Romans Chapter 5: Jesus—the Gift of God

Nov 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Romans, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Romans Chapter 5: Jesusthe Gift of God

1998 and 1979 Studies

Rom. 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Paul would probably have addressed this epistle differently if the brethren were new and did not understand about Jesus Christ and know the gospel. Therefore, he was writing not to help beget children of faith in God but to settle the differences that existed among the consecrated in the ecclesia. Hoping to resolve the continuing bickering and irritation between Gentile and Jewish converts, he addressed the situation in an effort to bring peace in the ecclesia, as well as further knowledge. As babes, the brethren needed a deeper understanding of the principles of God and faith as one of the first steps. In later chapters, Paul would go in another direction.

The clause “Therefore being justified by faith” shows that Paul assumed the majority of the class were consecrated. He continued, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Preceding this verse, Paul showed that this faith, which brings peace, should knit together Jewish and Gentile Christians, for there was the one hope in the high calling. The word “therefore” is a connecting word, showing that Paul was referring to his discussion in the previous chapter. He was summing up and using the summation as an introduction to a greater depth of understanding. Peace with God comes through the Lord Jesus Christ—not through the Law but apart from the Law.

Rom. 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

The consecrated “have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in [the] hope of the glory of God.” The “hope of the glory of God” is seeing God, being in His presence, and being with Jesus, as well as receiving the divine nature. To see God as He is in any depth, one would need His nature as well. Angels are in God’s presence—as spirit beings, they do behold Him—but the divine nature is a superlative additive. Thus having the glory of God would mean having not only His fellowship but also intimate communion with Jesus.

Faith and grace go together. Justification leads to, or is a means to, God’s grace, which is the next step, namely, the hope of attaining to the divine presence and nature. The realization that we can approach God through Christ should be a source of joy—knowing that we can consecrate and have a hope for the future and also that we can rejoice in the tribulations of the present life. The trial itself, the proof of our faith, is more precious than gold. Successful overcoming produces joy because we realize that we are developing. Even the opportunity of the trial is more precious than gold, for a time is coming when we will no longer be able to suffer for Christ.

Rom. 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

This epistle was written close to the time of Nero’s persecution of Christians. When the persecutions cascaded down on the brethren, many had to leave Rome and flee to other lands; others died. Verse 3 seems to be preparatory to these persecutions, giving the brethren a basis for assurance when the tribulations would come.

Paul was saying, “We glory in tribulations because we know that tribulation worketh patience.” Some persecutions occurred prior to Nero because the Gentiles in Rome were not too happy with the Jews. Not only was there the holocaust of AD 69-73, but much earlier, before Christ, an insurrection had occurred. The Romans were fed up with Israel at one time, and then tensions eased. Insurrections followed in AD 69-73 and again in AD 135. Thus an undercurrent of feeling against the Jews already existed, but the animosity became more flagrant, open, and profound under Nero.

Comment: The Diaglott says, “We triumph also in afflictions.” At the time we are going through the  tribulations, they are usually grievous, but afterward comes “the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are [rightly] exercised thereby,” for we know that they help us to work out our salvation. (Heb. 12:11).

“Tribulation worketh patience [patient endurance, Greek hupomone].” This statement is logical, for to endure tribulation means that we are suffering long, and hence are developing the qualities of long-suffering and patient endurance.

Comment: For “patience,” alternate translations have “steadfastness” (ASV), “perseverance” (NASB), “fortitude” (Montgomery), and “endurance” (Goodspeed).

Long-suffering and cheerful endurance are two types of patience, the latter being a higher development. Long-suffering leads to endurance. As the Apostle Peter said, “Add to your faith virtue [strength]” (2 Pet. 1:5). For example, we are to grow stronger in witnessing.

Rom. 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Rom. 5:5 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.

Comment: Verses 3-5 read as follows in the Revised Standard: “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.”

Reply: That wording is a slight improvement above the King James.

