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ROMANS 5:1-5:21
Last updated 9/12/00

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 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. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 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. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 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: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 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. 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. 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.  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.) 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. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.


Through chapters 5-8, Paul elaborates on his arguments from the previous chapters, further explaining the inclusion of gentiles into the faith of Israel, along with their obligations to obey God and exercise "proper behavior."

Verses 1-11

The first half of Chapter 5 (v.1-11) is somewhat transitional as it focuses on a life characterized by peace with God ("having been justified by faith"). Verse 1 begins "Therefore …" and connects Paul’s arguments from the first major section of the letter (1:18-4:25) to the next section of the letter (chapters 5-8). Having explained we are saved by faith/trust in 1:18-4:25, he now goes on to explain what righteous behavior entails in chapters 5-8. Paul then returns to the topic of Israel’s election and obedience to the faith (re: 1:5b) on the part of the gentiles, in chapters 9-16.

Verses 12-21

Verse 12, beginning with "Wherefore," initiates a new thought based on the previous 11 verses. (NOTE: Chapter 6, verse 1, What shall we say then?", then brings up an argument based on what was mentioned in 5:12-21.) The second half of chapter 5 makes a comparison between Adam and Messiah. Here again, we see the foundation of the Shema in Paul's writing, as he appeals to the "oneness" of God. Note how often Paul uses the word "one" as well as, "all" and "many" in these verse. The theme of obedience versus disobedience, is once more seen.

1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace

This is an important connecting verse between what has been said in the previous four chapters and what Paul will bring forward in chapters 5-8. Being "at peace" with God is not a "feeling," but rather is a condition opposite to enmity. (Compare to verses 10 and 11 below.)

As mentioned earlier, the idea of "faith," in the Judaism of Paul and Yeshua, is not simply "believing in certain facts," but also agreeing to trust God and walk in obedience to His ways:

Deuteronomy 30:16a - In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply.

3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also 

To those who do not know God (and sadly, to some who do know Him), this verse along with similar ones in the Bible, either makes no sense or offers little "comfort." After all, what is the benefit of entering into a relationship with God, if you're still going to face as many tribulations in this life as the person who doesn't follow Him?

Yeshua Himself said, "the rain would fall on the just and the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). God does not promise to change your circumstances for the better (though He can), rather, the promise of His Spirit in you, means that He will change you, and how you view and deal with these circumstances. This change does not happen by itself. It requires growth in knowledge of Him, which is acquired through the Spirit guiding you in study and application of His Torah and through prayer.

6  For when we were yet without strength ...
8  while we were yet sinners ...
10 For if, when we were enemies ...

These phrases all carry the same meaning. Paul refers to sinners (who do not yet know Yeshua), as "weak" (asthenees, meaning "without strength"). Paul's use of the terms, "strength" (as determined by having faith in Yeshua), versus "weakness" (not knowing Yeshua), will be important in properly interpreting what he says later in the letter.

10  ... we shall be saved by his life.
11  by whom we have now received the atonement.

This giving of the life of the "atonement sacrifice" declares us "not guilty" of our sin, in the same way the Yom Kippur sacrifice did, only not having to be repeated each year. Yeshua is our Yom Kippur sacrifice. (See our comments on Hebrews 8 and 9.)

12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world

The appearance of the word, "Wherefore," indicates an upcoming explanation of what has recently been addressed. Paul now illustrates the theme of obedience to God, by contrasting it to Adam's disobedience. Adam "heard" another voice (Satan's), and chose to obey this it, showing that he had more faith in this, than the voice of God. Here again, "faith" is linked to obedience.

13  but sin is not imputed when there is no law
14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses

As mentioned earlier in this study, Paul does not teach that without Torah there is no such thing as sin. Verse 14 makes this clear, as had their been no "sin" before the giving of the Torah at Sinai, then death would not have reigned from Adam to Moses.

Much doctrine has been established around the above verses, particularly many related to the concept of "original sin." This is far too deep a subject for this study however, nor is it the purpose of Paul's teaching in this letter.

Judaism does teach the doctrine of the evil inclination in man, called the Yetzer Hara, but also that man can overcome this, as God Himself told Cain:

Genesis 4:6-7 - And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Judaism teaches that today one conquers sin by learning and obeying the Torah. This is true, but trusting in the atoning work of Yeshua is the beginning of Torah-observance (or "Torah-submissiveness").

Verses 15-19

Unlike Adam, Yeshua Himself obeyed, and offered restoration for man. Yeshua’s obedience covers His whole Torah-observant life, not just His resisting temptation in the wilderness and dying on the cross (re: Philippians 2:8).

19  shall many be made righteous.

The Shema is seen here again, as Paul's use of the term "many," is indicative of salvation of gentiles as well as Jews. Gentiles have come through faith in in Yeshua into a relationship with the One God and Father of all - to Israel, to whom the promises are fulfilled in Messiah, and the gentiles, to whom He has shown mercy. (This will be elaborated on in comments to Romans 15.)

20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound

This verse shows part of the Torah's purpose to reveal sin. (To the Jew first, to whom Torah was given, however, not only for their sake, but also for the sake of the gentile world, as the Jews were to be a light unto the world with this knowledge - i.e., Matthew 5:13-16).

The Torah makes man more "aware" that he is sinning (i.e., "that offence might abound"), as he is now violating "known and definable" commands from God. It is important to understand that God gave His Torah because of His mercy as an instrument to salvation (with faith/trust being the first of the commandments).

(One of the difficulties with Christianity is that it does not present a definition of sin. References are made to "disobeying God," or "going against the will of God," but what that means is very much left up to people to decide. Christianity's various denominations pick and choose what commandments from the "Old Testament" they believer are "applicable" (to their particular doctrines), while they all maintain the teaching that believers are "not under the law.")

The Torah, by revealing sin as such, is not "part of the problem," but rather, is "part of the cure." The Torah also "stirs up" sin in man, as by "laying down the law," many, who see themselves as above God, will respond indignantly, with deliberate violation.

Compare this to the parable in Mark 12:1-9, and how the tenants of the land respond to the owner's gestures. The more they are made aware of their improper behavior, the angrier they get:

Mark 12:1-9 - And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be our's. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard
unto others.

Paul explains the "dual role" of the Torah in God’s purpose. To make known the full magnitude of sin (so that man could see it for what it was), and to act as an instrument of God’s mercy and grace (the law is holy, just and good - Romans 7:12), in that it leads men to God.

This "duality" is in accordance to what God said when He gave the Torah:

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 - Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.