Table of contents
16 For even though many ridicule this gospel, there is nothing more I glory in than this good news of salvation in Christ; for it is God’s very power to save everyone who will appreciate and receive this gift which was first offered to the Jews and now is to be proclaimed to the rest of mankind.
17 It is through this gospel alone, God’s righteousness in Christ, that God is able to give mankind a right standing with Himself; our part from start to finish is to receive it by faith, motivated by a deeper and deeper heartfelt appreciation of what it cost God to save us in His Son. This is how Habakkuk in the Old Testament put it: “Only he who is righteous through faith shall have everlasting life.”
18 As you know, God’s displeasure or wrath is clearly revealed from heaven against all who think they can live without Him, enjoy sin, and deliberately suppress the truth.
19 It is sad that even though their conscience convinces them that God does exist and that He is deeply concerned about their welfare, they do not want to acknowledge Him.
20 Ever since God created this wonderful world of ours, which clearly demonstrates His existence and creative power, mankind in his sinful state does not want to submit to His rulership, even though it is for his own benefit. Clearly then, anyone who rejects God is inexcusable since this rejection is not out of ignorance but deliberate.
21 The sinful heart is so desperately wicked that instead of acknowledging God as God, men are ungrateful and unwilling to glorify or appreciate Him; instead, in their foolishness they prefer senseless speculations and the result is that their ungrateful hearts become engulfed in darkness.
22 In this condition, while they claim to be smart, they are in actual fact behaving foolishly
23 by substituting for the true eternal God their own creation resembling mortal man, birds, mammals, reptiles, or their humanistic ideas of salvation, such as Marxism, etc.
24 So God has abandoned them to their own choices, to indulge in perverted sex and the evil clamors of their sinful nature, thus demonstrating the degrading results of permissiveness.
25 This is the condition you see today; men have so twisted the truth that they would rather worship themselves and their ideas than the God of heaven, who sustains them and from whom all blessings flow.
26 Since they do not want God to be part of their lives, this is why He has given them up, to indulge in their degrading passions:
27 women preferring to be lesbians and men gay, each consumed by their perverted lusts for each other, practicing all kinds of shameful vice and as a result are suffering the inevitable consequences of their improper conduct.*
28 And because they insist on pushing God away, He who is agape love does not impose Himself on them but leaves them to their own devices.
29 The result is an increase in all sorts of crime and shameful behavior such as: malice, greed, envy, murder, quarrelling, deceit, etc.
30 Men and women have become traitors, open slanderers, God-haters, insolent, proud, boastful, designers of new forms of evil, disrespectful to parents,
31 conscienceless, treacherous, and void of love or pity.
32 All this in spite of the fact that they know it will result in divine retribution, the sentence of eternal death; yet they not only practice these terrible things but even encourage others to do them.
1 Incidentally, those of you who are self-righteous [Jews implied] and are quick to pass judgment on others, may I point out that you are really condemning yourselves; for in reality you who pose as judges are equally guilty of these very sins.
2 As you know, only God is rightly qualified to pass judgment on those who are indulging in the sins I have described.
3 While you who act as judges of those who practice such sins and yet secretly continue doing the same yourselves, do you for a moment think that you are going to escape the judgment of God?
4 Don’t you realize it is only because of a loving God who is rich in kindness, tolerance, and patience, that you are still alive? And should not this cause you to turn in humility to Him with deep heartfelt repentance?
5 Instead, your stubborn refusal to admit that you yourselves are sinners and therefore in need of God’s saving grace will one day be your downfall, when you face the reality of your own condemnation in the day of judgment.
6 For when God finally judges the world, He will pay everyone exactly what they justly deserve.
7 Those who in sincerity have patiently been engaged in good works and put God first will receive eternal life,
8 while those who have rejected God’s grace and insist on being self-dependent, continually and persistently resisting the pleadings of the Holy Spirit, will reap the consequences of their actions when God abandons them to their own destruction.
9 And this applies to everybody, irrespective of whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, for God does not play favorites.
10 In the same way, glory, honor, and peace will be bestowed upon everyone who pursues doing good, beginning with the Jews and ending with the Gentiles.
11 For again, there is no partiality with God.
12 We shall all be judged according to the light we have received; those who have sinned without the knowledge of the law will be judged according to the convictions of their consciences, while those who have sinned with the knowledge of the law will be held accountable to the law.
13 And the fact that you have the knowledge of the law does not of itself make you righteous, since the law demands perfect obedience to all its commandments before one can be declared righteous [Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10].
14 Indeed, the heathen who have never heard the law but are obeying their consciences in the right way will be declared righteous, since their consciences will act as the law to them.
15 They show by their deeds that they are obeying the law written in their hearts; their consciences will either vindicate or condemn them, depending on how they responded to their innermost convictions
16 because every secret thought, motive and conviction will be brought to the open on judgment day when God will judge the world through Jesus Christ, according to the gospel I preach.
17 Now you who call yourselves Jews and rely on your knowledge of the law and boast you are the only ones who know God,
18 claiming to understand His will, and capable of determining what is right and what is wrong from your knowledge of the law,
19 you think you only are qualified to guide the blind, the only true light to those that are groping in darkness,
20 a genuine tutor of the foolish and a teacher of the youth, seeing you only have the correct knowledge of truth as spelled out in the book of the law!
