by C. H. Spurgeon
Romans 5:1-3 . Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:
The gospel is full of “ therefores ”, it is above reason, but it is never against reason; it is the most reasonable thing under heaven “ There-fore ” — it is a matter of argument. You will have to read the previous chapters to see how this conclusion flows naturally from what he had before taught by the Holy Spirit.
Let us linger over these sentences while we read them. “ Being justified by faith. ” Is it so? Art thou indeed made just by faith in Jesus Christ thy Righteousness? Then thou hast peace this day and hour; peace within thine own conscience, and with thy fellow men, but what is much better thou hast peace with God. As soon as we are justified by reliance on Jesus, we cease to have any quarrel with God, and he has no quarrel with us; we are allies, we are in happy union, we have peace with God. Not shall have it by and by, but we have it now as our present glad possession, because we are justified by faith, we are now in the enjoyment of perfect peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. “ By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand. ” Since we are at peace with God we may enter his house, his door is open to us, we have divine welcome unto his grace, and we abide in it, abide in it with certainty, and full assurance.
This verse (5:1) deserves to be printed in letters of gold. If you can truthfully say this, if it is indeed true of you, you are the happiest people under heaven. Let us read the verse again: “ Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: ”
My friend, are these words true concerning you? Can you put your finger on this verse, and say, “ this is true of me, ’Therefore being justified by faith, we have-I have-peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ ”? We who have believed in Jesus enjoy that peace, a deep, profound calm is upon our spirit whenever we think of God. We are not afraid of him; we are not afraid to meet him even on his judgment-seat: “ Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. ” Have you peace with God? Are you sure that you have it? If not, mayhap you are not justified by faith, for that is the root of it: “ Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ”
Do not let us simply read these words, but let us each one say in our hearts, “ That is true; I have believed in Christ, therefore I am justified in the sight of God, and therefore I have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. ” There is nothing in the world that is half as valuable as the two precious gems in this verse, — justification and the peace which follows it.
Faith has such wondrous power that it makes us rejoice even in trial; it helps Christians to be glad even in the midst of sorrow.
It is a matter of present possession, and present enjoyment. Whatever tribulation there may be in the world, “ we have peace with God. ” Blessed be God for that glorious fact! We may not have peace with all men, though we would seek to have that; but “ we have peace with God. ”
These are matters of fact; not of fanatical delusion, but of logical conclusion, for Paul begins with a “ therefore. ” God’s people are justified on solid grounds, on reasonable grounds, on grounds that will bear the test even of the last great judgment day. “ therefore, being “ — now, at the present time, this very moment, — “ justified by faith, we have peace: ” not only we hope to have it, and trust we shall have it, but we have it. “ We have peace, ” — not only peace of conscience, and peace with our fellow-men, but “ we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.:’ Mark that; we have it. O dear people of God, do not be satisfied unless you can talk in this confident fashion: “ therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ”
5:1 We have peace with God
If you are to have peace with God, there must be war with Satan.
I hear poor souls crying, "I do believe, but I do not enjoy peace." I think I can tell you how it is. You make a mistake as to what this peace is. You say, "I am so dreadfully tempted. Sometimes I am drawn this way and some-times the other, and the devil never lets me alone." Did you ever read in the Bible that you were to have peace with the devil? Look at the text: "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. "
1 , 2 . Through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
But why “ therefore ”? Because of the verge preceding it: “ Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. ” Christ died to atone for our sins, Christ rose again to secure our justification, “ Therefore being justified by faith, ” —
We have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ;
We have peace, we know that we have, we enjoy it, it is not a thing of the future, we how peace, a deep calm like that which came to the disciples when Christ hushed the winds and waves to sleep. “ We have peace with God, ” his peace has entered into us, we possess it now; but it is all “ through our Lord Jesus Christ. ” It is all war apart from him, but all peace through him. We poor sinners, being justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we ascend this golden ladder, from faith to peace, from peace to access with God, and from this to joy by the way of hope. Happy people, who know this blessed way of climbing out of the sorrows of the present into the glory that shall be revealed!
This is a golden staircase, justification brings peace, and peace brings access into this grace wherein we are established; and then comes the joy of hope, and that hope fixes its eye on nothing less than the glory of God. Grace is the stepping-stone to glory; and they who are justified by faith shall in due time be glorified by love.
