In our study Romans chapter five, we look at the benefits we receive for today through Jesus Christ. In our world today, people live for instant gratification and many are not interested in the things of God because they see that as far in the future. Many think that they will just wait until the last minute to accept Christ and be saved. In doing so, they miss out on the benefits that God has given us for today.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," NIV translation
When sin came into the world, through Adam, the relationship between man and God was broken and there was no longer peace. When we are saved by Jesus Christ from the penalty of our sin, we receive eight specific benefits listed in this chapter. Throughout the Bible, the number eight is associated with resurrection and the beginning of a new era. Our faith in Jesus Christ begins a new era as we are a new creation through Him. The first is "peace with God" and describes the fact that we are no longer enemies of God.
"through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." NIV translation
The second benefit we receive for today in Christ is "access" to the Father. As His child, we can take all of our concerns and requests directly to the Creator of the universe.
"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." NIV translation
The third benefit is "hope" and our hope is that we will be in the presence of God. We have that for today as well as for tomorrow.
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;" NIV translation
The fourth benefit for today is patience (perseverance). Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, the world will not accept us and so there will be suffering. We can rejoice in this suffering because this helps us to grow in patience.
Romans 5:4 & 5
"perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us." NIV translation
This passage contains two more of the benefits we have today in Christ. First, is God's love in our hearts. God's love is in our hearts and changes our hearts and that love is the sacrificial love that Jesus displayed on the cross as He died for His enemies. The second benefit in this passage (sixth overall) is the gift of the Holy Spirit which is God living in us. 1 Peter 1:2 tells us that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is leading us to sanctification. We do not have to walk alone today as God walks with us and in us through the Spirit.
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." NIV translation
Paul reminds us of what God means by love and we see that it is very different than the definition that the world has today. We see that love is doing something big for someone who hates you and expecting nothing in return. That is only possible through the very power of God living in you.
"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" NIV translation
We are made right with God by the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have the benefit of being assured that we will not face the wrath of God. It seems that things are going from bad to worse in the world but, because of this assurance, we do not have to walk around in fear of what is to come.
Romans 5:10 & 11
"For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." NIV translation
The last benefit that Paul lists here is reconciliation. He tells us here that we are not only saved from death but we have a right relationship with God. We were estranged from God due to our sin but through the blood of Jesus Christ our relationship has been restored.
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned -" NIV translation
Now, Paul reminds us that we all need to be saved as all have sinned as it entered the world through Adam. Because of that sin, which God knew was going to happen even before they disobeyed, we have the effects of spiritual and physical death. You see, before their sin, Adam and Eve were allowed to eat from the tree of eternal life so they could have lived forever physically with God in the garden. They chose to disobey and so were not allowed to eat from the tree of life and so we have physical death as well as spiritual death from that sin.
"for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law." NIV translation
When Adam disobeyed God, sin entered the world and everything in it. Through Adam it was passed on to all people but, without the law, men were not aware of the sin (disobedience).
"Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come." NIV translation
We were all born into sin because sin was in the world and in our relatives from the time of Adam's sin. This continued until the time of Moses when the commands of God were given. These commands included God's instructions for sacrifices to pay for the penalties of sin. Just as sin entered through the one man (Adam), the perfect sacrifice of one man (Jesus) paid the penalty for all sins of all men.
"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!" NIV translation
We have much more in Christ than we ever lost through Adam. Through Adam we lost God physically walking among us but, through Jesus, we have God actually living inside of us through the Holy Spirit.
"Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification." NIV translation
Another way that the gift is greater than the loss is in the number of sins. With Adam, one sin condemned all of mankind as it was the opening of the door and sin multiplied from there. The gift (salvation through Jesus Christ) was given after many sins and the gift was multiplied to cover all of the sins.
"For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." NIV translation
Because of the gift of God, we can live victoriously. Everyone faced death through sin (death reigned) but sin was paid for on the cross and death was defeated in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our new life in Christ is far superior to the old life that was under the penalty of sin. The Greek word for reign here is "basileuo" and it is where we get the word basilica from as well. In ancient Rome, basilicas were courts of law and so this use of the word means a judicial authority or right. In Christ, we have the authority to reign here on earth.
Romans 5:18 & 19
"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." NIV translation
Adam and Jesus were similar in the fact that their one action had an impact on all men. Adam's disobedience brought sin and death to all men while Jesus' obedience brought forgiveness and life for all men.
Romans 5:20 & 21
"The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." NIV translation
The law was given so that sin would be recognized and men would see that we cannot keep the law and earn our salvation. But as we are made more aware of that sin, we also understand how wonderful the gift of grace is as we are confident that grace covers all sins. Through that grace we are given eternal life through our Lord Jesus.