21 You who claim all these privileges and boast to be the only ones who can explain the truth, do you not teach yourselves too? You who preach that men should not steal, are you not guilty of stealing, yourselves?
22 You who warn men to cease committing adultery, are you not practicing it yourselves? You who outwardly abhor idolatry, are you not fleecing their temples?
23 You are constantly boasting about the law, but in reality are you not dishonoring God by breaking it?
24 For, as the Bible clearly indicates, the name of God is being slandered among the heathen because of your hypocrisy.
25 Now you may claim to be God’s people because you have been circumcised, but if you are not fulfilling the whole law your circumcision is valueless and therefore you are no different than the heathen who are uncircumcised (Jas. 2:10).
26 In fact, don’t you see that an uncircumcised heathen who is living a good life to the best of his knowledge will be considered a child of God?
27 And will not this heathen, who has never been circumcised, but yet is observing the law written in his heart, condemn you who are circumcised and have an explicit knowledge of the law but in practice are hypocrites?
28 You see, the real Jew in God’s eyes is not the one who happens to have Jewish blood running through his veins, and true circumcision is not an outward physical thing;
29 but the true Jew in God’s eyes is the person who from the heart truly appreciates Him, and genuine circumcision is a spiritual matter, the removal of unbelief, and not just an outward act. Such a person is full of praise and adoration for what God has done and has no confidence in himself [Phil. 3:3].
1 Does this mean that there is no advantage in being a Jew? Or that circumcision has no significance whatsoever?
2 Not at all; this is not what I am trying to say. The Jews certainly have been a privileged people and have had tremendous advantages; foremost of all they have had a clear knowledge of God and His law through the written Word which was given to them.
3 Unfortunately, some of them misused these privileges and therefore have twisted the truth of God. But does this in any way nullify God’s truth?
4 Certainly not. God is always true and right; the problem is man’s unfaithfulness to the truth. As the Scriptures say: “When you, dear God, speak, you are always right and the verdict will certainly be in your favor when you come to trial” [Ps. 51:4].
5 Now since our unfaithfulness brings to light or proves that God is right, how shall we respond?—that it is unfair (to use typical human reasoning) for God to punish us, seeing our wrongdoing helped to vindicate Him?
6 No way! Can’t you see that if His dealings with us Jews is in any way unfair, how can He ever judge the whole world in truth?
7 Again, as some argue, “If God’s truthfulness is made clearly evident when contrasted with my falsehood, why should I still stand condemned, seeing I am really doing God a favor?”
8 With such reasoning we might as well teach, “Why not do evil so that God’s righteousness may stand out”; this, in fact, is what some false reporters have accused me of teaching. All I can say is that these false reporters will certainly receive their just punishment.
9 What is our conclusion then? Can we say that we Jews are in any way better than the Gentiles, seeing we have been privileged to have greater light than they? Certainly not! As we have clearly seen, both we Jews as well as the Gentiles are together totally dominated by the power of sin.
10 As the Old Testament clearly states: “There is not one person who is truly righteous,”
11 neither is there any who really understands what true holiness is, nor is there anyone who seeks God without a selfish motive [Phil 2:21].
12 Every one is dominated by greed so that they are all corrupt; therefore no one is capable of doing good, not even one individual.
13 Even their words stink and their tongues are always lashing out at each other, just like a poisonous snake that strikes out.
14 Their mouths are always cursing and swearing,
15 while their feet are quick to move to take revenge.
16 Every one of them is heading for disaster,
17 because they do not know how to live in peace with each other.
18 But worst of all they have no true appreciation for God.
19 With this awful but true evaluation of fallen mankind, we realize that we could never meet the holy demands of God’s law which we are under. Therefore all mankind, without exception, stands guilty and condemned before God.
20 This is our terrible situation; no human being has the slightest chance of saving himself or standing righteous before God by attempting to keep His law; all that the law can do is prove to us that we are sinners and slaves to the power of sin [Rom. 7:14].
21 But now God’s wonderful way of salvation has been brought to light; God has given sinful mankind a right standing with Himself and it is entirely His own doing, without any help whatsoever from us, not even our law-obedience has contributed one bit. This salvation is what God promised all along in the writings of Moses and the prophets.
22 But now it is a historical reality realized in Jesus Christ and His righteousness, which righteousness is made effective through faith alone. This applies to both Jews and Gentiles alike since there is no distinction,
23 seeing all have sinned corporately in Adam [implied, see Rom. 5.12], and are individually coming short continually of God’s ideal of living a life of selfless love.
24 But the good news is that anybody and everybody may now experience a right standing with God by accepting with heartfelt appreciation God’s free gift of salvation which He obtained for us undeserving sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Christ Jesus.
25 For God, in His grace and unfailing love for us, offered up His beloved Son as an atonement for our sins so that through faith in Christ and Him crucified we may be truly forgiven and reconciled to Him; God offered up His Son as our sin bearer to satisfy the justice of the law so that now He has a legal right to forgive us of our sins [Heb. 9:22]. You see, before the cross event, God could only forgive sins through His kindness.
26 But now, because all mankind was included in Christ’s death [2 Cor. 5:14], God is perfectly just in declaring us sinners righteous, that is, all who by faith have accepted this union with Christ Jesus.
