Day 295 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Romans. Here’s the video for the rest of Romans.
Video – Read Scripture: Romans 5-16
How does this video help you understand the rest of Romans?
Romans 5 – Previous chapters have majored on the gospel (1:16–17), our abject need for it (1:18–3:20), and Jesus’ centrality in it (3:21–26). Justification—God’s reckoning or accounting of Jesus’ righteousness to sinners—is through faith alone (3:27–31). The only thing we contribute is our need. This is true for us who look back on Jesus’ coming, as it was true for Old Testament figures (like Abraham and David; chapter 4) who looked ahead to God’s fulfillment of His promises through His Son.
Now Paul begins to unpack what knowing Jesus means in terms of daily life. He takes up sanctification, the work of God’s grace to set us free from sin and make us joyful servants of God’s righteousness (Romans 6:17–18). Believers in Jesus have peace with God, a state of grace and rejoicing, and a way of living that is both sobering and satisfying.
It is sobering that trusting in Jesus brings sufferings (see also Romans 8:17). But it is satisfying that those sufferings produce endurance, which produces proven character, which produces a confident hope in God’s enduring and eternal care. God’s Spirit gives God’s love in abundance. This is the normal yet glorious life of gospel faith.
Paul supports the assertions of Romans 5:1–5 by drawing on what it means that “Christ died for the ungodly.” It is as if Paul recalls Jesus’ words: “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). All are sinners (Romans 3:23), but Jesus saves those who admit it and turn to Him.
The mark of God’s love is His regard for us who because of our transgressions were His enemies. Paul, who had been a persecutor of the church (Galatians 1:13), is a prime example of this (1 Timothy 1:15). Through Jesus’ saving death “for us”, there is release from fear of future condemnation. Through our reconciliation with God as a result of Jesus’ resurrection life, there is “now” (not just later, at the judgment or in the age to come) rejoicing. As we look back on God’s great love for us when we were His enemies, we can be quietly confident that He will love and care for us now that we are His children.
Paul has just shown how Jesus’ death brings us peace with God through reconciliation. Now he sketches details of how Jesus restores what was lost when Adam sinned.
Sin in Eden brought death into the world. Death “reigned” even before the law given to Moses specifically condemned it. The sin that leads to death has continued to ensnare all people ever since. Paul describes here both the sin of human choice and the natural bent to sinning (original sin) found in every human born since Adam (i.e., sin was present even before there was a formal law to break). Adam was a “type” of Christ in that his act would have wide-ranging consequences for the whole world, just as Jesus’ life (and death) would have.
Every human being is either in Adam or in Jesus. We are all born in Adam, but God by His grace brings many into Jesus. Whereas Adam’s trespass led to death and woe, God’s grace abounds through the free gift offered “by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ.” The word “grace” occurs 21 times in Romans—six times in Romans 5 alone. This chapter marks a high point of Romans’ teaching about grace. By God’s grace, the “free gift of righteousness” can be dominant in our lives. Condemnation for “all men” because of Adam is universal, but the availability of “justification and life for all men” does not mean universal salvation, as the next verse makes clear. It is by grace—received through faith—that Jesus’ obedience makes righteous “the many” (not “all”; verse 19). In the end, grace reigns over and among God’s people through the righteousness Jesus won. The result is eternal life through Him—the strongest possible reversal of all the ills that came about through Adam.
God’s glorious good news can be twisted and misconstrued. In 6:1–14 Paul deals with the first of three possible distortions of the gospel message he has been explaining (for the other two, see 6:15–7:6 and 7:7–25).
How is grace prevailing in your life?
Romans 6 – The gospel message is not only for proclaiming and believing: it is for living. Grace and forgiveness do not mean we can “continue in sin that grace may abound.” That notion is unthinkable. Christian baptism signifies our unity with Jesus in His death; when He was crucified, we were present with Him in that He bore our sins (see also 2 Corinthians 5:21).
But this also means that when Jesus was raised from death “by the glory of the Father,” a transformed way of living became possible for those who trust in Him (Romans 6:4). Although we will not experience bodily resurrection until Jesus comes again, Believers already, by virtue of their union with Jesus, have been resurrected with Him and possess the benefits of His new life (see also 8:10; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1). This co-resurrection with Jesus has profound ethical implications. It is true that all of us fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), but it is also true that Jesus’ resurrection brings change into our lives now, in this present life. Through faith, we are united with Jesus both in His death and in His resurrection. God’s goal in the gospel is for His people to “no longer be enslaved to sin.” Jesus’ death, and our union with Him there, breaks sin’s stranglehold. Jesus’ resurrection life infuses the lives of Believers both now and in the age to come. Jesus defeated death and is alive in God’s presence. We as His followers are “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
The gospel message calls Believers to humble defiance of sin’s claim to “reign” in our physical bodies and everyday lives. Because Believers “have been brought from death to life,” we can “present” ourselves and every part of our bodies to God. Eyes, ears, hands, feet, voices, minds—our entire bodies, once ravaged by sin (Romans 3:13–18), become tools “for righteousness.” Sin’s “dominion” is broken. The law’s tyranny ended in Jesus’ death. We do not groan under law, leading to sin; we are “under grace,” which ushers us into God’s “dominion”—His own goodness and fullness. We become fully human again as intended at creation, before the effects of Adam’s fall diminished us.
In 6:15–7:6 Paul deals with the second of three misunderstandings of gospel teaching (see also 6:1–14 and 7:7–25). Is it true that sin is now permissible, since we are “under grace” and not under law?
No! Paul invokes what we might call “the presentation principle.” You are the slave of the person to whom you present your life, so, by all means, present yourself to God (see also Romans 12:1–2)! The “standard of teaching” of the gospel calls forth a dedication “from the heart.” Our very hearts have been changed. The gospel brings heart-transformation, not merely behavior modification. Sin is not inevitable, as it was before. We have been “set free”. We are not miserably enveloped in impurity and lawlessness; rather, “righteousness leading to sanctification” is the promise of the gospel. “Sanctification” here means progressive conformity to God in His holiness.
Verses 20-23 give the “backstory” of the sanctification promised in the preceding verses. Before the gospel is received, sin has the upper hand. There is no way out, and deep down we sense this. The gospel makes God our Master, produces His fruit in our lives, and sets us on course for the age to come (“eternal life”). We do not dread sin’s bitter payoff. There is rejoicing in God’s “free gift”. All is of grace.
How does it feel to know that you’ve been set free from the power of sin?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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