Patient endurance does bring experience, and although not an exact synonym, character is experience. In other words, an experience rightly received results in character development. The three cardinal virtues that Paul speaks of are faith, hope, and love, but here patient endurance and experience are inserted between faith and hope. Faith is the first requirement. Then tribulation produces patient endurance, patient endurance brings experience, experience results in hope, and hope does not make us ashamed. Having this hope in our heart, which is not reached in an instant, has the effect of not only broadening and strengthening character but also crystallizing it. As steel is hardened, so character is crystallized. It takes time for this hope to spread in the heart, the proof being the development of love. Even after the mark of perfect love is reached, we must stand fast, wearing the components of armor that are listed in Ephesians 6:11-17. The Apostle James said, “Let patience [patient endurance] have her perfect[ing] work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:4). With that “perfecting work” comes the process of crystallization of character. Stated succinctly, the sequence is faith, tribulation, patience, experience, hope, and love because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which He has given us.

Comment: For “experience,” alternate translations have “approval” (Alford), “tested character” (Williams), “strength of character” (TCNT), and “proof that we have stood the test” (NEB).

Hope leads to love. The sequence, or progression, is as follows: faith, long-suffering, patient endurance, experience (strength of character, character development), hope, and love.

Elsewhere Paul put patient endurance even higher than love: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:13). Paul was speaking of patient endurance under extreme trial, especially toward the end of our course.

Rom. 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

When were we “yet without strength”? Whether Jew or Gentile, all were without strength before Christ died on the Cross. Jews with a good and honest heart should have been very frustrated because the knowledge of the Law brought the knowledge of sin, which should have made them aware of their shortcomings.

Comment: The Diaglott rendering is, “Besides we being yet helpless, Christ at the proper time, died in behalf of the ungodly.”

Reply: Yes, before Christ died on the Cross almost 2,000 years ago, all were helpless in their sins and without strength, and the only ones to receive strength and hope were those who subsequently personally accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and consecrated their all. Thus the entire world of mankind, with few exceptions, is still “without strength.”

“In due time Christ died for the ungodly [the world].” Even though a lot of noble, kind, generous, sympathetic people are in the world, “there is none righteous, no, not one” without Christ’s covering (Rom. 3:10). Therefore, prior to consecration, we were among the ungodly.

In making a fine distinction, Paul said, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Col. 1:21,22).

Among the ungodly are some whose minds chafe under the passions and lusts of the flesh and desires not related to God, but they do not know the way. In countries that have not had the benefit of the gospel, there would be many in this condition. The gospel was turned westward, but had it gone in the other direction, the 144,000 would have been found, generally speaking, among the Asians. The Western world was not any better than the Eastern world, but since the gospel went westward, a much greater proportion of people in the Western world who had unholy desires in their heart heard the calling and were drawn of God. Many in the world wish they could perform better but find they cannot. Without hearing the gospel, they have no way out and must live with this problem, or conflict, in the present life, unknowingly awaiting the Kingdom on earth.

Thus some of the unconsecrated are not in mental agreement with sin, and they see that sin is a basic form of depravity, yet they cannot perform righteously despite noble thoughts. Bro. Russell said the image of perfection that was on Adam was not entirely obliterated in his children. All have fallen short, but coming down through ages and dispensations, the human race has retained more or less of that image depending on the genetics from their forebears. In other words, there are differences in the marring of that image, but all have fallen short.

The phrase “in due time” tells us that God is a timekeeper. He has a plan that is precise, mathematical, and orderly. Certainly there are no emotional outbursts in His planning. His program was sorted out long in advance of its outworking.

Comment: Everything we receive is by grace.

Reply: Yes. God is like a potter, for He has the prerogative of taking any mud or clay and doing whatever He wants with it. We should never think there was any unfairness in His decision to favor the Western world. Similarly, He bypassed the angels who were obedient and sent the gospel down here. God has His reasons, some of which are disclosed in the Bible. If faithful, we will know a lot more of His reasons later. In the meantime, we should not question the Creator’s motives.

Comment: For the most part, God calls the poor in spirit and the meek of this world so that no man can boast in his own presence.

Reply: Yes, and one reason for doing so is to humble the wise in the next age, when God will reward those whom He has chosen.

Jesus did not come down here to die instantly, for he walked the narrow way of death, dying daily for 3 1/2 years. He had to go through this experience in order to prove his love for the Father, and in turn, God’s plan shows love (and wisdom) for Jesus, the Church, and the world.