27 What does this do to our human bragging? There is absolutely no room for it. On what grounds? On the grounds that our works have made no contribution whatsoever towards our salvation, but we receive it by faith as an entirely free gift from God.
28 For the fact of the matter is that a person is justified through faith alone and none of our law-keeping contributes to that right standing with God.
29 Does God save the Jews this way? Or does it apply only to the Gentiles? No, it applies to both Jews and Gentiles alike.
30 You see, God has only one way of saving all mankind, whether we be Jews or Gentiles or whether we have lived in the Old Testament period or are living in these New Testament times; that way was by including all mankind in the holy history of His Son, Jesus Christ. Our part from beginning to end is to respond by faith motivated by love [Gal. 5:6].
31 Does this mean that the truth of righteousness or justification by faith does away with or bypasses the law? Not at all! God’s way of saving us in Christ fully meets all the law’s requirements on our behalf—both its positive demands as well as its justice, for in Christ’s holy history the law was fully satisfied [Rom. 10:4].
1 To prove that this is how God saves all mankind, (especially to you Jews), let us consider the situation of our forefather Abraham, who is the prototype of the saved.
2 If Abraham was declared righteous or justified on the basis of his good works, he would certainly have bragged about it; however, his boasting would obviously be in his achievements and not in God’s free gift of salvation.
3 But what are the facts? Scripture tells us that “Abraham put his full confidence in God’s promise of salvation and not in his own performance and God in turn credited Abraham’s faith with righteousness” [Gen. 15.6].
4 When a workman, for example, collects his pay he does not consider it as a gift or a favor from his boss, but as wages that he rightfully earned and deserves.
5 On the other hand, a person who fails to produce any righteousness but gratefully accepts by faith God’s free gift of salvation, prepared in Christ for sinners, that person’s faith is credited with Christ’s righteousness.
6 This is exactly how David, too, describes the good news of salvation aside from any good works we may have done,
7 for he declared in his Psalms “Happy is the person whose willful disobedience [transgression] has been forgiven, and whose failures [sins] God has covered up;
8 Happy is the one whose very sinfulness [iniquity] the Lord does not take into account and holds nothing against him” [Ps. 32:1,2].
9 Does this happy news of righteousness by faith apply only to the circumcised Jews, or are the uncircumcised Gentiles included too, seeing we are discussing Abraham’s situation, whom the Jews claim as their father?
10 The answer to this question can be determined by another question, and that is, When did God acknowledge Abraham’s faith and credit him with righteousness, before or after he was circumcised?
The facts are that Abraham received the gift of righteousness that comes through faith long before he was circumcised; to be precise it was about 25 years before God required him to be circumcised.
11 Then why, you will inquire, did God introduce circumcision, seeing Abraham was already declared fully righteous without being circumcised?
It was not added as an extra requirement for salvation but rather to seal or confirm the righteousness he already had by faith. You see, circumcision, which symbolizes the removal of unbelief [Deut. 10:16], was introduced because Abraham unfortunately sidetracked from the way of faith in trying to fulfill God’s promise of a son through his own efforts, when he produced Ishmael [Gen. 12 and 15-l7].
So then we may say that since Abraham was justified by faith while still being uncircumcised he is the father or prototype of all the Gentiles who like him believe, even though they have not been circumcised.
12 And since circumcision confirmed Abraham’s righteousness which he received by faith he also becomes the father or prototype of the circumcised Jews, as long as they, like Abraham, believe in God’s promise of salvation in Christ apart from being circumcised. Thus we may conclude that Abraham’s situation proves that God’s way of saving all mankind is through faith alone.
13 Now I know you Jews will not fully agree with this conclusion and will insist on bringing in the law. May I remind you that the promise made by God to Abraham and his descendants, that he should inherit the earth made new, was not on the condition that he observe the law but on the basis of righteousness that comes through faith [Gal. 3:17, 18].
14 For if those only who keep the law qualify to inherit the new earth, then no longer can faith be the means by which we receive salvation, and the promise of God becomes meaningless. You cannot have it both ways; for righteousness through the law and righteousness by faith are mutually exclusive so that the two can never be mixed.
15 But the truth is, salvation can never be gained through lawkeeping since the law demands perfect obedience and none of us can claim that; in fact all of us have sinned and therefore deserve the just punishment of the law.
Don’t you realize that the purpose of the law was never to save but to convince us that we stand condemned as sinners, thus making the promise of salvation all the more desirable?
16 God, in His great love and mercy, promised us undeserving sinner’s salvation entirely as a free gift and all He is asking from us is to accept it by faith with deep heartfelt appreciation. In view of this, everybody, Jews and Gentiles, is guaranteed salvation, as long as they live by faith as did Abraham, whom God referred to as our father.
17 For God declared to Abraham in His Word: “I have made you the father of many nations” [Gen. 17:5]. God calls him our father in the sense that He has set him to be our example or the prototype of all who will follow in his footsteps and believe in God’s promise—He who is able to bring to life those that are dead or create things without depending on pre-existing matter.
18 Consider for a moment Abraham’s faith: he believed God could give him a son even when medical science said it was impossible; and that is why he qualified to be the father of many nations, because the promise was: “that is how your numberless descendants will be saved—by faith” [Gen. 15:5,6].