2. By whom also —
What! is not that first verse all? Oh, no! there is more to follow. When you get a hold of one golden link of the blessed chain of grace, it pulls up another, and then another, and then another: “ By whom also “ —
That is to say, we come near to God; we have the entre of the King’s palace; “ we have access by faith ” —
2. We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand,
We come into this grace by Jesus Christ, and to this heavenly standing, this justified condition, through Jesus Christ who is the door.
With firm foot and confident heart, we stand in God’s presence. Happy people!
See what we owe to Christ, — not only justification and peace, but we have access into the grace in which we stand; for, when a man is at peace with God, then he longs to get to God, and to speak with God. Christ is the door, and Christ is the way; we come to God by Jesus Christ. This is no small privilege. Oh, you who have ever felt what it is to be shut out from God, let your heart sing as you know that you now have access by faith into this grace wherein you stand!
Well may the apostle add, “ We rejoice in hope of the glory of God; ” or, if there is any man who may and must rejoice, it is the man who has peace with God, and expects to dwell with God for ever, having access to God by Jesus Christ.
We are not only at peace with God, but we are permitted to draw near to him, we have access to him, we have access to his favor, to his grace. We may come to God when we will; for he is reconciled to us, and we are reconciled to him, so we may now think of him with joy and gladness.
Oh, what a comfort this is, to be rejoicing, especially, to be rejoicing in hope. It is better on before, there may be clouds and darkness here, but we can see the sunlight breaking yonder; “ until the day break and the shadows flee away, ” we will make hope to be our bright candle of the Lord. We “ rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, and not only so. ” When we once get into God’s house, we rise higher in it, we go up another pair of stairs. “ Not only so, ” though that seems to be enough, to be rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God, and to have access into his grace, and to have peace with him because we are justified, but it is not only so, but “ we glory in tribulations also. ” We transform our troubles into gladness and glorying, we get spiritually enriched by tribulation.
2. And rejoice in hope of the glory o/God.
Our joy is in the past and the present in some measure, but it is still more in the future: “ We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. ” We have three windows. — the one out of which we look back with gratitude upon the past, the one out of which we look with joy in the present, and the one out of which we look with expectation upon the future.
What a window hope is! It looks toward heaven; we have only to look out that way, and then we can “ rejoice in hope of the glory of God. ”
Not only have we peace, but we get into the favor of God, and we stand in it. This is the grace or favor which comes of being justified. We feel a freedom now to come into our Father’s presence, because he has forgiven us for Christ’s sake. We feel at home with him now though once we were prodigal sons, and had wandered far away, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We have something yet in reserve — present peace, but future perfection. We have present rest, but there still remaineth a rest for the people of God. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 . And not only so,
-there is for every child of God grace upon grace; every line of the apostle’s writing tells of more blessing: “ And not only so. ” Is not that enough? Justified, enjoying peace, having access into grace, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God; what can there be more? Why, there is something on the road as well as at the end of it: “ And not only so, ”-
We hope for glory, — ”the glory of God, ” and we already “ glory. ” But in what do we glory? “ We glory ” —
3 . But we glory in tribulations also: —
We are not only acquiescent in the divine will; but, tutored by the Spirit of God, we come even to “ glory in tribulations also: “ —
Paul is going upstairs, as it were, — rising from one platform to another. There is enough of glory in Christ to wrap up all our troubles in; it makes the black white, and the dark bright.
Somebody seemed to say to the apostle, “ You talk about peace with God, and access to God; but you are troubled in mind, you are sickly in body, you are poor in estate, just as other people are; ” so Paul replies, “ Yes, we know that it is so, “ but we glory in tribulations also:’ ” —
3 . Knowing that tribulation worketh patience; —
That is the blackest thing a Christian has, — his tribulations; so, if we can glory in them, surely we can glory in anything. “ We glory in tribulations also: ” — A man cannot prove that he has patience if he has never been tried. Christian patience is not a weed, it is a cultivated plant; we only get patience through our trials.
Present trials even become subjects for thanksgiving. Surely, they have lost their sting when patience accepts them, and faith rejoices in them.
