The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans

By G. Campbell Morgan

Chapter 9


1. Personal Values. Rom 5:1-11

a. Eternal. Rom 5:1-2

The Privileges.

Access into Grace.

Hope of the Glory.

The Responsibilities.

Let us have Peace.

Let us rejoice.

b. Temporal. Rom 5:3-11

The Responsibility. Rom 5:3 a

"Let us rejoice ... in Tribulation."

(Parenthesis. Rom 5:3-10

On rejoicing in Tribulation.)

The Reason. Rom 5:3-4





The Ground of Hope. Rom 5:5

The Love of God.

Experienced through the Holy Ghost.

The Evidence of Love. Rom 5:6-10

"Christ died."

"Much more."

The Privilege. Rom 5:11

"We also rejoice . . . through . . . Reconciliation"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


The main argument is now resumed. After the illustrative section the apostle returned to the discussion of the values of that justification, the provision of which he had announced in the first movement. Chapter five, as to argument, follows immediately upon the closing section of chapter three, in which the scheme of God's salvation was declared and developed. The privileges of justification are the values of salvation; and these the apostle deals with in two parts; first, those of the individual believer; and secondly, those of the race.

1. Personal Values

The personal values of justification are eternal and temporal; and the apostle deals with them in turn. In each case he is careful in stating the privileges, to show their corresponding responsibilities.

a. Eternal

The eternal privileges are those of access into grace, and the consequent hope of the glory. The word "grace" in this connection is used in the sense of favour. The standing of the justified soul is not merely that of being at an end of conflict with God, although this is of course included. He is received and welcomed into a fellowship which is characterized by the bestowment of all blessing through the operation of the Father's love. It is not merely that the believer henceforth has no fear of God, and so is at peace with Him; it is that he now has free access to the Divine presence, because he stands in favor at the court of heaven. The word more than suggests, it declares that familiar intimacy, between the believer and God, is the result of justification. This word, perhaps more forcefully than any other in this connection, reveals the depth and thoroughness of the work of justification. It is infinitely more than that of forgiving sins in the sense of consenting to say no more about them. Before any one can have such free and familiar fellowship with God as is indicated by the use of the word "grace,'' sin must be dealt with in the way revealed by the previous teaching of the epistle.

Yet another privilege of the individual is that of the hope of the glory of God. A sinner justified, and therefore standing in favor, enters into a new realm of aspiration and hope. The ultimate issue of all the work of God comes into view, that great glory of God which is to be realized through the work of Christ. In that, the justified soul henceforth finds its reason of joy. Having entered into experimental possession of the values of the work accomplished by Christ at His first advent, nothing can shake the confidence of the soul in the certainty of the ultimate triumph resulting therefrom, and to be manifested at the second advent.

These are the individual privileges of the justified soul. Such an one stands in favor, and hears for evermore the sound of the coming glory.

The responsibilities resulting from such privileges exactly correspond to them. To stand in grace necessarily includes the consciousness of peace with God; that is, there is no more strife, no more fear, but a quiet assurance of harmony which is in itself of the essence of peace. The great question between the soul and God is settled through the work of Christ, and peace is the consciousness of the settlement. Therefore, our responsibility is expressed in the words, "Let us have peace." It is the plea of the apostle that we should enter into our privileges, and realize them. It is his solemn warning against the permission of any of those things which break the fellowship, spoil the harmony, and create the consciousness of shame or fear.

The hope of the glory of God includes the responsibility of rejoicing. If we really have the anointed vision which sees through the travail to the triumph, and is perfectly assured of the ultimate victory of God, it is our duty in the midst of the travail to rejoice evermore, to cheer the battle by song, and shorten the marches by music.

There is the closest relationship between these responsibilities. It is when peace is interfered with, that joy departs.

b. Temporal

Turning to the discussion of the privileges, which we speak of as temporal because they have reference more immediately to the circumstances of the present, we find that the apostle first stated the responsibility, and after dealing with it at length in a parenthesis, he declared the privilege. It may be well here at once to put these two things together before proceeding to the more general examination of the passage. The temporal responsibility is expressed in the words, "Let us rejoice in tribulation"; while the privilege is declared in the affirmation, "We also rejoice . . . through . . . reconciliation.''

All life is changed in its meaning to the justified soul, and therefore tribulation is found to be of such a nature as to cause the heart to rejoice. Most wonderful, indeed, is such a declaration. No other philosophy of life has even suggested such a possibility to the heart of man. Others have declared that suffering, being the common lot of humanity, must be quietly and stoically borne, but this is a very different matter from that of rejoicing in tribulation. So wonderful an experience is it that the apostle took time to deal with it.

He first showed the reason for such rejoicing to be that of the character which it produces. He traced the process through which man comes to that character. "Tribulation worketh steadfastness," or as Dr. Moule has finely rendered it, "patient persistence." This is not the attitude of one submitting to the inevitable, and hardening the heart against pain. It is rather that of one who, having caught the vision of the ultimate issue in glory, patiently endures the process of the fire, in the joy of the certainty of that issue.

Such steadfastness, or patient persistence, in turn issues in proof, that is in experimental proof, even here and now, of the value of tribulation. Such proof in turn strengthens and confirms hope.

Hope, however, is always supposed to have in it the element of uncertainty. The apostle recognized this fact when speaking of Abraham, he said, "Who in hope believed against hope"; and the words of the Preacher are constantly quoted, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." But the hope which results from the process described is not of this kind. In this case, "hope putteth not to shame."

That statement led the apostle to declare that the ground of hope is that of the love of God "shed abroad in our hearts "by the Holy Spirit. That love is the unanswerable argument for the ultimate realization of the hope. It is the certainty of that love, therefore, which induces the patience, adduces the proof, and produces the hope.

There can be no question of that love. It is finally demonstrated in Christ both by His death and by His life. The apostle's argument here may thus be summarized: The love of God; That love proven by Christ's death; Man justified by blood and so saved from wrath; this being so, it is certain that he will also be saved in the life of Christ.

Thus the immediate privilege of justification in the midst of all the stress and strain of life, is that we rejoice in God because of that reconciliation to Him which is the result of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such rejoicing, while partaking of the nature of thankfulness for all He has done, is greatly increased by the consequent certainty that He will perfect His purposes in us, in spite of, and often by means of, the tribulations through which we pass.