Arguments for the proposition, 1:18-5:21

Argument #3

Part 2: Reconciliation


Argument #3: The consequential blessings that flow to the righteous in Christ, 5:1-8:39.

Part 2: Reconciliation.


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." Paul in 5:1-11 describes the depth of the new relationship that exists between a believer and their living God, and this as a natural consequence of their having been set right with God on the basis of faith (Christ's faithfulness + our faith response) apart from works of the law.

In the passage before us, v6-11, Paul speaks of a believer's "reconciliation with God", Cranfield, and in so doing virtually presents a summary of his letter to this point.


i] Context: See 5:1-5.


ii] Background: See 1:8-15.


iii] Structure: The hope of glory

The consequences of being set-right with God, 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.


Some commentators are of the view that the passage forms part of a ring structure covering v1-11, a four-part ABB'A' structure.


iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.


v] Interpretation:

In v5 Paul spoke of God's love experienced through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, now in v6-8 he speaks of the objective ground of that love, namely, the death of Christ on the cross for sinners. A person may give up their life for a good person, but God in Christ gave his life for sinners. In v9-10 Paul spells out the consequences that flow from Christ's sacrifice, namely, right-standing before God, a right-standing which establishes reconciliation with God and thus salvation in the coming day of judgment. Faced with the depth of God's love, we can only but "boast / glory" in what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, v11.

Christ died not just for people in general, not even good people, but bad people, sinners. This fact displays the depth of God's love for us. "The love that went the length of the cross for our redeeming may be trusted to see us safely through the Last Judgment. If, when we were enemies, the crucified Christ made us God's friends, how much more will the living Christ save us at the last", Hunter.


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

Text - 5:6

Argument #3, Part 2: Reconciliation - the consequential blessing of reconciliation that flows to the righteous in Christ, v6-11.

i] Paul restates the truth that enables a believer to live with favour under the righteous reign of God, namely, Christ's death on behalf of sinners, v6-8. The love of God is objectively expressed in the spontaneous and undeserved self-sacrifice of Christ; he died for the ungodly. It is very rare for a person to give up their life to save just anyone, although a person may give it up for a friend or benefactor, yet Jesus gave up his life for rebels. So, our "hope" does not disappoint us, v5, "for you see, just at the right time ......" (Godet argues that "hope" serves as the "hinge" for v1-11).

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why God's favour has flowed "to us", namely, "because ....."

eti adv. "you see" - still. Adverb of time. The NIV adopts a reading which has the phrase introduce a statement of fact, a sure statement, but the verse is plagued by a number of variants. The second eti, "still", is dropped by some texts, but most commentators regard it as original. The first eti appears, or is dropped. USB4 retains the first eti, "for still", and is the most attested reading. The variant eiV to gar, "for to what end", forms a rhetorical question. Another variant, ei ge, "if indeed", is favoured by some. Barrett suggests that Paul wanted to emphasise that Christ died for us while we were still sinners and so he placed "still" at the head of the sentence, but then accidentally repeated it, so Moule IB. "For while we were still powerless", Barrett.

kata + acc. "at just the right [time]" - according to = in due [time]. Temporal use of the preposition. The right time was the time when humanity was helpless, when neither Jew nor Gentile, could claim any standing before God, but on the other hand, "the right time" may refer to Christ's death. "While we were yet in the period of weakness", BDF, cf., NEB.

ontwn (eimi) pres. part. "when [we] were" - [we] being. The genitive participle with its genitive subject "we" forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal, as NIV. As already noted, Paul's use of the personal pronouns, "we / you" causes problems. Does Paul mean here "we believing Jews", the more general "we believers"? It would seem Paul is being inclusive here.

asqenwn (hV) "powerless" - [still] weak. The word seems to parallel "ungodly", although it is strange how Paul uses the verb asqenew of law-bound believers in chapter 14. Christ set about to rescue us when we were totally unable to help ourselves. "Altogether helpless", Cranfield; "helpless", JB.

uJper + gen. "[Christ died] for" - [christ died] on behalf of. Representation, "instead", or advantage, "for the benefit of." Advantage seems best, cf., Moule IB p64.

asebwn gen. adj. "the ungodly" - impious, ungodly ones. "Christ died for those neither strongly righteous nor godly", Dumbrell. "Godless", Goodspeed.


