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Romans chapter 5

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6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12Wherefore, 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: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless 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. 15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence 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. 16And 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 offences unto justification. 17For if by one man's offence 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.) 18Therefore as by the offence 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. 19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

What does Romans chapter 5 mean?

Romans 5 begins by exploring the great benefits that come with being declared righteous by God, through faith in Christ's death for our sin on the cross. By justifying us in this way, in Christ, God made peace with us forever. We also stand in God's grace by our faith. We continue to receive good from God, instead of the judgment we deserved before our sins were forgiven. More, we can now rejoice in the sure hope that we will one day experience the glories of God.

Because of that redemption, we can even rejoice in our sufferings. This doesn't mean that suffering will make us feel happy, but it does mean our suffering accomplishes something. For Christians, suffering produces endurance, the ability to trust God more and longer. Endurance produces character, the greater tendency to do the right thing, the thing that honors God. And Christians of proven character become hopeful people, convinced that the bottom-line truth of their reality is that they will spend eternity with God in glory (Romans 5:1–5).

Is this hope risky? Paul say it is absolutely not. Why? Because God has poured his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. If the God of the universe loves us, we can be confident that He is worth trusting. God has proved that love to us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God did not wait for us to get stronger or better, He acted first to resolve the dispute between us. He sent Christ to die at exactly the right time to save us.

The result is that we are no longer enemies of God because of our sin. We have been saved from His wrath and reconciled to Him through Jesus, when we come to Him in faith. This change God has brought about in our relationship is permanent. We are reconciled forever (Romans 5:6–11).

Paul then shifts to a comparison between the work accomplished by the first man, Adam, and what Christ did for us on the cross. Adam was created specially by God from dust and placed in the garden with one restriction. Adam broke God's command, introducing sin and death to the world. All who followed Adam, everyone, were born into sin and eventually died. That continues to this day (Romans 5:12–14).

Christ, on the other had made a different choice. Instead of disobeying, as Adam had done, He obeyed. Adam's choice brought sin and death to many millions of people, while Jesus' choice brought the opportunity for escape from sin and death by the free gift of God's grace to everyone who believes. Adam's choice brought condemnation; Jesus' act brought justification (Romans 5:15–19).

Paul concludes the chapter with a startling idea: One of God's purposes for the law was to increase the amount of lawbreaking on the earth. It's not that Paul means God's law was intended to make people actually sin more. Rather, the presence of the law meant that God's will was revealed, so every disobedience was all the more obviously wrong. The result of that increased awareness of sin was an increase in God's grace to cover more and more sin as people trust in Christ's death to cover it. In that way, God's grace always defeats human sin (Romans 5:20–21).

In the next chapter, Paul will address one possible corruption of this idea. This is the false claim that Paul's teaching on grace implies that sinning is a good thing, since more sin means more grace. As he does elsewhere in his letters, Paul will vehemently reject this teaching, and show why it is false.
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