Romans 5:1-5 is a powerful portion of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, reminding the reader of the benefits that flow from justification by faith. Such benefits are designed by God to work forth a process whereby the Christ-follower is made more and more like Jesus in their experience of being justified by faith. Such a process is part-and-parcel of what the Bible refers to as “sanctification” (see 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3).
Today’s post is going to dig deeper into Romans 5:1-5 by a tool called “grammatical diagramming”. The phrase “grammatical diagram” refers to showing relationships between words, phrases and clauses within the given passage. Such a method provides the foundation for preachers developing homiletical outlines for sermons, teachers – lessons and deepening oneself in the text. Such a grammatical study can be done on either the English or underlying original language of the Biblical text (Hebrew/Aramaic for the Old Testament; Greek for the New Testament).
To ensure that our attempt at diagramming Romans 5:1-5 will prove beneficial, we will base any labeling and formatting upon the particular approach to diagramming advocated by George H. Gutherie and J. Scott Duvall in their manual: “Biblical Greek Exegesis – A Graded Approach To Learning Intermediate And Advanced Greek”.
This blogger has chosen this work due to Gutherie and Duvall’s statement in equipping pastors and students of scripture with this approach, as stated on page 18 of their manual: “God calls us to a life of study toward a deeper understanding of Scripture for both personal edification and ministry to others.” What follows below is a suggested method for digging deeper into the text.
A quick life-practical word about Romans 5:1-5 and how we will proceed in this post
Romans 5:1-5 is an excellent text to try out this method, since it not only explains the benefits of Christian salvation, but also how God continues working in the believer’s life to develop them as a people of God growing in love with Jesus. In what will follow, I will outline Romans 5:1-5 as it appears in the NASB (New American Standard Bible) and the 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament by Robert Stephanus. Along the way I will offer any clarifying comments so that readers can follow along and benefit from the study.
Romans 5:1 (NASB)
(Assertion, result following from prior chapter) “Therefore,”
(result clause) having been justified by faith,
(simultaneous result) we have peace with God
(agency) through our Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 5:1 (Greek Text)
(Assertion, result following from Romans 4) ουν
(result clause) δικαιωθεντες εκ πιστεως
(simultaneous result) ειρηνην εχομεν προς τον θεον
(agency) δια του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου
Comment: When the label “assertion” is used, it indicates Paul making a statement of fact. What follows from the assertion are the results of having been justified by faith. The first “simultaneous result” is that the believer begins experiencing peace with God and continues experiencing such. The Greek text’s main verb, translated “we are having”, is a present, active, indicative that emphasizes progressive, ongoing action. The label “agency” is defined by Gutherie and Duvall as being the personal agent performing the action. The Personal agent “through whom” these blessings flow from justification into progressive sanctification is Christ. Christ is the grounds for our justification by way of His accomplished work. In the next few verses, the Person of the Holy Spirit will be mentioned. His involvement in our sanctification has more so to do in applying what Jesus has accomplished. Relevant cross-references that speak of our peace with God, Christ’s accomplished work and agency and the Spirit’s agency in our sanctification are 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 3:6; Ephesians 1:7; Philippians 4:6-7 and 1 John 2:1-2.
Romans 5:2 (NASB)
(explanation)through whom also we have obtained our introduction (means) by faith into this grace
(sphere) in which we stand;
(result #1) and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:2 (Greek Text)
(explanation)δι ου και την προσαγωγην εσχηκαμεν (means) τη πιστει εις την χαριν ταυτην (sphere) εν η εστηκαμεν (result) και καυχωμεθα
(basis) επ ελπιδι της δοξης του θεου
Comments: Now Paul is going to further clarify what he meant when he referred to Jesus Christ as the one “through whom” these blessings of justification flow. The verb translated in the NASB as “we have obtained” is in the Greek text a perfect tense verb, indicating the beginning of something in the past with continuing, ongoing results in the here and now. This same verb is an “active, first person”, meaning that we who are believers in Christ are active participants in this access won for us by Christ. When we see the next label “means”, we find that saving faith is the “means” by which such benefits are received and enjoyed. The label “sphere” has to do with the believer’s status of “standing in” or “enjoying such blessings. So then, what are the results of being justified by faith and thus gaining access to God through Christ? rejoicing! boasting in God! Any ability the Christian has to rejoice in God is based upon (hence the label “basis”) the hope of God delivered in the Gospel.