It is very rare for a person to give up their life to save just anyone, although a person may give it up for a friend or benefactor.

gar "-" - for. More explanatory than causal; offering an example of "how this dying for sinners is a conspicuous proof of love", Sandy and Headlam. "Consider the unique character of this divine love. It would be difficult to find .....", Pilcher. The second gar introduces a second example.

moliV adv. "very rarely" - with difficulty, hardly, scarcely. Adverb of manner. "It is unlikely that ....", Schneider.

apoqaneitai (apoqnhskw) fut. "die" - will [anyone] die. A gnomic future where the future action is expected.

uJper + gen. "for [a righteous person]" - on behalf of [a righteous man]. Expressing advantage; "for the sake of / on behalf of", cf., v6.

taca adv. "might possibly" - [for on behalf of a good man] perhaps, possibly, probably.. Adverb of manner. The second half of the verse corrects the overstatement of the first half.

tolma/ (tolmaw) pres. "dare" - [someone even] dares. Few would "dare" to die for a moral living person, but for a good person, a loving person, even a friend, some would "dare" to die. "Dare" is used in the sense of "be willing to die." "Might have the courage even to die", Weymouth.

apoqanein (apoqnhskw) inf. "to die" - to die. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of "dares"; "though someone might be willing to die for a friend."


Paul restates the point he made in v6, emphasising the unique love God demonstrates toward his rebellious children, in sending Jesus to die for them.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point.

sunisthsin (sunisthmi) pres. "demonstrates" - [god] shows, makes known, recommends, brings out (transitive). The present tense here indicates action from the past into the present. The sense may be of a making known, demonstrating, revealing, the character of God, a present continuous action in and through the cross of Christ. Possibly "to us", but the NIV is to be preferred. For some, the bringing out is a "proof", eg., Moffatt. God doesn't need to prove anything to anyone, but his act of love in Christ proves the reality of his love for humanity, "the proof of God's amazing love is this, that it was while we were yet sinners Christ died for us", Phillips.

eJautou dem. pro. "his own [love]" - [the love] of himself, his own. The reflective pronoun is emphatic, giving weight to the subject "God".

eiV + acc. "for [us]" - to, into [us]. Here expressing advantage, "for us", as NIV, or reference / respect, "with respect to us.

oJti "in this" - that. Serving to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech, expressing what God "makes known, demonstrates, shows"; "he makes known that while we ..." Possibly standing in for en toutw/ oJt, in which case epexegetic and translated "in that ....", so Wallace, Harvey.

ontwn (eimi) gen. pres. part. "while [we] were" - [we] being. The genitive participle with the genitive subject "we" and the genitive object "sinners" forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal, as NIV; "while we were sinful."

eti adv. "still" - still [sinners]. Adverb of time, cf., v6. "While we were yet sinners."

uJper + gen. "[Christ died] for [us]" - [christ died] on behalf of [us]. Representation more than advantage; certainly "on behalf of", but even "instead of", which thought links to Christ's death as a "blood" sacrifice, v9.


ii] Paul now identifies a consequential blessing that flows from justification / being set right with God, namely, saved from the wrath of God = reconciliation with God, v9-11. Taking up the theme hope does not disappoint us, Paul details its certainty in two parallel statements:

Since God has done the difficult thing, namely, reconciling us to himself, when we were enemies, through the sacrifice of Jesus, we can be confident that he will do the relatively easy thing of saving the righteous by faith from wrath in the last day, v9.

Again, since God has done the difficult thing, namely, justifying the sinner, we can be confident that he will do the relatively easy thing of saving those who are his friends in the last day, v10.

oun "-" - therefore. Resumptive / transitional; "Consider further", Pilcher. Inferential is certainly possible; "Christ died for us while we were sinners. Much more then, now that we are justified, shall we be ...", Moffatt. The pollw/ .... mallon construction (dative of degree + an adverb of degree, "all the more certainly", Harvey) sets up a fortiori argument, an argument from the greater to the lesser, similar to a conditional clause 1st. class; "If God was willing to do the difficult thing (ie., sanction Christ's sacrificial death that we might be accounted righteous), then how much more will he do the relatively easy thing (deliver us from doom)?"

dikaiwqenteV (dikaiow) aor. pas. part. "since we have [now] been justified" - [now] having been justified, set right with god. The participle is obviously adverbial, possibly causal, as NIV, although with nun, "now", temporal seems better, as Moffatt above. The aorist is not necessarily past tense, but rather expresses a punctiliar aspect, sets us in the state of being - Christ's death sets us in the right with God yesterday, today and tomorrow, such that "we will be saved".

en + dat. "by" - in = by. Instrumental, expressing means; "through / by means of Christ's sacrificial death", or association, "in connection with ....", or even instrumental of price, "as the price of his blood."

tw/ aiJmati (a atoV) dat. "blood" - the blood [of him]. Here, Paul is defining the means of justification. Obviously, he is referring to Christ's sacrifice for sin, ie., justification rests on the "faith / faithfulness of Christ" = Christ's faithful obedience to the cross on our behalf. None-the-less, the sentence rests on the finite verb "saved" and so "in / by the blood" may be the instrument of salvation, rather than justification. "By Christ's sacrificial death", NEB.

