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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - ROMANS 5
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    CHAPTER 5

    Ro 5:1-11. THE BLESSED EFFECTS OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.

    The proof of this doctrine being now concluded, the apostle comes here to treat of its fruits, reserving the full consideration of this topic to another stage of the argument (Ro 8:1-39).

    1. Therefore being--"having been."
    - justified by faith, we have peace with God, &c.--If we are to be guided by manuscript authority, the true reading here, beyond doubt, is, "Let us have peace"; a reading, however, which most reject, because they think it unnatural to exhort men to have what it belongs to God to give, because the apostle is not here giving exhortations, but stating matters of fact. But as it seems hazardous to set aside the decisive testimony of manuscripts, as to what the apostle did write, in favor of what we merely think he ought to have written, let us pause and ask--If it be the privilege of the justified to "have peace with God," why might not the apostle begin his enumeration of the fruits of justification by calling on believers to "realize" this peace as belonged to them, or cherish the joyful consciousness of it as their own? And if this is what he has done, it would not be necessary to continue in the same style, and the other fruits of justification might be set down, simply as matters of fact. This "peace" is first a change in God's relation to us; and next, as the consequence of this, a change on our part towards Him. God, on the one hand, has "reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ" (2Co 5:18); and we, on the other hand, setting our seal to this, "are reconciled to God" (2Co 5:20). The "propitiation" is the meeting-place; there the controversy on both sides terminates in an honorable and eternal "peace."

    2. By whom also we have--"have had"
    - access by faith into this grace--favor with God.
    - wherein we stand--that is "To that same faith which first gave us 'peace with God' we owe our introduction into that permanent standing in the favor of God which the justified enjoy." As it is difficult to distinguish this from the peace first mentioned, we regard it as merely an additional phase of the same [MEYER, PHILIPPI, MEHRING], rather than something new [BEZA, THOLUCK, HODGE].
    - and rejoice--"glory," "boast," "triumph"--"rejoice" is not strong enough.
    - in hope of the glory of God--On "hope," see on Ro 5:4.

    3, 4. we glory in tribulation also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience--Patience is the quiet endurance of what we cannot but wish removed, whether it be the withholding of promised good (Ro 8:25), or the continued experience of positive ill (as here). There is indeed a patience of unrenewed nature, which has something noble in it, though in many cases the offspring of pride, if not of something lower. Men have been known to endure every form of privation, torture, and death, without a murmur and without even visible emotion, merely because they deemed it unworthy of them to sink under unavoidable ill. But this proud, stoical hardihood has nothing in common with the grace of patience--which is either the meek endurance of ill because it is of God (Job 1:21, 22; 2:10), or the calm waiting for promised good till His time to dispense it come (Heb 10:36); in the full persuasion that such trials are divinely appointed, are the needed discipline of God's children, are but for a definite period, and are not sent without abundant promises of "songs in the night." If such be the "patience" which "tribulation worketh," no wonder that

    4. patience worketh experience--rather, "proof," as the same word is rendered in 2Co 2:9; 13:3; Php 2:22; that is, experimental evidence that we have "believed through grace."
    - and experience--"proof."
    - hope--"of the glory of God," as prepared for us. Thus have we hope in two distinct ways, and at two successive stages of the Christian life: first, immediately on believing, along with the sense of peace and abiding access to God (Ro 5:1); next, after the reality of this faith has been "proved," particularly by the patient endurance of trials sent to test it. We first get it by looking away from ourselves to the Lamb of God; next by looking into or upon ourselves as transformed by that "looking unto Jesus." In the one case, the mind acts (as they say) objectively; in the other, subjectively. The one is (as divines say) the assurance of faith; the other, the assurance of sense.

    5. And hope maketh not ashamed--putteth not to shame, as empty hopes do.
    - because the love of God--that is, not "our love to God," as the Romish and some Protestant expositors (following some of the Fathers) represent it; but clearly "God's love to us"--as most expositors agree.
    - is shed abroad--literally, "poured forth," that is, copiously diffused (compare Joh 7:38; Tit 3:6).
    - by the Holy Ghost which is--rather, "was."
    - given unto us--that is, at the great Pentecostal effusion, which is viewed as the formal donation of the Spirit to the Church of God, for all time and for each believer. (The Holy Ghost is here first introduced in this Epistle.) It is as if the apostle had said, "And how can this hope of glory, which as believers we cherish, put us to shame, when we feel God Himself, by His Spirit given to us, drenching our hearts in sweet, all-subduing sensations of His wondrous love to us in Christ Jesus?" This leads the apostle to expatiate on the amazing character of that love.

