A Study of the Epistle to the Romans
Salvation: The Blessings that Accompany Justification
Patience Works Experience
It is further affirmed that "patience worketh" something else, namely, "experience." The word "experience" means proof or testing, for that is what experience is. Here is the explanation: You enter into tribulation and that tribulation makes you steadfast, and your steadfastness becomes an experience, or a proof that you are a child of God.
Experience Works Hope
Paul does not stop there. He says that "experience" works something else, namely, hope! Here is a beautiful circle! It started with hope, "Hope of the glory of God." Then tribulation worked steadfastness, and steadfastness proved to us that we are children of God, and when we were proven children of God, we were encouraged in our spirits and we completed the circle with "hope of the glory of God."
Hope Maketh Not Ashamed
Paul is not talking about hope in any abstract sense. Some of our hopes have made us ashamed. Some of our hopes have disappointed us. How many there have been in my life and in your life! A father man stand by his son, a dissipated wretch, and say, "I had hoped." A mother may stand by the casket of a loved one that has gone and say, "I had hoped." Or a man may look upon the fragments of his fortune, when it has been distributed to the winds and is gone, and say, "I had hoped," but his hopes did not issue in fruition. They failed, and that failure made him ashamed.
He is not talking about "all" hope here, because many a hope there is that has failed utterly. He is talking about a certain, specific hope - a definite hope. This is the way it reads in the original - the little article the is before the word hope. "And hope in the abstract, but "the hope" - a certain hope, a Christian hope. That hope will never make you ashamed. It will never fail you. It will never disappoint you. That little article "the" points back to the second verse. What is "the hope"? Hope of the glory of God!
The rest of the section is devoted to showing us why this hope can never fail. "The hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). How does Christ dwell in our hearts? By the Holy Spirit, and Christ in you is "the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). So this hope of ours cannot fail or make us ashamed, because He has come into our hearts and shed His love abroad by the Holy Spirit.
If God loved us so much as to come into us and live in us, and if your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, can that hope ever be disappointed? Certainly not! "There is a hope that maketh not ashamed!"
Verse 6 opens with the word "for". Now read the next three verses. Paul compares God's love with human love. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure [perhaps] for a good man some would even dare to die." That is what men would do. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners [or enemies] Christ died for us"! Now, what does that mean? It simply means that in the death of Christ for us we have such a proof of God's love that we know He will not forsake us. He rescued us when we were enemies by a supreme act of love. Now that we are His, He will take us all the way through to the end.
That is what Paul argues for in the ninth verse. He says, "How much more then." If while we were sinners and enemies He "died" for us, will He allow us to come into wrath? Not at all! "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." Wrath would be the thing that would destroy our "hope of glory." If, while I was a sinner, God loved me enough to give His Son for me, now when I am justified, how much more will He continue in His love for me. "Much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (5:10). Read it this way: "We shall be kept safe by His life."
A Christian scientist one time quoted this passage to me, saying that we were saved by Christ's life, and not by His death, but I said, "You are not reading the whole passage. He reconciled us by His death." "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that cometh unto God through Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus Himself said, "Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19). So, we are kept safe by His life. Romans 8:32 reads: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Romans 834 goes on with the same theme: "It is Christ that died," but Paul doesn't stop there, "Yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." So, if it is the death of Christ that wipes out all our sins and gives us justification and righteousness in the sight of God, it is His life that keeps us safe forever!
A real Chritian cannot talk about being afraid of losing his salvation. When Jesus Christ went to the Cross, He took upon Himself the debt for our sin, and He paid it. If Christ had not paid the debt of sin in full, He would still be dead. The only reason God raised Him from the dead was because He paid it! When Jesus Christ went to the Cross and paid our debt in full, He was raised from the dead. "Death hath no more dominion over Him," because sin's penalty is paid forever. The fact that He is alive today is the pledge that His payment is eternal. He would have to be dragged down from heaven in order for us to fall. If He lives, we live. If He dwells in heavenly places, we will sit there.
Now Paul closes this section by saying, "And not only so, but we rejoice in God" (5:11). The passage closes as it began: "Through our Lord Jesus Christ." It had begun: "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ," and it closes: "We rejoice in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ!" No man has any hope apart from the Son of God. There is no approach to God the Father, save through the Son of God.
These are the blessings which accompany justification. Perhaps they are not all new to you, but if any one of them is new, may this be the day you begin to enjoy it. It is yours, so enjoy it, and especially your tribulations.
~Alva J. McClain~
(continued with # 43 - Salvation: Condemnation in Adam But Justification in Christ")