The more trial you have the more spiritual education you receive. You cannot learn the virtue of patience without tribulation, any more than a man can learn to be a sailor if he stops on shore: “ Tribulation worketh patience; ” —
We are not only acquiescent in the divine will; but, tutored by the Spirit of God, we come even to “ glory in tribulations also: “ —
“ Knowing. ” Paul was no agnostic, he was a “ knowing ” man, and all God’s people ought to be the same. they are a very dogmatic people when they are what they ought to be; they have nothing to do with “ ifs “ , and “ ands ”, and “ butt ”, and “ peradventures ”; but they believe and are sure: “ Knowing that tribulation worketh patience. ” the natural tendency of tribulation is to work impatience, it produces peevishness in many; but where the Spirit of God is, there is a heavenly counteraction of natural tendencies, and “ tribulation worketh patience; ” —
A man who never suffers does not know what patience means; but trial works patience, yet not of itself. Trials work peevishness and murmuring and discontent; but grace brings sweet out of bitter, and — “ tribulation worketh patience; ” —
It is sent for our good; we accept our trials as a part of our estate, and in some respects, the very richest part of our estate. We get more good out of our adversity than out of our prosperity. Our troubles have made men of us, whereas our joys might have unmanned us. Trials have braced us up, and we glory in them, “ knowing that tribulation worketh patience; ” —
3-5 . Knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, and experience, hope: and hope maketh, not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Like a sweet perfume, which enters every room, and fills every nook and cranny in the house, so does the delightful love of God fill the entire soul when, by the Holy Ghost, it is shed abroad in the heart. Beloved, may you feel that blessed influence this evening! This next verse may help us to love God, and to feel the love of God shed abroad in our hearts.
So that even what might seem to be the disadvantages of this present life are made to work into advantages; and what at one time might threaten our prosperity, really conduces to it. Patience, which we never could have if we never had a trouble, is given to us, and experience, which we never could have if we did not patiently endure the trouble, we obtain. We get pearls out of these deep seas. We get treasures out of these blazing furnaces which seem to smelt our blessings, that they may come to us rich and pure. And, above all, there rises a glorious hope, never to be drowned — never to be made ashamed — because we feel the love of God shed abroad in our hearts like a sweet perfume, making every part of our nature fragrant, because the Holy Ghost is there.
4 . And patience, experience;
If you bear the trial patiently, it leaves the mark of its graving tool upon your spirit, and you thus become fashioned into an experienced Christian.
Again I cannot help observing how we seem to go through one door just to pass through another. We get into a silver chamber that we may go into a golden one; and before we can take stock of all the gold, we are ushered into a gorgeous palace of pearls and rubies and diamonds of priceless value.
Do you know what this means, dear friend, or is it all Greek to you? The Lord make it indeed plain every-day English to you! May you understand it, feel it, know it, prove it, taste it, enjoy it! If you do so, happy indeed are you.
The longer we wait, the brighter do our eyes get. Our very trials when they have passed over us, leave us stronger and happier than we were before. Our experience works in us hope.
4 . And experience, hope:
What God has once done, he may do again; and as he has shown us so much favor we may reasonably hope that he will show ups so more, and that he who has given us grace will give us glory.
You cannot make an experienced Christian without trouble. You cannot make an old sailor on shore, nor make a good soldier without fighting. Here is that window of hope again, standing at the back of our experience, we look out of the window, and what God has done for us is a token of what God will do for us. Peace gives us courage, hope takes the blush out of the cheek when we confess Christ, for we remember the glory that is to be revealed in him and in us, so how can shame come in?
Another hope, or rather the same hope rising up into another form. We begin with rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God by faith, now we get a further hope which is born of experience; the things we have tasted and handled of the love of God create in us a more radiant hope inferred from what we have enjoyed.
What is the connection here? Is it not this: that the Holy Ghost makes us feel what a wonderful love the love of God is to us because when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly? Wonderful love! When we were Godless and Christless, in due time Christ died for us.
5 . And hope maketh not ashamed; —
Our hope brings us courage, no longer are we trembling and diffident, but we feel like children do towards a loving father, we are happily, restfully at home with our God. “ Hope maketh not ashamed; “ —
What a blessed thing it is that, when troubles are shed abroad outside us, the love of God is shed abroad inside us; when we are tried without, we are comforted within; and so we are made strong, and we have no cause to fear.
