he has won, and because he is a veteran, looks forward to future victory.

IV. HOPE PUTTETH NOT TO SHAME. The hope of victories to come is merged in the great hope of the crowning victory, the standing approved in God's presence at last. But shall this be? Are we not most unfit for such a presence? And may we not, therefore, when we confront him at last, confront his wrath? So would our hopes belie themselves, and by them we should be put to shame! Nay, but this cannot be. For is not all the spiritual education, upon which partly we build our hope, an education of God? Does not he mercifully suffer tribulation to befall us, that we may endure? and that, enduring, we may be approved? and that, being approved, we may have hope? This hope is of him. But, beyond all this, does not he himself now assure us of his love? Is it not shown to us by the Spirit, which searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God? Nay, is it not transfused through all our nature, "shed abroad" by the Spirit given to us? Yes, truly, all our consciousness pulsates with the assurance of the tender mercy of our God; all the voices of our experience say to us, "God loves you." And can such a hope be put to shame? Never, while God's Word lasts!

God is educating us; but in and through all, and above all, God loves us! Let us hold fast to this blessed fact. While yielding to the discipline, let us at the same time hold his hand, and be strong in his mighty love.—T.F.L.

Romans 5:6-8

The great love.

The realization of the love of God in the Christian consciousness is the crowning Christian evidence; and it is the work of God himself by his Spirit. But an historical fact is used by the Spirit of God as the instrumentality of his work of love; and it is because we believe in the fact that we realize the love which gives us such a blessed life. Yes, "God commendeth his love toward us;" and the great fact of commendation is this, "Christ died for us."

I. THE LOVE. We may never forget that it was because God loved us we were saved. The originating impulse to salvation was in him. Wrath and love were mingled, but the love strove so to act that the wrath should be put away. The claims of righteousness on account of sins that were past were strong; but what if, by a supreme self-sacrifice, he himself should meet those claims? Even so it was; thus God's love worketh all in all.

II. THE SELF-SACRIFICE. Some object to the doctrine of a vicarious atonement, that to punish the innocent for the guilty is not just. But here we behold God himself stooping to death for man! And may not love make such a sacrifice? Nay, this is the only sacrifice which true love can make—to sacrifice itself. "God commendeth his own love toward us, in that Christ died for us." The son of a father, dearer than self: Abraham; William Tell. But such illustrations utterly fail; for God's Son is indissolubly One with him—the Communication of himself.

III. THE SACRIFICE FOR SINNERS. Such love the great prototype of all self-sacrificing human love. There may be the sacrifice of husband for wife, of mother for child. But this, in a sense, is self for self; God's was God for man. There may be more disinterested sacrifice: subject for monarch, friend for friend. Yes, there may be self-sacrifice even unto death "for a righteous man," "for the good man"—there may be: "peradventure" "scarcely." But God's love—for the weak, for the ungodly, for sinners! For such as were averse from himself, transgressing the laws of holiness, impotent to attempt or desire the good—for such he died! A love which not merely pitied the victims of weakness, but gave itself for those who were most repulsive in their love of sin, most unblushing in their hate of God: herein is love indeed! And such was his love to us, in Christ.

Our faith in him, then, must be a faith which shall never let go its hold, which shall trust unto the uttermost. Also, our love must be a reflex of his. Even for those who are most distasteful in their sin, a redeeming love must be felt and shown.—T.F.L.

Romans 5:9-11

The assurance of redemption.

But what an argument of assurance is such a love! If the love itself works hope, how does this assured love work an assured hope! It is an a fortiori of the strongest kind.

I. THE RECONCILIATION.

1. We were enemies. God was opposed to us; we were opposed to God. Something terribly real in this twofold opposition. We know its reality on our side; conscience, nature, revelation testify to its reality on God's side. The wrath of God.

2. Christ died for us. Justifying us by his blood, reconciling us to God through his death. The great demonstration of righteousness; the Divine concession to its claims. Also a great demonstration of love; the Divine provision for its claims. Yes; God sacrificing himself for man.

3. We are reconciled. God's love has free course now through Christ; our love is won for God in Christ. So then peace, amity, mutual love; identification in Christ! "Behold, what manner of love," etc. (1 John 3:1).

II. THE REJOICING. A reversion to argument with which chapter opened, and which is more or less maintained through all these verses. We look forward and fear. Nay, says the apostle, look to the past; think how great things God hath done for you; think of the conditions under which all that deliverance was wrought. And now contrast: see conditions of present salvation, and be glad as you look to the future, assured that your salvation shall be unto the uttermost. Follow the a fortiori.

1. Not enemies, but friends. What we were! But he loved us then, laid down his life for us then. What we are! how much more shall he save us now! "Thou art mine!"

