Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Exegesis of Romans 5:1 from The God Who Justifies (For Comparison)
01/31/2007 - James White5:1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (NIV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (NASB)
Dikaiwqevnte" ou\n ejk pivstew" eijrhvnhn ¢e[comen pro;" to;n qeo;n dia; tou' kurivou hJmw'n ÆIhsou' Cristou'
Romans 5:1 marks the transition from the demonstration of the doctrine of justification to the application of justification. But it is not a sudden transition, and we can gain much theological insight from the passage. In fact, the very form of the transition ("Therefore, having been justified...") is rich in theological insight regarding the topic before us.
The NET and NIV both render the aorist participle, dikaiothentes (dikaiwqevnte"), since we have with the NIV choosing "been justified by faith" and the NET going with "been declared righteous by faith." The NASB's "having been justified by faith" is only slightly more literal. In each of these translations, we see one of the key elements of the passage: the declaration of justification is in the past. That is, the aorist participle, syntactically speaking, refers to an action that is antecedent to the action of the main verb, here echomen (e[comen).(1) As Fitzmyer observed,
now that we are justified through faith. Lit., justified from faith, expressed by the aor. pass. ptc., which connotes the once-for-all action of Christ Jesus on behalf of humanity. What is stated at the beginning of this verse is a summation of the latter section of part A, especially 3:22-26.(2)
The relationship between justification and having peace is clear: because we have been justified through faith as an action in the past, we now have, as a present possession, peace (eijrhvnhn) with God.
There can be no doubt what lies behind Paul's use of the term peace in this passage. The Hebrew steeped in Scripture knew full well the meaning of shalom (~Alv'). It does not refer merely to a cessation of hostilities (though surely it means this as well, and such is true of justification, for the reason for hostility is removed in the work of Christ). It is not a temporary cease-fire. The term shalom would not refer to a situation where two armed forces face each other across a border, ready for conflict, but not yet at war. Shalom refers to a fullness of peace, a wellness of relationship. It has a strong positive element. Those systems that proclaim a man-centered scheme of justification cannot explain the richness of this word. They cannot provide peace because a relationship that finds its source and origin in the actions of imperfect sinners will always be imperfect itself. Only the gospel of Christ, which says that Christ is our all-in-all, that Christ is the powerful Savior, that Christ is able to save completely (Hebrews 7:25), can provide for true peace. This theme was prevalent in the older, theologically-oriented commentaries:
The phrase eijrhvnhn e[comen pro;" to;n qeo;n, we have peace in regard to God, properly means, God is at peace with us, his ojrghv (wrath) towards us is removed. It expresses, as Philippians says, not a state of mind, but a relation to God. It is that relation which arises from the expiation of sin, and consequently justification. We are no longer his enemies, in the objective sense of the term..., but are the objects of his favour.(3)
Justified by faith as a past action, resulting, infallibly, invariably, in peace with God: Paul will repeat this theme in Romans 8:30 where he will say that those who are justified by God will, invariably, be glorified by Him as well. The Christian can speak as the Apostle Paul, I have been justified by faith. I have peace with God through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. ...
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