19 Abraham’s faith in God’s promise became so strong that it did not weaken, even the slightest bit, at the age of about 100 years when he realized that humanly speaking it was impossible to have a child through Sarah his wife, because she had now passed the age of child bearing.
20 Yet he never doubted for one moment, through unbelief, God’s promise made to him some twenty-five years before; therefore he continued to praise God and give Him glory,
21 being absolutely sure in his mind that God was able to do the impossible and keep His promise of giving him a son, even at this late stage in life.
22 This is why God was pleased with him and credited his faith with the righteousness promised to him in Christ [Gal. 3:16].
23 Now the statement recorded in Scripture, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness,” does not apply to Abraham alone,
24 but to all of us also; for we too will be credited with righteousness if we believe in Jesus Christ whom God raised from the dead.
25 For God abandoned Christ to experience the second death on the cross in order to meet the just demands of the law for the sins of everyone and then raised Him up so that Christ may rightfully claim justification for us who believe.
1 Having convinced you of God’s way of salvation in Christ, let me now describe some of the wonderful blessings that come to those who respond positively to the gospel. The first and immediate blessing that comes to us who are justified by faith is inner peace with God. This peace is made possible through Jesus Christ, in whom we have been fully reconciled to God by His life and death.
2 Secondly, Christ also places us justified believers in a new relationship with God so that we are now standing in grace; this means that through this same faith we now have full access to the very power of God manifested in Christ’s earthly life [1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 12:9]. This, in turn, gives us hope of experiencing the glorious character of Christ, being reproduced in us now, and His glorified perfection when He comes.
3 Naturally, all this involves suffering and depriving our sinful nature of its evil desires while waiting patiently for the blessed hope; but we happily put up with these things because of the ultimate hope, which is worth waiting for;
4 and this ultimate hope we patiently wait for is, of course, glorification, which will be realized at the second advent.
5 In the meantime, we are not ashamed of being called Christians but, instead, willingly share and display the wonderful agape love of God which we are experiencing through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
6 This agape love of God is so wonderful that I would like to describe it to you: while we were utterly helpless to save ourselves God sent His Son, at the right time, to die for us ungodly rebels.
7 There is nothing in secular human history that can be compared with this agape love, for the ultimate display of human love is when a person is brave enough to die for a good person or maybe a good cause, and even this is something which very rarely happens.
8 But in contrast, God directed His agape love towards us undeserving sinners by sending His beloved Son to die the wages of sin, the equivalent of the second death, while we were still sinners.
9 But that is not all. Having brought us into a right standing with God [justified] by His supreme sacrifice, Christ ascended into heaven and is now interceding on our behalf against the accusations of Satan, and finally He will vindicate us in the judgment. All these superabundant blessings are the results of God’s great unconditional agape love for us.
10 For, if while we were still God’s bitter enemies, He poured this agape love on us and reconciled us unto Himself through the death of His Son, you can be absolutely sure that this unfailing agape love will continue to work on our behalf and for our ultimate salvation through Christ’s priestly ministry in heaven.
11 It is for this reason we not only have assurance and peace, but we should by our life continue exulting in God’s inexpressible gift, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained our reconciliation and redemption.
12 In order to fully understand and appreciate this glorious truth of salvation in Christ, let us consider our situation in Adam; for we are saved IN CHRIST in the same way we are lost IN ADAM [1 Cor. 15:21,22].
It was through Adam, the father of the human race, that sin and death became part of mankind’s heritage.
Let me explain. Adam’s original sin resulted in his coming under condemnation and the sentence of death. This is because God made it absolutely clear to him that the day he ate of the forbidden fruit he would surely die [Gen. 2:17]. But this death has pervaded the whole human race because all mankind, though not responsible, was involved or participated in that one sin. This is true because God created all mankind in Adam [Acts 17:26] and therefore we were all in him or part of him when he sinned. [*See note.]
13 Let me prove my point: Take for example the human race that lived before Moses. These people were certainly sinning; but since God had not yet given mankind His law as a legal code until the time of Moses, He certainly would not be a just and fair God if He would condemn them to death for their sins.
14 Yet the facts are that these people who lived from the time of Adam to Moses were dying. Was God punishing them unjustly, seeing their sins were not open violations of His law as was Adam’s one transgression?
The answer is No; but the truth is that they were dying because in Adam we all participated in his wilful sin and therefore must die, apart from our own personal sins.
That is why Adam is, in a sense, a type of Christ who was to come to save all humanity. For just as what Adam did affected all mankind, so in the same way what Christ did affected all mankind except in the opposite sense.
15 This is because what Adam and Christ did were absolutely opposite. Unlike Adam’s sin, which brought about universal death, Christ obeyed all of God’s requirements and brought in the free gift of eternal life to all mankind [Heb. 9:12].
God accomplished this out of pure grace in a most remarkable way: He united our corporate fallen humanity that needed redeeming to His Son’s divinity in the incarnation so that we actually participated or were implicated in Christ’s obedience and holy history [1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:3]; this is how Christ, as the second Adam, saved all mankind and set us free.
16 Further, I would like to add that God accomplished much more in Christ than simply cancelling Adam’s one sin that brought the death sentence on all mankind. For in Christ’s sacrificial death not only was Adam’s sin cancelled, but on the cross all our own personal sins, past, present, and future were cancelled, too, so that in Him we have been justified from all sins.