Incidentally, Christ died for the world in a general sense, for the “pearl,” the Church, was more precious to him; that is, he bought the world to get the pearl (Matt. 13:45,46).

Rom. 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

Rom. 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

It seems a little backward to contrast a righteous man with a good man, for the good man is presented more favorably. However, Paul had Jewish training, and in the rabbinical frame of mind, there were three different categories, or levels, of Jew. A just (or righteous) man was thought of as being fair but lacking the accompanying grace of benevolence, and a benevolent person, even though a scamp, was considered in a more favorable light.

Paul was playing on this thinking and saying in effect, “One will sometimes die for a just person in the world, but the act is a rarity. More would be willing to die for a good person who is a prominent leader. However, Christ died for all of us. God commended His love toward us “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus did not know the Christian personally. He died for those in the Gospel Age who respond to the opportunity that is presented to them when they hear the gospel. Such individuals take hold of Christ and are drawn like a magnet. While he died for all mankind—a truth that will be testified in due time—he died especially for the called of this age, who are likened to a pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45,46). Jesus died for the field, and he also died for the treasure hidden in the field (Matt. 13:44). Thus there are different gradations, but Paul was more concerned now with those who hear the call and lay hold on the opportunity of salvation in the present life.

With regard to the call, Jesus said, “He that hath an ear [to hear], let him hear” (Rev. 2:7). He then made a distinction between hearing and hearkening. To “hear” shows a degree of interest and drawing toward God or Christ, whereas to “hearken” is to obey the call. It is submission.

With regard to the world of mankind, all who come forth from the tomb will hear Jesus’ voice, but only those who hearken to that voice will get life.

Rom. 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood [that is, having submitted to Jesus like a subject to a King, a Savior, and a Redeemer who bought us], we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Submission is the next step after hearing. Paul was showing degrees of grace. To even hear the call shows some favor, for not all hear in the present life. For an individual to hear the call, which the Bible pictures as a miracle, means that God showed favor and drew him. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). As we take one step toward God, He takes one step toward us. The process continues proportionately until meeting and decision making occur (James 4:8). Of course the coming together is through Christ.

There is also justification by faith, but justification by Christ’s blood is more of a sealing. Peter said we should feel that we are a purchased possession. We were purchased at the great cost of Jesus’ dying on the Cross. Thus not only does Jesus’ blood justify us, but we should be moved to feel the cost that was involved.

“We shall be saved from wrath through him [Christ].” This statement does not mean “once saved, always saved.”

Rom. 5:10 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.

Verse 10 is encouraging. If God has done so much in order for us to be reconciled through the death of His Son, then how much more He is interested in those who have already taken the step of consecration. If God was interested in drawing some to Christ before they consecrated, how much more He is interested now that they have responded!

The provision or opportunity for salvation was made, and those who respond by yielding and submitting, thus becoming justified, are certainly much further on the path toward salvation than those who do not respond. Notice that Paul kept bringing in God and Jesus to show the relationship of the two.

Rom. 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

“By whom [Jesus] we have now received the atonement [the at-one-ment].” “Atonement” is a better word than “reconciliation,” which is used in some translations and incorrectly implies that we were once all right (that is, not among the ungodly), then we deflected, and now we are reconciled. God is the Author of atonement, and Jesus is the channel God provided.

Therefore, we rejoice in God through Jesus, for both are involved in the atonement.

Rom. 5:12 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:

Now we are coming to the point Paul wanted to go into more deeply with the class in Rome.

“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” The death penalty came on the world because of Adam’s sin. “And so death passed upon all men [through inheritance].” Dying parents give birth to dying children, dying children grow up and give birth to more dying children, etc., so that “all have sinned.” The death gene was locked into man and then turned on when Adam sinned and God gave the instruction. “And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned [for all are sinners].”

Rom. 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Verses 13-17 are parenthetical. Verse 13 is a complex and profound yet obscure statement. “For until the law sin was in the world.” In regard to the sin that came on the world before Moses, the attitude of the individual had no bearing whatever. All died because of Adam’s sin, not because of what they did. Mankind were dying to start with. Paul was saying, “Adam sinned, and his sin passed on to all of his posterity.”

