Ecclesiastes Podcast

Romans 5:10-11

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 expands the defense of his gospel against slanderous charges from competing Jewish “authorities” to now include the biblical and Jewish heroes: Abraham and King David. 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.

God loved us and died for us while we were sinners and enemies to him. Now that we are saved by grace through faith and are justified in his sight, how much more will he care for those in his family?

The word translated “enemies” has the sense of being in open rebellion against God. We can see the progression that we were:

Ungodly: (verse 6) we were missing God’s character

Sinners: (verse 8) we were missing the mark set by God

Enemies (verse 10) we were in open rebellion against God

This letter is addressed to believers in Rome so Paul never tries to get them to believe on Jesus – they already have. Paul tries to help them understand what believing on Jesus has already done for them, and what it can continue to do for them.

While we were enemies of God – enemies because we were separated from God by sin – Jesus died on our behalf and took on the sins of the world. What believing on Jesus has already done for us (as believers) is reconciled us to God through the death of His son. We are no longer estranged from God’s family by sin. We now fully belong to God’s family and nothing can separate us from that family or the love of a perfect Father. Jesus died because of God’s love for us, even when we were in open rebellion against God. How much more does God love us now that we are reconciled to Him and are in His family? Nothing can stop God’s love for His children.

We are not only saved from being enemies of God, but we shall be saved by His (Jesus’) life. How does this occur, and what exactly does Jesus’ life save us from that hasn’t already been accomplished through being made righteous in the sight of God? Even though we are righteous in the sight of God, and have a new nature indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we still have our old nature and live in a fallen world that we can choose to follow. Following the world is something we very much need to be saved or delivered from every day.

This occurs the same way we become righteous in the sight of God: by faith. We become righteous in the sight of God when we simply believe (Romans 4:3-7). We can be saved, or delivered, from the ongoing power of sin in our old natures and in the world through walking by faith each day. This looks like believing that walking in obedience to God’s commands is the best way for us and choosing that path. That is why Paul stated in his theme verse (Romans 1:16-17) that righteousness happens from faith to faith, faith from beginning to end. Righteousness before God is declared by God when we believe. Walking by faith delivers us from the ongoing power of sin through the resurrection power of Jesus.

Verse 11 explains that the fact we are delivered, or saved, from so much, is an occasion for rejoicing. We are delivered from being enemies of God when God decides we are righteous in His sight by faith (verse 10). We can exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. We have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ which should bring us great rejoicing.

It only makes sense to rejoice once something is received or accomplished. Football players rejoice that they won the game only after the time expires and the game is over. The fact that our reconciliation with God is accomplished, that there is nothing more to do, is cause for rejoicing. The competing Jewish “authorities” that Paul is contending with do not believe this. They believe it requires an ongoing adherence to religious laws and duties to avoid being the enemy of God.

This sort of religious duty is a great burden, a burden that no one can bear. This burden is anything but joyful. Yet the great redemption of Jesus frees us from that burden and frees us from sin and death. It is an amazing, wonderful reality in which we should rejoice greatly.

Biblical Text

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.