    6-8. For when we were yet without strength--that is, powerless to deliver ourselves, and so ready to perish.
    - in due time--at the appointed season.
    - Christ died for the ungodly--Three signal properties of God's love are here given: First, "Christ died for the ungodly," whose character, so far from meriting any interposition in their behalf, was altogether repulsive to the eye of God; second, He did this "when they were without strength"--with nothing between them and perdition but that self-originating divine compassion; third, He did this "at the due time," when it was most fitting that it should take place (compare Ga 4:4), The two former of these properties the apostle now proceeds to illustrate.

    7. For scarcely for a righteous man--a man of simply unexceptionable character.
    - will one--"any one"
    - die: yet peradventure for a good man--a man who, besides being unexceptionable, is distinguished for goodness, a benefactor to society.
    - some--"some one."
    - would--rather, "doth."
    - even dare to die--"Scarce an instance occurs of self-sacrifice for one merely upright; though for one who makes himself a blessing to society there may be found an example of such noble surrender of life" (So BENGEL, OLSHAUSEN, THOLUCK, ALFORD, PHILIPPI). (To make the "righteous" and the "good" man here to mean the same person, and the whole sense to be that "though rare, the case may occur, of one making a sacrifice of life for a worthy character" [as CALVIN, BEZA, FRITZSCHE, JOWETT], is extremely flat.)

    8. But God commendeth--"setteth off," "displayeth"--in glorious contrast with all that men will do for each other.
    - his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners--that is, in a state not of positive "goodness," nor even of negative "righteousness," but on the contrary, "sinners," a state which His soul hateth.
    - Christ died for us--Now comes the overpowering inference, emphatically redoubled.

    9, 10. Much more then, being--"having been"
    - now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

    10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being now--"having now been"
    - reconciled, we shall be saved by his life--that is "If that part of the Saviour's work which cost Him His blood, and which had to be wrought for persons incapable of the least sympathy either with His love or His labors in their behalf--even our 'justification,' our 'reconciliation'--is already completed; how much more will He do all that remains to be done, since He has it to do, not by death agonies any more, but in untroubled 'life,' and no longer for enemies, but for friends--from whom, at every stage of it, He receives the grateful response of redeemed and adoring souls?" To be "saved from wrath through Him," denotes here the whole work of Christ towards believers, from the moment of justification, when the wrath of God is turned away from them, till the Judge on the great white throne shall discharge that wrath upon them that "obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ"; and that work may all be summed up in "keeping them from falling, and presenting them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24): thus are they "saved from wrath through Him."

    11. And not only so, but we also joy--rather, "glory."
    - in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by--"through"
    - whom we have now received the atonement--rather, "the reconciliation" (Margin), as the same word is rendered in Ro 5:10 and in 2Co 5:18, 19. (In fact, the earlier meaning of the English word "atonement" was "the reconciliation of two estranged parties") [TRENCH]. The foregoing effects of justification were all benefits to ourselves, calling for gratitude; this last may be termed a purely disinterested one. Our first feeling towards God, after we have found peace with Him, is that of clinging gratitude for so costly a salvation; but no sooner have we learned to cry, Abba, Father, under the sweet sense of reconciliation, than "gloriation" in Him takes the place of dread of Him, and now He appears to us "altogether lovely!"

    On this section, Note, (1) How gloriously does the Gospel evince its divine origin by basing all acceptable obedience on "peace with God," laying the foundations of this peace in a righteous "justification" of the sinner "through our Lord Jesus Christ," and making this the entrance to a permanent standing in the divine favor, and a triumphant expectation of future glory! (Ro 5:1, 2). Other peace, worthy of the name, there is none; and as those who are strangers to it rise not to the enjoyment of such high fellowship with God, so they have neither any taste for it nor desire after it. (2) As only believers possess the true secret of patience under trials, so, although "not joyous but grievous" in themselves (Heb 12:17), when trials divinely sent afford them the opportunity of evidencing their faith by the grace of patience under them, they should "count it all joy" (Ro 5:3, 4; and see Jas 1:2, 3). (3) "Hope," in the New Testament sense of the term, is not a lower degree of faith or assurance (as many now say, I hope for heaven, but am not sure of it); but invariably means "the confident expectation of future good." It presupposes faith; and what faith assures us will be ours, hope accordingly expects. In the nourishment of this hope, the soul's look outward to Christ for the ground of it, and inward upon ourselves for evidence of its reality, must act and react upon each other (Ro 5:2 and Ro 5:4 compared). (4) It is the proper office of the Holy Ghost to beget in the soul the full conviction and joyful consciousness of the love of God in Christ Jesus to sinners of mankind, and to ourselves in particular; and where this exists, it carries with it such an assurance of final salvation as cannot deceive (Ro 5:5). (5) The justification%%%%%

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