5 The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost
Only by the Holy Ghost could this have been done. Would you ever have been charmed with the love of God through the influence of the devil?
5 . Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
If you have the Holy Ghost given unto you, then the love of God fills your nature like a sweet perfume. As when the woman broke the alabaster box, and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment, so, when the Spirit of God comes, and brings the broken alabaster of the Savior’s sacrifice, and we feel the love of God poured out among us, what a delightful perfume there is! “ thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. ” the way to make us love God is for the love of God to be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
When Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed the feet of Jesus with the very costly ointment of spikenard, “ the house was filled with the odour ” of it, and in a similar fashion the love of God perfumes every part of our nature.
God’s love is like sweet perfume in an alabaster box; the Holy Spirit breaks that box, pours out the love of God into our souls, and the perfume fills our entire nature.
6 Christ died for the ungodly
Your sense of unworthiness, if it be properly used, should drive you to Christ. You are unworthy, but Jesus died for the unworthy.
Never did the human ear listen to a more astounding and yet cheering truth.
I would not mind if I were condemned to live fifty years more and never allowed to speak but these five words, if I might be allowed to utter them in the ear of every man, woman, and child who lives. "Christ Died for the Ungodly" is the best message that even angels could bring to men.
I love to think that the gospel does not address itself to those who might be supposed to have helped themselves a little out of the mire, to those who show signs of lingering goodness. It comes to men ruined in Adam and doubly lost by their own sin. It comes to them in the abyss where sin has hurled them and lifts them up from the gates of hell.
The devil often tells me, "You are not this, and you are not that," and I feel bound to own that the accuser of the brethren makes terrible work of my spiritual finery, so that I have to abandon one ground of glorying after another. But I never knew the devil himself dare to say, "You are not a sinner." He knows I am, and I know it too. And as "in due time Christ died for the ungodly," I just rest in him, and I am saved.
6 . For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. ”
That was are character. There was no good point about us. We were ungodly and we had no strength to mend ourselves or to be other than ungodly. The strength for reformation had all gone. The strength for regeneration we never had. We were without strength, and then Christ died for us — died for the ungodly.
He did not regard us as saints, but as actually ungodly, when he died for our redemption. It was not man’s righteousness that brought Christ from heaven; but man’s sin, and the infinite pity of God.
What a wonderful statement! “ Christ died for the ungodly. ” Yet it was no slip of the pen, for the apostle takes up his own expression, and preaches the following little sermon upon it: —
And as he died for us when we were ungodly, what will he not do for us now that he has sought us as his own? He gave the highest proof of his love to us when we were most unworthy of it, so will he leave us now? God forbid!
When we had no power to do anything that was good, when we were strengthless and hopeless, then Christ died for us. This is a wonderful gospel expression, which ought to bring comfort to those here who have no pretence of godliness, “ Christ died for the ungodly. ”
Are not these very wonderful words? “ Christ died for the ungodly. ” Pick out all those who are the naturally good people, and this text has nothing to do with them; but find out the ungodly, the sinful, the wicked, and here is a text exactly suitable for them: “ Christ died for the ungodly. ”
Not, “ Christ died for saints, because the saints were such gracious people. ” No, no; but, “ when we were yet without strength, ” — when we could lift neither hand nor foot to help ourselves, — “ in due time Christ died for the ungodly. ”
This is one of the most surprising sentences on record. If it had not been inspired, there are many who would cavil at it. Indeed, many do cavil at it even now, for it is still currently believed that Christ must have died for the righteous. Yet thus is it written: “ In due time Christ died for the ungodly. ” And this is the commendation of that death, and of the love which suggested it:—
7 . For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:
Now the apostle goes away from his theme, carried away by the still greater subject of the love of God in Christ Jesus, and the way of reconciliation by Christ, he goes on to that theme: “ For scarcely ” —
If a man is known to be sternly just, like Aristides, nobody would care enough for him to die for him.
However “ just ” Aristides might be, nobody would die for him. However “ righteous ” a man might be, he would not, by his justice or righteousness, win enough affection to induce anybody to die for him.
