Lesson 74: "We Have Access by Faith Into This Grace. . .of God." (Romans 5:2)
This is lesson # 74. Welcome to our study. Chapter 5 in Romans is conceded by some scholars to be one of the hardest chapters, if not the hardest chapter, in the New Testament. So, if you find these passages a little difficult, don't feel lonely. Chapter 1 down through the end of Chapter 4 was a rather long discussion; but, don't forget the point. Paul, in all of that discussion established: that one is justified by faith and righteousness does not come by keeping the law of Moses. The just shall live by faith. It was true with Abraham. It is true with us. Even if you do not follow every argument Paul makes to your satisfaction; learn the bottom line, so-to-speak, i.e. what Paul was teaching. At the end of Ch. 4, Paul said: "for us ALSO, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised for our justification."
Then we looked at Paul's conclusion at the beginning of Ch. 5. THEREFORE, therefore being justified by faith, we have peace. WE HAVE PEACE! Look at that! Who was "we" in that sentence? Paul was talking to the Christians at Rome and Paul included himself in that number. Peace with God is something the Christians at Rome had (past tense, at that time) "with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Now, notice v. 2, "By whom ALSO we have access by faith [access to what Paul?, access by faith] INTO this grace wherein we stand." Faith gives us the power to become (John 1:12). Notice again! The Roman Christians were WHAT? The Roman Christians were STANDING in that grace, i.e. that free gift from God, unmerited favor. Not only did they STAND in that grace(accessible to them) but, Paul said they did something else. What else, Paul? AND, we (Paul said), "we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Now, what else did those Roman Christians do? Look at v. 3, in addition to peace with God and rejoicing in hope; Paul said: "we glory in tribulation..."
Do you know what tribulation means? Tribulation means: difficulty, or simply the pressures of this old life. You mean Paul and the Roman Christians gloried in difficulties and the pressures of life? You got it brother! Read it again. Now, go back to the beginning of Ch. 5, do it one more time. Look at that big THEREFORE! i.e. on the basis of "the just shall live by faith" (1:17)
The Roman Christians had peace with God, (not only that!) they had access INTO this grace. What does INTO mean? Not unto, that just takes us up to the door, remember? WeVe talked about INTO before. It means to cross the threshold and be INSIDE. Paul said, those Roman Christians stood inside of that grace and because of that; they rejoiced in hope and they gloried in tribulation. Now what does all that mean? Did you ever talk to some one about their salvation and they say: I'm just not sure. Or they want to know: HOW can I really know, I'm saved? They shake around and whine around and say; but, I'm just not sure. Is that what Paul was saying? Paul said the Roman Christians were INTO that grace. Check it out! They were justified, i.e. they were acquitted of guilt. They rejoiced in that hope of salvation. How could those Roman Christians know? they were saved? INTO that pace? How did they know to the extent that they were willing to suffer tribulation? and glory in those tribulations? How could they know? Look at that word "faith", F-A-I-T-H. The apostle John said:
"hereby we do know that we know him, if..." (that's I John 2:3).
IF, what John? Here's the test!
"we do know that we know him, if WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS."
If you do what God has asked you to do, you can know, just that sure, you can know that you are saved. Now, I want to ask you: Can you trust God? Can you trust the Bible? To that extent you can KNOW, you are saved. You see, it comes back to "faith", F-A-I-T-H. How does faith come? Romans 10:17! Do you remember? I want you to look at Paul's word "tribulation" in v. 3, one more time. That word causes me to shudder a little. Tribulation, the pressures of this old physical life has caused a lot of people to fail the test. Do you remember Jesus' parable of the sower? The seed is the word of God, Luke 8:11. There was the wayside, the rocky ground, the thorny ground and the good ground.
"Those by the wayside [Jesus said] are they that hear; then
comcth the devil, and takcth away the word out of their
hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."
Those by the wayside did not become Christians. Then Jesus
"They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive
the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while
believe, and in time of temptation fall away." (Luke 8:13).
Matthew quoted Jesus like this:
"when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the
word, by and by he is offended." (Matt. 13:21).
Paul said, he and the Christians at Rome gloried in tribulation;
"knowing that tribulation worketh patience." (v. 3)
Do you remember Peter's Christian graces? (II Pet. 1:6)?
"Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; to
knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and
to patience, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness charity"
or love. What was Paul's bottom line (v. 5)?
"because the love of God is shed abroad in your hearts [the
hearts of you Romans] by the Holy Ghost which is given
Now, how are we justified Paul? How do we have this access,
"through our Lord Jesus Christ" (end of v. 1).
Then in v. 6, Paul went back to that thought and began to
comment. Turn the tape off and re-read v. 6 down through v.
11 one more time.
"Christ died for us." (end of v.8)
Take the time to re-read it right now! O.K. v. 11 ends,
"through the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now
received the atonement."
Paul could say: "by whom we have NOW received the
atonement", i.e. back in the first century; Paul could say that to
the Romans. O.K., now would you pick up your pencil and
underline v. 9. Have you got it? "being now", when is that?
"being now justified" [justified has an "ed" on it, i.e. justified
is past tense, see that?],
"being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from
wrath through him."
Now, I want you to do even more than that. Write out (on a
piece of paper): "we shall be saved from wrath through him."
Have you got it? Hit the pause button and write out on your
paper: "we shall be saved from wrath through him." Got it?
Pause until you've got it! Now, I want you to do even more
than that. Memorize that statement. I know, I'm awfully
demanding; but, do what I say! I'm the teacher! Memorize it!
O.K.? Now, why do 1 want you to memorize that? Well, we're
going to come back to that thought about forty eleven times
before we finish Romans Ch. 8. Just for kicks, what is the
theme of Romans Ch. 5,
"We shall be saved from wrath through him."
O.K., you got it? Who is "him?" Of course, you know that goes back to the end of v. 8, "Christ died for us." Right? Now, let me tell you the theme of chapters 6, 7, and 8. We shall be saved from sin by him, Ch. 6. We shall be saved from the law by him, Ch. 7. We shall be saved from death by him, Ch. 8. Can you remember that? Wrath, sin, law and death. If you can remember those four things (WRATH, SIN, LAW and DEATH); substitute those terms in the sentence you memorized here in v. 9 and you have the theme of those chapters (Ch.5, Ch.6, Ch.7, Ch.8). V. 10 here in Ch. 5 closes, "we shall be saved by his life."
Whose life? Jesus Christ. What are we going to be saved from? From wrath. We have said that is the theme of Ch. 5. Now, what is wrath? Wrath means anger. In this case the anger of God against sinful people and evil (in all forms). The same word is other places translated "anger." It is sometimes translated "indignation," if that should mean more to you. Go back to Rom. 1:17,
"the just shall live by faith."
"for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men..." (v. 18)
Do you remember that? Of what men?
"men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."
John the Baptist, back there in Matt. 3:7, had preached:
"who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
Luke recorded the same phrase of John in Luke 3:7. On over in
the book of John, that apostle records John the Baptist as
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he
that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of
God abideth on him."
John said, the wrath of God abideth on him, i.e. him that
believeth not in Jesus as the Christ. To not believe in Jesus
Christ is to be condemned. John preached it. Jesus said,
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned."
To be damned is to have the wrath of God poured out upon us.
At a later time when Paul wrote to the Ephesians, after Paul had
listed a number of wicked and sinful things: fornication,
uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, etc.; Paul
"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of
these things comcth the wrath of God upon the children of
disobedience." (Eph. 5:6)
After a similar list, the apostle used almost the same language
in writing to the Colossians (Col. 3:6). In writing to the
Thessalonians, a verse we covered (in this study) many, many
lessons ago near the end of I Thes. Ch. 1, Paul said to them:
"Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true
God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised
from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the
wrath to come."