“But sin is not imputed when there is no law.” All sinned from Adam up to the introduction of the Mosaic Law. In the first chapter, Paul said that all are guilty and liable to God’s justice because of the law of nature and conscience. Since none are righteous, God is not unrighteous in His judgment. Why, then, was Paul now saying that “sin is not imputed when there is no law”? We should try to understand his reasoning before proceeding.

All mankind die not because of individual sins but because of Adam’s sin. Adam was given a law and put on trial: “In the day that thou eatest thereof dying thou shalt die” (Gen. 2:17; see KJV margin). When Adam failed, the death sentence came on him and all his children through heredity. Therefore, the judgment of death on the human race came not because of sins committed in the time period from Adam to Moses but because of the law that was given to Adam alone and his sin. He reaped the penalty of disobedience. The death sentence came on the human family not because of their sins but because of Adam’s sin. Sin was not imputed to them, even though they were not righteous, or worthy of life. Incidentally, Paul was not saying that mankind could do whatever they pleased, and their wrong actions would not be counted as sin.

When God gave the Law to Moses at Mount Sinai, the Jewish nation made a vow of obedience and thus became yoked to that covenant. Henceforth they were responsible for obeying the Mosaic Law in addition to being judged through Adam. Not being able to keep the Law perfectly, the Jews were doubly condemned. Of course God knew that imperfect man could not keep the perfect Law. Therefore, to redeem all mankind, Jesus had to redeem the Jews, who were condemned under the Law, as well as the entire race, Jew and Gentile, who were under the death penalty of Adam.

Jesus rendered perfect obedience and thus, in fulfilling the Law, had the right to human life. Had the Law not come, that right would not have been guaranteed in such a precise fashion.

The divine economy is that God condemned the whole human race through one individual so that only one Savior needed to die to redeem Adam and his race. The Garden of Eden also shows divine economy in that the permission of evil will not have to be repeated on any other planet to be inhabited in the future. All future yet uncreated sentient beings, physical and spiritual, will be given perfect life and then informed of the permission of evil on earth and the outcome as an object lesson. Spirit beings are witnessing what is happening on earth, so if God should increase the spirit realm, they would also benefit from this one lesson down here.

Paul gave wonderful instruction partly because of his prior schooling. Who else among the apostles had such ability and depth of understanding? Now he was helping the Roman brethren to go further and not to remain babes. He wanted them to develop. First, he showed the importance of faith and commended them for taking the step of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, faith was just the starting gate. The combination of faith and tribulation produces patient endurance, and patience produces experience, which leads to hope. And when hope is shed abroad in the heart, it develops glorification and love—the objective.

All were condemned, but prior to the gospel dispensation, God could deal with individuals on the basis of friendship (not sonship). Examples are Enoch, Noah, and Abraham. The difference between Christians and individuals in the Jewish Age seems to be something like the following.

We pray to God direct, and He can and does answer prayer—but the answer can be done by holy angels, who are given instructions as to what to do and what not to do on our behalf. Of course this reasoning is speculation, but, for example, when millions of people of the household of faith pray at mealtime three times a day, we do not think the prayers ascend into the divine presence direct, yet they would be noted—it would be seen which Christians are faithful in their prayer life. However, the holy angels would not exceed their authority. In any situation that is a little iffy, or when there is a danger of misreading how to handle a matter—that is, on matters which are not common sense to them—the angels would make sure at headquarters that everything is all right. The guardian angel, the angel in charge of the angels (plural) who minister to each of the consecrated, then hastens off to see what to do. Thus there are degrees of recognition. Sometimes God can deal through the Logos, as in the Garden of Eden, where Genesis 3:8 says that Adam and Eve “heard the voice [the Logos] of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and … hid themselves.” The Scriptures teach, and the Pastor made the distinction, that Jesus is our Advocate, not our Mediator.

At any rate, God makes sure that those who are in His family are covered, and certain laws and principles have to be obeyed. The angels know what to do in many situations, the exception being where there are borderline issues. Some of our trials can be quite complex both to us and to those who see us.

