Romans 5, Part 1
Oct 25, 2010
In Romans 4 Paul showed us how faith brings righteousness to us in two phases. His primary focus is upon the first phase--that of imputed righteousness--but in linking this to the Day of Atonement, he implies a second. Together, they correlate with the prophetic type of the two goats in Leviticus 16.
In chapter 5 Paul begins to reveal the Love of God. Romans 5:5 is the first time that Paul even mentions the word "Love" in this letter. Paul ties this Love to the divine plan and the work that Jesus will ultimately accomplish in us--by the work of that second goat of prophecy. The second work of Christ completes the first work.
(1) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (2) through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
The first work of Christ, as revealed by the first goat of Lev. 16, has been "our introduction" to grace by faith. Such imputation of righteousness gives us "peace with God." This is how Paul introduces to us the second basic concept of reconciliation.
Peace and reconciliation are essentially synonymous terms in the divine Law. The peace offerings speak of reconciliation, even as the sin offerings speak of justification. Sinners need justification; enemies need reconciliation (to make peace). Thus far Paul has laid the foundations of justification by faith, but he has said little or nothing about reconciliation.
It would be difficult to prove that one is the cause of the other. Really, they must be overlaid upon each other, for they occur at the same time. When the Law pronounces us "not guilty" by virtue of our faith in Christ's payment for our sin at the cross, the Law then has no further interest in prosecuting us for sin. The Law was made for sinners, not for the righteous (1 Tim. 1:9), and thus, when the Judge rules in our favor, the Law is satisfied and looks elsewhere to find sinners to prosecute.
Having been ruled "not guilty," the ruling has gone in our favor ("grace"), and we are then reconciled to God and at peace with Him and His Law. Not only God, but His Law also, becomes our friend, and we are free to learn of His ways and His character without the pressure and fear of a sinner being prosecuted daily. We can approach a holy God boldly (Heb. 4:16), even while we are yet imperfect. We can look at ourselves as immature children who are being trained in the ways of our loving Father.
This is the basis of the inner peace that we can enjoy here and now in this life. It is based fully upon the positional righteousness that has been imputed to us by faith. God looks upon us as His children, who, though yet immature, have the hope (expectation) of glory that is yet to come. That glory is the result of the second work of Christ by which we are given the infusion of righteousness necessary to be fully in the Image and Likeness of Christ.
To put it another way, through Passover we are justified, through Pentecost we are sanctified, and through Tabernacles we are glorified. This is the established "highway of holiness" (Isaiah 35:8) that takes us from the outside through the outer court, past the Holy Place, and into the Most Holy Place where the very presence of God rests.
Paul continues in Romans 5:3-5,
(3) And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; (4) and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope; (5) and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
These "tribulations" are part of the wilderness experience as we walk from "Egypt" to the Promised Land. We left Egypt at our own Passover experience, and we will enter the Promised Land when our "hope" is fulfilled and we are glorified; but meanwhile, we are yet in the middle realm of Pentecost, the interim feast.
Even as God led Israel in the wilderness by His Spirit for forty years to test them and mature them, so also does He do with us in the New Covenant "church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). The difficulties of life give us the gift of perseverance, and perseverance proves our unshakeable character and spiritual strength. This, in turn, gives us an expectation of the glory of God, for the biblical word "hope" is much more than just wishful thinking. It is a confident expectation. It is confident faith that what God has promised, He is able to work out in us as co-heirs with Christ.
Verse 5 is the first time in this epistle that Paul speaks of the Love of God. It is given through the Holy Spirit, Paul says, "who was given to us." Some say that the Holy Spirit was given to us when we were justified (Passover), while others say that the Holy Spirit was given to us when we were filled with the Spirit (Pentecost). Each view is at least half right.
Under Moses, "the church in the wilderness" began to be led by the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud (the Holy Spirit) from the first day that they departed from Egypt on the day of Passover (Ex. 13:20-22). Yet there was a greater manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Mount Sinai when that day of Pentecost arrived. In this greater manifestation, the entire mountain was engulfed in the fire of God (Ex. 19:18).
We learn from this that the Holy Spirit is given to us first when we are justified by faith, and we begin to be led by the Spirit from that first day. Yet we must also progress from faith to faith into Pentecost, by which we learn to hear His voice and walk in the Spirit. Passover begins our journey to the Promised Land, while Pentecost prepares us for entry into the Promise through the feast of Tabernacles.
Pentecost does not make Passover obsolete, but builds upon that earlier faith. Neither does Tabernacles negate Pentecost, but is its goal.
Here let me address a problem that I have often seen among Kingdom people. We understand that Pentecost is a leavened feast (Lev. 23:17), but we often forget that it is also characterized by wheat--which is good food. Kingdom people who over-focus on the leaven can get the impression that Pentecost is evil and ought to be avoided. Or they despise Pentecost, thinking they are "beyond" it.
We ought to recognize that Pentecost represents the Holy Place in the Temple, the place of priesthood and intercession. One cannot get into the Most Holy Place without passing through the Holy Place. Let us not throw out the wheat on account of the leaven that is in it. Instead, let us be willing, as Pentecostals, to be baked in the fire of God to kill the leaven in the wheat.
Those who despise Pentecost in their attempt to live only in a Tabernacles anointing are deceiving themselves, for though we certainly have a VISION of Tabernacles, we are yet living in the tribulations of Pentecost, for we are yet being baked in a baptism of fire. Tabernacles is yet our HOPE, not our (full) experience. Though many of us have had a taste of Tabernacles, I know of no one who lives in that realm fully. Certainly, I am not there yet, and I do not think that I am any different from others in this.
Hence, I do not need to be ashamed of "tribulations," but, like Paul, I "exult" (Rom. 5:3) in these things, knowing that God is still working to infuse His character in my heart and to prove His work by testing and experience. In fact, His tests give me hope, because I know that He has not ceased working in my life to bring me to maturity, whereby I may inherit all things with Christ.
This is the first part of a series titled "Romans 5." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones