Recently Added
to Exposition of Romans:

3:9–20—Conclusion: OT confirms that humanity is under sin’s power
(January 26th 2019)
5:1–11—A peace of great price, initiated by God.

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

“Therefore” announces a transition. In previous chapters Paul has outlined humanity’s need for justification and the nature of justification. Now he moves on to its marvelous benefits for those who have been justified.

Paul is exceedingly happy as he rejoices in the multiple blessings of justification by faith. Confident his readers rejoice with him, he now writes in the first person plural. “We” rejoice in hope, “we” rejoice in sufferings, and “we” rejoice in the God of reconciliation, he says in the chapter’s first 11 verses, all of which constitute a single paragraph. His major themes in this paragraph are the chief sources of joy for the justified: peace with God (and its twin concept reconciliation) and the believer’s hope or assurance of eternal glory.

I intend to devote several messages to this paragraph, taking a thematic approach rather than verse by verse.

Harmony and well-being
First we focus on the blessing of peace with God. Douglas Moo and others note the similarity of peace to the Hebrew word shalōm. It is not just the absence of hostilities but the positive qualities of “well-being, prosperity, or salvation of the godly person,” Moo says. As Paul uses the word here, peace refers to the completeness or fullness of our relationship with God, including our life in the Spirit. Not in view is the experience of inner tranquility referred to as the peace of God.

By virtue of God’s grace, we enjoy access to him, acceptance by him, and good standing with him. This status in our relationship with God is possible only through the sacrificial work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Peace with God came about through Christ.

The theme of peace serves as the paragraph’s bookends. We enjoy peace with God (verse 1) because he reconciled us to himself (verses 10 and 11). Peace—a state of harmony in our relationship with God—is the product of God’s work of reconciliation, which Merriam-Webster defines as “the act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement.” Richard Longenecker says the term “peace with God” capsulizes and introduces the subject matter of all of chapters 5 through 8.

The contrast with wrath
It is a bit jarring to find in this paragraph on the blessings of justification a mention of “the wrath of God” (verse 9). But Paul has a clear purpose in mind. He wants to remind us of the disharmony that once characterized our relationship with God to give us a further reason to be thankful and rejoice. Peace and good standing with God is all the more precious when considered in contrast with being out of favor with God.

The peace with God we now enjoy came about by God’s initiative and at great cost to him. God reconciled us to himself by the death of his Son (verse 10). We “received” reconciliation (verse 11), not through anything we did but through Jesus’ death. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God gave what was most precious to him—his only Son—to make it possible for us to escape his wrath and be assured of eternal glory.

Salvation history is, in brief, the story of man running away from God and God chasing down man, wooing man, shedding his blood for man. God’s passion for us ignites our passion for him.

Be reconciled to God
God is still at work seeking and saving the lost. He appeals to everyone to take advantage of his offer of grace and accept his terms of peace. And he has enlisted us—we who are already justified—to pass on the message of reconciliation so that others might be saved.
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:18–21)