17 And this is not all; while Adam’s sin placed all mankind under the reign of death so that none can escape the “grim reaper,” the wonderful truth of God’s grace is that all who by faith receive the gift of life in Christ will not only be raised to eternal life, but much more, they will reign with Christ throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity [Rom. 8:17; Rev. 20:6; 22:5]. I am sure you will agree with me that this is superabundant grace.
18 This, then, is the sum of what l have been trying to get across: by Adam’s one sin the whole human race was judged condemned and received the sentence of eternal death. This means that legally none of us really have the right to live and, therefore, are as good as dead [Eph. 2:3]. In the same way, Christ’s perfect obedience has acquitted all mankind so that in Him we stand legally justified and are qualified to live forever. This is the good news of the gospel.
19 Besides this, Adam’s one sin also made us captives to sin [Rom. 7:14] so that all of us are born with a sinful nature that, in and of itself, is incapable of obeying God’s holy and righteous law [Rom. 7:14-25]. Likewise, Christ’s obedience has also redeemed us from the corruption of our sinful natures so that, when He comes to take us to heaven, He will replace our sinful bodies with sinless bodies, similar to His when He rose from the dead. This is part of our glorious inheritance in Christ [Rom. 8:23; Phil. 3:20,21].
20 And how does the law fit into all this? God introduced the law to show or convince us of the awful result of Adam’s one sin; it produced a whole human race of sinners dominated by the power of sin. But just as Adam’s one sin multiplied through his posterity, the good news of the gospel is that God’s saving grace has multiplied all the more. For in Christ not only has God redeemed all mankind from sin, Adam’s plus ours, but through Him we can be more than conquerors (Rom. 8:3t).
21 Therefore, just as sin rules over every child of Adam from birth to death; so we believers must now allow grace to rule over us until Jesus Christ ushers in eternity at His second advent.
*Explanatory Note on Romans 5:12
Paul discusses mankind’s situation in Adam in verses 12-14 in order to show Adam is a type or pattern of Christ (verse 14 last part).
The reason the death that resulted from Adam’s one sin passed on to all humanity is not because God transfers Adam’s guilt to us but because all sinned in Adam (not like Adam).
At least four reasons may be given to show that this is Paul’s idea in verse 12:
- Paul’s use of the aorist tense implies a once-for-all act in the past.
- In verses 13 and 14 the people who lived from Adam to Moses were dying even though their sins were not like Adam’s transgression.
- In verses 15-18 Paul declares four times that we are judged, condemned, and die because we are in Adam’s sin and not because of our sin.
- If all die because all have sinned like Adam; for this analogy to fit Christ, we would have to teach that all live because all obeyed like Christ. Not only is this the very opposite of Paul’s thought, but we would be guilty of teaching legalism.
The whole force of the parallel in Rom. 5:12-21 between Adam and Christ depends on the idea of the solidarity of mankind in Adam and in Christ.
In the great majority of the 5 to 10 times the word Adam is used in the Old Testament it possesses a collective significance.
In the same sense, Christ is referred to as the last or second Adam in the New Testament.
According to the N.T. scholar Brooke Foss Westcott:
“If Christ took our nature upon Him, as we believe, by an act of love, it was not that of one but of all. He was not one man only among many men, but in Him all humanity was gathered up and thus now, as at all time, mankind are, so to speak, organically united with Him. His acts are in a true sense our acts, so far as we realize the union. His death is our death, His resurrection our resurrection.”
(The Gospel of the Resurrection, p. 39.)
1 Now how are we to relate to this wonderful truth of being saved by grace? Can we say that since Christ’s redeeming grace has cancelled Adam’s sin plus all our own personal sins, we are now at liberty to enjoy sin, seeing grace has set us free from all condemnation [Rom. 8:1].
2 No, never! How can we ever think like that when we know that Christ’s death to sin included all mankind [2 Cor. 5:14] and we believers have by faith identified ourselves with that death? [Gal. 2:20]
3 Or are you not aware of the meaning of baptism, that it is a public confession declaring our union by faith to Christ and Him crucified?
4 This means His death to sin becomes our death to sin; His burial becomes our burial—symbolized by our immersion in the waters of baptism; and, just as God raised Christ up from the dead by His undefeatable power, we too must allow that same power, now dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit, to control us in our new Christian life [Rom. 8:11].
5 For since we have by faith identified ourselves with Christ, sharing in His death to sin, surely we must also identify ourselves by faith with His resurrected humanity, cleansed of sin.
6 And knowing this—that our self-centered, sinful life was crucified with Christ, thus bringing to an end the source of our sin problem—by faith we can now experience deliverance and no longer be slaves to sin [Gal. 2:20].
7 For when a sinner dies, such a person has not only met the justice of the law [justified], but has also been set free from the dominion of sin.
8 And if we have died with Christ, our sin bearer, we believe with certainty that we shall also live with Him in eternity,
9 for we know that Christ died only once and was raised from the dead never to die again; death can no longer have sway over Him.
10 This is because when Christ died on the cross He died the death the law demands of every sinner, the equivalent of the second death, and now that He lives He does so in unbroken union with His Father our God; never will He ever have to face God-abandonment as He did on the cross.