He is very righteous, but he is very stern; nobody cares much about him.
For a merely just man, scarcely would anybody die.
However upright and just a man may be, nobody thinks of dying for him.
For a man who is perfectly just, — there are few who would be willing to die for him.
Though he were as just as Aristides, though be were renowned for justice, nobody would die for him. There is no such attraction in the virtue as would win anyone’s love, so as to die for the man who displays it.
7 . Yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Nobody would feel impelled to die for a man who is only severely and strictly just, he may command our admiration, but not our affection. Aristides the Just is, indeed, at last banished; men cannot bear a man whose whole character is bare justice, for they are themselves usually so unjust. But “ a good man, ” he commands our love, a man of that character who is gratuitously kind, and gracious, and benevolent, peradventure — and it is a bare peradventure — somebody might be found to die for such as he. It is not, however, very probable.
He is “ a good man “ — benevolent, kind, and tender.
That is to say, for a generous, kind, noble-hearted man, come might dare to die.
There might possibly be some who would die for a John Howard, or a man of that ilk.
For a benevolent man, a true philanthropist, a lover of his race, there are some who might say that they would die for him. Yet the apostle only says, “ Peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. ” It is not very likely, but it is just possible.
For a benevolent, large-hearted, kindly-disposed man some might dare to die. Such a thing is not likely; but it is possible.
For a generous, noble-hearted man, some might be willing to die; yet there is a peradventure even about that.
And that is the glory of his love. While we were rebels against his government, he redeemed us. While we were far off from him by wicked works he sent his Son to die and bring us near. Free grace, indeed, was this — not caused by anything in us, but springing freely from the great heart of God.
8 . But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
He did the utmost for us when we were the least deserving of it. Oh, what a love is this. Let it be shed abroad in our poor stony hearts, and commended by us to others.
When we were not even just, much less good, “ Christ died for us. ”
It is under that aspect that Christ is to be regarded as dying for the ungodly, dying for sinners. Ungodly man, guilty sinner, is there not hope for you in this blessed truth? Does anyone say, “ I shall be lost, for I am ungodly; I must necessarily perish, for I am a sinner ”? Your logic is at fault, dear friend. “ Christ died for the ungodly; ” “ while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; ” therefore, the ungodly,—sinners—be saved because of his death, and all who trust him shall be saved.
Certainly we were not “ good ” men, we were not even “ just ” men, but we are included in this black description “ sinners ”; and “ while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ” He died for us as sinners, he did not come to save saints, but to save sinners; and it was for sinners that he died.
We were without any attraction, without any righteousness, without any goodness, yet Christ loved us. Out of the graciousness of his own heart he loved us, according to that text, “ I will love them freely. ”
While we were neither righteous nor good, “ while we were yet sinners, Christ ” did the most he ever could, or ever can do for us, he “ died for us. ” this is the best gift for the worst of men, and that best gift given to them when they are at their worst state: “ While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ”
When we were not righteous, when we certainly were not good, when the whole description of our character could be summed up in that one word “ sinners ” — rebels offending against God: “ while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ”
We were neither righteous nor yet good, yet Christ died for us. “ Oh! ” said a little boy once to his mother, “ I do not think so much of Christ dying for men, I think I would be willing to die if I could save a hundred men by dying. ” But his mother said, ” Suppose it was a hundred mosquitoes, — would you die for them? ” “ Oh, no! ” he said, “ I would let the whole lot of them die. ” Well, we were much less, in comparison with Christ than mosquitoes are in relation to men, yet he died for us, good-for-nothing creatures that we are. Well does one say, “ God shows part of his love to us in many different ways, but he shows the whole of his love in giving Christ to die for us. ” Here you see his heart laid bare, the very heart of God laid open for the inspection of every believing soul. To die for saints would be great love; but to die for sinners, while they are yet sinners, and regarding them as sinners, — this is love with emphasis, the very highest commendation that even divine dove can have.
9 . Much more than, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
This is a resistless argument, and should be the deathblow to all misgiving. If he died for us when we were unjust, will he let us perish now that he has made us just, and completely justified us? Impossible!
“ Much more. ” Paul has been giving us “ also's ” and “ ands ”; now he takes a bigger leap still, for he says, “ Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. ” If he saved us when we were sinners, he will certainly save us now that we are justified. If he called us when we were dead, he will not leave us now we are alive.