2. Not his death, but his life. Two sides of Christ's saving work. Think of the suffering and death: that did so much! Think of the exaltation and life: how much shall not that do!

3. Not only reconciled, but rejoicing. The new-found love; the living Friend.

Let us take this Divine "much more" into all our life. The dark background of rebellion and death; the present love and life: much more! The overcoming of the great evil once for all; the overcoming of our temptations now: much more! The gift of the Son; and now the gift of all grace through him: much more! And so, "saved from wrath through him."—T.F.L.

Romans 5:12-14

The reign of death.

The summing up of this first division of the Epistle: Christ has undone what sin has done, as regards our objective relation to God. In these three verses—Sin through one works death to all.

I. SIN WORRYING DEATH. "Death" a word with many meanings in Scripture. Dissolution of complex nature; corruption of spiritual nature; and final abandonment by God. Here the first. An objective punishment of an objective transgression; a manifest sentence of condemnation. Hence symbolic of condemnation itself, showing forth God's wrath. May well lead thoughts to death that must reign in the inner man, through the withdrawal of God's favour—a spiritual paralysis. Also might well be premonitory of the total casting-off. Such, then, the triple death—condemnation, helplessness, and the culmination of both in the hereafter. And this the death which "entered into the world" through sin.

II. DEATH REIGNING OVER ALL. But this sin the sin of one. How, then, the universal death? Look around—death, death, death! Yes, might answer, because sin, sin, sin! True; but carry thought back to time anterior to Law. Death still! And no sin then such as Adam's was, such as yours is—so conscious, so deliberate. There was the presence and working of sin, indeed, but the working was the spontaneous working of a corrupt nature. No law, and therefore, strictly, no transgression. Argument might be reinforced by similar consideration of heathen now, and infants: death reigns! So, then, the death even of those who have the Law is not on account of their individual transgressions of the Law, but must be traced to the same cause as operates in the case of those who have "not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression."

III. THE SIN OF ONE THE SIN OF ALL. Therefore, if death be an objective punishment for an objective offence, it can be for none other's than his offence who first transgressed God's manifested will. And therefore, if the condemnation be imputed to all, the sin was imputed to all. Or, in other words, in him "all sinned" (Romans 5:12). The marvellous solidarity of all things—species, genus, world, system, universe. So in respect of mankind, and the spiritual history of mankind: the act of one, the act of all.

So, then, all rest under a shadow—the shadow cast by Adam's sin! All bear a brand—the brand of his punishment! Where is the path from darkness into light? Justification through Christ! Can this be coextensive in its range with the results of sin? Is there a solidarity here also? Yes.'; for Adam was "a figure of him that was to come." We have another Head, a second Adam!—T.F.L.

Romans 5:15-17

The abounding life.

It is evident that all are condemned, because death reigns; and it is proved that the condemnation of all is through the sin of one, because even where no express law is, there is death. But we have hope in Christ. Is our hope valid? Does the justification through Christ reach over as wide a range as the condemnation through Adam? And is the consequent life to prevail coextensively with the death? The argument here is to prove the certainty of each coextension.

I. AN ABOUNDING GRACE.

1. The originating cause of the condemnation was the

2. The originating cause of the justification is the

II. AN INDIVIDUAL APPROPRIATION OF THE ABOUNDING GRACE,

1. The participation in the sentence of condemnation was passive on the part of the many, for the sin of one—the unchoosing heirs of a sad inheritance.

2. The participation in the decree of life is active on the part of many, for the sacrifice of the One—they "receive" the grace of righteousness, laying hold of it by the voluntary activity of faith.

Infinite love is the fount of our life; and Jesus Christ, a Man, is he in whom all fulness dwells. The certainty is irrefragable. Do we make it ours? "As many as received him" (John 1:12).—T.F.L.

Romans 5:18, Romans 5:19

The two antitheses.

The equal solidarity with Christ as with Adam reaffirmed, from the implication of Romans 5:12-14, in the strength of the arguments of Romans 5:15-17. Affirmed in two antitheses, the one pointing in either case more to historical events, the other to moral causes.

I. THE HISTORICAL ANTITHESIS.

1. One trespass unto condemnation—the condemnation that is marked by death.

2. One act of righteousness unto justification—the justification that brings life.

II. THE MORAL ANTITHESIS.

1. One man's disobedience making the many sinners: it being imputed to them for sin. The sinfulness of perverted will also bound up in the same sad heritage.

2. One Man's obedience—obedience "unto death" (Philippians 2:8)—making the many righteous: it being imputed to them for righteousness. The power of a holy will also involved in the restored heritage.