11 In the same way, you too, who are united to Christ by faith, must regard yourselves as having died to sin and ended with that relationship, and must now live in unbroken union with God.
12 Accordingly, do not let the pull of sin rule over you so that you have to yield to its demands.
13 Neither must you allow the clamors of sin to control the various parts of your body to satisfy its own sinful ambitions; but by faith put yourselves at the disposal of God’s Holy Spirit and let Him use your bodies as tools for doing good and righteous acts.
14 For remember, sin no longer has authority over you who are in Christ; it has no right to dominate you nor can it destroy you eternally, because you are no longer legally under the law, in the sense of the old covenant, from whence sin gets its power to kill sinners [1 Cor. 15:5]; but you are now under grace, the new covenant of God, which does not destroy but saves to the uttermost [Heb. 7:25].
15 Does this mean we can take advantage of this truth? What I am alluding to is this: since sin can no longer destroy us Christians, because we are no longer under the jurisdiction of the law but under God’s saving grace, can we say “it really does not matter if we keep on sinning”? The answer is a definite No!
16 You know well enough that in the slave society, when one places himself at the disposal of a master as a slave, he has to obey his master in all that he requires. This is how it is in the spiritual realm too; when you chose to serve sin it became your master and it will rule you until it takes you to your grave. On the other hand, if you have decided to obey the gospel, then you have chosen God to be your master and you have to obey Him, who is the author of righteousness and not sin.
17 All of you believers can thank God because you were all born slaves to sin as a result of the fall [Rom. 7.14]; now, from the depths of your hearts, you have obeyed the gospel you were taught;
18 and being emancipated (freed) from the dominion of sin, you have, out of your own free will, chosen to be slaves of our benevolent God, the source of all righteousness.
19 I am using this illustration of slavery because you understand how your sinful natures are slaves to sin; but now what I am admonishing you is that just as you formerly yielded the various parts of your bodies to impure acts and to ever-increasing lawlessness, so also, now that you have been set free from sin by the grace of God, you must yield the various parts of your bodies to right-doing, making Christ’s holy character your goal in life [Phil. 3:12-14].
20 Remember . . . when you were slaves to sin all that you were capable of was to commit sins, for even your good deeds were polluted with selfishness. What profit was that to you, now that you have seen the light?
21 None whatsoever; not only are you ashamed of your past history but had you continued that lifestyle it would have ended in eternal death.
22 But now that you have been emancipated (freed) from the dominion of sin and become slaves of God by your own choice, the blessings you receive are twofold; it is holy living in this life and the joys of eternal life with God at Christ’s second advent.
23 For just as the wages paid by sin is eternal death, so likewise the gracious gift of God is eternal life through our faith-union with Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 In the last chapter, I indicated that we Christians are no longer legally under the law [Rom. 6:14]. I would like to amplify on this, as I am sure some of you will object to that statement.
Don’t you realize, brethren, that when Christ liberated us from the dominion of sin He also delivered us from the jurisdiction of the law?
May I remind you who are familiar with the law, [Jews implied] that the law has authority over a person only as long as that person is alive.
2 Take, for example, the situation of a married woman: according to the law of marriage, a woman is bound to her husband by the marriage vow as long as they both live. But should her husband die, she is immediately released from her marriage vow and is permitted to marry another man.
3 If, however, the woman leaves her husband, without Biblical grounds, while he is still alive and marries another man, she certainly will be considered as an adulteress.
But this is not true if her husband dies and she later marries another man, since the marriage vow is valid only as long as “both shall live.”
4 This is precisely how Christ liberated us from under the law’s jurisdiction.
All of us were bound to the law from birth, just as a wife is to her husband by marriage. This means the law had authority over us as long as we lived.
But when we died in the corporate humanity of Christ, which, incidentally, we Christians have identified with by faith and baptism, we were released from the jurisdiction of the law; and this God did in order that we might be married or united to the risen Christ.
The result is that now we can actually bear spiritual fruit unto God, because this is what Christ is able to do in us, something the law was incapable of doing.
5 But prior to this glorious event, while our sinful self was still ruled by the law there was absolutely no compatibility (capability of existing or performing in harmonious or congenial combination) between the law and our sinful natures so that all that we did was in complete contradiction to the law’s requirements, which in turn meant we stood constantly under the condemnation of the law to eternal death.
6 But now that our sinful self is crucified with Christ and we have been released legally from under the law and are married to the risen Christ, we can serve God in a truly spiritual way, out of hearts full of love, gratitude, and joy instead of the old motivation of fear, which we did under the law.
7 Now does the fact that Christ has liberated us from sin as well as from the jurisdiction of the law mean that the law and sin are synonymous?
No, never! In fact, the very opposite is true. It is through the law that we know the true and deeper meaning of sin; for sin is the violation of the law (I John 3:4).
For example, I would never have known that it was a sin to covet or desire somebody else’s goods or wife if the law had not declared “thou shall not covet.”
8 But sin, being what it is, anti-law [Rom. 8:7], produced in me all kinds of covetous desires, thereby bringing to the open the fact that I am a miserable slave to sin and incapable of meeting the law’s demands, something I may have not fully discovered had God not given us His law.
9 In fact, there was a time when I had not fully understood the full implications of the law and consequently considered myself a righteous person worthy of eternal life [Phil. 3:6].
