Setting

From the word “therefore” in 5:1 we know that the current passage is a conclusion based on the preceding passages. As Paul has shown in chapters 3 and 4, we are justified through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, whom God has put forward as a propitiation. The present chapter now focuses on the redemptive work of Christ and discusses the overflowing abundance of His grace upon the believer.

Key Verse

(5:8)

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Outline

  • Peace with God through Jesus Christ
    (5:1-11)
  • Death in Adam, Life in Christ
    (5:12-21)

Segment Analysis

  • 5:1–11

    1.

    Based on verses 1–5, how would you describe the blessings of being a believer in Christ?

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  • 2a.

    What does it mean to have peace with God?

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    We were once enemies of God and children of wrath (Rom 5:10; Eph 2:3). But now, instead of being God’s enemies we have become His sons and heirs. We have also been saved from God’s wrath (Rom 5:9; 1 Thess 1:10).

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  • 2b.

    How was this peace achieved?

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    We are reconciled with God through the death of Jesus Christ and His blood (Rom 5:9–10; Col 1:22). Christ bore our sins in His body that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).

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  • 5:1–11

    3a.

    Explain the two reasons believers rejoice (vv. 2, 3).

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    As believers we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:2) because we have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and are eagerly looking forward to the revelation of Jesus Christ and the salvation of our souls (cf. 1 Pet 1:1–9). Furthermore, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that God has a good purpose for us even in the things we suffer (Rom 5:3–5; 8:28; 1 Pet 1:6–7).

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  • 3b.

    In your life, do you rejoice for the same reasons?

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  • 5:1–11

    4.

    What does this segment teach about God’s love?

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    God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (5:5). God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (5:8).

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  • 5.

    Why is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit called the pouring out of God’s love into our hearts?

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    When the Lord Jesus promised to the disciples the coming of the Holy Spirit, He comforted them and told them that He would not leave them as orphans but He would come to them (Jn 14:18–20). Receiving the promised Holy Spirit is to have the personal indwelling of our Lord Jesus Christ and an intimate fellowship with Him (Jn 14:20–21; 16:22). Therefore, by giving us His Holy Spirit, God is essentially pouring His love into our hearts. Having the Holy Spirit in our hearts is to have the constant abidance and help of our Lord. Such love can sustain us even in our weakness and sufferings (Rom 8:26–30).

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  • 6.

    What is the point of the contrast between verses 7 and 8?

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    The contrast brings out the extent of God’s love for us and the greatness of Christ’s death for us. If even dying for a righteous person or a good person is possible but rare, how much less would anyone die for a sinner who does not deserve such altruism at all! But this is exactly what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us.

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  • 7.

    In what sense were we once enemies of God (v. 10)?

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    Being enemies of God means being hostile to God in our thinking and our deeds, denying God and doing what is evil in His sight (Col 1:21; Php 3:18–19).

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  • 5:12–21

    8.

    What does the fact that death is the end of all men indicate about human condition (v. 12)?

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    Paul writes that death spread to all men because all sinned (Rom 5:12). In other words, the universality of death is concrete evidence that all have sinned. The entire human race has been under the reign of sin and death.

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  • 9.

    How was Adam “a type of the one who was to come” (v. 14)?

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    The Bible explains in the subsequent verses how Adam is a type of Christ by repeatedly comparing the two using terms like “if… how much more” (vv. 15, 17) and “as… so….” (18, 19). In other words, Adam is a type of Christ because they share some key similarities.

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  • 10.

    What do you think is the point of this passage in comparing Adam and Jesus Christ?

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    From these comparisons we see that Adam is a type of Christ in the sense that just as Adam represented the whole human race so Christ likewise represents all the believers. Furthermore, just as Adam’s disobedience impacted all who were born after Adam, Christ’s obedience also impacted all who were to believe in Him.

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  • 11.

    What does it mean that many died through one man’s trespass (v. 15)?

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    Verse 12 explains that sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men. Verse 14 tells us further that even those who did not sin the same way as Adam are under death’s reign. This means that the moment Adam disobeyed God, God’s warning, “in the day you eat of it you shall surely die,” came true (Gen 2:17). Adam did not die immediately physically, but spiritually he had become alienated from the life of God—a result of sin. Everyone born after Adam has been in such spiritual alienation from God (cf. Eph 4:18) and is dead in trespasses (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), regardless of whether he has committed the same sin as Adam. From God’s perspective, those who have not been born again spiritually are in fact dead (Jn 5:21–25; Mt 8:22; Lk 9:60).

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  • 12.

    Observe the use of the word “reign” in this segment. Explain the two contrasting reigns.

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    The word “reign” suggests exertion of power over its subjects. On the one hand, sin and death reigned in the sense that the whole world is under sin and its influence and must suffer death as a consequence. On the other hand, grace reigns through righteousness in the sense that those who believe in Christ are freely justified on account of God’s amazing gift. Believers who are justified also reign in life (v. 17) because by the grace of God they triumph over sin and present themselves to God as instruments of righteousness (cf. Rom 6:12–14).

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  • 13a.

    How is grace greater than sin?

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    Grace is greater than sin because it brings life rather than death and reverses sin’s deadly consequence. Grace is also greater because whereas judgment followed one trespass and brought condemnation, the free gift follows many trespasses and brought justification (5:16). God’s grace always exceeds the greatness of sin (cf. 5:20).

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  • 13b.

    How is the graveness of our sin related to the immensity of God’s grace?

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    “Where sin increased, grace abounded more” (5:20). No matter how much a person has sinned, God’s grace is always able to cover over his sins. The more sin abounds, the more God’s grace abounds.

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  • 13c.

    What does this truth teach us about our attitude as believers?

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    The more we realize we have sinned against God, the more we appreciate the greatness of God’s grace and love toward us. For example, the sinful woman who wept at Jesus’ feet showed Jesus greater love and honor because her sins had been many (Lk 7:36–50). Similarly, the more we are contrite over our sins, the more we would be thankful for God’s grace towards us and be compelled to love Him (cf. 1 Tim 1:12–16; Tit 3:3–7).

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