Romans 5:1-5


The doctrine of the Trinity is implicit in Romans 5:1-5. Jesus Christ is mentioned in verse 1, and God the Father and the Holy Spirit are mentioned in verse 5. Wherever and whenever Scripture speaks about our salvation and its results, the Trinity is mentioned or implied. The Triune God is the saving God. It is suggested that one this day the Athanasian Creed be used instead of the Apostles' or Nicene Creed.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

"Therefore" points back to 3:21-4:25, the section in Romans which treats justification by faith. The righteousness of God came to David and Abraham by faith and not by works. Likewise today we are justified and receive forgiveness of sins by faith in Christ, not by works of the law. The clause "therefore, since we are justified by faith" sums up Romans 3:21-4:25.

The participle "since" denotes time past from the viewpoint of the main verb. "Through faith" denotes manner, excluding human merit or worthiness before God.

Where there is justification, there already is peace with God. Some translations read "let us have peace," but this translation is not called for.

"With" denotes a close relationship. Look at John 1:1-2.

Jesus Christ is the agent, He is our Mediator. "Jesus Christ" is mentioned nineteen times in 5:1-8:39.

Note the succession of prepositions denoting manner, relationship, and agency respectively.

"Peace." Look at Numbers 6:26; Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 2:14.

Romans 5:2 through 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.

We are reminded of the picture of Jesus, the door, in John 10:7-9. Also Ephesians 3:12.

There exists a certainty and enduring nature of our relationship with God.

It is not the essential glory of God's person but His gift to us for which we now hope. Christians should not take a back seat so far as their destiny is concerned. They should boast of and glory in their sure hope of eternal life.

Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

Note the similarity between this verse and verse 11. This verse is truly paradoxical. At 2:9 we were told that "suffering" is a punishment for the wicked. But for those who are justified by God through faith "suffering" becomes a blessings in which Christians can boast. "Not only do we glory in the hope of God's glory, but also we boast, etc." "But we also" could be translated "more than that." In fact, that is the way the RSV translates it. NEB renders the phrase as "even," which is good: "We even boast in our tribulations."

Each Christian's tribulations are tailor-made for him.

The knowledge and conviction we have about this is God given. See James 1:2-4. "Perseverance," or "endurance" is the ability to stand up under adversities. Look at Luke 8:15; Hebrews 10:36. Afflictions are good for us. They are blessings of the Lord. In these afflictions we learn steadfastness.

Romans 5:4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.

"Perseverance" denotes the tried and true character. Note that in each case of the first mention of an item in verses 3-5 the item carries the article with it: "Our affliction, our character, our endurance, our hope." God gives them to us as gifts, and they come through toil and tears.

"Hope" is subjective, it is the hope itself as opposed to the thing hoped for. We have come full circle. Our hope of everlasting life is just as sure as the atonement and our justification before God. It is like Job 19:25-26. Though abandoned by every earthly joy, Job had true hope that he would see God. The Christian's hope increases as his spiritual life grows.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

This verse should not be understood apart from the means of grace. When Paul says that the love of God is given to us through the Holy Spirit, he means that we receive all through the hearing of faith as Paul maintains in Galatians 3:5.

Hope does not disappoint the person who hopes. It is true and reliable. This hope never deceives us. JB renders it: "this hope is not deceptive." Look at Psalms 22:5.

Now Paul gives the reason in a causal clause. "Because God." Paul is speaking about the love which God gives, not that which He requires. "His love" means the Gospel. Our hope is just as certain as is the love of God.

Paul uses the metaphor of pouring to denote the abundance of God's love. The Holy Spirit, in the Gospel, gives us the love of God which makes us certain, gives us hope and confidence. Specific instances of what Paul is speaking about would be: the assurance of the forgiveness of sins in Christ, the conviction that the individual is justified before God through Christ, and God's help in the many trials and vicissitudes of life.

Note how the persons of the Trinity pervade these verses. The Triune God is the saving God. All three members of the Trinity are eternally interested in me. That should be stressed at all times and especially on this day, Trinity Sunday.


Adapted from Exegetical Notes, Series C Epistle Texts, Sundays After Pentecost, by Harold H. Buls, Concordia Theological Seminary Press: Ft Wayne IN, 1985, pp. 6-7. Used with permission.

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