This is a fine piece of argument, and strictly logical. If, when we were sinners, Christ died for us, will he let us be condemned now that he has washed us in his precious blood? Is it possible that, after dying for us, he will let us fall from grace, and perish after all? That will never be. Notice the same kind of argument again: —
See how the apostle, when he had uttered a great truth, proceeds to say, something greater still. Just before, he had written, “ And not only so, ” and now he says, “ Much more then, ”
If Christ died for us when we were sinners, will he not save us now that he has made us saints? If, when we were condemned, he redeemed us, will be not preserve us now that we are justified? This is a strong plea for the final perseverance and ultimate salvation of all believers
He died for us when we were unrighteous; so, now that he has made us righteous in his own righteousness, he will never cast us away. That doctrine of believers falling from grace, and perishing, is clean contrary to Scripture: “ Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. ”
Did he die for us while we were sinners? Will he not, then, surely keep us now that we are Saved? Yes, that he will.
As he died for us, he will certainly save us. He who died for the ungodly will never cast away those whom he has justified. The death of Christ for his own people is the guarantee that he will love them even to the end.
See; it is a less thing for God to preserve us when we are justified than it is for him to justify us while we are yet sinners. The final perseverance of the saints may well be argued from their conversion, their entrance into glory is guaranteed by the ransom price that Christ has paid for their redemption. He died to save sinners, so how is it possible that he should let saints perish? Oh, no; that can never be! “ Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. ”
You see the force of the argument. If he loved us when we were still dead in sin, much more will he keep us and preserve us now that he hath justified us. Were his enemies redeemed? Shall not his friends be kept? Did he love those who were still far off? Will be not love those who are brought near, and love us even to the end?
10 . For 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.
There are three points which strengthen the argument here, which you will readily see by reading it at your leisure. The Lord our God who justified us when we were enemies by the death of his Son, will save us now that we are friends through the life of his Son. “ And not only so. ” Here we ascend again, it is ever higher and higher, something yet more, so that we are never at the end of this blessed record of mercy and grace.
There is a threefold argument here. If Christ died for us when we were his enemies, will he not save us now that we are his friends? If he died to reconcile us to God, will he not completely save us now that this great work has been accomplished? And as we were reconciled to God by Christ’s death, shall we not much more be saved by his life? There are three arguments, and each one is sound and conclusive. The believer in Jesus must be eternally saved. If Christ died for sinners, what will he not do for believers, who are no longer enemies, but are reconciled unto God by the death of his Son?
You see, there are three points here. When we were enemies, he blessed us; much more, now that we are reconciled, will he do so. If, in the second place, when we were enemies he reconciled us, how much more, after he has reconciled us, will he save us! And, thirdly, if he did all this for us by the death of his Son, much more will he do for us by his life; reconciled by his death, we shall be saved by his life.
What an invincible argument this is for the safety of all true believers in Jesus! Did he die for them, and reconcile them unto his Father by his death, when they were enemies? Then, will he not certainly save them now that they are reconciled, seeing that he ever lives to intercede for them? Will he not save them by his life? Assuredly, he will.
Did he love us when we were his enemies? Then most assuredly he will love us now that we are his friends. Did his death save us? Then, will not his life also save us? As he took such pains to reconcile us to his Father, will he not take equal pains-nay, “ much more" to preserve us safe to the end?
Notice that while we were his enemies, he blessed us, so now that we are reconciled to him, will he not still bless us? If he reconciled us to him by the death of his son, will he not save us by his life now that we are reconciled to him? Does he make us his friends, intending afterwards to destroy us? Perish such a thought. This verge is like a trident, it is a three-pronged argument for our eternal safety. I will read it again: “ For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be raved by his life. ”
10 When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son
No more love to God is there in an unrenewed heart than there is life within a piece of granite. No more love to God is there within the soul that is unsaved than there is fire within the depths of the ocean's waves. And here is the wonder, that when we had no love for God, he should have loved us!