We see here the immense importance of moral acts; the immense influence also of moral factors. Never to be repeated on such a scale: but not on a lesser scale? "If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it"—T.F.L.

Romans 5:20, Romans 5:21

The economy of law.

A return to the mention of the Mosaic Law, and its part in the great economy of the world's history. Its immediate, remoter, and ultimate effects.

I. IMMEDIATE EFFECT.

1. A side-economy: among one people, for disciplinary purposes.

2. "That the trespass might abound," i.e. that men might be compelled to the consciousness of that which wrought in them unconsciously. Working thus two-foldly—as revelation, and as repression. In the latter way, obviously to the intensifying of the consciousness of sin, as when a torrent is dammed. The former has an analogue in the growing knowledge of the Christian life, and the increased arduousness of Christian effort which is consequent upon it. So the moral law, the ceremonial, the prophets, and John Baptist. The climax of its effect towards sin in the crucifixion of Christ, in which man's wickedness, driven to desperation by the holy law of the life of Christ, showed its utmost evil. Truly, "the Law came in, that the trespass might abound."

II. REMOTER EFFECT. "Grace did abound more exceedingly."

1. The very economy of law was an economy of mercy, in all its parts: so the "This do, and live," which in some sense was verified even to their imperfect doings; and so the double significance of their sacrifices, revealing indeed their guilt, but prophetic of expiation.

2. The climax of sin, wrought through the Law, was a climax of grace: the death of him who must die to take away sin. "More exceedingly?" Ah, yes!

III. ULTIMATE EFFECT. Extension of effects, to all the world: and they? A contrast once again.

1. "Sin reigned in death"—the dread sign of its sovereignty. Seen everywhere—the dark sign-manual stamped on all the world.

2. "That even so might grace reign," etc.

This, then, the paean which shall resound through all the ages—"Death is swallowed up in victory!" Shall we have part in that immortal song?—T.F.L.

HOMILIES BY S.R. ALDRIDGE

Romans 5:2

A state of privilege.

It seems as if the apostle was delighted to turn from demonstrations of the credibility of the gospel plan to consider the happiness of those who had embraced it and were realizing its privileges. His pen glows as he exhorts himself and his readers to taste the full comforts of the condition of reconciliation towards God. When our right to the estate is challenged, we may spend time in examining the title-deeds and verifying our claims; but in general it is healthier and more satisfactory to settle down calmly on the property and reap the benefit of its treasures. Let us confidently enter the dwelling which Divine love has secured us, and not always stay justifying the scheme of its foundation and architecture.

I. THE PALACE INTO WHICH WE ARE ADMITTED. It is a house of grace where the favour of God is enjoyed, and which is furnished from the stores of Divine goodness. He saw the needs of his creatures, pitied their forlorn wretchedness, would shelter them from the storm, and lavish on them proofs of kindness. Peace reigns there, a sense of blissful security. Every article of furniture, every picture on the walls, every robe worn, every meal provided, speaks of Divine mercy, of a changed attitude towards those received within the sacred precincts. It is a permanent home, which we enter to go out no more for ever. Grace alters not, is not fickle; therefore "we stand" (abide) therein without fear of one day losing our situation from the arbitrariness of the Master.

II. THE GATE OF ENTRANCE. "Through our Lord Jesus Christ." He is "the Door of the sheep," a living Way to the holiest of all. He is our introduction ("access") to the court of the King. His work of mercy and righteousness has availed to procure free entry into the inheritance. The cherubim and flaming sword no longer bar the way to the Paradise of God. Man's own moral power availed naught to force a way into the temple. He could make no breach in the walls of governmental justice.

III. THE ONLY PASSPORT REQUIRED. "By faith" we enter into this state of grace. The inquiry at the gate is, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" To trust in Christ is to feel the longing for a renewed heart, for Divine forgiveness, and to recognize in him "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Scepticism may keep men at a distance, unbelief may turn the back upon the mansion, timid doubt may remain gazing wistfully at the portico, but the believer is impelled to march humbly yet fearlessly through the appointed entrance into the halls of light and song.

IV. THE JOY OF THE INMATES. They are filled with exultation because of their present condition; they are already encompassed with so many marks of Divine favour. They are constantly finding new beauties in the construction of the rooms, and new evidences of Divine skill, forethought, and love. But they know that this is but the foretaste of further bliss; they triumph in the expectation of coming glory. They have the promise and many a sign of a fuller revealing of the character and purpose of God. He comes nearer to his guests, till at last the veil of sense shall be removed, and every occupant of the palace be enwrapped in the radiance of his throne. All the dust of the journey to the home, every vestige of defilement, vanishes from the pilgrims crowned with the brightness of God's heavenly presence.—S.R.A.

Romans 5:3-5

Tribulation made subsidiary to hope.

