Arguments in support of the proposition, 1:18-11:36

3. The consequential blessing that flows to the righteous in Christ, 5:1-8:39

i] Peace with God


Having expounded the first part of his text from Habakkuk 2:4, "he who is righteous out of faith", chapters 3:21-4:25, Paul now sets out to expound the substance of "will live", ie. the consequential blessing that flows to those who are set right with God through union with Christ, namely, the realization of the promised blessings of the covenant - full participation in the dominion of grace / the righteous reign of God and exclusion from the dominion of sin and death:, 5:1-21. In 5:1-5, Paul draws out the first consequence of a believer's right-standing before God, namely, peace with God. Since we stand in a new relationship with God through the instrument of faith, on the basis of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, apart from works of the law, we find ourselves at peace with God, ie. reconciled to God, v1; under His favor, v2; and assured of His love, v3-5.


i] Context: See 1:1-7. Having explained the workings of justification "out of" faith, Paul, in 5:1-21 examines the natural consequences that flow to those who are set right before God, namely, "life", the fullness of new life in Christ that properly belongs to a believer apart from works of the law. In 5:1-11 Paul first outlines the new relationship that a believer has with God - "peace" and "reconciliation". Then in 5:12-21 he explains how Christ's saving death has brought eternal life to all humanity by overcoming the curse of Adam's sin.


Morris, Dunn, ....., argue that chapter 5 sits with the argument developed in chapters 1-4. This seems the most likely contextual arrangement. On the other hand, Moo, Cranfield, Fitzmyer, ...., argue that chapter 5 sits with chapters 6-8. Dumbrell suggests that 5:1-11 "builds on the conclusions" of chapters 1-4 and introduces "the discussion on the status, challenges to, and privileges of the new people of God." These notes follow Bultman's lead and treat chapters 6 to 11 as a refutation of objections, a refutio, with 1:18-5:21 serving as a series of proofs in support of the thesis (partitio) proposed in 1:16-17, ie., a probatio.

Some of those who treat chapters 5 to 8 as a contextual whole propose a chiastic structure (a ring composition). This is suggested by Moo, but such structures are sometimes more imposed than deduced.

A. Assurance of future glory, 5:1-11;

  B. Basis for assurance - the work of Christ, 5:12-21;

    C. The problem of sin, 6:1-23;

    C'. The problem of sin and the law, 7:1-25;

  B'. Basis of assurance - the work of Christ through the Spirit, 8:1-17;

A'. Assurance of future glory, 8:18-39.


ii] Background: See 1:8-15.


iii] Structure: This passage may form part of a ring structure covering v1-11, a four part ABB'A' structure, but the following simple structure better outlines the argument:

The consequences of being set-right with God entail peace, hope and reconciliation, v1-11:

The present consequences explained, v1-5:

Peace with God, v1;

Grace, v2a;

The hope of glory, v2b-5.

The basis of our being set-right with God, v6-8:

Christ died for the ungodly.

The future consequences explained, v9-11:

Salvation from the wrath to come.


iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.


v] Interpretation:

It is very likely that at this point in the letter there is a major shift in Paul's argument. Clearly, a move takes place and this is easily observed in the word-count of key words. For example, "faith/believe" is found some 30 times in chapters 1-4 and only twice in chapter 5, in v1 and 2. On the other hand, "life / live" appears only 2 times in chapters 1-4, and 4 times in chapter 5. The following three chapters also evidence an increased use of "life / live"; some 40 uses in chapters 5-8. So, a shift has taken place in Paul's argument.

Paul, having established that God's people are vindicated, set right with him in Christ by grace through faith, now argues that they rightly receive in full the promised blessings of the covenant - peace, reconciliation and life. In the passage before us the consequences of right-standing with God entails peace with God, access to grace, and a hope everlasting in God's eternal love. Paul will go on in the following chapters to establish the full extent of these blessings apart from the Law.


vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 5:1

The first consequential blessing that flows to the righteous in Christ, namely, peace with God, v1-5: i] Reconciled to God, v1. Those who are justified find themselves in an objective state of peace with God, rather than a state of war, such that they are no longer enemies of God.

oun "therefore" - Often inferential, as NIV, although Paul commonly uses this conjunction to link a developing argument. Having established his central thesis on justification, he now moves the argument forward by detailing the natural consequences, the first under discussion being peace with God / reconciliation.

dikaiwqenteV (dikaiow) aor. pas. part. "we have been justified" - having been justified. Forming a participle clause, probably causal, that serves to sum up Paul's argument so far. "Since we have an eternal right-standing in the sight of God, by the grace of God, appropriated through the instrument of faith."

ek + gen. "by [faith]" - Here this preposition, with the genitive, is possibly taking an instrumental sense, a common usage in Paul's letters, although origin "out of" and so "based on" is the usual sense; see Gal.2:16. Faith, in the sense of Christ's faith/faithfulness along with our faith/belief in his faithfulness, is the basis upon which the righteousness of God / his setting all things right is applied to the individual.