Incidentally, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah never had the right to life. Therefore, God destroyed them for their exceeding sinfulness, and that destruction was in their best interest lest they become incorrigible in their wickedness. They will come forth from the tomb in the general resurrection with an opportunity for life conditional upon obedience.

Rom. 5:14 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.

“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses [because of Adam’s transgression], even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” Originally, God said to Adam, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt die,” but He did not say that subsequently (Gen. 2:17). Therefore, sin was in the world prior to the Mosaic Law, but it was not imputed when there was no law on every individual such as that which was on Adam.

In other words, in verse 13, Paul was saying, “For until the [Mosaic] law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed [as it was with Adam] when there is no law [like that given to Adam].”

In a simple way on other occasions, we have tried to show with the burnt offering that the Law did not come until Moses. The burnt offering had different degrees of development. For 2,000 years or so, there was only one offering: a burnt offering. Then a peace offering was added.

With the Law of Moses and commandments came at least ten kinds of offerings: burnt, peace, meal, heave, wave, thank, drink, consecration, etc. The point is that God did not set a commandment over every individual since Adam and say, “You are on trial, for in the day you do such and such, you will die,” for all have died anyway.

In other words, man sins whether or not he eats fruit; he sins because he was born a sinner. When the Law came, those who transgressed the Law were under condemnation (1) through Adam and (2) for disobeying even one of the commandments. Thus sins under the Law were additional sins. Prior to the Law, no such injunctions were given, yet death reigned because of genetics, the inheritance (or sentence) of death on the human race.

Adam “is the figure of him that was to come.” The perfect Adam, the father of the human race—that is, before he sinned—was a type of Christ, the Second Adam, the Father of the regenerated human race. If Adam is considered a type after his transgression, then he was a figure of Jesus in a partial sense. The sons of Adam die, whereas the sons of Jesus will have opportunity for life in the Kingdom. Jesus will be successful, even though a great many of the human race will go into everlasting death.

Rom. 5:15 But 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.

Rom. 5:16 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 offences unto justification.

There is a distinction between verses 15 and 16. We use the illustration of a balance scale, showing that it takes a perfect man to redeem a perfect man. When Adam sinned, the whole human race suffered. With the one man Jesus, in contradistinction to the one man Adam back in Eden, “the grace of God, and the gift by [that] grace … hath abounded unto many.” In verse 15, Paul used a play on words in regard to the sinning of one man and the obedience of one man. Adam’s disobedience resulted in the death of many, and Christ’s obedience resulted in the saving of many. Through one man, many died. Through one man, many get the gift of grace.

Just as many were affected by the death of Adam as were affected by the death of Jesus, and  thus all are guaranteed the opportunity to hear the plan of salvation. Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9). All souls who come into this world must hear about Jesus sometime in their life and have an opportunity for salvation—if not in the present life, then in the next age. One man, Adam, affects many; the other man, Jesus, affects many.

How will grace abound? Adam committed a single transgression, and all died as a result. All of Adam’s children have sinned, yet Christ’s one sacrifice compensates for all offenses—for Adam’s one sin plus the sins of all, that is, for many transgressions. Therefore, the “free gift” is for the forgiveness of many offenses, in addition to the ransom price being paid.

In verse 16, Paul took the same reasoning of verse 15 but turned it around to show an additive. With regard to the condemnation of the human race, one sin of one man involved the whole race, but by the obedience of one man—by his one act, by that one gift of grace—many sins are forgiven. Thus, not merely does God offer the opportunity of life to man, but man has sinned many times, especially with knowledge, for with the Law came knowledge. Before the Law, men could sense condemnation, but they died whether or not they did good. After the Law, some sinned with different degrees of light, resulting in many offenses. Therefore, the “free gift” of grace superabounds, for many sins are forgiven under the new arrangement in Christ.

Rom. 5:17 For 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.)

In a vague way, verse 17 shows that in the present life, Jesus Christ is King and reigns over the sanctified believer. Instead of being under the condemnation of Adam with sin condemning the race en masse, individuals can have Christ and peace reigning over them in the present life if they realize their hope and consecrate.

Verse 17 is a picture of two kings; that is, earth’s history is brought down to two kings: Adam and Jesus. With the human race as a whole, Adam and death now reign; Jesus and life will reign.