Trouble is usually considered antagonistic to joy. A ready objection might occur, therefore, to the apostle's declaration of Christian rejoicing. How was this possible, seeing the many hardships to which the profession of Christianity exposed its votaries? The text refutes such an objection.

I. THE CHRISTIAN FACTORY. Tribulation is God's method of disciplining his people. Sin having entered the world, bringing sorrow in its train, the very afflictions of life are forced by Divine grace to contribute to the improvement of those who undergo it religiously. This was evident in Old Testament times, but is still more visible under the dispensation of the Spirit, where chief stress is laid upon graces of character. The faith of the Christian is the material on which the machinery of trouble operates, spinning out of it the thread of patience. In the school of trouble are the meaning and the mercy of pain learnt; only those who have experienced opposition have been taught true resignation to God's will, content not to hurry events or to quarrel with them, but confidently to await his time and issue. With the threads of patience is woven the cloth of probation. He who continues steadfast in the will of God proves for himself the truth of the promises, the accuracy of the Divine forecasts, and the success of the Divine methods. The long succession of days and nights produces its glad harvest, when the fruits of patience attest that not in vain did the sower sow. And the mill of God's training ceases not its work, till out of probation is constructed the beautiful garment of hope, in which the Christian is gloriously arrayed. What can he do who has tested the faithfulness of God, but entertain unshaken confidence respecting all that yet awaits him? The evolution of grace is seen to produce ever better results as time passes, and the sure expectation is begotten of a grandeur of glory casting all past experience into the shade. Thus the apostle has returned to and demonstrated his previous statement.

1. Observe that tribulation is not in itself the object of rejoicing. The machinery seems often hard and cruel apart from its aim. Only when we look through the things seen to the unseen and eternal can we welcome trouble as working out a weight of glory, and it loses its fearsome aspect.

2. Then tribulation must have the Christian spirit to work upon, or its results may be disastrous. Not every substance will pass unharmed through the wheels and rollers, the spindles and shuttles. It may be torn in the process, or reduced to pulp. Trouble does not necessarily improve the worldly minded. Instead of softening, it may harden the heart; the man may become peevish and morose, soured by disappointment.

3. And the Christian may dread the allurement of prosperity more than the endurance of hardship. The chilling blast causes the traveller to wrap his cloak the closer around him; it is the heat which leads to throwing off his garment. Troubles drive us to the appointed Refuge; in our joys we are like Hannibal's soldiers at Cannae, relaxing the bonds of vigilance and soberness. Times of persecution have often proved an invigorating, bracing season to the Church. Perhaps the hope of future glory appears more lustrous and enviable when in contrast with present danger.

II. THE VALUE OF THE PRODUCT. Hope is cheerful, like the light wherewith God decks himself and adorns the landscape. Hope is the eye of the soul; its clearness and brightness tell of good health. But the point on which the apostle here insists is the reliable character of Christian hope. It is a robe of which the wearer will never have cause to be ashamed. It suits the wearer. There has been an inward preparation for the outward adornment. God's love has been diffused through his breast. Assured that he is a beloved child, the anticipation of bliss and perfection is an appropriate Vesture for his peaceful, happy spirit. The man excluded from the wedding-feast because of an unsuitable dress showed thereby that his heart was not right; pride or obstinacy had rejected the garment freely offered. The workmanship of the robe displays the same gracious design that has filled the heart already with assurances of reconciling, redeeming love. The Spirit showing to the believer the things of Christ reveals the character and purpose of God, and the hope of glory is recognized as corresponding in every particular to this experience of the wondrous love of God. It is a durable garment, not flimsy in texture, looking well for a season, then suddenly giving way. The hope of many is like a palace of ice, glittering, but yielding to the rays of increasing light, or like a torch extinguished by the wind of death. But this hope, amid every change of circumstance, shall subsist in undecaying, yea, growing, splendour.—S.R.A.

Romans 5:9, Romans 5:10

The certainty of salvation.

The doctrine of justification by faith may be said to be hinted at in the first chapter, implied in the second, distinctly proclaimed in the third, proved scriptural in the fourth, and openly exulted in in this present chapter. Its consequences are now being emphasized by the apostle.

I. THE APPEAL TO A FACT. The "if" of the tenth verse does not signify doubt, but introduces the major premiss of the proposition, and one which is matter of instant acknowledgment. Translate it "since," or "seeing that."

