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Rejoicing in Suffering

Romans 5:3-5

Faith in Jesus Christ brings us peace with God (Romans 5:1).  As God has already poured out His wrath against our sins when Jesus took them to the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21), there is no wrath left for us.  There is no hostility between us and God, the war of rebellion is over, we who were once enemies, have been reconciled (Colossians 1:21-22).  The blessings described in Romans 5:1-2, of justification, peace, access to God, joy and hope also bring us joy when we face all kinds of suffering.

Dying Instead of Someone Else

Romans 5:6-8

Heroic self-sacrifice is rarely seen in peacetime, and when it happens it becomes a media event.  We love to read a story of bravery.  Paul's argument about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is different.  The death of Jesus was no accident or regrettable consequence of saving another's life: it was planned.  Jesus clearly understood that His life's work was to die (Matthew 16:21-23).

Total Security Brings Joy

Romans 5:9-11

The problem with Christless religion is that you never know if you have done enough to satisfy the divine standard.  Paul's letter to the church in Rome makes it much more straightforward: everybody has sinned and nobody has reached His standard (Romans 3:23); but (for the believer) the death of Jesus has satisfied all of the Father's demands and given us a righteousness we could never have earned (Romans 4:25).

The Legacy of One Sin

Romans 5:12-14

How did death come into God’s perfect creation (Genesis 1:31)?  It came because of sin.  The first act of rebellion against God started by Satan sowing doubts into Eve’s mind (James 1:13-15).  Doubts about God’s goodness were followed by the devil deliberately contradicting God’s Word - before presenting an attractive reason why the divine command meant nothing, and human feelings meant everything.  Adam was with Eve listening to Satan, and they agreed to defy God (Genesis 3:1-6).  But when they did, the sweet fruit immediately turned sour in their hearts, and they wanted to hide from God:

Many Benefit from One Sacrifice

Romans 5:16-17

Jewish law demanded 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' (Exodus 21:24).  Personal injury to other people must be paid for personally - the punishment would be the same as the injury caused (Leviticus 24:17-22).  One person would pay for each person who suffered.  

From Condemnation to Justification

Romans 5:18-19

It sounds terrible, and it is terrible: the sin of one person has resulted in everybody being condemned (Romans 5:12).  The good news is that Jesus Christ accepted all of God's condemnation against every person in the world (and at every point in time).  It is God’s will that all might come to repentance and live free of guilt and punishment in this life and eternity (2 Peter 3:9).  He wants everybody to trust His Word that all who believe in Jesus will be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).  Therefore, it is possible for anybody to be released from their guilt because Jesus has been punished instead of

The Law Makes Sin Worse

Romans 5:20-21

Some people think that the definition of sin is "breaking a law".  But no!  Adam, Noah and Abraham did not have the law of Moses, but they were still sinners.  Sin is rebellion and disobedience to the Word of God. The Old Testament law was added later.  It does not create sinfulness but defines the offence so that an appropriate punishment can be prescribed.  So then, the law makes sin more obvious with a known punishment which is to be feared.

Does God's Grace Encourage Sinning?

Romans 6:1-2

God's grace is wonderful!  But is it too good?  If God freely gives eternal life to all who trust Jesus, instead of punishment, what is to stop us continuing to sin?   If the law can never make people righteous - it simply describes behaviour which is offensive to God, and even encourages sin (Romans 7:7-8) - might Paul's teaching be misinterpreted and appear to permit moral anarchy?

Baptism Tells our New Story

Romans 6:3-4

Some people see baptism as a nice ceremony, a welcome into the church.  It is, but far more than that.  The immersion-baptism of the New Testament tells an important story: to the new believer, the church, God, the world and the devil.  In the Bible, water is not only a picture of life and salvation, but also of death, separation and judgement as in the flood (2 Peter 3:5-7), the Red Sea crossing (Exodus 14:21-31), and Jonah (Jonah 1:8-16).  Each of those narratives shows that God saves through the water those who trust in Him, and also judges those who stand against Him.