But when God opened my eyes and I realized the full and deeper meaning of the law’s demands, I discovered to my horror that I was a wretched sinner deserving nothing but eternal death.
10 I found that the commandments, which according to my upbringing were taught to me as the way of salvation, turned out to be the very opposite, the way of death.
11 It was really my sinful heart that utterly deceived me [Jer. 17:9] and gave me the idea that I could save myself through keeping the law. On the contrary, I have discovered that all that the law can do is convince me I am a sinner and condemn me to eternal death.
12 This is because the law is holy and its demands to qualify for life are absolute holiness, goodness, and righteousness.
13 But how can a holy law that is absolutely good be the means of my death?
No! I did not say that; it is not the law that is the cause of death but sin that is the sting of death. But because the law condemns sin it gives sin the legal right to execute the sinner [1 Cor. 15:56].
However, the reason why God gave us His law was not to destroy us but to open our eyes to our utterly sinful state, something essential if we are to accept His gift of salvation in Christ.
14 So then, we may conclude that the law itself is holy and spiritual, but it is I that am sinful, sold as a slave to sin.
15 My own experience and that of every person that lives under the old covenant proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. For even when I would like to live a good and righteous life, I discover that in practice I am doing evil—that which I hate to do.
16 And since I am doing what I really do not want to do, then I am admitting that the law’s demands, which I want to do, are good.
17 The real problem, then, is not my desire to do good but my sinful nature which controls me and will not submit to my good intentions prompted by the law.
18 By this l know that in me, that is in my sinful nature, nothing good resides; for while the inner most desires of my mind want to do good, I am incapable of carrying out those desires.
19 Instead, the evil which I detest, but what my sinful nature wants, is what I find myself continually doing.
20 Consequently, since my evil acts are really not my true intents, this is proof that I am a slave to my sinful nature which I was born with and which is the real culprit.
21 So then, this is what I have discovered to be my predicament: when I want to do good, my sinful nature dominates me and drives me to do the very opposite.
22 For deep down in my heart I really delight in the righteous requirements of the law of God; 23 but in reality and practice there seems to be another principle dwelling in my lower nature, the law of self, that continually contradicts my good intentions, making me a prisoner to sin’s power which has permeated my whole physical being.
24 Oh, what a miserable and wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from the plight of my sinful body by which I am doomed to death?
25 But I thank God, for there is a way of escape He has made for us in Christ.
So then, in and of myself (AUTOS EGO), apart from the power of God’s Holy Spirit, I am totally incapable of producing genuine righteousness, for while my mind may wish to obey God’s holy law, my sinful nature simply will not comply and therefore enslaves me to sin.
This is the predicament of fallen humanity and our only hope, therefore, is Christ’s righteousness, both imputed and imparted.
1 Therefore, the good news of the gospel is not salvation through self-righteousness but through faith in Christ. Hence, there is no condemnation resting upon us who have accepted by faith our union with Christ Jesus in spite of the fact that we still possess sinful natures.
2 This is because the principle or power of sin and death dwelling in our sinful natures was defeated and dealt the death blow by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the humanity of Christ Jesus; thus in Him we were set free.
3 For while God’s law was incapable of saving us from sin and death, seeing our sinful natures made it impossible for the law to produce righteousness in us,
God, in Christ, did it;
He did it by uniting the divine nature of His Son, at the incarnation, to our corporate sinful human nature that needed redeeming and in that humanity Christ assumed, which was identical to ours, the principle or power of sin was both defeated and executed.
4 In this way God not only saved all humanity but also proved that the righteous requirements of the law may be fulfilled in us born-again Christians if we, like Christ, learn to walk in the power of the Spirit and not depend on our own sinful nature.
5 For those who allow themselves to be controlled by their own sinful nature find that their thoughts are continually dominated by the sinful desires of the flesh; while those who walk in the power of God’s Spirit find that their minds are dwelling on spiritual things.
6 And let me make this clear; to allow your minds to be dominated by your sinful nature is asking for trouble, for it means you are allowing yourselves to head down the road that leads to death. But, on the other hand, to allow your minds to be controlled by the Spirit is what true Christian living is all about and this brings inner joy and ultimate salvation.
7 Besides, you must realize that the sinful nature with all its desires belongs to the realm of Satan and therefore is in complete opposition to God. In fact, our sinful nature will never truly obey God’s law and cannot, even if it tries, because it is enslaved to the principle of self which contradicts God’s agape love [1 Cor. 13:5]; that which fulfills the law [Rom. 13:10].
8 Consequently, those who allow their sinful nature to control them cannot really please God.
9 But you dear Christians, I trust, are not living that way, but are being controlled by God’s Spirit who dwells in you through the new birth experience.
And, incidentally, if there be any among you who has not experienced this new birth, I am afraid you are not truly converted and therefore do not really belong to Christ.
10 But if Christ’s Spirit dwells in you, please remember that your sinful bodies must still die, but spiritually you are alive because you have by faith surrendered your sinful self to His cross in exchange for Christ’s righteous life [Gal. 2:20]; this in turn has brought about the renewal of the Spirit which must now become the source of your Christian living.