Romans 5:3 (NASB)
(result #2) And not only this, but we also exult
(sphere) in our tribulations,
(simultaneous) knowing that
(circumstance) tribulation brings about perseverance
Romans 5:3 (Greek Text)
(result #2) ου μονον δε αλλα και καυχωμεθα
(sphere) εν ταις θλιψεσιν
(simultaneous) ειδοτες οτι
(circumstance) η θλιψις υπομονην κατεργαζεται
Comments: Whether we are reading Romans 5:3 in English or Greek, the idea of God using trials in our life to mold our character is not easy to think about. Nevertheless, Paul lists boasting in the “sphere” or domain of such trials as a second outcome of the hope acquired from having been justified by faith. In the last clause of Romans 5:3, the NASB renders the following: “tribulation brings about perseverence”. The verb translated “brings about” could also be rendered “working out”. The imagery of “working out” a splinter or of doing a “work out” to achieve greater physical endurance comes to mind. The resistance brought about by trials is used by God to strengthen our resolve and reliance upon Him (see 2 Corinthians 4:18; James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 1:6-7).
Romans 5:4 (NASB)
(sequence) and perseverance,
(sequence) proven character;
(sequence) and proven character, hope;
Romans 5:4 (Greek Text)
(sequence) η δε υπομονη
(sequence) η δε δοκιμη ελπιδα
Comments: In Romans 5:4 we find the labels “sequence” indicating a series of nouns used by Paul to express a progression of character building in the Christian. The word translated “endurance” comes from a root referring to “remaining under” someone or something that is applying pressure. The next noun, translated by the NASB as “proven character”, speaks of a piece of metal that is tempered through the process of intense heat. With this progression then comes the last term – “hope”. In this progression, it appears that the Christian comes to appreciate the Divine hope of the Gospel more in the face of situations that appear “hopeless”. Desperation for God, His Word and all the other graces He gives increases whenever the normal resources for coping with life (friends, finances, so-called “easy times”) are either short in supply or utterly absent.
Romans 5:5 (NASB)
(assertion) and hope does not disappoint,
(inference) because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts
(agency) through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:5 (Greek Text)
(assertion) η δε ελπις ου καταισχυνει
(inference) οτι η αγαπη του θεου εκκεχυται εν ταις καρδιαις ημων
(agency) δια πνευματος αγιου του δοθεντος ημιν
Comment: In this final verse, we find another “assertion” clause, indicating a statement of fact by the Apostle Paul. Such hope does not “disappoint”. Why? The label called “inference” points to the emptying process that can occur in the experience of intense trial. God’s love has an easier time “filling in” the places of the Christian’s life that might not had been accessible if times and seasons would had been easier. The final label, “agency”, now points us to the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Who is regulating both us and the course of experiences, trials and blessings to bring about the Christ-like qualities He wants to bring forth. Paul’s whole point in these first five verses is to show how God is making us by experience whom He has declared us to be in justification – namely the righteousness of God in Christ.
Final thoughts and life application:
diagramming” of the Biblical text in English or in Greek. Such a tool is an example of how one can go about the initial steps in preparing a sermon, a Bible lesson or digging deeper into the text for one’s own edification. We looked at Romans 5:1-5 to discern what benefits flow from having been justified by faith. One could say that we are justified by faith “unto” the following benefits: peace with God, hope in God, strengthening by God and love from God. Such truths can prove very helpful to believers who are going through difficult times. Romans 5:1-5 reminds us that the Christian life is not promised immunity from trouble. Nevertheless, God’s promise to us in justification is that He will be with us every step of the way as we progress in sanctification through this life while looking forward to his glorification or completion of our redemption in eternity (compare Philippians 1:6; Jude 1:24-25).