1. The previous state, one of enmity against God. The human race as such had revolted against its Sovereign. The apostle considers Christ's work as effected for all generations, the ancient mints profiting by anticipatory faith, and subsequent believers being attracted by the plain preaching of the cross. Modern experience attests the reality of this unnatural condition, the hostility being evident both in thought and word and deed. What a blight must have fallen upon the creation, for the creatures to set themselves against their Creator, the children against their Parent! The remembrance of a God in heaven, instead of inspiring delight, is excluded as far and as long as possible. Witness the exclamation of the woman by the dying-bed of Falstaff, "Now I, to comfort him, bid him `a should not think of God; I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet."

2. The change effected. Reconciliation means the bringing together in happy agreement of parties formerly at variance. It matters not whether we can definitely state the time and manner of our individual conversion, provided we are conscious that there is now no estrangement, that we are not "alienated in our mind" from the almighty Author of our being. Does peace reign? Do we love and not dread God, desiring to serve him as our chief glory?

3. The instrument. The death of Christ is declared by the apostle to have removed every barrier to man's return to fellowship with God. We are "justified by his blood," which allays the fears of conscience and inspires us with new motives and desires. The law of condemnation was nailed to the cross. Sinners recognize in the Father's surrender of his beloved Son his intention and willingness to forgive the penitent.

II. THE ARGUMENT BASED THEREON.

1. If a dying Christ reconciled us, surely a living Redeemer will avert from us Divine wrath. The contrast was great between the lifeless form taken down by the disciples from the cross, and the risen Saviour declaring, "All power is given unto me in heaven and earth." And in proportion did the disciples rise from chilling despair into a condition of fearless triumph. The resurrection was the seal of the pleasure of God in the obedience of his Son, and an ascension to honour could mean nothing less than continued aid and blessing for those on whose behalf the Son had suffered.

2. If Christ endured the cross for the sake of his enemies, surely he will now save his friends. By his death he transmuted foes into friends, and friendship involves help in every time of need. The exalted Saviour places his priestly resources at the disposal of his weak and tempted followers. His perpetual intercession is a guarantee of their full, complete salvation. "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loves them unto the end."

3. If Christ overcame the initial difficulty in salvation, no other obstacle can arrest his redemptive career. It might well seem the crux of the problem to bring man into the way of salvation; but once his feet are guided into the way of peace, to sustain him therein is the joyful function of him who "ever lives to save." The bridging of the chasm between sin and righteousness, love and holy indignation, having been accomplished, none can doubt the ability of the Divine Architect to lead the wayfarer across in safety. Our Shepherd trains and feeds his flock. The angel with the golden censer perfumes and offers our prayers before the throne. The living Saviour is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" of his people.—S.R.A.

Romans 5:19

Ruin and redemption.

By itself the first clause expresses a fact of deepest gloom. It calls attention to the prevalence of sin and death. The history of the world is traced in darkest colours. We see the race from Adam till now marching to the grave, with the taint of corruption upon all. We are confronted by that profound mystery, the existence of moral evil, with its widespread, deep-seated effects. The possibility of man made upright and free yielding to temptation does not exhaust the explanation of the actual Fall. And when the Scriptures point to the influence of an external agent, the serpent, employed to bring about the downfall of the first pair, the pall of mystery is not removed; its corner is lifted a little that we may see how our difficulties relate to questionings concerning the origin and continuance of evil in beings superior to man. This appears to be God's mode of dealing with us. Enough is said to allow faith a foothold, not enough to place the whole territory at our disposal. Instead of unlocking the house of previous being and inviting us to its darkened halls, to explore for ourselves the tragedy with which our own world-tragedy is connected, the Scriptures point to a Sun that has risen to shine upon our moral firmament, and bid us note its blissful tendencies, kindling fresh life and beauty, arresting decay, reviving hope, attesting the interest of the Almighty in his creatures, and showing that the permission of evil is not to be ascribed to any lack of Divine love. The subject of sin cannot be beneficially studied unless combined with the antidote which the wisdom and affection of the Most High have provided. Faith may waver as it contemplates the inroads made by sin upon the intelligence and happiness of the human family, and faith must be strengthened by meditation on the remedial work of Christ. Do you wonder at the transmission of contagion from generation to generation, at the long-drawn-out penalty of the race? and does the law seem inequitable that lays many of the acts of the guilty as a burden on the shoulders of the innocent? Then notice the operation of the same law in redemption, where the Son of God sheds his blood to save sinners, and observe how from him is perpetuated the blessing of peace and godliness. Separate the two hemispheres, and the mind becomes a prey to chilling doubts and oppressive fears; unite them, and hope asserts its beneficent vivifying power. Whilst we declare in amazement, "How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" we can add, "To whom be glory for ever;" "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

I. THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE SIN OF ADAM AND THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST. To disobey the particular prohibition was to listen to the tempter, and to substitute human will for the Divine. Therein was contained the germ of the worst vices. To Jesus was assigned the more difficult task of remaining holy amid a world of evil, and the slightest deviation from rectitude had marred his perfect offering. Our sin is disobedience, and we are righteous in proportion as we obey the dictates of God from the heart. Disobedience, as Adam found, does not enlarge, but restricts our liberty. Not knowledge, but obedience, saves the soul.

