Lectionary Year A
March 3, 2002
Romans 5:1-11

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) The theological "center of gravity" is Paul's belief that "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Further matters of major theological concern in this passage include the mention of the Holy Spirit through whom God's love gets "poured into our hearts", the obtaining of "access to this grace in which we stand, . . ." and Jesus' dieing for the ungodly. Then, that leaves the series of suffering, endurance, character and even hope to occupy positions of lesser importance in this passage. Paul's emphasis on the Gospel of God's grace and love so overshadows these elements that they simply must remain in the background relatively stating. Yet, these elements might appear for the sake of the readers/hearers of this passage to help them identify some of the grounds for their experiences as human beings in the early church. This week's text does seem to be a further reflection on at least the final three verses of chapter four of Romans. It depicts how God has set us right and how that "righteousness"/having been "rightwised"/made right with God brings us peace.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 1 Then as we were being declared as righteous, so we have peace for the sake or purpose of God through our Lord Jesus Christ 2 through whom also we have the right to enter into this certain grace in which we are standing and we can rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 But not only (this), but also we can boast in the trouble/distress/hard circumstances/suffering, we have learned/known/perceived that suffering produces/brings about patient endurance/steadfastness/perseverance, 4 and endurance character/worth, and character hope. 5 But hope never disappoints (us), for the love of God is being poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit having been given to us. 6 In addition Christ died for us in our being weak according to the proper time for the ungodly He died. 7 For hardly/scarcely on behalf of one righteous someone the might die/face death; for even for a good one will one perhaps/possibly dare to die; 8 but He shows unto Himself love unto us God, that moreover sinners being us Christ on behalf of us died. 9 Then much more are we being made righteous now in His blood being saved through Him from the anger/wrath. 10 For if we were enemies, we were being reconciled by God through the death of His Son, much more are we being reconciled as we were being saved by His life; 11 but not only so, but also we are boasting in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom now are we being put into friendship with God.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) In his Christian Doctrine, Revised Edition, Shirley C. Guthrie writes, "The good news of Jesus Christ is that God does not hate and will the destruction of sinful people who are God's enemies; God loves them and wills their reconciliation and salvation. God also commands us to love them, not gleefully look forward to the time when we can enjoy seeing them 'get what they have coming to them' and say 'I told you so.' Moreover, if we know that while we ourselves were 'helpless,' 'ungodly' sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6-11), how can we not do what we can by our attitudes, words and actions to let those other sinners and enemies know that the same good news is for them too?"

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