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Yellow Balloons Devotional Series: Advent

Romans 5:1-2

The Apostle Paul writes to the world-renowned believers in Rome, the center of the world at that time, in order to answer a slanderous charge made to them against Paul and his message. Paul’s detractors claim his emphasis on faith overturns the law. Paul says that ” just living by the law” does not achieve personal justice before God, while “just living by faith” does. Paul then demonstrates what a just life looks like: harmonious living with Jesus as the leader. Paul also makes clear the choice a believer has: to walk in faith and the power of the resurrection and experience resurrection life, or walk in sin and unnecessarily experience the negative consequences.


Paul defends his gospel against slanderous charges from competing Jewish “authorities”. Paul demonstrates that the Bible teaches both Abraham and David were justified before God by faith, and that is the only way any human can be justified before God.


Paul is reiterating that since we have faith in God, we are counted as righteous and he is moving into what this means for our daily life.

It is only chapter 5 (of 16) and this is the tenth occurrence of the Greek word “dikaioo” (translated here “justified”). Following is a list of the verses where “dikaioo” occurs to this point and a paraphrase of the point Paul makes in each verse:

  • Romans 2:13 – If anyone wants to be justified before God by the law of God then they have to keep 100% of the law 100% of the time.
  • Romans 3:4 – God is always justified by what He says, whether humans believe it or not.
  • Romans 3:20 – Not a single person will be justified before God by keeping the law.
  • Romans 3:24 – Being justified before God comes freely by grace through the redemption, which is in Jesus Christ.
  • Romans 3:26 – Jesus is the justifier of those who believe in Him, Jesus is the one whose blood pays the price.
  • Romans 3:28 – Therefore we conclude that man is justified by faith, completely independent of the law.
  • Romans 3:30 – There is only one God and He justifies all men the same way, and that is through faith: both the circumcised as well as the uncircumcised (Jew or Gentile).
  • Romans 4:2 – Abraham was justified by his great deeds before men, but not before God. Even Abraham was justified before God by faith.
  • Romans 4:5 – Anyone who believes in the God who justifies the ungodly has his faith counted as righteousness (righteousness being a translation of the noun form of dikaioo).
  • Romans 5:1 – Having been justified by God, we now are at peace with God.

Looking at this sequence of the uses of “dikaioo” (justified or justifies) provides a nice summary of Paul’s argument against the competing Jewish “authorities” to this point, and Paul has hammered home that righteousness before God comes only by grace through faith and not by the law. None of our actions matter, only God’s, God is the one who counts our belief as righteousness, we can only be justified by faith . But now Paul takes a new direction and begins to discuss the practical outcome of being justified before God by faith.

The first reality is that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. How does this tell us what the rest of our lives should look like? How should we then live? Chapter 5 will examine this question. Now that we have peace with God, as Paul states in verse 1, we can continue to live in His grace. So now Paul’s emphasis will be on how we live by faith in our daily lives, tapping into the resurrection power of Jesus.

Chapter 5 will also set the table to address another of the allegations made against Paul’s gospel – of righteousness by grace through faith – by those slandering his gospel message of justification (Romans 3:8).

We have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand. Since we now stand in God’s grace, we are in the safest and most permanent place possible, because God is dependable and unchanging. The Greek word translated “have” in verse 2 is in the perfect tense, so the access we have obtained to stand in God’s grace is continual and unceasing. That is certainly something to cause rejoicing.

Because we stand in this grace we can exult in hope of the glory of God. The phrase “glory of God” as Paul uses it here is something that is not yet seen but is eagerly hoped for. What is it that we hope for once we stand in the grace of God? In order to discover what this might be, we can study the phrase “glory of God,” which is a translation of Greek “doxa theos.” Doxa theos appears several times in the bible. Following is a list that includes “doxa autos” or “glory of them” (when “them” refers to God) as well as “doxa pater,” glory of the Father.

  • Matthew 16:27 – Jesus will come in the “doxa autos” (glory of them, i.e. of God) with His angels and give to each person a reward according to their works.
  • Mark 8:38 – “Doxa autos” refers to the glory of Jesus returning to earth as king.
  • Luke 17:8 – Of the ten lepers healed only the foreigner returned to give glory to God, doxa theos, by coming back to thank Jesus for healing him.
  • John 11:14 – The woman was healed that the glory of God might be shown.
  • John 11:40 – Doxa theos is shown when Lazarus is raised from the dead.
  • John 12:43 – Many Pharisees believed in Jesus but did not confess Him openly because they loved the doxa (praise or glory) of men more than the doxa of God.
  • Acts 7:55 – Stephen sees Jesus standing by the throne of God in heaven described as “doxa theos.”
  • Romans 3:23 – We all fall short of the doxa, the praise or glory of God.
  • Romans 4:20 – Abraham was strong in faith, and by believing God’s promise is true, he gave doxa theos.
  • Romans 6:4 – Jesus was raised by the glory of the Father, so we ought to walk in newness of life.

Which of these applications does Paul say they are “rejoicing” and looking forward to with hope? It could be all of them.

  • We have joyful hope for the return of Jesus to judge, renew and restore the earth if we are living faithfully.
  • We can live in thanksgiving like the grateful leper healed of his disease leading to death, as we have been healed from a spiritual disease of spiritual death.
  • As we walk in newness of life, we can glorify God by demonstrating the healing of our psuche (souls or lives), as the healed woman did.
  • The great opportunity before us, as we now stand in the unfailing grace of God, is to walk by faith in the newness of life and power of the Spirit, and thereby demonstrate the glory of God with that resurrected life, even as Lazarus and Jesus did.
  • We have opportunity to choose the doxa or praise of God over the praise of men, to our immense benefit, and which itself brings doxa to God.

Biblical Text

1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.