1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NIV)
This 5th chapter of Romans contains some wonderful reminders to us. Paul begins with our suffering. He even says we rejoice in our suffering because it helps us to persevere. This is true in all of life. When things are difficult and we don’t quit, but keep going and finally succeed, we come of the struggle stronger. And this is true of our faith. When we persevere, we come out stronger and we begin to develop a good character of who we are as children of God. And that character strengthens the hope we have in Christ. Paul says in verse 5 that God pours out his love into us as we persevere in this life. This is a wonderful reminder that God is constantly filling us with his love which reminds us of the hope we have.
Paul then takes that suffering we endure and brings it to the suffering Christ endured. And that suffering of Christ resulted in His death. Paul states that very few people will lay down their life for another person. And most times, it is for something that person believes in or people that person cares about. But Christ laid down his life for us while we were still “enemies” of God. What a wonderful example of God’s love for us. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ died so that the door might be open for us to accept the joys and life God offers. It is a door that was closed when sin entered the world.
This is the point Paul makes for the rest of this chapter. He contrast the sin of Adam, one person with the sacrifice of Christ, one person. One brought sin into the world, the other brought reconciliation. One was inspired by what can I get for myself and the other was inspired one can I give of myself. This is one of the foundations of our faith. Christ was consistent in calling for us to die to our desires by taking up our cross and giving of ourselves to others. William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army had one word to sum up what the Salvation Army was all about, “Others.”
Paul ends with a strange statement, the law came that sin might increase which then caused grace to increase. This will be something he addresses. But for Paul, the primary purpose of the law was to demonstrate our sin. When Paul says it increases, it is not that there is more sin being done, but more sin being identified as being done. This is an important point. Paul is trying to point out that the law shows us that some of our behavior that we might think was ok was not. Thus was we realize we are wrong, sin increases, not because we did something more, but we move some existing behavior that we might have considered normal and okay to the sinful acts we commit.
I think this is something that many can relate too. I know as I have grown, some of the things I did or allowed to be done as a teenager and young adult, I now realize I was wrong. Those things don’t bring me pleasure any more to remember them but bring about a bit of shame and remorse. Thankfully God does not condemn me for them, but forgives me as I admit them to Him.
Where in your life have your grown in your understanding of Sin and Grace? Are there areas of your life where you have persevered and come out stronger for it? What does it really mean that Christ died so that you might have life?
These are heavy questions, but get to the foundation of our faith.
Blessings and Peace