ecomen (ecw) ind. "we have" - Interestingly, the subjunctive is better attested, but few accept a hortatory usage here, "let us have" (obtain, get), possibly "let us guard the peace we have", Chrysostom; "let us enjoy the peace which we have with God", Dumbrell; "since we have been justified we have peace; lest us therefore enjoy it", Barrett (an example of brachylogy, brevity in writing). Dumbrell argues for the hortatory subjunctive since it supports his contention that Paul, having completed his exposition of "the need for the revelation of the righteousness of God ... resulting in the equality of Jew and Gentile in sin and salvation", 1:18-4:25, now, in 5:1-11, summarizes this equality of access and looks forward to the celebration of the new creation, 8:31-39. So, for new perspective proponents the "we" is no longer "we Jews", but "we believers, both Jew and Gentile." This, of course, reflects the new perspective view that Paul is not concerned in Romans with the justification of the individual, but of the equal inclusion in Christ of both Jew and Gentile. If indicative, the sense is that on the basis of our justification we have peace with God. The use of the present tense places "have" at the forefront of this sentence, while the aorist moves "justified" to a supporting role, emphasizing what we now "have". The same grammatical construction is used in v3 and 5.

eirhnhn (h) "peace" - peace, as opposed to war. Emphatic by position. Heb. shalom, being at one with God and the world. This state is a natural consequence of justification. The one declared right with God is no longer at enmity with God, but is rather at peace with God. Cranfield suggests that "peace with God", encapsulated in the notion of "reconciliation" v10, is the subject of this chapter, and as such is the first of the natural consequences, or blessings, that flow from justification. We who were once enemies of God are now reconciled to him, at peace with him, by grace through faith.

proV + acc. "with [God]" - to, toward [God]. Here with the less than common sense of reference, "with reference to"; "we have peace in relation to God."

dia + gen. "through [our Lord]" - through [the Lord of us]. Instrumental / agent, expressing means, "by means of", ie. Christ is the mediator of the peace.

Ihsou Cristou (oV) gen. "Jesus Christ" - Genitive in apposition to "Lord".


ii] Bound under God's favor, v2. Right-standing in Christ provides "access" (ushered into the Father's presence), and "hope" (the attainment of perfection and it's eternal reward). This hope is our true destiny, lost through sin, but now restored by Christ to a degree far beyond the original gift. Such is ours in the day of Christ's coming, then as now. So, because we stand in God's favoor through Christ, we can rejoice in the hope of sharing God's glory.

kai "-" - [through whom] and. Adjunctive; "also", Godet.

eskhkamen (ecw) perf. "we have gained" - we have had, have obtained. The intensive perfect expressing a completed action with ongoing consequences; a "sate of affairs", Moo.

prosagwghn (h) "access" - freedom / privilege to enter. Used of being presented to someone of high station, so "free access" is not quite to the point, rather "a right of access into the presence of God", although particularly, "into the sphere of God's mercy / fidelity"; "we have been brought by our faith into the position of favor in which we stand", Weymouth.

th/ pistei (iV ewV) dat. "by faith" - Variant reading; Moo argues that it is suspect and should not be read. The dative is instrumental, expressing means; "by faith", as NIV. "Faith", as above.

eiV thn carin tauthn "into this grace" - into this grace. Possibly "into this state of grace", of divine favour, so Barrett, but also possibly referring back to the grace of justification, or even possibly the grace of peace.

en + dat. "in [which]" - Expressing space/sphere, as NIV.

eJsthkamen (iJshmi) perf. "we now stand" - we stand. Intensive perfect. The sense is probably "abide" rather than "stand" or "stand firm / fast."

kaucwmeqa (kaucaomai) pres. ind. "we rejoice / boast" - [and] boast, glory. This is a rather important word. Note its earlier usages, 2:17, 25, 3:27, 4:2. If translated there as "boasting", then obviously here something more like "exuberant rejoicing", "celebrating", "rejoicing in anticipation of eternal glory." Yet, in these earlier passages it is often translated as "glorying", a glorying before God due to the (supposed) advantages of the law. Now, in Christ, we do actually have something to glory about. A second issue with this word is that it can be read as a hortatory subjunctive, so Jewett. The sense then is "instead of glorying in the law let us glory in the hope of sharing divinity."

ep (epi) + dat. "in" - upon, on. Possibly spacial, as NIV, although cause / ground may better reflect the intended sense; "because of / on the basis of the hope."

elpidi (elpiV elpidoV) "hope" - "A confident anticipation of that which we do not yet see", Cranfield.

thV dokhV (a) gen. "of the glory [of God]" - The genitive "of God" is obviously adjectival, possessive, "God's glory", while the genitive "of the glory" is usually classified as verbal, objective; "The hope we have of sharing God's glory", TEV.


