The Gospel of Our Salvation

(Rom. 5:6-11)

Part 2

 Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

In part 1 of this study, I noted that the gospel is a message concerning two primary issues: the spiritual condition of human beings and God’s response to that condition. In response to man’s need, God set in motion a plan of redemption by which the human race would be rescued and delivered from condemnation through the work of Jesus Christ. I noted that the entire Bible is about this unfolding decree of God whereby He appointed us to eternal life.

I called attention to the way in which Paul begins this section of his letter to the Romans. He describes a sinner’s condition at the point where the ministry of Christ becomes relevant. While we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. (v.6) Paul uses a Greek term (asthenes) that means” to be weak, sick, feeble, without strength.” Paul is speaking of our spiritual condition. He is teaching that the sinner is incapable of delivering himself from the judgment of God.

Paul uses another term to describe fallen man’s condition apart from Christ. In verse 8, he refers to us as “sinners.” This is the simplest and most prevalent term used to identify fallen man in his relationship to God. As we continued working through these verses, we found that Paul uses yet another phrase to explain fallen man’s condition. In v. 9, Paul refers to us as being “saved from the wrath of God through Him.” If we are saved from the wrath of God in Christ, that means that we existed under the wrath of God prior to our deliverance.

One other descriptive term of man in sin is found in verse 10: “[W]hile we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” I suggested that it is quite unsettling to think of ourselves as enemies of God. He made us and yet we are declared to be hostile toward Him. To be an enemy of God is to be doomed. It is to have no hope of deliverance.

Having worked through Paul’s description of man apart from Christ, or man in sin, we began looking at the second primary element of the gospel, which is God’s response to our need. While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (v. 6) The first component of God’s response to fallen man’s need is recorded in this verse. God responded to our need by taking our guilt from us and placing it on the back of His own Son. And then, bearing our sin Himself, Jesus Christ gave His life as a payment for our transgressions.

A second aspect of God’s response to our need is found in verse 8 where Paul says that the coming of Christ for us was a demonstration of God’s love toward us. We must always remember that God’s response to our need was grounded in His love for us. God loves us; therefore, He did not require us to answer for our rebellion against Him. His love revealed itself in His plan for our deliverance, which, as we know, involved Another taking our place.

We are now ready to examine the remainder of this passage as we continue looking at how God responded to man’s lost condition.

A third aspect of God’s response to our condition has to do with our standing before God. As I have said several times, outside of Christ, we are condemned before God because of our sin. But the death of Christ on our behalf changes our status before God because the Savior took upon Himself our guilt and paid the required penalty, which was His own life.

As result, God declares and we have been justified by Christ’s blood.(v. 9) To be justified means that we are pronounced guilt-free and no charge remains pending against us. All of our sin is pardoned because our Savior died for it. Before, we were condemned with no means of escape. But after Christ, we are free and God views us as those for whom His Son made atonement.

This is an incredibly encouraging truth. At one time, we faced only the judgment of God and our condemnation was completely just. That judgment, however, fell on our Substitute. This is a change that only God by His grace could bring about. We could never have altered our standing before a holy God and, therefore, had no hope whatsoever while looking only to ourselves.

But when we look to Christ, we find a loving Savior who was willing to receive what truly belonged to us. Being pure and without sin Himself, Jesus became sin for us. With our guilt credited to Him, Jesus allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross where, in due time, He surrendered His life in our place. Only a sacrifice of infinite worth could atone for our offense against infinitely holy God. Jesus was that infinitely worthy sacrifice because He was God in the flesh.

So far, then, we have seen three aspects or elements in God’s response to man’s need: He sent His Son to die for the ungodly, He manifested His love for us in Christ, and He declares us justified as a result of having the blood of His own Son shed in order to atone for our sin.

That brings us to a fourth aspect of God’s response to our condition. It is found in v. 10. Previously, I noted that in this verse, we are referred to as the “enemies” of God. That was one of the terms Paul used to describe our status outside of Christ. Now, notice what follows that statement: “we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” Note also that the same truth is stated in verse 11.

Reconciliation is one of the leading themes of the Bible. When this term is used in the context of redemption, it means that those who were enemies of God, those who were separated from Him due to sin, have been brought back into a peaceful and loving relationship with God. It was not God who needed to be reconciled to us, but we who needed to be reconciled to God. That has taken place, according to Paul, through the death of Christ.

We find ourselves in a relationship of peace instead of adversity. We have the assurance of everlasting life instead of assurance of inevitable judgment. And we relate to God as our heavenly Father instead of our offended Judge. In Christ, our eternal destinies have been settled.

This is the gospel. It is a message of profound implications for us as we live out our days in this world. If you have believed the gospel and have called upon Christ to be your Savior, then you may lead a life of contentment in a world of chaos.

To have peace with God is to have the peace that truly matters most. Knowing that God has received us as one of His redeemed, gives us joy and a steadfastness of heart. Our life is one of living in the saving love of God. Everything we experience is within the amazing love of God. This is life in the gospel.

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