II. THE CONTRAST FURTHER SHOWN IN THE EFFECTS WROUGHT BY EACH. The apostle assumes the truth of the story in Genesis. He proves the universality of sin by a reference to the fact that all have died, showing that even the ancients prior to Moses must have transgressed some law, and so incurred the penalty for disobedience. The principle of heredity confirms the truth of the doctrine that our progenitors have transmitted a vitiated nature to their descendants. Jesus, the second Adam, is the Head of a new race, to whom he imparts a new birth, with its issue sanctification. By the model of his flawless obedience, and by the grace which flows into us from that spring of obedience, the curse is removed from believers, and righteousness is imputed and imparted.

III. THE COMPARISON OF THE NUMBERS INFLUENCED. This passage should enlarge our estimate of the kingdom of the saved. In each case it is "the many" who are affected. The obedience of Christ is sufficient as a meritorious cause to justify the whole world, though only those who "receive the Word" are consciously gladdened and sanctified thereby. No man is condemned on account of Adam's transgression; it is his own disobedience to the written or innate law which determines his sentence. The millions who have died in infancy are redeemed by Christ; multitudes in the Jewish and heathen world were saved by virtue of his atonement, though not explicitly revealed to them, and the Apostle John saw in heaven a number beyond the arithmetic of earth to calculate.—S.R.A.

HOMILIES BY R.M. EDGAR

Romans 5:1-11

The state of the justified.

We saw in last chapter how Abraham was justified by faith alone, and how his case really covers ours. The promise of blessing through a seed, which Abraham believed so implicitly, has been fulfilled in Christ. We accordingly behove in the faithful Promiser who raised up Jesus from the dead, and we regard his death and resurrection as being a deliverance to death for our offences, and a deliverance from death for our justification. Faith enables us to draw the assurance of our justification from the resurrection of our Saviour. But now we pass under the guidance of the apostle to the consideration of the delightful state into which the justified come. And here we notice—

I. THE ASSURANCE THAT WE ARE THE OBJECTS OF THE DIVINE LOVE. (Romans 5:1-5.) By nature and by reason of our sin we are the objects of God's righteous wrath; but when we are enabled to believe in a Saviour who died for us and rose again, we find ourselves passing out of the condemned condition into an assurance of God's love. And the apostle here gives us the stages in the blessed process.

1. We pass into a state of peace with God. We prefer the indicative ( ἔχομεν) adopted in the Authorized Version to the subjunctive ( ἔχωμεν) adopted by the Revised Version after Westcott and Hort. For the state of peace is not some uncertainty into which we may come, but it is a state which results from justification if it has really taken place. We cease from war, we are no longer enemies, we have entered into a state of peace. The believer, as he calmly meditates on the atoning work of Jesus Christ, sees that he has been led thereby out of the storm into the calm, out of war into peace. Enmity is over and peace is proclaimed.

2. We realize that Christ conducts us into a standing in grace. By his gracious mediation we pass into a new relation to God; we realize that we are justified, as believers, from all things from which we could not be justified by the Law of Moses. We can now stand before God, and realize our pardon and acceptance in the Beloved.

3. We are enabled to rejoice in hope of God's heavenly glory. For the justified condition into which we have come through Christ is intended to reach through the present life and issue in the glory of the life to come. It is no mere temporary frame of mind, but a permanent state, into which our Saviour has brought us.

4. We are enabled to profit by life's tribulations. So much is this the case that we are enabled to congratulate ourselves upon ( καυχώμεθα) our tribulations; for through these we reach the power of patient endurance ( ὐπομονὴ), and through the power of patient endurance we reach experience ( δοκιμὴ, which means the result of the probation, as well as the "probation" itself, and the former gives here, notwithstanding the Revisers, the better sense); £ and through experience we reach hope—the hope of heavenly glory, since as its earnest there is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost a consciousness that we are the objects of the Divine love. The hope can never be disappointed. We have a "present heaven" in our happy assurance of God's love. We have passed out of the gloom into the gladness, and beyond us and awaiting us there lies the glory. Thus our tribulations conduct us to assurances of Divine love such as we could not otherwise enjoy.

II. THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE DIVINE LOVE. (Romans 5:6-10.) The apostle, to confirm believers in the assurance of God's love, proceeds to exhibit its history.