This wrath of God idea is used in Revelation Ch. 14, 15,16,19
in referring to eternal punishment. Using Rom. 1:18,
"the wrath of God is revealed...against all unrighteousness,"
We can see that God's anger is going to be hot against any who
hold the truth in unrighteousness. And, there's a lot said in that
sentence. I ask you: how can we escape the wrath of God? You
memorized the answer. Right?
"being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from
wrath through him."
Through who? Through the blood of Jesus Christ; this chapter
teaches that, through Jesus's blood we can be saved from wrath.
Going back to Rom. 5:1,1 conclude that is one advantage of
being justified by faith.
Now, lean back in your chair and breathe deep! Put that paper
away and relax a moment. No, no, no, don't put your Bible
away! I didn't say that! Get it open to v. 12-21. Rom. 5:12-21;
the rest of the chapter. These ten verses have been a stumbling
block to many, many students of Romans. I'm talking about the
scholars and the elite and the college professors and all that.
So, as a country boy from eastern Kentucky; who am I to
profess understanding? Well, at least we can read it! Who
knows? We might even pick up a point or two. So, let's read it
with all the concentration we have. Are you ready? Here we
go, beginning in v. 12.
"Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all
have sinned. (For until the law, sin was in the world: but sin
is not imputed where 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, who is
the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift: for if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
O.K.. now that wasn't too hard was it? You may want to re-read this section another time or two on your own. I would suggest that. You might even try that technique of omitting the big long parenthesis that begins in v. 13 and ends at the end of v. 17. You might want to read and analyze the parenthesis in a separate way. When you have done that; I have a little assignment for you. Re-read v. 21, (the last verse in Ch. 5) and then turn over and read the last verse in Ch. 6, then read the last verse in Ch. 7, and then read the last verse in Ch. 8, i.e. read the last verse in each of these four chapters: Ch. 5-6-7-8. The reason I ask you to do that is this: one of the commentaries I read on Romans by a man named Anders Nygren, observes that these four chapters (Ch. 5, 6, 7, 8), with the exception of Adam -vs- Christ section in Ch. 5, where we just read; are very much alike, i.e. with the exception that in each chapter Paul discussed something different, that which we are saved from by the atonement and death of Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 can see his point finally, now that I spent some time looking for it; something, I probably would not have observed on my own. So, I would like to encourage you to look for this as you continue on through Ch. 5-6-7-8. But, right now, I think we're ready to get down to v. 12-21 in Ch. 5. As I have indicated before, I probably can't help you much with this section. But, nevertheless, I have the conviction that this section on Adam and Christ may fit into Paul's theme of this book, the book of Romans, and this section may shed much more light upon understanding Paul's theme: "the just shall live by faith", i.e. in it's proper context, than most of the commentators (that I read) seem to think. So, with that introduction I'm ready to begin my palaver, for what ever it's worth.
Now, I would like to take a pin and let a little hot air out this balloon called Bernard, i.e. I would like to shorten the subject down as much as possible. There's no way we can do it in the one minute we have left in this lesson. So, guess what we're going to do in our next lesson. You got it! This may even work out better, as a matter of fact. It will give you an opportunity to re-read those verses and to think about v. 12-21 on your own. In the last chapter, Paul used Abraham and David to illustrate his point. In this chapter he appeals to Adam. You know that story of Adam and Even in the garden of Eden back there in Gen. Ch. 2-3,1 trust. If you are not thoroughly acquainted with Gen. Ch. 2-3, that's something else you might do; re-read those chapters before we come to our next lesson. Don't slight it! You're doing a great job. Hang-in-there! Don't forget to do your home work. Please enroll others in these courses. It is as simple as giving an enrollment card to your neighbor and providing them with a little encouragement. Faith in Jesus can save from the wrath to come. Faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17) Please encourage study! And, have a good day!