10 , 11 . For if, when we were enemies, toe were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so,
The apostle is again up on the wing; he cannot fly high enough to describe all Christ’s work. “ And not only so, ”
See, the apostle has gone up to another platform. The gospel is a tale that we may be always telling, but it can never be fully told. It is a light that keeps on breaking upon us more and more; and even when we have come to what we suppose is the fall noontide of it, there is still seven times as much glory yet to be revealed. Yes; we go “ from strength to strength: ” “ and not only so, but we also joy in God “ —
11 . And not only so,
-there is no end to the blessing, dear brethren and sisters. the apostle seems to be always going up, and up, and up. this Paul, calm and cool and logical as he is, makes the fire burn most wondrously: “ And not only so, ” —
We cannot get to the end of these priceless boons. These precious pearls are too numerous even for the apostle to count, although he was a man who knew how to “ reckon ” up spiritual treasures: “ And not only so, ”—
Paul seems to go up a ladder, and when he gets to the top of it, he sets up another on the top of that one, and proceeds to mount that. This is the second time that we have read, “ And not only so, ” —
Surely we have got high enough when we have reached an absolute certainty of our eternal salvation. Yet we are to go still higher: “ And not only so, ” —
11 . But we also joy in God —
That is a delightful experience, joying in God himself, in the very character and person of God. So perfectly reconciled are we that, not only do we rejoice in God’s gifts, and in his mercy; but we swim in a sea of delight in God himself: “ We also joy in God ” —
We are glad that he is God, glad that he is such a God as he is; we would not wish to have him altered. the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, — the God of the Old testament, and the God of the New testament, — we love him altogether just as he is, and “ we joy in God —
Christ has made atonements for us, and God has accepted that atonement on our behalf. We also have received it ourselves and now we are glad in God-glad that there is a God, glad that there is such a God, and glad that he is our God and Father in Christ Jesus.
Even now we joy in God, “ although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olives shall fail, and the field shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls, ” yet do “ we joy in God ” —
We are at one with God, we are perfectly reconciled to him, and we have at present, at this very moment, a great joy and delight in God.
11 . Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Every blessing comes to us through him. How Paul delights to harp upon that string! He says continually, “ through our Lord Jesus Christ, ” —
Now comes an admonition.
11 We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Joy in God is the happiest of all joys. There are other sweets, but this is the virgin honey drip-ping fresh from the comb. Joy in God is also a most elevating joy. Those who joy in wealth grow avaricious. Those who joy in their friends too often lose nobility of spirit. But he who boasts in God grows like God. It is a solid joy, and he who joys in God has good reasons for rejoicing. He has arguments which will justify his joy at any time. It is an abiding joy. In a word, it is celestial joy.
11-21 through our Lord Jesus Christ...
Wherefore, 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 when 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.
I have not expounded the latter part of the chapter, as time fades me, and I shall dwell upon it somewhat in the sermon.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, we are at one with God, we are reconciled to him by the death of his Son. All our sin is for ever put away we have received the atonement, and we rejoice in the God of our salvation Glory be to his holy name for ever and ever!
12 Sin entered into the world, and death by sin
Ask Noah as he looks out of his ark, "Does sin bring bitterness?" and he points to the floating carcasses of innumerable thou-sands that died because of sin (Ge 7:21). Turn to Abraham. Does sin bring bitterness? He points to the smoke of Sodom and Gomorrah that God destroyed because of their wickedness (Gen. 19). Ask Moses, and he reminds you of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who were swallowed up alive (Num. 16).
12 . Wherefore, 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:
Sinned, that is, in the first man.
It was by one man’s sin that we all fell through the first Adam. Does anyone object to the justice of that? I pray you, do not object to what is your only hope. If you and I had each one sinned for himself or herself apart from Adam, our case would probably have been hopeless, like the case of the fallen angels, who sinned individually, and fell never to be set up again, but inasmuch as we fell representatively in Adam, it prepared the way for us to rise representatively in the second Adam, Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. As I fell by another, I can rise by another; as my ruin was caused by the first man, Adam, my restoration can be brought about by the second Man, the Lord from heaven.
13 , 14 . (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when 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.
I suppose that Paul refers even to little children, who “ had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, ” and yet died as the result of Adam’s sin.
Infants die, although they have never sinned; they die, because death is the penalty of sin; and as they die for faults not their own, so are the saved by righteousness not their own. They die, for Adam sinned; they live, for Jesus died.