pollw/ dat. adj. "how much [more]" - by much [more]. The dative is instrumental. As noted above, establishing an argument that moves from the greater point to the lesser point. The much more is our justification. In comparison to the difficulty of achieving our justification through Christ's death and resurrection, our ultimate salvation in the day of judgment is a relatively easy task for God.

swqhsomeqa (swzw) fut. pas. "shall we be saved" - we will be saved. Temporal future, with a divine / theological passive; "Be delivered from", Weymouth.

apo + gen. "from" - from. Expressing separation; "away from."

thV orghV (h) gen. "wrath" - the wrath. "God's anger", JB, or if the notion of an angry God offends, "from final retribution", REB. Clearly, the judgment in the day of Christ's return is the divine "wrath" that Paul is alluding to.

di (dia) + gen. "through" - through [him]. Instrumental, expressing agency; "through ...."


gar "for" - More explanatory than causal; "let me explain more fully", Lenski.

ei + ind. "if" - if. Introducing a conditional clause, 1st class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if as is the case ....... then [by much more having been reconciled we will be saved by ......]"

onteV (eimi) pres. act. part. "when we were / while we were" - being. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal, as NIV; "while we were God's enemies", or concessive, "although". "If enemies as we were", Stott.

ecqroi adj. "enemies" - enemies, hostile. Predicate nominative. A strong word indicating the reality of the human condition. Parallel to v8, "while we were still sinners."

kathllaghmen (katallassw) aor. pas. "we were reconciled" - we were reconciled. Consummative aorist. The prefix kata intensifies. To turnaround, exchange. A complete turnaround from an enemy to a friend. "At peace with God", CEV.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "to him" - to god. Dative of indirect object / association "with God."

dia + gen. "through" - through [the death]. Instrumental, expressing means.

tou uiJou (oV) gen. "of [his] son" - of the son [of him]. The genitive is usually taken as adjectival, verbal, objective.

swqhsomeqa (swzw) fut. pas. "shall we be saved" - we shall be saved. The phrase "saved by his life" is somewhat unique and easily misleads. The dying and rising of Christ saves, his death saves us from wrath; his life saves us to blessing, eternal life, the fullness of life in Christ.

pollw/ mallon "how much more" - by much more. Establishing a greater to lesser argument, as v9.

katallagenteV (katallassw) aor. pas. part. "having been reconciled" - having been reconciled. The word is used to describe "a restoration of friendly relationships after a period of separation", Mounce. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal; "now that we are reconciled", ESV.

en + dat. "through" - [we will be saved] in = by. The preposition here can be understood in numerous ways. The NIV opts for the idea that our salvation is secured "through" the instrumentality of Christ's life. Yet, although dia + gen. "through his death" is clearly instrumental, the preposition used here is not necessarily instrumental; it may be expressing the idea of identification / union with Christ's resurrection life. None-the-less, most translators opt for an instrumental sense, "through", "by".

th/ zwh/ dat. "life" - the life [of him]. Obviously Christ's resurrection, as opposed to his death, is in mind. So, Christ's resurrection-life is in mind. Christ's resurrection, of itself, is not enlivening, but certainly, a believer's identification with Christ enlivens. So, presumably Paul's sense is "by identifying with Christ, his resurrection life becomes our life, enlivening us to new life, eternal life."


"There is little fresh thought in this verse", Barrett, indicating that it "sums up the passage", Dumbrell. Yet, it is likely that Paul is adding a final point to his argument, namely that reconciliation is not just a future hope, but a present reality; "And this is not merely a future hope. (but also) Here and now we can take a legitimate and joyful pride in our relationship with God", Barclay. "Yes, and even now, we exult in our sense of that union with God which has been brought about by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is through His great act that we are already in possession of the wonder of our reconciliation", Pilcher.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument, here to a concluding point.

ou monon .... alla kai "Not only is this so, but" - not only, but also. Elliptical counterpoint construction, "not only ......., but also. Paul has something to add to his previous points. "And not only that, be we also exalt in God", Cassirer.

kaucwmenoi (kaucaomai) pres. part. "we also rejoice" - boasting / glorying. The use of a participle here is curious. The opening construction of this verse aligns with v3 where the iterative present kaucwmeqa is used, so possibly the participle here is attendant on the verb. It is possibly imperatival, but more likely functions as a finite verb, so Moule IB, so we could classify it as a periphrastic present with the verb to-be assumed. The word is important since Paul uses it in both a negative and positive way, of the "righteous" (self-righteous) glorying before God on the basis of the law, as opposed to believers, the "justified", glorying before God about something that is worth glorying in, here our reconciliation in Christ. "Exalt", Cassirer.

en "in" - in [god]. The "glorying / exalting" is local, "in / in the presence of" our God. Turner suggests that the preposition is causal, "because of." Either way, God is the object of the pride.

dia ... di + gen. "through" - through [the lord of us jesus christ whom now we receive the reconciliation]. Instrumental; "through, by means of."


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