Paul’s motivation was to show that Jews and Gentiles are equal before God in regard to the method for attaining justification, forgiveness, and life. The Law continually reminded the Jew that he could not get life. Jesus is the means to life.

Rom. 5:18 Therefore 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.

Verses 18-21 are a review of verses 12-17. There are multiple comparisons: (1) two Adams, (2) obedience and disobedience, (3) sin and righteousness (or grace, the free gift), (4) a reign of sin and a reign of grace (or life), (5) sin and death versus grace and life, and (6) the many who were affected by sin versus the many who will be affected by grace.

While our Lord’s ministry began at Jordan and was consummated on the Cross, it was not until he actually died that the wheels were set in motion because Jesus finished his sacrifice faithfully at that time. Just as Adam sinned in a moment by eating the forbidden fruit, so Jesus finished his course in a moment. However, if he had not been raised from death, there would have been another problem. If God had recognized Jesus’ sacrifice right away, the human race would have sinned again and thus have come under condemnation again. Hence a living Savior was needed, so Jesus’ resurrection became vital. The world needs both his death and his resurrection. When Jesus died faithfully, that was all he could do. After that, when God raised him from death, he became a living Savior, and the “free gift” comes “upon all men unto justification of life” in the present life who avail themselves of it and take the required steps.

With the omission of the supplied words “the free gift,” the thought is a little more accurate: “The righteousness of one came upon all men unto justification of life.” Righteousness, justification, and the opportunity of a new way opening are what comes upon all.

Rom. 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

We can see that Paul had mathematical understanding. The Pastor explained justification in a precise, profound, unique way in the First Volume. Others believed it by faith, reasoning that the Bible says Jesus died for us, so we are saved. Down through the Gospel Age, simple faith is all that was required, but at the present time, we are living in a day of education. With the availability of greater knowledge on the Scriptures, we become responsible for attaining it. Of course that does not mean God cannot call someone in Africa or in another part of the world where such opportunities for understanding are not available. Those individuals are not judged for deep knowledge the way we are in this country with plentiful Bibles, concordances, Volumes, and all kinds of study helps, as well as fellowship and meetings for communing together. Those who do not have such opportunities can still make their calling and election sure, for the consecrated are judged on, and responsible for, only what is available. A man is responsible according to what he hath (Matt. 25:29; Luke 19:26). Some have less advantage, even in our own country, perhaps because of a limited ability to think and reason or because of location. Therefore, a person is also judged according to what he is able to comprehend. Stated succinctly, we are judged according to our ability in making use of what is available.

Rom. 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” A better expression would be, “Where sin abounded, grace superabounded.”

Comment: Paul seems to be saying there was no Law at first, but when the Law was given, the Jew had more guilt, so grace abounded more. When there was no Law, sin was not imputed, but once the Law came, more grace was needed because sin was imputed.

Reply: Yes, Paul reasoned that way with the Jews, but now, at the end of the Gospel Age, the reasoning goes further. Back there the Jew was trained under the Law, and the Gentile not only did not have any law but did not know Moses’ Law at all. Today the Gentile is in a different situation, for the Bible is available almost everywhere in the world in the language of the people. Thus, because this knowledge is available to both Jews and Gentiles, superabounding grace is needed. The Law teaches about sin on various subjects, but people do not want to hear it, and the gospel itself is somewhat like a law. Therefore, the Law of Moses and the so-called law of Christ are both available. The Law of Moses consists of mandatory commandments, whereas Christians are judged according to their own initiative, their wanting to know more and to obey. Even though Christians are pictured as bond servants of Christ, they are judged on how willingly they are his or God’s servants. Moreover, since the Law reveals the degree of sin, a repentant and forgiven Jew would (or should) appreciate God’s grace even more.

Rom. 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul ended on an exalted theme, but the problem was that once he taught this wonderful grace, the tendency was to abuse the privilege and sin willfully with the assumption that forgiveness would follow. Even the consecrated sometimes overemphasize forgiveness to the point of carelessness in their walk and/or their spiritual detriment.

This difficult fifth chapter was designed for the Talmudic Jew.

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