iii] Assured of God's love, v3-5. Troubles can be endured in the knowledge that hope rests on God's love. We rejoice in our sufferings - for the proving (testing, strengthening) of our faith under pressure. Troubles drive us to rely more on the Lord and so produce perseverance - the strengthening of our character and the strengthening of our hope in the fulfillment of God's promises. So, we rejoice in suffering, knowing that our sufferings produce endurance, which in turn produces character (integrity - like a precious metal with the dross removed by fire). This in turn produces hope - a confident anticipation of eternal glory, of abiding with the divine for eternity.

ou monon "not only so" - not only. The words introduce an elliptical clause: "and not only just that (ie. rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God], but also ..."

alla "but" - Here the conjunction carries its full adversative sense. Note the ou ..... alla counterpoint construction; "not ...... but ...."

kai "-" - [we] also [boast]. Adjunctive; "also".

en + dat. "in [our sufferings]" - Here identifying the direct object of "rejoice", similar to a dative of direct object.

taiV qliyesin (iV ewV) "our sufferings" - tribulations, hardships, sufferings, afflictions. A believer rejoices in their sufferings because the sufferings are a "token of true Christianity: they were a sign that God counted those who endured them worthy of His kingdom", Bruce. Possibly so if the "afflictions" are "on behalf of Christ", Moo, otherwise the idea is somewhat unconvincing. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul says that God's grace is sufficient for him because God's power is perfected in weakness. We can rejoice in our human condition, however that may impact on us, when in faith we rest more securely on God's grace. It is faith that builds perseverance, not suffering. Suffering, by itself, builds only bitterness.

eidonteV (oida) perf. part. "because we know" - knowing. The participle is adverbial, causal, introducing a causal clause, as NIV.

oJti "that" - that. Here introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what "we know."

katergazetai (katergazomai) "produces" - [tribulation] accomplishes, prepares. "These things will give us patient endurance", Phillips.

uJpomonhn (h) "perseverance" - fortitude. A constant standing firm throughout the trials of life, a steadfast perseverance; "trouble produces fortitude", Barclay.


dokimhn (h) "character" - [and endurance] value, worth, character, approvedness [and character hope]. "The temper of the veteran as opposed to the raw recruit", Sandy and Headlam. Our faith is firmed, our hope assured. "Tribulation produces endurance, and endurance a proven/tested character, and proven character hope", Moo.


Hope rests on God's love, a present reality made real to us through the Holy Spirit. The hope we have is anything but illusionary; it is real and made more real to us as we daily rely on God's love through the rough and tumble of life. In Christ we have received the abundance of God's loving mercy; we are washed with it, cleansed by it. The reality of God's love for us in Christ is driven into our psyche through the ministry of the indwelling Spirit of Christ. The Spirit takes God's Word and drives it into our very being. So, hope is no illusion for those in Christ.

ou kataiscunei (kataiscunw) pres. "does not disappoint us" - [and hope] does not put to shame / disgrace, prove illusory. A gnomic present / statement of fact; after all the troubles of life, our hope will not let us down. The kata prefix intensifies, so Harris.

oti "because" - Here introducing a causal clause explaining why hope does not disappoint us, although possibly explaining why we rejoice in our sufferings, v3, thus making v3-5a a single participial clause.

tou qeou "[the love] of God / God's love" - As is typical of Greek, only the context can determine whether the genitive "of God" is objective (our love toward God), or subjective (God's love toward us). The verb "poured out" implies that Paul intends "the love of God for us", although Luther disagrees. Zerwick suggests both are intended, ie. plenary. Of course, the genitive could be classified as adjectival, possessive, "God's love", TNIV, or even ablative, source / origin, "the love from God has been poured out." Note, "Paul's emphasis on love is strangely overlooked ... the word love occurs 75 times in Paul out of a New Testament total of 116. For this apostle love is supremely important", Morris - so he may not be a sexist hard-hearted so and so after all!!!

ekkecutai (ekcunw) perf. pas. "has poured out" - has been poured out. Extensive perfect. In the East, spiritual encouragement (refreshment) is conveyed by the image of watering. Does this pouring out of love produce an inward sense of God's love for us, a confidence in God's love for us, or is something more tangible intended? The pouring out of God's mercy and blessings may well be in Paul's mind, given that it is an Old Testament image, eg. Mal.3:10. Cranfield, also Moo, suggests the sense is of God's love lavished upon us (obviously our salvation by grace through faith, our justification) and this is brought home to us (to our thinking and reasoning self, our heart) by the Holy Spirit. Barrett, on the other hand, suggests that the subject of "poured out" is "the Holy Spirit."

en + dat. "into [our hearts]" - in [the hearts of us]. The preposition en, "in", rather than eiV, "toward / to", expresses an inward sense, "into / within our very being"; "flooding through our hearts", Phillips.

dia + gen. "through" - through, by means of. Instrumental / agent, expressing means, as NIV.

tou doqentoV (didwmi) gen. aor. pas. part. "[the Holy Spirit] who has been given" - The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Holy Spirit", genitive in agreement.

hJmin dat. pro. "to us" - Dative of indirect object.


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