1. And he shows its sovereign character. That is to say, it was when we were without strength, when we were helpless and hopeless in our guilt, that God gave love's greatest proof in Christ dying for the ungodly. It was, therefore, no reason in us, but solely the exercise of God's sovereign love, which led to the death of Jesus for the ungodly.

2. The death of Jesus is the great demonstration of God's love. Men have occasionally sacrificed their lives for good men, never for a merely just one; but God in Christ sacrificed his life for those who are yet sinners. No mightier demonstration of Divine love can he imagined than this dying of God's Son for sinners. And it is well here to notice that as a "trinitarian transaction," as Shedd has happily put it, God in Christ's death exhibits "his own love" (Revised Version). Through the unity of Father and Son in the Divine essence, the death of Jesus is really the self-sacrifice of God. It is, therefore, the most marvellous of all exhibitions of love.

3. The resurrection-life of Jesus is the great guarantee of our salvation from Divine wrath. Jesus died to secure our justification. We are justified by his blood. In this God has reconciled us to himself. The resurrection of Jesus is accordingly the proof that God is satisfied with his own self-sacrifice in Jesus Christ, and so his wrath is turned away from us through the spectacle of a risen Saviour. "The highest form of love," says Shedd, "that, namely, of self-sacrifice, prompts the triune God to satisfy his own justice, in the room and place of the sinner who has incurred the penalty of justice. In the work of vicarious atonement, God himself is both the offended and the propitiating party. This is taught in 2 Corinthians 5:18, 'God hath reconciled us to himself;' Colossians 1:20, 'To reconcile all things to himself.' God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, is Judge, Priest, and Sacrifice, all in one Being. The common objections to the doctrine of the propitiation of the Divine anger rest upon the unitarian idea of the Deity. According to this view, which denies personal distinctions in the essence, God, if propitiated, must be propitiated by another being than God. Christ is merely a creature. The influence of the atonement upon God is, therefore, a foreign influence from the sphere of the finite. But, according to the trinitarian idea of the Supreme Being, it is God who propitiates God. Both the origin and the influence of the atonement are personal, and not foreign, to the Deity. The transaction is wholly in the Divine Essence. The satisfaction of justice, or the propitiation of anger (whichever terms be employed, and both are employed in Scripture) is required by God, and made by God." It is a risen Saviour, living and reigning, who saves us from fear of Divine wrath and assures us of acceptance.

III. JOY THROUGH RECEIVING THE RECONCILIATION. (Colossians 1:11.) Now, when we appreciate God's wondrous love in providing a reconciliation, then we receive it by faith, and find ourselves constrained to rejoice in God who could so provide for us. Moreover, it is clear from the term "received" ( ἐλάβομεν) that the "reconciliation" ( καταλλαγὴ) is not something paid by the sinner, but something divinely provided which has to be accepted. It is an additional obligation imposed, not a price paid. God is so regal as to "reconcile himself," and then ask us to receive the benefit thereof. We ought to rejoice in such a God. Verily his thoughts are not our thoughts, nor his ways our ways. The justified have every reason to be joyful in their King.—R.M.E.

Romans 5:12-21

Representative responsibility.

In last section we saw the blessed state into which the justified believer comes—a state of peace, of gracious acceptance, of glorious hope, of joy in God. The apostle in the present section expounds the relation in which mankind stands to the two great representatives, Adam and Christ. We cannot do better than consider these two representatives in the order named, and how they are related to the race.

I. THE FIRST ADAM AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE RACE. Now, the apostle distinctly declares in this passage that death entered into our world through one man's sin. The one man in his sin must, therefore, have been acting for the race; and it is for us to get a clear view of his representative position. Now, the usual mistake made in this subject is in supposing that representatives must be voluntarily selected by those they represent. This is not always the case. A representative may occupy his position of necessity. This was the case with our first parent. The human race is not made up of a number of independent units, but of a series of dependent generations. Consequently, as first parent, Adam was in the very nature of the case representative of the race. "The unreasoning flippancy," says an able writer, "with which some object to their responsibility for the act of Adam, because they had no part in choosing him as their representative, shows singular want of thought and of discriminating observation of the settled order of God's providence. It is evident that when God himself directly institutes a social organization, he always appoints, either by special act or by an invariable natural order, the ruling and representative head … The unity of the human race is his own immediate institution, and he appointed Adam its ancestor to be its representative and federal head. And in this case also he rendered an elective appointment by man impossible, by the constitution which brought man into being in successive generations. Not having from the beginning contemporaneous existence, consentaneous action was impossible. Their unity, therefore, was made to depend upon a common head and upon his representative action .. The constitution of nature and the course of providence render it a matter of social justice that one generation shall bind the succeeding, however remote, for good or evil. All legislation and all government proceeds upon this principle, and cannot avoid it. The evil entailed upon the race has come upon us by the selfsame principle, and its repudiation is impossible without the violation of the moral order upon which the stability of society depends. Our responsible relation to the first sin of Adam in no way depends upon our consent to his appointment as our covenant head, any more than our responsible relation to the national debt of Great Britain is affected by the fact that it was contracted without our personal consent, and before we were born." £ It will be found also that Adam's parental authority carries with it the idea of kingship; he was in a regal as well as representative position; he had dominion not only over the creatures, but also over his own posterity. His acts were consequently of a regal and representative character. Carrying these necessary principles with us, we can see how his sin in eating the forbidden fruit was a representative act. In this the race was represented, by it the race was bound; he was acting in his representative capacity, and there is no good gained by repudiating it. But, further, we can understand in some measure how a sin like Adam's affected his constitution, so that he became with his wife tainted, and so transmitted the sin to succeeding generations. The death of infants is the positive proof that the race has been treated as an organic unity, and that the taint of sin has been transmitted by ordinary generation. The whole subject of "heredity," as now scientifically treated, bears upon this relation of Adam to his posterity. It is evident that the generations have been linked each to each. Representative responsibility has been in operation from the first. Instead of quarrelling with the arrangement, our duty is to recognize it, and to see how out of the same principle we may receive blessing as a glorious set-off to the curse which has been transmitted to us.

