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
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: See 5:1-5.
iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.
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 sacrifice of love, namely, a right-standing before God 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
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 favor 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.
gar "-" - for [Christ, we being still weak, in due time on behalf of ungodly ones, died]. Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why God's favor has flowed "to us", namely, "because ....."
eti "You see" - still. 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 favored by some. Barrett suggests that Paul wanted to emphasize that Christ died for us while we were still sinners and so he placed "still" at the head of the sentence, but then accidently repeated it, so Moule IB. "For while we were still powerless", Barrett.
kata + acc. "at just the right [time]" - according to [time] = in due [time]. Temporal. 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, it 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" - The genitive absolute participle forms a temporal clause, as NIV.
hJmwn "we" - 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" - 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 / advantage: so "instead / in place of", or "on behalf of / for the sake of." Advantage seems best, cf. Moule IB p64.
asebwn adj. "the ungodly" - impious 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; explaining "how this dying for sinners is a conspicious proof of love", Sandy and Headlam. "Consider the unique character of this divine love. It would be difficult to find .....", Pilcher.
moliV adv. "very rarely" - with difficulty, hardly, scarcely. Adverb of manner. "It is unlikely that any would give himself for a righteous man", 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, BAGD. 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" - The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of "dares".
Yet Jesus died for rebels.
de "but" - Here adversative, as NIV.
sunisthsin (sunisthmi) pres. "demonstrates" - [but God] shows, makes known, 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 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]. Emphatic. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.
eiV + acc. "for [us]" - to, toward [us]. Here expressing advantage, as NIV, or reference / respect, "with respect to us.
oJti "in this" - that. Serving to introduce a dependent statement of indirect speech, communicating, expressing what God "demonstrates, shows"; "he makes known that while we ..." Possibly standing in for en toutw/ oJt, in which case epexegetic and translated "in that ...."
ontwn (eimi) gen. pres. part. "while [we] were" - [we] being. The genitive absolute participle forms a temporal clause, as NIV; "while we were sinful."
eti adv. "still [sinners]" - "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, 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" - 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) "[his] 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 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" - Expressing separation; "away from."
thV orghV (h) gen. "[from God's] 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 [him]" - Agency, expressing means; "through ...."
gar "for" - More explanatory than causal; "let me explain more fully", Lenski.
ei + ind. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause, 1st class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if as is the case ....... then ...."
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 (oV) "[God's] enemies" - enemies. 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" - having been 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.
dia + gen. "through [the death]" - Instrumental, expressing means.
tou uiJou (oV) gen. "of [his] son" - of the son [of him]. The genitive is usually taken as 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" - Establishing a greater to lesser argument, as above.
katallagenteV (katallassw) aor. pas. part. "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 [his life]" - [we will be saved] in, with, by, to. 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/ "[his] life" - the life [of him]. Obviously Christ's resurrection, as opposed to his death, is in mind. So, Chris's resurrection life is in mind. Christ's resurrection, of itself, is not enlivening, but certainly, a believers 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. "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.
ou monon de, alla kai "Not only is this so, but" - not only, but also. Paul has something to add to his previous points. "And not only that", Cassirer.
kaucwmenoi (kaucaomai) pres. part. "we also rejoice" - boasting / glorying. The use of a participle here is curious. It is possibly imperatival, but more likely functions as a finite verb, so Moule IB, so best classified 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", but certainly 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."