14 . After the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
So that the sin of Adam took effect upon the human race before the law came, and even Upon those who had no personal transgression,—unconscious infants, I mean,—causing them to die.
Adam’s fall was terribly effectual, it has brought death upon the human race age after age; and Christ’s death is wonderfully effectual, for on behalf of all those for whom he died his atonement so prevail as to put their sins away for ever.
15-20 . But not as the offense, so also is the free gift...
Just as, sometimes, a physician may give a medicine which causes the disease to be more fully developed in order to its ultimate cure, so does the law make a discovery of our sin to us, and it also excites us to greater sin, by reason of the enmity of our nature, which is opposed to the law of God, and becomes the more active the more clearly the law is known, even as Paul says, further on in this Epistle, “ I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. ”
17 , 18 . Death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in fife 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.
That is to say, upon the “ all ” who are in Christ, as the condemnation came upon the “ all ” who were in the first Adam. He who believeth not in Jesus has no part in “ the free gift unto justification of life; ” but he who believeth is a partaker of the glorious justification which comes by Christ.
That is the wonderful doctrine of “ the gospel of Christ. ” It is rejected in these evil days; they call it simple, and I know not what beside; but here it is put as plainly as words can put it, “ As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. ”
19 As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners
It is a happy circumstance for us that we did fall and were condemned in the bulk in our representative, because had we been individually put on the like probation, we would to a certainty all have fallen. But then it must have ended finally and fatally, for when the angels fell by sinning individually, there was no hope of restoration for them. But we, happily, had fallen through a representative, and therefore we could be restored by another representative.
19 , 20 . 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. ”
It was the practical result of the giving of the law that men became greater sinners than they were before, and it was the design of the law that they should see themselves to be greater sinners than before. The law is the looking-glass in which we see our spots, but it is not the basin in which we wash them away. The law has a provoking power, for such is-the perversity of our nature that, no sooner do we hear the command, “ You shall not do so-and-so, ” than at once we want to do it. Our nature is very much like quicklime. Throw cold water upon it, and straightway it generateth heat; acting, as it were, against the nature of that which is cast upon it. So, the more God says to a man, “ Thou shalt, ” the more the man says, “ I will not; ” and the more God says to him, “ Thou shalt not, ” the more doth the man resolve that he will. “ The law entered, that the offense might abound. ” It reveals the depravity and disobedience of human nature, and lays us low before God as convicted criminals.
20 . Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound.
The law was not given to Moses to stop sin, or to forgive sin, but to make men see how evil sin is, and to make it evident to them how evil they are.
Romans 5:20 "The law entered, that the offense might abound."
A stick is crooked, but you do not notice how crooked it is until you place a straight rule by the side of it. You have a handkerchief, and it seems to be quite white. You could hardly wish it to be whiter. But you lay it down on the newly fallen snow, and you wonder how you could ever have thought it to be white at all. So the pure and holy law of God, when our eyes are opened to see its purity, shows up our sin in its true blackness, and in that way it makes sin to abound. But this is for our good, for that sight of our sin awakens us to a sense of our true condition, leads us to repentance, drives us by faith to the precious blood of Jesus, and no longer permits us to rest in our self-righteousness.
20 . But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Blessed be God for that! Sin may be a river, but grace is an ocean. Sin may be a mountain, but grace is like Noah’s flood, which prevailed over the tops of the mountains fifteen cubits upward.
There was more grace than terror even in the law. It has served a gracious purpose, for it was given to make us realize our guilt, and so might drive us to seek the grace of God for its forgiveness. Salvation is all of grace. Sin cannot conquer grace; it has had a hard struggle for it, but grace will ultimately win the victory in all who believe in Jesus.
20 , 21 . 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.
Blessed be his holy name! Amen.
21 . That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
The drift of the whole chapter is to comfort believers in the time of trouble by the fact of the great love of God to them in the person of Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior.
Do you know, dear friends, by personal experience, all about this of which we have been reading? I know that many of you do. Would God that all did,—that they understood, by a living faith, what it is to be justified, having first understood, by sorrowful experience, what a sense of condemnation the guilty soul must feel. The Lord bring you all to himself, by Jesus Christ! Amen.