II. THE SECOND ADAM AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE JUSTIFIED. We have seen how the first Adam was constituted the representative of the race, and by his sin involved the whole race in trespass and condemnation. Death passed unto all men, for that all in him have sinned. But now the apostle shows us the glorious set-off to this inheritance of guilt and death. God has given a new Representative to the race, even Jesus Christ his Son. By his obedience the representative principle is transmuted into an organ of grace instead of an organ of condemnation. But let us carefully note the nature of the relation set up between us and Christ. And here let us observe:

1. While we are united to the first Adam by ordinary generation, we get united to the second Adam by regeneration. The first union is involuntary; we cannot determine who our parents shall be. But union to Christ partakes of a voluntary character. When the Spirit is received and regenerates us, he makes us willing in the day of his power. Freedom of the will has its place in the relation into which we enter towards the second Adam. We may reject the union or close with it. Hence the whole race is not necessarily embraced in Christ's vicarious work, simply because the whole race will not be. All will not come to Jesus that they may have life (John 5:40).

2. Jesus proposes to quench the fire, not only of original sin, but also of actual sin, in those who receive his grace. This is the apostolic idea in this passage. The arrangement might have been to checkmate merely the original sin; that is, to put the race upon as good a platform as our first parent occupied before the Fall. Christ's obedience might thus have been the mere equivalent for Adam's disobedience. But the free gift of justification through Christ embraces our actual sins as well as our original sin. Grace is thus seen to abound. All sin in which we have been involved gets cancelled and put away through the obedience of our Representative. And:

3. Jesus proposes not only to counteract the sin, but also to secure a reign of grace unto eternal life. The abounding grace of the second Adam raises its recipients into an eternal life in the favour and society of God. Thus is it that the representative principle provides the most magnificent compensation for all that it entails through our first parent's fall. If we by faith are united to the second Adam, then we get the benefit of his obedience; his endurance of the penalty we deserved is accepted as ours; his perfect obedience to the requirements of the Divine Law is imputed to us; and his gracious Spirit comes to abide within us. The result is that the grace so abounds as to overmaster the sin and to raise us into that fellowship with God which is life eternal. The second Adam thus more than redeems us from our relation to the first Adam.

III. THE ADMINISTRATION OF GRACE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST MAKES AMPLE COMPENSATION FOR ALL APPARENT ANOMALIES IN THE PREVIOUS COVENANT. Now, one of the facts referred to by the apostle in this passage is, on the admission of almost all the commentators, the death of infants in consequence of their relation to Adam. It may, of course, be said that these infants were in the loins of Adam when he sinned, as Levi was in the loins of Abraham when he paid tithes to Melchizedek. Still, the fate of infants would seem an anomaly in the government of God if they are to receive no compensation through relation to the second Adam. But if it is scriptural to believe that all infants who die because of their relation to the first Adam inherit everlasting life because of their relation to the second Adam, then all harshness disappears and the anomaly is overborne. Now, this is, as we believe, the proper doctrine. All who die in infancy are, through the all-abounding grace of the second Adam, saved. We need have no fears for them, wherever they have passed away. Their suffering unto death is a cheap price to pay for exemption from the temptations of the present world; and each of them in the glory will accept the painful passage to it as, after all, a merciful arrangement, seeing that glory lay beyond it.—R.M.E.

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Romans 5:4". The Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/romans-5.html. 1897.

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