11 For if God’s Holy Spirit was able to defeat sin and death in Christ’s humanity and proved it by raising Him from the dead, you can be absolutely sure this same Spirit, now dwelling in you, is able to conquer the power of sin that dominates your sinful bodies and reproduce in you the character of Christ.
12 So, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a negative obligation as Christians and that is not to live according to the dictates of our sinful nature; we have by faith surrendered it to death on Christ’s cross and therefore it has no claims on us.
13 However, should any deliberately or willfully live according to the yearnings of his sinful nature, this indicates such a one is unconverted and consequently is still under the sentence of condemnation and death.
On the other hand, if through the power of the indwelling Spirit you are denying the clamors of your sinful nature, this is clear evidence that you are converted and stand justified in Christ and your blessed hope is eternal life.
14 Because all who, by a faith-obedience to the gospel [i.e., surrender of the will to the truth in Christ], are allowing the Holy Spirit to control their thoughts and actions, show that they are truly the children of God.
15 For when you accepted Christ as your personal Saviour, you were liberated from the fear of eternal death [the wages of sin, Rom. 6:23] that has all unbelievers in its grip [Heb. 2:14, 15] and you became a child of God, having received the Spirit of sonship, so that now you can actually address God as “dear Father.”
16 Further, the Holy Spirit Himself convinces you, through the truth of the gospel, that you are a child of God fully reconciled to Him in Christ.
17 Do you realize what this means? If we are God’s children, then naturally we will one day inherit all that belongs to God; for we have become co-heirs with Christ our Lord. What a tremendous privilege this is going to be, provided, of course, we are willing to suffer for the time being, as Christ did when He lived in this wicked world.
18 But personally, I am convinced that all the suffering we have to endure in this present sinful world is nothing compared with the splendour and glory that is in store for us in Christ which we will receive at the second advent.
19 In fact, all of creation is waiting patiently for this deliverance when it will be liberated from the curse that sin has brought to it.
20 For since the fall, this whole world came under the curse of sin [Gen. 3:17-19], not because of its own choice but because Adam, who was given dominion over all creation [Gen. 1:28] sinned, and his sin affected all of nature so that death and decay began to reign over all creation and will do so until Christ brings deliverance.
21 And so we may say all of nature is anxiously waiting for the blessed hope when death will be done away with and all of God’s creation set free from the curse.
22 For I am sure you all are aware that all of nature has been groaning in agony, even as it is at the present time, waiting for deliverance just as a woman does when she is giving birth to a child.
23 But it is not only nature that is groaning; we too, who have been given the blessed hope through the experience of regeneration, are yearning and groaning within ourselves, waiting eagerly for the day when our very bodies will be redeemed from sin and its curse.
24 For while we have been saved, or justified, our present salvation is only in hope guaranteed in Christ. Obviously, had we already experienced the full reality of salvation we would not be waiting for it.
25 But since we are presently saved only by hope, then naturally we anxiously and patiently wait for the full reality of salvation.
26 In the meanwhile, the Holy Spirit who gives us endurance also helps us in our weaknesses and makes our prayers meaningful.
For we often find ourselves unable to express our needs in prayer but the Spirit intercedes on our behalf through our groanings and yearnings which cannot be expressed in words.
27 And God Himself, who is able to read our very thoughts, understands our needs that are expressed by the Spirit, who intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 What’s more, we know that everything that happens to us, good or bad, is used of God to work together His purpose in our lives, as we in turn put our confidence in His agape love, knowing that He cares for us.
29 For in God’s foreknowledge [those whom He knew beforehand would accept His salvation gift in Christ], He predetermined that we Christians would one day be transformed to the very likeness of His glorified Son who is the prototype of the saved and in whom He has obtained salvation full and complete.
30 That is why, according to His plan of salvation formulated before this world was even created, God’s purpose was not only to extend the invitation of salvation and to declare the believers justified or righteous, but also to ultimately glorify them as He did Christ.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these wonderful facts? Since God is on our side, should it really matter if any one is against us?
32 Seeing that for our sakes, God refused to spare His own beloved Son the full wages of sin on the cross, the equivalent of the second death, don’t you think He will freely and willingly give us everything else promised through His Son?
33 In view of these facts, who will dare to accuse us believers?
Yes, Satan may [Rev. 12:10], but certainly not God, seeing He has justified us in Christ.
34 Who will condemn us? Definitely not Christ, for He died to deliver us from our condemnation and now, since His resurrection and ascension, He has been sitting at the right hand of God to defend and vindicate our justification.
35 Can anything then really separate us from God’s infinite agape love, revealed in Christ’s holy history?
When we face trials of all kinds or hardships or persecution or danger or hunger or nakedness or even the sentence of death, does this mean God has forsaken us or no longer loves or cares about us?
36 As it is clearly stated in the Old Testament: “Because a Great Controversy exists between God and Satan, and we believers are presently living in Satan’s territory, we constantly face danger and death; we are considered just like sheep who have been herded into the slaughterhouse” [Ps. 44.22].
37 And yet, in spite of all these experiences, overwhelming victory is ours through faith in Him whose love for us never fails [Jer. 31:3].
38 For I am absolutely convinced that there is nothing in this whole wide universe of ours, whether it be death or life, Satan or supernatural powers, this present world or the world that shall be, the forces of this universe or that of height or depth,
39 absolutely nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from God’s agape love towards us which was manifested in the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.